12 matches in Major League Soccer this week, and some very interesting results for top teams as none of the top 4 teams in the Eastern Conference got wins when facing Western Conference foes. Three teams now have 5 wins, and only one team has just one defeat, three teams have just a single win so far this season, and two teams have picked up their 5th loss already. So let's get the ranking started:
18. Sporting Kansas City - down 3
I had much higher expectations of SKC against LA this weekend with a week off to prepare for the match, but that wasn't the case. A 4-1 thrashing is what they got at stop #7 of their 10 match road trip to start the season and even their goal was actually scored by a LA player. That is just plain UGLY and they will need to really do something special at Qwest Field against Seattle on Saturday or they might just find themselves in a hole too deep to get out of with just 4 points from 7 matches.
17. Vancouver Whitecaps - up one
Well two matches this week for the Whitecaps, they were fortunate late to get a goal that earned them a 1-1 draw against San Jose on Wednesday and then they found themselves on the losing end of a 1-0 loss at New England on Saturday. While I like that they have figured out how to play some defense, they will need to do more than score late goals at home if they want to improve on just 8 points from 11 matches and find their second win of the year.
The rest of the rankings after the jump:
16. Chicago Fire - up one
For the second straight week the Fire found themselves facing off against a team from Canada, this time it was a trip to BMO Field to face Toronto FC and for the second straight time they came away with a draw. This time it was a 2-2 draw where they came from behind and were able to leverage two second half goals to get the result. The Fire are one of 3 teams with just a single victory this year, and their lives won't be any easier next Saturday as they head to Philadelphia to face the Union.
15. Toronto FC - up one
The Red's had two chances at getting a win this week but lost 1-0 at Dallas and only managed a 2-2 draw at home against Chicago but still they move up a spot, because they battled hard in each match and their rebuilding project at least is showing signs of life. It will be a busy week for TFC as they head to Vancouver for a midweek NCC match and then will go to Colorado for a match with the Rapids on Sunday night.
14. DC United - down one
Well DC played host to Colorado and got a 1-1 draw and normally I would keep a team the same or move them up for a draw against the defending MLS Cup champs but I really question a team that has almost 1/3 of their goals from the PK spot. The upside for DC is that they only allowed one goal the 3rd week in a row with either a shut out or single goal allowed, that shows an improvement in focus. DC gets week of of league play, but their next match will see them head to Portland on the 29th.
13. San Jose Earthquakes - up one
Well a huge home win for the Quakes as finally someone steps up in a big way for them, as Steven Lenhart got his first goal and first assist of the season against his former team. The Quakes also got goals from Chris Wondolowski and Khari Stephenson, they were able to keep the clean sheet in their 3-0 despite being a man down for the final 11 minutes of the match. That is just their second win of the season when you combine it with the 1-1 midweek draw at Vancouver it shows the potential, next up New England comes to Buck Shaw next Saturday.
12. New England Revolution - down one
I only watched about 15 minutes of the Rev's 1-0 win over Vancouver and while they got the 1-0 win I was rather unimpressed with them, Vancouver actually took more shots, had more on goal and for large stretches looked the better team. I keep waiting for them to show the improvements that they should have with their new additions, but when 2 of your 3 wins on the season are against the worst teams in MLS it is hard to take you seriously. A road match is up next as they head to San Jose and face another team that is looking for a couple quality wins to boost their season.
11. Chivas USA - up one
They bent without breaking, they struck first and then answered each time the Red Bulls scored, the power outage didn't seem to impact them at all, well it sure didn't impact Justin Braun. Braun scored each of Chivas' three goals in their 3-2 win over the New York Red Bulls. Chivas was able to really take advantage of New York who pushed forward with so many numbers that they left themselves open for counter attacks and on the night Braun looked like the class finisher in the league.
10. Houston Dynamo - even
The Dynamo went on the road and did what they needed to get a 0-0 draw with Real Salt Lake, they played solid defense that kept RSL to just one shot on goal and kept a high enough line to have RSL called offside twice (both saw the ball in the back of the net). Nothing fancy, just a grind it out result on the road which is an improvement over the back to back losses they had coming in. Next up will be a huge test as they will face the New York Red Bulls on Saturday night at Robertson Stadium.
9. Columbus Crew - down two
I can honestly say I didn't see it coming, it didn't surprise me but I didn't see it coming, a 3-0 defeat at San Jose for the Crew who had been playing ugly but getting results. I am not sure what cause the Crew who had given up just 6 goals all season to allow 3 on Saturday but it is enough to drop them down in my rankings and things won't get easier for them as they will head up the coast to Portland for their next match on Saturday.
8. Portland Timbers - up one
Well the Timbers are claiming victory from a 1-1 draw at Qwest Field, and I am willing to bump them up a spot for getting a hard fought road result. They battled hard and took advantage of a free kick to get their goal as Mamadou Danso "Futty" scored his second goal of the season. They still don't have a road win but the draw over their top rival is going to feel like a win for the Timbers and their fans. They get to return home for their next match against the Columbus Crew, can they keep their perfect home streak going?
7. Seattle Sounders - down one
The polar opposite of how the Timbers and their fans felt after the 1-1 draw on Saturday night has got to be how the Sounders and their fans were left feeling. It is like when your cousin comes to your house and gets all the attention on your birthday. I have to believe that the first shot of the Cascadia Cup was fired by the Timbers, will this serve as motivation for the Sounders? Next up for them are the struggling road warriors of Sporting KC.
6. Colorado Rapids - even
A hard fought road draw at RFK has to leave the Rapids feeling both good and gutted, they got the lead despite most of their offensive players being out with injuries and then see a controversial PK go against them and they end up with a 1-1 draw. It will be interesting to see how the Rapids do if they can get some players healthy again soon, their next match is a Sunday showdown at home against Toronto FC.
5. FC Dallas - up three
Beating Toronto at home on Wednesday wasn't so impressive, but being the first team to score two goals against the Union on Saturday is a bit more impressive. A 6 point week moves FC Dallas up into the top 5 as they now sit with 17 points after 10 matches for a very solid 1.7 points per match. They are the only team in MLS with no losses in their last 5 matches and their next match should be a huge one as they will face Real Salt Lake on Sunday at Pizza Hut Park, RSL have never won in Dallas.
4. Philadelphia Union - down one
A rough week for the Union, they battled to a tough 1-1 draw with LA at home on Wednesday and then headed down to Dallas where for the first time all year they gave up multiple goals as they lost 2-0. A tough loss that had Fayrd Mondragon apologizing to Union fans via twitter and promising to do better next week when they face the Chicago Fire at home on Saturday. My question still is where is Sebastian Le Toux?
3. New York Red Bulls - down one
Well the power outage at Red Bull Arena may have been a sign as the Red Bulls found themselves on the wrong end of a 3-2 final score and another team that had been playing very solid defense (3 goals allowed in 8 matches) gave up 3 in 90 minutes and all to one player. It wasn't Thierry Henry who was the go to guy, but Justin Braun? It will be interesting to see how they rebound on Saturday when they have to go to Houston to face the Dynamo.
2. Los Angeles Galaxy - up one
A midweek draw against Philly had me ready to drop the Galaxy, but then they beat up on Sporting KC something awful in a 4-1 win where even the 1 goal allowed was scored by them and I have to move them up to #2 in the rankings and while they sit on 20 points the first MLS team to hit that mark this year, they have played more matches than anyone else (12) and the 1.666 points per game is actually tied for 3rd best in the league. The Galaxy will keep up their busy schedule with a road trip on Saturday to face Chivas USA, oh wait it is still a home match. Should be interesting given the huge win Chivas pulled off this weekend.
1. Real Salt Lake - even
It wasn't pretty as RSL could only manage a 0-0 draw with Houston on Saturday night, perhaps no moment was more telling about RSL right now than a late shot by Andy Williams that got past the keeper but went just 6 inches wide of the open goal. Last year RSL was the league's top offense, but this year they have just 9 goals scored, but thankfully their defense is still tops in the league with just 2 goals allowed. For RSL they are still averaging 2.28 points per match a full half point better than anyone else, so they stay on top for now. A brutal road match is in front of them as they head to Dallas where they have never won and dropped both their regular season and playoff match there last year. They will need a result to stay at the top.
Well there you have my latest power rankings, I hope you enjoy them.
OFF MY SOAPBOX