New England Soccer Today

MLS Rankings: Week 2

Every week the New England Soccer Today crew will look beyond the standings to rank each of the 19 Major League Soccer (MLS) teams. This week Sean Donahue, Julian Cardillo and Ryan Lanigan contributed rankings. Comments are followed by the ranker’s name and the rank they gave that team.

1. REAL SALT LAKE (2-0-0, 6 points)
My preseason MLS Cup pick is looking good so far. RSL started last year just as well however – can they actually sustain the great form this season? (Sean – 1) … RSL are on an early roll and have been lighting it up offensively. Tough team to beat. (Julian) … This team has looked the best out of all the teams so far this season. There is no doubt they are top of the league. (Ryan – 1)

2. SPORTING KANSAS CITY (2-0-0, 3 points)
You can only beat the team that’s put in front of you. They won, as expected, against the Revs. (Sean – 3) … KC have a very well-rounded team, and it continues to show. Nevertheless, they were helped by a red card in their last game against New England. (Julian -2) … The mark of a good team is beating teams you’re supposed to beat, and doing so handedly. Up a man on the Revs, and KC buried them. (Ryan – 2)

3. SEATTLE SOUNDERS (1-0-0, 3 points)
Tough exit from the CONCACAF Champions League, but with some great options up top now to partner Montero – as shown on Saturday – the Sounders will be tough to beat in MLS. (Sean – 2) … David Estrada put on a show, which demonstrates that the Sounders really do have lots of attacking options. The CCL loss may have just been a hiccup. (Julian – 4) … David Estrada netted a hat trick for the Sounders in their first MLS game of 2012, making Seattle look like a real threat this season. (Ryan – 3)

4. COLORADO RAPIDS (2-0-0, 6 points)
Impressive road win under the circumstances, but I’m still not quite sold on this edition of the Rapids. (Sean – 5) They got the job done, even with one less man. They have a solid group, whether that continues remains to be seen. (Julian – 3) …Two games, two wins for the Rapids. New skipper Oscar Pareja has the team thinking with a winning mentality. (Ryan – 4) …

5. LOS ANGELES GALAXY (1-1-0, 3 points)
Finally showed the form they are capable of against D.C. I think we saw the real Galaxy on Sunday, (Sean – 4) … The Galaxy looked like they returned to form against DC, but they still have some defensive issues to figure out. And what happens when Robbie Keane leaves for Euro? (Julian – 5) … After a rough start, the Galaxy used their star power (Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan) to pick up their first ‘W’ of the season. (Ryan – 5)

6. HOUSTON DYNAMO (2-0-0, 6 points)
If Houston’s going to get back to the MLS Cup this season it’ll have to be because of their defense. So far that defense is looking capable of it. (Sean – 6) … The MLS Cup runners up have started out well though they’ve taken on two of the weaker teams in the league. (Julian – 6) … Along with Sporting KC, they are the lone bright spots for the East. They have also won on the road, something they struggled to do last season. (Ryan – 6)

7. PORTLAND TIMBERS (1-0-1, 4 points)
Timbers struggled mightily on the road last season, so a win at FC Dallas is a great result and sign early in the season. (Sean – 7) … Portland have looked solid in their first two games, but if they can’t get a positive result against a battered New England team their discipline needs to be looked at. (Julian – 9) … Impressive to go on the road and pick up a draw with FC Dallas, who were very impressive in their first game of the season. (Ryan – 7)

8. FC DALLAS (1-0-1, 4 points)
Disappointing to draw at home after having the early lead, but Dallas still looks capable of causing damage this season. (Sean – 8 ) … Their international signings and homegrown talent together have been promising so far. It’s a competitive conference, let’s see whether league experience factors into their performance. (Julian – 8 ) … Tough to surrender a draw at home, but there is promise for Brek Shea and the red and white. (Ryan – 8 )

9. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (2-0-0, 6 points)
Someday they’ll play a good team – then we’ll talk about moving up the rankings. (Sean – 9) … Solid start for the Whitecaps, but their tests haven’t exactly been top notch. We’ll see what happens once the season really takes off. (Julian – 7) … Despite a victory over lowly Chivas USA, a win is a win. You can’t deny their 2-0 start. (Ryan – 9)

T10. CHICAGO FIRE (0-0-1, 1 points)
Good fight back to get a draw in a tough away crowd, even if it was against a weaker opponent. (Sean – 10) … Nice job to snag a point out of Montreal but the midfield was relatively unimpressive. We’ll see if the insertion of Arne Friedrich in the defense will change anything. (Julian – 13) … The Fire did well to get the equalizer on the road to take away a point. (Ryan – 10)

T10. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (1-0-1, 3 points) –Ugly loss to Houston after an ugly win over the Revs. They seemed to improve their offense in the offseason on paper, but it hasn’t shown in reality. (Sean – 11) … The Quakes have broken even to start the season, but they need their team to work around Wondo and Bernardez if they’re going to make the playoffs. (Julian – 10) The Earthquakes were handed a gift in their goal against the Revs, but struggled to find the back of the net against Houston. (Ryan – 12)

12. MONTREAL IMPACT (0-1-1, 1 point) – Decent showing against Chicago, but they need to get three points out of games like that at home if they are to go anywhere in their first season. (Sean – 12) The Impact looked like a pretty fluid side against Chicago. A late error forced them to settle for a draw. (Julian – 11) … This might be higher than some others, but they are exceeding the (low) preseason expectations. (Ryan – 11)

13. TORONTO FC (0-1-0, 0 points)
Rough start in Seattle, but the CCL win over the Galaxy provides hope. (Sean – 13) … Still winless to start the season and losing Torsten Frings is hard, but this looks like a different season for Toronto. (Julian -12) … One game, one loss. (Ryan – 14)

14. NEW YORK RED BULLS (0-2-0, 0 points)
In fairness, they’ve had two tough road games to start the season. Still, this team should be doing much better with the money they spend. (Sean – 15) … Utterly disappointing so far. On paper, they ought to be a top 3 team in this league. Their play proves otherwise. (Julian – 14) … Two tough losses that have a lot of people up in arms in Jersey. (Ryan – 13)

15. DC UNITED (0-2-0, 0 points)
Two losses to two of the top teams in the league to start the season. Not ideal, but I still believe this team has improved from last year. (Sean – 16) … Nick DeLeon put a smile on DC fans’ faces by scoring the first goal of the season, but growing pains are likely as United look for a new identity. (Julian – 15) … Tough game against a determined Galaxy team, but will need better showings the rest of the year. (Ryan – 15)

16. COLUMBUS CREW (0-1-0, 0 points)
Ideal this week after a disappointing loss in Colorado to open the season. (Sean – 14) … Colorado is a tough place to play, but the Crew looked lifeless. They should have done a better job once they got a man up. (Julian – 16) … They have a chance to redeem themselves against Montreal this week, but that’s not as easy as it sounds. (Ryan  – 17)

17. PHILADELPHIA UNION (0-2-0, 0 points)
It was always going to take some time to adjust to their offseason moves, but the Union need to start showing better if they wish to make the postseason this year. (Sean – 17) … They’ve managed to score goals, but something is off. Maybe it’s the controversy the Peter Nowak is creating. (Julian – 18) … Weird to see keeper Zac MacMath blunder like he did. (Ryan – 16)

18. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (0-2-0, 0 points)
Harsh red card or not, the Revs have really struggled so far this season. Something needs to change. (Sean – 18) … Like DC, there will be growing pains. But the excuses are going to have to stop soon. This team needs to defend better and score goals. Who’s going to step up? (Julian – 17) … No goals scored and the four allowed. Tough to face Sporting KC down a man.  (Ryan – 18)

19. CHIVAS USA (0-2-0, 0 points)
Losing at home to a team that had never won on the road in its history earns Chivas a spot on the bottom. (Sean – 19) …  Chivas are dealing with injuries and a lack of identity, which is translating into losses. (Julian – 19) … I know it’s early, but what’s the future of this team? (Ryan – 19)

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