New England Soccer Today

MLS Rankings: Week 7

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 Brian O’Connell, Sean Donahue and Ryan Lanigan contributed rankings. Comments are followed by the ranker’s name and the rank they gave that team.

1. SPORTING KANSAS CITY (7-1-0, 21 points)
Solid win over the Whitecaps, but I suppose there’s poetic justice in the fact that the only team that could beat K.C. was itself, as evidenced by Chance Myers’ own goal in its 1-0 loss to Portland. Even so, they’re still the class of the league. (Brian – 1) … The streak had to come to an end eventually, but it’s a shame an easily avoidable own goal was the culprit. Don’t expect it to have much of a dent on KC’s confidence, however. (Sean – 1) … It took an own goal to hand them their first loss of the season. (Ryan – 1)

2. (+1) SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (5-1-1, 16 points)
Pick up an impressive win against Real Salt Lake with a pair of stoppage time goals, which gives them sole possession of first place since 2005. Could 2012 be the season that the ‘Quakes finally live up to the potential? (Brian – 2) … Sure, it took some help from the referee, but San Jose picked up a huge three points against Real Salt Lake. (Brian – 2) … This team can do a lot of damage if they can get everyone around Chris Wondolowski like they are now. (Ryan – 2)

3. (-1) REAL SALT LAKE (5-3-0, 15 points)
The good news? They equalized against San Jose despite playing a man down. The bad news? The tent collapsed in the stoppage time as they lose their foothold on conference throne. Maybe Jason Kreis should stop commenting about other teams and concentrate on his own squad, which isn’t playing as advertised in recent weeks. (Brian – 4) … Some soft red cards really left Salt Lake with no chance against the Earthquakes, but now with two losses in a row, Real really needs to end their awful record in Texas by finally picking up a win in Dallas on Wednesday. (Sean – 3) … Tough call as they lost to San Jose, playing most of the game with less than 11 players. (Ryan – 3)

4. SEATTLE SOUNDERS (3-1-1, 10 points)
Off last week – and it’s a good thing as they stare into a five-game, fifteen-day gauntlet that kicks off in Chicago on Saturday. It’ll take a team effort to keep them in the top half of the conference, as well as goals from David Estrada and one Fredy Montero. (Brian – 6) … Week off for the Sounders with a big game coming up in Chicago this weekend. (Sean – 4) …  A bye week helps as some of the other good teams didn’t get the result they needed. (Ryan – 4)

T5. (+4) D.C. UNITED (3-2-3, 12 points)
One of the hottest clubs in the league right now thanks to an impressive five-game unbeaten streak that’s seen them shoot straight to second place after a lukewarm start. A 4-1 thumping of New York shows that United is starting to sharpen the knives. (Brian – 5) … After a rough start, DC is six games unbeaten and looking great. Is United the new number two in the East? (Sean – 5) … A really good win for United and are now unbeaten in their last five. (Ryan – 5)

T5. (+1) HOUSTON DYNAMO (2-1-2, 8 points)
One of the most underrated teams this season is the Dynamo, who’ve now claimed points in four of their first five while after Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Columbus. And once they move into their new stadium? They could very well be one of the best teams going into the summer. (Brian – 3) … The Dynamo keep picking up points this season and grabbed another big road draw at the Crew. (Sean – 6) … Tough call as they lost to San Jose, playing most of the game with less than 11 players. … Like I said last week, they really could have used a big win over Columbus – but they settled for a tie. They are winless in their last three games. (Ryan – 6)

7. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (3-2-2, 11 points)
After going winless in their last four – including a tough 3-1 midweek loss to K.C. – the ‘Caps post a well-deserved shutout against Dallas, with a dazzling Camilo goal that decided it early. A road game at Columbus may give us another glimpse in finding out just how strong this team is. (Brian – 7) … Vancouver finally gets back on track with a win against Dallas, but there are still a lot of questions about this team’s offense. (Sean – 7) … A tough loss to Sporting KC, but that was almost expected. They bounced back with a nice win against Dallas. (Ryan – 7)

8. (-3) NEW YORK RED BULLS (3-3-1, 10 points)
Get embarrassed on national TV in a 4-1 defensive debacle. If the best defense is a good offense, then Hans Backe is going to need Kenny Cooper and Thierry Henry to score 30 goals apiece this year. (Brian – 9) … New York got another wake-up call against D.C. Is there any help for this team’s pathetic defense? (Sean – 10) …  A lack of effort throughout the game caused them to lose. Henry turned it on when he wanted, though. (Ryan – 8 )

T9. (+2) CHICAGO FIRE (2-1-2, 8 points)
Outlasted an inspired Toronto side in their 3-2 win, but they’ll face one of their toughest tests yet when they fly out to Seattle this weekend. Still, it’s been an encouraging start to the season for a team that was going nowhere fast last year. (Brian – 8 ) … Grab their second win of the season in a comeback against struggling Toronto, but it’s still hard to get a read on what this team is capable of. (Sean – 9) …  They did well to get ahead, but falling behind Toronto didn’t look good. But in the end, they were playing Toronto and came out with the win. (Ryan – 11)

T9. (+4) LOS ANGELES GALAXY (3-3-0, 9 points)
Found a way to grab a 2-1 win at Colorado, even though a generous penalty was awarded late. But Josh Saunders steps up and the Gals get their second straight win. So much for the gloomy, early-season forecast as L.A. finally looks like it’s overcoming its MLS Cup hangover. (Brian – 11) … Back-to-back wins and the most recent in Colorado no less. The Galaxy appear to have woken up. (Sean – 8 ) … Very important win, in my opinion, over Colorado. (Ryan – 9)

11. (-3) FC DALLAS (3-3-1, 10 points)
Suffered a bitter 1-0 loss to the Whitecaps while the league announced that Blas Perez will be suspended for Wednesday’s game against Salt Lake. I’m going to out on a limb and say that Schellas Hyndman has seen better weeks. (Brian – 10) … Two game winning streak comes to an end in Vancouver and Wednesday’s match against Real Salt Lake becomes even more important. (Sean – 11) … Tough loss to Vancouver, but this week will be telling for Dallas, as they take on RSL and the Galaxy. (Ryan – 10)

12. (-2) COLORADO RAPIDS (3-4-0, 9 points)
Mistakes abound in a Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the Galaxy. An own goal and a missed penalty essentially gifted the Gals the win. With the Goats coming to town, the Rapids have to be careful not to do the same against one of the best road teams in the league. (Brian – 12) … Tough home loss to the Galaxy and the Rapids still need to learn how to deal with the absence of Pablo Mastroeni. (Sean – 12) … The most Jekyll and Hyde team there is in the league. (Ryan – 14)

13. (+1) NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (2-4-0, 6 points)
Idle last week, they return to action on Saturday in NY to kick off an eight-day, three-game stretch that’ll conclude in Salt Lake on May 5. No doubt the team’s depth will be tested in the weeks to come. (Brian – 14) … A much needed week off before a tough trip to New York. (Sean – 14) … The bye week came at the right time for them, getting important pieces back and rested for their big game against New York. (Ryan – 12)

14. (+1) COLUMBUS CREW (2-3-1, 7 points)
Played a hard-fought 2-2 draw to Houston as Robert Warzycha continues to tinker with his lineup. They’ll need to get on the same page quickly against a Vancouver defense that can strangle an offense with ease. (Brian – 13) … Gave up a late goal to draw after a solid performance against Houston. Crew could still be a force in the East if they find some consistency. (Sean – 13) … A statement could have been made against Houston, but instead a draw leaves more questions than answers. (Ryan – 17)

15. (+2) PORTLAND  TIMBERS (2-4-1, 7 points)
Portland’s defense comes up big to snap K.C.’s winning streak at seven. Granted, it may have taken an own goal to overtake the league’s best, but the win itself may also catapult the team back in the right direction. (Brian – 17) … Huge win over Sporting KC, even if luck was certainly a factor. (Sean – 15) … Anytime you take down the hottest team in the league, you did something right. They might have benefited from an own goal, but they didn’t allow any. (Ryan – 13)

16. PHILADELPHIA UNION (2-3-1, 7 points)
Sweet goal by Freddy Adu gets overshadowed by a pair of dumb red cards to Keon Daniels and Gabriel Farfan, not to mention Peter Nowak running into a late-game melee. But, when it was all said and done, the Union extended their shutout streak to 332 minutes. (Brian – 15) … Grabbed a lucky win at Chivas, but it’s hard to give them too much credit – the home side were the better team and just can’t seem to catch a break at the Home Depot Center. (Sean – 17) … They earned a big win over Chivas USA, which is a bigger deal than it usually is. (Ryan – 15)

17. (-5) CHIVAS USA (3-4-0, 9 points)
It’s a shame the Goats can’t barnstorm for the entirety of the season, as the Home Depot Center has given them anything but the usual creature comforts. Fortunately for Robin Fraser, Chivas returns to the road this weekend with a conference clash at Colorado on tap. (Brian – 16) … Unlucky loss to Philadelphia, but Juan Pablo Angel making his return could be a huge positive for Chivas. (Sean – 16) … The brief glimpse of hope we saw is almost gone, but they have the Rapids next – and anything can happen between them. (Ryan – 16)

18. MONTREAL IMPACT  (1-5-2, 5 points)
Earned a well-deserved 1-1 midweek draw at D.C. and head back home to face a confident Portland side that just shocked the best team in the league. It may take time before the Impact become a contender, but last week’s draw was proof that this is going to be a fun team to watch. (Brian – 18) … Big road point for the Impact as they look to find some consistency. (Sean – 18) … Not a bad result tying DC United, considering the two results United had sandwiched around it. (Ryan – 18)

19. TORONTO FC (0-6-0, 0 points)
Another week, another way to lose. Against Chicago, the Reds grab their first lead of the season, but as scripted, discover another way to send the supporters home disgusted in the wake of a 3-2 loss to the Fire. This weekend’s game at Salt Lake may send them to the record books, with a loss tying them for the worst start to the season in league history. (Brian – 19) … Playoffs?? Playoffs?? This team is 0-6-0 and Aron Winter is talking about playoffs? (Sean – 19) … Yikes. (Ryan – 19)

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