MLS Rankings: Week 15

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

1. REAL SALT LAKE (10-3-2, 32 points)
The Claret and Colbalt thrashed the Goats in a 3-0 win at The HDC. Their seven-game unbeaten streak is tops in MLS, and makes their USOC loss to Minnesota somewhat less embarrassing. (Brian – 1) … Big 3-0 win away against Chivas. Salt Lake hasn’t lost a league game since April 21st. (Sean – 1)

T2. (+3) SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (8-3-3, 27 points)
The last time San Jose played, they were wearing garish, multi-colored kits and were called the Clash. Or so it seems. But the road back to regular season will force them to go from 0 to 60 with four games in the next 11 days. (Brian – 2) … Mired in a somewhat rough patch in MLS play. Will their Open Cup run spark them back to life? (Sean – 3)

T2. (+1) D.C. UNITED (9-4-3, 30 points)
Avoided the potential embarrassment of a scoreless draw to Philly thanks to the underrated Chris Pontius. Four straight wins has them atop the standings, even if K.C. has three games in hand. (Brian – 3) … Four wins in a row and up until their 1-0 victory against Philly, the offense has been lively. Easily the hottest team in the East currently. (Sean -2)

4. (-1) SPORTING KANSAS CITY (9-3-1, 28 points)
In a game that Toronto could have won had it not carried the worst luck in the world to Barbeque City, the Kei Kamara-less K.C. get a 2-0 win nevertheless. Still, a win’s a win. And this win put Peter Vermes’ crew within two points of first place. (Brian – 4) … After a rough patch, Kansas City has won two in a row in MLS and four in a row overall, but they haven’t had to leave home to do it. A trip to Seattle Wednesday night will tell a lot. (Sean – 4)

5. (-3) NEW YORK RED BULLS (8-4-2, 26 points)
Tamed by the Fire in a 3-1 loss, the Red Bulls see their six-game unbeaten streak snapped in the Windy City. A mid-week game in Vancouver may make it hard to resume a new one, especially without Thierry Henry available. (Brian – 5) … A pair of back-to-back 3-1 losses – one to Harrisburg City Islanders in the Open Cup and one to Chicago Fire in MLS – and suddenly it’s time to start wondering again when Henry will be back. (Sean – 5)

6. (+1) VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (7-3-4, 25 points)
Survive a Darren Mattocks ejection to steal a 1-0 win over Colorado. Even so, you have to wonder when their arsenal of attackers will finally unleash the punishment its capable of. LeToux finding the back of the net for the first time in nearly two months is a positive sign. (Brian – 6) … Two home wins in a row against decent competition, but I’m still not convinced this team is as good as its record suggests. (Sean – 6)

7. (+2) COLUMBUS CREW (5-4-4, 19 points)
Believe it or not, but the Crew’s 0-0 draw to the Revs brings their unbeaten streak to six, despite a 1.16 goals/game average in that set. It may be unattractive soccer, but it’s getting them results. (Brian – 7)  … Even with a boatload of injuries, the Crew are finding ways to get results. If the keep wasting chances the way they did against the Revs, it won’t last. (Sean – 8)

8. (-2) SEATTLE SOUNDERS (7-4-3, 24 points)
The Sounders’ fifth straight game without a win was a lesson in humiliation. A 4-1 loss to Montreal is something they’ll have leave on the cutting room floor, but not before they figure out what needs to happen to reverse their fortunes. (Brian – 10) … Five games winless for Seattle, including a shock 4-1 loss to Montreal. Back-to-back blowout wins in the Open Cup looked like a good way to turn things around, but apparently it didn’t. A return home Wednesday to face Kansas City will tell a lot. (Sean – 7)

T9. (+2) CHICAGO FIRE (6-5-3, 21 points)
A lack of goal line technology robs Dominic Oduro of a legit goal, but fortunately for the Fire it doesn’t deprive them of three points. Speaking of Oduro, someone may want to take the salt and pepper shakers and review the offside rule with him after he’s been whistled for it a league-leading 21 times this season. (Brian – 8) … Consistency’s what’s been missing for the Fire, will the win over New York start a run? (Sean – 10)

T9. (-2) HOUSTON DYNAMO (5-4-4, 19 points)
Claimed a 2-1 win over the undisciplined Dallas FC in a game that nearly became a street brawl in the second half. Once tempers cooled, Adam Moffat’s strike sealed it in the battle for El Capitan. (Brian – 9) … Got the win over their Texas rivals and have suffered just one MLS loss since May 9th. (Sean – 9)

11. (-1) COLORADO RAPIDS (6-7-1, 19 points)
Failed to capitalize after Vancouver was left shorthanded for much of the second half. They’ve got the horses, but finding out how to get everyone on the same page is proving a difficult taks for Oscar Pareja.  (Brian – 11) … Colorado can always get points at home, but that 2-6-0 road record? In the West, that’s just not good enough – even if they are in 5th for now. (Sean – 11)

12. (+1) NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (5-7-2, 17 points)
A 0-0 draw leaves the Revs begging, especially at home against a beatable opponent. But they played right into the Crew’s hands – a sure sign that the Revs maturation process is still ongoing. (Brian – 12) … Against an injury weakened Crew at home, anything less than a win was a disappointment and thus a scoreless draw falls in that category. In fact, things could’ve been far worse if the Crew finished off some of their gilt-edged chances. (Sean – 12)

13. (+2) MONTREAL IMPACT (4-7-3, 15 points)
The Impact smash the champagne bottle on Stade Saputo with a 4-1 win over Seattle. The attack looked lively, and even though Seattle may have been its own worst enemy, a convincing win will certainly put a smile on Jesse Marsch’s face. (Brian – 13) … Who saw that coming? Huge win for Montreal, but will it translate to a run? (Sean – 13)

14. (+2) LOS ANGELES GALAXY (4-8-2, 14 points)
Eek out a 1-0 win over an anemic Portland attack and put an end to their lengthy winless streak, which was snapped at seven. With Keane’s return around the corner, the Galaxy need to make a serious move soon, lest their season slip away before Labor Day. (Brian – 14) … A much needed three points thanks, in part, to a Beckham free kick. How will the already struggling Galaxy handle it if Beckham goes to the Olympics? (Sean – 14)

15. (-1) PORTLAND TIMBERS (3-6-4, 13 points)
Saw their four-game unbeaten streak snapped in a listless performance against L.A. Cause for alarm: the Timbers have only scored 10 goals (not including a pair of own goals that put the official total at 12) in 13 games. (Brian – 15) … Who would’ve thought the Timbers would be sitting in 8th place with just 3 wins in 13 games? Disappointing. (Sean – 15)

16. (-5) CHIVAS USA (4-7-3, 15 points)
A pathetic attacking effort (three total shots) yields a humbling loss to Salt Lake. The Two Juans – Agudelo and Pablo Angel – better figure it out quick with the summer upon us. (Brian – 16) … The worst home team in MLS. 1-6-1 at the Home Depot Center, yet just one loss in six road games? Amaizing. (Sean – 16)

17. (-1) FC DALLAS (3-9-4, 13 points)
It’s been 10 games since Dallas grabbed a win, and in its latest loss, Jair Benitez gets booted.  It’s crazy to think that Dallas was one of the best teams in the league at this point last season. (Brian – 17) … How many red cards does it take to ruin a season? Dallas is trying their best to find out. (Sean – 17)

18. (+1) PHILADELPHIA UNION (2-8-2, 8 points)
What a mess. John Hackworth takes over for chemistry killer Peter Nowak and promptly witnesses the Union fail to register a goal against D.C.  What’s worse: the Union have only collected three assists, which only emphasizes the point that the phrase “Philly attack” is turning into a league-wide punchline. (Brian – 18) … That Philadelphia isn’t last shows just how bad someone else is… (Sean – 18)

19. (-1) TORONTO FC (1-10-0, 3 points)
If it wasn’t so bad, it’d be funny. The Reds resume their losing ways in Paul Mariner’s debut on the bench. What’s worse: a trio of players getting booked for public intoxication. On a bright note, the loss is a step closer to solidifying that #1 pick in 2013.  (Brian – 19) … It’s far, far too late for Paul Mariner – or anyone else – to save this season. (Sean – 19)

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About Sean Donahue and Brian O'Connell

Sean Donahue has been covering the New England Revolution since 2002 for various publications. He hosted Revolution Recap, a weekly radio program covering the New England Revolution and U.S. Men's National Team from 2005-2008. He is a member of the North American Soccer Reporters, and can be reached via e-mail at nesoccertoday@gmail.com. Brian O'Connell has covered the New England Revolution since 2006, and has written extensively for the Associated Press, Revsnet.com, and New England Soccer News. He is a member of the North American Soccer Reporters, and can be easily reached at BOConnell21@aol.com.