New England Soccer Today

MLS Rankings: Week 18

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 Julian Cardillo contributed rankings. Comments are followed by the ranker’s name and the rank they gave that team. *Note: Games played on July 11th were not included in these rankings.

1. San Jose Earthquakes (11-4-4, 37 points)
Rough week for the ‘Quakes. First a loss to the struggling Timbers and then a draw against a dismal Dallas with only one goal in two games and a red card to Ramiro Corrales. Minor blip or the start of a slide? (Sean – 1) … The truly look like a force and are definite favorites to win the West. Great form both at home and on the road (Julian – 1)

2. DC United (10-5-3, 33 points)
Some extra rest for the resurgent D.C., but will it cool them off? (Sean – 2) …They’ve had a good string of results and have a lot to cheer about with new owners.  (Julian – 2)

T3. (+3) Sporting Kansas City – (10-5-3, 33 points)
Much needed road win in Montreal, but then struggled to break down Houston’s defense at home on the weekend. (Sean – 4) … After a bit of a skid, KC are back in first in the Eastern Conference. They’re still playing solid soccer and are tough to beat at home and away.  (Julian – 3)

T3. (+1) Real Salt Lake (11-6-3, 36 points)
Crushing win over Portland and watching Alvaro Saborio score three times in 15 minutes has to bring confidence back to Salt Lake as they look to find some consistency again. (Sean – 3) … Like KC, they have been skidding. But leave it to Jason Kreis and co. to find their form again. (Julian – 4)

5. (+3) Vancouver Whitecaps (8-4-6, 30 points)
Big road win in Colorado and back to back shutouts, but have to be a bit disappointed to only take a point from Chivas. (Sean – 5) … Their last few results have been a bit inconsistent, but few will bet against a team with that good of a defense record. (Julian – 5)

6. (-2) Chicago Fire (8-6-4, 28 points)
Held to a scoreless draw by Houston and then fall 2-0 at home to the inconsistent Galaxy. Offense clearly needs some help and more ideas in the attack. (Sean – 7) … The Fire are slowly putting things together, though they have a ways to go before being a top conference team. (Julian – 6)

7. (-4) New York Red Bulls (9-5-4, 31 points)
The Red Bulls are struggling, but are still within striking distance of the top of the Conference. Still a favorite to win the East if healthy, but if New York has to play on turf in the playoffs will their stars stay home? (Sean – 6) … A loss against the Revolution stings, but the Red Bulls are still just a stone’s throw from first place. Just wait until they get their starters back. (Julian – 9)

8. (+3) Seattle Sounders (8-5-6, 30 points)
Awake from their slumber with a win over Colorado. Eddie Johnson’s getting the job done, Steve Zakuani’s back, and when Frey Montero gets going, this will be one heck of a team to watch (Sean – 8) … They’re at three games unbeaten, though they seem to need a bit of a spark to bring back memories of 2009. (Julian – 8)

9. (+2) New England Revolution (6-7-4, 22 points)
A fantastic first half and defense does the job in the second as the Revs pick up a vital 3 points and go five games unbeaten. The Revs lead the league with 107 shots on goal, but are only 8th in goals – if Jerry Bengtson can help them finish more chances and the defense can perform as it did on Sunday against New York, expect the Revs to continue to rise. (Sean – 10) … With their unbeaten streak at 5, the Revolution have certainly been in form. While their defense still has some questions, Heaps’ men can definitely find solace in the fact that their offense has been superb. (Julian – 7)

10. (-1) Houston Dynamo (6-5-7, 25 points)
Houston’s backline decides to return and their offense goes into hiding. Will the potential loss of Geoff Cameron be too much for them to overcome? (Sean – 9) … Still trying to figure themselves and their identity out. Only one win in their last five, but we know they’re capable of doing very well. (Julian – 11)

11. (-1) Los Angeles Galaxy (7-10-2, 23 points)
Sure they recovered with a win over Chicago and Omar Gonzalez’s return is huge, but a midweek home loss to Philly demands a drop in the rankings. (Sean – 12) … Los Angeles has been helped out by Omar Gonzalez returning. To bet against them to not make the playoffs at this point is risky. (Julian – 10)

12. (-5) Columbus Crew (6-6-4, 22 points)
Offensive struggles continue and defense wasn’t enough to bail them out at Montreal. (Sean – 11) … Very disappointing this season, though they continue to eek out results with solid midfield play. (Julian – 13)

13. (+1) Montreal Impact (6-11-3, 21 points)
Grab the win over the struggling Crew to end a three game losing streak, but really need to find some consistency. Is Nesta the answer? (Sean – 13) … With Nesta at the helm, look for a late season push by the Impact. (Julian – 12)

14. (-1) Colorado Rapids (7-10-1, 22 points)
Two disappointing losses for the Rapids, especially to Vancouver at home. The Rapids have to be hoping Pablo Mastroeni makes a miraculous recovery soon. (Sean – 15) …Have the firepower, but defense has really let them down. A -1 goal differential shows that. (Julian -14)

15. (+3) Philadelphia Union (5-9-2, 17 points)
Don’t look now, but the Union have won two straight and in impressive fashion. Was a regime change really all they needed? (Sean – 14) … Should be better with a new beginning, but the team is struggling to find its identity. (Julian – 16)

T16. (+3) Toronto FC (2-11-4, 10 points)
Crushing defeat in Philadelphia temporarily halts Toronto’s improved form. (Sean – 19) … Paul Mariner has renewed faith in Canada, though it may be too little too late. A game in New England this week will be hard to get a result from. (Julian – 15)

T16. Portland Timbers (5-8-4, 19 points)
Shock win over San Jose brings hope, only for a crushing defeat in Salt Lake to bring the end John Spencer’s tenure as head coach. (Sean – 17) … The Timbers are in flux with John Spencer departing and growing pains can be expected in the coming weeks. (Julian – 17)

T16. (-2) Chivas USA (5-7-5, 20 points)
In the midst of a modest three game unbeaten run, but you expect them to finish their chances with their improved strike force. (Sean – 16) … A very boring team to talk about. Nothing seems to be working as they continue to be in the shadow of their city rival Galaxy and sit near  the basement of the West. (Julian – 18)

19. (-2) FC Dallas (3-9-7, 16 points)
Defense has been solid lately, but just two goals scored in the last four games. Good news is Blas Perez could be back soon – they need him. (Sean – 18) … David Ferreira and Brek Shea better reawaken Dallas fast. They’re quickly fading in the background in a tight Western Conference race for the final playoff spot. (Julian – 19)

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