New England Soccer Today

MLS Rankings: Week 20

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 and Sean Donahue contributed rankings. Comments are followed by the ranker’s name and the rank they gave that team.

1. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (13-5-4, 43 points)

Barely escaped an embarrassing draw against a dismal Dallas XI during the mid-week match, then get edged against Vancouver on Sunday. Even so, the Quakes stay in the throne, despite a couple of hiccups. (Brian – 1) … Made it hard on themselves against FC Dallas late and needed a missed PK to grab the win, then fell on the road to a Vancouver side reenergized by some new signings. Still, no one has done enough to claim first from the ‘Quakes yet. (Sean – 1)

2. (+2) NEW YORK RED BULLS (11-5-5, 38 points)

Beat Chicago (1-0) and Philadelphia (2-0), making for a six point week, but more importantly, they reclaim the Eastern throne. And with Henry and Cooper both finding the back of the net last week, the Red Bulls are in a position to put some distance on the rest of the field. (Brian – 2) … Two shutout wins in a week where all the team’s above them struggled? Red Bulls may have re-found their form and they’ve, temporarily at least, found a spot in the top two. (Sean – 2)

3. (+6) HOUSTON DYNAMO (9-5-7, 34 points)

Won its second and third straight against Sporting KC and Montreal, respectively. Calen Carr bagged a brace against KC while Macumba Kanji added another two goal output against Montreal. Don’t look now, but the Dynamo are on a six-game unbeaten streak overall. (Brian – 3) … It’s a win-win-win for the Dynamo as they win two more this week to grab their third victory in a row. Now six games unbeaten and only one goal allowed in their past five games, but can they keep it up in the long term without Geoff Cameron? (Sean – 3)

4. REAL SALT LAKE (12-7-3, 39 points)

Rebound from the 5-0 embarrassment to beat the Rapids 2-0 last week. Can they resume that form against Vancouver this week? That question, and many, many more loom for this inconsistent side. (Brian – 4) … Survived the suspension of their captain to grab a needed 2-0 win against Colorado. Now, can they find their early season consistency again? (Sean – 4)

5. (-3) SPORTING KANSAS CITY (11-6-4, 37 points)

Disappointing week for K.C.  Drop a loss to Houston and settle for a scoreless draw against lowly New England – and at home, no less. They’ll need a pick me up win against Columbus this weekend. (Brian – 5) … Losing to Houston on the road is understandable, but getting shutout and drawing in a home match against a make-shift New England line-up? That brings some serious questions to KC’s contender status. (Sean – 5)

6. (-3) D.C. UNITED (10-7-3, 33 points)

A second straight defeat sends United into a free fall inside the conference – against Columbus, of all teams. But if it left them with a bad taste in their mouth, they won’t have to wait long for the rematch on Aug. 4. (Brian – 6) … Two losses in a row. Sure they had their back-up keeper in due to suspension, but that can’t explain getting shutout against in the loss to Columbus. (Sean – 6)

7. (+1) LOS ANGELES GALAXY (9-10-3, 30 points)

A draw at Vancouver and a win against Chivas USA may not exactly signal the beginning of a legitimate midsummer run, but the DP’s are finally earning their paychecks. A game against Dallas should give said DP’s another opportunity to justify their wages. (Brian – 7) … Tie on the road, win at home against Western Conference opposition. Solid results to start to solidify a playoff spot. (Sean – 8)

T8. (-1) CHICAGO FIRE (9-7-4, 31 points)

Wilt in the 100+ temps against the Red Bulls during last week’s mid-week matinee at Toyota Park. A question, though: who’s the scheduling genius behind the mid-week matinee in the middle of July? (Brian – 8) … Fall to New York as consistency continues to be a bit of an issue for the Fire. With a trip to San Jose up next, I might take to me time for the Fire to re-find their recent winning ways. (Sean – 9)

T8. SEATTLE SOUNDERS (8-5-7, 31 points)

A bye week clash against Chelsea yielded sufficient entertainment for the masses. But the games get real again when they head to Colorado, where winning is never an easy prospect for the visitor. (Brian – 10) … Week off and more good news hinting at a continued turnaround as Fredy Montero and Eddie Johnson both continue to score and the two appear to be forming a decent partnership. (Sean – 7)

10. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (9-6-7, 34 points)

Before we talk about their current form, digest this little factoid: Prior to the start of the season, the Whitecap roster had Lee Nguyen, Sebastien LeToux and Eric Hassli. All three are gone now.  Now, with that out of the way – it was a mixed back for the ‘Caps last week. A draw to LA and a win over San Jose may signal that maybe – just maybe – this team can survive to see the postseason. (Brian – 9) … Continue to re-shape their offense, but somehow pulled off a huge win against San Jose. Still haven’t beaten a good team on the road, however, will that change Friday in Salt Lake? (Sean – 10)

11. (+1) COLUMBUS CREW (7-7-4, 25 points)

Pilfered a win against D.C., but resuming that form against K.C. this weekend won’t be a sure thing.  It may not be pretty, but the Crew are getting points along the way nonetheless. (Brian – 11) … Still haven’t solved their serious offensive issues, but the defense has been enough to get them points and leave them in the playoff hunt with their games in hand. (Sean – 11)

12. (+3) CHIVAS USA (6-8-5, 23 points)

Edged a pathetic Portland squad to extend its unbeaten streak to four. But the streak died before it got to five thanks to crosstown rival L.A.  Another encounter with Portland should allow the Goats to start another unbeaten streak – which it’ll need to re-enter the playoff picture. (Brian – 12) … Beat Portland to get the expected three points before falling to LA, but because of their games in hand, Chivas is still in control of their own playoff destiny. (Sean – 12)

13. (-2) NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (6-9-5, 23 points)

A disappointing mid-week loss in Montreal gives the Revs motivation to get their first road shut out in K.C. three days later. But the bad news is that the Revs still haven’t learned to win on the road – a pre-requisite for any team with ambitions of playing into late-autumn. (Brian – 13) … Follow up back to back losses against two of the league’s worst teams by drawing one of the league’s best in Kansas City with a makeshift line-up. They got a point out of the one game they were expected to get none, but really needed six of the nine points available in the last three to move towards a playoff spot. (Sean – 13)

14. (-2) PHILADELPHIA UNION (6-10-2, 20 points)

New York’s 2-0 win snaps Philly’s three-game win streak, but more importantly, no one seems to know what the deal is with Freddy Adu lately. A game against the Revs – who are terrible on the road – should yield a result for the Union. (Brian – 14) … 2-0 loss to the Red Bulls ends the Union’s mini-run. How the Union respond to the loss under interim head coach John Hackworth will say a lot about what this team is still capable of. (Sean – 15)

15. (-3) TORONTO FC (5-11-4, 19 points)

Riding a shocking three-game win streak after a 2-1 win over the Rapids. And not to start a rumor, but there are whispers hinting that Paul Mariner believes that Khano Smith might be the missing ingredient for turning Toronto into a contender. (Brian – 16) … Give this team a lot of credit for pulling out a win in their first game without Danny Koevermans. With Eric Hassli now on board, TFC look in a better position to continue their turnaround under Mariner. (Sean – 14)

16. (-1) FC DALLAS (5-10-7, 22 points)

The D in “Big D” might as well stand for “drama.” Yes, the Hoops put a five-spot on Portland and nearly steal a point against the Quakes. But the he said/she said between Schellas Hyndman and Brek Shea is only turning this thing into an episode of Housewives.  On a positive note, David Ferreira is back on the field making plays. (Brian – 15) … Progress for Dallas as only a missed PK stops them from drawing with San Jose and they then destroy Portland three days later. As they continue to get healthier… well, they still haven’t shown enough to say they can get into the playoff hunt. (Sean – 16)

T17. (+1) COLORADO RAPIDS (7-13-1, 22 points)

So much talent, so little to show for it. Watched its losing streak go to five with defeats to Toronto and Salt Lake. Oscar Pareja refuses to change course, but it may not be long before the front office changes course on the managerial role. (Brian – 17) … It sucks losing a captain, especially one with the impact of Pablo Mastroeni, but at some point you’ve got to figure out how to still get results – Colorado’s far past that point. (Sean – 18)

T17. (-2) MONTREAL IMPACT (7-13-3, 24 points)

A brief moment of hope arrived when New England handed them a 2-1 win. But, like I said, it was brief, and Houston made sure it was with a 3-0 pounding of the Impact days later.  A match against the Red Bulls promises another demolition this weekend. (Brian – 18) … Grab a win against the Revs, only to be crushed in Houston on the weekend. Schedule might have something to do with it lately, but this is still clearly an expansion team. (Sean – 17)

19. PORTLAND TIMBERS (5-11-4, 19 points)

You have to be really, really bad to be worse than Toronto or Dallas. But somehow, the Timbers have managed to pull it off. A 5-0 beat down in the Big D only reinforced how far this team has fallen. The good news: there’s still plenty of time to make up ground. The bad news: there’s still plenty of time to fall deeper into the abyss. (Brian – 19) … Yikes, just when you think it can’t get any worse, Portland falls 5-0 to a struggling Dallas. Too late to get John Spencer back? (Sean – 19)


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