New England Soccer Today

MLS Rankings: Week 6

Every week, the New England Soccer Today crew will look beyond the standings to rank each of the 18 Major League Soccer (MLS) teams. This week Brian O’Connell, Sean Donahue, Carl Setterlund, and Julian Cardillo contributed rankings. Comments are followed by the ranker’s name and the rank they gave that team.

1. Real Salt Lake (4-0-0, 12 points) (3 first place votes) – RSL’s first loss of the year is offset by the fact that it was in the CONCAF Champions League final, so I categorically refuse to penalize them for that. (Carl – 1) … After losing a 1-0 heartbreaker in the second leg of the CCL final, credit RSL for nevertheless proving that they’re one of the best teams on the continent, and THE best in MLS. (Brian – 1) … Came just short of proving they’re the best team on the continent. Will take a lot to dethrone them at the top of the MLS rankings. (Sean – 1)

2. New York Red Bulls (3-1-2, 11 points) – Red Bulls finally showing why they’re deserving of all the preseason hype with a 4-0 shellacking of D.C. that saw Thierry Henry and Juan Agudelo at their finest. (Brian – 2) … Will be hoping to pick up where they left off after an extended period between games. (Sean – 2) … It was always just a matter of when the Red Bulls’ lethal attacking option would start clicking. They have. (Carl – 2)

3. Los Angeles Galaxy (4-1-3, 15 points) – Starting to show the domination over their opponents so many expected going into the season. (Sean – 3) … They’ve got to be glad Donovan finally buried a goal. Relatively smooth sailing these days in L.A., albeit against a couple minnows. (Carl – 3) … Like New York, it seems as if the sleeping giant in SoCal has finally awaken. Three-nil to an unpredictable Portland side has launched them back to where they should be: first place in the West. (Brian – 3)

4. Philadelphia Union (3-1-1, 10 points) – Idle after a 1-1 draw to Seattle shows that the Union need to add some goals in order to reap the rewards of a stingy defense. Another low-scoring result may be on tap against an inconsisent San Jose on Saturday. (Brian – 4) Philadelphia stays at #4 after a week off. (Sean – 4) … No news seems to be good news in MLS lately.. It’s a process, but each week I’m starting to accept Philly as a top team a little bit more. (Carl – 4)

5. Houston Dynamo (2-1-3, 8 points) (+3)– Important road draw against Chicago gives the Dynamo a boost in the rankings. (Sean – 5) … After a slow start, Houston’s quickly becoming the biggest surprise in the East. A draw to Chicago see them continue to do what they they’ve done consistently all season: claim points. (Brian – 5) … Personally, I credit assistant coach Steve Ralston for the turnaround in Houston. You know, just because. (Carl – 7)

6. Seattle Sounders FC (2-2-3, 9 points) (-1) – Loss of Zakuani is offset by one of the league’s most talented rosters and a five-game unbeaten run. (Carl – 6) … Sounders have been improving, but will some time off have cooled them down? (Sean – 6) … Handed the slip and sliding Rapids to their third straight defeat, but the loss of Steve Zakuani may prove to undo their offense going forward. (Brian – 7)

7. Colorado Rapids (3-3-0, 9 points) (-1) – This ranking is somewhat based on reputation and somewhat based on the lack of depth in good teams in MLS. Make no mistake, though, Colorado has been in free fall of late. (Carl – 5) … No Mullan for 10 games and the Rapids depth will be tested. (Sean – 7) … Fading fast thanks to an anemic offense and a midfield that’s struggling to assert itself of late. The ten-game suspension to veteran Brian Mullan won’t help them find their form. (Brian – 8 )

8. New England Revolution (2-2-3, 9 points) (+6) – With Benny Feilhaber in the fold, the Revs midfield seemingly morphed into a cohesive unit overnight. Consecutive three-goal efforts over K.C. on Saturday and D.C. on Tuesday in USOC play show that the Revs of old may be back. (Brian – 6) … Feilhaber paid immediate dividends, Dabo is healthy and the Revs look ready to go on a run. (Sean – 8 ) … Open Cup win over D.C. showcased the Revs’ improved depth this season. I think they’ve turned a corner.
(Carl – 8 )

9. Columbus Crew (2-1-3, 9 points) (+7) – It may have been on the road, but you’d expect more than a draw against Toronto. (Sean – 9) … Still having a tough time wrapping my head around what type of commodity the post-Schelotto Crew are. (Carl – 9) … Drew to Toronto, and have a dangerously-unpredictable opponent waiting in the wings when the Whitecaps make their first-ever visit to C-bus. A win could deliver them to the top by the end of the weekend. (Brian – 9)

10. FC Dallas (2-3-1, 7 points) (+!) – Continue to pick themselves up after a shocking start to the season. This time Eric Avila plays the hero in Dallas’ 2-1 road win at Vancouver. (Brian – 10) … Road win over Vancouver has them back on track. (Sean – 10) … Oy vey! Dallas was starting to get on track but Ferreira’s broken ankle just has to be an insurmountable blow for the Hoops. (Carl – 11)

11. D.C. United (2-3-1, 7 points) (+1)– A thorough spanking at the hands of RBNY left D.C.. running for their mummy. This weekend’s game against Houston should be telling for both teams. (Carl – 10) … Getting thumped by the Red Bulls is nothing to be proud of, but United are in prime position to rebound from it thanks to a much more favorable matchup against Houston on Friday night. (Brian – 11) … Will need to recover this week after being crushed by New York. (Sean – 12)

12. Portland Timbers (2-3-1, 7 points) (-5) – Dismantled by the Galaxy. (Sean – 11) … Let the record note that Portland has given up a league-high 13 goals thus far. No one likes a porous defense. (Carl – 12) … Still basking in the afterglow of consecutive victories, the Timbers drop a disheartening 3-0 loss to the Galaxy, which should serve as a wakeup call to the young, but improving club. (Brian – 13)

13. Toronto FC (1-2-4, 7 points) (+5) – Conceded the equalizer against Columbus after Toni Tchani was sent to the showers early. They’ll have to forget that memory fast when they travel to inhospitable Qwest Field for a cross-continent tilt against the Sounders. (Brian – 12) … Stupidity of Tchani cost them a victory. (Sean – 13) … Real stinker of a team they put together up north this season. (Carl – 18)

T14. Sporting Kansas City (1-3-1, 4 points) (-1) – Kansas City is in a bit of a funk and currently have the fewest points in MLS, although they’ve also got a game in hand over most of the league. It feels to me like the rest of the team is waiting for Omar Bravo to fly in with a cape on his back. (Carl – 13) … Frustrating road loss to New England after some decisions went against them. (Sean – 14) … What can you say about a team that’s given more opportunities to its opponents than any other club in the league (unofficially speaking, of course)? Not much, if you can’t use swear words. (Brian – 18)

T14. Chicago Fire (1-3-2, 5 points) (+1)– The Fire could really have used that win over Houston last weekend, but just couldn’t hold on. Oh well. (Carl – 14) … Still struggling to find their form. Couldn’t hold the lead against Houston. (Sean – 15) … Played a close match agains the Dynamo before they leaked a late goal. Nothing seems to be working of late in the Windy City. (Brian – 16)

16. Chivas USA (1-2-3, 6 points) (+1) – Hey, the Goats won a game! Still looks like a pretty barren roster to me, though, so no need to get too excited. (Carl – 15) … Picked up their first win under Robin Fraser thanks to Mariano Turjillo’s late-game goal in San Jose. Although they’ve put together a modest unbeaten run recently, they’ll need more goals if they hope to avoid becoming Western Conference bottom feeders. (Brian – 15) … Picked up a road victory over San Jose in their most impressive performance of the season, but can they build on it? (Sean – 16)

17. Vancouver Whitecaps (-1) (1-3-3, 6 points) (-2) – Nearly held Dallas to a point before squandering it late. They’ll need to improve in the back if they’re high-powered offense can’t produce four goals every game. (Brian – 14) … While I’m unsure about putting San Jose this low, I just didn’t have the heart to put them ahead of Chivas. (Carl – 17) … Another home loss and Vancouver is at the bottom of the barrel. (Sean – 18)

18. San Jose Earthquakes (1-3-2, 5 points) (-8) – While I’m unsure about putting San Jose this low, I just didn’t have the heart to put them ahead of Chivas. (Carl – 16) … At some point you can’t ignore the Earthquakes poor record. A loss to Chivas at home is that point. (Sean – 17) … A backbreaking loss to winless Chivas USA is just the latest embarrassment by the Quakes. They gotta start scoring some goals. Paging Dr. Johnson (Brian – 17)

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