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 18 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. (+3) FC DALLAS (12-5-6, 42 points)

Another game, another shutout. Dallas’ D holds Chivas off the board with a 1-0 result in 100+ temps and continues paving the way to another playoff run. (Brian – 1) … Another Dallas win – combined with a dreadful Los Angeles performance and loss to Portland – plants the team formerly known as the Burn firmly in first place. Oh, and reigning MLS MVP David Ferreira could be back next month… (Sean – 1)

2. (-1) LOS ANGELES GALAXY (12-3-9, 45 points)

Crushed the Whitecaps 4-1 to extend their unbeaten run to 14 in a row, but crash back to earth with a 3-0 loss to Portland. (Brian – 2) … The Galaxy’s impressive run had to end eventually, but what I didn’t expect was them to be beaten so soundly by an expansion side. With Dallas coming to town Saturday, they’ll need to recover quickly if they are to stay atop the hunt for the Supporter’s Shield. (Sean – 2)

3. (-1) SEATTLE SOUNDERS (10-5-8, 38 points)

Talk about a letdown in H-town. Sounders were cruising along with a nine-game unbeaten run until it all came crashing down during last weekend’s 3-1 loss to the Dynamo. (Brian – 3) … The Sounders, like the Galaxy, added another result to the didn’t-see-that-coming column as they gave up two early goals and fell 3-1 to Houston. (Sean – 3)

4. (+3) COLUMBUS CREW (9-6-7, 34 points)

Shocked Salt Lake with a 2-0 victory and pad their point lead atop the Eastern Conference standings. But, they’ll need to score some more goals to stay there. (Brian – 4) … I wasn’t sold on the Crew, but a big 2-0 win in Salt Lake earns them my respect. Maybe the young squad really can turn some heads in the postseason. (Sean – 4)

5. (+2) SPORTING KANSAS CITY (7-6-9, 30 points)

Steal a point from New England in the final minute of regulation and then topple Salt Lake to extend their run to 14 games unbeaten. (Brian – 5) … Didn’t really impress against the Revs, but 2-0 win over Salt Lake on Wednesday puts Sporting in reach of the top of the Conference and keeps their now 14-game unbeaten streak alive. (Sean – 5)

6. COLORADO RAPIDS (8-6-10, 34 points)

Rapids did something no other team had done this season – beat Philly in PPL Park. A 2-1 win may signal that the Rapids are ready to return to the playoffs. (Brian – 6) … Still need to prove they can consistently put up Ws, but a road win in Philadelphia is a huge boost to the defending Champions. (Sean – 6)

7. (-4) REAL SALT LAKE (9-5-6, 33 points)

Is another Salt Lake slump upon us? Lose at home to the Crew and fall to K.C. and suddenly, questions marks are abound in Salt Lake as to whether this team has the intestinal fortitude to make another playoff run. (Brian – 7) … What happened? RSL looked back to their old selves until this recent two game slump against a pair of Eastern Conference foes. Can they turn things back around this weekend? (Sean – 7)

T8. (+1) NEW YORK RED BULLS (6-5-12, 30 points)

Idle this week, but they may be heading to Salt Lake at the right time given their slumping form.  (Brian – 9) … I generally don’t let exhibitions influence my rankings, but in winning the Emirates Cup, the Red Bulls showed some very impressive defense and an efficient attack. I expect New York to go on a run thanks to their new-found confidence. (Sean – 8 )

T8. (-3) PHILADELPHIA UNION (8-5-8, 32 points)

Typically-stingy D is outdone by the Rapids revitalized attack, but Sheanon Williams’ red card didn’t help. Now that Carlos Ruiz is gone, the pressure on the defense to win games gets even higher. (Brian – 8 ) … The early results without Ruiz aren’t good. This team could be headed for a downward slide… (Sean 9)

10. D.C. UNITED (6-6-8, 26 points)

DeRo scores a double as D.C. takes a 2-0 win over San Jose. And yet, even with the season two-thirds completed, I still have no idea what to think about this team. (Brian – 10) … Back in the win column thanks to some nice finished by De Rosario against a struggling San Jose. (Sean – 10)

11. (+1) HOUSTON DYNAMO (6-7-9, 27 points)

Brian Ching’s brace helps stun the Sounders, but Houston has to get its act together on the road if it wants to extend its season. (Brian – 11) … Big win over Seattle and the Dynamo’s form is nearly identical to D.C. lately, but Houston needs to end their road winless run. (Sean – 11)

12. (-2) CHIVAS USA (6-8-8, 26 points)

Goats get cooked at Pizza Hut Park in 1-0 loss as their attack evaporates in the triple-digit temperatures. (Brian – 12) … An unbeaten run through July is stopped at the first hurdle in August. Still far from sold this edition of Chivas can make the playoffs. (Sean – 13)

T13. (+2) NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (4-9-9, 21 points)

Starting to play better of late, but a last-minute defensive miscue forces them to watch a pair of points slip away. (Brian – 13) … Forms improving and now the Revs add a young DP striker. Still need to prove they can score from the run of play before a potential late season playoff run is even a possibility. (Sean – 14)

T13. (+1) PORTLAND TIMBERS (7-10-4, 25 points)

Should have beaten Toronto, but instead, settle for a 2-2 draw at home. But, a 3-0 shutout against L.A. may be just what the Timbers need to re-group and make a late run at the postseason. (Brian – 15) … Where did that come from? Portland completely outclassed LA on Wednesday. Will it start a late season run or was it a fluke? (Sean – 12)

15. (-2) SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (5-8-9, 24 points)

That sound you hear is the Quakes season crumbling into a pile of mourned hopes. This team is done. I’m calling it. (Brian – 14) … A little over a month ago this team looked like legitimate contenders. What happened? (Sean – 15)

16. CHICAGO FIRE (2-6-13, 19 points)

Do what they do best against Philly – settle for a draw. In other news, Bob Bradley may not be unemployed for long! (Brian – 16) … One win since March and no wins since June. Chicago does realize ties aren’t good enough to make the postseason, right?

17. (+1) TORONTO FC (3-11-10, 19 points)

Come back to claim a 2-2 draw at JELD-WEN Field. With the focus on CCL play, Toronto appears intent on ruining a few postseason dreams down the stretch. (Brian – 17) … Ended their losing streak and advance to the group stages of the CONCACAF Champions League. It’s a start for Toronto as they build towards next year. (Sean – 17)

18. (-1) VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (2-11-9, 15 points)

In wake of last weekend’s 4-0 annihilation, they should change the name of the team to the White Flags. Get it? Like they’re surrendering? Thank you, thank you. I’ll be here all week. (Brian – 18) … I’m trying to find a silver lining here, but that’s just not possible after a humiliating 4-0 home loss. (Sean – 18)

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