New England Soccer Today

MLS Rankings: Week 1

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: THESE RANKINGS WERE DONE BEFORE WEDNESDAY’S CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FIXTURES.

1. REAL SALT LAKE (1-0-0, 3 points)
Can’t get off to a better start then beating the defending Champions 3-1 on their home turf. Easy choice for the top spot. (Sean – 1) … After dismantling the defending champions, they definitely deserve to be at the top. Whether they will stay remains to be seen, especially since LA is having problems sorting out their defense. (Julian – 1)

2. SEATTLE SOUNDERS (0-0-0, 0 points)
Second by default. The Sounders were one of the top three teams heading into the season (along with RSL and Los Angeles) and with RSL winning, LA losing and Seattle idle, Sounders get second in the rankings. (Sean – 2) … They have yet to start playing, but a positive result against Santos Laguna is nothing to sneeze at. The Sounders are poised for another consistent season. (Julian – 2)

3. FC DALLAS (1-0-0, 3 points)
Great start against a disjointed Red Bulls team. Ricardo Villar did well in David Ferreira’s absence. (Sean – 5) … Beating a team chalk full of European talent and big name stars is an impressive feat. It’s even more impressive given it’s week one. Solid result against NY for Dallas. (Julian – 3)

4. SPORTING KANSAS CITY (1-0-0, 3 points)
Headed to the nation’s capital and came away with a well-deserved three points against an improved D.C. United. (Sean – 3) … KC looked lethal. Not just because they have great offensive weapons, but because they are probably one of the most well-rounded teams in this league. Expected to have the result they had against DC. (Julian – 5)

T5. COLORADO RAPIDS (1-0-0, 3 points)
Good victory to start the season, but it should be expected at home against Columbus. (Sean – 8 ) … Given that Columbus beefed up their defense over break, a 2-0 result is a great way for the Rapids to start 2012. (Julian – 4)

T5. PORTLAND TIMBERS (1-0-0, 3 points)
Great start for the Timbers with Kalif Alhassan especially impressing. Now can they do it on the road this year? (Sean – 6) Playing at home is a huge advantage for the Timbers. But Jack Jewsbury really kept them humming against Philadelphia. He looks like the engine in midfield, yet again. (Julian – 6)

7. LOS ANGELES GALAXY (0-1-0, 0 points)
Busy start to the schedule got the best of the Galaxy, but questions remain as to how the team will cope without Omar Gonzalez. (Sean – 4) … The Galaxy struggled against Real, but they do not belong at the bottom of this list. Slow starts happen, though that defense needs to be sorted out. Don’t forget, they have some of the best players ever to play in this league. (Julian – 9)

8. HOUSTON DYNAMO (1-0-0, 3 points)
Not the most impressive victory, but when are away wins? 3 points on the road is always a good start. (Sean – 7) … The MLS Cup runners up were able to get the victory against Chivas USA, expected to be one of the weaker teams this year. Let’s see what they did against more potent teams. (Julian – 7)

9. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (1-0-0, 3 points)
Actually didn’t look too great at times against the expansion Montreal Impact, despite winning 2-0. Tough to tell how they’ll do this season. (Sean – 9) … Whether or not Martin Rennie’s offensive signings will pay off remains to be seen, but so far so good from the Caps. Nevertheless, it is easy, historically anyway, to get results against expansion teams- especially on opening day. (Julian – 8 )

10. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (1-0-0, 3 points)
Beat the Revs, but it was hardly an inspiring performance. Will need to show more going forward. (Sean – 10) … Yes, they beat the Revolution. But it wasn’t very convincing. The Revolution shot themselves in the foot by giving away possession too often. In truth, the Quakes didn’t create much. (Julian – 10)

T11. CHICAGO FIRE (0-0-0, 0 points)
Made some good offseason improvements and should be in the hunt for a playoff spot. (Sean – 11) … Chicago haven’t started yet either (like the Sounders) but look poised to strike. Whether Arne Friedrich is the answer to bringing them back to the playoffs is key. (Julian – 12)

T11. TORONTO FC (0-0-0, 0 points)
Showed well against the Galaxy to get off to a 2-0 lead in CCL action before giving up two goals. Still have some work to do, but in the East, anything could happen. (Sean – 12) … Haven’t started but a result against LA in the Champions League is something. Is this the year they make the playoffs? (Julian – 11)

T13. DC UNITED (0-1-0, 0 points)
Despite what looked like good offseason signings, it was a disappointing start at home for D.C. Can they turn things around in week 2? (Sean – 14) … International signings have plenty of time to make their marks but the loss to Kansas City wasn’t bad, especially since the game was lost at the death. (Julian – 13)

T13. NEW YORK RED BULLS (0-1-0, 0 points)
Surprisingly had Kenny Cooper on the bench to start. They looked better when he came on, but can he help them for 90 minutes in week 2? (Sean – 13) … They will be near the top eventually, especially with Thierry Henry on their team. But a very poor performance to start out the season. (Julian – 14)

T15. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (0-1-0, 0 points)
Sure, they were missing some key players, but it was the veterans poor performances that really surprised and cost the team the game against a San Jose squad also dealing with injuries. Disappointing. (Sean – 17) Given that the Revolution are playing with their third choice defense and are lacking Saer Sene and Jose Moreno, we shouldn’t overreact. Nevertheless, that possession game really has to improve. (Julian – 15)

T15. COLUMBUS CREW (0-1-0, 0 points)
Did the Crew get better in the offseason? It sure didn’t seem like it on opening day. (Sean – 16) … Tough to start the season on a low note, especially given the defensive reinforcements the Crew grabbed this off-season. But who is going to score the goals? (Julian – 16)

T15. PHILADELPHIA UNION (0-1-0, 0 points)
Second half lead quickly evaporated. Verdict is still out on their numerous offseason moves. (Sean – 15) … It’s difficult to play at Portland, but they were unable to finish what they started and allowed three goals. (Julian – 17)

T18. MONTREAL IMPACT (0-1-0, 0 points)
Had their moments against Vancouver, but couldn’t find a way through to score. Too soon to write them off, but they have some work to do if they are going to be a threat this season. (Sean – 19) … Still in the developing changes and are likely to go through some growing pains. (Julian -18)

T18. CHIVAS USA (0-1-0, 0 points)
Houston may have been MLS Cup Finalists last season, but quite frankly they are a team Chivas needs to be able to beat at home if they are going to ever challenge for a playoff spot. (Sean – 18) Chivas are fighting for an identity under Robin Fraser but so far they haven’t looked like much of a winning team. (Julian – 19)

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