New England Soccer Today

MLS Rankings: Week 3

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

1.  (+1)  SPORTING KANSAS CITY (3-0-0, 9 points)
Kei Kamara misses a penalty but finds redemption late to keep K.C.’s record unblemished. And so it was written, on March 29, 2012 that the best team in MLS resides in the East. (Brian – 1) … Defense is finally beaten, but the perfect start to the season continues for Sporting. (Sean – 1) …  A big come-from-behind win puts them atop the rankings. 9 points in 3 games is all you can ask for. (Ryan – 1)

2. (+1) SEATTLE SOUNDERS (2-0-0, 6 points)
David Estrada’s goal may have been suspect – some will say it was an own goal – but let the haters hate while the pros from Puget Sound carve out maximum points in their first two matches. (Brian – 3) … So much for the CONCACF Champions League disaster throwing Seattle off their stride. Seattle’s attack will make it difficult for any team to keep them off the board. (Sean – 2) … Estrada strikes again and the Sounders are playing with a wave of confidence. (Ryan – 2)

3.  (-2) REAL SALT LAKE (2-1-0, 6 points)
Call me an apologist, but their 1-0 loss to the Goats could have been a 1-1 handshake had it not been for some curious officiating on a Chris Wingert effort that probably should have been a goal. (Brian – 4) … I’m going to write off the loss to Chivas as a fluke and possibly underestimating their opponents a bit. RSL was the better team and unlucky not to get a draw. (Sean – 3) … A loss to lowly Chivas really puts a dent in a normally credible winning record. (Ryan – 4)

4.  (+1)  LOS ANGELES GALAXY (1-1-0, 3 points)
Speaking of bye weeks, L.A. will be fully rested before they face New England on Saturday nearly  two weeks after dismantling D.C. 3-1. (Brian – 6) … Idle, but disappointing results by the teams above them sends the Galaxy up a spot. (Sean – 4) … Move up a couple spots by default. (Ryan – 3)

5. (+4) VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (2-0-1, 7 points)
Joe Cannon comes up big and even though the ‘Caps attack fails to find the scoresheet, last year’s bottom feeders remain unbeaten on the 2012 campaign. (Brian –2) … I struggle to give the Whitecaps much credit for a home draw against DC when they couldn’t even test Joe Willis. Still waiting for them to beat a good team. (Sean – 7) … Who would have expected this great start from the Whitecaps? (Ryan – 7)

6.  HOUSTON DYNAMO (2-1-0, 6 points)
Lost to Seattle on the road, but they’ve done well to win two of their first three on the road – which is something Sporting K.C. couldn’t manage before they moved into their new stadium last season. (Brian – 7) … Hard to blame them for a loss in Seattle. (Sean – 5) … Despite the loss, they are still one of the better clubs in the league. (Ryan – 5)

7. (+3)  SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (2-1-0, 6 points)
The beatdown at BMO consisted of two Chris Wondolowski goals and a Shea Selinas strike in the ‘Quakes 3-0 win over Toronto. But we’ll get a better glimpse of San Jose’s potential when they head to Seattle. (Brian – 5) … Excellent road win in Toronto and the ‘Quakes defense is looking quite strong.( Sean – 6) … I picked Chris Wondolowski to win the Golden Boot before the season and he’s doing nothing to change my mind. (Ryan – 9)

8.  (-4) COLORADO RAPIDS (2-1-0, 6 points)
Stampeded by a hungry Red Bulls attack that could’ve been even worse had Henry’s finishing been deadlier late. Even so, it’s still early and Oscar Pareja appears to be molding a potential playoff team. (Brian – 8 ) … New York had to wake up at some point and no Pablo Mastroeni or Jeff Larentowicz meant it would always be a nightmare for Colorado. (Sean – 8 ) … A lot of missing pieces gives them a pass in their loss to NYRB. (Ryan – 8 )

9.  (+1) CHICAGO FIRE (1-0-1, 4 points)
Paolo Tornaghi played out of his goalkeeper mitts against Philly and Dominic Oduro delivered the decider to hand the struggling Union its third straight loss. (Brian – 11) … Good goalkeeping helped the Fire get an expected win. (Sean – 9) … They have taken advantage of who they have been playing, picking up 4 out of 6 possible points. (Ryan – 6)

10. (-3) PORTLAND TIMBERS (1-1-1, 4 points)
John Spencer accused his club of playing lackadaisically in New England, but make no mistake: this is a talented team that’s got wins aplenty in its tank. (Brian – 9) … Seemed to underestimate their opponents in New England. Portland is capable of better. (Sean – 11) … We know the Revolution can be a dangerous team, but they aren’t yet and Portland should have at least come away with a tie. (Ryan – 13)

11. (-3) FC DALLAS (1-1-1, 4 points)
Lose a tough match to Sporting K.C., but it’s never easy for any guest at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. Getting back Brek Shea should help them rebound this weekend. (Brian -13) … Tough trip to Kansas City, but I expect Dallas to get back on track this weekend. (Sean – 10) … A lot of talent, just waiting for it to be strung together. (Ryan – 11)

12. (+2) NEW YORK RED BULLS (1-2-0, 3 points)
The Red Bulls finally get off the snide in impressive fashion by bagging four goals against Colorado. The best part: Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper were on their A-games, which certainly bodes well early in the season. (Brian – 12) … Finally came to life against Colorado, but it’s hard to give them too much credit against a greatly weakened side. (Sean – 13) Henry and Cooper both did well on their chances over a short sided Rapids squad. (Ryan – 10)

13. (+3) COLUMBUS CREW (1-1-0, 3 points)
Up against a shorthanded Montreal squad after Jeb Brovsky’s red, the Crew got goals from Milovan Mirosevic and Olman Vargas gave the hosts the victory. (Brian -10) … After a tough opener in Colorado, Columbus got back on track against Montreal. (Sean – 12) … A win’s a win, even if it is over the expansion Montreal. (Ryan – 15)

T14. (+5) CHIVAS USA (1-2-0, 3 points)
The Goats rebranded Sandy, Utah as Upset City when they beat Jason Kreis’ side, even if it took a little help for the referee. All controversy aside, Dan Kennedy was sensational to help lead his side to its first victory of 2012. (Brian – 14) … Shocking win at Real Salt Lake shows Chivas may yet have some life in them. (Sean – 14) … A huge win for the Goats over RSL. Casey Townsend netted his first career goal. (Ryan – 16)

T14. (+4) NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (1-2-0, 3 points)
Jay Heaps gets his first coaching victory thanks to Saer Sene’s 1st minute goal. But it won’t get easy from here with L.A. and Dallas next on the schedule. (Brian – 15) … Much needed with for the Revs despite many key absences. (Sean – 15) A big first win for the Heaps era and did well to keep the win, something they didn’t do well last year. (Ryan – 14)

16. (-1) DC United  (0-2-1, 1 point)
The good? D.C. gets its first point in Vancouver thanks to a stout defense. The bad? Well, it was all too quiet on the attack as they couldn’t put anything past Joe Cannon. (Brian – 17) … Decent result in Vancouver, but I’m still waiting for some life from their offense. (Sean – 16) … A 0-0 draw isn’t the best result, but it’s not the worst either. (Ryan – 12)

17. (-5) MONTREAL IMPACT (0-2-1, 1 point)
Hard to get points on the road playing with ten men, but that’s what happened to the Impact in Columbus. Another tough challenge awaits at Red Bull Arena on Saturday. (Brian – 16) … Made it difficult on themselves in Columbus. Can’t afford costly mistakes. (Sean – 17) With expectations low, they have some talent to exceed them. (Ryan  – 18)

18. (-5) Toronto FC  (0-2-0, 0 points)
Despite their surprising success in CCL, the real Reds returned to league form last week when San Jose gave them a 3-0 thumping at home. (Brian – 19) … Ugly start to the season, particularly the big loss at home, despite promise in the CONCACAF Champions League. (Sean – 18) … A busy schedule has not boded well for the guys in red above the boarder. (Ryan – 17)

19. (-2) PHILADELPHIA UNION (0-3-0, 0 points)
Peter Nowak lives and dies by roster shuffling and right now, his club is beginning to dig his grave thanks to a surprisingly soft defense. (Brian – 18) … Philadelphia made lots of moves in the offseason. So far it ;ooks like  a huge mistake. (Sean – 19) … Quite the opposite, with high expectations. Getting a confident Freddy Adu back will help matters. (Ryan – 19)

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