New England Soccer Today

MLS Rankings: Week 27

Every week the contributors to New England Soccer Today will look beyond just the standings to rank the 16 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 the team was given.

1. Real Salt Lake (14-4-9, 51 points) – Showed that even when they’re outplayed, they find a way to win. Unquestionably the most complete team top to bottom this season, maybe even in MLS history. (Brian – 1) … Showed some weaknesses against New England, possibly due to fatigue, but still found a way to win. (Sean – 1)

2. FC Dallas (12-2-13, 49 points) – Claimed another impressive result against a playoff-hungry team. Starting to pick up wins, rather than ties, at the right time. Beware of the former Burn. (Brian – 2) … Looking just as unbeatable as ever. Beating a team still in the hunt is never easy (Sean – 2)

T3. Seattle Sounders (12-9-6, 42 points) (+1) – Still dangerous, even after a brief scare in Toronto. Combined with their impressive U.S Open Cup championship, Sigi Schmid has created a lime-green beast. (Brian – 3) … Impressive Open Cup win and showing some depth lately when rotating players. (Sean – 4)

T3. Los Angeles Galaxy (16-6-5, 53 points)- Despite the 2-1 win over Chivas in the SuperClasico, they hardly dominated against an inferior opponent. Midfield needs some work, and Buddle needs to get hot again if they want to book a return trip to MLS Cup. (Brian – 4) … Starting to look better with Beckham in the mix. Horrible refereeing made it a closer game against Chivas than it should have been. (Sean – 3)

5. New York Red Bulls (14-8-5, 47 points) – Beat a surprising Kansas City club to claim first place in the East. If they can keep riding this late-season momentum, they find themselves competing for an MLS Cup again. (Brian – 5) … Looking better and better. Favorites to win the East now (Sean – 5)

T6. Columbus Crew (13-7-7, 46 points)- Dropping points at the absolute worst time. A 0-0 finish against San Jose confirms that this team is sliding when it matters the most. The vets need to step up. (Brian – 6) … Draw at home against San Jose an d loss in Open Cup final continues this team’s current struggles (Sean – 7)

T6. San Jose Earthquakes (11-8-7, 40 points) (+2) – Took an impressive point against Columbus to boost their playoff hopes. But they’ll need max points to claim their first playoff berth since re-entering the league.  (Brian – 7) … Making the play-offs should just be a formality at this point. (Sean – 6)

8. Colorado Rapids (11-8-8, 41 points) (-1) – Ouch. Losing 1-0 to DC probably won’t be included on the season highlight reel -especially if the Rapids miss the playoffs. Have a tough road game at Dallas that won’t make their playoff journey any easier. (Brian – 8 ) … Slip-up against D.C., but are in a good position to make the playoffs in this final stretch. (Sean – 8 )

9. Kansas City Wizards (9-11-6, 33 points) – Lost back-to-back matches against playoff-bound clubs makes you wonder if this team has what it takes to get to the postseason.  (Brian – 9) … Their chance to make the play-offs is basically gone with the loss to N.Y. (Sean – 9)

10. Philadelphia Union (7-13-7, 28 points) (+1)  – A draw to Houston wasn’t their finest match of the season, but LeToux’s goal strengthens his bid for MVP consideration. Peter Nowak’s players are a talented bunch. (Brian – 10) … Still showing some positive signs. Should be a good team next season. (Sean – 10)

11. Toronto FC (8-12-7, 31 points) (-1) – About as done as a hockey puck hamburger. Overtaken and exposed by a potent Sounder club. But hey, at least BMO Field is hosting this year’s MLS Cup. (Brian – 11) … Just didn’t have what it takes down the stretch. There is always next year. (Sean – 11)

12. Chicago Fire (7-11-8, 29 points) – Given last rites by Dallas. Good thing they fired Denis Hamlet, let go of Jon Busch, and spent all that money on DPAs. A case study in how not to run a team. (Brian – 12) … With the talent they have and the money they’ve spent, this season can be seen as nothing but a huge disappointment. (Brian – 12)

T13 Houston Dynamo (7-14-6, 27 points) – Squeezed a point from Philly, which is no small task. Without much to play for but avoiding the basement, Dominic Kinnear will look to close out the season strong. (Brian – 13) … Draw against Philly should do little to change the fact this has been a horrible season for the Dynamo. (Sean – 14)

T13. New England Revolution (7-15-5, 26 points) – Played well against Salt Lake, but were exploited on set pieces. Success continues to elude them, thanks in large part to the lack of veteran leadership that once steered them to annual postseason appearances. (Brian – 14) … Have shown over the past few games they are very close to being able to get results against the top teams in the league and are actually capable of playing some good soccer, leaving us wondering, where was this team the rest of the season? (Sean – 13)

15. Chivas USA (7-15-4, 25 points) – Another low-rung club that looked impressive against a strong side this weekend. How different would this season have been had they held onto Preki? (Brian – 15) … Chivas has looked decent in some games this year and awful in others. Bad refereeing made the LA game close. (Sean – 15)

16. D.C. United (6-18-3, 21 points) – Hey, they won! Hope is has returned to DC. Yes, they can. And Ben Olsen….Manager of the Year! OK, maybe next year. Or 2012. Or maybe never. (Brian – 16) … Win over Colorado was surprising, but does nothing to change the fact they are the worst team in MLS this year. (Sean – 16)

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