New England Soccer Today

MLS Rankings: Week 28

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 they gave that team. Editor’s note: I (Sean) would like to apologize in advance for my gratuitous use of references and lyrics from the adidas MLS Anthems from three years ago. If you aren’t familiar with them and are ready for some bad music, click here.

1. Real Salt Lake (14-4-10, 52 points) – A draw to NY on the road doesn’t change their position on the pole for the fifth straight week. Yawn. In other news, Nancy Grace is still annoying. (Brian – 1) … “Man your battlefields”; mighty REAL has held the top spot since we started these rankings in Week 24, but a match-up with FC Dallas this weekend might just change that. (Sean – 1)

2. Seattle Sounders (13-9-6, 45 points) (+1) – Wins vs. KC and Guadalajara only solidify how good this team is. The hottest team in MLS not named Real Salt Lake. In fact, if Seattle were a supermodel, it would be the super-smoking Adriana Lima. (For the record, RSL would be Alessandra Ambrosio). (Brian – 3) … No team will be fancying a match-up with the Sounders come play-off time. Six straight victories in all meaningful competitions (including winning the U.S. Open Cup) and just one loss in their last 13 league games shows what a roll this team is on. 9-1-3 in MLS since the end of the World Cup shows they are a completely different team from the one that went 4-8-3 prior to July 11th. The only thing holding this team back is their lack of an adidas sponsored anthem. (Sean – 2)

3. FC Dallas (12-2-14, 50 points) (-1) – Draw to Colorado makes it 19 without a loss for the Gondoliers. And now they’re level on the league-lead in goals scored along with LA and RSL. The only thing Schellas Hyndman hasn’t done is cure cancer. Yet. (Brian – 2) … 19 match unbeaten run is impressive, but a game against Colorado at home is one they should’ve gotten the full three points out of. The Hoops will need to win at home if they are to have any chance of advancing in the play-offs against Salt Lake. Revs and Rapids have both exposed some weaknesses in the past month. “There’s no hiding from this Dallas, Texas fate.” (Sean – 4)

4. Los Angeles Galaxy (17-6-5, 56 points) (-1) – Shaky final minutes against Philly almost doomed them to a draw, although Edson Buddle seems to be finding his form just in the nick of time. The search for their first-half form continues… (Brian – 4) … Road win over Philly all but assures the Galaxy will be taking to top seed in the West and the Supporter’s Shield. Bruce Arena thinks they deserve more credit for their record and four victories in a row “riding on the Cali sun” make it hard not to move this team up in the rankings. Not much separates the top four. (Sean – 3)

5. New York Red Bulls (14-8-6, 48 points) – No shame in drawing Salt Lake at home, even with Greg Sutton between the sticks. Playing some of the best soccer east of the Mississippi – you know, the land populated with a collection of underwhelming clubs.  (Brian – 5) … Nothing wrong with drawing the league’s best, but somehow with all the talent they have, it seems like they should be playing better. If they can get it together before the playoffs, “be it finding the net or a save off the line”, they could be headed to their second MLS Cup Final. (Sean – 5)

6. San Jose Earthquakes (12-8-7, 43 points) – Clinched a playoff berth with their 2-0 victory over DC. Chris Wondolowski has single-handedly steered the squad into November, who will look to pad his goal total against Chivas USA and KC in the closing weeks. (Brian – 6) … Form has dipped a little lately, but win over D.C. is enough to secure a playoff spot and may help get them back on track (Sean – 6)

T7. Columbus Crew (13-8-7, 46 points) (-1) – Another bad loss to a lower-seeded team confirms that the Crew are collapsing before our eyes. A tired Columbus only confirms that CONCACAF Champions League only seems to punish rather than reward good teams.  (Brian – 7) … Last win against an MLS opponent not in last place (D.C.) came back on August 21st. Once favorites for the Supporter’s Shield, they look likely for a first round exit in their current form. “The Buckeyes aren’t the only game in town”, but that may not be the case for very long in November (Sean – 8 )

T7. Colorado Rapids (11-8-9, 42 points) (+1) – Draw in Dallas put them in the driver’s seat for the final playoff spot. Although they have no problem in front of the net, their defending is about as stout as a dryer sheet. (Brian – 8 ) … Minus the loss to D.C., they’ve been crushing the worst teams in the league and drawing some of the best. (Sean – 7)

9. Kansas City Wizards (10-12-6, 36 points) – Though not yet mathematically eliminated, they stand little chance of getting through to the postseason. Kei Kamara and his 4,000 facebook friends can’t do it all. (Brian – 9) … Barely staying mathematically alive. Look for their unrealistic play-off hopes to end this week. “Stop dreamin’ Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” (Sean – 9)

10. Philadelphia Union (7-14-7, 28 points) – Gave the Gals a good fight last week, and have been playing quality soccer since August. Peter Nowak is currently authoring the book on putting together an expansion team this season. (Brian – 10) … Impressive even in their loss to the Galaxy. They are in a good position heading into the offseason. (Sean – 10)

11. New England Revolution (8-15-5, 29 points) (+2) – Clinched an encouraging victory against the Dynamo without their starting wingers. Project 2011 continues this weekend. (Brian – 11) … Shown some good signs over the past three weeks and finally have three points to show for it. It’s too little, too late, but at least there is something to be encouraged about heading into the offseason. (Sean – 11)

T12. Chicago Fire (8-12-8, 32 points) – No playoffs for the Fire for the first time since ’04. Not the type of finish you’d expect from such a free-spending club, nor the one envisioned by a soon-to-be retired Brian McBride. (Brian – 13) … Even more cowbell from OK Go couldn’t save them this season. Very disappointing for such a talented squad. Victory over Columbus does little to brighten a poor season. (Sean – 12)

T12. Toronto FC (8-13-7, 31 points) (-1) – Embarrassing loss to Chivas USA prompted an apology from the front office – which is still missing a GM – to their supporters. But aside from that, everything’s perfectly normal North of the Border. (Brian – 12) … Abysmal form down the stretch and discontent from star Dwayne De Rosario thanks to the club overspending on Mista and Julian de Guzman, not only leave this club eliminated from MLS playoffs and the Champion’s League, but also put them in a tough spot this offseason. (Sean – 13)

14. Houston Dynamo (7-15-6, 27 points) – Failed to capitalize on the chances afforded to them, then lost their cool at the end. Although Houston has talent, Dom Kinnear’s still has his work cut out for him in the winter. (Brian – 14) … “Just in case you ain’t know, Mike Jones,” who is in last place in the West? “WHO? Houston Dynamo” (Sean – 14)

15. Chivas USA (8-15-4, 28 points) – Throttled a terrible Toronto club with a three spot. Best of all: the goals came from three different players, proving that Justin Braun isn’t the only one capable of scoring in ChivasLand. (Brian – 15) … Again Chivas show they are capable of playing good soccer about once a month. (Sean – 15)

16. D.C. United (6-19-3, 21 points) – Lost (no way!) to the playoff-bound Quakes. Unless they suddenly become prescient prior to next year’s draft and the international market, next season doesn’t bode well, either.  (Brian – 16) … Proved victory over Colorado was just a fluke. Lots of work needed this offseason. Likely to set the record for lowest goals scored total with only 19 goals in 28 games so far. “This type of sh*t don’t happen every day”. (Sean – 16)

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