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 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. Real Salt Lake (2 first place votes) (2-0-0, 6 points) – Nevermind that they’re the best club in MLS – they’re one of the best on the continent. Advancing to the CCL Final is just further validation of this team’s greatness. (Brian – 1) … They may not have played an MLS match this week, but you can’t move RSL down after advancing to the finals of the CONCACAF Champions League. (Sean -1)

2. Colorado Rapids (3-0-0, 9 points) –Tops in the Western Conference and the defending MLS Cup champions are sporting a perfect record. Dominated D.C. this week. (Sean – 2) … Best squad in MLS not named Real Salt Lake. Colorado’s 4-1 thumping of D.C. shows that the defending champs are on a mission to gain the respect that somehow eluded them after lifting the Anschutz Trophy. (Brian – 2)

T3. Los Angeles Galaxy (2-1-1, 7 points) (+2)– Victory over Philly gets the Galaxy back on the right track. (Sean – 3) … Although they have higher point totals than New York and Philly, I still think that this is an underperforming bunch. I mean, four goals in four games? Really, David Beckham, Landon Donovan, Juan Pablo Angel, and Juninho? Really? (Brian – 5)

T3. New York Red Bulls (1-1-1, 4 points) (+1) – The addition of Dwayne DeRosario may just be what the Red Bulls needed to separate themselves from the rest of the pack in the Eastern Conference. But they’ll need to do better than draw Houston to make that a reality. (Brian – 3) … The Red Bulls can’t be happy with another home drop if they want to be contenders. (Sean – 5)

T3.Philadelphia Union (2-1-0, 6 points) – The Union were taken back down to earth with a road loss to the Galaxy. (Sean – 4) … Although they lost to L.A. in Hollywood, I still think that they’re one of the stronger teams in MLS. Once Carlos Ruiz, Danny Mwanga, and Sebastien LeToux get on the same page, it’ll always be sunny in Philadelphia. At least during the MLS season. (Brian – 4)

T6. New England Revolution (1-0-3, 6 points) – Unbeaten after four games, but they didn’t look very impressive this past week. (Sean – 6) … Stevie Nicol’s boys are getting points by the skin of their teeth. Two draws to expansion sides – one thanks to a stoppage time goal (at Vancouver) – and you have to wonder how much of their form is sheer luck. But, Nicol won’t complain with his club sharing first place in the Eastern Conference. (Brian – 7)

T6. Vancouver Whitecaps (1-1-2, 5 points) (+6) – Watch out for the Whitecaps. After their improbable 3-3 draw to Kansas City and nearly stealing a victory with only nine men against New England, the ‘Caps definitely are not your father’s expansion team. (Brian – 6) … Amazing comeback against Kansas City and did well to hold on when shorthanded against the Revs. Rarely threatened, however, when it was 11 vs. 11 in the first half. Need to start stronger. (Sean -7)

8. Chicago Fire (1-0-1, 4 points) (-2) – No match this week. The Fire remain unbeaten after two. (Sean – 8 ) … Although they were idle last week, they’ll have to do a number on a struggling Seattle squad to show that they deserve to stay in the upper half of the rankings.  (Brian – 9)

9. Sporting Kansas City (1-1-1, 4 points) – High-scoring club should’ve wrapped up three points against Vancouver, but their defense betrayed them. If they figure out how to defend, they’ll be one of the most dangerous clubs in MLS. (Brian – 8 ) … Epic collapse in Vancouver. Kansas City has a great team and should be doing better. (Sean – 10)

10. San Jose Earthquakes (1-1-1, 4 points) (-2) – A 2-2 home draw with a struggling Seattle side drops San Jose a few places. (Sean – 9) … Back and forth match against the Sounders proves they can score, but they’ll have to do it with greater frequency in order to improve their position in the rankings. (Brian – 10)

11. Columbus Crew (1-1-1, 4 points) (+4) – Impressive 2-0 victory over Dallas has halted the Chicken Little calls in Columbus. But, I still get the sense that unless Will Hesmer and his back four have a season to remember, it’s going to be a long summer in C-bus. (Brian – 11) … First win of the season comes at home against Dallas and the Crew are on their way up the rankings. (Sean – 11)

T12. D.C. United (1-2-0, 3 points) (-1) – Destroyed by Colorado. D.C. is looking poor after raising expectations with an opening day win. (Sean – 12) … The memory of their impressive 3-1 win over Columbus is fading fast as Ben Olson’s boys are quickly fading back toward the Eastern Conference basement. The thrashing they took to the Rapids should be a reminder that there’s still a lot of work to be done in DC. (Brian – 14)

T12. Seattle Sounders FC (0-2-2, 2 points) (-2) – Besides L.A., this has to be one of the most disappointing clubs in MLS right now. Entering April, they’re still winless, although the offense appears to finally be finding its rhythm after their 2-2 draw to San Jose. (Brian – 12) … Winless after four games. Their offense showed signs of life at San Jose, but they need to start finding wins.  (Sean – 14)

T14. Houston Dynamo (0-1-2, 2 points) (+2) – A draw at New York would’ve been a good result if the team wasn’t still winless. Still earns them a move up the rankings. (Sean – 13) … They haven’t been playing terribly as they’ve clinched draws against NY and Seattle and only lost by 1 to Philly. But, they’ve got to start scoring some goals. (Brian – 15)

T14. Toronto FC (1-1-1, 4 points) – Drawing 1-1 to the Goats is the least of TFC’s concerns, especially after they traded their best player to a conference rival. This may be the last time you see the original Canadian side this high in the rankings. (Brian – 13) … A home draw against Chivas is nothing to be proud of. With De Rosario gone, Toronto will struggle to beat anyone. (Sean – 15)

T16. FC Dallas (0-2-1, 1 point) (-3) – MLS Cup finalists last year, Dallas has yet to have a performance worthy of looking even like a contender for a playoff spot this season. (Sean – 16) … Winless, and only a single point for their troubles. How far the mighty have fallen. But, given the number of promising youngsters, this could very well be a situation that rights itself before long. (Brian – 18)

T16. Portland Timbers (0-2-1, 1 point) (+2) – Showed a lot of life in their draw at New England. Now that Darlington Nagbe’s back, things are suddenly looking up in Portland. (Brian – 17) … Picked up their first points of the season and key players are returning from injury. (Sean – 17)

T16. Chivas USA (0-2-1, 1 point) (+1) – 1-1 draw to Toronto has to be seen as a step in the right direction as their defense appears to be solidifying. But, until they become more consistent, it may yet be another long season for the Goats. (Brian – 16) … Finally picked up a point with a road draw against a poor Toronto squad. Might give them confidence, but they’ll need more than that to turn the season around.  (Sean – 18)

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