New England Soccer Today

MLS Rankings: Week 25

Every week the contributors to New England Soccer Today will look beyond just the standings to rank the 16 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 (13-4-8, 47 points) (2 first place votes) – Another match, another shutout. Oh, and they shattered the MLS record for the longest home unbeaten streak (23 home matches) with Saturday night’s 1-0 win over Chicago. Talk about defending a title. (Brian – 1) … Continued impressive form with 1-0 victory over desperate Chicago Fire. Have allowed a shockingly low average of 0.64 goals a game, while scoring 1.52. (Sean – 1)

2. Los Angeles Galaxy (15-5-5, 50 ponts) (+1) – Consecutive wins show the Gals are heating back up again. Landon Donovan’s late brace against DC ensured the expected three points. Need to keep the momentum going. Somewhere, Bruce Arena sits in a dark room all alone cursing his critics. (Brian – 2) … Almost suffered a shock defeat at the hands of D.C. United, but Landon Donovan restored order with two late goals to keep the Galaxy in the lead for the Supporter’s Shield. (Sean – 2)

3. FC Dallas (10-2-12, 42 points) (-1) – Jair Benitez’s own goal gave FCD yet another draw. They have to start winning these matches. The loss of Kevin Hartman to Thierry Henry’s brainfart won’t help matters. Luckily, they have Dario Sala to…wait a minute…nevermind. (Brian – 3) … Held on for a 2-2 draw with New York, despite playing down a man for most of the match. Still need to start getting 3 points instead of one. (Sean – 3)

4. Columbus Crew (13-7-5, 44 points) (-1) – Suffered an embarrassing loss to Seatte (4-0) on Saturday, and have now allowed seven goals in their last two. Are they easing up too early, or did Sigi Schmid really place a curse on Columbus when he bolted for Seattle? (Brian – 4) … Completely crushed by Seattle on the weekend, but still hold the edge on the Red Bulls in the east. (Sean – 4)

T5. Seattle Sounders (10-9-6, 36 points) (+3) – Obliterated Columbus on the road after newcomer Blaise Nfuko picked up hat trick. Sigi Schmid’s squad is one of the hottest teams in MLS right now. Hot like their electric yellow third kits. (Brian – 5) … Sent a scare to the top sides with a stunning 4-0 win over Columbus, continuing their impressive recent league form. (Sean – 6)

T5. New York Red Bulls (12-8-5, 41 points) – Fortunate to get a point in Dallas after allowing the go-ahead to a 10-men Dallas side then equalizing on an own go. A draw against Dallas on the road is nothing to be ashamed about. Neither is scoring one goal against a team that was undermanned for over an hour. Wait…yes it is. (Brian – 6) … Should’ve come away from Dallas with 3 points, but couldn’t take advantage of an extra man and key injuries suffered by Dallas. (Sean – 5)

7. Colorado Rapids (10-7-7, 37 points) (-1) – The C & C Goal Factory – Omar Cummings and Conor Casey – bumrushed the lowly-Revs 3-0. The addition of Brian Mullan only strengthens an improving midfield. And yes, I did just call Cummings and Casey “C & C Goal Factory.” (Brian – 7) … Crushed the Revs for their third 3-0 home victory in a row. (Sean – 7)

8. San Jose Earthquakes (10-7-6, 36 points) (-1) – Improved their postseason status with a decent 1-0 victory at home to Philly. If they continue winning these close matches, it looks like San Jose 2.0 will secure its first MLS playoff spot. Of course, we all know what happened shortly after their last playoff run back in 2005… (Brian – 8 ) … Got the result, but not overly impressive against Philadelphia. 4-1-1 in their last 6 games. (Sean – 8 )

9. Kansas City Wizards (8-9-6, 30 points) – Earned a convincing 2-0 win against Chivas USA. Kei Kamara continues to carry this team on its late-season surge. An MLS playoff game inside of a minor league baseball stadium? Brilliant! (Brian – 9) … 2-0 win over Chivas keeps them in the hunt for the play-offs. (Sean – 9)

10. Toronto FC (8-10-7, 31 points) (+1) – After the mid-week management shuffle, the Reds were able to squeeze three points from lowly Houston on the road. Dwayne DeRosario’s brace against his former mates kept hope alive in Toronto. Note: The only reason why DeRo didn’t score three is because he has a merciful soul. (Brian – 10) … Just barely alive in the hunt for the play-offs thanks to a win over Houston. (Sean – 10)

11. Chicago Fire (6-9-8, 26 points) (-1) – Goal starved this week at Real Salt Lake. This team can’t afford another performance like Saturday night’s if they wish to keep their dimming postseason hopes alive. And they are dimming…dimming like my dreams to retire rich before I turn 30. (Brian – 11) … Games in hand don’t matter if you lose them. (Sean – 11)

T12. Chivas USA (7-13-4, 25 points) – The Goats ran into a streaking Kansas City, who took a 2-0 road victory Sunday night. Defense continues to disappoint, while the set pieces also need some work. Pretty much the only thing that doesn’t need improvement in ChivasLand is the ChivasGirls. (Brian – 12) … Still can’t find consistency. Have to imagine another coaching change might be coming. (Sean – 13)

T12. Philadelphia Union (6-12-6, 24 points) (+1) – Lost a close one (1-0) to San Jose on the road, but have looked good these last few weeks. The switch to Brad Knighton makes the team better between n the pipes. Not bad for a kid who had to open tryout his way into the league. (Brian – 13) … Lost to San Jose, but continue to show improvement in their first season (Sean – 12)

14. New England Revolution (7-14-3, 24 points) (-1) – It just keeps getting worse for the Revs. Played another poor game against Colorado, who spanked them 3-0. The defending continues to sour. Somehow, still mathematically alive for the playoffs. Cue Jim Mora. “PLAYOFFS???Are you kidding me, playoffs?” (Brian – 14) … Horrendous performance for the second week in a row. (Sean – 14)

15. Houston Dynamo (6-13-5, 23 points) – Seized an early lead at home against Toronto, but then the defending betrayed the effort by allowing a pair of goals. The season can’t end soon enough for the 2006 and 2007 MLS Champs. Only six more to go, fellas. (Brian – 15) … Season just keeps getting worse for Houston, this time blowing a lead at home to Toronto. (Sean – 15)

16. D.C. United (5-17-3, 18 points) – Gave the Galaxy scare when they went up 1-0 at Los Angeles, but true to form, squandered one of the few leads they’ve had when Landon Donvoan scored a brace in the final 10 minutes of regulation. DC United? More like “Disunited.” (Brian – 16) … Just when you think D.C. might make some noise by playing spoiler, sloppy defending costs them three points. (Sean – 16)

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