By Kevin Lindstrom
More data does not necessarily mean a clear set of results. Thrown in there was the absence of almost 60 players from various rosters due to international call ups. But these games count just like every other, and it clearly shows some teams’ depth, or the lack thereof. Looking at you, Seattle.
1 (1) – FC Dallas. It really is no question at this point, and I would go so far as to doubt the integrity of anyone who does not consider Dallas the best in MLS at this point. If that really needs clarification, simply juxtapose last week’s 2-0 win at Philadelphia with Saturday’s 0-0 game. In one game, a first half red card by the home team is blood in the water to the visitors and five minutes after the break, they are up a goal. Seattle, meanwhile, was afraid to attack Dallas even with a man advantage, and another (and one of their weaker) player on short rest having played internationally earlier in the week, and left with a point, but no pride. Not when you don’t even get off a single shot on goal with 72+ minutes up a player.
2 (6) – Vancouver Whitecaps. Once again, it was not against the greatest of opposition, but three straight wins is not easy to do and this Canadian team has done it. The level of opponents changes now, although both will be at home for the Whitecaps as they host LA and then Columbus.
3 (7) – Real Salt Lake. The Royals did what few teams were able to do this weekend – find talent farther down the bench to get the win over Toronto, who themselves were without some starters. But for mistakes at the back against Philadelphia, RSL could have been in a much better position in the standings.
4 (2) – Los Angeles Galaxy. DC United is not awful, but they certainly are not the kind of team you want to lose to if you picture yourself a reigning champion, yet the Galaxy found a way to give it away late in the nation’s capital on Saturday.
5 (3) – Seattle Sounders. Yes, you were without Dempsey, Martins, Alonso and Pappa. but you were up a man for SEVENTY TWO MINUTES and you DID NOT REGISTER A SHOT ON GOAL. Don’t tell me about the depth of your roster, gentlemen. Not when you are afraid of a Dallas side missing four of its own, including Blas Perez.
6 (10) New York Red Bulls. A 2-1 road victory in Columbus is a quality result and something that they can build on. Prior to this match, there had to be some concern about what the Red Bulls were going to be post-Henry, but now they can take some confidence forward.
7 (10) Sporting Kansas City. The first team to get a win over NYC should give some real confidence to a good team that just had not gotten on track this season. The injury to Zusi is obviously a concern, but we are going to wait to see how things settle out on the field before judging its impact.
8 (4) New York City FC. No Villa is an issue for this team. It is as simple as that.
9 (7) Portland Timbers. This team has been showing real signs of life but has yet to get a win. A tough road loss to Vancouver adds pressure on the Timbers to get a result at home against FC Dallas.
10 (14) DC United. Signs of life from the nation’s capitol, and against the old nemesis, Los Angeles.
11 (8) San Jose Earthquakes. A coast to coast road trip is always hard on the traveling team, and when you are playing a team with talent that has struggled as much as the Revs have, it is even more difficult. Overall, though, this team is no longer the doormat they were at times last year.
12 (9) Columbus Crew. Its a tough thing to lose at home. This is a team with talent and one that will see success this season, but not on Saturday.
Good But Not Great
13 (19) New England Revolution. I am sure there are a lot of Rev supporters breathing a very large sigh of relief to see the team recover from what had been an awful start to the year for New England. The fact that they did it without Jones is important to note. The more he is involved, the more they will resemble last year’s MLS Cup finalist.
14 (18) Chicago Fire. A huge win for a team that had seen some bad luck this season. Yallop’s men made some roster improvements in the off-season, but it had yet to really click on the field. A game against a poor Union side was just what the team needed.
15 (15) Toronto FC. Without Altidore, Bradley and others, it was going to be a tough thing to get a result in Utah, but they were moments away from it, but it was not meant to be.
16 (12) Orlando City. Without a full compliment of players available, Kaka and company were not able to pull out a victory after digging their way back into the match from a 2-0 deficit. While the result was not terrible, it does again raise doubts about how much success this particular expansion team will see this year.
The Ugly Stick
17 (13) Houston Dynamo. Some early success has been washed away with some poor play against poor opponents, and a 0-0 tie against Colorado is more of the same. In the West, it is likely that the Dynamo will struggle to stay ahead of all but the Rapids in the standings.
18 (16) Philadelphia Union. We are seeing that this team is not very good and that the tie in Salt Lake was an aberration. It might be some time before this team improves.
19 (17) Colorado Rapids. This team is going to be the doormat of the West if things do not change soon, and we are not sold that they have the resources to make those changes.
20 (20) Montreal Impact. A team that could not afford injuries had just that and lost some real talent. There has been some success for the side in the Champions League, and some of that might have translated to the league but now that may just be an illusion. The only benefit this team has it is in the East and might be able to have some success against other struggling teams.