It was bound to happen, as it always does. Things begin to settle into place, and this last weekend saw a lot of that, especially after the craziness of the previous weekend. What is fun is next week promises to separate things even more, and will give us a good idea of how accurate we are. We do like seeing a lot of repeat placements. The games will show us if we are just believing our own press or not.
1 (2) Vancouver Whitecaps. And just like that, the Canadians from the west are back on top with a tough win at RSL. This team is not going to be an easy out any time soon.
2 (3) New York Red Bulls. Wait, what? But they lost that Henry guy and fired their coach – how can they be good? Despite all perceptions to the contrary, it appears that this really is the best team in the East and for now, there is no reason to not put them in this range. They host the Galaxy in what ought to be a great indicator for both teams.
3 (4) Seattle Sounders. They appear to have their mojo back after some stumbles earlier this year. Granted, Colorado may have shot their wad against Dallas trying to prove they were not the worst team in league history, but a road win by two goals is not an easy thing to do in MLS.
4 (1) Real Salt Lake. Props to Jeff Cassar for redesigning the Royals in more of his own image this season and they have gotten some good results. It would have been interesting to see how this one with the Whitecaps would have played out but for the red card, but that is not what happened.
5 (5) Los Angeles Galaxy. A late winner against Sporting Kansas City gave the Galaxy a home win, but they were moments away from a tie. This is a team that has left it late on more than one occasion and some of the time, it has cost them.
6 (6) Portland Timbers. Call their goal against NYCFC luck if you want, but they worked hard to be there and had three players in the area to press the advantage. This is a really good team and the game at Seattle this weekend should be fabulous television.
7(7) FC Dallas. Boy howdy, that first thirty minutes. What a way to get after getting a bad loss out of your system! And then the craziness began. It is hard to take the second half too seriously, but once again, the team is giving up goals. With a game at Colorado on Friday, we have another Must See TV match on the schedule.
8 (8) Sporting Kansas City. So close, yet so far away. And the team is still adjusting to the loss of Opara. Now a trip to Houston is on the docket and after letting some games get away from them, is this a game they have to find a way to win?
9 (11) Columbus Crew. After getting the first goal of the game, the Crew took full advantage of Orlando City going down a man and finished them 3-0. While Columbus are not to be confused with recent MLS champions, they are lining themselves up to have another good season.
10 (9) D.C. United. Looks like the lucky goals have left them and now they are having to earn their victories. A home tie against a below average Dynamo side will not impress.
11 (12) New England Revolution. A little luck with the schedule gave them a tired Union team to play, but winning on the road is still not easy. The more Jones plays, the more this team is going to rise.
12 (10) San Jose Earthquakes. No game leaves them a little subject to how other teams perform, and this week it knocks them back a touch.
13 (14) Chicago Fire. This week they come into the match with a chance to prove their place in the Rankings as they host the New York City FC side that has been very middle of the road. Is Chicago better?
14 (13) NYCFC. A tough Thursday-Sunday schedule put them behind the 8-ball. Mix and Villa not being able to go against Portland certainly did not help. But it was another sub-par performance from the expansion side. They are maybe starting to look like that is what they will be this year despite some indications earlier that they could be more.
Good But Not Great
15 (15) Colorado Rapids. A huge win over Dallas the week before gave them hope, but then reality came and handed them a loss at home as the Sounders beat them 3-1. Interestingly, they now host that same Dallas side in a quick rematch. How both sides respond will be telling.
16 (19) Houston Dynamo. With the volatility at the bottom, the Dynamo move up with a road tie against D.C. United. Did the win over Montreal allow them a chance to figure some things out? For their sake, they had better as they now host a Sporting side that has not gotten the results they expect and need a win.
17 (17) Toronto FC. What an awful first half. Nothing pretty for a while. But then, Sebastian Giovinco did his magic trick twice to put them right back in it. Ultimately, they fell one goal short but the talented Italian should not be left to his own devices if teams want to keep TFC down.
The Ugly Stick
18 (16) Orlando City. Already down a goal, going down a man was the death of the other expansion side. This team does not appear to have enough talent around Kaka to take advantage of his abilities.
19 (18) Philadelphia Union. Like NYCFC, the schedule did not do them any favors, but this team has also not had much success this season. One of the few bright spots – at RSL early on – can be chalked up to miserable mistakes by the RSL defense rather than something created by the Union, and they have rarely been able to generate much on their own since.
20 (20) Montreal Impact. Totally focused on the CONCACAF Champions League at this point, as they should be, the Impact were off last week and do not have a game this weekend, so they will likely say here, although the addition of Dallas native Kenny Cooper Jr. might make a difference for them soon.