The games this past week mostly confirmed things for most teams – you are who you are. There are a few exceptions though, and it will be interesting to watch if the following games continue the trends, or was this week an outlier.
1(1) Seattle Sounders (1.78, -1). A loss at Columbus does not look great on the resume, but the Crew have enough quality that one ding is not enough to knock them off the top spot. If this is just one game, then we were right to keep the Sounders here. But another stumble may indicate Seattle does not deserve the top perch.
2 (2) Vancouver Whitecaps (1.82, -3). A solid win over a poor Philadelphia is not enough to vault over Seattle, but it is enough to get them back into the top tier. A few more results against top teams will keep them here, but for now, they have proven they belong.
3 (4) New York Red Bulls (1.78, -3). Even being down a man was not enough to force the Red Bulls to have to really work to beat NYCFC. The league attempts to make this into something special right out of the chute fell flat, as well. As for the Red Bulls themselves, we still have some questions about whether they deserve to be in this tier, but their results speak very well of them.
4 (7) FC Dallas (2.00, -2). Mauro Diaz is back, healthy and doing midfield maestro things, and the fact that Dallas did not need Fabian Castillo to register a goal or an assist should make everyone else nervous. The numbers may indicate they deserve to be higher, but the poor results against Portland and Colorado still weigh on them some. Then again, recent results make those games look more and more like outliers, with the comeback win over the Galaxy being their best results of the season. But let this sink in – Dallas beat Los Angeles with a back line including Walker Zimmerman and JeVaughn Watson centrally and Atiba Harris on the right. Maybe those numbers are good indicators of where Dallas should be after all.
5 (5) New England Revolution (1.78, -2). New England have indications of being better, and possibly great. But then they go out and get tied by Orlando? It was on the road, to be sure, but that is a really poor team.
6 (3) D.C. United (2.00, -3). Some results were pointing in one direction, but then you have others – including another home tie, this time against Sporting – and it makes you wonder if the softness in the East is benefiting United.
7 (8) Columbus Crew (1.56, -5). There is real danger on this roster, including a lot of creativity in the front five. There has been a lot of inconsistency as well, and some of the positive results have been against poor teams. But a 3-2 over Seattle is definitely a key win. Like New England and Dallas, there is potential for something really special here if they can shore up a few things.
8 (6) Los Angeles Galaxy (1.27, -7). They are higher than their numbers right now, in part because of their schedule. At RSL then at FC Dallas? Can’t say the league showed them favoritism with that itinerary. The tie in Utah had LA feeling like they had this challenge right where they wanted it, but then Mauro Diaz happened. The road to the top of the West is going to be very tough, especially with Dallas and Vancouver not backing down.
9 (9) Sporting Kansas City (1.40, -6). Getting a tie at D.C. is a good result for this club. The injury to Zusi… not so much. Sporting seems a little snake-bit so far in 2015.
10 (10) Portland Timbers (1.30, -6). Even if it was only Montreal, the Timbers have to feel good about getting a road win. The question is, can they build on it. The return of a forward who can score certainly will not hurt.
11 (11) Real Salt Lake (1.40, -6). With a schedule not much easier than Los Angeles’, they found a way to get a road win, cancelling out the home tie to the Galaxy on Wednesday. This team is still good. The question is, can they get some consistency and start moving up the charts.
12 (13) San Jose Earthquakes (1.40, -2). Two road games, a win and a tie, although it was against the two worst teams in the Western Conference. But watch this space – this team now is solidly in this bracket with the potential to move up.
Good But Not Great
13 (12) Toronto FC (1.13, -1). A successful road trip completed, TFC did what many MLS clubs have done when they get their first home game after something like that – drop it. But the courage it took to survive that long of a time on the road will surface again.
14 (14) Chicago Fire (1.13, -9). Playing a tired RSL side at home, yet lose. This is one of the better indicators of the differences between East and West.
15 (16) Houston Dynamo (1.00, -10). Awful home loss to San Jose, continuing a poor run of form at BBVA, followed by a road with at Toronto without Brad Davis. Talk about inconsistent.
16 (15) Colorado Rapids (1.00, -10). Tied at home by San Jose. Pablo Mastroeni’s men are really squandering opportunities and at some point, are going to need to start doing something with that defense. Can the European forward be all that the team needs? Considering that consistently, it is their finishing that is lacking, maybe.
The Ugly Stick
17 (17) Orlando City (1.00, -10). Finding a way to get the tie against New England has to be seen as some sort of positive. If there is a team in this group that can claw their way out of this pit, it is the Lions. But that is still a pretty big “if.”
18 (18) NYCFC (0.60, -14). Yuck. The league goes out of its way to make a big deal out of your first match with the cross-river “rival,” and you can’t even tie a game when your opponent is down a man for a half? Way to not show up. Mark this as Exhibit A for what happens when you put too much on designated players. You are an injury away from being awful.
19 (19) Philadelphia Union (0.55, -15). Can it get worse for the Union? Possibly. But there is a lot of bad around this team right now.
20 (20) Montreal Impact (0.40, -7). Any hope that the CONCACAF Champions League form might spill into MLS play was washed away by a home loss to an ok Timbers side. There is the possibility that this team moves up as Philadelphia and NYC are so bad, but that is probably as high as this group projects right now.