There has been some real movement this week. Some teams like Sporting continue their hot streak and with consistent performance, move up. Others, not so much. It feels like this year is much more competitive than it has been in years past, especially this early, especially relative to 3-5 years ago.
For a reminder of the games, see our Around the League report from earlier this week. We also added a new group as we are starting to see a little more stratification.
1 (1) Seattle Sounders (1.86, -1). They may feel a little hard done by, especially considering the Neagle goal that was called back, but right now, there is no shame in losing on the road to a very hot Sporting Kansas City side.
2 (5) Sporting Kansas City (1.71, -6). Speaking of which, SKC notches another big win. This is the team we expected to see earlier this season. It took them a little time, but this is a team to fear.
3 (4) Vancouver Whitecaps (1.63, -6). For a team that has shown some weaknesses lately, they found a way to get the win in LA, which is not easy to do. Losing to Montreal on the road is not as embarrassing this season as it might appear.
4 (2) D.C. United (1.75, -8). A solid win midweek was wasted with their loss to Toronto on the weekend. TFC is a team on the rise, to be sure, but win or at least tie at home.
5 (9) Toronto FC (1.58, +1). Remember when everyone wrote them off after the loss at home to Houston? About that…. It looks like this group has settled into their new home rather nicely, and now that road games are not part of a marathon, they can go out and get a result. Impressive.
6 (7) FC Dallas (1.57, -6). This movement is more about other teams moving down and Dallas treading water, but you have to credit them for not collapsing under the weight of international absences, injuries and the crushing loss to SKC the week before. And while some may have wanted to see them get the win after San Jose lost a man to an ejection, a tie on the road with as many handicaps as this team had is a positive result. The red to Watson? Not so much. FC Dallas’ fourth in 14 games.
7 (11) Portland Timbers (1.47, -6). More from the Timbers. Watch out – this team can do some damage. Between Portland and Sporting getting their collective stuff together, now you are seeing how competitive the West is going to be.
8 (3) New York Red Bulls (1.31, -8). This team is falling apart, and the loss on the road to Houston is not a good sign. Is the winless streak starting to weigh on them?
9 (6) New England Revolution (1.40, -10). The result might have seemed predetermined, what with Jermaine Jones out and the Revs having to cross over to the left coast to play a resurgent Portland side.
10 (8) Los Angeles Galaxy (1.31, -11). Danger, Will Robinson. Arena pretty much had most of his team, including his key players, available and still were not able to even get a tie at home. Better not wait too long to get things going – the West has more than six teams deserving to make the playoffs so someone is going to lose this game of musical chairs.
11 (10) San Jose Earthquakes (1.36, -7). Whether you agree with the red card to Sherrod or not, San Jose looked like they were unlikely to score 11v11 so a 0-0 result was probably the best they could hope for under the circumstances. For a team trying to fight their way into the playoffs, not what you wanted to see.
Good But Not Great
12 (15) Houston Dynamo (1.33, -11). Good sign from the South Texas club to shake off the tie at NYCFC and play well against the other NY side. They are on the outside looking in right now, but they are definitely knocking on the door.
13 (16) Orlando City (1.21, -10). Definitely some consistent success for the expansion side. Chicago still has not hit a particular stride, but a win on the road is not to be sneezed at.
14 (18). Montreal Impact (1.40, -6). At this point, the team has had enough success since they have resumed MLS play to show that they are quite viable and the CONCACAF success was not a fluke.
Struggling But Not Ugly… Yet
15 (12) Real Salt Lake (1.20, -11). The quality on the roster is not translating to results on the field and at this point, the numbers are reflective of where RSL should stand in the rankings.
16 (13) Columbus Crew (1.14, -12). This team has shown danger at times, but more often than not, their success has been against struggling sides, and recent results are simply not good.
17 (17) Colorado Rapids (1.00, -14). Another solid defensive effort, but the offense was lacking. If this team can develop an offense, they can get in the race for the playoffs. Until then, they remain a tough out but no more.
The Ugly Stick
18 (14) Chicago Fire (1.08, -13). This team just has not seemed to be able to get on track. Granted, it is a long season and the Fire are in the awful East, but they team has not looked able to get things moving forward very often in 2015.
19 (19) Philadelphia Union (0.94, -17). As is the way with struggling sides, one step forward, one step back. But this has been a better run for the Union of late so maybe the worm will turn for them.
20 (20) NYCFC (0.79, -17). Finally a win, and on the road no less. it will be interesting to see how this team continues to play, but there clearly is enough talent for this side to at least be competitive until the summer reinforcements arrive. Winning at Philadelphia is definitely a step in the right direction.