So Seattle begins its time without Clint Dempsey, and, as the saying goes, “I have a bad feeling about this.” And this is such a dramatic change that we are actually dropping a category. No more “quality” group as SKC lost and Seattle is VERY vulnerable.
1 (1) Seattle Sounders. Yes, they stay at No. 1, but only because Sporting also lost and while Vancouver got another road victory, we are going to need to see a little more before pushing them above either of those two. But make no mistake, the Sounders are in trouble. It is likely just a matter of time.
2 (2) Sporting Kansas City. Like Seattle, this team is not moving down only because they have a strong body of work and no one matches it just yet.
3 (3) Vancouver Whitecaps. There is a greater than zero chance that we are underestimating the British Columbians for much of the season. Their Pace number is -4 for, in large part due to some really strong road work. This is a team that could really be difficult to move out of high playoff spots.
4 (4) D.C. United. A bit of a recovery for Ben Olsen and company with a win over New England, and now they have a commanding lead in the East.
5 (6) Portland Timbers. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the team we thought the Timbers would eventually be. Say hello to a team that is going to give the rest of MLS fits through the end of the season.
6 (5) Toronto FC. A bit of a step back for Michael Bradley’s crew. NYC will have their moments, so we are not ready to throw TFC down the rankings too far, but a loss to a poor team like Jason Kreis’ group is cause for concern.
7 (7) FC Dallas. Another frustrating tie against one of the worst teams in the league. Then again, the Rapids have often been Dallas’ bogeyman. There are some real concerns here as this team has yet to really settle on a quality winger opposite Fabian Castillo and Mauro Diaz looks nothing like the midfield maestro that wowed this league at times the past two seasons.
8 (11) San Jose Earthquakes. Another win in Seattle ought to make many sit up and take notice. This is a team putting things together.
9 (10) Los Angeles Galaxy. Has the dragon awaken? This was quite the beat-down as LA smacked the Union around rather forcefully.
10 (8) New York Red Bulls. This is more and more looking like a good team that used to have Henry than a team built to play well in MLS without him. There is some quality there, but this side needs more from Sacha if they are going to be more than just another mid-table team.
11 (9) New England Revolution. This is another Eastern Conference team that is having problems, and things may get worse before they get better.
12 (14) Real Salt Lake. Starting to bounce back from some really poor play at times lately. Any win over Sporting Kansas City is a good win.
Good But Not Great
13 (12) Orlando City. Kaka and company have made some real strides this season, but clearly there is still work to be done.
14 (13) Houston Dynamo. A bit of a step back after a good run of games, but losing to Portland is not the same as losing to Philadelphia or Chicago.
15 (15) Columbus Crew. No game, no movement. This is a team that is not playing to its potential.
16 (17) Montreal Impact. Another sign this team is starting to play its way out of the bottom as they beat Orlando City at home. Still a lot of work to be done, but some progress is better than none.
The Ugly Stick
17 (18) New York City FC. Hey now, maybe there is a little sumthin-sumthin for the boys in baby blue. A win at Toronto FC, making it three wins in a row, is a bit of a statement.
18 (16) Colorado Rapids. Frankly, they had to fight tooth and nail to salvage a tie against a careening FC Dallas team. This is not good from Pablo Mastroeni’s lads.
19 (20) Chicago Fire. Only move up because the Union got spanked by LA. Nothing gives us the sense Chicago is turning things around any time soon.
20 (19) Philadelphia Union. This is not good, folks. Just not good at all.