1. Red Bull NY (+1) - Sometimes it's good to have a week off. Such as when the only team above you manages to drop two games inside of a week. Red Bull get a chance to solidify their status as Alpha Dogs away to a revitalized Crew side coming of two victories last week.
PLAYOFF PACK2. Kansas City Wizards (-1) - The first real wobble from the surprising Wizards, but is it a sign of things to come? They looked a bit light up top against the Crew, but it was still a fairly even game as far as chances go. Home to Houston, they dominated proceedings, creating the majority of chances but ultimately surrendering to the unfairness that football often deals out. Another pathetic attendance at Arrowhead. Are there any Canadians down in KC? Maybe a few will turn up to boost the numbers when TFC come to town this weekend.
3. NE Revolution (+1) - The Revs bounce back from last week's disappointing draw with some attractive attacking play to maul TFC in front of what few fans showed up to cheer them on. Though Twellman will continue to be away with the US national team, Parkhurst and Ralston will return to the lineup, while next week's opponents, Chivas, will lose Guzan and Kljestan in addition to the already-away Bornstein. Guzan will be the biggest miss as the free-scoring Revs will certainly put some shots on frame and without Guzan to bail them out, Chivas may surrender in bunches for the second week running.
4. Houston Dynamo (+1) - The Dynamo continue to claw their way to the top of the pack and are clearly the class of the West. They mauled the Goats handily without four, count them - four, starters, before pulling a counterpuncher's win away to KC. Clark remains away on national team duty after impressing in the Gold Cup final, but Onstad, DeRosario, and Ching are back in the fold for the renewal of the Texas Derby in Dallas.
5. DC United (-2) - Seven in a row, scoring goals, attacking with pace...and then the wheels fell off. Cellar dwellers RSL deal a blow to the Black-and-Red, who will now be without the heart of the team in Moreno, Olsen, and Boswell, for a few weeks. Fortunately, they have a quick turnaround and a chance to bounce right back with a Thursday Night Futbol match back in the friendly confines of RFK against off-the-rails Colorado, who will be similarly wounded by Copa America with the loss of Gomez and Beckerman.
6. FC Dallas (+1) - Dallas get Ricchetti back and return to winning ways. Coincidence? I think not. He's been a key cog in midfield since his arrival. Also returning is Carlos Ruiz, who looks to be a bit lacking in confidence after a sub-par Gold Cup for Guatemala, but still contributes in a scrappy win away to the Rapids. Next week is a real test as their cross-state rivals Houston roll into town on the back of a strong surge up the table. It's an early six-pointer for the Western Conference crown.
7. Columbus Crew (+3) - Surprise, surprise - here come the Crew, who build on last weeks massive comeback draw against the Revs by notching two tough victories. A home win over a strong KC side set them on their way and despite going down to 10 men early against struggling LA, they continued to look dangerous, ultimately grabbing two more goals and a deserved three points. Sigi quiets the naysayers by sparking a mini-revival in Columbus. They'll get a chance to prove they deserve their spot in the Playoff Pack with a visit this weekend from top dogs New York.
8. Chivas USA (-2) - The Goats fall back to the rear of the Pack after getting absolutely bent over and abused by the Dynamo. If not for Guzan, it could have been even worse, which is really bad news as he's off, along with Kljestan, to join Bornstein in the US camp for Copa America. With a Revs side that's in pretty good goal-scoring form right now, Chivas may have a long weekend ahead of them at the Toolbox.
BUM-SNIFFING OMEGA MUTTS
9. Toronto FC (-1) - TFC drops out of the Playoff Pack after their road woes continue with a heavy loss to the Revs. They did manage to create some chances, but will need to do better with those chances as home form alone may not be enough to get them into the playoffs this year. The long and winding road trip continues as Dunivant and Collin Samuel board the TFC express bound for KC, who will be looking to put back-to-back losses behind them.
10. Colorado Rapids (-1) - The Rapids are in free-fall as they drop another result and will now be without key players Gomez and Beckerman, who travel to Venezuela with the US. Tough times are ahead as they hit the road with a dangerous match against a wounded DC side in RFK looking to prove that last week was a fluke and a gutted, desperate Fire under new management.
11. LA Galaxy - The only reason the Galaxy don't slide this week is that they will be instantly better with the return of Donovan from Gold Cup duty and the addition of Pavon to the strike force. That said, if you can't beat a Crew side down to 10 for most of the match in your own house, you are not a quality side. Buddle continues to score and new additions Pavon and Beckham are waiting in the wings to strut their stuff, so the goals will certainly come, but will they be able to keep any out of their own net? With the current state of their back line, that's highly unlikely. Lalas is going mad trying to build a winner, and even should they recover and make a late run this year, he's setting them up for a massive fall in the coming years. They'll have the weekend off to get the new and returning pieces into place.
12. Real Salt Lake (+1) - Off the bottom with their first win of the season! The Klein trade pays immediate dividends as Findley grabs a brace in his debut. Is this the ship being righted or a one-off result? RSL certainly outplayed DC for the majority of the match, but DC were still almost able to weasel their way into a draw in the late going despite an awful performance, only for Kpene to blast over from close range. The Schedule Gods are certainly not smiling on Salt Lake as this is a bad time for a bye week. I'm sure Kreis would have liked to build on the confidence-boosting first win with another match in quick succession, but no such luck for the royal ones.
13. Chicago Fire (-1) - The "You're going down!" chants would surely be ringing in the ears of the Fire were such a thing possible in MLS. They've had a bye week to lick their wounds, sack their coach, and get Guerrero back from the Gold Cup. Could they have used another week, getting Rolfe healthy, and not having Mapp go to Copa America? Sure, but when you're struggling, everything is hard. They'll get a chance to recover somewhat against a side having some struggles of their own as the Rapids have dropped four straight and will be missing two key players to the Copa themselves.
The brutal international schedule for the US continues to punish MLS sides as both the Copa America and the U-20 tournament are draining rosters throughout the league just as the summer heat begins to hit. Some, like the Revs and Dynamo, are coping well, but KC has wobbled and both LA and Chicago continue to reel. Are we having fun yet?