1. Kansas City Wizards (+1) - KC take 3 points in the top of the table clash with Red Bull, but does the Mathis ejection in the first half water down the result? Regardless, EJ keeps scoring - 9 goals in 9 games and back-to-back hat tricks is good for MLS and good for the national team if he can carry his form over to the Gold Cup. 13k+ in attendance at Arrowhead is an improvement. If they keep winning, do the numbers keep creeping up? It will be interesting to see how the Wizards cope without EJ over the next few weeks. Fortunately for them, they have a bye week coming.
PLAYOFF PACK1. Red Bull NY (-1) - Despite being hampered by Mathis' ejection, Red Bull fought back to make a game of it late. Angel bagged another one to keep his run going, but the liabilities at the back were on full display and EJ punished them mercilessly. A tough away run for Arena's boys continues with a midweek trip north of the border to Fortress BMO followed by a Sunday date with rivals DC United in RFK. A testing week to be sure and one that will show us if their early season form was smoke and mirrors or the real deal.
3. NE Revolution - Another poor draw as the Revs dominate every aspect of the game, but can't punish lowly RSL in their own house. The Revs are starting to sputter and now they'll have a week off to think about their struggles. They will also be losing the core of the side to the Gold Cup, but Nicol always seems to find a way to get blood from this particular stone.
4. Colorado Rapids - Nearly overwhelmed in the first half by TFC, but kept in the game by 8 saves from their keeper or they could have shipped far more than the 2 goals they did surrender. If Petke doesn't sky his late chance, they may even have snatched an unfair draw after Toronto went down a man. A midweek match away to a Dynamo side starting to find its form, but losing its attack to the Gold Cup, is up next.
5. FC Dallas - The stats read fairly even for the Texas Derby and maybe they did enough to merit a draw late, if not for the cynical play of Pat Onstad in scything down Arturo Alvarez. The Hoops get a big, big chance to rebound next week when they host the walking wounded of LA, who come to town without their talisman Donovan. Dallas will lose Ruiz to the Gold Cup, but he hasn't featured for them recently, so the loss shouldn't be too hard on them.
6. DC United - The win streak ends at 3, though the unbeaten streak stretches to 5. A draw against an undermanned Galaxy is not good enough for a side of the supposed quality of United. They can take heart in pitching their first shutout of the season, but they'll need to be much better next week when the Red Bulls come to town.
7. Houston Dynamo (+1) - The Dynamo right the ship as they storm back from going down to an early goal. Apparently the Texas Derby wasn't enough to get folks out to the park as just 13k took in the match, significantly less than their average. Houston will be hit hard by the Gold Cup as they lose Ching up top and the center of their midfield in DeRo and Clark. How will the boys in orange cope? We'll get plenty of chances to see this week as the Dynamo have a Thursday Night Futbol match at home to the Rapids and a Sunday journey to Columbus.
8 Chivas USA (-1) - Without a match this week, the Goats fall to the back of the playoff pack. Next week they hit the road for Chicago in what should be a high scoring affair. Chicago has been shipping goals regularly and Chivas, never a defensive force to begin with, will be missing Bornstein to Gold Cup duty.
BUM-SNIFFING OMEGA MUTTS
9. Toronto FC (+1) - TFC continue to climb to within sight of the Playoff Pack on the back of another win at Fortress BMO. They absolutely peppered the Rapids goal and were unlucky to only bag two. Wynne's run and assist probably made for some uncomfortable viewing in Arena's Swampland dungeon lair. Another 20k+ crowd is mighty impressive - how long will they keep up that kind of support? With the results they're getting at home, things look pretty good.
10. Chicago Fire (+1) - Win ugly baby! The Fire were out shot by the visiting Crew and Pickens was forced into 7 saves, as opposed to Gruenebaum's 1 for the visitors, but at this point, any win is a good win. Next week sees Chivas come to town. Hopefully, the Fire faithful will decide to show up as 10k attendance in their new park is pretty pathetic. Will goals and wins start packing the house or are they (along with the team) waiting for Blanco to show up and save the day?
11. LA Galaxy (-2) - A creditable draw despite being down to a skeleton crew available for selection. The Galaxy were unfortunate not to take their early chances and never looked too threatened by United, who only mustered a couple of decent looks at goal. The drop down the Dogpile is more due to the fact that they'll now be losing Donovan to the Gold Cup and the results of some teams around them. Things are looking rather bleak for the Superclub at this point.
12. Columbus Crew - A tough loss away to the Fire as they registered 18 shots, with 9 being on frame. It doesn't get any easier for Sigi's yellow horde with the resurgent Dynamo rolling into town next weekend. Fortunately, the Crew are relatively unscathed by the Gold Cup in comparison to Houston, so they may be able to sneak a result in this one.
13. Real Salt Lake - Another shutout and another draw leaves RSL still without a win, but the defensive rot seems to have stopped. Now they have a week off to practice finding the net. New signing Kotschau won't be able to add his veteran experience on the pitch for a bit after getting himself sent off less than a minute into his RSL tenure. Rimando seems to have rediscovered his form, but how will he handle the rumors swirling about RSL signing Kasey Keller?
A fiesty weekend in MLS as the 6 matches threw up 6 red cards and a rash of yellows in some exciting matches. There wasn't much significant change in the Dogpile beyond EJ planting the KC flag on top with another 3-goal outing. Things will get interesting over the next few weeks as the Gold Cup plunders MLS rosters. Will the top clubs be punished by losing their form players to call-ups, or will the reserves be able to maintain the momentum? We'll see you next week - same bat time, same bat channel.