1. Houston Dynamo - W W D W W - Just look at all those "W's"! A thorough mauling of the Red Bulls followed by a more measured victory over pretenders-to-the-throne DC United sees the Dynamo continue their reign at the top of the heap. The Dynamo haven't been allowing goals all season long, and now that they're starting to figure things out at the other end of the park, they are the most formidable opponent in MLS. Kinnear's band of bullies have another busy week ahead and will look to pad their advantage in the table with a Thursday Night Futbol visit to the struggling Fire and a weekend visit from road-weary TFC.
PLAYOFF PACK2. DC United - W L W W L - A decent, if unspectacular, week for United in the miserable midwestern heat as they are fortunate to escape KC with three points and managed not to be run off the park by the steamroller that is Houston. Troy Perkins came up huge in both matches, only allowing a deflected shot off a broken play to sneak past him and into the net. While the defense was run ragged by the Wizards, they were better against Houston and will look to build on that performance when Dallas come to RFK this weekend. United will be hoping that their offense begins to fire again and that Emiligol can get back on the goal express.
3. FC Dallas (+1) - W L W D W - Maybe a bit fortunate to win against Chivas as the Goats controlled play early and were creating all of the chances. But results are what count, and Dallas have been getting results all season long. They'll try to continue that form in the difficult confines of RFK this weekend as they look to prove that they can beat the top sides too.
4. Columbus Crew (+3) - W W W D W - A big jump for the Crew as they maintain their current run of sparkling form. Despite looking second best against a dour Rapids side, they managed to get a point on the road and followed it up with a deserved win over RSL. Schelloto and Moreno have given this team a big boost and Eddie Gaven looks to have returned from the Copa full of confidence. If he can rediscover the player he was in his first couple of years in MLS, where his silky skills seemed to promise so much, the Crew will be even more of a force to be reckoned with. Who'd 'a thunk it? A string of matches against Western Conference opposition continues as Sigi takes his show on the road with a return to LA to face Chivas.
5. NE Revolution (+1) - D D W L D - A frustrating weekend for the Revs as Burpo goes into super-keeper mode at the Big Razor and hands New England yet another home draw despite their domination of the match. The Revs have dropped a lot of points they deserved in the last few weeks and they'll look to bust open the logjam in front of net away to a Red Bull side that seems to be feeling the summer more than most.
6. Kansas City Wizards (-3) - L L D L D - The struggle for results continues even as the Wizards continue to play well. Despite creating loads of chances mid-week against United, they were never able to beat Troy Perkins and probably should have had three points. They should have had another three at the weekend as well, but the Galaxy scored two goals late to salvage a draw. This is a side that loves to attack and creates loads of chances, but the finishing has dried up a bit of late. Will EJ's return after his long international absence cure what ails them? A leaky RSL back line may give them plenty of chances to find out this weekend.
7. Red Bull NY (+1) - L D L L W - The skid halts in Denver, but only after the Bulls get thumped by league leaders Houston. The victory over the Rapids was perhaps more a reflection on the struggles of Clavijo's men than it was a resurgence for New York, but it's a result nonetheless. The Bulls will look to get back on track in the Swamp against the Revs this weekend. If Angel can emerge from his mini-slump, it would take some of the pressure off of a back line that looks average at best.
8. Chivas USA (-3) - W L W L D - A tough start to the week for the Goats as they jumped all over Dallas early, but conceded a great goal and then couldn't find a response, ultimately letting in a late second on the counter. At the weekend, they needed a wonder-performance from backup keeper Burpo to keep the Revs at bay, but they did manage to snatch a point. The matches don't get any easier as the red-hot Crew roll into town on Saturday.
BUM-SNIFFING OMEGA MUTTS
9. Toronto FC - W L D W D - It's possibly a bit harsh to keep TFC out of the playoff pack as their away form has been completely turned around and Mo's boys look like they're itching to make a playoff run. The new acquisitions are settling in well, though Marshall still looks to be a step slow at the back. The Canuck road show continued with a victory over RSL and a draw against a Fire side that they probably should have beaten. Next week brings a tough ask in the form of a trip to the Houston slaughterhouse. Great support from the traveling fans who made a good showing in Chicago - long may it continue!
10. LA Galaxy - L W L W D - No doubt about it - the Galaxy are improving. It was all one way traffic against the Fire, but they needed a bit of help from Bryan Hall to reward the Kyle Martino Dive-stravaganza that set up Captain Kissypants for a brace from the spot. They also showed a bit of heart to salvage a draw from two down against the Wizards. The trouble for LA hasn't been the home games though and questions will be asked on the road. Cirque du LA do look like a side that could make some noise if they're still in the picture come playoff time, but the problem is that Alexi probably mortgaged their future to try and make Beckham's first season a success. How much that will hurt them, only time will tell, but we certainly won't see it next week as LA have yet another bye week. That backloaded road schedule to launch Beckhamania is going to take a toll on a team that's traded away what little depth it had to begin with.
11. Colorado Rapids (+1) - L L D D L - There are signs of a heartbeat from the bland-fest at the Dick, but is it too late to save Clavijo's job? The results still won't come despite probably deserving a victory and a draw against the Crew and Red Bulls respectively. The Rapids just can't take advantage of their chances and will be glad to welcome back Copa vets Beckerman and Gomez as they look to recover and put some points on the board. A bye week gives them a chance to work out the kinks, but will Clavijo still be around when they next suit up?
12. Real Salt Lake (-1) - L L W L L - Kreis's mini-revival hits the skids as RSL drop two matches that they never looked likely to win. They're shipping goals again and that's not good news as they travel to a KC side that create plenty of chances and look like they're fit to explode on somebody. RSL fans have to be watching the U-20's and wondering where that Freddy Adu has been this season. He, along with Sturgis and Seitz, could have a pretty big impact if they return to Real full of confidence and ready to step up their play in MLS. Rumors of the addition of Okocha could make this one of the most creative midfields in the league, but do they have the horses up top to finish the chances that are sure to be created? More importantly, don't they need defensive help more than yet another attacking midfielder? Methinks the trading frenzy is not yet complete.
13. Chicago Fire - L L D L D - The misery continues in Fire-land as they are demolished by the Galaxy and fail to hold serve after going up at home to TFC. They're starting to get some of their big players back and Blanco should be arriving soon. New head coach Osorio will look to plug the holes and get things turned around for a Fire side that earned enough points early in the season that recovery is still a possibility. Changes in ownership could spell further shakeups at the top however and if there's a side that's in need of a bit of stability, it's Chicago. The good news is that they'll be at home again this week and on national TV for Thursday Night Futbol. The bad news is that the opponent is the dreaded Dynamo.
Only one week to go till the theoretical halfway point of the season is reached with the All-Star "break". We have some definite contenders for the title and a few that are just looking to avoid the embarrassment of finishing bottom, but the middle of the pack is fluid, subject to the whims of form and parity amid a shifting landscape from one week to the next. In addition to next week's Dogpile post, we'll take a look back at how laughable my pre-season predictions are turning out to be.