MLS Dogpile (Week 16) - Dog Days of Summer


1. Houston Dynamo - W W W D D - Consecutive draws spells trouble in Dynamo-town, and their supposedly airtight "D" let in three goals in New England. Questions will be asked as the Revs got physical and caused trouble for the Houston backs. The Dynamo still proved what a quality side they are with an impressive fightback to take the lead and may have questions about the penalty that led to the equalizer. Not the best of form to be hitting as SuperLiga approaches, but the Dynamo are still the class of the league.


2. NE Revolution - W L D W D - Played the top dogs tough and earned a point. On the one hand they may feel a bit fortunate to get the penalty call for their third goal, but they'll also probably feel aggrieved that they let Houston back in the game after snatching the lead twice in their home digs. Next they'll hit the road, where they arguably feel more comfortable, and will face an RSL side with some U-20 vets returning.

3. FC Dallas - L W D W D - A week off to prep for SuperLiga and no change in status. But a few of those teams with games in hand are sure to catch them in the standings while they battle the Mexican sides. How will the Hoops respond?

4. Kansas City Wizards (+1) - D L D W D - Some major questions will have to be asked of referee Tim Weyland, who lost control of the Wizards game in spectacular fashion. The Rapids were in a nasty mood and probably should have seen some red, particularly Ballouchy for that ugly elbow on Victorine. In the end, the Wiz were jobbed on penalty calls either way and in the card department. Despite those travesties, they manage a point because "Electrolyte" Eddie Johnson has what KC needs - namely finishing. Of course, the unspoken villain of the piece is the crowd, which barely broke 7k. Hello, marketing department, Hello?

5. Columbus Crew (+1) - W D W L W - What a difference a Schelotto makes! The Crew get back to winning ways after their little stumble last week against Chivas. The only problem is that they've got a week off to cool down, not the best situation for a team with momentum.

6. DC United (-2) - W W L D L - United created more and better chances against the Red Bulls, but the finishing went AWOL, and United are now winless in three. Even missing the heart of the team in Olsen and Moreno, they still played decently and will look to build some confidence and spread the minutes around in SuperLiga. With the rest of MLS starting to add the pieces they need to make a playoff run, DC are still holding pat on the transfer front. Will a major signing spark another second-half run to the title?

7. Chivas USA - L W L D W - After a week of twiddling their thumbs, Chivas will get back into the thick of the action as they hit the road for two matches this week. Chivas have been strong at home, but results have been mixed on the road and they'll have a couple of tough opponents in KC and the Red Bulls as they look to put the heat on Dallas for the number two spot in the West.

8. Red Bull NY - L L W L W - A big win over their rivals DC United, but 6 points out of a possible 15 in the last five matches isn't a great return. They've got Altidore back in the fold and with Angel coming off of suspension, they'll look to recreate the early season form that saw them emerge as favorites to win it all. The Bulls probably still need some help at the back and losing Parke to injury doesn't help their cause.


9. LA Galaxy (+1) - L W L W D - The long wait is over. With the pieces all in one place, the Galaxy have a few SuperLiga matches to get those pieces put together properly before making the brutally busy stretch run. They've got so many games in hand that they could be a major player if everything comes together. If it does fail however, it will be a fiery wreck and heads will be certain to roll. The first half against Chelsea looked promising, and they'll be getting huge crowds every week to feed off of. One way or the other, it should be fun to watch.

10. Toronto FC (-1) - D W D D L - The long and winding road trip comes to disappointing end as the in-form Crew assert themselves at TFC's expense. The Canadians will look to recover as the home support will be sure to welcome them back emphatically at Fortress BMO on Sunday against a Fire side in crisis.

11. Colorado Rapids - L D D L D - A decent, if gift-wrapped, draw against the Wizards as the Rapids take advantage of woeful officiating to grab a point. At this point though, the Rapids are in desperate need of a win and a draw does little more than stem the bleeding. Clavijo needs wins and needs them fast or Colorado will completely lose touch with the teams fighting for playoff places.

12. Chicago Fire (+1) - L D L D L - Blanco has arrived and it looks like Wanchope may be on his way too. The Fire have some other issues, but such a potent, if aging, strike force may give them the kickstart they need to get back into the playoff fight. Blanco did well against Celtic, but how will he fare against MLS sides, and will the Fire begin to pack the fans into Bridgeview?

13. Real Salt Lake (-1) - L W L L L - The U-20 vets will be back, but the kids face a real tester against the streetfighting men of the Revolution. Speculation is swirling that Freddy will be on his way to Europe sooner rather than later, but maybe when the hype train leaves the station, Kreis and company can get down to business and start figuring out how to make this team work.

The DP's are here, SuperLiga is sapping the reserves of some of the top sides, the dog days of summer are upon us, and the transfer madness continues. When the dust settles in late August, maybe we'll have a clearer picture of what's going on with this league. Of course, in the rough and tumble MLS, where parity rules and fortunes shift with the wind, nothing is ever certain.

Are the Crew peaking too soon? Will Beckham and Blanco light fires under their respective sides? Can Houston be stopped? Can RSL get started? If a tree falls in the woods . . . So many questions to answer in the months ahead, but the league is strong and entertaining, and despite its faults (and they are legion), MLS '07 continues to be the most exciting yet.


  1. @ DC: "Will a major signing spark another second-half run to the title?"

    You talking about Veron there? What are your thoughts on him?

    Chicago Fire are definitely on the rise with Blanco's arrival and Rolfe's recovery. They'll be a real contender soon. Depending on whose defense holds out, I might actually take Chicago over LA, if I were a gambling man.

  2. Oh, and those Wanchope rumors. Those sound promising.

  3. I'm not particularly sold on the idea of Veron, partially because I think he might struggle with the physical/athletic nature of the league a bit (as he did in England), but mostly because we'd have to change the system around again. We'd probably have to go to a narrow diamond 442 like Argentina plays in order to get our best players on the field and unless you play Fred or Gomez up top, that means one of Fred, Gomez, Olsen, or Veron sits unless you go with Olsen in the deeper-lying Mascherano role, which I think doesn't much play to Benny's strengths.