1. Houston Dynamo - W W W D D - The Dynamo have carried their good form into SuperLiga and will be looking to advance to the semifinals of that competition tomorrow night. The only sour note comes from the consecutive draws that mark their last two MLS appearances. Can they get right back on the trail that leads to the Supporters' Shield?
PLAYOFF PACK2. NE Revolution - L D W D W - A win is a win, no matter how unimpressive it is. Larentowitz' blast earns the Revs three points, even if a draw might have been a more fair result. New England are a stone-cold assassin of a team - no flash, no glam, just a bunch of hard-working professional hit-men who get results.
3. FC Dallas - L W D W D - Dallas will look to march into the SuperLiga semifinals against the Becks-less Galaxy tonight. They've had some good, feisty outings and should come back to MLS hungry to prove that their league position is no fluke.
4. Kansas City Wizards - L D W D W - A good win in a high scoring game with the Goats, even if they did leave it late. Zavagnin with an absolute bomb was the pick of some nice goals from this game. Nobody doubts the Wizards' attack and three goals from players not named Eddie Johnson is good news, but the real problem here is the defense. Sure the Wizards are in a lot of high scoring games, but it's not just because they score goals. That said, it has to be a nice antidote to all those years of boring, boring Gansler-ball for the two or three KC faithful [I kid, I kid...five or six (ducks)].
5. Columbus Crew - W D W L W - No MLS, no SuperLiga, what's a club to do? I guess getting thumped by an EPL side could pass the time. Friendlies aside, the Crew are one of the hottest sides in MLS, but they'll be in for a test against a Fire team looking to prove that their thrashing of Toronto is but a sign of things to come.
6. DC United - W W L D L - Another side that's playing well in SuperLiga, United has looked an improved side bar their finishing over the last week. Can they translate that form back to MLS, or are Mexican sides in pre-season merely the Colorado Rapids in disguise? Regardless, the week away from MLS has allowed them to recover, with Kpene, Namoff, and Moreno all making their way back to full fitness.
7. Chivas USA - L D W W L - A pretty good showing for the busiest side in MLS this week. Though they were probably second-best for most of the game against the Red Bulls, they did what Arena's men could not, and put the ball in the back of the net. They also looked to have sewn up a draw with KC, but succumbed to a late winner. For a side that has struggled on the road, a win and near-draw against two of the top sides in the East is encouraging.
8. Red Bull NY - L W L W L - NY is struggling - poor Bulls' finishing and good Goats' defending leads to one unhappy Jersey farmyard. That back line is a shambles. Can Arena find some help before the transfer window slams shut on him?
BUM-SNIFFING OMEGA MUTTS
9. LA Galaxy - L W L W D - So...how much is MLS HQ sweating that famous ankle about now? Without the Golden Boy, the Galaxy have managed to replicate their MLS experience thus far in SuperLiga - one game up, next game down. Wait - isn't the SuperClub supposed to win the SuperLiga? Just wondering (psst! Alexi, call me. I've got a washed up 38-year-old, ex- Malaysian international striker to sell you!).
10. Chicago Fire (+2) - D L D L W - Well, at least one of the two big summer DP signings showed up fit and ready to rumble. Diaper check on the rest of the East as Blanco looks to have arrived ready to wheel and deal, Osorio seems to be getting the team sorted, and they stomped an admittedly banged-up TFC without Rolfe, Mapp, and the recently signed Wanchope. Is the long nightmare over in Chi-town?
11. Toronto FC (-1) - W D D L L - Mo's Minions continue to slide as they finally get home to BMO, only to be bent over and branded by the rampant Fire, who probably were unfortunate to only bag 3. TFC is missing some key pieces and it showed. Can they recover from this latest slump in time to make the playoffs in their first year of existence? Magic 8-Ball says, "doesn't look good".
12. Colorado Rapids (-1) - L D D L D - There was so much good feeling surrounding this team early in the season, but you just had to know if wouldn't last. The not-so-secret-recipe for MLS failure? Just add Clavijo, of course.
13. Real Salt Lake - W L L L L - The Kreis, Kreis, Baby! revolution has stalled. They're playing better soccer and provided a few good moments against the Revs, the general quality and spirit of the team seems improved, the walking distraction that is Freddy Adu has moved on to Portugal, and yet they still can't buy a win. I have a sneaking feeling that they're past due to really give somebody a hiding. Unfortunately their next four matches are home to Houston, home to the re-ignited Fire, away to Chivas (who are terrific at home), and then back home to the Wizards.
So, not much in the way of changes. Only the Fire have really demonstrated anything resembling a change in fortunes. That rebirth is going to really heat up an Eastern Conference already ripe with the stench of eau de parity. Revs - good, Wizards - good, Red Bulls - could be better, Crew - hot, United - piling up the kindling, Toronto - fading fast, and now the Fire look to join the party. There's almost no way I can see the East sending 6 teams through with the new playoff structure, but 5 is almost a lock unless Beckham and Donovan can really inspire the Galaxy.