1. FC Dallas (+2) - W D W D W- Five in a row without a loss and closing in on their suddenly shaky state-mates, Houston. The Hoops still aren't terribly pretty, excepting the luxurious locks of Mr. Toja, nor are they blowing teams out, but they are winning games. The midfield seems to be getting stronger and stronger as the year progresses and Alvarez has been turning in some eye-catching performances lately. Will they hold serve this weekend against the Crew?
2. Houston Dynamo (-1) - W W D D L - Thud! (excellent novel by the way, check it out) They're probably still the best and deepest team in the league, but when the little runt at the bottom of the pile gives you a good nip, it's hard to stay the alpha dog. SuperLiga is going well for the Orange, but they've now gone on a three game winless slide in MLS. Saturday serves up another softball as they travel to Colorado to face Clavijo's miserable mess of a side, who are coming off of a 5-0 thumping by the USL's Seattle Sounders in the Open Cup. Will the Dynamo be caught looking ahead to their rematch in the SuperLiga semis? Will it matter?
3. NE Revolution (-1) - W D W W L - A solid midweek victory over KC with the twin towers of Joseph and Larentowicz controlling the middle of the park and starving EJ of supply. Typically efficient finishing put paid to the Wizards, but they were hoisted by their own petard against United. The Black-and-Red stung the Revs early and never looked back, but New England still sit atop the East and are within a point of sitting atop the league. They get the added benefit of a visit from Cirque du LA this week.
4. DC United (+2) - W L D L W - Emiligol busts out for a brace and a stake in the Golden Boot race as United finally play like they mean it on the road. The impressive 3-0 demolition of the Revs with key components sidelined, suspended, and banged up, halts a three game winless streak. The problem with United this year, however, is consistency. Will they be able to bring the same sort of play to bear as the Galaxy roll into DC?
5. Kansas City Wizards (-1) - D W D W L - They were getting chances against the Revs, but they were all from outside the box. EJ didn't get the sort of service he relies upon and the Wizards attack suffered for it. They'll have a long week off to think about things before getting another crack at the Revs next week - this time at home in the dubiously beneficial confines of Arrowhead Stadium.
6. Columbus Crew (-1) - D W L W D - It's tough to say whether the Crew will be pleased with a draw in Chi-town. Chicago are starting to show signs of putting things together with a rejuvenated attack and a new sheriff in town, but Chicago are also one of the Crew's biggest rivals for a playoff spot at the moment, and they're probably disappointed not to get the "six pointer" over them as the new elements have not quite blended together yet for the Fire. Next up is another tester as the Crew's road trip continues away to top dogs Dallas.
7. Chivas USA - L D W W L - Chivas have been hanging around, cooling their jets, and waiting to get back into action. And they'll wait another week as MLS HQ's scheduling geniuses put them on the shelf for yet another week. All this while their groundshare partners, the Galaxy, are galavanting across the country on their Beckhamania "will he or won't he" 2007 tour.
8. Red Bull NY - L W L W L - The Bulls were also off, but they'll get a chance to get back into action this week with a visit from reeling Toronto. That's good news for the Bulls, who've struggled to field a complete back line as off late. With TFC missing most of its attack through injury, those weaknesses should offset. But the Bulls still have their midfield and attack, while TFC's are decimated. Advantage - Red Bull.
BUM-SNIFFING OMEGA MUTTS
9. LA Galaxy - W L W D D - Sure they're banged up, including the Man himself, but TFC were hurting even worse, and yet LA never looked like beating them in the fashion of say...Señor Blanco and his merry band. Still, the SuperClub are unbeaten in three and have somehow squirmed their way into the SuperLiga semis, so maybe results are starting to fall in their favor. One thing that was never going to be in their favor was scheduling - and the brutality continues with Thursday Night Futbol in DC followed by a sabbath encounter with Twellers and the Minutemen.
10. Chicago Fire - L D L W D - Blanco brings the crowds but can't bring a victory against Schelotto and Columbus Juniors. The Fire are starting to put the puzzle together now that they've got all the right parts and Chicago fans had to be smiling ear-to-ear to see Rolfe and Wanchope come on for Carr and Barrett. Mighty MLS HQ hands down another bye week for the men in red to get on the same page before heading out to Utah, Land of the Giant-Killers. Osorio will hope that they don't get a hankering for some hunchback hide.
11. Toronto FC - D D L L D - TFC are in real danger of losing touch with the rest of the East, but it's hard to see what more they can do. Missing as many starters as they are, they did well to control the match against the Galaxy and probably should have taken one of the few chances they managed to fashion. Any points that Mo's men can grind out now are good ones, and they'll be in for a stern test in the swamps of Jersey this weekend.
12. Colorado Rapids - D D L D L - The Rapids really weren't all that bad against Dallas, but they can't buy a goal these days. Now they've gone and gotten themselves absolutely mauled by a USL side in the Open Cup. The weekend brings no Tucks Medicated Pads for their aching nether regions as a Dynamo side, sure to be angered by their late collapse against RSL, come calling at the Dick. The biggest mystery continues to be why Clavijo still has a job.
13. Real Salt Lake - L L L L W - So how do you beat the best team in the league and still stay on the bottom? Well, for one thing, have your keeper make boatloads of flying saves. Then have said top team manage to gift you a goal in the dying minutes. Not enough? Well, how about the fact that you still only have two wins all season and you've completely lost sight of the teams vying for playoff places? That about do it for ya? RSL, just like last time they won a game, are done no favors in scheduling as they have a bye week rather than an opportunity to build momentum.
So, a bit of shakeup at the top as the mighty Dynamo are temporarily deposed. Can they reclaim their crown by giving the Rapids a thrashing or will they be distracted by the rematch with Pachuca, who knocked them out of the CONCACAF tourney at this very same stage? Can DC continue to climb by knocking off LA, who are generally a bit of a bogey team when they play in RFK? We'll see you next week - same Becks time, same Becks channel. Ugh - are we there yet? I'm sick to death of the hoopla.