MLS Dogpile (Week 19)


1. FC Dallas - D W D W W- A choppy, typical MLS summer affair sees them grab a late win against the Crew without their best player (Juan Toja) and suffering an early injury and late red card. They're still not dominating games like Houston are capable of, but they are winning - just look at their recent form and position in the table for evidence of that. Ruiz is finally back in the scoring column and Alvarez and McCarty both turned in very high quality performances to cement their positions as two of the more impressive youngsters in MLS. Next up is another installment of the Lone Star Derby. Houston will be desperate for points at home after disappointing losses to teams they should beat handily. Dallas has the chance to solidify both their lock on the top spot in the West and their position atop the Dogpile.


2. NE Revolution (+1) - D W W L W - The Revs bounce back from their 3-0 trouncing by DC by grinding out a victory over the Golden Balls-less Galaxy in front of 35k. Though the Revs created more chances, they may consider themselves lucky that Captain Kissypants fanned on a late opportunity to equalize. The Revs get the chance to jump atop the league and pad their lead in the East with two matches this week, away to the Rapids for Thursday Night Futbol, followed by a Sunday match at KC. The Revs always seem to play better on the road anyway, so this could be a big week for them.

3. DC United (+1) - L D L W W - United feed off of the big crowd out for "The Debut" and down the Gals despite some late chances for LA. Emiligol keeps scoring to go tops in the golden boot race, while the defense claims its second straight clean sheet. It's starting to come together for the pre-season favorites, yet they really should have buried LA early. Sadly, the finishing disease seems to have only temporarily subsided in New England. They'll need to be better against the improved Crew Juniors this weekend.

4. Houston Dynamo (-2) - W D D L L - The Orange must be begging mommy to make the hurting stop as back to back losses to two of the worst teams in the league knocks them off their pedestal atop MLS. "Wrong Way" DeRo downs his own team with a well-placed header, but the signs are there that this is only a temporary slow spell - they just need to start finding goal more regularly. Against the Rapids, they limited the opposition to just 4 shots, only 2 of which were on goal. They get a big chance to take back the throne as Dallas make the short trip south for the Lone Star Derby this week.

5. Kansas City Wizards - D W D W L - Last time out, the Wizards were downed by New England at the Big Razor. This week, they welcome the same opposition into their house and will look to slow the Revs steady march towards the Eastern crown. The week off has dropped them in the standings a bit and they'll need to get EJ firing again.

6. Columbus Crew - W L W D L - A tough loss to swallow against Dallas as they dominated the early stretches of both halves and probably should have at least preserved the point once Dallas went down a man. The Crew need a hit man to emerge in order to start taking advantage of their good possession and crossing. They'll be back home this week against another team that likes to control the ball in DC United.

7. Red Bull NY - W L W L W (+1) - The one up, one down pattern continues as the Bulls spank a hapless TFC side. Angel and Altidore are back to their menacing best, but attention will have to be paid to the quality of the opposition they faced. NY enjoyed a massive 21 to 3 advantage in shots and TFC didn't put a single one of their three shots on goal. This weekend will see the crowd swell to 5 times its normal size as the Galaxy come to town, another weak side that should enjoy a good beating. The question is, how many of those 55k disappear back into the swamp when Golden Balls is gone?

8. Chivas USA - L D W W L (-1) - Chivas have been sliding down the table through no fault of their own as they've been out of competitive action. This week they travel north of the border to face a decimated TFC that's running on fumes and fan support and will need to be wary of Chivas' deadly finishing.


9. Chicago Fire (+1) - L D L W D - The Fire get back into the swing of things with a visit to RSL, which should be confident after dealing a blow to Houston in their last match. Osorio has had another couple of weeks to get the side swimming in the same direction and we'll get a chance to see if their playoff ambitions are more than a pipe dream this weekend.

10. LA Galaxy (-1) - W D D L L - Two 1-0 losses in a week and the continuing ankle troubles for Becks spell trouble in Tinseltown. In both matches, the Galaxy were clearly outclassed for large stretches of the match, but still could have managed to snatch points late. The fact that they failed to take advantage of such chances doesn't bode well for their post-season plans. How long till Alexi fails to realize that his own incompetent tinkering has doomed this team and sacks Yallop?

11. Colorado Rapids(+1) - D L D L W - The Rapids replicate RSL's success against Houston despite only managing two shots on goal, relying instead on the Dynamo to do the scoring for them. A sad display in front of a pretty good crowd of 18k showing up for a "non-Beckham" game. Two shots on goal in your own park? No wonder they don't get a chance to display that crap on national TV Thursday night against a Revs side that probably will not be so forgiving. I'll say it again despite the victory - Clavijo out!

12. Real Salt Lake (+1) - L L L L W - RSL can thank TFC for getting out from the bottom of the pile. They'll get a Fire side that's starting to build towards a playoff run this weekend and a chance to prove that their last result was more than a fluke.

13. Toronto FC (-2) - D L L D L - TFC are in trouble. Mo's injury-hit side continues to struggle mightily, managing a paltry 3 shots, none of which were even on target as Red Bull torched them and probably could have had more than the 3 they got as the new Canuck netminder was forced into 8 saves. Fortunately for TFC, they've got that raucous crowd behind them at BMO, and they'll call on them once again as Chivas come knocking at the weekend.

Houston plummets from the top spot as Dallas and the Revs make their claims for the crown. The SuperLiga semis take place this week, leading to some severe fixture pile-ups for the three MLS sides still involved. With only a third of the season to go, this is the time when sides start to build momentum heading into the playoffs. Who will grab the initiative and stake their claim as favorites for MLS Cup?

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