MLS Dogpile (Week 20) - United Go Top


1. DC United (+2) - D L W W W - SuperLiga disappointment aside, DC now have three wins in a row and three clean sheets in a row in MLS, with two of those games being tough away matches against Eastern Conference rivals Columbus and New England. A Brazilian brace this week bumped off Crewza Juniors. Now DC get a chance to use one of their games in hand to move closer to the table-topping trio of New England, Houston, and Dallas as they face two winnable matches home to Red Bull tonight and away to struggling TFC on Saturday.


2. Houston Dynamo (+2) - D D L L W - The Dynamo are back in the saddle after taking the honors in the Texas Derby. Though they didn't completely dominate the match, they looked a bit more like their old selves after dropping the last two matches to teams that they should really be destroying. This week brings a visit from a Crew side that has gone off the boil recently.

3. FC Dallas (-2) - W D W W L - Dallas suffered their first loss in a while in spite of playing Houston fairly evenly. Despite never finding an equalizer, they're playing a lot better than I though they would be capable of without Juan Toja of the Magic Hair. That paints a pretty picture for them when he returns. Despite five teams facing two games this week, the geniuses running the Great Oracular MLS Scheduling Machine managed to hand Dallas a bye, so they'll get a chance to lick their wounds and focus on next week.

4. NE Revolution (-2) - W L W L W - Despite another efficient away performance to see off suddenly-stagnant KC, you don't go and get spanked by the cRapids and expect to stay atop the Dogpile. Only one shot on goal out of five, yes count them - five total attempts, against that steaming pile Clavijo's dropping on the pitch at the Big Dick! This week, the Revs return to the dubious comforts of home to face a Red Bull that's re-sprouted two of the sharpest horns in MLS in Angel and Altidore. That back end of the Bull seems pretty ripe for kicking however, if the Gals can drop four on them.

5. Red Bull NY (+2) - L W L W W - It wasn't pretty, but Red Bull had enough firepower to outgun the Beckham Babes (come on, you can't honestly tell me that the likes of Martino and Donovan aren't a bit estrogen-heavy). This week they face a much sterner test with visits to the top two in the East, DC and New England.

6. Chivas USA (+2) - D W W L W - Chivas get back into the swing of things against TFC. We all know TFC is beaten up and that the Goats are really strong at home, so no surprises here. Chivas are a decent little side who won't be fun to face in the playoffs. They've all but sewn up at least the third spot in the West, now they'll need to see if they can improve that road form enough to make a run at the Texas duo at the top of the conference. This week hands them a chance to take advantage of a game in hand with matches against the bottom two in the West, cross-town foes LA and everybody's favorite whipping-boy, RSL.

7. Kansas City Wizards (-2) - W D W L L - It's all gone a bit pear-shaped for the Wiz, but that may be because they've had back-to-back matches with the East's top dogs. The encouraging thing for Onalfo and company will be that EJ looked a bit more involved in the rematch. If they can get him back in the Golden Boot race, KC will start to climb the table, and the Dogpile, again. This week it's all Fire, all the time, as KC gets their second straight home-and-away tie, this time against the resurgent Fire and SeƱor Hunchback.

8. Chicago Fire (+1) - D L W D W - I'm still a bit skeptical about Blanco, but I've been impressed by his play so far, and his golazo this week was something special. Could he have the same sort of effect on Chicago that Gomez had on DC in '04? The Crew have to be getting mighty nervous as they struggle to avoid getting dragged down from behind by the Fire. Osorio's boys have a home-and-away with KC this week and will need to be wary of the attacking threat of the Wiz, though they might just have discovered the tools to unlock KC themselves.


9. Columbus Crew
(-3) - L W D L L - It's all starting to unravel for the Crew as they slide inevitably back towards the chasing pack, with Colorado, LA, and Chicago all hungry for that final playoff spot the Crew continue to cling to. This week brings no relief as they travel to Houston for a weekend date with the mighty Dynamo.

10. Colorado Rapids (+1) - L D L W W - Don't look now, but the cRapids are on a winning streak! Sure it's only two games and they were both at home in the cloud city of Denver, but they were also against the Dynamo and the Revs, two of the scrappers on the block. Could Clavijo put together an unlikely playoff run? They'll get a chance to face one of their rivals for that final playoff spot as they welcome Cirque du LA into town this week, with all of the chaos and revelry that visit implies.

11. LA Galaxy (-1) - D D L L L - Another loss, but this time they got some goals in a nine goal thriller in New York. They'll finally get a chance to trot out Beckham for an MLS match in front of the "faithful" glitterati at the Toolbox as the LA Derby flares up once again on Thursday Night Futbol, like a bad case of hemorrhoids. Kidding! Kidding! The brutal stretch of fixtures continues with a Saturday trip to visit a Rapids side looking to continue their recent good form.

12. Real Salt Lake - L L L W L - Burned by Blanco and the Fire, Kreis and company fail to build on last week's rare success. At this point it's all about finding out who you'll want to keep around for next season and planning what moves to make over the winter to finally create a contender to play in the new stadium that's coming to town. This week brings a visit from a Chivas side that can be vulnerable on the road.

13. Toronto FC - L L D L L - It's increasingly looking like it's all about the draft position now, isn't it? TFC is coming down with a severe case of expansion fever and looks to be just about out of the playoff race baring a miraculous surge down the stretch. This week brings a visit from new top dogs DC, so if my current form holds, Toronto should skate away with the 3 points in that encounter.

So, a new top dog atop the pack, though they don't have a comfortable perch. Recent form suggests that DC may be building for a strong run into the playoffs, but every time they've threatened this kind of form this season, the wheels have fallen off. Can Tommy Soehn figure out the formula to keep the wins coming and the goals flowing? This week will provide a strong test as DC get a chance to use one of their games in hand to vault up into the midst of that lead pack and stake their claim on the Supporters' Shield. The jinx is well and truly on now.

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