1. DC United | DWWDW | Next: FRI@KC
The first half looked about what I expected, with United flat and TFC believing they might nick a result off the distracted top dogs. But Moreno and Olsen came off the bench to inspire and United looked a more potent force in the second half, grabbing four to bring them closer to a second straight Supporters' Shield. After a Tuesday dance with some south-of-the-border Goats in the Copa Sudamericana, they'll return to MLS action on Friday in KC, probably in front of about twelve people.
2. (+1) Houston Dynamo | DDWWW | Next: SUN-LA
The Orange thrashed the Hoops in the cross-state derby, but will probably be doing without Ricardo Clark for a handful of matches after his attempt to volley El Pescadito into next week. After a bit of a wobble, the Dynamo are finishing the season strong and keeping their Western Conference and faint Supporters' Shield hopes alive. They're home this weekend with a chance of dashing LA's whispered hopes of an unlikely run to the playoffs.
3. (-1) Chivas USA | WWDWD | Next: SAT@RSL
Finally a packed Toolbox for the deserving Goats, but unfortunately it seemed that most were there to see Blanco. Chivas was guilty of some wasteful finishing, but were on the right end of two penalty decisions in the late going, ultimately managing a draw to keep their unbeaten streak alive. Next up is a road date with the improving RSL, where three points are a must if the Goats hope to entertain dreams of their first ever silverware.
4. New England Revolution | WLWDW | Next: SAT@Fire
Did enough to get past the struggling Rapids on a late goal. The Revs haven't been in sparkling form, but they're finding ways to win and keep their Eastern Conference and Supporters' Shield ambitions alive. Next up is a significantly more daunting fixture as they visit Blanco and the Fire in Chicago, needing a win to keep their title ambitions alive.
5. (+1) Chicago Fire | WDDDD | Next: SAT-Revs
The draws keep coming for Blanco and company as they get a big point on the road against Chivas, but are frustrated by late penalty decisions that went against them. Next up is another big test as the paper-thin, but still rolling, Revs come to Chi-town on Saturday.
6. (+1) Red Bull NY | WLDDD | Next: THR@TFC
The Bulls are inching towards the playoffs, one point at a time, earning a third consecutive draw, this time at home to RSL. Not a particularly impressive run of results to close the season. The leaky back line should see them sputter and fall early in the playoffs despite all of their potential attacking threat. The big question on Thursday Night Futbol will be, "can the Bulls' incompetent 'D' keep TFC's impotent strike force from finding the net?"
7. (-2) FC Dallas | WLDLL | Next: SAT@Crew
Wow, Denílson's been like a grenade tossed in amongst the scattering Hoops. They were stumbling a bit when he arrived, but they're now in complete disarray as the playoffs approach. They still have the potential to be a dangerous side, but after this latest thumping at the hands of Houston, they'll be missing Ruiz for at least a couple of matches and need to start building a bit of chemistry before the post-season arrives. They'll visit a Crew side desperate for results this weekend.
8. (+2) LA Galaxy | LDWWW | Next: SUN@Dynamo
When you wish upon a star, Pete Vagenas draws red cards. After completely dominating for most of the match, KC hands the SuperClub a SuperLifeline by getting two reds and letting in LA's only shot on goal. The Gals followed up with a third consecutive victory, this time away to the Crew, and are now hot on the trail of a unlikely tale of redemption. Yallop, freed from the tyranny of Lalas' meddling by the transfer deadline, is starting to put the disparate pieces together. What are the chances that all three major playoff contenders stumble just as the Gals surge, leaving it till the last game or two for Becks to make his triumphant return and drive LA into the playoffs? The Munchen men might have to hand over the FC Hollywood title if this story-line plays out. We'll know if the Cinderella story is for real after this weekend as the Gals make the difficult trip to Houston.
9. (+2) Real Salt Lake | LDDWD | Next: SAT-Chivas
The unbeaten run now stretches to four on the back of a tie with Red Bull, but unfortunately, three of those "unbeaten" results are of the draw variety. A couple more victories might have seen Kreis' boys make an unlikely playoff challenge, but it's too little, too late for RSL. Thought they're not playoff-bound, they have a big chance to affect the Supporters' Shield race this weekend with a visit from high-flying Chivas on the cards. Despite coming into the league at the same time, the two clubs find themselves at wildly opposite ends of the table spectrum.
10. (-2) Kansas City Wizards | LDWLL | Next: FRI-DC
Onalfo's men are officially in a tailspin and you have to wonder what they have against Pete Vagenas. Two reds for late tackles on the same hombre? You'd think he'd been out getting a bit of action from some of the Wizettes (or is that Witches...Sorceresses?), but come on, just look at him! Whatever the case, KC still outplayed LA, but couldn't find the net. The chasing pack is closing in fast and they'll have to deal with suspensions to two regulars owing to the red cards. Wither EJ and his scoring boots? As a United fan, I'll be hoping that they're still looking for answers Friday night.
11. (-2) Columbus Crew | DLLWL | Next: SAT-Dallas
Why are clubs trying so hard to avoid the playoffs? I call Beck-spiracy! The Crew can't find the finishes and allow the Galaxy to march into their house and out with three precious points. A doubly bad result as LA have now clawed their way back into the fight for the final playoff spots that the Crew find themselves embroiled in. A big chance to get a positive result this weekend as they entertain a seemingly hapless Dallas side struggling for form.
12. Colorado Rapids | DLDLL | Next: SUN-TFC
The wheels are off and Clavijo's trying to steer them home on sparking rims, but I just can't see it happening for the Rapids. They made their post-season push about a month too early without the horses to sustain it, and now it's all falling apart, the latest symptom of the collapse a late game defensive error against the Revs. If they can't get a win at home against a TFC side that will be operating on two days rest, you can tag the Rapids for the morgue, cause they'll have no hopes of making the post-season.
13. Toronto FC | LLDLL | Next: THR-NYRB, SUN@Rapids
A promising first half, but reality intrudes upon the second as TFC go down hard on the wrong end of a 4-1 scoreline in RFK. It's hard to see them finishing anywhere but the bottom as RSL and LA make late-season pushes. They'll get two shots at respectability this week as they draw the defensively inadequate Red Bulls on Thursday Night Futbol, followed by a visit to the suddenly struggling Rapids on Sunday.