MLS Dogpile - Curse of the Alpha Dog

Alpha Dog

1. (+5) Columbus Crew (WLWWW)
My, oh my. Sigi's boys continue their winning ways at the House of Glidden, with yet another scrappy Moreno goal propelling them to the top of the table. The Hard Hats aren't exactly dominating the opposition, but they're hard to break down and they're getting just enough goals to win all these close games. It's hard to argue with results, so with that less-than-stirring endorsement, let's put the Crew atop the Pile this week. It hasn't been an easy throne to sit upon thus far in the young season, so I'll be watching KC's visit to Sigi's Hut next week with a good deal of interest. I still think it's only a matter of time before they start getting exposed--the only question is what happens first: (1) the goals dry up, (2) their luck runs out, or (3) a few key injuries start to take their toll.

The Playoff Pack

2. (+1) New England Revolution (LWLDW)
Wounded, suspension-riddled, on the road--it just doesn't matter to the Revs. Nicol keeps pulling the plasma from the pumice and putting results on the board. And unlike some recent road trips, they weren't just hanging on in this one (though admittedly, that may have more to do with not being reduced to 10-men). What more can you say? The Revs are back, and once again, they're a solid side--tough to beat and with the weapons to hurt you. Next up is a chance for some sweet revenge as Blanco and the Fire pay a visit to the Big Razor.

3. (+1) Chicago Fire (DWWLW)
Back aboard the Win Express with John Thorrington serving as conductor, though full credit to the Rapids for fighting back and nearly snatching a point late. The Fire have been in the upper reaches of the table all season, but I still can't help but think that there is a bit of smoke and mirrors action going on. Something about the Fire just doesn't feel like a serious contender. Maybe I'm missing something here, but I'm fully expecting them to hit a rough patch and sink further back into the midst of the pack soon. They've got a decent chance of starting that patch next week with a visit to a Revs side that might be looking for a little payback for that 4-0 hammering the Fire handed out at the beginning of the season.

4. (-2) FC Dallas (DDWWL)
TIIIIMMMBERRR!!! And the last undefeated team in MLS comes crashing down after just five games. So much for a Dallas bid to be Alpha Dog. Dallas played the Revs fairly even, but that's a Revs side missing some firepower, so Morrow's men may feel that they missed a big opportunity here. Despite the loss, the Hoops (and I'm gonna keep using Hoops until you give me a better nickname, tps!) are still atop the Western Conference and will be facing some easier opposition next week in the form of the Quakes 2.0, though they'll have to do so on the road.

5. (-4) Kansas City Wizards (WLDWL)
The Curse of the Alpha Dog strikes again! Every team that climbs to the top of the pile seems to be beaten back down almost immediately. This week, KC got their turn, being stomped down by Amado Guevara and the surging TFC at Fortress BMO. Next week, the Wiz will have a chance for the immediate reply as league-leaders Columbus (I still can't freakin' believe I just wrote that!) pop up next on their HUD. It bears noting that KC are paying the price for all of those early games at home in the ballpark with an extended road trip that doesn't seem to be doing their league position much good.

6. (+2) New York Red Bulls (--WLDW)
Back in the win column as Jozy drags the Bulls past a determined, but toothless Quakes side in front of the handful of folks who bothered to turn up at the Swamp. Osorio's men never looked like losing this one, but it took them a while to break down the opposition. Nevertheless, the stats will be grim reading for Yallop, as his side were pretty much dominated by the Swamplanders. Altidore is off the mark and Reyna turned in yet another quality performance. Will the former Captain America finally be able to live up to his Designated Player tag? He'll have the chance to do so on a pretty big stage next week as his side visit the seething cauldron of red up in Toronto on Thursday Night Futbol.

7. (+5) Los Angeles Galaxy (LWLDW)
Screw the Mexicutioner. I'm going to dub Donovan El Pescado Grande to compliment Ruiz, El Pescadito. Big Fish? Sure, what else would you call a Landon Donovan swimming in this particular MLS pond? Not that I'm begrudging him his life choices. If he wants to live in SoCal and happiness means more than money or professional acclaim and accomplishment, more power to the kid. That said, he should be plying more testing waters, and he really doesn't need to pull that kind of lame hand-ball cheating crap either. I really try hard not to hate my fellow man, but some of them make it so, so difficult, don't they? Regardless, the Galaxy are certainly an offensive force. But did you see Xavier rumblin', bumblin', stumblin' about in the LA defense? Wow. Shaky is just not a strong enough word. Come what may, the Galaxy are going to be more fun than a Mexican soap opera this year--who wants to chip in and get Landycakes the ugly mole? Next up will be the hilarity that ensues whenever anybody tries to play a game on that trampoline surface in Salt Lake. Good luck with that, Galacticos!

8. (+3) Toronto FC (LLWWW)
Three in a row and it all seems to be coming together for TFC. The Reds turned in a solid performance led by one-time MLS problem child Amado Guevara, who scored both goals in the 2-0 victory at Fortress BMO. The fans finally have something to cheer about as their side steamroll the Alpha Dogs and continue their rapid ascent up the Dogpile. But a potential roadblock arises this Thursday in the form of a Red Bulls side that has been playing some pretty decent stuff themselves in the early days of the season. That said, TFC will be at home, and that fanatical support will look (and probably sound) even better under the lights.

Bum-sniffing Omega Mutts

9. DC United (LWLLW)
So, is 4-1 the only score that United can win by? A tasty morsel of savory revenge for the Black-and-Red as they pull RSL apart to climb off the foot of the table. Despite the win, United still showed moments of vulnerability at the back, don't look entirely on the same page yet, and haven't proven they can take the show on the road. They'll get a chance next week with a Sunday visit to the Rapids Rocky Mountain aerie.

10. Colorado Rapids (WLWLL)
Not an awful loss, but a loss regardless. The Rapids have now dropped back to back matches after a solid start to the season. Despite that worrying sign, McManus sticks one in the net to cap a couple of weeks worth of promising performances. At the start of the season, I said that the Rapids were only a reliable striker away from being a team that might make some noise this season. Can McManus answer that call? Much will rest on next week's home match against DC United, who have traditionally had trouble in Colorado.

11. (-4) Houston Dynamo (LDDDL)
Houston, we've got a major problem. The defending champs are mired at the foot of the table and are the only winless side in MLS. They're not getting thumped, in fact they seem to be playing reasonably well, bar the occasional hiccup at the back, but they can't seem to find the winning formula--the inverse Columbus if you will. Can Kinnear right the reeling ship? He's got a big chance next week at home against a Chivas defense that has given new meaning to the word porous. Whatever the case, you've got to feel that something has to give and one of these sides will use next week as a springboard back into the thick of things in the Western Conference.

12. (-7) Chivas USA (DWLLL)
Ouch, ouch, triple . . . no quadruple . . . no quintuple OUCH! Bent over by Lalas' Abomination for five goals? Yikes! Taking a gander at the stats and highlights, the Chivas attack didn't look too bad, but what was that mess that they're claiming is a defense? Their opponents were supposed to be sporting the doormat back line, but Chivas decided to up the ante (absolutely not a Razov pun, I assure you!) with a truly awful outing, punctuated by El Guzano brainfarts. I'm not sure if I mentioned it in the pre-season stuff, but I was wondering if he'd have a Convey-esque reaction to the failed work-permit bid and turn in similarly lackluster, disinterested performances as a result. Whatever the case, he and the Chivas back line better get their act together soon because it's starting to look increasingly desperate with eleven goals shipped in the last three matches. Next up comes a visit to fellow struggling giants Houston in a battle to get the big engines purring once again.

13. Real Salt Lake (DLWLL)
The downward spiral continues for Kreis as last week's battling loss in Toronto is followed by a thumping in DC. Still, they fought until the end and nearly managed to make things interesting in the latter stages. RSL are a decent team, who nearly looked like recovering once they went down 2-0, but their confidence will be a bit battered after shipping four. Can they recover quickly? They'll certainly have the chance to net a few against LA's woeful defense next week, but they'll have to avoid more than one LDS this week--namely Landon Donovan Scoring (again, and again, and again--like the Energizer Bunny with male pattern baldness).

14. San Jose Earthquakes (-LLWL)
One win does not a season make, and New York showed that last weekend's victory isn't going to be the norm for the Quakes. Once again, they battled gamely, but the lack of a cutting edge really hampers their chances, particularly on the road. Will the second home match be a bit of a scoring tonic? The Quakes will certainly hope so as they head home to host Western Conference leaders Dallas.


  1. I noticed over the last few days that the new Dallas shirts, both home and away, do indeed have one hoop at the bottom! So I think "the Hoop" is the right nickname for them.

  2. I was thinking that I might go with "StarCows" based on the logo. Maybe HoopCows?