1. Columbus Crew (LWWWW)
Another week, another win for Sigi's boys. That said, it was yet another win that has to have an asterisk beside it. Some miserable defending let in Rogers for the Crew's second, and just minutes later, Espinoza marks his return to his college haunts by attempting to decapitate Frankie Hejduk (though who among us hasn't longed to do the same--particularly after yet another cross for onrushing USA forwards finds near-Earth orbit after half-a-dozen step-overs?). You'd be forgiven for thinking that at 2-0 up and up a man, the league leaders would stroll to victory. Instead, KC hung around, snatched a goal in the second half and nearly managed to disappoint the half-filled stadium. The Crew continue to ride their luck on the lead horse, but for how long? You've got to think that they can keep things rolling away to the Quakes next week, but then, MLS has a way of throwing up surprises, doesn't it?
The Playoff Pack
2. (+1) Chicago Fire (WWLWW)
The Fire are, appropriately, en fuego. A 3-0 road demolition of Eastern Conference rivals New England allows them to stay within striking distance of the league-leading Crew. Despite not exactly dominating the run of play, the Fire were lethal when they had to be and didn't give up too many good chances. You have to wonder just how strong Hamlett's boys could be if they had a real predator in front of net. Rolfe can score you some great goals, but isn't really a poacher. Barrett might bundle a few in by accident, and Herron can't even dislodge Barrett from the starting lineup. What few looks I've had at Frankowski haven't really convinced me that he's the answer either. I wonder if there will be some summer transfer window activity? Whatever the case, the Fire should be confident heading to RFK as DC United look lost at sea and Chicago historically has their number.
3. (+1) FC Dallas (DWWLD)
A clean sheet on the road is always good, but given the Quakes lack of scoring punch and Dallas' solidity at the back thus far, you'd have to have fancied Dallas to do so. Unfortunately for FCD, they weren't able to bag a goal of their own, and they miss a big opportunity to give themselves some breathing room atop the West. Next week the road show continues at RSL, who will be stung by their inability to hang onto a 2-goal lead against the Galaxy. Probability of easy points for the HoopCows? Unlikely.
4.(-2) New England Revolution (WLDWL)
So what's the deal with the Revs--solid on the road, but hemorrhaging points at home? Rather than exact a pound of flesh in retribution for the 4-0 hammering at Bridgeview earlier in the season, the Revs slump to another heavy defeat, 3-0 this time. Nicol better hope that the Revs don't have to face the Fire in the playoffs, because Blanco and Co. look to have them figured out. The chance of a quick recovery presents itself, however, in the form of a Sunday visit to the struggling Goats.
5. (+1) New York Red Bulls (WLDWD)
Defensive Osorio-ball strikes again! With a paltry 11 shots in the entire game, and only 4 of those on target, the Fortress BMO faithful are to be commended for not being lulled to sleep. I did manage to catch sight of a couple of set piece goals through all of the streamers, though both fouls leading up to the goals didn't look to be all that convincing. But since when has Abi Okulaja ever needed too much convincing? The Bulls parade rolls on to La-La Land in what might be billed as a clash of the MLS titans if it weren't for LA having zilch for depth and the Red Bulls having zilch for trophies.
6. (+2) Toronto FC (LWWWD)
Four games unbeaten, but TFC can't afford to drop points at home if they want to be a serious contender. Despite the draw, the Reds are looking a much more convincing side than they were just one month ago. It's a real shame that with all the momentum built up by a four-game unbeaten run, they'll be taking a week off from league play.
7. Los Angeles Galaxy (WLDWD)
You've got to figure that 25k showing up to that abominable patch of plastic in Salt Lake means that the Cirque du LA is in town. And the ringmaster did not disappoint. Beckham delivered two quality goals to frustrate RSL and extend the Galaxy's unbeaten run to three. Donovan finally stopped scoring by the bucketload, but I could have told you he would, considering that I just added him to my fantasy team this week ;-). Still, LA showed heart in coming back from 2-0 down to earn the draw. When Ruiz finally gets back on the pitch, things could start to get really interesting for the Galacticos.
8. (-3) Kansas City Wizards (LDWLL)
Tough luck for KC as the 10-men can't complete a late comeback against the hard-hatted Alpha Dogs. Espinoza's rap sheet for violent conduct continues to grow in the wake of this week's dismissal. Anybody else remember who caused Valentin's blood face in the NCAA final? Onalfo's boys will get a chance to brood over the pair of road losses as they sit at home in front of the plasma sets next weekend.
Bum-sniffing Omega Mutts
9. (+1) Colorado Rapids (LWLLW)
The two-game skid comes to an end with a convincing victory over United at the Dick, in front of a less than convincing crowd. Colorado has shown an affinity for getting a decent result, but they can't seem to do so reliably. The key for Clavijo will be establishing consistency. With the West looking more and more of a wounded animal this year, the Rapids have a chance to build on their early successes. And speaking of wounded, look who turns up next on the Rapids' schedule. Savaging the Dynamo might go quite a ways towards pressing their claims on the Western crown.
10. (-1) DC United (WLLWL)
Okay, okay, so United never wins in Colorado. That's a pretty lame and conspicuously convenient excuse. Things are starting to look seriously FUBAR in United-land as the team can't seem to find the same page, and Soehn can't even find the book. And now you get VW on board as a jersey sponsor? Great! Volkswagen and that controversial eagle plastered on black Adidas shirts . Cripes! As if teams need more reason to hate United beyond their trophy cabinet! Now they'll get teams all jazzed up playing Call of Duty or Medal of Honor on the team bus, ready to kick some Nazi ass. And don't look now, but Chicago, with their history of Polish fans and players, not to mention history of violence towards United's playoff ambitions, is coming calling on Thursday Night Futbol. Will the hurting never stop?
11. (+2) Real Salt Lake (LWLLD)
Frustration reigns supreme as RSL halt the losing skid, but surrender a two-goal lead and two points. That said, they did look to have been robbed of a winner by an errant lineman's flag, though half-interested viewing of grainy video in a tiny browser window and my hatred of LA may just have biased me a touch. Regardless, it's a result against one of the leaders in the West, and RSL will take every point they can get at this point. They'll need them to start coming in threes if they expect to challenge for a playoff spot though. Next week brings another legitimate contender for "Best in the West", as Dallas pay a visit to the Plastic Palace.
12. Chivas USA (WLLLD)
It was only a point, but the draw was a significant result for the Goats, not only because it halts the losing skid while on the road to a pretty good (albeit struggling at the moment, but still talented) side, but because they managed to keep a clean sheet. Guzan looked like Preki may have given him a bit of a boot up the backside this week, because he looked sharper and more confident than you would have expected, given his recent struggles. Suarez will be missing next week after taking a bullet (okay, okay, a red card then) for the team, so it will be interesting to see if the newfound defensive strength was Chivas coming together or Houston's impotence. They'll get an immediate test in the form of a Revs side licking the wounds of a 3-0 home battering at the hands of the Fire.
13. (-2) Houston Dynamo (DDDLD)
Oh, how the mighty have fallen! The Battle at the Bottom ends inconclusively as Houston fail to beat fellow strugglers Chivas at home. Houston shaded the chances, though the Goats fashioned a few of their own, and I suppose the only saving grace of Houston's struggles is that they've only lost two games all season. They haven't won any, that's true, but it's not like losing is becoming a habit--it's just a matter of finding the goals, something that I thought might trouble them with a lack of speed up top and Ching struggling to get out of his wheelchair. Next week brings a visit from a Colorado side that looks like it may be fancying its chances amongst the wounded Western Conference herd.
14. San Jose Earthquakes (LLWLD)
Yallop's Quakes 2.0 are still struggling mightily for goals, as evidenced by putting only a solitary shot on frame in a home match. A home match against Western Conference pace-setters Dallas, but a home match nonetheless. It's going to be a long, long season in Quakes-land. Hope nobody dies of expansion fever before the league-leading Crew arrive next weekend.