MLS Dogpile - Diamonds in the Excrement

Alpha Dog

1. (+2) Chicago Fire (WWWLW)
Wow, wow, and triple-wow! Round One of the Osorio grudge match goes to Blanco and Co. as they steamroll the previously defensively-sound Bulls to the tune of 5-1--in the Swamp! Talk about a statement game. There can't be much doubt that the Fire are currently the class of the league. Still, I can't help but feel that Barrett's pair were more by luck than skill (or perhaps lame Barrett + even-lamer Conway = goals), and I wonder if the lack of a reliable, consistent finisher is going to hurt them in the long run. But then, there's always the summer transfer window to address such concerns, and that's really the only weakness that they're displaying at the moment. The Fire will have a week off to admire the view down the Dogpile before DC United come calling in a couple of weeks.

The Playoff Pack

2. New England Revolution (WLWWW)
Along with the Fire, the Revs are the other really hot team in the league. They played the Crew fairly even and managed to ride Reis' heroics long enough to nick a late penalty. Even then, it needed a follow up to get the job done, but that's what the Revs do so well--scratch and claw for points. They'll expect more of the same against a waking, but still half-asleep, DC United on Thursday Night Futbol.

3. (-2) Columbus Crew (WWWDL)
Down go the former Alpha Dogs once again! A fairly even match with the visiting Revs, but a combination of Ezra's awkwardness and Matt Reis' stinginess cost Sigi's men in the end. The long winning streak has hit a definite roadblock. Now we get to see if the Crew are for real, or just another early season pretender that got out of the blocks quickly, but doesn't have the quality and depth to sustain their charge. A visit to a recovering Chivas is on the cards for next weekend.

4. (+1) Toronto FC (WDDWL)
Not a particularly convincing win at home, but they got a scrappy goal and held on defensively for three points against United. In the rematch, once again they rode that big, ugly nag named Dichio into the lead--twice, in fact--but were victims of a wounded beast that finally seems to be rousing itself from its early season slumber. The Galaxy come to the Frozen White North next weekend, but they'll probably be a bit dimmed with their stars shining elsewhere.

5. (-1) New York Red Bulls (WDWDL)
Ouch! The Fire bitch-slap their squabble-mates by a healthy margin as the Bull's good run of form hits a brick wall. Osorio's men have looked fairly organized and solid at the back to this point, but they were exposed pretty handily by Blanco et al. I've always though that there was a bit of smoke and mirrors going on back there, so it'll be interesting to see how well they recover next week away to the struggling Dynamo.

6. (+2) Los Angeles Galaxy (WDLWW)
Becks in the limelight, and the Gals are rolling. Just in time to hit an international friendly iceberg that will rob them of their precious few diamonds of talent amid the excrement. I have to say that they're getting results I didn't think they were capable of, even if the manner of their play (lots of goals in both directions) isn't much of a surprise. After a Tuesday Open Cup meeting with the Rapids, it'll be a star-less Galaxy that travels to Fortress BMO this weekend. Unless, of course, we repeat last year's Becks and Donovan globe-trotting extravaganza?

7. (+4) Chivas USA (LDLWW)
The Goats are returning to form, managing two goals on just three shots on frame, and holding on despite the Rapids' statistical domination of the match. Preki will be thanking his lucky stars that the West is so comparatively weak because their rough patch hasn't cost them too much in the conference standings. But the East comes calling next week in the form of a high-flying Columbus that will be looking to right a somewhat wobbly ship.

8. (-2) Houston Dynamo (LDWWL)
Derailed by the lowly Quakes in a win that has to smart doubly in the now-Dynamo's first visit to their former stomping grounds in San Jose. The Dynamo looked to have turned the ship around in the last couple of weeks, but the Quakes were all over them for most of the match, despite a couple of promising periods for the visitors. Nevertheless, losing to the lowly is no way to march up the Pile. The Dynamo will have to do better with a midweek trip across the Lone Star State followed by a home date with a Red Bulls side that will be licking their wounds from an absolute mauling.

Bum-sniffing Omega Mutts

9. Colorado Rapids (LWLWL)
Let's hope all those folks who were quick to hop aboard Fernando's Covered Bandwagon now realize the error of their ways. Here at The Fullback Files, we know that Clavijo sides belong with the Omega Mutts, no matter how good they might pretend to be. Yes, the Rapids are a decent little side, but they're inconsistent, have a terrible coach, and are taking full advantage of being in the weaker West. Despite having the majority of the chances, the Goats were more efficient. Oh well, at least they shipped Kirovski out of town. And it's a pity that McManus had to pick this week to unleash that rocket from distance because Becks is going to snatch Goal of the Week right off McManus' deserving boot, and Lady Justice be damned! Next week, FCD will come calling at the Dick, and we'll see if the up-down, up-down trend continues for the Clavi-holes.

10. (+2) FC Dallas (LDLLW)
Back in the win column despite going behind with only twenty minutes to go. Oduro may have gotten the finishes that show up on the scoresheet, but the highlights were littered with some impressive stuff by Kenny Cooper--nice tight control, good mobility for a big man, and creativity and flair that should make him an interesting option for the National Team. A mobile Viduka? Yes please! This is a key week approaching for FCD--the Lone Star Derby awaits in midweek, followed by a trip to the Dick and a visit with the inconsistent Rapids.

11. (-4) Kansas City Wizards (WLLDL)
Sound the alarms, Curt Onalfo! One point from twelve, and DC seem to be waking up behind you. Another decent effort by the Wiz, but decent efforts don't put points in the bag, and despite Lopez earning his DP paycheck, the rest of the Wiz didn't do enough to threaten that questionable LA defense. True, they did almost manage to get an equalizer despite their impotence, but you'd have to say that LA deserved the win on the balance of play.

12. (+1) DC United (LLLLW)
An improved outing in the first match at BMO, where they probably deserved at least a point, but defensive lapses are still killing United. Fortunately for Soehn, they managed to overcome those same breakdowns in the rematch, coming from behind twice to finally notch their third win of the season. It's a long hard road back to the top, but the two-time defending Supporters' Shield winners know what it takes--if only they can stop the rot at the back. That won't be an easy task this week as they travel to face the Revs on Thursday Night Futbol.

13. (+1) San Jose Earthquakes (LDLLW)
The Once and Future Quakes take a sizable chunk out of the orange hides of the team that used to call San Jose home. Despite having been goal-shy for most of the young season, Yallop's boys were rampant for large patches of the match, indicating that either (1) they're ready to shake the expansion fever and climb off the bottom, or (2) Houston hasn't completely recovered from their woeful start. Next up, Yallop's boys get a chance to claw their way off the bottom as they visit fellow strugglers RSL.

14. (-4) Real Salt Lake (LDWLL)
As if we needed any more reminders that RSL just can't seem to hold it together. Down a man early, but then they get gifted equal strength in a moment of Rhine madness, and actually manage to hit on a counter to go up midway through the second half, despite being nearly overrun by Dallas. But then Odoru stuck a couple past Rimando and that was all she wrote. Business as usual for Kreis and company. It's back to the crappy plastic patch next weekend as the Quakes 2.0 pay their respects to their fellow cellar dwellers.

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