MLS Dogpile - The Dangling Sword of Parity

Alpha Dog

1. New England Revolution (DWWDL)
Despite their recent unbeaten run and sometimes frightening efficiency in front of goal, the Revs have been nowhere near as dominant a force as other teams when they hit form (Chicago a month ago, United now, LA until the last 30 minutes on Saturday), mostly relying on Matt Reis to keep them in games. So it was against the Red Bulls. I think it was a few weeks ago that I mentioned the almost obscene number of crosses in a Revs home match (prior to a Brazil friendly, if I'm not mistaken). That same scenario played again, which allowed van den Bergh to continue his deadly use of the left. Fortunately, the Revs countered with a ball swung into the box of their own to escape with a home point. But the road was less kind. Despite a fairly even match with RSL, the Revs couldn't find the result. Still, none of the other top teams did enough to knock them from their Alpha Dog perch. Next up, it's back to the Big Razor and a date with pesky TFC.

The Playoff Pack

2. (+1) Houston Dynamo (DWWLD)
Despite probably being somewhat fortunate to draw away to the Rapids, the Dynamo will also be wondering if they maybe could have won it. Both sides created plenty of chances, pinging the ball off the bar, and will probably go away frustrated by the lack of balls finding the net. If anybody else near the top had managed to grab a result, the Dynamo would have slipped down the Pile. As it stands, they somehow manage to climb up a spot in advance of a Thursday Night Futbol edition of the Lone Star Derby.

3. (+2) Los Angeles Galaxy (WWLWD)
Oh, how I was ready to sharpen my knives and pimp the Beckspiracy after that lame dive that Golden Balls took to set up the Galaxy's third (with nary a decent TV replay to be found--surpise, surprise)! But then, another questionable call from Geiger evened the score and allowed the Crew to grab a late equalizer. Most teams blow hot-and-cold from week to week, sometimes even month to month. The Galaxy do it all within the confines of 90 minutes. SuperClub! SuperClub! Where's Ronaldinho? Oh, the humanity! An offensive juggernaut to be sure, but when you can't defend 2 goal leads (twice!), that's got to be a big worry. Up next is a visit to en fuego DC United in RFK, where LA have had a surprising number of decent results.

4. (+4) DC United (WDWWW)
Don't look now, but last month's whipping boys are the hottest team in the league as their 3-1 victory over the Quakes pushes the tally to five games unbeaten. Of course, they still haven't managed a shut-out, and didn't look particularly comfortable at home to the league's worst side until Riley got himself dismissed late on. But a victory at home against the Galaxy next week should send them off to SuperLiga in a relatively comfortable spot on the table and much further up the Dogpile as well. As it stands, I can't quite boost them higher until I see a little competence from the back line and keeper--something that should be in high demand come the weekend and their home date with the Galaxy.

5. (-1) Toronto FC (LWLWD)
The Reds prove that they're probably maintaining their high league position with a bit of luck and a dollop of smoke and mirrors. At home to one of the worst teams in the league--a team that hasn't won in quite a while--and TFC gets outshot, out-cornered, and generally does their best to frustrate the streamer-toting brigade. It doesn't get any easier next week as they visit a Revs side that will be stung by their poor results over the past week.

6. Chivas USA (WWLLW)
Back to winning ways as Chivas ride Barrett's lame-ass finishing and survive a first half ejection to vault themselves back up the table. When this team gets itself healthy, they're going to be a beast. Assuming, of course, that Guzan doesn't jump ship during the summer transfer window. Next up is a visit from another bumbling, stumbling member of the East, as the Barnyard Derby revives with a visit from the Bulls.

7. Columbus Crew (LLLWD)
Three-quarters of the way into proceedings at the HDC, Sigi's homecoming looked well and truly ruined, but then, as happens so often when the superstars + scrubs of the Galaxy are involved, things went a bit crazy for twenty minutes or so. When the dust settled, the Crew were probably as surprised as any to be holding onto an unlikely point. It's back home next week as they prepare for a visit from the struggling Clavi-holes de Colorado.

8. (+2) Real Salt Lake (WDWDW)
Sweet Jebus! I know, I know--wow, look, RSL is unbeaten in five! But, come on! You can't get three points at home and up a man for an entire half against the worst team in the league? Injury woes to the strike force aside, that's not the type of result that moves you anywhere near the playoff pack. Beating the Revs at home, however, is precisely the sort of win you need. The inconsistency has to be massively frustrating for Kreis. A man up against the expansion Quakes and you draw, but bring the league-leaders in a few days later, and you take all three points. Of course, the other thing that such results point to is the dangling Sword of Parity. We'll see just how awful its finely honed blade can be when RSL pay a visit to a desperate KC side.

Bum-sniffing Omega Mutts

9. (-7) Chicago Fire (LWLLL)
Despite creating some golden chances and playing up a man for over half of the match, Chicago managed to go down in flames against the Goats, making it 4 losses over the last 5 matches for the formerly hottest team in the league. How is Barrett even in the national team picture if he wastes chances like he did in this match? When does McBride ride in on his white horse to save the day? Until they find somebody to finish the chances they create, this is no longer a playoff team. If they can't find the net this week at home to the Quakes, the tumble down the Pile will only continue.

10. (+1) New York Red Bulls (LWLDW)
Trying to stop the slide, the Bulls accomplish step one by grabbing a point away to the league leaders New England. Sadly, in an indictment of the current over-reliance of the Revs on Matt Reis blinders and the African pipeline of unknown barnburners, the Bulls will probably be ruing that late Ralston strike that knotted things up. Lesson to other MLS sides--when playing NY, don't let van den Bergh continue to pump balls into your box, and when playing the Revs? Pump away, my friends! Not a bad end to the week either, as the shorthanded Bulls overcome a lackluster FC Dallas to boost themselves back into the playoff picture, and back up the Dogpile as well. Unfortunately, until Osorio starts bringing in new blood, this isn't a playoff-calibre team over the long haul. Sure, they can get a result here and there, but not consistently. Let's see what they bring to the party this week away to the Goats.

11. (-2) FC Dallas (DLLWL)
The Hoops answer the wildly underwhelming appointment of new boss Schellas Hyndman with a performance to match, going down to the DP-less, floundering Red Bulls with hardly a whimper. Dallas have the pieces to be a pretty solid club, but can the combination of Hyndman and Ellinger find a way to make all of those pieces fit? Prospects? Well nigh unlikely. How will the pair fare in their initial Lone Star Derby? We'll find out this Thursday.

12. Colorado Rapids (LWLLD)
When you get 15 shots in a game and only one is on target, you can bet that Clavijo is involved somehow. The Rapids are full of sound and fury, signifying nothing--lots of chances created, lots of chances squandered. Despite having the edge over the Dynamo, I'm willing to bet that the half-empty Dick was just waiting for Houston to nick an inevitable winner. Ah well, at least the fans will have the option of just turning the TV off next week when the Rapids visit the Crew.

13. (+1) Kansas City Wizards (DLDLD)
Roger Espinoza is quickly gaining a reputation for red in this league, much like the reputation that the Wiz have long since established--in like a lion, looking like a real playoff contender and then out like a lamb being led to slaughter and early vacations. Still, a draw in Fortress BMO isn't the worst of results. KC also created slightly more than their opponents. But, that said, KC needs to start finding wins or they'll quickly lose sight of the pack above them, and any chance of the playoffs along with it. It's back to the ballpark this week, with RSL coming to town to compare notes on how to live with crappy temporary digs.

14. (-1) San Jose Earthquakes (LWLDL)
Down a man in the first half, on the road, coming off a shellacking at home, the Quakes hold on to the nil-nil to grab a point in Salt Lake and edge closer to free falling KC. Not much positive to take from this game besides the clean sheet. They almost managed to end the week on a not entirely disappointing note as they pushed red-hot DC United hard before finally succumbing to their inability to finish and a late red card. Next up is a visit to a suddenly moribund Fire side that may just be ripe for a humiliating home loss.


  1. Columbus in 7th??? Ok

  2. Well, it's all rather subjective, but could you be more specific about what you disagree with? Too low based on their league position? I'd suggest that one win in their last six--and that against the lowly Wizards--makes it generous of me to put them that high.

    To high? Well, then I'm back to the league position, which suggests that maybe they're not that bad after all.

    The Dogpile is a blend of current form, current league position, roster strength/firepower, and a nebulous je ne sais quoi. I'm ready, willing, and eager to debate my admittedly arbitrary rankings, but you've got to give me more to work with than "Columbus in 7th??? Ok".

    C'mon, anonymous--let's have it!