1. New England Revolution (WWDWW)
The Revs dare to mess with Texas and come up trumps, their victory in Houston combining with Chicago's loss in Dallas to make them the unquestioned Alpha Dogs of MLS. Riding Matt Reis' heroics and Nicol's uncanny knack for polishing unknown turds to reveal previously unsuspected diamonds, the Revs aren't winning games in a dominating fashion, they're just taking the games as they come and dealing with them in a frighteningly efficient manner. Next up for the Revolution buzz saw? Home to the suddenly becalmed Good Ship Osorio in midweek followed by a Saturday date with Kreis & Co. on the plastic stuff out west.
The Playoff Pack
2. Chicago Fire (WLWLL)
Ouch. Back to back losses and suddenly Chicago's rosy picture starts to go all dim. Did the McBride speculation knife them in the back? Did they just peak too early? Honestly, who saw this team being dominant throughout the season? 20 shots, with 10 on goal for Dallas seems way to many for a side that has been defending as well as Chicago have. Nevertheless, results elsewhere see the Fire continue to cling to their #2 spot. Next up is a visit to Chivas USA, and a battle of two recently hot teams that seem to have gone off the boil a bit. Failure to get a result against the Goats will virtually guarantee a tumble down the Pile.
3. Houston Dynamo (LDWWL)
Bereft of their top attacking options, the Orange trip, stumble, and fall against league-leading New England, despite putting out a decent performance. Perhaps if some of their sharper blades were ready to hand, more damage could have been done, but with the form that the cue-ball-pated jungle cat Matt Reis is in (apologies to Mister Hudson ;-), it's hard to say. Next week, it's Clavi-hole Time as the Dynamo pack their bags for the misty mountains, where the Rapids often go down, not so much with a bang as with a whimper.
4. (+1) Toronto FC (WLWLW)
TFC look to steal the crown of See-Saw Champions of the Universe off the heads of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal by continuing their pattern of alternating wins and losses. It was a solid outing for a Reds side bereft of Guevara's playmaking influence, and they'll be fairly confident of avoiding a loss next time out as the rudderless Wizards find themselves nowhere near Kansas and desperate for any sort of result.
5. (+1) Los Angeles Galaxy (LWWLW)
Buddle can't stop knocking them in at the moment. It's enough to make you wonder if anybody in the Galaxy FO (hey, Big Red!) is kicking themselves about now (sadly, they're probably not). The current run that they're on has featured only one of the three big stars. Makes you wonder if they could have taken a little of that Galactico money and sprung for a decent complementary cast and some reasonable depth. Next up for the Gals is a visit from the Crew.
6. (-2) Chivas USA (WWWLL)
An inability to finish their chances and a goalkeeping howler from Guzan's backup see Chivas drop their second straight 1-0 result. Next up is a mouth-watering Thursday Night Futbol matchup with the Fire. Both sides have been in good form over the last month or so, but have dropped their last couple of matches and will be desperate for a result. The presence of Blanco is sure to get the America fans and neutrals out in numbers to cheer El Hunchbacko, while the Chivas fans will be getting behind their red-headed stepchild of a club (no, not you, Jim Curtin--oh sit down, you Ronald McDonald-looking goofball!) in hopes that he'll leave the HDC dejected.
7. (+1) Columbus Crew (DLLLW)
The Crew hit the brakes on their current skid by demolishing a lackluster KC in their precious little ballpark. But then, KC really are ripe for poundings these days, and the Crew only had to put in a reasonable effort to come away with the win. Next up is a bird of an entirely different feather as Sigi heads back to LA to face his old team, the LA Galaxy.
8. (+2) DC United (LWDWW)
The Black-and-Red resurgence continues as DC dump the Metrobulltards and take hold of the eighth and final playoff spot, as well as the final berth in the Playoff Pack. Emiligol is creeping his way up the scoring charts and the offense looks to be approaching its dangerous best. But questions still abound at the back for a team that has yet to post a shutout in MLS this season. Despite limiting the Bulls to one shot on goal, that shot went in, and there were a few posts and last-ditch tackles that played their part in ending more goal-scoring opportunities. Next up is another in the long stretch of home matches as the expansion Quakes 2.0 pay a visit to RFK.
Bum-sniffing Omega Mutts
9. (+2) FC Dallas (WDLLW)
Stupid Hoops--can't even get the cliché right. You're supposed to wait for the new coach to actually be in charge before you go and have one of those obscenely unexpected results! Regardless, Cooper and Co. dumped Blanco's boys, and Oduro really should have made the scoreline more comfortable. If that front pair can keep clicking, the combination of Oduro's pace and Cooper's skill and size just might have the makings of a very special tandem. Dallas travel to the Swamp next week to take on a Red Bulls side that are looking increasingly desperate for the replacements (Alidore-sale-financing now available!) that are bound to be hopping off the boat--and not a moment too soon for Osorio.
10. (+2) Real Salt Lake (LLWDW)
What, what, WHAT? RSL have put together a string of results! A tiny string, to be sure--but a string nonetheless. Kreis and Co. rode their luck a little, but emerged with a victory against a pretty good Chivas side, and in their house to boot. Next week it's back home to host a pair of matches featuring the league-worst Quakes in midweek and the league-best Revs at the weekend. Can the run possibly continue?
11. (-4) New York Red Bulls (DLLWL)
DC brought the hammer down, and the Bulls had no answer. Well, to be fair, most of their answers were on the shelf, and van den Bergh as the sole attacking threat is no way to win a match, but DC were missing influential starters as well. Osorio has got some major tinkering to do if he's going to turn this one around, but he proved capable of doing that in Chicago last year. Can he find the players he needs in the summer transfer window? One thing is for certain--he won't find them before this week, packed with a Wednesday trip to the Revs and a Saturday home date with FC Dallas.
12. (-3) Colorado Rapids (WLWLL)
So much for the Rapids' streak of alternating wins and losses. Much like last week, they went way behind and couldn't quite find a way back into the match. Good God, will someone out in Denver wake up and fire Clavijo's arse already? They've got the makings of a decent little side, but it's guaranteed to be going nowhere with Fernando at the helm. Next Up? Back to the Dick for a date with the Dynamo.
13. San Jose Earthquakes (LWLWL)
One shot on frame at home is bad. When the MLS Video crew is putting up through balls to nowhere and crosses that are never in danger of finding a head as your offensive highlights, that's worse. The latest installment of the Cali Derby was just a continuation of the Edson Buddle show, and the Quakes will be delighted to see the back of him. They've got a busy week ahead as they travel to Salt Lake and the nation's capital to face a couple of sides that are on good runs of late.
14. Kansas City Wizards (LDLDL)
The Wiz are in a serious funk with nary a win in sight, and the bottom-feeding Quakes are closing in behind them on the table. Two shots on goal at home and neither coming from the DP Lopez--not exactly a recipe for success is it? It's not going to get any easier as Onalfo and company hit the road for the Frozen White North next weekend.