MLS Dogpile - The West Strikes Back

Alpha Dog

1. Chicago Fire (WWWLW)
The Alpha Dogs have the week off to survey their domain. Despite the Revs getting their noses temporarily in front on the table, Chicago are still the form team in the league, and if they can get their hands on McBride--as has been rumored--imagine how much more deadly they can be. Forget Barrett missing chance after chance and tripping over his own feet. Better get those boots ready, MLS, cause you're probably going to be quaking in them. The well-rested Fire will entertain DC United, a side that they have owned rather comprehensively, next weekend, with the added benefit of United having played a midweek game as well.

The Playoff Pack

2. New England Revolution (LWWWD)
An hour into their Thursday Night Futbol date with DC, the Revs looked overwhelmed and on the edge of being dead and buried. But when DC started to tire, the Revs speed and heart came through to salvage a point. While DC have the talent to be a great team, they aren't there yet, so being bossed about in your own house by a struggling team doesn't bode well for a high spot on the Dogpile. Nicol's boys will be served an admirable chance to return to form with a visit from sputtering Dallas on Friday night.

3. (+1) Toronto FC (DDWLW)
TFC was missing more starters than LA, but it didn't matter because TFC are a TEAM. The Galaxy minus the Galacticos are little more than an average college side. Fortunately for the Gals, TFC didn't take advantage of the numerous opportunities the lame LA defense provided, or it would have been a severe blow to LA's goal difference. Next up for the Reds is a Sunday night stopover in Houston.

4. (+3) Chivas USA (DLWWW)
The rebirth continues as teenage sensation Flores makes it 3 goals from 3 matches, and Chivas claim their third straight win at the expense of the high-flying Crew. Despite still missing large swathes of their roster to injury, Chivas came out hard, took an early 2-goal lead, and probably should have piled a few more on top of that. Next up is a road visit to the stagnant Red Bulls.

5. (+3) Houston Dynamo (WWLDW)
Houston created chances on the road in the Lone Star Derby--more in fact than their hosts, but will probably accept the draw after falling behind twice. The attack seems to be starting to function at long last, and if they can tighten things up a bit, they should start creeping back towards the top. At the weekend, they took all three points after a strong second half showing against the Red Bulls to make it only one loss in the last five outings. Their mettle will be tested this week with a midweek visit to a DC United side showing signs of waking up from their early season slumbers, followed by a home date with TFC on Sunday.

6. (-3) Columbus Crew (WWDLL)
The Sig-sters are hitting the skids a bit after a second consecutive loss. Despite shipping two early goals and going a man down midway through the first half, the Crew showed more fight than I would have given them credit for and nearly managed to snatch a goal back. That said, Chivas probably should have put in more than the two that they did. What better tonic then, for a struggling team, than to have the expansion Quakes 2.0 paying a visit at the weekend?

7. (+2) Colorado Rapids (WLWLW)
That pathetic, half-empty Dick doesn't deserve this team. One can only wonder how good they would be without being shackled to Clavijo. As it is, note the up-down, up-down of their recent form for a clue as to why I still can't bring myself to believe in these guys. Will the pattern continue? Stay tuned for next weekend's date away to the Galaxy for the answer.

8. (-2) Los Angeles Galaxy (DLWWL)
Starless, toothless, and tripping over their own feet in defense, the Gals should have been hammered harder than the 2-0 rollicking TFC delivered. When the Gals can't attack, they're particularly vulnerable, and it showed. Back on the left coast next weekend, the Gals will entertain a Rapids side eager to pad their lead atop the West.

Bum-sniffing Omega Mutts

9. (-4) New York Red Bulls (DWDLL)
The Bulls have hit the brakes on a promising early season with only 5 points from the last 15 available and just a point from the last three matches. They held Houston for one half, but in the second, they never really looked like getting a draw, much less a victory. It's back home to the Swamp next week to prepare for Thursday Night Futbol against the suddenly surging Goats.

10. FC Dallas (LLWDL)
Despite taking the lead twice in the Lone Star Derby, Dallas can't seal the deal and take only one point at home. I haven't been able to watch too much of Dallas, but the highlights I've seen of Cooper show me a guy that needs to be in the national team sooner rather than later, particularly given his ability to hold the ball and create for teammates. Having said that, he was missing in action against the Rapids--though to be fair, most of his teammates were as well, and the 2-1 loss was a bit flattering to FCD. Next up, it's Friday Night Lights in New England against the league-leading Revs.

11. (+1) DC United (LLLWD)
The first half was something to behold, as United finally looked like the deadly force they were supposed to be. Unfortunately, United failed to create a commanding lead, and once they started running out of steam and started to try and protect the lead, the defensive frailties that have haunted the club all season reared their ugly heads. A point on the road to one of the league leaders is promising, and the commanding first hour or so indicate that the ship may be headed in the right direction, but DC still doesn't have the knack for finishing off wounded prey. If they had, they would have finally climbed off the bottom of the Eastern Conference. There are six points potentially on the table this week, but they won't be easy as DC face a midweek home date with the rebounding Dynamo, followed by a weekend trip to Chicago--their bogey-club and the current Alpha Dogs.

12. (-1) Kansas City Wizards (WLLDL)
A week off to lick their wounds and watch DC creep up closer on their heels at the foot of the Eastern Conference. Fortunately, the table is still packed relatively tight, so if the Wiz can manage a result or two, they'll be right back in the thick of things. They've got a golden opportunity with a visit to RSL next weekend, given that Kreis' boys just won a game, and they've never been able to string a consistent set of results together.

13. (+1) Real Salt Lake (DWLLW)
RSL torch the Quakes to win the battle at the bottom and move off the foot of the pile. Now comes the RSL Curse--they've managed a comprehensive victory, but can they build upon that success? History lobs us a big, emphatic metric ass-load of "NO". There you go KC--have at them on that pathetic plastic patch next weekend.

14. (-1) San Jose Earthquakes (DLLWL)
The Quakes were never really in this one, despite making through the first half relatively unscathed. It's going to be a long, slow, grind of a season for the Quakes 2.0, but they only have to look to Toronto to see a model of what might be. Next up is a trip to the struggling Crew, who haven't been scoring lately, and so might present the Quakes with a chance for some desperately-needed points.

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