MLS Dogpile - Halfway There or Livin' on a Prayer?

Alpha Dog

1. New England Revolution (WDLWW)
For the second week running, the Revs come out on fire and take the early lead, only to watch that lead erode as the opposition climb right back into a match they had no right getting points from. Still, they did manage to hang on, so that keeps them atop the league and atop the Pile. But now SuperLiga enters the picture, and the Revs will be hoping that by the time they return to league action, their lead in the table still stands.

The Playoff Pack

2. DC United (DWWWW)
No match for United this week as they prepare for the onset of SuperLiga, but results elsewhere go their way with the exception of New England widening their gap at the top. Like the Revs, United will be hoping that their participation in SuperLiga doesn't amount to a slide down the table as they miss opportunities to pick up points. Unlike the Revs, however, United will come out of the break with a couple of games in hand to make up for their absence.

3. Columbus Crew (LWDWD)
Down two, and with their central defense looking glacial and easily penetrated, things looked dire for the Crew, but they fought their way back for a well-earned draw to stretch the unbeaten streak to four. The Crew look good money to make the playoffs as we crest the halfway point, riding a six-point edge on the automatic qualifying spots. So what moves does Sigi make to solidify his chances? Next weekend brings a visit to an RSL side looking to make a playoff push of their own.

4. (+3) Chivas USA (LLWDW)
The Goats leave it late, but Razov bails them out. I keep expecting things to start falling their way because they've got the tools to be a pretty solid team. They did get this result, and they are level with the Gals atop the West, but being atop the West is fairly faint praise these days, as is eking out a win over the league cellar-dwellers. Still, they managed to grab all three points, something that the majority of the Playoff Pack found themselves incapable of this week. Next up is the LA Derby on Thursday Night Futbol.

5. (-1) Houston Dynamo (WLDDD)
After weathering a Real storm for the majority of the match, it came down to the same old song for the Dynamo. They had their chances to grab all three points at the death, but just couldn't stick the ball in the net. Three draws in a row sees a lot of points slipping through the defending champ's orange paws. To add insult to injury, they'll now have to sit back and watch other teams climb past them as they take part in SuperLiga.

6. (-1) Toronto FC (WLWDL)
TFC were off this week, facing Mexican opposition in an international friendly. Unfortunately, a draw with Pachuca (despite the loss on penalties) doesn't count towards their position on the Dogpile. Next week, it's back into the fray for the Reds as they travel to a Fire side that's struggling to return to its early-season form.

7. (+3) Chicago Fire (LLDWD)
So close, and yet, so far. The Fire rushed out to a 2-0 lead with some slick passing through and around the slow Columbus defense. But then it all went sour as the home team fought back for the draw. Still, the rest of their near competition wasn't particularly impressive, so the Fire's good opening leads to a decent climb up the Pile. Can this decent little patch of results improve at home to TFC next week? And whither Brian McBride?

8. (-2) Los Angeles Galaxy (LWDLL)
Back-to-back East-meets-West matches prove that LA's moderately lofty status may have come about as a result of a lame conference. Now they've been sucked back into the scrum for what will probably be only three playoff places for the West. That said, despite the Revs early dominance, the Gals got back into the match and were probably a little unlucky not to grab an equalizer. Will the new defensive help rumored to be arriving make them a real contender? Or will the slight reduction in goal production spark a panic in the front office, causing the typical overreaction of bringing in high-priced attacking talent to "solve" the problem, rather than investing in the areas that could really use some shoring up? Thursday Night Futbol brings us the LA Derby and a chance for the Gals to face opposition from the West again--and consequently a chance to maintain their status among the Playoff Pack.

Bum-sniffing Omega Mutts

9. Real Salt Lake (WDWLD)
If the highlights are to be believed, RSL controlled the opening 80 minutes but somehow couldn't convert their numerous chances. Then the Dynamo gained control for the final 10 minutes and decided to return the favor. Given the relative weakness of the West, it looks like RSL finally have their shot to make the playoffs. The problem is that there's a very realistic chance that only three teams from the West will make it to the post-season dance. They'll get a chance to test their playoff readiness as they host the Crew, a probable post-season participant, this weekend.

10. (+3) Colorado Rapids (LLDLW)
Ah, finally a result! And what a result at that. This is the frustration with the Rapids. You can tell, when they're really on, that they have the firepower and talent to hang with anybody in this league. The problem is consistency, and you've got to lay that squarely at the feet of Clavijo. So, a tentative climb up the Pile is on the cards, but how long until they go sliding back down? Next up is a weekend visit to the Quakes, the perfect opportunity to implode and sink back towards the bottom of the Pile.

11. (-3) New York Red Bulls (LDWDL)
Boom! When do the calvary begin to arrive for Osorio's beleaguered Bulls? It can't come soon enough, as a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of the cRapids makes demonstrably clear. Until that bugle sounds across the Swamp, it's down to the land of the Bum-sniffing Omega Mutts. They'll need to get a result in KC this Thursday as well, otherwise they'll be level on points at the bottom of the East.

12. Kansas City Wizards (DLDWD)
Hard to believe, but the Wiz have only lost one of their last five league matches. Of course, they've only managed to win one as well. KC had the chances to put this one well beyond the reach of Dallas, but as has been the case far too often this year, they struggled to find the net. Averaging less than a goal per game is no way to get back into the playoff picture. Will Wolff be the answer? Baby steps, KC. Let's see if you can get a result against hamstrung New York and start closing up that gap at the bottom of the East first.

13. (-2)FC Dallas (LWLDD)
Anybody else wondering at Dallas' joyous celebrations following their late equalizer . . . at home . . . against a team that's only won one of it's last 9 games and sits on the bottom of the East? Hey, guys? How about rushing to get that ball out of the net and take an unlikely stab at getting it back into play to try for a winner? How about celebrating victories? I suppose that's what we're all going to have to become used to as the Hyndman/Ellinger era begins in Dallas--home draws against crap opposition are a cause for elation. Unfortunately, Dallas are twiddling their thumbs this weekend, and won't have a chance to "build" on their pair of draws.

14. San Jose Earthquakes (LDLDL)
So, so close to another draw, but they can't quite hang on for the full 90 against the Goats. This season was always going to be a struggle for the Quakes, but they're tight enough to make you earn a result. Now, if they could just figure out a way to create a scoring threat, the second half of the season might yield some more promising results. What luck will Yallop have on the transfer market? Whatever it may be, it probably won't be arriving in time to face the visiting Rapids this weekend.

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