MLS Dogpile - SuperLiga Blues & The Transfer Shuffle

Alpha Dog

1. New England Revolution (WDLWW)
Nobody did much to threaten the Revs lofty position atop the Dogpile, despite their absence from the MLS fixture list due to SuperLiga. Only United and the Crew were really in any position to do so, and United faces SuperLiga as well, while the Crew went down to RSL. The Revs aren't going to be seeing any league action until well after the All Star break. Will their significant lead in the table hold out that long?

The Playoff Pack

2. DC United (DWWWW)
United lost this weekend to Chivas, but fortunately that was in the SuperConfines of SuperLiga, and came at the hands of Chivas de Guadalajara. Even with their absense from league play, none of the teams in position to threaten United's #2 perch did enough to even stake the tiniest of claims. Thus, United stay put for now. The next league action for DC will come in the form of a make-up match against the Dynamo, just days after they meet in SuperLiga action next weekend.

3. (+4) Chicago Fire (LDWDW)
The Fire leave it late, but finally claim the victory that their play deserved. After one of those bog-standard summer patches where an MLS side goes suddenly lame, Chicago appear to be on the mend. Still, the rock-solid defense that saw them sprint to the head of the class in the early going hasn't quite put itself back together again, and the specter of McBride hangs over Toyota Park. What will the Fire have to give up to get him, and will it destroy them in the process? Next week brings RSL to town as the Fire look to close the gap on the idle Revs and overtake the stumbling Crew.

4. (-1) Columbus Crew (WDWDL)
So . . . where to hang a 2-0 loss on RSL's crappy plastic patch? Do you put it down to the Great Leveler--that terrible field that often tosses the form book out the window, tracks it down, stomps all over it, rips out a few pages, and takes a leak on the remains? Or do you wonder just how long the Crew can continue to ride high in the league with Alejandro Moreno as their lone striker? Questions abound, but you've got to figure that Sigi's going shopping in the transfer window. Sadly for Crew fans, any new firepower probably won't arrive until after this week's Thursday Night Futbol encounter at home to resurgent KC.

5. (-1) Chivas USA (LWDWD)
Gorgeous goal by Razov, but the Goats can't hang on against their stadium-sharing rivals. Both sides had glorious opportunities to win it late but couldn't nail the coffin shut to take a definitive lead atop the West. The biggest news of the week for Chivas though is Guzan's move to Villa. That move could well put a dagger in the heart of Chivas' playoff charge. SuperLiga gives them a bit of respite from league action, but will they find a replacement before their MLS campaign resumes?

6. (+3) Real Salt Lake (DWLDW)
Great, another big home result for RSL. Now how long do we wait for the wheels to inevitably fly off and ping some poor Mormon noggins? RSL haven't had a problem getting good results this year--it's getting them in bunches that's the tricky part. A road trip to Chicago next weekend, against a Fire side that seems to be rediscovering its early season form, doesn't seem to be too terribly promising for Kreis and Co. Still, I suppose they'll enjoy their narrow reign atop the West while they can.

7. (-2) Houston Dynamo (WLDDD)
What, 4-0 thumpings of Mexican sides don't count on the Dogpile? Nope. In MLS, Houston are winless in their last four and sliding down the Pile at the expense of some climbers. They'll get a chance to carry their SuperLiga goal-scoring exploits back to MLS after next weekend, but they'll have to do it against a strong DC side, in DC, just days after they face each other in SuperLiga.

8. Los Angeles Galaxy (WDLLD)
Winless in four, but Buddle keeps scoring, which has to be a positive sign for the Gals. If their new Argentine can stabilize the back line, and if they can manage to deal Ruiz for another useful defensive piece, LA might just have the edge in the race for the West. With Chivas getting de-Guzaned, RSL and Colorado vying desperately for the title of Miss Inconsistency, and Houston struggling for goals (in MLS at least), that makes LA a strong contender by process of elimination. Until that defense gets sorted though, I have very little faith in Buddle, Donovan, and Beckham managing to consistently put more in the net than they're giving up. Of course, with a trip to the inept Red Bulls on the cards, anything is possible.

Bum-sniffing Omega Mutts

9. (-3) Toronto FC (LWDLL)
Look, it's a fairly simple set of formulas. TFC + BMO = points, often in 3's. TFC - BMO = suckitude. That said, the Reds' road form is beginning to improve, and if they could have held out for just a few minutes more, they might have snatched a point. We'll temper that with the knowledge that Chicago are certainly a bit fragile these days and have been stronger on the road than at home. Until TFC figures out how to get road results, they're going to remain stuck in the middle of the pack and won't be scaring anybody come playoff time, assuming they've got the gas to make it that far. Back in the safe confines of BMO, and with the Quakes coming to visit, they've got to like their chances this weekend at least.

10. (+2) Kansas City Wizards (LDWDW)
Unbeaten in four and continuing their climb to respectability, the Wiz edge their way off the foot of the Eastern Conference at the expense of the Red Bulls. Unfortunately, you can see that things are still not right for Onalfo as the Bulls managed to create more chances in KC's house, and will be cursing Kevin Hartman, who preserved the win for his side with some fantastic late saves. Will a Thursday Night Futbol trip to face the Crew yield a similar result to keep the Wiz rising?

11. (-1) Colorado Rapids (LDLWD)
Fresh off a mauling of the Red Bulls, the Rapids fail to build momentum, settling for a draw away to the Quakes. Casey is starting to look a menace, but outside of some nice early touches, Gomez was absent for most of the match, and that's got to be a worry. I've said it before, and I'll say it again until the Colorado FO come to their senses--Clavijo is not the answer. A lack of consistency is killing the Rapids' chance to do some damage in the relatively weak West. It would be absolutely typical if they got hammered by the struggling Hoops in Dallas next weekend.

12. (-1) New York Red Bulls (DWDLL)
Hark, is that the bugle call of a distant calvary arriving? Osorio's got his work cut out for him as the Bulls have found their way to the cellar of the Eastern Conference. Fortunately, the reinforcements are coming, and the East is so knotted up that it will only take a result or two to get back in the playoff mix. The late rally against KC also has to be encouraging, and Angel's return to fitness should give the Bulls a big boost. Next up is the tonic for what ails most goal-shy MLS sides--a visit from the Galaxy.

13. (-2) FC Dallas (LWLDD)
Dallas had to sit and watch as the rest of the league, save for the expansion Quakes, climbed above them on the table. The good news is that they're only a couple of results away from challenging for the top spot in the West. The bad news is that the Hyndman era hasn't exactly gotten off to a flying start. With the Ellinger albatross settled uncomfortably around their necks, it's going to be a struggle to ascend the Pile. A visit from Clavijo's inconsistent Rapids just might do the trick though.

14. San Jose Earthquakes (DLDLD)
The Quakes are bouncing back and forth between draws and losses. So what's missing? Outside of the obvious answer--wins, the biggest problem is certainly goals. Yallop is bringing in some more pieces in the transfer window that will hopefully complement an already-solid defense and provide the attacking excitement that's certainly lacking in Quakes matches these days. A result from their trip to Fortress BMO might just be beyond their capabilities at the moment, but they should make it tough for the Reds to score.

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