MLS Dogpile - Back in the Saddle

[Time to play a massive game of post-vacation catch-up. Note that this iteration of the Dogpile takes into account last week's DC-Houston match, the weekend matches, and Monday's TFC-RSL throwdown on the plastic patch.]

Alpha Dog

1. New England Revolution (WDLWW)
Still idle in the league and yet still leading the pack as well. After a messy SuperLiga semifinal, the Revs have to wait one more week until they get back into league action against the Fire. While SuperLiga took the wheels off United and fueled Houston's resurgence, it was just more of the same from the Revs. They're a factory churning out steady, efficient, unspectacular results. Not the most ringing of endorsements, but the wins keep flowing.

The Playoff Pack

2. (+3) Real Salt Lake (LDWDW)
Guess more MLS coaches should start openly bitching about the refs, eh? Kreis' men keep the momentum going as they do what has eluded the franchise for the entirety of its young history--string positive results together. RSL dominated large swaths of the match and deserved their win, even if TFC had their chances. Sadly, thanks to the scheduling wizardry of the wee calendar gnomes at MLS HQ, the Western Conference leaders will now be twiddling their thumbs until they resume league play on August 16th.

3. (+4) Houston Dynamo (LDDDW)
Despite some woeful performances and an inability to get wins lately, I've never dropped the Dynamo too far, because you always knew that the renaissance would come. Success in SuperLiga provided the boost, and Houston are starting to look rather menacing as we head into the second half of the season. They've got the Crew at home this weekend and sit four points back of RSL with two games in hand in the hunt for the Western crown.

4. (+2) Columbus Crew (WDLDW)
Down a man in the first half, only mustering three shots on goal, and leaning heavily on their goalkeeper, the Crew nonetheless grab three huge points at the Dick to pull within two points of New England. It wasn't exactly a dominant performance, but it was an efficient one, and it got the job done. Sigi's boys continue their road swing with a difficult trip to the suddenly rolling Dynamo.

5. (-2) Chicago Fire (WDWDD)
Zzzzzzz . . . um, what? Oh, sorry I dozed off there, but Chicago often has that soporific effect on a viewer. Another lame nil-nil keeps them clinging to the third playoff spot in the East. The big news, of course, was off the field, as TFC finally dealt Chicago the rights to McBride, who'll be a huge boost to the Fire . . . when he gets back from the Olympics. It might be a bit of a slog until then. Chivas USA come calling at Toyota Park this week. The big question is--will the Fire test the Guzan replacments in the Goat's net?

6. (-2) Chivas USA (LWDWD)
Guzan is gone, let the weeping and downward spiral commence. The backups weren't spectacular in SuperLiga, but nor were they disastrous. With Kljestan away as well on Olympic duty, it's going to be a struggle for the Goats to try and maintain their league form. Their first test will be this weekend's visit to the Fire.

7. (-5) DC United (WWWWL)
THUD! Injuries and the SuperLiga roadblock have rendered United a shadow of the side that strode confidently into their month away from league action. The pathetic display they turned in at a rain-soaked RFK was only accentuated by a Houston side that is just starting to fire on all cylinders. There is a lot of work to do for the Black-and-Red. The signing of Guerrero addresses some of the depth issues on the flank and in defense and provides a new dimension (namely a wide one) in attack. But the goalkeeping problem has yet to be addressed, and United will need all the quality depth it can muster for a busy fall schedule. This weekend, it's KC that come calling in a clash of two of the four sides tied at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

8. Kansas City Wizards (WDWDD)
KC exits the pitcher's duel at the ballpark with a solitary point, but they do manage to keep the unbeaten streak alive for another week. Next up is a visit to a DC side that's come completely off the rails of late. Can the goal-shy Wiz capitalize on DC's frequent defensive lapses?

Bum-sniffing Omega Mutts

9. (+4) FC Dallas (LDDDW)
Super Coop is staying, now he's going, now he's staying. How long will the transfer saga continue? One thing's for certain--if he goes, you can stick a fork in Dallas' chances this year. The 4-0 thrashing of LA boosts FCD right back into the heart of the battle for the West, but without Cooper, they're little more than ordinary. Send Toja packing as well, and it's all hands on deck to stave off the Quakes for Derby County status. Next up is a visit to Fortress BMO and a date with TFC.

10. Toronto FC (DLLDL)
The offense looked improved, and Guevara is still a game-changer, but RSL controlled much of the match, and TFC just couldn't make the point stick as they slide into a four-way tie for last place in the East. This weekend, it's back to the friendly confines of Fortress BMO as Super Coop and the Hoops look to build on last week's thrashing of LA.

11. New York Red Bulls (DLLDD)
Not a loss, but not an impressive result either as the visit to the Quakes yields only a point. Osorio's changes have yet to turn things around, but they haven't had much chance to bed in yet either. They've now got a week off to get everything in sync before their Atlantic Cup rivals come rolling up I-95.

12. (-3) Los Angeles Galaxy (LLDDL)
I said last week that a struggling Dallas might give the Gals a good chance to climb back into the win column. Ouch! No such luck for the woebegone Galaxy as Dallas bend them over a stack of empty pizza boxes and give them a rollicking to the tune of 4-0. The klaxons are sounding all around the HDC and the man with the moneybags is none too happy. Just how many DP's will MLS HQ allow in their efforts to shore up Alexi's Abomination? Will a result against the Quakes this week be enough to get the ship turned away from the looming iceberg that waits to completely sink their season?

13. (-1) Colorado Rapids (LWDDL)
You just gotta shake your head about the poor Rapids. That had enough chances to get something from this game and were handed a man advantage for over half of the match, but still couldn't find their way to net. They've now got a week off until TFC come to visit, but will it make any difference? Probably not.

14. San Jose Earthquakes (DLDDD)
Yallop has been wheelin' and dealin', but will his shopping spree pay off? Huckerby looked pretty dangerous, and the Quakes carried a bit of offensive threat against the Metrobulls, but still couldn't find the three points they needed against a side that is really struggling at the moment. Next up is yet another home match against yet another side in the doldrums, as the moribund Galaxy pay a visit to renew the NoCal-SoCal Derby.

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