So what's going on here? The teams that were supposed to be dominant are stumbling out of the gates. Those supposedly on the decline are picking up points. And, to top it all off, the expansion side are unbeaten and unscored upon. Ah, I see you've met my fine feathered friends in the Parity Police! You're not from around these parts are you? Let me explain. See, here in Major League Soccer we don't do that whole "predictable results" sham. Thus the massive movement that tends to dominate the Dogpile until things settle down about 5-8 weeks in. 'Nuff said? Right! On with the Dogpile!
The Alpha Dog
1. +4 Seattle Sounders (WW)
I know, I know. I don't expect them to stay here either, but who else has two shutouts and two multi-goal wins? They were nowhere near as dominant as they were in Week One, but another great goal from Montero will have the home fans buzzing and stuffing the Goal of the Week ballot box. Now the question becomes: how will the Sounders handle the road, traditionally a weakness of expansion clubs?
Next: TFC (Away)
The Playoff Pack
2. -1 Chicago Fire (WD)
Hamstrung by injury and international call-ups all along their back line, Chicago still managed a point away to DC United and probably shaded the chances, having more shots in total and more shots on goal, particularly in the second half. That said, United's back line was equally injury-hit, and they were missing their starting keeper and half of their starting midfield to boot. Given DC's lowly position on the Dogpile, such qualifications make the Fire's draw seem like less to shout about.
Next: Red Bulls (Home)
3. +3 Toronto FC (WD)
Yes, the Crew looked have control of the match, and yes, it took an own goal to equalize matters late on, but TFC are undefeated on the road thus far this season, a massive change from their prior tendency towards capitulation on their travels. Next week brings the red-hot new boys from Seattle to town. Will Fortress BMO be reborn?
Next: Seattle (Home)
4. -2 Columbus Crew (DD)
The Crew looked to have the run of the match until an own-goal did them in to frustrate the fans in the home opener. The highlights indicated pretty much one-way traffic, though the stat line reveals things were fairly even as far as chances went. The question is: are they pacing themselves, or are they perhaps not as strong as pre-season punditry would have us believe? I'll lean on the former until proven otherwise.
Next: RSL (Away), Chivas (Away)
5. +4 Chivas USA (WW)
Hmmm. What's wrong with this picture? I had supposed, and I'm sure many of my fellow pundits were aboard the same vessel, that the good ship Stripey-Goat was going down in shark-infested waters. So how is it that they managed their second win of the season, this time away and with their best player off serving his national team? Of course, we'll temper that with the recognition that Dallas dominated the early chances and really should have been in the lead multiple times. For the second week running, Chivas get the job done with some luck and startling efficiency--three shots on goal, two goals.
Next: Crew (Home)
6. +1 New England Revolution (WD)
See? It's like I told you. Nicol, with the smoke and the mirrors, will somehow manage results. Last week, they scored on their only shot and watched the Quakes struggle to find net. This week, they benefited from the Bulls' lack of accuracy and grabbed a late equalizer. That said, the attack was more dangerous this week, as should have been expected given New York's Week One defensive woes. How long can Nicol the Illusionist keep this run going?
Next: FCD (Home)
7. -3 Real Salt Lake (L)
A strong performance despite the loss, but a loss nonetheless. On another day, RSL might have finished any of their number of chances, but Seattle has had a charmed start, and Keller has proven his worth in one-on-ones. Despite the setback in their season opener, I was still impressed enough by what I saw to keep RSL in the Playoff Pack.
Next: Crew (Home)
8. San Jose Earthquakes (LW)
After seeming like they could have played for hours and not found the net in the opener, this time around the Quakes managed three to outpace their former selves, despite the third seeming to have an assist coming from a player in an offsides position. Still, the goals will comfort a Quakes side that has significant worries about being toothless this season.
Next: Wizards (Away)
Bum-Sniffing Omega Mutts
9. -6 Houston Dynamo (DL)
Ouch! After fighting back from two goals down, it will be a bitter pill to swallow a Quakes' winner that seemed to have more than a whiff of offsides about it to my highlight-viewin' eyes. The Dynamo attack was limited by having Ching away on national team duty and Kamara still suspended for having a potty-mouth. Still, with only Wondolowski to lead the line, it was a bit of a surprise that the game seemed so open. I didn't want to drop them this far down the Pile, but that's the way things shake out this week. I fully expect the Dynamo to recover, perhaps as early as next week, but for now they're dumped from the Playoff Pack.
Next: DC (Away)
10. Colorado Rapids (LW)
A pathetic attendance at the home opener, though perhaps those piles of snow on the sidelines had something to do with that. Despite the lack of crowd, the Rapids looked strong on the field, creating numerous chances and finding the finishing touch that eluded them last week. Still, the defense looked frightfully vulnerable to the counter, something that Gary Smith is going to need to address if the Rapids are to make a strong showing in the West. Luckily, they were not punished...this time.
Next: Galaxy (Away)
11. DC United (DD)
DC limped into their home opener down a goalkeeper, two midfielders, a defender, and a hybrid defender/midfielder. That's 4-5 likely starters. Chicago were also weakened at the back, but United surprisingly carried the early stages of the match. Unfortunately, they pulled back once they had the lead and didn't go for the jugular. Predictably, Chicago made them pay. Will the return of the injured starters see a move from draws to wins?
Next: Houston (Home)
12. +2 Los Angeles Galaxy (D)
A bye week for Arena to get his all of his aging ducks and spring chickens in something resembling an organized row. If only all weeks could be like this for the Gals--sit tight while those around you pull up lame. Sadly for the Herbalifers, they'll have to return to "action" next week, where they'll have plenty of chances to come up lame themselves.
Next: Rapids (Home)
13. +2 New York Red Bulls (LD)
The Bulls had a lot of chances, but little accuracy, as indicated by their 4 shots on goal out of 18 taken. Fittingly, their only goal came from a Revs own-goal. Still, their speed looked dangerous on that crappy rug, and they did only manage to concede once this week despite facing 10 shots on frame from their visitors. How long will it take Osorio to get the mix right?
Next: Fire (Away)
14. -1 Kansas City Wizards (LL)
Two losses to open the season, and already the pick of many to challenge for third in the East (including yours truly!) seems to be in trouble. The one spot of encouragement might be the fact that Lopez looks much more fit and quick this year, as demonstrated by his chances on the break. If he's a bit sharper with his finishing touch, maybe the Wiz are singing a different song after this weekend and beginning to claw their way towards the Playoff Pack. As it stands, only unlucky Dallas keep them off the bottom.
Next: Quakes (Home)
15. -3 FC Dallas (LL)
Second straight home game, second straight loss. It's not as if they didn't have chances, it's just that they couldn't make them count, even with two lethal beasts up top in Cooper and Cunningham. After failing to capitalize on their early pressure, they got caught on the break and paid. Of course, with that rowdy crowd of what, twelve folks, cheering them on, how could they fail? No really, those seats were pretty empty, how many were out at PHP? 6.5k? Six-and-a-half? Jumpin' Jeebus! Can we relegate them yet?
Next: Revs (Away)