Another rash of reds around the league, and all of the top three on the Pile fail to win. And what's this? All of last week's Omega Mutts managed not to lose? True, only one of them grabbed three points, and thus levered themselves out of that kennel of the curséd, but it's still a more than worrying indication that the Parity Police are on the prowl, jackboots crunching the fieldturf and truncheons awhirl. Nevertheless, this was the first week where no team moved more than two places up or down. To the Dogpile, my friends, and let us see where the mongrels have arrayed themselves this week!
The Alpha Dog
1. +1 Chicago Fire (WDWD)
Well, there's fight in the Fire, judging by their equalizing three times to take a road point. With a couple of important cogs missing, the depth that makes the Fire such favorites was on display. Still, you don't expect a side that probably has the strongest defense in the league to ship goals like that. Worries are sniffing around the edges of their camp, but for now, it's still unbeaten, and barely, just barely, the kings of the hill, if only by virtue of others' failure to capitalize.
Next: Wizards (Home)
The Playoff Pack
2. +1 Chivas USA (WWWD)
Close, but no cigar. I would have given the Goats their Dogpile due with a victory over the Gax, but a typically bloody and card-happy affair in the LA derby sees them fall just short. An early battle atop the West comes to town in the form of a visit from the high-flying new boys from Seattle next week. Will the Goats prove their mettle and press their claim for high Dogpile honors?
Next: Sounders (Home)
3. -2 Seattle Sounders (WWWL)
Well, the dream had to come crashing down eventually, didn't it? Still, despite losing Keller to a first-half red, the Sounders nearly managed to get something from this match. Next week comes an early test of their lofty position in the West with a visit to Chivas. How will the Sounders handle their second road match, this time without the veteran calm of Keller at the back?
Next: Chivas (Away)
4. +1 Real Salt Lake (LWW)
That's win #2 under the belt, and it looks like RSL have overcome their early wobble to reignite the campaign for the Western crown. Goals from Olave and Morales do highlight what could be their significant weakness: production from the front-runners. Now, we've seen some wins at home, so how about a road performance to match? Kreis' boys get their chance against the moribund Crimson Cows next week.
Next: Red Bulls (Away)
5. -1 New England Revolution (WDW)
Isn't it nice when you sit on the sidelines and watch everybody above you lose or draw? Still, I can't see that the Revs have enough about them to climb the Pile based on others' failures. On the contrary, I'm going to use RSL's win to shove them above New England. Tough, ain't it? So prove me wrong away to United this week, and then we'll talk.
Next: DC United (Away)
6. Colorado Rapids (LWWD)
Herein lies a tale of two teams riding a single horse apiece. Schelotto grabbed the lead for the Crew, but the en fuego Conor Casey advanced his early challenge for the Golden Boot with another opportunistic finish. I said it last week: with a healthy Casey, the Rapids are a playoff side. Without?
Next: Dynamo (Away)
7. +2 Kansas City Wizards (LLWW)
And here come the Wiz! After an early stutter, KC are starting to post the type of results that were expected by many in pre-season. Despite being a man up for over an hour though, KC didn't exactly run the show away to the upstart Sounders. Still, it's a second, momentum-building win. Away for the second week running to the Alpha Dogs (this time it'll be Chicago) doesn't do their charge any favors.
Next: Fire (Away)
8. -1 DC United (DDWL)
Well, it had to end some time, didn't it? United's surprising unbeaten start to the season comes to an end, though a one-goal loss on the road to one of the favorites to challenge for the Supporters' Shield isn't the end of the world. They're getting pieces back to full health, but it'll be important for the defense to post at least one clean sheet in the near future. Can they do it at home to the Revs?
Next: Revs (Home)
Bum-Sniffing Omega Mutts
9. -1 Toronto FC (WDLD)
So much for Fortress BMO! A week removed from a pasting at the hands of the expansion Sounders, this time around, TFC found themselves outshot to the tune of 19 (7 on frame) to 10 (2 on frame). And that's against the only team without a single point in league play through the first three weeks. Ouch. Think they can do better in the "return leg" next week away to the self-same Starcows?
Next: FC Dallas (Away)
10. +1 San Jose Earthquakes (LWLD)
A big improvement over last week against one of the likely top sides in the league. Still, they grabbed the lead three times at home, only to see it slip away each time, albeit the last one was aided by the continuing rash of reds that seem to be flying out of the pockets of the league's whistlemen. Now that they've found the goals, can they shore things up at the back once again?
Next: Galaxy (Home)
11. -1 Columbus Crew (DDLLD)
The defending champs just can't seem to hit their stride. Despite creating more and better chances, they only managed to bundle one home, allowing the Rapids to sneak a late equalizer. That leaves the Crew winless after five games and searching for answers. With a bye week coming up, they'll have plenty of time for head-scratching.
12. Houston Dynamo (DLLD)
Eight total shots, five on frame. Six yellows, two reds. Sounds like some bad blood was circulating around Robertson Stadium. The Dynamo continue to struggle to find the important finish without DeRo. Will they recover? Probably. Will they challenge for the Supporter's Shield? Not at this pace.
Next: Rapids (Home)
13. Los Angeles Galaxy (DLD)
In last week's Dogpile I asked: "Will Berhalter fix the back line, or does he just add to the preponderance of years that Arena seems to be strapping to the Galaxy's ankles?" One awful turnover and red card later, do we have an early indication of the likely answer? Bruce's blend of raw youth and pensioners hasn't yet won, but they do have only one loss. Ricketts made tremendous saves to keep them in this one, and having a solid netminder to save their bacon may scrape the Gax a few more points than they deserve. Will it be enough to see them still in playoff contention by the time the prodigal Posh returns?
Next: Quakes (Away)
14. New York Red Bulls (LDLD)
Well, at least they kept a clean sheet. Not much else to say about what looked to be a fairly testy affair that ended goalless. With the reinforcements trickling in from various foreign climes, we probably won't get an accurate feel for what Osorio's putting together for a few weeks yet. Still, a win or two might be helpful in propelling them away from the bottom of the Pile.
Next: RSL (Home)
Finally a point, and a deserved one at that. Now, if they can just stick a few more of those chances past TFC next week, they could start to haul themselves away from the bottom. Of course, keeping a few clean sheets might help matters as well.
Next: Toronto FC (Home)