Here we go again with the Revenge of the Parity Police. Not a single Omega Mutt managed to lose a game this week, while only one of their Playoff Pack/Alpha Dog brethren recorded a victory. A pre-season pick to struggle sits atop the table, while another picked to go far is hanging out on the bottom. Question: does having unpredictable fixtures make for a more exciting league or does it eliminate the thrill of having underdogs vanquishing the juggernauts?
The Alpha Dog
1. +1 Chivas USA (WWWDW)
A win, yes, but not a hugely convincing one, despite the 2-0 scoreline. Seattle had their chances, but couldn't take them, while the Goats did what needed to be done. Chivas are an efficient, if somewhat brutal, team, though I wonder if they could survive a Kljestan move in the summer. Also, we'll have to see what kind of depth they have with a tough cross-country, double-fixture week.
Next: Toronto FC (Away), FC Dallas (Home)
The Playoff Pack
2. -1 Chicago Fire (WDWDD)
Down go the former Alpha Dogs. Best defense in the league? Tell that to two late goals by KC that equalized matters and left the Fire wondering what might have been. Make no mistake, the Fire dominated the match, and they still are undefeated, but they're surrendering far more goals than they did last year. A worrying trend?
Next: Crew (Away)
3. +2 New England Revolution (WDWD)
Battered by injury, the Revs still manage to eke a point with Nicol the Illusionist continuing to pull the wool over everybody's eyes with his chewing gum and dental floss contraption of a roster. Despite being dominated by United, it took a late equalizer to keep them from all three points. Their travels continue with a tester against a wounded RSL next week.
Next: RSL (Away)
4. -1 Seattle Sounders (WWWLL)
MLS reality continues to slap the Sounders around, though they were in control early, and Montero really should have put them ahead with his early chip. Still, when push came to shove (and the Goats can push, shove, hack ankles, throw elbows etc. with the best of them), it was Chivas that made their opportunities count on the scoreboard. Sigi's got a bleeder here. Can he staunch the wound next week when the stumbling Quakes pay a visit?
Next: Quakes (Home)
5. +2 Kansas City Wizards (LLWWD)
Down two goals with 10 minutes left and under heavy pressure from the Fire, things looked bleak for the Wiz. But two goals from former Fire frontrunner (isn't that always the way?) Josh Wolff earned them a point that they probably didn't deserve. Regardless, something has awoken in the Onalfo's men, and they're starting to gather the points they'll need for a post-season push. This week brings a test of their depth and fitness with two games in four days
Next: Red Bulls (Home), Toronto FC (Away)
6. -2 Real Salt Lake (LWWL)
So the question becomes: do RSL just not travel well, or is it that plastic pitches give them trouble now that they've moved to the real stuff at Rio Tinto? The stats are misleading as most of RSL's chances seemed to come late when they were playing with an extra man. This is where many of the questions about Kreis' team begin to surface. Can they find that predatory finisher that's going to win them games when given one solid chance?
Next: Revs (Home)
7. +1 DC United (DDWLD)
20 shots, 8 on frame to 4 shots, 2 on frame for the Revs. A dominant performance by United in all respects except the one that counts--sticking the ball in the net--until Saint Benny showed up to save the day. The Revs did what they do best and grabbed their only good chance to frustrate an improved DC side that was hamstrung by in-game injuries, poor finishing, and questionable substitutions from Soehn.
Next: Red Bulls (Away)
8. -2 Colorado Rapids (LWWDL)
Casey almost rescued the Rapids again with a mazy run to beat half of the Dynamo defense before being spun to the turf. Unfortunately for Colorado, he couldn't grab the equalizer from the spot. You do wonder what they're going to do should he come up lame in mid-season. Also, I wonder if he's back in the frame for national team consideration, perhaps amongst the B-squad at the Gold Cup?
Next: LA Galaxy (Home)
Bum-Sniffing Omega Mutts
9. +3 Houston Dynamo (DLLDW)
Finally a win, though it was a close run thing. Bouts of attacking pressure only resulted in a single goal, setting the stage for the Rapids to equalize from the spot, but Onstad came up big with the double save to preserve Houston's first three-point haul. Now they'll have a week to rest on their laurels before returning to action, and hopefully be able to find something resembling offense in the interim.
10. +4 New York Red Bulls (LDLDW)
Finally a win, and a convincing one at that, with the majority of RSL's chances coming late as they chased the game with a man advantage. Has Osorio found the answers after a slow start in gathering all of the weaponry he wanted? He'll have a big test this week with two matches against some likely opposition for the final playoff spots in the East.
Next: KC Wizards (Away), DC United (Home)
Ouch. The Quakes had their chances to bury the Gals early, but could never quite find the second that would have killed them off. Instead, another late rally sees Arena's men just about keeping their heads above water. As has been consistently pointed out: the Quakes need a go-to finisher who is going to capitalize on the chances their dynamic midfield creates.
Next: Seattle (Away)
12. +3 FC Dallas (LLLDW)
The Starcows nearly managed to give this one away after grabbing a two-goal edge. I mentioned last week that they'll need to start finding some clean sheets, but when you leave Barrett with as much time and space as he had to settle and finish the equalizer, even he's going to make it count. The offense seems fine. Now they just need to address the other end.
Next: Chivas USA (Away)
13. -4 Toronto FC (WDLDL)
Fought back from a two-goal deficit, only to see the point slip away on a late PK. Since their impressive early victory it's mostly been a downhill trend for the Canucks. Can they recover against two of the hotter sides in the league this week? Will their defense be able to cope?
Next: Chivas USA (Home), KC Wizards (Home)
A week to sit and stew and wait for the return of McBride. It's not a good week on the Pile when everybody below you gets a result, is it? Only the fact that I see more potential in the Crew than I do in the Galaxy keeps them off the bottom now that only two winless teams remain.
Next: Fire (Home)
15. -3 Los Angeles Galaxy (DLDD)
The new 3-5-2 looked awful shaky to start, but Ricketts kept things close, as he did last week, and late pressure from the Gals paid off. Ricketts may be the difference this year for LA. He's got precious little in front of him, but he's been making the big saves consistently to keep LA in games that they look in danger of being blown out in. They've proven they can earn draws, but when do the wins start arriving? Until they do, you're looking at the most omega of the Omega Mutts.
Next: Rapids (Away)