The Alpha Dog
1. Houston Dynamo (WWDLW)
Not the prettiest win you'll see, but then again, they all count the same, don't they? Besides, what else do you expect when the Gold Cup pilfers the quality from MLS rosters, and you stage the contest on a ball field? Houston desperately needed a result after hitting some speed bumps in the last few weeks, and their depth, as usual, provided. Now can they handle a road trip to surprising Seattle?
Next: Sounders (Away)
The Playoff Pack
2. +1 Seattle Sounders (LWDDW)
With most of their nearest Pile competitors failing to impress, the idle Sounders rise by default with the slightest of nods to their Open Cup success. Now the real test comes in the form of a league visit from the top dogs.
Next: Houston (Home)
3. +2 DC United (WWDLD)
Holy crap was that disappointing from a DC fan's perspective! Missing Moreno, Quaranta, and Emilio, three starters in attack, and we still managed to outshoot the Crew 22 to 9 (11 to 3 on frame) on the road? What did Tommy feed these boys, and is there more in the equipment manager's bag? While the performance demonstrated which of these teams really wants to lay claim to the Eastern crown, the Crew's equalizer demonstrated which has the nerve to do so--at least for now.
4. -2 Columbus Crew (WWLWD)
The Crew laid a stinker at home but got away with it. Sure they were missing Rogers and Marshall to USMNT duty, but United were down Quaranta (USMNT) and the starting front line of Moreno and Emilio, both injured. Despite a lack of finishing firepower, DC managed to control much of the game, only failing to put the Crew away when the chances were there. The Crew, being the Crew, found a way to grab a point. But finding a way to grab points might not be enough to make another run to an MLS Cup final.
Next: Fire (Away)
5.+2 Chicago Fire (WLLLW)
Back to league play after SuperLiga absences and with an impressive away win to boot. All still doesn't seem to be right with the pre-season darlings, but they are starting to round into form. What impact might fixture congestion and the loss of Soumare in the summer transfer window have on their fortunes?
Next: Crew (Home)
6. -2 Colorado Rapids (DWDLL)
Back to back losses as the Rapids come up short against the Fire. The promise is still there, but I think they're a couple of players shy of being a real contender this year. Will the Rapids FO get busy in the summer window, or will they make the usual trades of late-round draft picks for journeymen and fizzle come October...again? Home against Dallas next weekend would seem to offer a boost to their fading form.
Next: FC Dallas (Home)
Bounced from SuperLiga. Bounced from the Open Cup. Riding a string of bad league results. Not exactly a banner month for Chivas. But getting dumped from other competitions frees them up to focus their meager resources on the league, and given their early success, they return to league action from a position of strength. Can they make it tell?
Next: LA Galaxy (Home)
8. +1 Real Salt Lake (DWDWD)
Well, that's five games unbeaten, but I have a question. Is grabbing a stoppage time equalizer at home to the bottom side in your conference really a morale-builder? Despite the disappointment of only grabbing a point, RSL seem to be on more solid footing now then when Kreis faced the vote of confidence. That makes it five unbeaten, but next week brings a bye, giving RSL an extra week to think about what might have been.
Bum-Sniffing Omega Mutts
9. +1 Toronto FC (LLWWL)
Mad Mo is looking to bring in a midfield DP to try and find that elusive post-season place, but the issues at the back would seem to be more pressing. With KC and the Revs stumbling, now is the time for TFC to press their case as the odds-on favorite for #4 in the East, if not higher.
Next: Quakes (Away)
10. -2 Kansas City Wizards (DDLWL)
And here comes the yo-yo again, as the KC drop all three at home to visiting Houston. Of course, you'd have to note that even though both sides were hampered by missing players to the Gold Cup, it hurts a team like the Wiz more than Houston because of Houston's quality depth and KC's lack thereof. Will a trip to New England provide the typical bounce-back?
Next: Revolution (Away)
11. +2 Los Angeles Galaxy (WLLWW)
Hot damn! Back to back wins. Donovan due back in uniform. The playoffs beckoning. And...Beckham's coming back. Ah well, Galaxy fans. At least you had this little run before normal service resumes with the circus coming back to town. I suppose the LA classico gives you one last chance to revel before the wheels come off in spectacular (and hilarious...for the rest of us) fashion.
Next: Chivas (Away)
12. FC Dallas (DLWDW)
Slowly, steadily, FC Dallas are climbing to within striking distance of the playoff sides. But we've all seen this story before, and we know the tragedy with which it ends--bloody bodies on the stage, tears by the liter, and thousands of empty seats at Pizza Hut Park to bear witness...or not, as the case may be. Question: do wins against the Red Bulls even count anymore on the Pile?
Next: Rapids (Away)
13. -2 New England Revolution (LWWLL)
Well...at least they lost in the Open Cup, so that clears at least one fixture from their inbox, right? With not enough healthy bodies and too many matches on the schedule, the Revs are struggling to keep in touch with the playoff scrum, the latest blow coming via a loss to the Galaxy, another side limping along in roughly the same table position. Home to KC next week gives them a big chance to maintain a playoff challenge by offing a potential rival, but will they be able to field a team capable of doing so?
Next: KC Wizards (Home)
14. San Jose Earthquakes (WDLWD)
So, so, so close. But you can't give up stoppage time equalizers to a side down a man and expect to be anything but also-rans, even on the road. Still, one loss in the last five outings is a positive for Yallop, even if he doesn't close on the distant playoff dogfight this week. Can they do better at home to TFC next weekend?
Next: Toronto FC (Home)
15. New York Red Bulls (LDLLL)
Stick a fork in the Bulls for this year. Time to make the swap at the top, try to figure out who is worth keeping, and start prepping for 2010 and who they're going to grab with the second pick in the draft (Damn expansion! One more reason for NY to hate Philly all over again...). A question: is having a weekend off better for the Bulls in that they don't need to suffer another loss, or would it be better to have a chance to wipe away the bad feelings from the previous weekends' loss?