MLS Dogpile | Pardon the Mess
I'm experimenting with the Dogpile this week, hoping to make it leaner and meaner, so pardon the mess (I've still got to get the kinks worked out where the graphic is concerned). Here's hoping the new format consumes less of my time (and yours!) while providing a more entertaining and informative read. Let me know what you think in the comments. Without further ado, to the Pile, my friends...
The Crew did nothing to dispel the rumors of their impending conquest of MLS, tossing aside the Quakes to the tune of 3-0 on the road, thus maintaining their lofty status as Alpha Dogs of MLS. And while Houston dropped one to lowly Dallas before beating up on fellow pack-mates, Chicago, those two continue to be the only sides I can see challenging the Crew for the Supporters' Shield.
The Galaxy continue their shockingly good run with a 2-1 road win in New England, and I'm tempted to put them even higher than #4. But then I look at that defense and wonder. And then I think about the fragile team chemistry, the Beckham circus, and Bruce's juggling act. It's just a matter of time before the whole house of cards comes down, isn't it?
Speaking of houses of cards, looks like the expansion Sounders are starting to wobble. I'm not dropping them yet, because their home form keeps bailing them out, but they'd better learn to win on the road or their playoff stay will be short lived. The Rapids climb two spots on the back of a 4-0 thumping of Chivas, but then, everybody's thumping Chivas these days, so no big deal, right? DC United and TFC both took a week off to get manhandled by Real Madrid and stuff the coffers with the loose change of their respective metro areas, but both cling to the final Playoff Pack positions in lieu of a significant challenge from the pursuit.
The Revs keep threatening to make a run at the vulnerable underbelly of the playoff spots, but they always seem to fall short. Likewise for RSL, though their runs are staggering, drunken affairs that result in unfortunate stumbles and skinned knees. A 1-0 home win over the Sounders is a step in the right direction, but Kreis has the whole "two steps forward, one step back" dance pretty much down now.
Speaking of steps forward, when the hell did FC Dallas start looking like a tough team to beat? The Coop-less Hoops find the next rung up the Pile, but the hole they started from still makes the playoffs an outside shot at best. Still, if Cunningham can keep banging them in, and the defense continues to hold firm, who knows?
But what about giant steps backward? Hello, Chivas USA! It's about time you showed your true colors. I was beginning to think I was insane for picking them to finish as low as I did in the pre-season, but a five-loss streak has dropped the Goats from the heady heights of the league table to the mire of the playoff battle. If Preki can't engineer a recovery quickly, the playoff spot that seemed pretty much guaranteed a month ago is going to fade into the MLS sunset.
And down in the relegation places this week, we find that the Quakes still haven't fixed what was broke (namely a shoddy defense and a lack of finishing firepower), the Wiz had the week off to think more about last week's 6-0 hammering, and the Red Bulls continue to establish new lows in futility, having bowed out of the Champions' League, not with a bang, but a whimper...