MLS Dogpile | Power Failure
The Crew remain masters of all they survey despite sitting out the week atop that pile of recent victories and the assorted skulls and captured standards of the rest of MLS. Sadly, neither of their closest challengers could mount anything resembling a serious challenge, with the Fire needing comeback heroics to avoid a second home defeat this week, and Houston offering a tepid second half they were lucky to escape from with a point. In all honesty, I was tempted to boost the Galaxy into the top three, but couldn't shake the feeling that they may be organized, but they rely to much on the counter. What happens when an opponent decides to wait them out?
The Rapids climb a touch despite losing because they give me the impression of a team that can cause headaches for just about anybody, though sadly, "anybody" includes themselves, which may morph into a real problem if they can't start closing games out. But the real reason they climbed was that I couldn't justify boosting the Revs four spots despite winning twice this week. They looked dead and buried a short while ago, but siphoning the red stuff from boulders is Nicol's stock in trade. With three wins in their last five and just one loss, plus a couple of games in hand, I can see some nervous looks being cast over the shoulders of the likes of TFC, Seattle, and Colorado.
The Sounders remain in the playoff pack only by virtue of their high (but fading) league position. Four points from the last fifteen on offer (third-worst form in the league at the moment) is no way to sew up a playoff spot that's been theirs for the taking all season. And don't look now, but Chivas have just busted their way back from oblivion with Kljestan starting to regain his mojo.
That leaves us with a trio sniffing around the edges of the Playoff Pack and a sorry quartet already making vacation plans. Toronto FC may currently hold a playoff spot, but until they figure out how to protect Frei, they're a post-season non-starter, no matter how many offensive weapons they possess. DC United looked a good bet for the playoffs a month ago, but age and a brutal late-summer schedule sees things starting to slip from their grasp. And the pre-season darlings, RSL, can't seem to make up their mind about whether they're actually going to challenge for anything this year.
Which brings us to the would-be relegation battle. The Quakes have managed to grab a few results of late, while FC Dallas have ever-so-predictably decided to implode just when it looked like they may have been putting together a late run at the post-season. As opposed to say, the Wizards, who were in the hunt a month ago but seem to have suffered blowouts on all four tires simultaneously. Of course, they'll also need to slam into a tree, cartwheel over the bank, and plunge a half mile into the rocky surf before they mount a serious challenge to the Red Bulls for that bottom slot. Though, to be fair, we should give the Bulls credit for finally posting a win despite Kung-Fu Fighting Kevin Goldthwaite, shouldn't we?