- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On April 8, 2008
- 6 Comments
Like I said yesterday, week number two was very interesting but not quite a turning point just yet here in the MLS. Still loads of soccer to be played here so we can’t be too quick to judge these clubs for how they are playing. We know that the MLS is set up for a better run at the end of the season than at the beginning.
But with that said it’s time to see how teams are stacking up against on another. Lots of change in the rankings from last week but that was expected. Early rankings in the season tend to have more change than later on. No team is moving away from the pack just yet but some are trying to make a case for themselves to do so here before summer hits.
1. Kansas City Wizards (6 pts., up 2) – Yes the Wizards have moved away from everyone with two wins, while all the other clubs either sit with a loss or ties to their name. Two quality wins at home to start the year is good to see out of this club. However, take note of the defense, its clearly their weak point and over time it will show its ugly head with this club. But if they remain consistent with their play in midfield it may not happen for a while. I must say they are playing well overall but I want to see how this club plays on the road. The cozy enviroment at the CAB has been nice but playing on the road will not be so cozy to this club.
2. Chivas USA (4 pts., same) – I almost went with the Goats in the one spot but felt that I had to give the Wizards their due for winning two. They are clearly the class of the west already this season. The play of Sasha Kljestan in the midfield and the additions up top clearly show this club has depth and will be even tougher when all parties are 100% healthy. Brad Guzan looked like a total beast in the goal against RSL.
3. DC United (3 pts., up 1) – Mind you the dominate win was over Toronto but I think it is clear to say that this club was ready for the Reds this past Saturday. Also seeing that everyone got involved on the attack means great things for this club down the line. I think they will be able to do that same sort of attack against a better defense as well. Its still early but I think DC fans have nothing to worry about here.
4. Chicago Fire (4 pts., up 5) – Clearly I was wrong about this club but keep in mind that a lot of what they did against New England was due to a questionable early red card. Still, like I said last Friday credit the Fire for putting the pedal to the metal after that card. Big reason was no one was marking Blanco and he was free to make things happen. And Chad Barrett now knows how to score? Wow. Its too early in the year to be this crazy right? Yeah. Keep in mind though that New England had loads of chances and Jon Busch had to come up big several times. Without someone like Wilham Conde that defense is going to crack soon enough.
5. New England Revolution (3 pts., down 4) – I don’t think I was entirely wrong about this club but their injury list is growing by the game here and that is not a good thing if you are Steve Nicol. The biggest concern has to be getting the 4-0 drumming out of their minds over the weekend. They play in KC tomorrow night and you can bet they won’t play at all like they did in Chicago. If they can expose Nyassi on the wings against KC they should be able to leave the mid-west with some points in the standings.
6. Colorado Rapids (3 pts., same) – No move here in my mind. I think coming back on the road the way they did was very good of them. Obviously they have some work to do on set piece defending but other than that I think they will be fine. Sure the late goal hurt but I don’t think it did any damage to the Fernando Clavijo job watch. I still feel a lot more confident with this club than some below them that played better this past weekend. Big game with New England this weekend however.
7. FC Dallas (2 pts., same) – Should have won and could have won on the road in Houston for the first time but I am leaving them here because of the play from Kenny Cooper and company up top. I felt that once Cooper got a better running mate (Arturo Alvarez) that things would click for the Hoops and their offense. They did just that. Still, giving up late goals is not a good thing to do and for the second week in a row Steve Morrow’s crew is feeling the burn of a draw. A visit from New York this weekend could spell out a lot more about this club I think.
8. New York Red Bulls (3 pts., up 3) – Good win over Columbus on Saturday. The two early goals were more than enough to beat the Crew, who looked utterly lost on the pitch. Its not that Juan Carlos Osorio’s crew did anything great but they did just enough to win this one. A better club will expose them more. Still, winning without youngsters Jozy Altidore and Dane Richards has to be a good sign of promise for this club. I would rate them higher like most people but I need more convincing to do so. This weekend in Dallas I will get to see them first hand so that will help.
9. Houston Dynamo (1 pt., down 4) – The early season lull from the Dynamo but at least we know they have some offense here this season. Losing Pat Onstad could be costly though as we saw how important his play is to this club with backup Tony Caig in goal in the second half for the Orange. Same goes for losing Eddie Robinson. I can bet that this club is counting down the days for Ricardo Clark’s return. That will surely help as this club is lacking some toughness in defense right now. Big clash with the Wizards this weekend in KC.
10. Columbus Crew (3 pts., down 2) – With Schelotto off his game in New York we are reminded of just how important his play is to this club. No one looked good in attack for the Crew and no one really created any quality chances like they had a week before. New York didn’t throw anything special at the Crew, it was just Columbus not showing up to play and allowing New York to net some early goals.
11. Real Salt Lake (1 pt., down 2) – RSL wants to be up there in the conversation with the big boys but they won’t until they win on the road. It hurts to see players they let go score on them too. Offensively they did have chances against Chivas, they just weren’t able to make the most of them and beat Brad Guzan. The new parts on defense look decent but against strong offenses and quick teams like Chivas, they look out of shape and weak.
12. LA Galaxy (3 pts., up two) – Yeah, nice win over the old rivals from Northern Cali. Thing is if you’re a Galaxy fan you can’t feel all that great about the win because you know deep down that David Beckham and Landon Donovan will not be able to carry this club all season long. Plus they beat an expansion team that was….well…and expansion team. Defensive issues are still there and cannot be ignored. A visit from another bottom of the table team this weekend when Toronto goes out west to face the stars from LA. So we may have to wait another week for this club to face some quality opponents.
13. Toronto FC (0 pts., down 1) – Down a man in RFK never wins you a game. I think it was fair to say that even if they had been up a man against DC they wouldn’t have won that game. The late goal did put some rest that they wouldn’t go on a long scoreless drought like the start of last year. However it did little to the overall result of the game. Defense is looking very bad and the midfield needs a play-maker badly. The Amado Guevara deal can’t happen quick enough for this club.
14. San Jose Earthquakes (0 pts., down 1) – I expected better out of the defense and the midfield with this club. I thought they matched up better against LA because of their defense. Like most of us we were wrong about the defense because it left Joe Cannon with little to work with. As for the offense, it may be another story for another day here. Little chances were created (mostly because of the midfield) and getting only three shots on goal was sad to see. I think it is fair to say that all of their offensive players are more long term projects than anything else right now. I don’t know if that is a good thing or not. They have to sure up on defense or this will be a long and painful expansion season for Quake fans.