- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On April 22, 2008
- 2 Comments
Parity. That is the one word that comes to mind when I think of this season so far. The expected clubs that should be on top are at the bottom and the ones expected to be middle of the pack or worse are at the top.
Does it mean we were all wrong about everyone? No. Its still very early but we are seeing just how much parity there is in this league right now. No one is breaking away from anyone here. Four weeks in and seven points separate first place from last.
But in all my years of watching this league (all 13 of them), this may be the toughest week for me to rank the clubs from top to bottom. Its almost like just pick a name out of a hat to get the order here.
Some of the rankings here may tick some fans off but after four weeks and based on the overall play of the clubs I will stand by what is below. There may be club A who lost to club B but is ranked higher than that club despite losing to that club. Its just the lay of the land and until some clubs break away here, it will continue to be that way. Try to take your biases out for a second when you look at each club. Its a hell of a lot harder than you think it is.
1. Kansas City Wizards (10 pts., up 3) – This had the be the toughest pick. KC has the most points and found a way to win in a tough environment. In the end that was good enough for me to put them back on top here. It probably won’t last long at all but for now I think we have to put them at the top. Again, it just feels like last year with this club. Good start but there is just something that I don’t like about this club’s future in this season.
2. New England Revolution (7 pts., same) – With all the injuries and such they are doing just enough to stay near the top here. Still the most dangerous team in the league right now in my mind. And that is even before we see Steve Ralston and Taylor Twellman return. Getting the draw on the road and being a man down was a big plus I think. Sure it wasn’t pretty in the first half against New York, but it also doesn’t hurt that they couldn’t hit anything on offense.
3. FC Dallas (8 pts., up 3) – Things seem to remain the same here. If Kenny Cooper scores, Dallas do not lose. This club will be rated a lot higher in some other rankings out there and I am putting them at three mainly due to those two draws to start the season. However, two straight shutouts for a team that had so many defensive issues going into this season is refreshing to see. Sure New York was without Angel and Chivas was lacking Sasha Kljestan, it didn’t matter, because Dallas stuck to their guns and didn’t let up in either one. But most in the Big D are all to familiar with fast starts. Its how always how you finish. Still, I wouldn’t have pegged them as the last unbeaten club in the league for this season.
4. Chicago Fire (7 pts., down 3) – Could Sunday’s game be a precursor for what is to come from this club and their offense? It looks like all the scoring that Chad Barrett did to start the campaign here is rapidly fading away and he is turning into the pumpkin of a scorer that he usually is. I thought this club was better at Toyota Park too but KC came in and took it to the Fire. They have another home game this week and if they show up flat to start again they could be facing another drop next week.
5. Columbus Crew (9 pts., up 3) – I know I am going to catch some heat for this ranking. Most people have this club as high as number two. Look I am a big fan of what the Crew is doing here but I cannot get week two out of my mind just yet here. Winning on the road in DC definitely helped me a bit but I’m not as quick to jump on this bandwagon here as others. I will say this though, Alejandro Moreno is starting to show up as the best striker on that club and maybe in that conference.
6. Chivas USA (4 pts., down 3) – I’m not going to write this club off because of two straight losses just yet here. They were missing a good amount of offense on Sunday against Dallas and really never looked like they were in that game at all. Plus, this club still hasn’t gotten the concept of being able to come from behind and win a game yet. I think we saw just how important Sasha Kljestan is to this club too.
7. Colorado Rapids (6 pts., down 2) – I have to say that one more loss like the one we saw Saturday and Rapids fans will start to call for Fernando Clavjio’s head again here. That much you can bet on. Listen, the loss to the Quakes was bad but let’s look at how many chances they misses on offense. Until a big time scorer steps up for this club, we may see them hover around this area of the rankings and those Clavijo job callings will continue to happen.
8. Toronto FC (6 pts., up 4) – Big movers this week. It wasn’t always pretty against RSL but another three points is another three points. Two straight and now people in Toronto have to get a sense of real hope in this club here. The recent additions are paying dividends here and this club has a real shot at breaking .500 for the first time ever in their short history. To do so they must beat the top club (KC) this weekend at home. Right now, anything is possible with this club.
9. New York Red Bulls (4 pts., up 2) – This club only moves up due to other clubs around them being really bad as of late. At home, a man up and they still couldn’t win the game against New England. The defense still looks very weak and Jon Conway continues to look like a backup rather than a starter. Don’t let people sell you this club just yet here as being better than what they really are. Sure they will get better once they are healthy but they will be like others in this league who have to outscore to win. Quite frankly that won’t happen. Just like LA I see a lot of draws in this club’s future.
10. Real Salt Lake (4 pts., down 1) – Not totally down on RSL for the road loss. BMO Field is very tough to play in and they nearly had the chance to score a draw in it. This club just needs that go-to goal scorer to step up. Robbie Findley should be that guy but so far we haven’t see much of him in the box scores this season.
11. Houston Dynamo (3 pts., down 1) – A road draw is alright but its hard to believe that this is going to be the last club this season to get their first win in the league. Who really knows when that will happen. However I do think that this club is just waiting to explode here, as they did a year before. The right parts are there, its just a matter of health and fortune for it to all take place. Plus a fire lit by their coach could help.
12. DC United (3 pts., down 5) – Losing at home is almost unacceptable for this club but let’s face it. They haven’t gelled due to the amount of games that they’ve had to start out with. The schedule was bad for them (and Houston) to begin the season. But excuses aside, this club needs Ben Olsen in the middle and they need their defense to step up. They spent a lot of money on their defense and so far its been nothing but bad give aways and own goals. Also that Emilio guy looks nothing like his former self. I think some are happy DC didn’t give him the raise he was begging for in the offseason.
13. LA Galaxy (4 pts., same) – I couldn’t really move this club up or down. This club moves and ticks as Landon Donovan and David Beckham do. Just think when these two have to go away this summer for international duties. Things could get real ugly in a hurry when they are gone. Then again things are still pretty ugly while they are here.
13. San Jose Earthquakes (3 pts., up 1) – Moved this club up one based on the nice road win. Nothing more than that though because I still don’t see them as any better than the Galaxy. They got the win on passion and hunger on Saturday. That’s good because they need more of that but I just don’t see it becoming a trend just yet. I may have little faith in this club but I think I do for good reasons. Now if they go on some crazy winning streak, of course this will change. But it was only one game and one win. No need to jump on any bandwagon just yet.