MLS Good, Bad, and Ugly

MLS Good, Bad, and Ugly

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On June 2, 2008

Usually a third of the way into the season we have a pretty good understanding of where most clubs are going to fall this season. Some clubs have slowly been turning things around as of late so we may need to take some time at the halfway point to do this again. But the majority of the clubs we know a enough about to figure out what’s been good, bad and down right ugly this season.

Feel free to comment on your own for your club or another below. I tried to keep each club relatively short if I could. Some were easy to talk about because we know a lot about them and where they should end up this season and others we are still scratching our heads over here.

As for the league goes, I may miss a few things but here are things that come to mind.


  • Having a healthy David Beckham for the most part of this season.
  • The play of Blanco in Chicago.
  • Plenty of solid goals.
  • Quality games on national television.
  • Jorge Flores story for Chivas. Every club will be wanting a Sueno competition for now on.
  • Overall parity in the league so far, no one is running away with things here.


  • Attendance figures haven’t been nearly as good as most would have hoped. As its not because of smaller temporary stadiums in San Jose and KC, its mostly the midweek games that are doing no good in terms of butts-in-seats.
  • Lack of quality play out of the western conference.
  • All the hype for clubs like DC and none of it paying off.
  • Lack of actual press from the national media on the league, even when Beckham does something cool.


  • The Columbus fans situation and the attention on it. That doesn’t help draw in the average fan.
  • The streamer situation that is quickly getting out of control to some people.
  • Turf in Toronto and Salt Lake….okay more so in Salt Lake than Toronto. I can stand Toronto’s turf but now the one in Salt Lake. Thankfully we have a new stadium opening later on for that club.
  • TV announcing on certain outlets. Or bad camera angles on others. At least ESPN2 does a decent job.

Kersey/Getty ImagesChicago Fire:
Good: Just about everything, their defense is stellar and their offense hasnít missed a beat. Even guys like Chad Barrett are stepping up and playing fairly well this season. A plus-13 in the goals column is something else too. And to think they could be adding Brian McBride here soon, that could make this club even more dangerous.
Bad: Their home play hasnít been as consistent as some would have liked. The two losses at home were easily games that they should have won.
Ugly: For a while it was the Wilman Conde situation but I think even that is resolving itself.

Columbus Crew:
Good: With low expectations going into the season, the Crew could do no harm in winning a couple games at start off with. What happens is they end up winning a lot more than people expected and thus look like one of the better sides in MLS.
Bad: Home attendance and road performance havenít been anything to brag about so far but both are slowly coming around here. Last three games have given people reason to doubt this club, especially on the offensive end.
Ugly: The ďvideogateĒ situation…its done and over with and honestly I still believe firmly that the club shouldnít be punished in the standings for a couple idiots in the stands.

Chivas USA:
Good: Learning to play with injuries and finding ways to win. We had a lot of expectations surrounding this club from the start and it was pretty much killed off by the end of April but things have picked up and this club could be dangerous. Plus the Jorge Flores story continues to get better with each viewing.
Bad: The slew of injuries for one thing is never good. At one point the club was missing around nine to 10 guys for a game and were calling in MLS reserve pool players for matches. Not many clubs can work with that kind of stuff.
Ugly: The losing streak from April to early May. Thankfully for Chivas fans, it is over for the most part.

G. Ellwood/GettyColorado Rapids:
Good: Been at or near the top of the west all season. The play of Christian Gomez has certainly changed the way this club plays and looks. Omar Cummings has stepped up into the scoring role for the club as well.
Bad: The lack of scoring options and the inconsistent play in the midfield. Its Fernando Clavijoís style of play that causes this, that much I am convinced of.
Ugly: Their overall inconsistent play so far this season. Win a game, lose a game. No winning streaks. No losing streaks. That wonít get it done in any league folks. A club that is 5-5-0 will have a hard time all year making believers out of them.

DC United:
Good: To me the play of Marcello Gallardo has been good. Not great but good enough to justify his DP status in this league. Some wonít agree with that and will call him a bust but I honestly think he fits the bill as far as a DP goes in this league.
Bad: Their woeful record for one has been bad. You can blame injuries and the club not geling all you want but at the end of the day it may be a thing that this club isnít as good as we thought. After 11 games this club still hasn’t dug themselves out of the cellar in the east. I think the “we’ve been here before” talk should be put to bed because they haven’t been here before.
Ugly: Their offseason signings other than Gallardo and defender Gonzalo Martinez were largely ineffective for this club. Also the play (up until this past week) of Luciano Emilio. From Goldenboot winner to total miss in a few short months.

FC Dallas:
Good: Strong start for a young club, being the last team to lose a game said something about the young club. The defense in those games were largely better than the previous seasons.
Bad: The firing of Steve Morrow. It was too soon but weíve all moved on.
Ugly: The 5-1 loss to LA. Not only did it cost Morrow his job but it was one of the most uninspiring games Iíve seen out of any club in all my years.

Houston Dynamo:
Good: Waking up from their slow start has to be good for Dynamo fans. As weak as the west is this season, the Orange are in a great position to make a late run and be in the thick of things later on this season.
Bad: The lack of attacking options up front for the most part. Can Brian Ching and Dwayne De Rosario get some help or what? Then again for the most part this season those two couldn’t hit a thing in front of the goal.
Ugly: The six game winless streak to start the season and being the last club to win a game this year. MLS champions donít do that, this club has clearly lost itís edge.

R. Mora/Getty ImagesKansas City Wizards:
Good: The play of Jimmy Conrad and Claudio Lopez. Both are tied for the clubís lead in scoring. Conrad makes the young defense better (good for the long run) and Lopez brings some credibility to this club.
Bad: The midfield woes, the rookie mistakes, the lack of help for Lopez, and their stadium situation. Before you KC fans go nuts, hear me out on this one. Iím sure though some will agree that a new stadium cannot come soon enough. Its better than Arrowhead but not by much.
Ugly: The schedule. Good lord you would think that this club was moving into a new stadium this season with all the road games early on. Its mainly because they share a stadium with a baseball team, so they had to work around their schedule first. But the two month roadie was a tough break early on for this club. But it should only make them better.

LA Galaxy:
Good: Beckham and Donovan. Oh and some young guys starting to step up like Sean Franklin.
Bad: Aside from Beckham this club still has some midfield issues to work out. And some defensive issues for that matter. A team that has to outscore to win because of their defense wonít win a MLS Cup. Its one thing to win because you outscore the other squad and your defense holds up but LAís defense doesnít always hold up.
Ugly: Abel Xavier. Letís face it, heís old and he doesnít fit the MLS style of play anymore. Heís given up too many highlight goals this season than actually helping his club.

New England Revolution:
Good: Playing through the slew of injuries and still managing a way to near or at the top of the table throughout.
Bad: Not having Taylor Twellman for most of this season. And the inconsistent play at home has been an issue. That was pretty evident against DC, slow at the start but a great comeback.
Ugly: Playing Chicago. The Fire have dominated this series this year by outscoring the Revs 7-0.

New York Red Bull
Good: Out playing their actual expectations for the majority of the start of the year. Theyíve been good but not great. I still believe we will really see the worth of this club at the midway point, and that wonít be a good thing for NYRB fans.
Bad: The injuries to Juan Pablo Angel. Thatís been the majority of their offensive issues this season is not having the Angel from a year ago to hammer things home. Jozy Altidore looks tired sometimes and the midfield isn’t creative enough to make things happen on their own when needed.
Ugly: Their defense has largely been terrible in my mind. I know they were second in the goals against department for a couple weeks but believe me, if you see them in person you know just how poorly shaped they are and how easy it can be to beat them. Chicago found that out quite nicely. And so did Houston this past weekend.

Real Salt Lake:
Good: Their play at home. Yeah, thatís about it folks. Sure Kyle Beckerman is having a nice season but no one else around him is helping out enough to really get people behind this club anymore.
Bad: Lack of creativity on offense and their inability to keep leads on defense. They made a slew of moves in the offseason and have yet to see them really work out like they had hoped.
Ugly: Their play on the road. Weíve said all along, until this club can consistently win on the road, no one will take them serious. Your seeing that so far this season as they are winless away from Salt Lake City.

San Jose Earthquakes:
Good: Playing much better than most would have expected for an expansion squad. The home atmosphere is pretty nice at Buck Shaw Stadium. I like their defense lead by Joe Cannon in goal, there’s definitely a nice foundation for the next few years there.
Bad: They are still last in the league for a couple reasons, mainly their offense and partly because of their defense. But those are picking up ever so slowly.
Ugly: Wasting allocation on Peguero Jean Philippe. Sure it seemed like a good idea at the time but now it appears to be a total waste as his season is done, his loan is done and their chances of getting Brian McBride are totally gone. Ouch.

Toronto FC:
Good: The home play has been really strong this season. The roster moves after the first couple of the weeks of the season have made Mo Johnston look like a genius again. John Carver has adapted nicely to the MLS style of play.
Bad: Road play still isn’t anything to brag about. The loss to DC after having the lead in the game twice puts questions around this club about how much of a contender they really are.
Ugly: Some may say the streamer thing at BMO Field, others will say the fans are throwing other things besides streamers. I think what’s been pretty ugly on the field has been the two idiots that decided to disrupt play by running out on the field. If it were a Tiffany May situation I may not say anything but these two were worthless, thankfully the games didn’t matter when they ran out on the field.

  • JD Rollins

    How could you forget the Toronto fans pissing ont he church during a wedding in Columbus?

  • JD Rollins

    How could you forget the Toronto fans pissing ont he church during a wedding in Columbus?

  • Allen

    Beside the Galaxy there isn't a club I enjoy mocking more than Toronto.

  • Beside the Galaxy there isn’t a club I enjoy mocking more than Toronto.