Now, Where Were We? MLS Teams At The Break

Now, Where Were We? MLS Teams At The Break

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On June 25, 2010

RSL and LA lead the way out of the World Cup break. (Getty Images)

I feel as though its been months since we discussed anything Major League Soccer related on here. Between my vacation this past week and the World Cup there really hasn’t been much going on in the world of MLS. I know some clubs had some small friendlies or scrimmages while we were all out enjoying the group stage of the World Cup but now its time to get back to business. And time for people to complain about the league not taking a long enough break for the World Cup.

I figured today as we got back into the swing of things we’d take a look at each club real quick to see where they stand coming back from the two weeks off and where they’ll likely go this next half of the season.

Later today I’ll have my usual weekend previews for all of the games this weekend in MLS.

Chicago Fire (3-5-3, 4th place East)

The first few months of new manager Carlos de los Cobos has come with some mixed feelings really. There’s been some good play out of guys like Marco Pappa but then there’s been some real shaky defense throughout the entire campaign. Andrew Dykstra isn’t the answer in goal like the club thought he’d be when they traded veteran Jon Busch before the season started. They’ll need some serious influx of talent in the coming months to get them over the hump here and make a push for the playoffs. With the east likely only getting two teams this season they’ll have to do a lot.

Chivas USA (3-8-1, 8th place West)

Nothing has really gone right for the Goats this season. Sacha Kljestan is finally out of the mix coming out of this break and now you have to wonder who else will be gone next. Likely Jonathan Bornstein. We know they’ll make a few moves at the summer window but don’t expect them to make a push into the playoffs this season. The team is either too old or too young in key spots and their offense hasn’t scared anyone yet this year.

Colorado Rapids (6-3-2, 3rd place West)

Right now if there is one team that I would be absolutely dreading to face in the playoffs it would be these Rapids. They haven’t scored much yet this year but I’d expect that to change fairly soon. But more importantly they don’t give up many goals either. They play tight in the midfield and physical which can be real tough to break down in pressing situations. If their defense continues to impress and their offense picks up the pace don’t be shocked to see them rival their main rivals RSL for that second spot in the western conference.

Columbus Crew (6-2-3, 1st place East)

They stumbled into the break but getting two weeks off was absolutely huge for this veteran team. No doubt getting two weeks off will go a long way for Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Robbie Rogers, Chad Marshall and Frankie Hejduk. The Champions League play will test their depth again this year but a nice schedule in July with plenty of games at Crew Stadium will help them push away in the top of the East.

D.C. United (3-8-1, 7th place East)

They entered the break on a bit of a hot streak in all competitions. The start of the season though still put them in a massive hole in the standings that I don’t see them recovering from this year. Adding new DP Branko Bošković will help their midfield or at least they expect him to. They’ve lacked a playmaker in the midfield and he should be the guy to get their offense back on track, which they need desperately here as they’ve scored the fewest goals in the league.

FC Dallas (3-2-6, 7th place West)

Hard to believe this club has only lost two games. Then again they’ve only one three and not many of them have been impressive. The thing is this club is still in good shape to make a run here at things. They’re behind the eight ball only by a little bit here. Dallas needs Colombian forward Milton Rodriguez to get their offense going and push Jeff Cunningham out of his funk. Those two will need to combine well to get this club into the playoffs in a very tough conference.

Houston Dynamo (5-7-1, 5th place West)

Easily the league’s most inconsistent club this season. Injuries have played a massive part but really they club hasn’t gotten over the recent departures of Ricardo Clark, Stuart Holden and probably more importantly the trade of Dwayne De Rosario. With Geoff Cameron still out the club can only do so much too. I trust in Dominic Kinnear to make some moves going forward but I think even by now those moves may be too little too late. A playoff run will be mighty tough with their lack of depth.

Kansas City Wizards (3-5-3, 5th place East)

A team that started the season off with so much promise failed to keep it going in the first few months of the year. Ryan Smith and Jimmy Nielsen were great additions but they turned out not to be enough. Peter Vermes made a slew of moves before the season and most have yet to pan out. Their biggest issues are on offense where they still stumble to score goals. If they can get their offense going their defense will likely get better as a result. Until then they will likely stay about where they are at in the standings for the rest of the year.

LA Galaxy (10-1-2, 1st place West)

No one could have dreamed of a better start for the Galaxy here. Even without Edson Buddle and Landon Donovan for about half of this run the club still impressed. And even with their only loss of the year coming before the break I’m sure it gave Bruce Arena plenty of time to fix any sort of issues surrounding the club. Their depth will be tested though in this half of the year with CCL games and US Open Cup games but the Galaxy are very deep and should be fine. Don’t be shocked to see them lock up a playoff spot (officially) by mid-July at their current pace.

New England Revolution (3-7-2, 6th place East)

Tough times have fallen over Steve Nicol’s side. Injuries are still an issue and now Taylor Twellman is out for the rest of the year. Some moves need to be made on the offensive side if they even want a shot at the playoffs again this year. I think defensively they’ll hold up fine with some guys coming back to health here. Getting veteran Steve Ralston going in the midfield again will also be key going forward.

New York Red Bulls (7-5-0, 1st place East)

They’ve looked good at times and very bad at times. For me it’s always been a mixed bag for this club and I know it get some of you upset when I don’t praise them for anything here. They’ve done enough to be tied for the lead in the East so far so I will give them credit for that but they have to improve defensively if they want to reach the post season here. We know there could be a couple new additions, big additions in the coming weeks but will they actually help is the biggest question. Their schedule sets them up nicely though moving forward, I will say that.

Philadelphia Union (2-7-1, 8th place East)

I honestly don’t think the Union will end up in last place to finish the year, just a hunch now that their new stadium is about to open. PPL Park is a gem and it should help give them a better sense of a club identity that has lacked them a bit this season. They must cut down on the defensive and mental errors though to improve here but I think over time they’ll find a groove and improve here.

Real Salt Lake (7-3-2, 2nd place West)

The defending champs had a tough start the year but boy did they ever find a way out of their funk with a slew of home games in May and June. Costa Rican forward Alvaro Saborio has been the league’s best new addition so far and clubs have yet to figure out how to stop him. They’ll likely need to add some depth this summer to handle the schedule load ahead of them but so far Jason Kreis has done a wonderful job with this club.

San Jose Earthquakes (5-4-2, 4th place West)

I doubt many of us would have expected to see the Quakes in this position right now but Frank Yallop has finally figured this group out, and it really couldn’t have come at a better time for them too. Bobby Convey is playing with loads of confidence and the defense finally looks like a solid bunch. They stumbled into the break though which gives me some worries about where they stand but the recent addition of Sam Cronin from Toronto should improve their depth and quality in the midfield. They’ll need to get Ryan Johnson going though to get into the playoffs, so far he hasn’t looked nearly the same as he did a year ago.

Seattle Sounders FC (4-6-3, 6th place West)

I think if you would as who has been the biggest disappointment so far this year most of us would say the Sounders. The sophomore slump did indeed set in for Sigi Schmid’s bunch mainly due to their lack of finishing around the net and their defense looking far too vulnerable. Blaise Nkufo is on the way to help the offense and what we’ve seen out of him in the World Cup shows that he will be a big time impact player for the Sounders. If this club can get on a role though they will be tough to stop, especially with their home crowd behind them.

Toronto FC (5-4-2, 3rd place East)

Another surprise to some is how Toronto has played so far this year. Preki’s side struggled at first but once things got going in May the team really started to pick up their play in all competitions. Dwayne De Rosario is my early leading candidate for league MVP too. I think they have the talent and potential incoming talent (some DPs likely on the way) to compete with Columbus and New York. This should finally be the year the Reds enter the playoffs.