Eye Ball Test: A look at the MLS Eastern Conference

Eye Ball Test: A look at the MLS Eastern Conference

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On August 20, 2014
  • 2014 MLS Season

I’ve been a tad absent on this space for the last however many days. Sorry about that. I wanted to return with a look at both conferences in Major League Soccer. Now that we’re nearly two-thirds of the way through this season, I feel it is as good of a time to do a little eye ball test at each of the 19 clubs.

What I mean by the eye ball test is rather simple. Some of it comes down to form right now but considering how I’ve seen every team a few times or more this season, I feel as though I have a fairly solid foundation for the eye ball test. Part of this also comes down to the remaining schedule that each team has as well.

I’ll start with the Eastern Conference, going from today’s current standings from top to bottom.

Sporting Kansas City

Current record: 12-6-6, 42 points

Current form (last 10): 7-1-2

Eye Ball Test: Honestly, in this conference this may be Sporting’s to lose right now. Even with the CCL games on the schedule, Sporting has the depth and talent to win this conference again this season. Also given how much weaker the East is this season, there is a very good chance that Sporting can win the Supporters’ Shield as well this season.

D.C. United

Current record: 12-7-4, 40 points

Current form (last 10): 6-3-1

Eye Ball Test: I love what Ben Olsen has done this season, I truly have. The turn around has been fairly remarkable. I do worry a bit about their depth with the CCL dates on the schedule right now. The thing is, if their offense isn’t clicking they tend to shut down and drop points. But as long as people stay healthy and Eddie Johnson doesn’t go nuts, this is going to be a top three team in the Eastern Conference.

Toronto FC

Current record: 9-8-5, 32 points

Current form (last 10): 3-4-3

Eye Ball Test: This may be one of the hardest teams to figure out in MLS right now. The talent is certainly there. But outside of the first couple wins of the season, they aren’t beating good teams. The next six games may be the most telling for this club has they play some weaker sides. If they don’t get a positive result out of those six, their playoff chances won’t be that great. I do think they’ll still squeeze into the playoffs, but not as a top three team.

Columbus Crew

Current record: 7-8-9, 30 points

Current form (last 10): 3-3-4

Eye Ball test: Whew. That is kind of how I feel when I see the Crew play. You have games like this past weekend with LA where they dominate the run of play and score four goals. Then you have games where they struggle to get anything positive on the field while being up a man. The funny thing about this team is that they’ve finished out probably the hardest part of their schedule. Their next couple of games are against teams like Chivas, Montreal and Houston. If they start to pick up wins like they did this past weekend, this is a playoff team. Lose one and I could see them fall out of contention again.

New York Red Bulls

Current record: 6-7-10, 28 points

Current form (last 10): 3-2-5

Eye ball test: One of those teams with a lot of draws on the season. Can the Red Bulls actually miss the playoffs in Thierry Henry’s potential final season? I don’t see it happening to be honest. The talent is there and they’ve made moves to help out the attack. The only thing going against them is that schedule, it is brutal. This may be the one team I could end up wrong about when it all finishes up this season but I think they’ll make the playoffs.

New England Revolution

Current record: 8-12-3, 27 points

Current form (last 10): 1-8-1

Eye ball test: Somehow this team is just a point back of a playoff spot right now. That is just how bad this conference is this season. Still, I don’t see this bunch making it right now and it isn’t because of that form. It has more to do with their lack of quality in the midfield and defense. As good as this team is talent wise with the young stars that they have, Jay Heaps just hasn’t been able to put things together well this season on the field.

Philadelphia Union

Current record: 6-9-9, 27 points

Current form (last 10): 4-2-4

Eye ball test: Out of all the teams in the East that sit outside the playoff zone, the Union are the one team I feel good about given their form and even their schedule. They have plenty of chances to get into the mix here. Jeff Curtin has done a solid job this summer of making sure to get this team primed for a playoff push and a US Open Cup title.

Houston Dynamo

Current record: 7-12-4, 25 points

Current form (last 10): 2-6-2

Eye ball test: Some seem to think the Dynamo are primed for a playoff push here following their win last week over Philadelphia. I’m just not buying it though. This team still has so many issues in the center of the defense and if Will Bruin gets cold, this attack will struggle.

Chicago Fire

Current record: 4-6-13, 25 points

Current form (last 10): 2-3-5

Eye ball test: So. Many. Draws. Yeah, there isn’t a ton to say about this group. Even if they get Jermaine Jones somehow before the roster freeze, I don’t see it making a big difference. This team just lacks the talent up front to compete with the teams in this conference and they just struggle to do anything positive from game-to-game.

Montreal Impact

Current record: 4-14-5, 17 points

Current form (last 10): 2-7-1

Eye ball test: They’re one of the few teams that is closer to the mathematically eliminated zone than anything else. Quite frankly, that is where they belong this season. Every time I watch this team play I get frustrated by the lack of leadership on the field, the inability to defend and possess the ball, and just the overall lack of quality. I didn’t think this was a playoff team early in the year and boy I’m looking more right on that every day.