Week 8: Power Rankings + Standings

As usual, last week’s ranking appears in parentheses immediately after this week’s ranking. So as to not misrepresent my judgment as entirely first-hand, here’s a key for my viewing: “@” means I watched a given team’s most recent performance in its entirety; “$” means I caught it through Quick Kicks, which provides extended highlights; “&” means I watched only the rump highlights available through MLSnet.com. Later today, I’ll compare what I’ve got below with the other rankings I’ve found - though, as always, I compiled my rankings without reference to anyone else’s.

Before naming names and assigning numbers, here’s an important caveat: I’m only comfortable with my #1 pick. #2 - #5, that’s not so bad either. But everything from #6 up? It’s like half the teams in the damn league are fighting for last place. And I'm guessing my ranking slide around more than most to boot. Christ, what a mess.

Here goes...and after the rankings, you’ll find a current listing of the standings for the permanent record.

1. (1) Red Bull New York (&)
Even if the fact they reportedly let Chicago get back in it during this game’s (delicious, squishy) middle, they not only won by a robust margin, but look like they’ve got a good, deep team.

2. (5) Kansas City Wizards ($ + a good amount of @)
Oh, how they rise. It wasn’t so much the win - and the three goals allowed don’t impress much, though most were fluky and came against a green, make-shift defense - as it was how they looked in the attack. A confident Eddie Johnson feeding off Carlos Marinelli passes, supported by Davy Arnaud...well, you get the picture. They looked incisive, they looked good, and they beat a (mainly) strong team.

3. (4) Colorado Rapids ($)
The assist from the referee (the Kyle Martino red card and it was a fair one in my book) takes the shine off this win just a little. But look at the gol-durn competition. They salient fact is they won.

4. (2) New England Revolution ($ + a good amount of @)
These guys, on the other hand, did not win. Worse, they got twisted like slow-moving pretzels in defense. And they’re goals were lucky. While the fan part of wants to view Week 8’s performance as a good team hiccupping (bile), the cold, hard reality is the Revs have looked flat-out shitty on several occasions this year. This struck me as karma taking its pound of flesh - worse may follow. Then again, it may not.

5. (6) DC United (hearsay)
Three wins is three wins, y’know? Having seen exactly zero of those wins, I’ll probably have to sit down to watch these guys this weekend to see what they do against LA. Mmmm...on second thought, the three games on MLSlive.tv look more interesting...

6. (3) FC Dallas (@)
I tried - I mean really tried - to peg Chivas over FC Dallas. Couldn’t do it. Yeah, Dallas lost, but I think that had to do with their offense and midfield misfiring - and the fact that Dallas teams seem allergic to LA, speaking historically. They played lousy, but the defense gave away less than the score-line suggests. (Then again, having just completed the standings, I can in no way defend my contention that Dallas’ defense has improved. 2nd worst? Yikes.)

7. (3) Chivas USA (@)
In all honesty, I don’t think Chivas is the 7th best team in MLS. Hell, I might have looked good against Dallas last weekend. But they did win and some of the moves made in recent weeks - here I’m thinking Paolo Nagamura and Shavar Thomas - look to have plugged the right holes. So, for this week, they do deserve to be this high; I wouldn’t be shocked if they climb higher. I also wouldn’t be shocked if they got overtaken by some of the underperforming teams below.

8. (10) Toronto FC ($ + a good amount of @)
It’s not just picking up their first point on the road; it’s the scrappy this team shows. With a lot of teams sucking down a surprising amount of dirt, these guys may yet contend for the playoffs.

9. (8) Los Angeles Galaxy ($)
The flipside of DC: losses are losses and draws are draws, right? Get too many and it doesn’t matter who you’ve got or who is on their way.

10. (9) Houston Dynamo (hearsay)
Can’t score, in spite of frequently shelling the opposition goal. Brian Ching is only distantly familiar with the concept of form - ditto, and more disconcertingly, for Dwayne DeRosario. And Eddie Robinson is a thug...just thought I’d throw that in there.

11. (12) Columbus Crew ($ + a good amount of @)
Had I not seen the two goals actually go in the net, I would likely have doubted it happened; works on the same principle as miracles attributed to medieval figures. And then they go and let in two going the other way (so, one of ‘em was totally boffo, top-drawer, and all that) - at home no less. Beats losing, I suppose.

12. (13) Real Salt Lake ($)
I suspect I’ll be the only pundit out here shifting RSL out of the bottom spot. Do they still suck? Yep. But there’s one crucial difference between RSL and the team I slipped beneath them...

13. (7) Chicago Fire (& + $)
...and that’s that RSL seems to want to play for their coach; plus they’ve got the excuse of missing Carey Talley and, I don’t care what anyone says, picking up Richie Kotschau, who is good enough, helps. On the other hand, Dave “Dead Man Walking” Sarachan simply hasn’t done a lot right lately and the reinforcements either coming (Cuauhtemoc Blanco) or in play (Marcelo Salas) won’t do much about the goals the Fire are bleeding. Whatever ails this bunch, it’s frickin' serious - maybe even lethal...at least to those of the Sarachan tribe.

Moving on to the standings (official ones here):

Eastern Conference
1. Red Bull New York: 17 pts. (5-1-2: 15 GF, 4 GA, +11; home, 4-1-0; away, 1-0-2)
2. New England Revs: 17 pts. (5-1-2: 18 GF, 11 GA, +7; home, 2-1-0; away, 3-1-2)
3. Kansas City Wiz: 16 pts. (5-2-1: 16 GF, 10 GA, +6; home, 2-1-0; away, 3-1-1)
4. Chicago Fire: 11 pts. (3-4-2: 8 GF, 13 GA, -5; home, 2-1-1; away, 1-3-1)
5. DC United: 10 pts. (3-3-1: 10 GF, 11 GA, -1; home, 2-1-1; away, 1-2-0)
6. Columbus Crew: 8 pts. (1-2-5: 6 GF, 10 GA, -4; home, 1-0-4; away, 0-2-1)
7. Toronto FC: 7 pts. (2-5-1: 7 GF, 15 GA, -8; home, 2-2-0; away, 0-3-1)

Western Conference
1. FC Dallas: 16 pts. (5-4-1: 13 GF, 14 GA, -1; home, 2-2-0; away, 3-2-1)
2. Colorado Rapids: 15 pts. (4-2-3: 11 GF, 10 GA, +1; home 2-1-3; away, 2-1-0)
3. Chivas USA: 11 pts. (3-3-2: 12 GF, 8 GA; +4; home, 3-0-1; away, 0-3-1)
4. Houston Dynamo: 7 pts. (2-5-1: 5 GF, 7 GA, -2; home, 1-2-1; away, 1-3-0)
5. Los Angeles Galaxy: 5 pts. (1-3-2: 7 GF, 8 GA, -1; home, 1-2-0; away, 0-1-2)
6. Real Salt Lake: 5 pts. (0-3-5: 7 GF, 14 GA, -7; home, 0-1-3; away, 0-2-2)


pate said...

I don't know that I'm a pundit, but I also shifted RSL out of the bottom spot (well, actually my top spot in the three worst teams in the MLS list).

J said...

I agree that DeRosario's form for Houston has been poor (by his standards) so far this season. However, with the goal in last week's match, and another he scored tonight for Canada against Venezuela, perhaps he is rounding back into shape.

Hopefully he can parlay that into a successful Gold Cup run and then a strong return to the Houston lineup.