MLS Week 12 Power Rankings (Just Mine)

I give up. Just when you think one - just one - Major League Soccer (MLS) team can hold their shit together and do a decent imitation of consistency, they spend 90 minutes running around with their pants around their ankles. It seems the Annual Mush of Sweaty Mediocrity (your people call it “summer”) has arrived.

For the record, the entire middle portion of these rankings was arrived at by writing each teams name on a piece of paper, scrambling those around my desk, and flipping them over in random order. OK, that’s a lie. But I don’t think that would produce less accurate, or even meaningful, results. In broad terms, some teams have noticeably improved - think Columbus and Houston here - while others revived their fortunes, but not without tripping over some question marks (New England); other teams suffered mysterious slips, thereby stitching big red question marks over those rainbows on their jerseys...the allusion should be obvious here.

As always, 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

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

1. (6) Houston Dynamo (% + nada)
They have out-scored the opposition 11-3 over the past five, racking up five wins on the way; that counts two away games as well. That constitutes a roll in my world. To top it all off, they’ve got Dallas next weekend, who they not only generally own, but, given that they won last weekend, should be due a loss this weekend.

2. (1) DC United (%)
In spite of what I read (all over the place), I’ll give DC the benefit of the doubt and call this weekend a brain-fart...but I also couldn’t leave them at #1 after they let RSL break their hot, steamy duck all over them.

3. (5) New England Revolution (@)
Yep, they’re officially top of the league. But it was a graceless win against a Toronto team apparently confused about being away from home. The finishing was there, but not much else. But they’re indisputably doing better than most (and, I just discovered, they’ve tied for scoring lead and have the best goal differential...hmm...).

4. (4) Red Bull New York (idle)
Holding steady...but they’ll drop quickly if they don’t sort out their defense.

5. (8) FC Dallas (far too much of @)
Unconvincing (and harrowingly boring) wins look a lot less impressive when bookended by losses - as this one will be (see above). The reality is, Dallas isn’t as erratic as I think, but the games-played “bubble” on which they’re sitting keeps me from thinking too much of them. Then again, their away record makes up for that. Very confusing team, this one.

6. (2) Kansas City Wizards ($ + nada)
Speaking of teams needing to sort out defense, KC is the real case-study for this. No doubt KC wishes Week 12 never happened. The picture looks a lot less rosy now that the offense has dried up.

7. (9) Columbus Crew ($ + $)
It’s only due to a belief that the “real” Columbus has shown up that I’m able to rank them inside the playoff picture. But the Crew’s two wins in Week 12 justifiably raise eyebrows - that each raises them for different reasons only reinforces the impression this team could be finding their feet.

8. (3) Chivas USA (%)
My previous, ridiculous ranking has more to do with this drop than the four-goal loss. Still, a score of Brad Davis 3 - 0 Chivas USA doesn’t look so hot. I’ll actually have to watch these guys this weekend to figure out what to do with ‘em.

9. (7) Toronto FC (@)
I can only say, the hell was that? If these guys don’t figure out how to avoid blowouts on the road, goal differential alone will keep them out of the post-season.

10. (11) Colorado Rapids (far too much of @)
They may not be the worst team in the league - so many good candidates below - but they’re pushing hard for “Team I’d Least Like to Watch” honors. It’s a shame what’s happening in Colorado; this year promised so much.

11. (10) Los Angeles Galaxy ($)
Ahem...ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, HA!! 60 minutes with a man advantage - and against Columbus! Landon can’t arrive soon enough; neither can Pavon or Beckham. Incredibly, they may not be enough (though I think they will be).

12. (13) Real Salt Lake (%)
Robbie Findley (a good Oregon lad!) finally kicked the winless monkey off this team’s back. Better still, they catch something of a break in hosting Toronto this weekend (dammit! what to watch?!). Can they make it two? Do RSL fans dare to dream?

13. (12) Chicago Fire (idle)
I think I just don’t like Chicago. That the coming cavalry runs “exactly like elderly men run,” and the players sounding unsettled-to-pissed, things aren’t looking everywhere but up.

Please, lord, no’s madness. Let’s do something concrete, like the standings (official edition here):

Eastern Conference
1. New England Revs: 22 pts. (6-2-4: 24 GF, 14 GA, +10; home, 3-1-2; away, 3-1-2)
2. Red Bull New York: 21 pts. (6-3-3: 24 GF, 15 GA, +9; home, 4-1-1; away, 2-2-2)
3. Kansas City Wiz: 20 pts. (6-4-2: 23 GF, 18 GA, +5; home, 3-2-0; away, 3-2-2)
4. DC United: 17 pts. (5-4-2: 18 GF, 16 GA, +2; home, 4-1-1; away, 1-3-1)
5. Columbus Crew: 15 pts. (3-4-6: 17 GF, 21 GA, -4; home, 2-1-4; away, 1-3-2)
6. Chicago Fire: 14 pts. (4-6-2: 12 GF, 19 GA, -7; home, 3-2-1; away, 1-3-1)
7. Toronto FC: 13 pts. (4-7-1: 14 GF, 21 GA, -7; home, 4-3-0; away, 0-4-1)

Western Conference
1. FC Dallas: 25 pts. (8-6-1: 19 GF, 21 GA, -2; home, 3-2-0; away, 5-4-1)
2. Houston Dynamo: 22 pts. (7-5-1: 16 GF, 10 GA, +6; home, 4-2-1; away, 3-3-0)
3. Chivas USA: 17 pts. (5-4-2: 15 GF, 12 GA; +3; home, 4-0-1; away, 1-4-1)
4. Colorado Rapids: 15 pts. (4-6-3: 13 GF, 17 GA, -4; home 2-2-3; away, 2-4-0)
5. Los Angeles Galaxy: 9 pts. (2-5-3: 13 GF, 16 GA, -3; home, 2-3-1; away, 0-2-2)
6. Real Salt Lake: 9 pts. (1-5-6: 11 GF, 19 GA, -8; home, 1-2-3; away, 0-3-3)

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