MLS Week 9: 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 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.

By way of general commentary, I only want to say to the teams ranked from, oh, #3 to #10: you disgust me. Wait. There’s one exception to that: Toronto FC. You guys are OK. As for Chivas USA, I’ll give you guys a pass if you’re nice to me. The rest of you, though, SHAME! SHAME!! Can’t you just do something to help make sense of this damn league? A meaningful streak? Start sucking in earnest? SOMETHING?!

In news not relevant to what comes below - though it will affect the quality - I fell asleep standing up on the train today (not completely, mind, but I did drop my book).

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

1. (1) Kansas City Wizards (2/3 @ + $)
It’s not the win against the previous #1. It’s not even the EJ hat trick; it even seems fair to call it a little fluky given it has never happened before. It’s the way the Wizards played, the ball movement, the pressure; it’s the way they controlled the game. See below.

2. (2) Red Bull New York (2/3 @ + $)
How close did I come to leaving Red Bull at #1? I started typing the entry. That I couldn’t follow through tells me something. But I also can’t shake the feeling that last weekend’s (very good) game didn’t tell observers enough about the two teams. Injuries play a role as well. Bottom line: I’m just not 100% sure KC is really the better team. They were last week, though, and that’s why they’re higher.

3. (5) DC United (&)
DC is the one-eyed man in the Land of the Blind; I don’t seriously think they’re the third-best team in the league right now. But they have managed one thing those below have not: consistency. If and when they figure their shit out, that puts them in a better position.

4. (3) Colorado Rapids (1/2 @ + $)
In spite of watching a lot of this one, I didn’t internalize the Rapids performance until the FC Rocky blog framed it proper (which is down just now). The Rapids are a good team, but something is missing. And that missing “something” bit them on the butt last Saturday.

5. (4) New England Revolution ($)
An element of the arbitrary informs power ranking. But, by way of showing it isn’t totally arbitrary, I restrained myself from further punishing New England for Saturday’s goalless tie with the team that, often as not, shows as the worst in the league. The next couple games should fill in some blanks about this team - and, on current form, the complete picture could go either way.

6. (8) Toronto FC (1/2 @ + $)
I don’t think anyone wants to play this team at home. And as much as people look at their road form, a trip back through MLS history to see where the cutoff for the playoffs comes - especially the two 30-game seasons (LINK and LINK) - says something. Yeah, I know; different playoff format and all that, but that could help Toronto if the West keeps sucking. At any rate, on current form, they’ll take 18 of the 30 points at home; add that to their current 10, that takes you to 28 - and that doesn’t look so bad against the 33 point “haul” that got one team into the playoffs a few years back. They may not need that much on the road.

7. (7) Chivas USA (@)
Idle this week. With so many uninspiring performances from teams above and below, it seems wise to check in later with this bunch.

8. (10) Houston Dynamo (nada)
I’ve heard tell of first-half flatness and that fits their profile so far. A win does make them look somewhat capable, though. Shame it has to come before half the team starts playing elsewhere. By the way, is there a Fire Kinnear movement afoot? I’d be shocked, but thought I’d check.

9. (6) FC Dallas (nada)
Straight .500 soccer just isn’t impressive; under a more “real world” format, they wouldn’t be a playoff team playing as they are. Maybe dropping them so far as this goes too far (probably does, in fact), but there’s something about this team that leaves me skittish.

10. (9) Los Angeles Galaxy (&)
Seriously, guys. Can I join the team? It’s not like you don’t need the players. I’m pretty bad in front of goal, but that’s apparently all right out LA way.

11. (13) Chicago Fire (@)
Oh, hey. Is that you, Mr. Sarachan? You’re still here? Wow. OK, I’ve already praised Chad Barrett’s goal - great stuff and crucial in the game - but I’m not sold on this team’s capacity to build on last week’s win. Too bad they have Chivas next weekend...send more tea leaves, guys.

12. (12) Real Salt Lake ($)
Inching, biting, clawing...I’m embarrassed by the extent to which I’m buying into the Kreis program. True, they’re not winning; in fact, they have yet to win. But improving things on one half of the field - and the correct half - at least lays the foundation.

13. (7) Columbus Crew (@)
Seriously, if Barrett doesn’t score that goal last Sunday, Columbus’s second was coming; and who knows what would have happened then? Still, the Crew don’t play in an alternate universe; they play in this one...where things are going very, very badly. It must be maddening to look and play better, but...but...dang. In their defense, things wouldn’t look so bad if they played in the West.

Moving on to the standings (current official ones):

Eastern Conference
1. Kansas City Wiz: 19 pts. (6-2-1: 19 GF, 12 GA, +7; home, 3-1-0; away, 3-1-1)
2. New England Revs: 18 pts. (5-2-3: 18 GF, 11 GA, +7; home, 2-1-1; away, 3-1-2)
3. Red Bull New York: 17 pts. (5-2-2: 17 GF, 7 GA, +10; home, 4-1-0; away, 1-1-2)
4. Chicago Fire: 14 pts. (4-4-2: 11 GF, 15 GA, -4; home, 3-1-1; away, 1-3-1)
5. DC United: 11 pts. (3-3-2: 10 GF, 11 GA, -1; home, 2-1-1; away, 1-2-1)
6. Toronto FC: 10 pts. (3-5-1: 9 GF, 16 GA, -7; home, 3-2-0; away, 0-3-1)
7. Columbus Crew: 8 pts. (1-2-5: 6 GF, 10 GA, -4; home, 1-0-4; away, 0-2-1)

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

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