MLS Week 15: Collective Rankings/Commentary

The Semi-Detached Pundit Collective (SDPC) shrank a little in Week 15: Sports Illustrated’s Ryan Hunt’s rankings weren’t up at the time of calculation and, thus, are not included. On Soccer hasn’t posted Scariness ratings for Week 15 either, so I’ll have to axe those this week. This isn’t a crisis, of course: a fella has a life before a blog and the other probably has deadlines or was roped into reporting on the MLS Fiesta del Horseshit (All-Star Game...that’s my shorthand).

UPDATE: Ryan Hunt's ratings are up, along with some chatter and commentary from the MLS Commish Don Garber's State of League address, some midseason honors for players (Adam Cristman, best rookie (yay.); but the "biggest surprise" is my favorite: Ned Grabavoy). It's a good read.

On the plus side of the ledger, The DCenters posted their Freezer and Who Ate All the Cupcakes got back to the by-conference rankings this week. All these combine to make us smarter...or collectively dumber. But I’m not about to do the math on that. And, as always, I’ll wrap this up with the little wrinkles in the numbers that interest me.

Here are the sources for this week’s SPDC rankings. I always forget to say this, but I'd encourage people to read the commentary; it tells you a lot about the author:

It’s a Simple Game
Sideline Views (Luis Bueno)
Sideline Views (Andrea Canales)
My Soccer Blog
MLS Underground
Fox Soccer Channel

Now, on to the numbers:

1. Houston Dynamo, 1.0 (last week: 1st - 1.0)
2. FC Dallas, 2.6 (3rd - 3.3)
3. New England Revolution, 3.1 (4th - 4.0)
4. DC United, 4.0 (2nd - 2.8)
5. Kansas City Wizards, 5.4 (6th - 6.6)
6. Chivas USA, 5.9 (8th - 7.4)
7. Red Bull New York, 7.1 (5th - 4.7)
8. Columbus Crew, 7.4 (7th - 6.9)
9. Toronto FC, 8.5 (9th - 9.2)
10. Los Angeles Galaxy, 10.0 (10th - 10.0)
11. Colorado Rapids, 11.0 (11th - 10.8)
12. Chicago Fire, 12.1 (12th - 11.8)
13. Real Salt Lake, 12.9 (13th - 13.0)

- Top and bottom stay the same - the Dynamo is still the undisputed #1, while Real Salt Lake is a nearly unanimous #13. In spite of a little internal shuffling, it strikes me as fair to judge the Top 4 static. Put in other terms, how strongly will anyone argue that Dallas is better than New England, or New England better than DC? Seems pretty academic to me.

- Within that Top 4, however, DC got hit pretty hard for that psychological loss to FC Dallas; New England also got a nice little hiccup from their win over Red Bull.

- The most significant shifting - both in terms of ranking and average score - comes with #’s 5-7, with the biggest swing hitting Red Bull; and rightly so.

- In fact, it’s only the size of the drop and the fact that the collective seems to view Columbus as breathing down their necks that makes Red Bull’s ranking add up. All I’m saying is the Bulls look pretty bad right now and I’m not seeing how they’re going to improve.

- I don’t get KC’s rise in the standings. This week’s accomplishment: creating and spurning many, many chances, much like in past weeks, and edging what is almost universally judged the worst team in MLS. (Or, as Luis Bueno rather wonderfully phrased it, “Disturbingly awful side.”) That merits a bump? (Wait...did I inch them up as well?)

- Chivas' climb seems a bit weird to me, too.

- The bottom four looks to be solidifying - bad news for the teams down that-a-way.

- Oh, if you’re looking for the guy who “improved” Real Salt Lake, that’d be me. Between the Beckerman trade and the fact the Chicago Fire is statistically worse than RSL (more goals allowed, worse differential - and in fewer games), flipping those teams seemed justified.

- Let’s here it for the so-called “perfect teams,” those whose collective rankings speak to a kind of unanimity on where they stand: the Dynamo at 1st; DC United at 4th; the Galaxy at 10th; the Rapids at 11th. Congrats, guys. You’ve found your niche!

- Turning to the pundits’ performances, WVHooligan’s rankings perfectly matched the collective mind for the second week running. That’s getting creepy.

- With that stellar repeat performance acknowledged, let’s look at the various “outlier” calls from the rest of us:

It’s a Simple Game: After the bold RSL call, there’s also my Red Bull hate.
My Soccer Blog: Hates KC; loves Red Bull and TFC.
Luis Bueno: He rates Chivas over both the Revs and DC.
Andrea Canales: Shares Bueno’s thing about DC; must be a Cali thing.

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