Week 15 Power Rankings & Standings

Feels like I haven’t done one of these in ages. As it turns out, though, I just tweaked the format a bit last week. No matter. Back to the old schtick this week: 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.

If you pay attention to the symbols, you may notice that I didn’t watch all that closely this week. So, take what comes below with however much salt you think you need.

1. (1) Houston Dynamo (1/2 of @ + nada)
Sure, they were stymied at home by Toronto, but that’s looking like Houston’s version of an off-game. The only question - it is was posed by Shep Messing, so, y’know, there’s the source to consider - is whether this team has peaked too early. Personally, I doubt it.

2. (2) New England Revolution (@)
I’m officially waiting for this team - my team, for Crissakes! - to start losing, so they can end the Steve Nicol Era. SO hard to watch: ugly function, zero flair. The wins are nice, but...wake me up when it’s over. Nice goal by Dorman, however, and the win over Red Bull was as important as it was dull.

3. (4) FC Dallas (@)
Damn these guys. They have me believing they’ve grown out of their crippling anxieties about success. That rally was about as fun as anything I’ve seen this year and, between Juan Toja, Arturo Alvarez, Dario “Lurch” Sala, and that cardiac-watch defense, they’re fun to watch. Can I adopt this team? Please?

4. (3) DC United (@)
By the end of the first half against FC Dallas - when they were finishing counters as if they were lay-ups - I had lifted the Black-and-Red to 2nd in the rankings in my head. Thing was, Dallas always looked in the game; they had the better of it even. And that’s the rub: the more exposed DC’s back-line became, the more the whole team suddenly looked weak and uncertain. They're better than the bunch below, however.

5. (5) Kansas City Wizards (%)
Nice finish by Johnson, and nice edge in shots on goal, but that counts as the least inspiring win of the season (wait; withdrawn; there’s New England’s to consider). That was RSL, guys.

6. (7) Columbus Crew (nada)
The reports on this game led me to give the Crew the benefit of the doubt. This sounded like a fluky loss to MLS’s best home team (best on paper, anyway). This weekend’s game against Toronto looms large, though.

7. (6) Chivas USA (nada)
They have a formula - win at home - and that’s working OK for them, but it won’t secure them home-field advantage in the post-season. Based on the formula, that's soemthing they'll require to make much noise. And relying on an own goal to top a team like the Crew doesn’t paint a solid picture.

8. (10) Toronto FC (nada)
If this isn’t the highest I’ve rated Toronto, it’s close. But this team has something lacking in those that follow: shit-kicking moxie. They fight. And last weekend’s draw at Houston suggests they may be savvy as well.

9. (8) Red Bull New York (@)
I know, I know: no one else rates Red Bull this low. And we all know about the defense. What I want to know is where these cats will find offense: Claudio Reyna, who is aging before my eyes? The doddering duo of Dave Van Den Bergh and Markus Schopp? (Wait, the latter is on the bench again, right?). They’ll probably right the ship, but, after enduring their game against New England, I can’t see how.

10. (9) Los Angeles Galaxy (idle)
The match report on the Galaxy’s loss to Tigres UNAL tells you everything you need to know. It’s bad. Writing as one of the (former) majority who expected LA to improve in the second half, suddenly I’m wondering about that.

11. (11) Colorado Rapids (idle)
Fire Fernando Clavijo, you dickheads. Not only does the team eat shit often as they play, but I’m hearing chatter to suggest Clavijo does a passable Dick Nixon. Look, you front office types, if you need someone to shit on your brand new stadium, hell, I’ll do it. Seeing as you dumped money into that thing, you shouldn’t be the ones doing it. For more, see what I’ve got to say about Chicago.

12. (13) Real Salt Lake (%)
Adding Kyle Beckerman should help this bunch. Not a lot, but I think he’ll help. They left their permanent dwelling in the shelter for that reason alone; at least they did something.

13. (12) Chicago Fire (1/2 of @)
Because I saw flashes of a competent team in the (horrible) loss to Houston, I tried - I mean, I really tried - to move these guys higher than Colorado; at least they had the wontons (brains? maybe...) to fire their coach. I still think they’ll improve, but, points collected excepted, they are statistically worse than Real Salt Lake; and that’s with RSL having a game in hand. Unbelievable.

God. Typing those last five entries was depressing. With #9 excepted, things don’t look much better in the current standings (here are the official ones):

Eastern Conference
1. N.E. Revs: 26 pts. (7-3-5: 26 GF, 17 GA, +9; home, 3-1-3; away, 4-2-2)
2. KC Wizards: 25 pts. (7-5-4: 27 GF, 22 GA, +4; home, 4-3-1; away, 3-2-3)
3. DC United: 24 pts. (7-5-3: 26 GF, 21 GA, +5; home, 4-1-2; away, 2-4-1)
4. Red Bull NY: 24 pts. (7-6-3: 25 GF, 21 GA, +4; home, 4-2-1; away, 3-4-2)
5. C’bus Crew: 22 pts. (5-5-7: 21 GF, 23 GA, -2; home, 4-1-4; away, 1-4-3)
6. Toronto FC: 19 pts. (5-7-4: 18 GF, 24 GA, -6; home, 4-3-0; away, 1-4-4)
7. Chicago Fire: 16 pts. (4-8-4: 13 GF, 26 GA, -13; home, 3-3-3; away, 1-5-1)

Western Conference
1. H'ton Dynamo: 33 pts. (10-5-3: 25 GF, 10 GA, +15; home, 4-2-1; away, 5-4-2)
2. FC Dallas: 30 pts. (9-6-3: 24 GF, 24 GA, 0; home, 4-2-1; away, 5-4-2)
3. Chivas USA: 24 pts. (7-5-3: 20 GF, 16 GA; +4; home, 6-0-1; away, 1-5-2)
4. Colo Rapids: 17 pts. (4-8-5: 14 GF, 22 GA, -8; home 2-3-4; away, 2-5-1)
5. LA Galaxy: 13 pts. (3-5-4: 17 GF, 18 GA, -1; home, 3-3-2; away, 0-2-2)
6. Real Salt Lake: 9 pts. (1-8-6: 12 GF, 24 GA, -12; home, 1-2-3; away, 0-3-3)

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