MLS Rankings: Week 2
1. REAL SALT LAKE (2-0-0)
Last week: Beat Los Angeles, 4-1, on Saturday.
This week: Idle.
Outlook: Is there any doubt which team deserves the top spot after RSL’s rout of the Galaxy at Rio Tinto? Granted, the Galaxy was without Landon Donovan, Omar Gonzalez, Greg Berhalter and Donovan Ricketts, but RSL didn’t have key starters Alvaro Saborio and Will Johnson, either. Javier Morales was the star of the show, and RSL looks to ride its momentum into its CONCACAF Champions League semifinal second leg at Saprissa next Tuesday.
2. COLORADO RAPIDS (2-0-0)
Last week: Beat Chivas USA, 1-0, on Saturday.
This week: vs. D.C. United, Sunday, 7 p.m., Galavision
Outlook: While RSL are charging out like Mike Tyson, the Rapids are content to rope-a-dope like Ali. They were willing to let Chivas USA have the bulk of possession, knowing they’d eventually have a breakaway chance thanks to the Rojiblancos’ high line and patchwork D.
3. NEW YORK RED BULLS (1-0-1)
Last week: Tied Columbus, 0-0, on Saturday.
This week: vs. Houston, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
Outlook: No Thierry Henry, Juan Agudelo, Tim Ream, Rafael Marquez, Dane Richards, Bouna Coundoul and Greg Sutton. No problem. The Red Bulls withstood a massive hit to their roster to score an impressive road point at Crew Stadium, style points not withstanding. Results like that only build confidence for the bevy of reserves that saw an up-tick in minutes.
4. LOS ANGELES GALAXY (1-1-1)
Last week: Lost to Real Salt Lake, 4-1, on Saturday.
This week: vs. Philadelphia Union, Saturday, 10:30 p.m.
Outlook: L.A. is sorely missing Gonzalez and Berhalter and will gladly welcome back Donovan’s play-making ability against the Union this weekend, when Carlos Ruiz makes his return to the Home Depot Center. Juan Pablo Angel’s first Galaxy goal was a brief silver lining in Saturday’s otherwise dismal performance.
5. PHILADELPHIA UNION (2-0-0)
Last week: Beat Vancouver, 1-0, on Saturday.
This week: at Los Angeles, Saturday, 10:30 p.m.
Outlook: All fans gripe and complain about that one team that grinds out 1-0 wins every week – except for the supporters of said team. It looks like the Union will wear that mantle this year, much to the pleasure of the Sons of Ben
6. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (1-1-0)
Last week: Beat FC Dallas, 2-0, on Saturday.
This week: vs. Seattle, Saturday, 10:30 p.m.
Outlook:Jon Busch has been the best ‘keeper in the league through two games, and the defense in front of him isn’t too shabby, either. This team isn’t going to beat itself, and they still know how to get the ball to Chris Wondolowski – which remains priority No. 1.
7. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (1-0-1)
Last week: Beat D.C., 2-1, on Sunday.
This week: vs. Portland, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
Outlook: Regardless if the team benefited from the officiating, a result is a result. Zack Schilawski may have used his arm to trap the ball leading up to his opening goal, and the early penalty call may have been questionable, but credit Zack Schilawski and Shalrie Joseph for delivering and putting D.C. in an early hole. The porous Revolution defense of 2010 is no longer as vulnerable.
8. CHICAGO FIRE (1-0-1)
Last week: Beat Sporting Kansas City, 3-2, on Saturday.
This week: Idle.
Outlook: Win at home, draw on the road is the mantra most managers live by, so Carlos de los Cobos is probably a satisfied man at the moment. Can’t ignore the fact that they’ve spent half the season playing 11-vs.-10, though. That won’t continue much longer.
9. FC DALLAS (0-1-1)
Last week: Lost to San Jose, 2-0, on Saturday.
This week: at Columbus, Friday, 7 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel
Outlook: If points were awarded for pure excitement then FC Dallas would be near the top of the rankings. Instead, they slip toward the bottom as their young defense continues to struggle. Up top, veteran Milton Rodriguez had a miserable time finishing against the Quakes.
10. D.C. UNITED (1-1-0)
Last week: Lost to New England, 2-1, on Saturday.
This week: at Colorado, Sunday, 7 p.m., Galavision.
Outlook: United are still a young team in rebuilding mode, and bad stretches like the first 20 minutes in New England happen to teams like that. Work needs doing on the defense, but offensively this team looks like it will be fun to watch all year.
11. SEATTLE SOUNDERS (0-2-1)
Last week: Tied Houston, 1-1, on Friday.
This week: at San Jose, Saturday, 10:30 p.m.
Outlook: In the moments leading up to Steve Zakuani’s goal last Friday everyone was beginning to think that the Sounders would never score. Now that the monkey’s off their back, they should be able to find their footing and begin climbing up the standings.
12. SPORTING KANSAS CITY (1-1-0)
Last week: Lost to Chicago, 3-2, on Saturday.
This week: at Vancouver, Saturday, 7 p.m.
Outlook: Bad luck with the Omar Bravo red card meant the first loss of the season for Sporting. There are real concerns about the defense in KC, as they’ve now given up five goals in two games, but they’ll score a bunch and play fast, exciting soccer.
13. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (1-1-0)
Last week: Lost to Philadephia, 1-0, on Saturday.
This week: vs. Sporting Kansas City, Saturday, 7 p.m.
Outlook: The ‘Caps have only themselves to blame for coming out of PPL Park empty-handed. They defended well enough for the draw even without Jay DeMerit and Michael Boxall, and if they’d kept their composure, they would have gotten the point.
14. HOUSTON DYNAMO (0-1-1)
Last week: Tied Seattle, 1-1, on Friday.
This week: at New York, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
Outlook: Houston’s formula this year is going to be set-pieces and, apparently, Tally Hall. The first-year starter had an huge game at Seattle on Friday, keeping the Dynamo in the game as his goal was peppered with nearly 30 shots.
15. COLUMBUS CREW (0-1-1)
Last week: Tied New York, 0-0, on Saturday
This week: vs. FC Dallas, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel
Outlook: It’s early in the season for “must-wins,” but playing at home against a half-strength divisional rival after being manhandled the week before? That comes close. The Crew, however, did not, and it looks like it’ll be a long year in Ohio.
16. TORONTO FC (1-1-0)
Last week: Beat Portland, 2-0, on Saturday
This week: vs. Chivas USA, Saturday, 1 p.m.
Outlook: A week after knocking the ball around but leaving gaps in the back, TFC played more pragmatically at home and were rewarded with a 2-0 win. Javier Martina’s brace was the story, but keep an eye on the defense. If it’s truly revitalized, things could be looking up in Toronto.
17. CHIVAS USA (0-2-0)
Last week: Lost to Colorado, 1-0, on Saturday.
This week: at Toronto FC, Saturday, 1 p.m.
Outlook: Bleak. TAnother team crippled by absences, the Rojiblancos were also crippled by their inability to remotely threaten the Colorado net. On a positive note, absent striker Alejandro Moreno scored for Venezuela in their 2-0 win over Jamaica on the weekend.
18. PORTLAND TIMBERS (0-2-0)
Last week: Lost at Toronto, 2-0, on Saturday.
This week: at New England, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
Outlook: Portland came to Toronto and played a lot like you’d expect an expansion team to play. Loose and uncoordinated at the back, they were exposed first by a quick build-up, then by a quintessential Route-1 goal. This project will take time.