Kansas City in first place? D.C. United in last place? Toronto FC on a 2 game winning streak? Those are the facts and even though the MLS season is still very young there have been many surprises in the Eastern Conference.
Many people picked D.C. United to be the Eastern Conference representative in the MLS Finals with all the off-season acquisitions that the team made. So much press was given to United that it seemed they were the only team that made any moves. Well, so far in the young season those moves have not translated to success. United is in last place with only 3 points and sports a record of 1-3-0. 3 losses already and they have lost two in a row, losing to Columbus 2-1 at home and getting embarrassed 4-0 against Real Salt Lake. Their only win was against lowly Toronto.
Did I just say lowly Toronto? FC Toronto has won 2 games in a row including a 3-2 win over the L.A. Galaxy in L.A. Toronto is 2-2-0 and is in the middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference. Their lack of scoring last year was well chronicled and they did not make the changes that many, including me, thought would help their lackluster offense. But apparently their offense is starting to click, as the young franchise is on a 2 game winning streak and is at the .500 mark for the first time in team history.
Many people thought Kansas City would be a surprise pick for the East and so far they have looked good. They are in first place in the Eastern Conference, after winning the match up of 2 of the top 3 teams in the East with a 1-0 win over the Chicago Fire. Kansas City is wining with a solid mid-field game and have dominated possession in all but one of their games. Overall the Wizards have scored 7 goals and given up 5 goals in their 5 games. They have a record of 3-1-1 to sit atop the Eastern Conference.
The Columbus Crew have been another early season surprise, as they are alone in 2nd place with a 3-1-0 record. If you are looking to watch an exciting high scoring game tune into a Crew match up as they have scored 8 goals in 4 games, but given up 6 goals as well. Conversely if you like low scoring defensive soccer tune into a New York Red Bulls game. The Red Bulls have been playing great defense in the early part of the season only giving up 3 goals in 3 games. The only thing is they have only scored 3 goals, which translates to a record of 1-1-1 and a 2nd to last place standing in the conference.
New England has played decent being 2-1-2, which puts them at the middle of the pack in the East. They have scored 7 goals in the 5 games but have also given up 7 goals. They are just biding their time until they get goal-scoring machine Taylor Twellman back from a knee injury. The Chicago Fire have been playing well, as their defense has been stellar only giving up 2 goals in 4 games. Both Chicago and New England are tied for 3rd place in the Eastern Conference with 7 points each.
The season is young and a lot can happen in the upcoming months, but not many would have predicted this wild start in the Eastern Conference.