Having some more formatting issues so that delayed me a day, but we have a epic, full double entry of Power Rankings and Team of the Week.
Quick tidbit on LA and Seattle and the CONCACAF CL. I watched all four legs and was especially impressed with both LA and Seattle in the second legs this week. Yes both teams were eliminated and the MLS failed make the finals, again, but it's not like the MLS is getting embarassed off the field. MLS is giving teams in the CCL extra time between matches and I think the quality of MLS is clearly improving. And while MLS would love to see that improvement translate to the CCL, MLS is still establishing itself on the international stage and CCL finals and championships will eventually happen.
Onto the rankings...
1. [LW 6] Sporting KC – (3W-1L-2D, 11pts, 2nd East / W vs. DC 1-0) – KC is unbeaten in four and have only lost one game all season. Graham Zusi and Claudio Bieler might get a lot of the credit for their attack, but the key has been the defense.
2.  MTL Impact – (4-1-0, 12pts, 1E / IDLE) – Had two weeks to cope with their first loss and easily their worst performance of 2013 against KC. Up next, a potential snowy game vs. Columbus. (MLS announced due to the weather this game will be played Sunday at 12pm.)
3.  Columbus CREW – (2-1-2, 8pts, 4E / D vs. PHI 1-1) – Probably don’t like settling for the draw or giving up such a soft opening goal but the Crew were the better side for most of the match.
4.  LA Galaxy – (2-0-2, 8pts, 3W / IDLE) – Another off week as MLS gave them extra rest for the CCL match vs. Monterrey. It didn’t help LA, who were eliminated in the semis but the Galaxy must turn their attention to a surging Dallas team.
5.  FC Dallas – (4-1-1, 13pts, 1W / D @ TFC 2-2) – What happened in the last 10 minutes in Toronto? They might lead the West right now, but those are two dropped points that might come back to haunt them come postseason time.
6.  HOU Dynamo – (3-2-0, 9pts, 3E / L @ POR 0-2) – Yikes that was bad. Ryan Johnson absolutely ran rampant through the backline. Got killed in possession (61-39%) and when they did have the ball they didn’t do much with it.
7.  Chivas USA – (3-1-1, 10pts, 2W / IDLE) – An off week was probably the last thing that the Goats wanted but none the less, an extra week to prepare for Colorado can’t hurt.
8.  VAN Whitecaps – (2-2-1, 7pts, 5W / D @ SJ 1-1) – So they equalized on the road against a 9-man Quakes team…this will forever be known in San Jose as ShoeGate.
9.  SJ Earthquakes – (2-2-2, 8pts, 4W / D vs. VAN 1-1) – How does SJ not know the equipment change rule? Guys, remember in AYSO/Youth/Rec soccer where the ref asks you to tap you shin guards and see the bottom of your cleats? When you change equipment it must be checked by a referee and during play, they’re a little busy so you have to wait until there is a stoppage. Like Vancouver scoring a goal.
10.  Real Salt Lake – (2-3-1, 7pts, 6W / L @ COL 0-1) – Another team that has run into the buzzsaw known as Clint Irwin, but Alvaro Saborio especially will be wondering how to score against Irwin who had several chances including a penalty saved by the Rapids keeper.
11.  Toronto FC – (1-2-2, 5pts, 6E / D vs. DAL 2-2) – While I do like the comeback, getting outplayed for 70-75 minutes usually means a zero points.
12.  PHI Union – (2-2-1, 7pts, 5E / D @ CREW 1-1) – Very solid game at Columbus, though their marking on the equalizer wasn’t great. Jack McInerney is very quietly on an absolute tear of goals and the Union are almost as quietly putting together a good early start to the season.
13.  POR Timbers – (1-1-3, 6pts, 7W / W vs. HOU 2-0) – Ryan Johnson’s double was tremendous but Darlington Nagbe was my last player out of my Team of the Week. Hopefully this game kick starts the Portland Timbers who finally put one in the win column.
14.  COL Rapids – (1-3-2, 5pts, 8W / W vs. RSL 1-0) – Clint Irwin continues to impress, yet somehow didn’t make MLS’ Top 5 Rookie Power Rankings or even garner an honorable mention, and he bailed out the Rapids again last weekend with a penalty save on Alvoro Saborio to make Atiba Harris’ 5th minute opener stand up.
15.  Chicago FIRE – (1-3-1, 4pts, 10E / W vs. NY 3-1) – Maicon Santos where have you been all season?
16.  DC United – (1-3-1, 4pts, 9E / L @ KC 0-1) – The offense is just not firing yet and part of the problem might be their lack of possession. They’ve been out possessed four times in five games and are near the bottom of the league in total shots and shots on goal.
17.  SEA Sounders – (0-3-1, 1pt, 9W / IDLE) – Games in the CONCACAF CL don’t count in these rankings, but now that Seattle has been eliminated after a hard fought draw against Santos Laguna, maybe now they can focus on the MLS regular season and getting out of the West basement.
18.  NE Revolution – (1-2-1, 4pts, 8E / IDLE) – From the bad news department, defender Kevin Alston was diagnosed with a treatable form of leukemia and has taken a leave of absence from the Revs. Well wishers can send an e-mail to GetWellKevinAlston@gmail.com or on Twitter using #GetWellKA.
19.  NY Red Bulls – (1-3-2, 5pts, 7E / L @ FIRE 1-3) – New York crashed and burned against the Fire in the final 10 minutes and seem all too reliant on Thierry Henry bailing them out off the bench. Defense is exposed way too easily; Jamison Olave might be scoring goals but he’s been a liability on the backline, including both of Maicon Santos’ goals in the closing stages.
MLS Team of the Week #6
Coach of the Week – Caleb Porter (POR Timbers) – Yes he got his first win as Timbers coach but he also did it against one of the best teams in the league, proving once again that any road game in the Pacific Northwest will not be enjoyable for MLS.
Captain’s Armband – Ryan Johnson (POR Timbers) – Last week his (distant) cousin Will Johnson grabbed a double, this week Ryan single handedly sealed the Timbers first win of 2013 with an absolutely brilliant run and finish down the left hand side.
GK Clint Irwin (COL Rapids) – I’m going to say it: If the MLS All-Star Game was tomorrow, Clint Irwin should be starting it.
FOR Claudio Bieler (Sporting KC) – Sporting likes to attack and create chances. Beiler just seems to finish all of them and in the clutch as well, he’s been outstanding the last two weeks.
FOR Jack McInerney (PHI Union) – It doesn’t amaze me that McInerney already has three goals this season in just his fourth start (fifth appearance). Dating back to 9/29/2012, McInerney has 7 goals in his last 11 games (9 starts, 2 subs).
MID Dan Paladini (Chicago FIRE) – Anyone in New York who thinks he fouled Luis Robles on the opener is crazy. Paladini gave the Fire a much needed boost right before halftime and his link ups with Santos proved the deciding factor late in the second half.
MID Chris Pontius (DC United) – Eventually Pontius is going to carry DC United on his back offensively. He was everywhere against KC but United just can’t generate any offense.
MID Eddie Gavin (Columbus CREW) – Completely awesome through ball/chip on the equalizing blast by Oduro and played a tremendous game in the midfield.
MID Andrew Jacobson (FC Dallas) – Very opportunistic finish to open the scoring against Toronto. Dallas did give up a 2-0 lead late, but I finally need to recognize Jacobson (and his midfield partner Jackson) on their tremendous efforts so far this season.
DEF Matt Belser (Sporting KC) – Another shutout for KC. Jimmy Neilsen might be getting bored at this point he has so few chances to actually stop a shot thanks to his backline.
DEF Amobi Okugo (PHI Union) – It seems that MLS is just full of young, two-way defenders and Okugo is becoming a force in the Union backline.
DEF Marvell Wynne (COL Rapids) – Hate to go 3-for-3 with the MLS guys, but in the absence of the suspended Drew Moor, Wynne has more than picked up the slack.
SUB FOR Maicon Santos (Chicago FIRE) – Something tells me your going to be seeing a lot more of this guy in the starting lineup with the rest of the Fire offense ice cold.
SUB F/M Soony Saad (Sporting KC) – It is a shame that this youngster can’t get on the field more, but he is dangerous. In just 7 minutes against DC, he provided the game winning assist to Bieler in the 89th minute.
SUB MID Justin Braun (Toronto FC) – A goal and an assist in 17 minutes to spark a comeback for the Reds? Count me in to having someone like that off the bench.
SUB DEF Andrew Jean-Baptiste (POR Timbers) – Forced into action midway through the first half due to injury, the second year man didn’t miss a beat as the Timbers completely shut down Houston.