Wednesday, September 13, 2006

MLS Week 24 Power Ratings

This past weekend saw the playoff picture finally start taking shape as the top teams kept getting points, while the lower teams got nothing. Lacking any huge upsets, the ratings stay very much the same.

1. Chicago Fire (1) - Their first half against Columbus looked good, however, they fell asleep in the second. Perhaps it was just because it was the Crew, but a tougher team would have over run them. If the Fire can learn to kill off games, then this late season run will be worth a lot of points.

2. FC Dallas (2) - A good road showing, that saw them pick up the attack a bit more, but they still need to watch things in the midfield. Too many times Chivas was able to get balls through that forced the FCD defense to work fast to close down the angles.

3. DC United (3) - This team has still not awaken from their All-Star break slumber. Adu got a wonderful goal off the kick to close out the first half, but so much of the rest of the first 45 was owned by Real Salt Lake. The second half looked even worse as their sad effort saw Real leave DC with a point.

4. Houston Dynamo (5) - They needed a win in LA and they got it, still they forced goalkeeper Pat Onstad to do too much of the work. Their weakness was not being able to open up the field. Too often the ball stayed towards the middle, which allowed for numerous intercepts of passes.

5. Chivas USA (6) - Chivas was able to use the dipping Dallas midfield against them, but with all the openings they got and all the times the ball was in FCD's final third, they should have finished a few more shots, but this has been a Chivas problem all year.

6. Los Angeles Galaxy (4) - They came on strong, but couldn't hold anything. LA let their need to get points completely change their style of play. Instead of making smart attacks that allow for easy stoppage of counters, they just flooded Houston's field. Sure enough, the Dynamo made them pay. Could it be that the Galaxy fail at their last minute playoff run?

7. Real Salt Lake (8) - Jeff Cunningham and Eddie Pope just ate up DC. Pope was playing as if he was United's third forward as he read every pass before it happen. Meanwhile, Cunningham pulled so many players toward him that Real was bound the find an opening. With others in the West playing the way they are, Real could actually make the playoffs this year.

8. New England Revolution (9) - This match saw the Revolution play the way everyone though they would this year. If it wasn't for a great outing by a certain Red Bulls goalie, this would have been a 3 or 4-0 win.

9. Kansas City Wizards (10) - They opening it up again, but the question is can they do it more then once every four or five games? Since they were playing the Rapids, their defense didn't have to do much, letting their offense have the run of the place. Let's see if they can do it against a team that can actually move the ball forward.

10. Colorado Rapids (7) - The Rapids are quickly becoming a wash out. For a while, it looked like this season might just lead to a bit of a surprise, but then they gave away what little offense they had and now they haven't scored more then 1 goal in a match since July 20th. And the craziest thing of all is they might just be able to sneak into the playoffs.

11. New York Red Bull (11) - Saturday's game was a reminder of just how bad the Red Bulls can be. If it was not for the goaltending of Jon Conway, the score line would have been much worse then 1-0. They had no attack, their defense was sloppy and their midfield was asleep.

12. Columbus Crew (12) - I guess their 'hot streak' is over. Actually, they played better then Chicago for large portions of the match, but only when the ball was well out of striking distance. All and all the Crew's ability to collapse right before the half is truly amazing.



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