Tuesday, April 17, 2007

2007 MLS Week 2 Power Ratings

When the British surrendered to American forces at Yorktown in October 1781, thus ending the American Revolution, their band played a march called "The Word Turned Upside Down."* When I was putting together this week's power ratings, I kind of felt the same way.

Week number two proved, yet again, in MLS, last season is not much of an indication of the next season. That said the bottom three spots are not much of a shock. Anyway, here are this week's ratings.

1. Kansas City Wizards (Last week - Not rated) - What a way to welcome in a season as they exploded all over the pitch. Not only did they score, something that did not happen much in '06, but they also didn't fall to pieces when they surrendered their two-goal lead. Saturday night saw a KC team playing close to a perfect match, now can they make it last?

2. Colorado Rapids (1) - Going down a man in the sixth minute and still managing to almost get a full three points is impressive. The fact that they were able to put a big hurt on the Fire offense plus make gold from there few chances on goal show that this team as lots of possibility.

3. New England Revolution (6) - The injury problems are starting to decrease and Twellmann is roaring back to life. Yes, they dominated an expansion side that has next to no real offensive threat, but it was still a strong victory. Hopefully some of the over 18,000 that made it out will return to see a few more matches.

4. New York Red Bull (11) - Last week it was all Claudio Reyna, but with the middle man out due to injury (how many times will I type that this season?), the rest of the club woke up. Clint Mathis was having one of his 2002 moments, but the big story was their defense. Every avenue FCD attempted to find ended with a Red Bull player snatching the ball away. Now the question is can they do it against a club that has not been flying all around the country and in non-monsoon weather?

5. FC Dallas (4) - They got hammered on Sunday, but they made history, sort of, on Thursday night. A win in LA for Dallas is a very foreign concept, but they were able to do it by sheer offensive power. Cooper and Ruiz didn't get many openings, but they made them work. The weak side for Dallas, and stop me if you heard this before, is their defense. They just don't seem able to clear balls. But the biggest concern for FCD might be all their injury problems. On Thursday midfielder Marcelo Saragosa went down and on Sunday defender David Wagenfuhr got his second concussion in two-years. The season is young, but these knocks can add up fast.

6. Houston Dynamo (8) - I don't know what coach Dominic Kinnear says to his side at halftime but he might want to start saying it a little earlier as the team again looked flat in the first half. The great news for the club is it looks like Pat Onstad is off to another fantastic season, but the bad news is Paul Dalglish seems to be heading in the other direction. Brian Ching has looked good, but you need more then one threat. As of this moment, Houston has not found that second threat.

7. Chivas USA (3) - Just like their opener against Toronto, Chivas controlled large portions of this match but they could not find a way to get the ball in the net. Yes, Onstad was a wall, but Chivas needs to find ways to get past walls. Till they do, they will keep missing chances for great results.

8. Chicago Fire (2) - When you play a full 90-minutes (with stoppage time) a man up and have to get a late goal to salvage a tie, well you have problems. Add to it that they played about 80% of the game on the Rapids side of the pitch and one has to wonder 'what's up with their offensive?' Okay, the wind was horrible, but only three shots on goal? They were able to hold a 1-0 lead in the first match, but if at some point, they will need to get more then one goal in a match.

9. DC United (5) - To say there are backline issues in DC is to point out that the sky is blue. Again and again, KC, like Colorado before them, found their way past the scattered defense and made United pay. The good news for club is their offense seams to be coming together and Fred is looking to be something magical, but does it matter if their midfield can't get the ball to them?

10. Los Angeles Galaxy (7) - I thought about just doing a two word review for the team and those words are 'wasted chances.' I don't want to sound like a scratched CD but how often can Donovan put in poor crosses? Turns out it is quite often. Also, their defense, which last season gave them hope, looked almost as sad as DC's.

11. Columbus Crew (10) - Again the story for the Crew is their defense as their offense keeps trying but is lost. Goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum is earning his pay, but much like LA, their offense is often close but with no result. As blah as this team has been, I've got to admit that earning 2 points without scoring a single goal impresses me at least a little bit.

12. Real Salt Lake (9) - Yet again, Real tried to give up points late, late, late in a match as the Crew's Kei Kamara had a great chance on goal in the final minute. However, unlike Dallas, the Crew could not make it happen. Goaltender Nick Rimando looked much better between the posts and their offense was attacking but they just can't find any rhythm. The fact that they only have two points from their two matches kind of depresses me.

13. Toronto FC (12) - Everybody's favorite Canadian whipping boys again find themselves at the bottom of the list. THe negatives are obvious (bad play just about everywhere), so let me say some positives. Alecko Eskandarian can still bring a smile to my face. Even when not getting support, he finds ways of making defenses work. Also, Greg Sutton did his best in goal but when shots are coming your way every seven seconds (maybe an exaggeration), you are bound to let a few go by.

And that's the way I see the MLS ratings two weeks into the year.

* It is not known for sure that the British actually played "The Word Turned Upside Down" as there is much historical evidence to suggest they did not, however it makes for a good story so, as someone once said, go with the story.

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