Tuesday, May 01, 2007

2007 MLS Week 4 Power Ratings

Week four means that I now have almost 20% of the season on which to judge teams. This means that their last game is not as important as it was in the previous weeks as I try to see what the teams trend is looks like. That said, it looks like the Eastern Conference is in the drivers seat as four of the top six teams hail from it. With Toronto FC surrendering points at an impressive rate, I would be shocked if the Supporters' Shield did not go to the East, however, if results so far are any indication (the East is 5-2-2 in inter-conference play), they might not need these easy 3's to win the second biggest prize in MLS.

1. New York Red Bull (Last week - 1) - They went down to Dallas and stuffed FCD like few teams ever have. Their offense was a bit scattered, but with the Red Bulls defense looking to be the real deal this year, they will only need a goal to get some sort of result.

2. Chicago Fire (3) - Chicago has now won games were they dominated the possession and, most recently, where they were lacking in possession. The way the Fire came out in the second half on Sunday was fantastic. Earlier this season it looked like they were having some midfield problems, but those were nowhere to be found against Houston. If they can gain a step on offense, it will be happy times in the windy city.

3. New England Revolution (4) - It seems the technical training in New England has shot threw the roof of late. The Revs still are hesitant to turn it on, but when they do, it makes for a great show. Their defense has also improved their marking ability but their midfield still seems slow.

4. Colorado Rapids (5) - Technically the Rapids were off for week 4, however, they played Real Salt Lake last night, so I'll include that game in my thought process. Colorado is looking hungry and is flooding the field on attacks. Their midfield is still having some passing issues, but their backline has tightened up. If they can get keeper Bouna Coundoul to stop making the occasional terrifying errors, they should be alright.

5. FC Dallas (2) - Last week someone wrote that I had Dallas to high in the ratings and it turns out he was right. However, the reason behind this is not the usual one. The last two games have seen a much better defensive performance from the side, but their offense has gone into hibernation. They need to figure out a way to get Ruiz the ball in the area or have Cooper use his size to actually win some balls or it will not get better anytime soon.

6. Kansas City Wizards (7) - The Wizards got the points they needed against Toronto, but at this point it would be sad if they didn't. The club seems to be in a bit of a yo-yo form as they are great one match only to be less so the next. I'm still not sure Eddie Johnson is back, but he is looking better, but they still have trouble feeding him. If he and Scott Sealy don't get balls, they don't get goals.

7. Columbus Crew (8) - Columbus wins, Columbus wins! I did not think a month into the season the Crew would be one of three undefeated teams. Their ability to absorb attacks and exploit mistakes is breath taking. It might not make for the most beautiful soccer to watch, but the results are wonderful.

8. Chivas USA (6) - Defensive mistakes cost them on Saturday night, but they are still great on the ball. Their passing ability is wonderful up to the final third of the pitch. Chivas has a lot of talent, but they can't seem to over work situations instead of just driving towards goal.

9. Los Angeles Galaxy (11) - Landon Donovan woke up and the team rocked, but can he sustain it? Anyone who has seen him play on the national team knows he can make it happen in the big games (unless they are in Germany), but he fades when the excitement dampens. Without the media hype of the Clasico, will he be able to continue? On a non-Landon note, Joe Cannon is looking sharp in goal and Robbie Findley is making an impact.

10. Houston Dynamo (9) - I am having a really difficult time writing this paragraph because I am so confused by this team. They have out played teams but they no longer have that touch, so they don't get goals. Maybe it's Dwayne De Rosario's new haircut, but the club just seems sidetracked. Now, how do you focus them?

11. DC United (11) - Their defense is looking better but the midfield play that was beyond fantastic last year is dipping into strange territory. If you can't get passes connected, you can't mount an attack. Hopefully this will not be the case, but it is starting to look like Fred might be the over hyped player of the year and what has happened to Brian Carroll?

12. Real Salt Lake (12) - Much like the Rapids, Real had week 4 off, however I will talk about last night's game. First the great news, Real did not let the Rapids score a goal after the 88th minute. Actually, they looked wonderful in their late game attack, which makes me wonder where it was during the first 80-minutes of the game? That said, the hardest part of watching this team is seeing them fail to take advantage of opponent's mistakes. Their defense is looking a little better, but if their offense cannot make the opposition pay, it's not going to get them many points.

13. Toronto FC (13) - Forget about points, when will this side score? Yes, the club looks lacking in just about every position, but they did put together a decent first half on Saturday. If only they could find a way for Alecko Eskandarian to get the ball somewhere other then midfield, they might have a chance.

And that's the way I see the MLS today.

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