Tuesday, May 22, 2007

2007 MLS Week 7 Power Ratings

Welcome to the week 7 ratings where the three tiers of MLS are starting to fill out. We have the possible powerhouses in the top four spots, the average in the next four and the washouts in the remaining spots. Of course since this is MLS, all these tiers could flip in about two weeks time. Still, for at least one week, we have a have-have not and might have something league.

The East remains the tougher of the two conferences through week 7, as they are 9-5-5 in inter-conference play.

So let's look at this three-layer cake know as Major League Soccer:

1. New England Revolution (Last week - 1) - The technical skill of this team was not on display much this past weekend as they only controlled the ball for about 5 minutes of the match, yet they somehow walked out of Houston will all three points. Strong defense can do a lot, even when your offense has failed to arrive.

2. FC Dallas (5) - Three big wins in a week is always a good sign. There offense seems to be clicking a bit better these days but they have yet to claim a clean sheet on the season. If their defense cannot learn to shutdown teams, FCD is going to be in a bad spot the next time their offense shrivels up.

3. New York Red Bull (3) - They were masterful at finding the net on Saturday, but they really didn't outplay the Crew by that much. There are still openings on defense that can be exploited and I think injury problems will give the side trouble, but they still seem to be working as a group which is a positive sign.

4. Kansas City Wizards (2) - The Wizards are still hot on offense but their targeting is a little off. Eddie Johnson is finding ways of forcing plays, but too often those chances are wasted. I'm still not sold on this team but they do look like they have all the parts needed to make something great.

5. DC United (9) - The big jump by United is not so much due to their play as it is the play of those teams below them. Yes DC is looking better as they are actually using the entire field for their attack and their backline has settled down a bit, but they are still getting a number of lucky breaks in games. It is great to have luck on your side, but at some point that will fade and, at this point, that will leave a slightly above average side.

6. Houston Dynamo (4) - Stung twice in four days by the 1-0 defeat. Houston has not found their offensive legs. They look timid in the final third and are getting frustrated in the middle. Their defense is holding tough, but with no help up top, they are in a dangerous zone.

7. Chicago Fire (6) - Chicago continues their long sleep walk through the season as they just can't seem to inspire themselves to play the game. Outside of Justin Mapp and Calen Carr, this side plays like they are ready for the off-season.

8. Colorado Rapids (7) - The open spaces are starting to close and they are moving the ball better but they still lack confidence and flow in their attack. On defense, they still allow too many cheap balls into the area.

9. Los Angeles Galaxy (8) - Another night of no one but Donovan really trying. This team is acting like a dog that's been beaten down. No spark, no pulse and no interesting play. It is a tough time in La-La land but at least they are ahead of Real.

10. Toronto FC (13) - TFC is the feel good story of the year as they now have a defense and their attacking is blossoming to their fans delight. Still, the team isn't the best at clearing balls and they still seem prone to losing the ball at midfield. That said, they do have more goals on the season then Houston.

11. Chivas USA (11) - Oh Chivas what can I say? This is a talented team that plays like drunken opossums. They take far too long to setup anything offensively and their defense likes to give teams a lot of time in their final third. The fact that they are third in the West tells you a lot about the West. By the way, I have no idea how opossums, drunk or not, would actually play.

12. Columbus Crew (10) - No offense and some poor luck on defense lead to the devastation on Saturday, but they did play better then the score. That said, it would be hard to play worse then a 0-4 score line. Just about every part of this team needs work.

13. Real Salt Lake (12) - Their fight to stay out of the cellar has come to an end. The flare the side showed during Kreis's first two matches has faded and left the team with the same issues. They are giving up chances late and are, much like Chivas, taking too long on the attack.

Seven weeks in and there are the ratings. It will be interesting to see how these change through out June when a number of players will be doing time with their national teams during the Gold Cup.

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