Tuesday, May 29, 2007

2007 MLS Week 8 Power Ratings

This week finds the league with a strong top four with a fifth trying to punch their way in, followed by a lot of confusion, bad play and woes. The fact that the top three teams in MLS are in the East while four of the bottom five are in the West kind of tells you something else.

1. New York Red Bull (Last week - 3) - Out scoring your last two opponents 7-0 is a very good thing. Even with injury problems, their offense clicks everywhere and their defense shuts teams down, this the Bulls find themselves as the team of the league. Now if only more people would show up to watch their sensational games.

2. New England Revolution (1) - This team works together like few others in the league. Their passing and setups are wonderful, but as KC proved, even the best technical sides can be exploited. The Revs have troubles with quick moves and surprise passes, but has the ability to counter nicely. However, missing three for the Gold Cup might really hurt this side.

3. Kansas City Wizards (4) - Now that the Wizards have beat a 'real' team will people start giving them respect? Even when KC was having some bad results a bit ago, they were still getting some good offensive chances, which is a big change from 2006. They are still a bit touchy on defense and it is somewhat alarming that 8 of their 16 goals on the season have come from two matches, but overall they are a great squad.

4. FC Dallas (2) - They controlled the first half, but could not make anything of it. Then Chivas shot out in the second and FCD's defense could not handle them, but the way the offense just died off ruined them. If you can't keep a clean sheet, you better at least have a spark on attack.

5. DC United (5) - DC is displaying much better play, but they are still lacking in many areas. They had a power first half but faded as the game went on. Houston was owning the ball and slamming hard against United late, but DC could not mount any sort of counter. Then there was Josh Gros's handball. How he did not see red for that is another one of those 'Luck of United' moments. By the by, Troy Perkins is looking fab again.

6. Colorado Rapids (8) - From here on down, the teams are a bit of a mess. The Rapids are looking better over their last two games as they are bringing the attack back to the middle of the pitch instead of their final third, but they still are having troubles shutting down lanes. Gomez is hot, but with little other help, the Rapids are limited. And really, without LA going down a man, I don't think the Rapids would have got the full three points.

7. Toronto FC (10) - TFC is finally looking like a cohesive unit. They are finding ways to win balls and making smart defensive moves. Their ability to come from behind on the road shows that this is not just a show for Canadian audiences. There are still a number of holes but with so many other MLS sides having troubles, these holes might not mean so much.

8. Chicago Fire (7) - Oh Chicago, where have you gone? They are lost up top. Willian Oliveira did add something to their sagging midfield but in the end it matters little as the Fire just cannot figure out how what to do in the final third.

9. Houston Dynamo (6) - Houston has had 23 corner kicks in their last three matches and has not got a goal from any of them. This was once their bread and butter, but now it is just another wasted opportunity. The Dynamo are good at getting balls into the box but cannot get them on target or send them right to the keeper. They can still take some pride in their defense but without anyone connecting in front of net, it doesn't take much to beat them. With three players going away to Gold Cup duty, it will be interesting to see how this side changes. It couldn't get much worse, could it?

10. Chivas USA (11) - Chivas tried to give their weekend game away to Dallas, but FCD just wouldn't take it. That allowed Chivas to alter their lineup and dominate the second half in a way they have not done all year. This just proves that if you give the goats enough chances, they will make you hurt.

11. Los Angeles Galaxy (9) - Poor LA, sitting at the bottom of the league with Real and nothing much to show for it. The Galaxy had some bad luck going down a man early in the game Saturday, but they still had some chances. Still, those chances were mainly Donovan in nature making the next three plus weeks a very scary thing for the club as Landon goes away for US duty.

12. Columbus Crew (12) - Andy Herron used his time off for bad behavior to learn how to be a striker instead of a fighter. The Crew has this way of giving you some spectacular play only to see them flop twenty-minutes later.

13. Real Salt Lake (13) - Real is building as their attack is sharpening and their defense is getting tighter, but it is not there yet. The Fire was begging Real to beat them, but Salt Lake could not do it. However, Alecko Eskandarian is going to bring something to this club.

Another week done.

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