The mid-pack bunch (Nos. 12-7, counting down) in ProSoccerTalk’s weekly MLS quality rearrangement. (Part I, a.k.a. the “Money Shot” is on deck … ):
12. New England Revolution – The Revs came very close to pulling four points from a road swing out West. As it was, a win over Los Angeles and a gutting, last-second loss to FC Dallas is still plenty for Jay Heaps’ side to build on. But build they must; it will be important to retain some of that April momentum at home this week against D.C. United. The meeting features the league’s two youngest coaches.
11. FC Dallas – Will there be a more important goal at FC Dallas Stadium this year that Ugo Ihemelu’s stoppage time rescue effort last week? It gave Schellas Hyndman’s team a 1-0 win over New England and, more importantly, supplied his club a little breathing room while trying to remove some of the road blocks that keep popping up. Montreal comes in this week, so there’s a big chance to put together an early little streak.
10. D.C. United – In another day, a scoreless draw at home might have been a big ol’ honkin’ deal around RFK, with players-only meetings and red-faced bluster about “not fighting for the shirt” and all that. But splitting the points with Seattle, as Ben Olsen’s crew did last week, is clearly just a misdemeanor offense now. Truly, four points from consecutive matches at home rates “acceptable” at most addresses. Daniel Woolard looks increasingly comfortable at left back.
9. Chicago Fire – Assessments can be made of most teams after five rounds. But Chicago? Tough to say. Frank Klopas’ men opened with a draw at Montreal, followed by hanging on against winless Philadelphia and never really looked threatening in a loss at Colorado. Even this week’s meeting against suddenly depleted Houston can’t tell us too much – unless Houston finds a way to steal a point (or all three). That would say a lot.
8. Vancouver Whitecaps – Well, that long shutout run to open the 2012 season was exciting wasn’t it, going four games and change? But it all came apart as San Jose stuck three past Joe Cannon and Co. at Buck Shaw Stadium in Round 5. Still, the sophomore club is in dandy shape, with 8 of a possible 15 points. And don’t forget, this is all before Barry Robson shows up (this summer) to help stabilize the midfield.
7. Colorado Rapids – ProSoccerTalk is no fan of moving good players into lesser familiar roles. So it was with Drew Moor (pictured), a quality MLS center back, being asked to man a midfield position. Why marginalize talent? But it’s early, experiments can be made with no long-term effect – and last week’s 2-0 loss to rival Real Salt Lake will be so much water washed back into the Colorado River soon enough. That was just an experiment, right?