(Nos. 1-10 are on deck …so check back)
19. FC Dallas – Dallas desperately needed to take four of six points, at the very least, from two home matches last year. But just one goal scored meant two draws, and the Western Conference’s last-place team will surely rue the missed opportunity. At least David Ferreira is back on the field.
18. Portland Timbers – The John Spencer era is over. One question about all this: if the Timbers aren’t going to make a hire until after the season, as it appears, why make a move now? What, exactly, is the purpose of having an interim manager for half the season, especially when playoffs are still in sight?
17. Toronto FC – Things were going so well under Paul Mariner, but a solid thumping at Philadelphia brought things down. Danny Koevermans failed to score for the first time in five games.
16. Montréal Impact – Things are suddenly looking bright and sunny at Stade Saputo after a recent run of yukky performances. Alessandro Nesta (pictured) is in training and headed toward his MLS debut. Meanwhile, the team rallied from a goal down with two late goals in a win over Columbus.
15. Philadelphia Union – A week of massive accomplishment for John Hackworth, who has the Union playing with a lot of confidence. The result is a win at Los Angele and a solid 3-0 clobbering of Toronto FC back in Philadelphia. Players performing at top rev at the moment: Michael Farfan and Freddy Adu.
14. Chivas USA – The Goats applied pressure aplenty on Vancouver, which needed heroic goalkeeping from Joe Cannon to hold the game to a scoreless draw. Still, if Robin Fraser’s men are to make some progress in the standings, they simply must do better at home. Amazingly, Chivas USA has just five goals in 10 homes matches.
13. Colorado Rapids – Lots of talkers around camp Rapids: they came close to equalizing at the end of a loss to Seattle; Brian Mullan and Steve Zakuani created some closure on their shared, regrettable episode; trusty fullback Kosuke Kimura went to the Timbers for allocation money and an international player slot, and; international reinforcement appears to be on the way. Martin Rivero was strong in the Seattle loss, but he blew a golden opportunity late.
12. Columbus Crew – Things looked good after 75 minutes for the Crew to scoop up a big three points on the road. It wasn’t pretty, but three points is three point. Alas, Robert Warzycha’s men threw it away, allowing two late goals for Montreal. Andy Gruenebaum (pictured right) wasn’t among the MLS All-Stars picked by fans (and announced Sunday), but he’ll surely be one of Ben Olsen’s picks this weekend.
11. New England Revolution – Constant pressure finally paid off as New England undressed New York, once again, at Gillette Stadium. Lee Nguyen keeps finding ways to influence matches, while newly signed DP striker Jerry Bengtson debuted with a scrappy little goal. Meanwhile, Matt Reis’ benching seems to have flown slightly below radar; it was a bold call from manager Jay Heaps.