Here are Nos. 11-19 of ProSoccerTalk’s weekly countdown following Round 2.
(Nos. 1-10 are on deck …so check back)
19. Chicago Fire – A real stinker against LA Galaxy (4-0 two weeks ago) is harder to write off after the Fire also blew its home opener, falling to New England last week at Toyota Park, 1-0. And now valuable defender Arne Friedrich is out for a few weeks. Yikes.
18. Colorado Rapids – The debilitating pile-up of injuries continue for Oscar Pareja’s team, with Pablo Mastroeni now joining Martin Rivero and Jaime Castrillon inside the DSG infirmary. Thing is, these aren’t just starters, they are important, veteran linchpins. Hard times, man. Hard times. Especially when the ‘Pids drop their home opener.
17. FC Dallas – The only real encouraging news for FCD supporters following two messy performances: Schellas Hyndman’s teams always start slowly. On the other hand, the timing doesn’t favor good tidings for Rivalry Week; FCD meets Houston in the Texas derby Sunday.
16. Chivas USA – The era of “El Chelis” scored its first “W” over the weekend, and young U.S. international Juan Agudelo got his scoring year off to a start. Hurray for that! So which was the more representative version of Chivas USA, the one that took down Dallas at home last weekend? Or the less feisty version that fell by three goals at home (to Columbus) a week earlier? Bet we’ll know more after Sunday’s Rivalry Week clash with the LA Galaxy.
15. Portland Timbers – The team’s image makeover under Caleb Porter seems to be working; some of the soccer now being played on that mercifully widened Jeld-Wen Field is swell stuff, indeed. But the bottom line is about results, as we know, and the team simply cannot give up goals at home at the currently alarming rate of 2.5 a game. No sum of pretty soccer can overcome such a thing.
14. Philadelphia Union – Young striker Jack McInerney found an unlikely game-winner on the road last week. Quite a turnabout from days before, when the Union looked fairly dreadful at home over the last 60 minutes of a loss to Sporting Kansas City. It all makes you wonder if this will be the wildly inconsistent way all year for manager John Hackworth, who does still have quite a young team. Remember, we’ve told you all about that before.
13. Toronto FC – While it’s hard to know exactly what to make of last week’s win over a Sporting KC side that clearly has much to figure out, there was bottom-line value as TFC collected Ryan Nelsen’s first managerial win. And big credit for that. In two matches under its new Kiwi coach, the team has already demonstrated worthy progress in terms of commitment and understanding roles. That won’t carry the day over a long campaign, but it’s a great start in the latest rebuild for the habitually rebuilding Reds.
12. New York Red Bulls – Thierry Henry has not blasted teammates yet for that tactically questionable, technically weak and rather brain dead (looking at you, Roy Miller) final 45 minutes Sunday against Sunday in San Jose. Then again, it’s only mid-day Tuesday.
11. Seattle Sounders – We fully expect the Sounders to make their way reliably up this list, and possibly quite soon. Obafemi Martins’ imminent arrival will certainly help. Still, we’ll put one hand on the alarm bell after last week’s surprising loss at home to (admittedly surprising) Montreal. And who knows what kind of psychological dent a hammer blow from tonight’s Champions League proceedings might leave?.