Here are Nos. 11-19 of ProSoccerTalk’s weekly countdown following five rounds of regular season play.
(Nos. 1-10 are on deck …so check back)
19. Chicago Fire – An off-week friendly against a lower tier club gave the beleaguered Fire a chance to scoop up some needed confidence. Ouch. They lost. And it was mostly a first-choice lineup that fell to Minnesota United. New York visits this week, and the sand in this hour glass surely must be running out.
18. Colorado Rapids – As battered as Oscar Pareja’s team is now, missing five important starters, teams simply cannot throw away a two-goal lead at home. That’s what happened last week against Portland, a 2-2 draw at DSG Park. (By the way, tip of the cap to the grounds crew there, doing big work to make sure the field remained ship shape following the historical SnowClasico.
17. Seattle Sounders – Seriously, guys. You know the season has started, right? One point from four matches from a team of such promise? Yuk. Meanwhile, it’s hard to like the team’s chances in a CONCACAF Champions League semifinal series that begins tonight.
16. Toronto FC – Ryan Nelsen did the “Keep Calm, Carry On” thing after watching his young team concede a late equalizer against the LA Galaxy. It seems like a reasonable approach. ’s team made it tough on Montreal, pressing the home side at the end in a 2-1 loss. Terry Dunfield is far from the most graceful man in MLS, and he’s certainly an unheralded sort, but the guy tends to get the job done.
15. New England Revolution – The defense still looks OK, but it’s time for Joan Toja (pictured, on the right) and Lee Nguyen to get productive. Scoring just one goal in four games will not get it done. Last weekend’s setback was a 1-0 loss at home to FC Dallas, which makes the Revolution 0-2 at Gillette Stadium this year.
14. Portland Timbers – The lack of wins at home is concerning – but these rallies for draws on the road do offer an encouraging counterbalance for Caleb Porter’s team. Veteran midfielder Will Johnson is clearly doing his part. This week’s test against Houston at Jeld-Wen won’t be easy.
13. Philadelphia Union – John Hackworth’s young team, thanks to some good work by Jeff Parke along the back line, nearly pulled a point out of Red Bull Arena. From the File of Encouragement, we pull this: Conor Casey scored almost immediately upon his introduction, and that certainly should excite the PPL faithful.
12. New York Red Bulls – A home win over Philadelphia finally popped the top on a win for rookie head coach Mike Petke, and good on the Red Bulls for that. But it did take something special at the end from Thierry Henry – otherwise we’d be talking about a team being winless in five matches. This week’s trip into highly vulnerable Chicago gives Petke’s men a chance at three points on the road.
11. Vancouver Whitecaps – Getting harder to nail down what this team is all about. Two wins at home? Thumbs up! But then following up with consecutive losses on the road? Thumbs down. Last weekend’s loss was to Chivas USA, which further muddies the mystery. Chivas USA is clearly better than most of us thought … but how much better remains up in the air.