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 York Red Bulls – All they needed was a home game and an understrength visitor to put the express back on track. Rafa Marquez got so-so reviews in his return, but considering that was his first match this year, “so-so” isn’t the worst possible outcome. (Especially if Kenny Cooper and Thierry Henry keep stickin’ ‘em in the back of the net.) Besides, if Spike Lee is still bothering to show up at Red Bull Arena, things are surely moving in the right direction, yes?
11. San Jose Earthquakes – OK, Chris Wondolowski! Enough already. Everyone who wondered aloud if previous high-scoring seasons were a bit of an accident has held up their hand and said, “I got it wrong!” You can score. Darn near at will, it seems. We get it! Now please stop bullying and beating up on poor, hapless little defenses like TFC’s.
10. Portland Timbers – Striker Kris Boyd will rue the missed chances in a 1-0 loss at New England as the ghosts of Timbers road woes 2011 rattle back to life. On the other hand, Franck Songo’o, was a menace in his 30 minutes. Real Salt Lake, surely none too pleased with itself following last week’s stinker, visits Jeld-Wen Field this week.
9. Colorado Rapids – Meeting an agitated and desperate Red Bulls side (not to mention a highly talented one) was always a tall order for a Rapids side without Conor Casey, Pablo Mastroeni and Jeff Larentowicz. Larentowicz, the most important element among that missing trio, returns this week in a more manageable contest, inside Dicks Sporting Goods Park against Chicago.
8. FC Dallas – Who knows what this team can be once all the parts are finally in place. All the parts will be in place at some point, right? David Ferreira’s ankle remains alarmingly wonky. On the other hand, Brek Shea’s return can surely move matters in the right direction as Dallas visits RFK Stadium in Friday’s featured NBC Sports Network meeting. Prudence may dictate a little rest for Shea, but an appearance off the bench doesn’t seem out of the question.
7. Vancouver Whitecaps – Three games (including two at home) and just three goals, eh? Don’t make us take back everything we said about that high-dollar, high-rev attack at BC Place. (On the other hand, and while we’re looking in that media mirror: did we underestimate Vancouver’s defense? Because three clean sheets in those three matches says a lot for Martin Rennie’s side.)