Once again, the top teams are struggling to get through the summer; our weekly re-ordering of Major League Soccer teams, following 23 rounds of play:
19. D.C. United – Win No. 3 on the year! Conor Doyle, on loan from England’s Derby County, came off the bench for score a swell goal in the 3-1 result over Montreal.
18. Chivas USA – The Goats could generate precious little offense in a 2-0 loss at San Jose. Carlos Bocanegra’s red card stuck more of a bummer on the night.
17. Toronto FC – A 1-0 win at New England represents a nice result, but the Reds remain long, long way from turning this thing around. A resolution to the ongoing pursuit of Maximiliano Urruti would be a great start.
16. Columbus – Robert Warzycha’s team needs an August super-boost of the kind Federico Higuain gave the Crew one year ago. Unfortunately, those lightning-in-a-bottle moments are few and far between, as we know. The Crew has lost six of seven.
15. FC Dallas – The bottom has fallen out spectacularly as Schellas Hyndman’s team has not won since . How did this team get so bad, so fast? (One answer is the continued reliance on David Ferreira, who is a shell of his former playmaking self.)
14. New England Revolution – All the good feeling of two consecutive road wins evaporated in losing to Toronto FC at home.
13. San Jose Earthquakes – In echoes of 2012, Chris Wondolowski scored twice as San Jose won comfortably at home over Chivas USA. The ‘Quakes sit just three points out of playoff position.
12. Houston Dynamo – Two Houston forwards found goal, so perhaps things are pointed in the right direction at BBVA, although things were in doubt until the very end during a 3-1 victory over Columbus. Meanwhile, early reports that Clint Dempsey may have included Houston on his MLS wish list appeared to be false.
11. Chicago Fire – Mike Magee (pictured above) supplied his league-leading 14th goal, this one a game-winner as the Fire picked up a valuable three points on the road (at Philadelphia).
(MORE: Major League Soccer’s Round 23 in review)
10. LA Galaxy – Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan are back on the field following Gold Cup and injury absence. The champs have attempted to address their goalkeeping issues. Now, if they can just get past this cash grab of an international tournament and re-focus on MLS matters, things might be OK.
9. Seattle Sounders – Clint Dempsey. ‘Nuff said. (Well, there’s this: looks like he’ll play this week against Toronto. Find Univision on your channel lineup if you have not already.)
8. Philadelphia Union – After a loss at home in Round 23, this week’s contest at PPL Park against a potentially drained D.C. United (which plays mid-week while the Union is idle) is an absolute must-have three points.
7. Montreal Impact – The Impact’s season of high highs and curious lows continues: Marco Schallibaum’s club fell to D.C. United, 3-1.
6. Colorado Rapids – A 2-2 draw against Real Salt Lake was enough to get the Rocky Mountain Cup into Rapids hands for the first time in seven years. That’s a big day around DSG Park.
5. New York Red Bulls – When peripheral figures like Loyd Sam and Jonny Steele can contribute goals and assists, the team will be a good shape. Last week’s 3-2 win at Sporting Kansas City, a lesson in counter-attacking soccer, helped soften the blow of losing Tim Cahill to injury for a few weeks.
4. Vancouver Whitecaps – Yet another rugged, foul-filled Cascadia Cup contest resulted in a 1-1 draw in Portland, a good result for Martin Rennie’s team.
3. Sporting Kansas City – Peter Vermes changed the team’s style this year to be less reliant on high-pressure tactics. The results aren’t encouraging, however. After last week’s loss in the heartland to New York, SKC is just 5-4-3 at home, which is mediocre at best.
2. Portland Timbers – Caleb Porter’s club is not handling the summer disruptions well, with just one win in its last five home matches. The big blow for the Timbers, however, was seeing bitter rival Seattle gather up attention and a roster boost in Clint Dempsey’s acquisition.
1. Real Salt Lake – Generally speaking, a draw on the road is fine, especially against a team in playoff position. But a 2-2 draw in Denver meant RSL handed off the Rocky Mountain Cup.