The second week of MLS action seemed much like the first: The East can't handle the West and RSL is good.
A quick note: I do not like to number teams and so I won't do it. While these weekly features are subjective, numbering teams is a slippery slope. Due to that the teams are placed in certain categories, with no numerical order within those categories. On we go!
The Cream of the Crop
Salt Lake have started out with a bang haven't they? They knock off LA in week one and then proceed to dominate New York to the tune of 2-0. Kreis of course is never fully satisfied with his team's performance, but right now this looks like the best team in the league. For now. *looks at LA*
They got back to their winning ways, albeit against a pretty weak DC side that didn't have its best game. What matters is that Robbie Keane scored two goals and looked exactly what people were hoping he would: Dangerous.
Seattle didn't let its mid-week thrashing at the hands of Santos get to their heads, and they got Toronto to concede three goals from the same man, David Estrada. Next week they host the Houston Dynamo in front of the NBC crew, their big crowd, and their beloved former play-by-play man Arlo White. Put me down for a Sounders win next week.
FC Dallas (DEMOTED)
A draw with Portland wasn't a terrible result considering the missing personnel, but the result was disappointing nonetheless. I really wanted to keep them a tier higher, but until we see a few more points "Almost Elite" will have to do. Perez scored though and Leyva looked great attacking on the wing.
Houston has beaten two mediocre-to-bad teams and already have high expectations. Sure, two wins on the road is nothing to scoff at, but when you're beating teams like San Jose and Chivas perhaps it's important to tap the breaks a little and come back to Earth. The Sounders should give them a good test, one I don't really expect them to pass.
Captain Jay DeMerit scored his first MLS goal and the 'Caps get another win! I doubt they will keep winning like that but I betcha the Whitecaps fans don't care. Six points through two games.
Sporting Kansas City is taking care of business by knocking down weaker teams in their (very weak) conference. I would argue though that anything less than wins against the likes of DC and New England for a team like SKC would be incredibly disappointing. If Dallas can get some health back in time for Sunday, Sporting will be facing their first real test of the season, but they are a team FCD cannot afford to take lightly.
The MLS Middle Class
Toronto FC (DEMOTED)
There are worse things than losing your season opener to Seattle at their home. TFC never really got going in this game and while they were missing some starters, the real issue will be with the injury sustained by Torsten Frings. If he's out for a while things could get hairy for the Reds.
I'm not quite sold on the Rapids just yet. Philadelphia controlled much of the match against and the Rapids got away with murder defending in their own box. Another positive result, either a well-earned draw or a win, will have them bumped up. Also I report that, in a move that surprises no one, the Rapids got a player ejected for dirty tackles.
The Crew were idle this weekend so let me ask a question: Would you rather have Barbasol as a sponsor, or Gillette? I say Gillette. However Barbasol does has sort of a manly ring to it...
The Quakes came awfully close to equalizing but got nothing to show for it. They're lucky the Busch didn't get red-carded though, that would have really sucked for them. Beating the Revs isn't impressive, while losing to anyone is bad. The Quakes need to pick up the pace.
The Timbers are showing some real heart through their first two games, but not a great deal of skill. Aside from a moment in which they scored and controlled the match (for about 15 minutes), Portland really struggled to put together much of anything. Form however is irrelevant when you consider that they have the same number of points as Dallas.
Chicago Fire (DEMOTED)
The Fire that ended the season last year would have put away Montreal easily, but they were chasing a lot of the game and didn't put togehter a particularly inspiring performance. Part of that has to be attributed to Montreal playing their butts off to impress the home crowd, but Montreal came way too close far too many times for Chicago's comfort. However if Dominic Oduro keeps scoring like he did in this game and last year, the Fire will have reasons to believe that they can challenge in the East.
New York Red Bulls (DEMOTED)
Hans Backe is a very confusing man. His lineups are nonsensical even to a casual soccer observer and his team isn't jelling at all. He benches Kenny Cooper again (Really Hans?) and leaves Thierry Henry again without much midfield support. I'll lay off the cracks about their defense because by now they're quite old, but something has to be done soon about their situation. Maybe Rafael Marquez and Luke Rogers returning will help significantly, but even last year the Red Bulls didn't do much with them in the lineup.
Another heroic performance by a DC United keeper, and another loss. They just don't look very good. They displayed some flashes of fine footballing against LA but were unable to convert it into much.
A record breaking crowd isn't anything to laugh at, and Davy Arnaud has earned himself a place in the record books. Drawing with Chicago isn't ideal, but then again who cares? First MLS goal!
Peter Nowak has quickly turned unpopular over the course of two months. This time he benched Danny Califf for an apparent injury that Califf didn't believe merited a benching, while he also kept Roger Torres on the bench. Torres immediately changed the dynamic of the game and many fans wondered why he wasn't starting to begin with. Nowak isn't much about answering questions with much sincerity so far, so it's hard to tell why he did. The Union could be in real trouble if the first two games are any indication, but perhaps it is a bit early to write them off.
They looked ugly all game long, though that unfair red card didn't help matters. Perhaps they would have only lost 2-1 if they had eleven men on the field.
Chivas USA (DEMOTED)
I feel for the Goats. Their attendance is dropping into levels that are quite embarrassing (and I'm saying that as a Dallas fan), and now they're 0-2. While that's only two games, Chivas has looked flat-out bad in both their games. Fraser has to get more out of his men if he hopes to seriously contend in the West. As it stands this team is only good enough to be third in the East (ZING~!).
Week 2: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
- Blas. Who else?
- Leyva looked good going against another's team's starters (in the attack at least)!
- Olympic matches are almost here!
- Torsten Frings, out 6 weeks. That is no good for TFC.
- Mauro Rosales, also injured. (Good for FCD, but generally speaking bad)
- Giving up such an awful goal to Portland. I hate it when teams score unearned goals (unless of course, OUR team does).
- New York's confidence.
- Peter Nowak's current standing with the fans. When English, French AND Spanish publications are wondering what the heck he's not telling the team, that's not a good sign.
- Chivas' attendance. I'm not sure they even cracked 8k. Maybe they should re-brand, move or both.