SANTA CLARA, CA - MAY 13: Ramiro Corrales #12 of the San Jose Earthquakes fights for control of the ball with Laurent Courtois #16 of the Chivas USA at Buck Shaw Stadium on May 13, 2012 in Santa Clara, California. The game ended in a 1-1 tie. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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 Cherry On Top
Real Salt Lake (PROMOTED)
This past performance against Seattle looked more like the Real Salt Lake of old, and by old I mean 2009 and 2010. Solid defensively, RSL gave Seattle nothing but took from them... everything. I really wish we had someone like Kyle Beckerman in the midfield for us, even if he is a tool.
The Cream of the Crop
Seattle Sounders (DEMOTED)
I was saying this weekend that the Sounders are "on another level" and then they break with nary a whimper. It's one thing to lose if they could have scored a goal or two in the process, but they were shutout at home. RSL isn't some pushover so Seattle shouldn't be embarrassed, but being shut out at home always sucks.
San Jose Earthquakes
I'll cut the Quakes a bit of slack as the Goats are building a reputation as giant-killers this season and have an unreal away form that has really bailed them out this season. What is it about Fraser's men that makes them so lethal away from their house?
New York Red Bulls
Ryan Meara is pretty good, but the New York defense has also shored itself up a bit and are now have earned themselves a few clean sheets. If the Red Bulls can hang on like this until Thierry Henry returns, they could build a nice cushion on their newly-minted lead in the Eastern Conference.
Sporting Kansas City (DEMOTED)
Remember when Sporting were going to win the Supporter's Shield in July? I do.
I always hate when coaches blame losses on the officiating, and Peter Vermes seems to do this on a semi-regular basis. A change in the lineup may be necessary because with three losses in a row, two of them to pretty mediocre teams, something isn't working anymore.
Thankfully for DC Perry Kitchen's MRI turned up nothing serious, so they can breathe a sigh of relief there. Honestly, I would have expected them to lose that home opener to Houston, and even so DC put up a decent fight. Not many ways to stop that goal from Brad Davis. Just have to shake your head and move on.
I really wanted to put Chicago in a higher category, but they need to rack up more points first. With so many games in hand though they'll find them soon enough if they keep playing as they have. Beating Sporting is a big statement this early in the season.
The MLS Middle Class
Vancouver Whitecaps (DEMOTED)
Whatever, Vancouver. Continue being wildly inconsistent. I have no idea what's going on with this team. One match they have a lock-down defense, the next their defenders look like they belong in the circus.
Inactive this past weekend, though I don't expect them to fare particularly well against DC United.
A draw against LA, despite how awful they have been, is a pretty nice result and something that should give the home fans a bit of pride. Besides San Jose the Impact hmight be my surprise team of the season.
A beautiful goal by Davis and a nice stadium opening mean one thing: I don't have to feel good for them anymore. You got your attention smelly Houston, now go away.
Columbus Crew (PROMOTED)
They beat FC Dallas and got a win at home, but beating FC Dallas doesn't carry a lot of weight this season. Also, I wasn't aware that the Crew gave their players karate classes. Justin Mearam must be their star student!
New England Revolution (PROMOTED)
So... wow. I didn't see that beatdown against Vancouver coming, did you?
FC Dallas (DEMOTED)
This horse has been beaten to bits, but oh goodness how far FC Dallas has fallen. This makes me sad panda.
Oh LA. I guess that trophy really DID get to your head...
Inactive this week.
Chivas USA (PROMOTED)
They're more inconsistent than Vancouver, but they are putting up great fights against solid teams in the process. While they're away at least.
Philadelphia Union (DEMOTED)
Danny Califf is being traded. You have to wonder how much of this is technical planning, and how much of this is Nowak's ego getting in the way of proper managing. Sure, Califf was a bit older, but they're running out of veterans to help lead this young squad.
Inactive in league play and just as well. They need a break.