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
Seattle Sounders (PROMOTED)
The Sounders look potent. For some reason I think their performance amongst some non-Seattle fans has gone unnoticed in favor of Sporting KC and San Jose. Well, this is silly. The Sounders are great. We're playing them tonight. Damn.
The Cream of the Crop
Sporting Kansas City (DEMOTED)
Two losses in a row with zero goals to show for it. As a team they have magically transformed into poor finishers and Graham Zusi isn't looking all that hot either. Their next game is against Chicago who have been quite solid to start the year. Three weeks ago I wouldn't have bet against Sporting if they were taking on the Fire. Now? A draw seems likely, but I would be pretty shocked if SKC can't right the ship for the third week in a row.
San Jose Earthquakes
San Jose would have had the top spot if they had not lost to Vancouver. Despite losing the Earthquakes have been quite excellent so far, leading the league in goals and assists. Should the Sounders slip up against us (please...) then the Quakes have a shot at clawing their way to the top.
New York Red Bulls (PROMOTED)
I'm not entirely convinced the Red Bulls are amongst the top teams, but you cannot argue with their latest results. The repurposed play of Dax McCarty coupled with strong goalkeeping has seen them earn results while Henry remains injured. Not too shabby for a team that has been quite rocky through parts of the season.
Real Salt Lake
Anything less than a win at Rio Tinto against New England would have been embarrassing, so good on RSL for taking care of business at home. Salt Lake haven't been the overpowering force that they looked to be early in the season, but that doesn't mean they aren't a serious threat to any team in the table.
Their defense sprung a leak against San Jose, but most teams these days have trouble dealing with the Quakes' forwards. Dwayne DeRosario has found his scoring touch again, and with DC United already in second for the league lead in goals, this could be the last bit they needed to catapult themselves into the very best. Of course, you can't have five or even four goals scored on you regularly if you expect to succeed.
Vancouver Whitecaps (PROMOTED)
The Caps have won three in a row and Hassli finally has the goal that might give him the confidence to score more. They have toppled some decent teams recently including the Quakes this past weekend.
The MLS Middle Class
Sadly one more loss against Seattle and FCD might drop down a tier. I just don't see them getting positive result against the likes of Seattle while the Injury and Suspension Parade proceeds down Worst Luck Avenue. The best case scenario for FCD is that once everyone is healthy in a month, the team goes on a tear in the second half of the season like Sporting did last year.
As I mentioned in my weekly recap, the Fire have a bunch of games in hand on the East, as many as four on some teams, and have looked pretty solid so far. This team is trending upwards.
I don't want to take anything away from the Rapids' effort, but it would have been embarrassing to not beat a team down two men for fifty minutes. Not much can be gleaned from their performance against us this past week. Drew Moor made me like him a lot more than I did though. That's a classy man right there.
The Montreal Impact have been a pretty successful expansion team, so far at least. They are also led by a man who seems to know how to win over the crowd, with head coach Jesse Marsch taking French lessons during his stay as the boss of the Francophone outfit.
LA Galaxy (DEMOTED)
It is sad for LA that there aren't many teams afraid to face them anymore. The only team I can see worried about facing LA is Toronto who----- what? What is that you say? Toronto eliminated the Galaxy from the CCL? Oh.
The Dynamo were inactive but are about to open their new stadium which will almost certainly inject new life into the team. As much as I hate Houston and everything that that smelly, polluted, Dynamo-infested, crime-ridden city offers, it is excellent for them to be opening up a new place. For ONE weekend I will be cheering on Houston. You only get to open a stadium once. If that doesn't sit well with you, just pretend I'm cheering for MLS's financial health.
Shutout by defensively weak Portland and has only picked up two points in five matches.
New England Revolution
It's hard to dislike the Revs. They try hard, it's just never good enough. New England lacks the personnel to really compete at a high level. Jay Heaps has done as well as can be reasonably expected with what he has. They almost took points from RSL, which would have been nice...
Portland Timbers (PROMOTED)
This team needs a drastic overhaul in many departments: Coaching, personnel and talent scouting. Of course they still have time to turn their season around, but not that much time. I moved them up primarily because of the shutout, but they're not instilling me with much faith beyond that.
Philadelphia Union (DEMOTED)
The Union are all over the place. Their last few results are a tie, win, win, loss, loss. Their two wins came against MLS cupcakes Chivas and Columbus, so we have to take some of their wins with a grain of salt. They are so bad at scoring they are tied with Chivas for league-worst in goals.
Chivas USA (DEMOTED)
If Chivas continues losing games and loses this season, I suggest Mr. Dan "Tiger Eater" Kennedy find a better team. Again it was a case of "not bad, not great" by Chivas and sadly that sort of performance isn't going to cut it most of the time.
MLS is going to find a creative way to relegate Toronto to the NASL. If they continue this trend I'll have to rename the Dishonorable Mention category to the "Aron Winter Award".