Around MLS: Number Three

USA TODAY Sports

Dallas drops to #3 in the Western Conference, while RSL leap to take the lead.

Dallas has dropped in the standings, and yet still has a game in hand. How did other teams do?

The Colorado Rapids lost twice this week, losing 2-1 to the Chicago Fire, and 3-0 to the Portland Timbers. Seemingly out of nowhere, the Rapids have hit a large speedbump and have lost four out of their last five competitive games. It's confusing not just because the team has enough quality to avoid such slides, but because merely a month ago they were being praised for weathering an impossible injury storm that took out half (or more) of their starters for several weeks.

Unfortunately for Dallas, Portland smashed Colorado. It was a completely dominating performance, and while the Rapids are currently easy to dominate, it doesn't discount that Portland played very well (after the 15th minute or so, before that... eh). Dallas still has accumulated a higher PPG total that Portland, but I don't think it's in question which team is in better form at the moment.

Portland have had many draws in their unbeaten streak, which might give some pause over whether or not this Portland team is as good as they seem. But unbeaten is still that: "unbeaten". Dallas have the unenviable task of facing them this week in the US Open Cup. Based on present form alone, it will be a tough slog for the Hoops to advance, even at home.

DC United joined the "Finally Won!" club alongside Toronto FC, and dispatched the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0. As with Toronto's victory, it isn't saying a great deal of DC just yet. San Jose have been pitifully poor this year compared to the expectations heaped upon them, and the only thing it proves is that DC can at least take care of one of the other worst teams in the league.

The win came from an early penalty kick awarded to DC. All goals count, but not scoring from the run of play takes some of the excitement out of DC's win. While their defense hasn't been all that great, their offense needs to get going if they hope to retain a semblance of dignity for the rest of the season. The playoffs are out of the question barring a miracle, so DC need to start scoring more than just PKs against defensively poor teams like SJ if they hope to win more games.

But it's a start. Winning is definitely better than losing.

Real Salt Lake topped the Seattle Sounders in a convincing 2-0 win. Seattle again lacked Osvaldo Alonso to help them solidify their midfield, and it showed. Seattle's attack was remarkably poor, lacking any teeth or incisiveness going forward. This "performance" from Seattle's midfield only adds fuel to the speculation that without Ozzie, Seattle is only a slightly above-average team.

Seattle fans have questioned whether or not the reliance Alonso is such a beneficial thing, as when the tough Cuban finds himself injured or suspended, Seattle simply can't find the possession and composure that any good midfield requires. It doesn't help that Seattle's strength on the wings is easily handled by a competent defense if the middle of the park is toothless.

There is also the issue of the giant, Montero-sized hole. If only Seattle had something to fill that void.

Real Salt Lake will be thrilled though, and they now top the Supporter's Shield standings. As an obvious by-product, they also lead the West, albeit with one more game played than Portland or Dallas.

The Philadelphia Union beat the New York Red Bulls 3-0, though part of that can be traced to New York going down a man as early as the 28th minute, courtesy of a very reckless "tackle" (it looked more like a stomp than a tackle) by Lloyd Sam on Danny Cruz.

I only caught the first half, but the Red Bulls defense was an abject disaster in more ways than one, and with an unfortunate bounce or two could have been down by as much as 3 in the first thirty minutes. Missing starters hurts the Red Bulls as much as any team, but there was no excuse for the clown-car they drove out to protect Luis Robles' net.

Food For Thought:

  1. Which team has a better chance at the SS out of RSL and Portland? Not which one will win it, but who has the best chance?
  2. Seattle: What do you make of them?
  3. How are you feeling about the USOC against Portland this Wednesday?

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