First off let me just say congrats to the big conglomerates who, for one second, thought that Sporting might be better than San Jose. Way to pull your head out this week. Getting back to reality it’s very apparent that the Quakes are a very good team and that Chris Wondolowski is having, in my opinion, the best season ever by an individual in MLS, Roy Lassiter be damned. I’m a huge Simon Dawkins fan and love him or hate him Alan Gordon is the best off-the-bench player in MLS. One week later MLSsoccer.com and ESPN “FC” get it right. Let’s take a look at the rest of…
After the Quakes and Sporting, again, there is a small plateau jump. It’s been there the last month and a half since I became editor here and I’m sure it’ll be there through the final 3 weeks. However this pleateau is becoming skinnier and skinnier as less teams really seem to fit inside of it. RSL is the clear #3, though it’s clear that a lot of people are still very impressed by what Chicago has done in the last month. Add in the Sounders who have shown the ability to lock down the midfield and are quietly working on 2 game clean sheet streak and you have a very good trio.
The “big league” question marks then follow with LA and NY. Both clubs have been beating up on teams that are less than them and struggling with those that are better. They both have big time pieces that at times step up in big ways and at other times are no where to be seen. There is obvious turmoil in New York with the Manager change and a possible coaching one soon to follow and LA has been hit with the injury club time and time again.I think that both teams have a lot of talent but their ability to properly execute and mesh in terms of chemistry is obviously an issue.
The next grouping is DC, Houston and Columbus…wait and Vancouver? DC is obvious on the cusp of making the next step, as they have sooo many question marks and you aren’t entirely sure if they are going to keep doing what they are doing. One of the Podcasts I listen to made a reference to them slowly becoming San Jose east with their late timed heroics and Chris Pontius taking yet another step forward (and arguably had a case for the USMNT with all the injuries) in the mold of a Wondolowski. Columbus and Houston can’t figure things out in terms of playoffs and positioning and then Vancouver seems to be finally coming out of their funk and could be extremely dangerous with that very good defensive back-line.
FC Dallas starts to fall back down to earth and while they might be a team worthy of a playoff spot it’s obvious that there was just too many things in their way. Between Shea’s drop in performance, the injuries that affected them and other off the field issues, it’s just didn’t work out for them. The Impact were similar in a lot of respects and just couldn’t come up with the second half push they needed and Columbus found.
It would be easy to lump the rest in one giant craptastic load. But I have my own little grouping. I lump, Portland, Philadalephia and Chivas in the next group. I think all of them are better than what they appear. It won’t take too much to put them in the right path and they certainly have moments for being an entertaining watch. I know that some people would argue with me about Chivas but they have a few players that I just really like and the fact that I just can’t quit Juan Agudelo. I think all three clubs are in position to possibly challenge for playoff spots next year.
The second trio New England, Colorado and Toronto are unwatchable in my mind. I cringe when people try to talk about them. They are uninteresting and need so much work both on the field and in the organization. Maybe it’s just that I’m really unfamiliar but I get that this is the general feeling of everyone that enjoys American soccer.