April 07, 2012; Montreal, QC, CAN; Toronto FC Logan Emory (2) reacts as he is been ejected from the game during the second half against Montreal Impact at the Olympic Stadium. Ap 7, 2012; Kansas City, KS, USA; Sporting KC defender Aurelien Collin (78) celebrates after the game against the Los Angeles Galaxy at Livestrong Sporting Park. Kansas City won 1-0.
Smoked to perfection
There are two inarguable truths about Major League Soccer right now. The first is that Sporting Kansas City is the best team in the league at the moment. The second is that Toronto FC is the worst. Sporting Kansas City removed any doubts about their claim to the top spot in the MLS Power Rankings with a thorough 1-0 victory against Real Salt Lake on Saturday. No, it wasn’t a blowout, but it was a comfortable enough win to show us that, for the time being, Sporting KC is playing at a higher level than the rest of the league. Real Salt Lake was missing Javier Morales and Ned Grabavoy, but still had too much talent on the field to explain away how easily Sporting KC handled the Western Conference Leaders. As for Toronto FC, they became the latest victims of Chivas USA’s perfect road form. TFC is off to the first 0-5 start in club history and it can blame some shoddy finishing and a defense that just isn’t capable of shutting anybody down. San Jose earned a considerable amount of respect over the weekend, not only for taking a point from the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena, but doing so despite losing two key starters to injury in the first half of the match. Here are the FOX Soccer MLS Power Rankings after Week Six:
1. Sporting Kansas City
The defense Sporting KC is playing right now is stifling and is a complete team effort. Roger Espinoza has the look of a Best XI candidate, as do Aurelien Collin and Graham Zusi. As well as their defense is playing, you have to wonder if and when the offense will get rolling, or if Sporting KC will be a team that grinds out 1-0 victories all season.
2. Real Salt Lake
Didn’t put up nearly enough of a fight against Sporting KC, though part of that was clearly down to the absence of Javier Morales. Luis Gil is a promising young midfielder, but he still has plenty to learn.
3. San Jose Earthquakes
Chris Wondolowski was extremely impressive in the 2-2 tie vs. New York. Not just because of the goal he scored, but because of his defensive work and leadership in helping keep the Earthquakes together after losing Victor Bernardez and Shea Salinas to injury.
4. Sounders FC
The offense continues to struggle to generate goals, but the team’s 1-0 win against Colorado allowed the defense to step up and post its second straight shutout.
5. Houston Dynamo
Drawing a road point from their weather-shortened match against Chicago wasn’t a major event, but having Will Bruin deliver a class finish for the Dynamo’s only goal is something to build on. Houston definitely missed Brad Davis, but that isn’t exactly a surprise.
6. New York Red Bulls
It was bound to happen eventually. A good offensive performance was marred by a disappointing defensive display. The only thing worse than New York’s defending was the antics of Rafa Marquez, who is facing a pretty lengthy suspension for his actions that injured Shea Salinas.
7. DC United
Ben Olsen’s squad showed some real heart in battling back on the road from a 1-0 deficit. Nick DeLeon is looking better every week, and Chris Pontius opening his scoring account could help him move close to the stellar form he showed in 2011 before a broken leg cut his season short.
8. FC Dallas
Blas Perez continues to build an early-season case for MLS Newcomer of the Year, delivering a goal and assist in the win vs. Montreal. More promising for Schellas Hyndman was the fact that Brek Shea scored the winner — he looked like the Shea that challenged for MLS MVP honors last season.
9. Vancouver Whitecaps
A bye week should help Martin Rennie sort out whatever concerns he may have had about his defense giving up three goals, as well as give him time to game-plan for a brutal mid-week challenge from Sporting Kansas City.
10. Chivas USA
The Goats’ defense notched another shutout, though goalkeeper Dan Kennedy deserves a bulk of the credit for helping shut down Toronto FC. The perfect road record is a testament to Robin Fraser, who has now added a new forward, Colombian Jose Erick Correa, to hopefully boost an underwhelming attack.
11. LA Galaxy
Yes, they got a little help from a blown offside call in the first half against Portland, but the Galaxy deserve credit for rallying for a comeback win. Bruce Arena looked like a magician yet again, plugging in newly-acquired centerback David Junior Lopes into the lineup where he put in a solid debut for a defense that needed it.
12. Colorado Rapids
The Rapids started the season well, but have hit a slide in recent weeks that may be due, at least in part to Oscar Pareja still trying to figure out how to fit all the pieces of his lineup together. Based on the team’s recent losses, the Rapids are still struggling to find the right balance between offense and defense.
13. Chicago Fire
The Fire didn’t show much of an offense in the rain-soaked draw against the Houston Dynamo, but the big news for Chicago came during the week in the form of Chris Rolfe re-signing with the club. He should be able to provide an immediate impact and help boost an offense that needs his energy.
14. New England Revolution
The good vibes of a surprising start of the season have faded after the team’s second straight late-goal defeat. Not having Shalrie Joseph around due to his suspension was a major factor, but Jay Heaps can take comfort in the impressive debut of Colombian forward Jose Moreno.
15. Philadelphia Union
Peter Nowak was finally able to enjoy a victory, and he owes it to a strong defensive display and the fine work of Freddy Adu in midfield. Rookie Ray Gaddis opened some eyes with his effort as a late addition to the starting lineup, and the Union suddenly have some momentum.
16. Columbus Crew
The Crew didn’t exactly look like a real threat against the Philadelphia Union and if you’re Robert Warzycha you have to start asking yourself if the Crew roster really has enough firepower to be a contender. As things stand, it doesn’t look like it.
17. Portland Timbers
What can you say about the Timbers? They play well for long stretches, then make awful mistakes in crunch time to cost themselves points. They are in last place in the West but haven’t played as badly as their record would suggest. The pressure is on John Spencer to figure out what is causing his team to meltdown late in matches.
18. Montreal Impact
The Impact are showing signs of improvement, but results continue to prove tough to come by. The loss to Dallas was a particularly difficult one to take because Montreal really did put together a strong road effort only to see a late goal spoil it.
19. Toronto F.C
The 1-0 loss to Chivas USA was another match TFC could have earned a point or three but didn’t, and rumblings out of Toronto are that Winter is facing some real pressure to turn things around. A loss to Chicago this weekend could push the club to make a coaching change.