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ProSoccerTalk’s Major League Soccer rankings: Week 1

Mar 13, 2012, 12:49 PM EDT


1. Los Angeles – One defeat does not a rankings-changer make. But you’re on warning, Galaxy! Consider this a good “talking to,” and don’t make us have to re-think things with a second consecutive MLS loss. Meanwhile, important CONCACAF Champions League matters await this week.

2. Real Salt Lake – Are the Galaxy really best in the West? Kyle Beckerman, RSL’s cop on the beat in the Rio Tinto midfield, has a little something to say about that. Delicious! When your side goes into Los Angeles for a smash-and-grab like we saw last weekend (3-1), you get to say these things.

3. Seattle – They’ve got one foot in the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals, with only this week’s return leg at Santos still in the way. The Sigi Sounders need a tie down in Mexico. It  won’t be easy, but the MLS side should be well rested after being idle in Week 1.

4. Sporting Kansas City – Remember all that stuff about Sporting Kansas City being the class of the East, with too many offensive weapons to contain for very long? Rinse. Repeat. Peter Vermes’ side was in control in the 1-0 win at D.C. United.

5. Colorado – All the talk of new formations (4-3-3), bright coaching debuts (Oscar Pareja) and this concerning head injury to captain Pablo Mastroeni has partially obscured this: right back Kosuke Kimura looked like a world-beater out there, with both assists in the 2-0 season-opening win over Columbus.

6. FC Dallas – The Red Stripes can feel good about downing New York at home, but things are already looking perilously thin, with Brek Shea (Olympic team) out and Fabian Castillo (ankle) perhaps questionable for this week. That’s going to mean Blas Perez will have even more to do in making the Dallas offense go.

7. Houston – The Dynamo finally gets its goal inside the Home Depot Center – just a few months too late. Inside the same stadium where Dominic Kinnear’s men fell last November to the Galaxy in the MLS Cup final, Andrew Hainault’s late game-winner got the Houston season off to a good start against stadium second-citizen Chivas USA.

8. Portland – First half: Meh. Second half: “Hell, yeah!” Three strikes at Jeld-Wen after the break, including one by scoring hope Kris Boyd help take down Philadelphia (3-1) in the league’s Monday night special.

9. Vancouver – Tough to say what to make of the 2-0 win over Montreal. At home. Against an expansion team in its very first MLS contest. It’s a win, for sure, and the Whitecaps’ shape and passing looked good at times. But let’s just consider this “taking care of business” and hold off on bigger pronouncements.

10. San Jose – It wasn’t the prettiest win, and you can debate the true worth of downing a side in high transition. Still, the opening-day triumph over New England will look like just another three points by season’s end, and that’s the most important thing for a management unit that simply must get it right this year.

11. Chicago – Who can possibly enjoy being idle on MLS FirstKick weekend?  It just leaves you hungry.  Probably for Polish deli greatness or Chicago-style hot dogs when we’re talking about matters of Toyota Park. Anyway, the Fire’s season opens this week at Montreal.

12. New York – It’s come to this around the Eastern Conference’s highest profile side: they clearly miss the linking play of Rafa Marquez, who perhaps can keep Thierry Henry from dropping so far back into midfield to collect possession. Up next, a trip into Utah to face Real Salt Lake.

13. Toronto FC – Aron Winter’s men have a big advantage over Los Angeles going into tomorrow’s CONCACAF Champions League second-leg: they had the weekend off, able to rest and recuperate while nine of 11 Galaxy starters from last week’s first leg had to deal with an MLS contest.

14. Philadelphia – Last year started with a 1-0 win at Houston, immediately pushing things in the right direction for Peter Nowak’s men. This year’s reconfigured (and young) squad didn’t get anything close to the same start in a 3-1 loss at Portland. Freddy Adu was awfully quiet for the Union.

15. D.C. United – D.C. United officials are pedaling hard on the “Give us time, we’ll get better” campaign. And that’s fair enough, I guess. But just one, lonely little shot on target in your home opener? And being out-shot overall, 17-7, by Sporting Kanas City in a 1-0 loss? That’s not a great place to start.

16. Columbus – Some nifty work from replacement goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum kept his Crew in the game, but his inability to handle one routine cross was the genesis of an opening goal in the 2-0 loss at Colorado. And the hamstring injury to young midfielder Dilly Duka put another black mark on the season opener.

17. New England – There was some good (Benny Feilhaber, Lee Nguyen off the bench) and some bad (an off night from Shalrie Joseph, a quiet debut from promising rookie Kelyn Rowe) in the road loss to San Jose.

18. Chivas USA – Forced into a makeshift lineup due to a pair of key absences – winger Michael Lahoud (hamstring strain) and center back John Alexander Valencia (quadriceps strain) – the Goats nonetheless offered a touch of promise. But when you can’t score so much as a lone goal at home, you become vulnerable – which is exactly what happened in the 1-0 loss to Houston.

19. Montréal – Using a lineup with too many men better suited as role players or backups, the Impact fell at Vancouver. Things will get better. It takes a while to truly sort out which players can hack it going forward.

  1. bigvinnyinjax - Mar 13, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    KC will be there in the end.

  2. term3186 - Mar 13, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    Seriously? LA loses by two goals at home and gets the top spot?

  3. Wolfgang Depner - Mar 13, 2012 at 4:07 PM

    LAG appears way too high on this list – -RSL-SKC-FCD-SEA_LAG would be my top five. Vancouver (and I am a Caps fan) ranks too high – no higher than 9th or 10th would be appropriate

  4. larryharry59 - Mar 13, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    Well, well, well….Not even a week on the job Steve and you go ahead let everyone know you are a Gals fanboy by ranking them at #1 when they lost by 2 goals…at home.

    • Steve Davis - Mar 13, 2012 at 5:39 PM

      As I told someone else, I’ll leave the irrational overreaction to others. It’s one game of 34 and not time to over-think things. Yet. (Fanboy? Really? … We won’t be calling each other names on this blog, now will we?)

  5. d12e - Mar 13, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    what was the tv ratings on NBC, it looks good, they out did ESPN in my opinion and crushed any Fox soccer broadcast. This is a great move for the MLS, hopefully for NBC too. I would love some feedback on the broadcast.

    • Abram Chamberlain - Mar 13, 2012 at 9:40 PM

      I read it was around 82K, which while not great is up 21% over the FSC coverage. Apparently NHL – depending on teams- gets between 100k and 150k on NBCSN and that is a much more established league. So while not the 1million+ everyone wants a pretty good start.

  6. Abram Chamberlain - Mar 13, 2012 at 9:39 PM

    LA at #1 has to be to generate discussion. Right? Lost 3-1 to RSL not to mention the 2-2 tie to Toronto in CCL. That’s 0-1-1 so far including losing their first home game in a long time. That is not a #1 team

  7. sir1389 - Mar 14, 2012 at 12:06 AM

    Keep showing Portland home games and the ratings will catch up quickly.

  8. sir1389 - Mar 14, 2012 at 12:21 AM

    BTW did anyone else notice that the West went 5-1 against the East in the first week?

    • Abram Chamberlain - Mar 14, 2012 at 12:50 PM

      or that the East scored only 2 goals against Western Conference opponents? Rough first week for the East.

  9. pictdragon - Mar 14, 2012 at 1:35 AM

    1 and 2 should swap places. RSL looked the better team. I would even place Seattle above LA but the Sounders had Week 1 off. Galaxys defense looks a little suspect to say the least.

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