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ProSoccerTalk’s weekly MLS rankings – Part II of III

May 8, 2012, 12:25 PM EDT

Seattle Sounders v Chicago Fire Getty Images

12. FC Dallas – Daniel Hernandez apologized for his pair of yellows. Blas Perez’s red, which left Dallas two men down for almost an hour? No one around the Texans’ ground was apologizing for that one. Said manager Schellas Hyndman: “I did see it as a 50/50 play, and I don’t think there was anything intentional. It was simply two players going for the ball and it is what it is.”

11. Montréal Impact – You’ve got to hand it to Impact manager Jesse Marsch. Going into Livestrong Sporting Park was tough enough; having the confidence to dip into the roster and hand some new faces a chance in a busy week, that was something else. It paid handsomely in 2-0 upset over previously top-ranked Sporting Kansas City.  Let’s hear about it, coach: “There’s a lot of confidence in our group and we know that we have a lot of options. It makes my job a little bit tougher to figure who to put out on the field at different moments but I’m also very proud of our group for everyone really staying focused on what we’re trying to do here”.

10. Chicago Fire – Chicago moves up a spot after a quality win, even if it took some late heroics from Marco Pappa to give the Fire all three points at Chivas USA. Chicago manager Frank Klopas watched from a luxury suite while serving a one-game suspension. But he didn’t need a field-level view to appreciate Pappa’s late game-winner: “It took a special player to make a special play at the end,” he said.

9. Colorado Rapids – Omar Cummings’ ankle injury just plain stinks, especially when the formerly feared and well-balanced Cummings-Conor Casey strike combo was about to join forces again. Casey is getting closer to his first start of 2012, at least. Here’s how he summed up Sunday’s 2-0 win over nine-man Dallas: “We caught a break, but we also took advantage.”

8. New York Red Bulls – The team barely (barely!) hung on at home against New England two weeks ago. But what the team accomplished in a 1-0 weekend win at L.A. was hardly “hanging on.” And manager Hans Backe was giving full credit: “The whole team just worked their ass off. Normally when you have so many starters out you are forced to defend and they did in phenomenally. It was a definite team effort. They were under pressure but didn’t allow them a real opportunity, a lot of crosses and half chances, and Ryan once again was phenomenal.”

7. Houston Dynamo – It’s all about the new digs ahead of Saturday’s grand opening of BBVA Compass Stadium. Dynamo president Chris Canetti: “I’m a New York Yankees fan and I have spent many days at Yankee Stadium, and no one’s better than the Yankees at making their stadium a shrine for tradition and history. That was my vision for this stadium. This place tells a story about our club and brand and those pillars are a representation of that.”

  1. wesbadia - May 8, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    Two questions here: are that many analysts and pundits really convinced by Pareja’s 4-3-3 system right now in Colorado? Extratime Radio was lauding the Rapids in yesterday’s edition, as if it’s proven to be extremely effective. But I can’t help but see a severe lack of consistency in its performance. A dominating game against Chivas really isn’t a good case to go on, and I feel like too many people are putting too much emphasis on their win in Frisco against FCD whom played an hour with 9 men. I just can’t see it…

    Secondly, how many people are putting much merit in Houston’s performance in their road swing to start the season? Five games to go on so far isn’t a very good sample size, and considering some of the results against the opponents they’ve faced doesn’t convince me of them either — 1-0 win at Chivas; 1-0 win at SJ (AT&T Park); 2-0 loss at Seattle; 2-2 draw at Columbus; 3-2 loss at DC. The win at SJ is questionable to me considering the amount of controversy in that game, and the quality of football they played was not on par with how everyone pegged them this year. Chivas can’t seem to win at home against even the other bottom feeders. A tie in Columbus is hardly something to get excited about this year. The game tomorrow against NY will be telling. Can Houston’s shaky backline hold up against the offensive onslaught of the Red Bulls, even without Henry? Hall better be standing on his head (or saving more balls with his face) in that game. NY seems to have figured out their defensive problems a bit, and Bruin is going to have to have one hell of a game to beat Meara.

    All in all, we’ll see how both these teams do down the stretch. I just don’t see how their records are that description of how they’ve actually been playing.

    • Steve Davis - May 8, 2012 at 8:22 PM

      Well, Oscar Pareja isn’t convinced about the 4-3-3 either. They’ve been in a 4-4-2 lately.

      As for Houston, 2-2-2 (six games, actually, not five) is a strong mark. First, it’s a better road record than most. Your points about the individual results are well taken and fair, but plenty of teams have had chances against weaker clubs and not taken points.

      You’re right about tomorrow in NY … we’ll know a little more.

      • wesbadia - May 9, 2012 at 9:44 AM

        Fair enough about Pareja’s formation. Personally, I think it’s a blend of a 4-4-2 and 4-3-3. It’s one of those formations that straddles the line of what a formation is.

        My point about Houston’s road swing is that if you look at it compared to SKC’s 10 game road swing last year to start the season, there isn’t a huge disparity between the level of clubs they played and the results that were gotten. Sure, SKC had a 1-6-3 record, but of those six losses, I would say that at least three of them were very winnable. And don’t forget that a couple of those ties were winnable, too, especially that shootout in Vancouver.

        I guess my thinking is that Houston’s results were pretty average. Sure, their record is a stunning 0.500, but the teams they beat and/or tied weren’t very convincing performances on their part. Other teams may not necessarily be getting good results playing those same under-performing teams, but that could mean any number of things. I see Houston being a fairly average team this year. Until they get their defensive miscues sorted out, and start functioning as a cohesive unit, I don’t think they’ll amount to much. And if Bruin gets into a funk and stops scoring, who’ll pick up the slack?

        Oh, and thanks for the correction on games played. Brain fart. Sorry about that :-)

  2. Steve Davis - May 9, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    No worries on the brain fart; daily happening for me.

    To continue the debate, if we’re going to split hairs on the Ws and Ls, don’t forget that last year’s lone win for SKC in the big opening swing was over … drum roll please … Chivas USA. My point is this: any win on the road is a good result, regardless of opposition.

    (AND, I was the one telling everyone early last year that SKC is better than you think, not to be fooled by a misleading road record You can look that up through the Power Rankings I did for SI.com last year.)

    Tonight, by the way, I predict a 1-1 draw in NY.

    (And thanks for all the well-considered comments / thoughts.)

    • wesbadia - May 10, 2012 at 8:33 AM

      You’re welcome. And thanks for all the replies. It’s not every day that a mere fan gets to converse with some of the analysts and pundits of the sport in such an open light. I appreciate the dialogue!

      Looking forward to your analysis on the game from last night. I didn’t get a chance to watch it myself, but I’m about to watch the highlights now. Time will tell which of our opinions comes out on top :-)

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