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MLS rankings: April 20

New York's favorite son will miss three matches after more questionable decision-making.

1 – 1. Sporting Kansas City (7-0-0 – 21 pts, 12 gf, 2 ga). This week: Beat Vancouver 3-1; Beat Real Salt Lake 1-0. KC looked uncharacteristically shaky once Vancouver scored in their 3-1 win Sunday, but still held on. Aurelien Collin might be the league’s most dangerous player on set plays. Up next: At Portland on Saturday

2 – 2. Real Salt Lake (5-0-2 – 15 pts, 11 gf, 5 ga). This week: Lost 1-0 to Sporting Kansas City. Despite the loss to KC, RSL showed enough to keep them as a favorite for the MLS Cup. Next up: A trip to the surprise package of the season so far, San Jose. Up next: At San Jose on Saturday

3 – 3. San Jose Earthquakes (4-1-1 – 13 pts, 10 gf, 4 ga). This week: Drew 2-2 with New York. After starting out the season as a long-ball team striking on the counter, the Quakes’ performance against New York was the first to establish that they can actually play some nice football. Up next: Real Salt Lake on Saturday

4 – 4. Seattle Sounders (3-1-1 – 10 pts, 6 gf, 2 ga). This week: Beat Colorado 1-0. After beating Colorado, the Sounders get a week off to hopefully get Mauro Rosales and Steve Zakuani closer to coming back. Up next: At Chicago on April 28

5 – 5. New York Red Bulls (3-1-2 – 10 pts, 16 gf, 10 ga) This week: Drew 2-2 with San Jose. The Red Bulls looked strong on the attack against San Jose, but were fairly well dominated in the second half, and will be without Rafa Marquez, who was suspended for three matches. Up next: At DC United on Sunday

6 – 6. Houston Dynamo (2-1-1 – 7 pts, 3 gf, 3 ga). This week: Drew 1-1 with Chicago. The Dynamo’s seven-match road streak continues with a trip to struggling Columbus, but at least Houston is more than half way through. Up next: At Columbus  on Saturday

7 – 10. FC Dallas (3-1-2 – 10 pts, 8 gf, 9 ga). This week: Beat Montreal 2-1. Dallas has improved dramatically the last couple weeks, though a trip to Vancouver could be a challenge. Up next: At Vancouver on Saturday

8 – 8. Colorado Rapids (3-0-3 – 9 pts, 7 gf, 8 ga). This week: Lost 1-0 to Seattle. The Rapids have been playing nice football, but not creating chances. They must test LA’s defense in this match. Up next: LA Galaxy on Saturday

9 – 12. DC United (2-3-2 – 9 pts, 8 gf, 7 ga). This week: Drew 1-1 with Montreal; Beat New England 2-1. Up next: New York on Sunday

10 – 7. Vancouver Whitecaps (2-2-2 – 8 pts, 5 gf, 6 ga). This week: Lost 3-1 to Kansas City. After not allowing a single goal in their first match, the Whitecaps have conceded six in their last two. Up next: Dallas on Saturday

11 – 9. Chicago Fire (1-2-1 – 5 pts, 3 gf, 4 ga). This week: Drew 1-1 with Houston. You would think after last season’s awful start that the Fire had learned their lesson, but their intensity so far this season suggests that they haven’t. Up next: At Toronto on Saturday

12 – 11. LA Galaxy (2-0-3 – 6 pts, 8 gf, 9 ga). This week: Beat Portland 3-1. Despite a reasonably impressive scoreline, the Galaxy were somewhat lucky to grab three points against Portland. Colorado is a better team. Up next: At Colorado on Saturday

13 – 15. Chivas USA (3-0-3 – 9 pts, 4 gf, 4 ga). This week: Beat Toronto 1-0. Wow, Chivas really have three wins? Who knew? This team needs to start winning some matches at home. Up next: Philadelphia on Saturday

14 – 13. Columbus Crew (2-0-3 – 6 pts, 4 gf, 7 ga). This week: Lost 1-0 to Philadelphia. The Crew have been a disaster the last two weeks defensively. Will Erig Gehrig Gehrig their chances again this week? Up next: Houston on Saturday

15 – 14. New England Revolution (2-0-4 – 6 pts, 5 gf, 8 ga). This week: Lost 2-1 to DC United. The Revs are a work in progress, but at least it should be an interesting one. Up next: At New York on April 28

16 – 16. Portland Timbers (1-1-4 – 4 pts, 8 gf, 11 ga). This week: Lost 3-1 to LA Galaxy. Despite the rough stretch lately, the Timbers are far from the worst team in the league. Can they turn things around against the league leaders? Umm…not so sure. Up next: Kansas City on Saturday

17 – 18. Philadelphia Union (1-1-3 – 4 pts, 3 gf, 6 ga). This week: Beat Columbus 1-0. The Union are OK defensively, but arguably the league’s worst attacking team. Will the addition of new signing Kai Herdling help? Up next: At Chivas USA on Saturday

18-17. Montreal Impact (1-2-5 – 5 pts, 7 gf, 15 ga). This week: Drew 1-1 with DC United; Lost 2-1 to Dallas. The Impact have played well enough the last two matches to get six points, but unfortunately just grabbed one. Oh, expansion teams. Up next: Portland on April 28

19 – 19. Toronto FC (0-0-5 – 0 pts, 2 gf, 10 ga). This week: Lost 1-0 to Chivas USA. Operation Save Aron Winters Job continues with a home match against the Fire. What defensive player’s error will give Chicago three points in this match? Up next: Chicago on Saturday

MLS rankings: April 10

"Ladies, see anything you like that reminds you of your 8-year-old nephew?"

1 – 1. Sporting Kansas City (5-0-0 – 15 pts, 8 gf, 1 ga). This week: Beat LA Galaxy 1-0. Kansas City escapes from their match with the Galaxy unscathed. Next up is Real Salt Lake, who at least based on form, look like their principal challenger so far. Up next: Real Salt Lake on Saturday

2 – 2. Real Salt Lake (5-0-1 – 15 pts, 11 gf, 4 ga). This week: Beat Colorado 2-0; Beat Montreal 1-0. Probably most impressive about RSL’s win over Colorado is that except for an early chance for Omar Cummings, the Rapids never really looked like scoring. Up next: At Sporting Kansas City on Saturday

3 – 4. San Jose Earthquakes (4-0-1 – 12 pts, 8 gf, 2 ga). This week: Beat Vancouver 3-1. For most of the first half and part of the second half against Vancouver, the Quakes looked like they were headed for their second loss of the season. Then suddenly they caught fire. Is this a good team? I’m still not totally convinced, but maybe. Up next: At New York on Saturday

4 – 3. Seattle Sounders (2-1-1 – 7 pts, 5 gf, 2 ga). This week: Drew 0-0 with DC United. Aside from David Estrada’s hat trick against Toronto in the opener, Seattle has looked out of sorts offensively. Can Eddie Johnson be the answer? Ha ha, I just made myself spit coffee all over the keyboard. Up next: Colorado on Saturday

5 – 10. New York Red Bulls (3-0-2 – 9 pts, 14 gf, 8 ga) This week: Beat Columbus 4-1. That now makes three straight matches where the Red Bulls have scored four or more against awful defending. Can they do the same against a resolute and composed San Jose defense? Up next: San Jose on Saturday

6 – 6. Houston Dynamo (2-0-1 – 6 pts, 2 gf, 2 ga). This week: Didn’t play. Two bye weeks in a row? That’s the most ridiculous scheduling thing the MLS has done in the last day or so. Houston is playing Chicago without Brad Davis. Up next: At Chicago on Sunday

7 – 5. Vancouver Whitecaps (2-2-1 – 8 pts, 4 gf, 3 ga). This week: Lost 3-1 to San Jose. For 65 minutes, the Whitecaps looked comfortably superior to San Jose, before the wheels came off. Now their shutout streak is up, and they still can’t seem to score. Up next: Kansas City on April 18

8 – 7. Colorado Rapids (3-0-2 – 9 pts, 7 gf, 7 ga). This week: Lost to Real Salt Lake 2-0. Against RSL, Colorado showed worrying signs of the haphazard defense that they exhibited against New York. They can’t afford to do that against the Sounders. Up next: At Seattle on Saturday

9 – 11. Chicago Fire (1-1-1 – 4 pts, 2 gf, 3 ga). This week: Didn’t play. The Fire moved up in the rankings thanks to some less than impressive performances by some of the MLS’ other mid0table clubs. An understrength Dynamo squad should be a good team to rediscover their scoring form against. Up next: Houston on Sunday

10 – 15. FC Dallas (2-1-2 – 7 pts, 6 gf, 8 ga). This week: Beat New England 1-0. Despite the late win against New England, Dallas dominated the contest and deserved a 2- or 3-goal victory, which certainly helps fans forget how awful they’ve been so far. Plus, Brek Shea actually showed up! Up next: Montreal on Saturday

11 – 8. LA Galaxy (1-0-3 – 3 pts, 5 gf, 8 ga). This week: Lost to Kansas City 1-0. A visit from the reeling Timbers represents a perfect opportunity for the Galaxy to turn around their extremely indifferent start to the season. Up next: Portland on Seattle

12 – 13. DC United (1-2-2 – 5 pts, 5 gf, 5 ga). This week: Drew 0-0 with Seattle. United are probably disappointed only to draw against Seattle, which represents a positive step for the team after their rough start. Up next: At New England on Saturday

13 – 9. Columbus Crew (2-0-2 – 6 pts, 4 gf, 6 ga). This week: Lost to New York 4-1. Everyone’s getting thumped by the Red Bulls right now, but how bad were the Crew in that match? Yeesh. Up next: At Philadelphia on Saturday

14 – 12. New England Revolution (2-0-3 – 6 pts, 4 gf, 6 ga). This week: Lost 1-0 to Dallas. After back to back wins, the Revs returned to Earth with a thump against Dallas, though they looked oh so close to grabbing an undeserved point. Up next: DC United on Saturday

15 – 16. Chivas USA (2-0-3 – 6 pts, 3 gf, 4 ga). This week: Beat Portland 2-1. Chivas could very well finish the season with 42 points in 11th place this year, and every week I’ll say the same thing: This team isn’t very good. But they defend OK, at least. Up next: At Toronto on Saturday

16 – 14. Portland Timbers (1-1-3 – 4 pts, 7 gf, 8 ga). This week: Lost 2-1 to Chivas USA. A visit to the struggling Galaxy represents an opportunity for the Timbers to forget their troubles of the last three weeks. Or lose by three goals. Up next: At LA Galaxy on Saturday

17-18. Montreal Impact (1-1-4 – 4 pt, 5 gf, 12 ga). This week: Beat Toronto 2-1; Lost 1-0 to Real Salt Lake. The Impact won one and lost one last week, but played well in both matches. They don’t look like a playoff team, but they can certainly hang with teams like Toronto and Philadelphia. Up next: At FC Dallas on Saturday

18 – 17. Philadelphia Union (0-1-3 – 1 pt, 2 gf, 6 ga). This week: Didn’t play. The Union had the week off. Maybe a little rest – and taking on the still-embarrassed Crew – can see them notch their first win of the year. Up next: Columbus on Saturday

19 – 19. Toronto FC (0-0-4 – 0 pts, 2 gf, 9 ga). This week: Lost to Montreal 2-1. Don’t be surprised of Aron Winter’s “Total Football” experiment comes to a premature conclusion if Toronto can’t beat Chivas this weekend. Up next: Chivas USA on Saturday

MLS rankings: April 4

If you thought I'd be averse to posting photos of myself on this site, you'd be sadly mistaken. As for the other two? Well, it's too late to worry about that.

This is a special “My sister’s birthday” edition of MLS rankings. Happy birthday Melani! There were a couple dramatic movers in the rankings – San Jose and New England both notched impressive wins, while the Galaxy continue to drop and face the No. 1 team this week.

1 – 1. Sporting Kansas City (4-0-0 – 12 pts, 7 gf, 1 ga). This week: Beat Chivas USA 1-0. Once again, it wasn’t pretty, but if Sporting keeps racking up points, it won’t matter. Up next: LA Galaxy on Saturday

2 – 4. Real Salt Lake (3-0-1 – 9 pts, 8 gf, 4 ga). This week: Beat Portland 3-2. RSL were a bit lucky to grab the win against Portland, but it’s the type of match that the top teams grind out. Up next: Montreal on Wednesay

3 – 2. Seattle Sounders (2-0-1 – 6 pts, 5 gf, 2 ga). This week: Lost to San Jose 1-0. One loss certainly isn’t enough to cause worry, but the Sounders have yet to put together a complete performance. Up next: At DC United on Saturday

4 – 7. San Jose Earthquakes (3-0-1 – 9 pts, 5 gf, 1 ga). This week: Beat Seattle 1-0. A solid defense and opportunistic offense have the Quakes thinking playoffs. Whether they can keep this up is the question. Up next: Vancouver on Saturday

5 – 5. Vancouver Whitecaps (2-2-0 – 8 pts, 3 gf, 0 ga). This week: Drew 0-0 with Philadelphia. OK, they were outplayed by the Union, haven’t scored in two matches, and Hassli, LeToux, Camilo and Long don’t seem to be on the same page. But, they still haven’t given up a goal. Up next: At San Jose on Saturday

6 – 6. Houston Dynamo (2-0-1 – 6 pts, 2 gf, 2 ga). This week: Didn’t play. Aside from Kansas City’s continued dominance, the Dynamo didn’t lose any ground by not playing. A quirk in scheduling has them not playing this week either. Up next: At Chicago on April 15

7 – 12. Colorado Rapids (3-0-1 – 9 pts, 7 gf, 5 ga). This week: Beat Chicago 2-0. It was a return to normal service for the Rapids, who were efficient and clinical, and once again good on defense in beating the Fire. Up next: At Real Salt Lake on Saturday

8 – 3. LA Galaxy (1-0-2 – 3 pts, 5 gf, 7 ga). This week: Lost to New England 3-1. I still think the Galaxy will be there come playoff time, but after three matches, they are as bad defensively as any team in the MLS, save perhaps Toronto and Montreal. Up next: At Kansas City on Saturday

9 – 11. Columbus Crew (2-0-1 – 6 pts, 3 gf, 2 ga). This week: Beat Toronto 1-0. The Crew gave Toronto a lesson in game management in winning their second match of the year. Columbus looks like one of the better teams in the East at this point. Up next: New York on Saturday

10 – 13. New York Red Bulls (2-0-2 – 6 pts, 10 gf, 7 ga) This week: Beat Montreal 5-2. The Red Bulls offense (and Henry in particular) have come to life in the last two matches, though how much of that is due to bad defending? Up next: At Columbus on Saturday

11 – 8. Chicago Fire (1-1-1 – 4 pts, 2 gf, 3 ga). This week: Lost to Colorado 2-0. Aside from the second goal in the Colorado match, the Fire are defending well, but have disappointed in attack so far. Up next: Houston on April 15

12 – 16. New England Revolution (2-0-2 – 6 pts, 4 gf, 5 ga). This week: Beat LA Galaxy 3-1. I’m sure MLSsoccer.com’s rankings have the Revs in the Top 5 after their second straight win – I’m going to err on the side of “I’ll believe it when they keep doing it,” though. Up next: At Dallas on Thursday

13 – 14. DC United (1-1-2 – 4 pts, 5 gf, 5 ga). This week: Beat FC Dallas 4-1. OK, there’s the United offense, finally. Nick DeLeon looks like a really good MLS player. Up next: Seattle on Saturday

14 – 9. Portland Timbers (1-1-2 – 4 pts, 6 gf, 6 ga). This week: Lost to Real Salt Lake 3-2. The Timbers threw away a win against RSL. Until their defense improves, they’ll struggle to make the playoffs. Up next: Chivas USA on Saturday

15 – 10. FC Dallas (1-1-2 – 4 pts, 5 gf, 8 ga). This week: Lost to DC United 4-1. For such an experienced team, Dallas were all over the place defensively. Plus, the David Fereira situation looks like a season-long distraction. Up next: New England on Thursday

16 – 15. Chivas USA (1-0-3 – 3 pts, 1 gf, 3 ga). This week: Lost to Kansas City 1-0. If you disregard the RSL match, Chivas have yet to score and have lost three out of three matches at home. Up next: At Portland on Saturday

17 – 18. Philadelphia Union (0-1-3 – 1 pt, 2 gf, 6 ga). This week: Drew 0-0 with Vancouver. The Union play better and pick up their first point, but still can’t seem to get Lionard Pajoy involved in the attack. Up next: Columbus on April 14

18-17. Montreal Impact (0-1-3 – 1 pt, 3 gf, 10 ga). This week: Lost 5-2 to New York. The Impact gave it a go against New York and were punished in the second half. They should be a fun team for their fans to support this year, though. Up next: At Real Salt Lake on Wednesday

19 – 19. Toronto FC (0-0-3 – 0 pts, 1 gf, 7 ga). This week: Lost to Columbus 1-0. Ugh. Toronto are bad. Torsten Frings will whip these guys into shape, though they could be out of the playoff race by the team he gets back. Up next: At Montreal on Saturday

Pictures of the Crews’ new jerseys

When you get into late-November, early-December, there are three things you can always depend on: Terrible covers of Christmas songs in department stores, endless news “stories” on shopping, and the next year’s horrifically ugly Columbus Crew jerseys.

Well, you won’t be disappointed, folks, because the folks in Columbus (or at Adidas design headquarters, you choose) did not let us down, topping their fantastically ugly 2010-11 road jerseys (you can see those here) with this year’s ones, which are even worse. The home uniform is fine, though it looks a bit like a polo shirt, but the road? Yeesh.

Anyway, these images come courtesy of this site, so visit it for more info.

MLS rankings: Week 21

By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood

The Galaxy won the biggest game in the MLS this weekend, beating Dallas 3-1 to consolidate their spot at the top of the table. Colorado was the other big winner, beating Columbus impressively to continue their recent good run of form. At the bottom of the table, Vancouver won the clash of probably the two worst teams in the MLS, hammering Chicago 4-2.

All times Pacific; first number is current ranking, second is previous ranking. I trust you can figure out the rest…

1 – 2. LA Galaxy beat Dallas 3-1 at home. Now having safely defeated nearest rivals Dallas, the Galaxy can take it easy and rest their aging bones until the have what should be a fairly easy match against San Jose next week. Season: 13-9-3, 35 gf, 20 ga; Up next: San Jose on Aug. 20

2 – 3. Seattle Sounders won 2-1 at Sporting Kansas City. The Sounders rallied from a goal down at Kansas City, thanks in a large part of Omar Bravo’s red card. With their playoff spot all but a formality at this point, they’ll try to catch LA for best record. Season: 11-8-5, 35 gf, 27 ga; Up next: Chivas USA on Saturday

3 – 1. FC Dallas lost 3-1 at LA Galaxy. Dallas will be disappointed to give up three goals – all on set pieces to the Galaxy, but on the bright side, they showed they can compete very well against the league’s top team – and at times looked like the better of the two. Season: 12-6-6, 31 gf, 23 ga. Up next: At Philadelphia on Saturday

4 – 5. Real Salt Lake beat New York 3-0 at home. RSL escaped from their recent doldrums to crush New York, though at this point, that’s not saying much. Nonetheless, they have an eminently winnable match coming up against Toronto, and they’ll hope to move up the table. Season: 10-6-5, 29 gf, 16 ga; Up next: At Toronto on Saturday

5 – 6. Colorado Rapids won 2-0 at home against Columbus. The Rapids are probably the league’s hottest team at this moment after beating East-leading Columbus convincingly in their last match. Can they continue their streak against San Jose? Well, they should. Season record: 9-10-6, 35 goals for, 31 goal against; Up next: At San Jose on Saturday

6 – 4. Columbus Crew lost 2-0 at Colorado. The Crew were punchless against Colorado, but a home match against New England should be a cure for their ills. Season: 9-7-7, 24 gf 22 ga; Up next: New England on Saturday

7 – 7. Philadelphia Union drew 1-1 at home against Houston. The Union continue to struggle lately. They need to pick up some results so they don’t drop further down the playoff table. Dallas will be a tough team to get three points against. Season: 8-9-5, 27 gf, 20 ga; Up next: Dallas on Saturday

8 – 8. Sporting Kansas City lost 2-1 at home against Seattle. KC’s 14-match undefeated streak was ended by Seattle – and Omar Bravo’s red card. Sporting now get some time off before traveling to Jello Wind Park in Portland. Season: 7-9-7, 32 gf, 30 ga; Up next: Portland on Aug. 17

9 – 11. Chivas USA won 3-2 at New England. The Goats continue their recent resurgence by beating New England, though they have a tough match coming up at Seattle. Nick LaBrocca is one of the players of the year in the MLS. Season: 7-8-8, 30 gf, 26 ga; Up next: At Seattle on Saturday

10 – 10. DC United drew 3-3 at home against Toronto. United were perhaps a bit fortuitous to draw at home against Toronto after Bill Hamid was sent off in the 7th minute. Their defense will need to be better against Vancouver. Season: 6-9-6, 29 gf, 33 ga; Up next: Vancouver on Saturday

11 – 9. Red Bull New York lost 3-0 at Real Salt Lake. A season of low points reached another one with a dismal display in Salt Lake. At least their next match is against Chicago, probably the only team that is playing worse than them at this point. Well, them and San Jose. Season: 6-12-6, 37 gf, 33 ga; Up next: Chicago on Saturday

12 – 12. Portland Timbers drew 1-1 at San Jose. After a barren stretch of no wins and one point in 9 matches, the Timbers have gotten back into the playoff race in recent weeks. Can they win at Houston this weekend? Season: 7-5-10, 28 gf, 35 ga; Up next: At Houston on Sunday

13 – 13. Houston Dynamo drew 1-1 at Philadelphia. Houston managed to get a point at Philadelphia this past week. To stay in the playoff race, they need to get three points against Portland. Season: 6-10-7, 27 gf, 28 ga; Up next: Portland on Sunday

14 – 14. San Jose Earthquakes drew 1-1 at home against Portland. San Jose are in full on free fall. Can they catch themselves when they take on the defending champs? Not likely, but hey, that’s what they play these games, amiright? Season: 5-10-8, 25 gf, 30 ga; Up next: Colorado on Saturday

15 – 15. New England Revolution lost 3-2 at home to Chivas USA. The Revs have been somewhat resurgent lately, but that ended when they gave up three goals to Chivas this past weekend. It doesn’t get any easier with a trip to Columbus, but New England is reaching the point where they have to go on quite a run to make the playoffs. Season: 4-9-10, 22 gf, 33 ga; Up next: At Columbus on Saturday

16 – 17. Toronto FC drew 3-3 at DC United. Toronto should have picked up three points at DC United after Bill Hamid was sent off in the 7th minute. Unfortunately, their defense is BY FAR the worst in the league. Was that the final nail in their playoff-making coffin? Season: 3-11-11, 24 gf, 46 ga; Up next: Real Salt Lake on Saturday

17 – 18. Vancouver Whitecaps beat Chicago 4-2 at home. The Whitecaps beat Chicago – and convincingly – on Sunday. They won’t make the playoffs this year, barring something crazy happening, but with Eric Hassli and … well, with Eric Hassli, at least … they have something to build on for next year. Season: 3-9-11, 25 gf, 36 ga; Up next: At DC United on Saturday

18 – 16. Chicago Fire lost 4-2 at Vancouver. Will this season ever end? If Chicago wins the US Open Cup, that means they will play in the Champions League next year with a 36-year-old designated player and a team that has only won two matches 67 percent of the way through the season. Season: 2-13-7, 23 gf, 30 ga; Up next: At New York on Saturday

MLS weekend preview: July 23

By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood

Several of the MLS teams are playing more exhibition matches this weekend with foreign clubs, so it’s a bit of a short schedule.

*Game to watch ^Game not to watch
All times Pacific, as usual

Saturday

*New York v FC Dallas. (3 p.m.) It’s getting more and more to the point where Red Bulls games are ones not to watch, but in this case, they face a tough challenge in Dallas, and at least in theory, they should be better at home than they were in getting crushed by Colorado last week. Despite all the talent, the Red Bulls are missing something. I don’t know if it’s team spirit or … quality defenders … or, I don’t know. Whatever it is, they should be better than they are. Dallas are still playing great, and now the bigger question (to me, anyway) is whether a European club will try to come in and take Brek Shea (8 goals from midfield) off their hands. If they don’t, they should still keep rolling. Prediction: New York should at least draw, but I have to pick Dallas, 2-1

Columbus v Portland. (5 p.m.) After putting four goals past Colorado at the end of June, Columbus have only scored one in their last four matches. Portland didn’t play very well against Chicago, but got the win, which was good enough to end their seven-match winless streak. Columbus seems to go as Andres Mendoza goes. If he misfires, which happens a lot, they don’t win. If he is scoring goals, which he tends to do in bunches, they win. What will happen today? Well, it’s doubtful that Portland, who has trouble scoring anywhere, much less on the road will get something going against one of the better teams in the league. Prediction: Columbus 2-0

Sporting Kansas City v Toronto. (5:30 p.m.) Kansas City have now drawn three straight. They were a bit lucky to get a draw against Houston, who self-destructed and got two red cards in the second half. They’re taking on a Toronto squad that is struggling, but looked considerably better with the additions of Ryan Johnson, Torsten Frings, Danny Koevermans, et al. last week against Dallas, though they just don’t have the pace in defense to stick with Dallas players. KC is almost as fast, but not quite, and I think despite their 10-match undefeated streak, they could be in for a surprise. Prediction: Toronto 2-1

Colorado v New England. (6 p.m.) Colorado crushed the Red Bulls on Wednesday thanks to a hat trick from midfielder-turned-striker Sanna Nyassi, which makes you wonder why he didn’t play striker earlier in the season. With him lining up alongside Omar Cummings (three assists against New York), Colorado suddenly have one of the quickest strike forces in the league. New England got their first win in a long time – and their first road win of the season – in edging DC United in a match that probably should’ve ended in a draw. New England isn’t dreadful defensively, but they can’t score to save their lives, and it would be a big surprise to see them get a result here. Prediction: Colorado 3-1

Real Salt Lake v San Jose. (7 p.m.) Real Salt Lake have returned (more or less) to the immovable mass of the first few matches of the season and haven’t lost in their last six games. San Jose were struggling for a bit, but Chris Wondolowski got back on the scoreboard – twice – against Vancouver, which only bodes well for them. Nonetheless, I can’t see them breaching RSL’s defense – or at least not enough to win this game. Prediction: RSL 1-0

^Chivas USA v Houston. (7:30 p.m.) I don’t actually think this is that bad of a match, but I guess if there’s one to choose NOT to see, this would be it. Chivas  have found a little bit of form lately, having not lost in four matches (only one win in those, but still), and they’ve done so despite having the double whammy of Michael Lahoud (normally a midfielder) playing in defense, where he’s atrocious and Justin Braun as a starting forward (he has one goal other than his hat trick against New York). Houston should’ve beat Kansas City, but Colin Clark and Brian Ching both had rushes of blood to the head and made terrible, red-card-worthy challenges to get sent off, and Houston ended up conceding a goal and drawing. In a way, they should be happy about getting a draw. Prediction: Chivas USA 3-2, for some reason

MLS rankings: Week 17

By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood

All times Pacific; first number is current ranking, second is previous ranking. I trust you can figure out the rest…

1 – 3. Real Salt Lake won 1-0 at home against FC Dallas. RSL shut down high flying Dallas and won thanks to a somewhat lucky goal. They seem to be approaching their best again. Season: 8-6-3, 22 gf, 12 ga; Up next: At Vancouver on Saturday

2 – 2. LA Galaxy won 2-1 at home against Chicago. I know the Galaxy beat Chicago and haven’t lost in a while, but they were decidedly unimpressive in that game – and have been for the last few weeks. Season: 10-9-2, 27 gf, 16 ga; Up next: Columbus on July 20

3 – 1. FC Dallas lost 1-0 at Real Salt Lake. One week at No. 1, one loss, albeit a close one. Nonetheless, Dallas should be in the Top 5 for the rest of the season.  Season: 10-4-5, 26 gf, 18 ga. Up next: DC United on Saturday

4 – 4. Seattle Sounders won 3-2 at Portland. Sounders are now undefeated in 7 (4 wins), and with a win at home to Colorado could start challenging for the Supporters Shield (Best regular-season record).  Season: 9-8-4, 28 gf, 20 ga; Up next: Colorado on Saturday

5 – 5. Philadelphia Union drew 0-0 at San Jose. Union haven’t been terrible lately, but only one win in their last six, they seem to be slowing down a bit. A Revs team fresh off a friendly hammering at the hands of ManU could be ripe for the taking. Season: 7-7-4, 21 gf, 16 ga; Up next: At New England on Sunday

6 – 6. Red Bull New York lost 1-0 at DC United; beat Toronto 5-0 at home. After crushing Toronto, the Red Bulls were woeful in losing to United. This team has serious self-confidence issues – like they have too much of it. They have to be wary against a Chivas team that beat them in New York last time. Season: 6-10-4, 34 gf, 24 ga; Up next: At Chivas USA on Saturday

7 – 8. Columbus Crew won 1-0 at Vancouver. Don’t look now, but the Crew are suddenly starting to look like the best team in the East. Which doesn’t say much for the East. But nevertheless, they have eminently winnable matches against San Jose, a friendly-distracted Galaxy side and Portland, who have yet to win on the road. Season: 7-6-5, 21 gf 19 ga; Up next: San Jose on Saturday

8 – 11. Colorado Rapids won 2-1 at home against Vancouver; drew 1-1 at Kansas City. A win and a draw have seen the Rapids right the ship a bit after their injury-plagued struggles of earlier in the season. They will have a tought task on their hands winning at Seattle, though. Season record: 6-9-5, 22 goals for, 23 goal against; Up next: At Seattle on Saturday

9 – 10. DC United won 1-0 at home against New York. United have been up and down, but they’ve been up often enough to stay in the playoff race, something they’ll hope to continue when they travel to Dallas this weekend. Season: 5-7-5, 24 gf, 29 ga; Up next: At Dallas on Saturday

10 – 9. Sporting Kansas City drew 1-1 at home with Chivas USA; drew 1-1 at home with Colorado. Consecutive home draws have slowed down Sporting’s hot streak some, but they still haven’t lost in 10. Season: 5-7-6, 23 gf, 24 ga; Up next: At Houston on Saturday

11 – 12. Chivas USA drew 1-1 at Kansas City; beat San Jose 2-0 at home. Chivas have had back-to-back good results. Now they take on New York, who saw Justin Braun score a hat trick (his only three goals this season, incidentally) last time they played. Season: 5-7-7, 24 gf, 23 ga; Up next: New York on Saturday

12 – 13. Houston Dynamo won 1-0 at home against Toronto. Dynamo have been struggling, but a win against Toronto could give them a big bump heading into a tough match against Kansas City. Season: 5-8-6, 22 gf, 22 ga; Up next: Sporting Kansas City on Saturday

13 – 7. San Jose Earthquakes drew 0-0 at home against Philadelphia; lost 2-0 at Chivas USA. After a very good run of form, the Earthquakes offense has come screeching to a halt. It’s hard to see that changing in a road trip to Columbus this weekend. Season: 5-7-6, 22 gf, 21 ga; Up next: At Columbus on Saturday

14 – 14. Chicago Fire lost 2-1 at LA Galaxy. The Fire outplayed the Galaxy but still lost. Luckily for them, they’re doing well in the U.S. Open Cup, and I wouldn’t be shocked at all to see them face Seattle in the final (unless scheduling has them play earlier.) A home match against Portland gives them as good an opportunity as any to finally pick up another win.  Season: 2-12-5, 20 gf, 24 ga; Up next: Portland on Saturday

15 – 17. New England Revolution didn’t play. The only thing the Revs accomplished in their week off from MLS play was getting out-classed by a Manchester United squad that was about 50-50 starters and reserves. Season: 3-7-8, 16 gf, 24 ga; Up next: Philadelphia on Sunday

16 – 15. Portland Timbers lost 3-2 at home to Seattle. I just looked at my Week 10 rankings, and Portland was ranked No. 5 and had 17 points from 10 matches. Now they have 18 from 17 matches. Season: 5-3-9, 21 gf, 31 ga; Up next: At Chicago on Saturday

17 – 18. Vancouver Whitecaps lost 2-1 at Colorado; lost 1-0 at home to Columbus. Whitecaps keep losing, but maybe the signing of Mustapha Jarju will provide a boost, especially if Eric Hassli continues to miss matches. Season: 2-8-10, 19 gf, 28 ga; Up next: Real Salt Lake on Saturday

18 – 16. Toronto FC lost 1-0 at Houston; lost 5-0 at New York. Toronto get a week off to hopefully integrate Torsten Frings and Danny Koevermans into the team and find someone who can defend. Season: 3-9-9, 17 gf, 36 ga; Up next: FC Dallas on July 20

Concacaf Champions League Recap: Day 3

By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood

Real Salt Lake 4, Columbus 1 (4-1 aggregate): A terrible showing from Columbus, who had a

A rare Richard Balchan sighting

player sent off in the first leg, then give up two first half goals to Alvaro Saborio and Javier Morales to pretty much put the tie to bed. You have to wonder how Columbus is going to compete this year with the likes of Joshua Gardner and Richard Balchan (pictured) in midfield, no disrespect to them. As for Real Salt Lake, it was a nice performance – seven shots on target in the match, and Morales grabbed a brace. Andy Williams leapt off the thrift store LP bins to score the fourth goal. They will play the winner of Saprissa v. Olimpia in the semifinal, which could mean, gasp! an MLS team in the final. Hey, let’s not count our chickens before they hatch, though.

Santos Laguna 1, Cruz Azul 3 (1-5 aggregate): A fairly impressive performance by Cruz

Don't ever forget the glory days, El Chaco

Azul, who, leading 2-0 from the home leg, got an early goal from Emanuel Villa and then coasted to the win. Former Pachuca standout and total traitor Christian Gimenez (pictured) scored goals in both matches, because, let’s be honest: He’s awesome. Umm…what else? Villa had two goals. Cruz Azul will take on the winner of Toluca-Monterrey, which is probably being edged at this point by Monterrey.

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