Major League Soccer is almost a third of the way through the season here in week 10, and so it is a great time to take a look at the state of the teams. For those that have been casual observers of the league or just following one or two teams in particular, Hot Time in Old Town will take a quick glance around MLS and see where teams stand and how the season is looking thus far.
On the individual side, the following are your current MLS leaders:
Current MLS Stat Leaders
|Goals||Carlos Vela (11)||Zlatan (9)||Kei Kamara (7)||Wayne Rooney (6)||Krisztian Nemeth (6)|
|Assists||Alejandro Pozuelo (6)||Diego Valeri (6)||Nicolas Lodeiro (6)||Alberth Elis (5)||Carlos Vela (5)|
|Saves||Daniel Vega (39)||Stefan Frei (38)||Brian Rowe (37)||Zack Steffan (34)||Bill Hamid (33)|
Outside of the clubs in top four, three teams stand out as dark horse candidates (Houston, Dallas and DC), who have played well to start the year, but questions remain if they can keep it up. For some teams lurking in the 20’s, unless something is done soon, this may be a lost season.
24 points from 11 games (7-1-2) +18 GD
The class of the league right now, LAFC look like an absolute juggernaut, with two players (Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi) among the league leaders in goals. Passed both early tests against Seattle, although with the aid of a questionable red card in the rematch. Bob Bradley’s men look like a lock for playoffs.
2) LA Galaxy
22 points from 10 games (7-2-1) +6 GD
To the casual eye the LA Galaxy may look like the Zlatan show, a one-dimensional attack reliant on the supreme abilities of the mighty Swede. But in reality, the Galaxy have gotten solid performances from a lot of their supporting cast, and are currently firing on all cylinders. LA has made the most of a heavy home schedule to start the season, with six wins from six, although only one clean sheet proves to be slightly concerning. It will be interesting to see how they handle the loss of Romain Alessandrini again.
19 points from 10 games (5-1-4) +6 GD
Bucking the trend of the last few seasons, Seattle has started the year red-hot, with their attacking players linking up exceptionally well and putting lots of pressure on opposing defenses. Able to get out and cause many issues in transition. Depth is a question mark for this club, particularly with a cast of injury-prone players.
4) Toronto FC
16 points from 8 games (5-2-1) +8 GD
Like LA, Toronto has been fun to watch through the early going, with all seven of their matches producing at least three goals. Alejandro Pozuelo has been a star thus far, and Michael Bradley has turned back the clock on a number of occasions this season. Taking 10 of 12 possible points from eastern conference foes was a great way to start the season. Keeping Jozy healthy and productive will be key for how far Toronto can go, along with finding a way to limit the number of goals they are surrendering.
19 points from 8 games (6-1-1) +8 GD
Part of Houston’s solid start to the year comes from the emergence of Memo Rodriguez as a scoring compliment to Alberth Elis and Mauro Manotas. The Dynamo have bounced back well from their Champions League exit, although against a relatively soft schedule. Look like they can build on their successes from last year.
6) FC Dallas
17 points from 10 games (5-3-2) +4 GD
Dallas’ youth movement keeps chugging along, led by young stars Reggie Cannon and Paxton Pomykal. This team continues to develop and grow in confidence and knowledge every week, and could be a tough out come playoff time. In addition, goalie Jessie Gonzalez has been playing at a superb level, rounding into fine form for Dallas.
7) DC United
20 points from 11 games (6-3-2) +5 GD
Things are going well in the nation’s capital, as Bill Hamid has played like an MVP candidate, and Wayne Rooney continues to ooze class for DC. Currently tied for first in the east, DC has gotten there by beating the teams they are supposed to and fighting hard against the ones they are not. They have an interesting stretch with Sporting, Toronto and Houston in their next three and I would not be surprised if they walked away with 7 points.
20 points from 11 games (6-3-2) +10 GD
In Philadelphia, Marco Fabian has looked like a great signing, and David Accam finally rediscovering his form has been hugely important for the Union. Their goals by committee approach has worked well, with five different multi-goal scorers. After taking just one point from their first three games, Philly has bounced back well against a relatively tough schedule.
15 points from 10 games (4-3-3) +3 GD
Minnesota has looked like a much-improved team this year, with new additions Jan Gregus, Ozzie Alonso, Romain Metanire and Ike Opara making significant position improvements. Darwin Quintero has been a creative force, forcing opponents to always be aware of him. With Allianz Field now open, the Loons will look to turn it into a Wonderwall.
10) Montreal Impact
17 points from 11 games (5-4-2) -4 GD
Montreal has been weathering the storm without star playmaker Ignacio Piatti, who has missed a big stretch of time this season. A six-point week in week nine has them up to second in the standings. Despite their five wins, the Impact have a negative goal differential. The defense will need to shore up or risk wins turning into draws or losses as the season progresses.
11) Columbus Crew
13 points from 11 games (4-6-1) -5 GD
The freshly saved Crew started the season hot under new coach Caleb Porter, taking 13 points from their first six games. However that magic seems to be wearing off, as they are stuck in a five game losing streak and seem to be playing without much identity or creativity. The Crew have the talent and Porter has the ingenuity to turn things around, but they need to start quickly.
12) Sporting KC
10 points from 9 games (2-3-4) +1 GD
All season I’ve been making excuses for this club, suggesting a Champion’s league hangover for their string of mediocre results. However, following their best down at the hands of Atlanta United Sunday night, it may be time to acknowledge this club just isn’t good enough. They have some fantastic attacking talent, with Gerso in particular looking a threat most nights. Once you get to their defensive midfield and back line, they look a step slow and their legs look tired, causing them to concede 18 goals in their last five games. I’m not sure where they find help, whether it’s through their academies or on the transfer market, but it needs to arrive quickly to provide depth and rotation for their defense.
11 points from 10 games (3-5-2) -6 GD
It seems like just a few weeks ago coach Matías Almeyda was solidly on the hot seat and seemed likely to be the first coach relieved of his duties this season. However, the Quakes have rallied well in their last few games and are looking more comfortable and competent in his system. Danny Hoesen has played with great energy, Shea Salinas has been lethal cutting in from the left and goalie Daniel Vega has been a wall in goal, leading the league in saves.
14) Chicago Fire
10 points from 10 games (2-4-4) -1 GD
Chicago has experienced a up and down season, with the offense in particular experiencing fits and starts. The Men in Red need more consistent production and better in-game adjustments to find a way onto the score sheet, with their attacking players needing to step up and find ways to score. Intriguing and much needed addition of Francisco Calvo.
12 points from 10 games (3-4-3) -3 GD
The cardiac cats have been entertaining all season, and no result seems safe until the final whistle. Nani has been a superb offseason pickup and Brian Rowe has done extremely well to keep Orlando in most games.
15 points from 10 games (3-1-6) +1 GD
The addition of Herber has come at a great time for the Citizens, who’s recent run of good form has helped them climb out of the eastern conferences cellar. This team will always be tough and will get results at home in part due to playing in what amounts to a cat’s litter box. I feel David Villa will be missed even more as the season progresses.
17) Atlanta United
11 points from 8 games (3-3-2) +1 GD
In Atlanta, the stars are sleeping. Barco has looked dangerous at times, but not often enough, and overall disappointing production from Josef Martinez and Darlington Nagbe has left the Five Stripes adrift in the east. Their backline needs to stop the regression from last year, and Martinez needs to rediscover his golden boots for Atlanta to look to climb back up the standings.
18) Portland Timbers
10 points from 9 games (3-5-1) -7 GD
Portland seem to recovering from a very poor start, playing in a more fitting style and are able to pick their spots to counter better. Too much talent and experience to stay near the bottom of the table. Need to shore up their defense, which will in turn help them turn more counter-attacks into goal opportunities.
19) Real Salt Lake
10 points from 10 games (3-6-1) -6 GD
Like DC, RSL has taken care of business against the teams they are supposed to beat, and given a good challenge against the league leaders. They have a lot of depth, and look well positioned going forward to rotate players and stay fresh throughout the season.
11 points from 9 games (3-4-2) +1 GD
In New York, frustrations have been boiling over all season, with Kaku punting a ball into the stands in week seven, and several key players requesting moves away during the summer. The Red Bulls have done well to stay in the thick of the playoff race, but will need a busy transfer window to find replacements and remedy their goal scoring issues. By that point, might it already be too late?
9 points in 10 games (2-5-3) -4 GD
Vancouver has had some players throughout the midfield and defense have been showing signs of improvement as the season goes on, but the strikers remain colder than a winter in Game of Thrones. Production from the forwards is desperately needed ASAP if the Whitecaps want any chance of salvaging the season.
22) FC Cincinnati
8 points from 11 games (2-7-2) -9 GD
After a strong start to the season, league newcomers Cincinnati seem to be coming back down to Earth and the reality of facing MLS-level competition every week. They have the pieces to sort them themselves out and challenge for playoffs, but need to right the ship quickly, and to do so, need someone to step up as a main goal scorer badly.
8 points from 11 games (2-7-2) -14 GD
Carles Gil has been a great signing for New England, and a decent start has gotten some pressure off coach Brad Friedl. However, concerns remain if Friedl can get their best out of his players, with his team leaking goals while failing to score them. Outside of Gil, who else is scoring goals for the Revs right now, and what happens when he goes cold? The Revs desperately need more from Juan Agudelo and Teal Bunbury.
24) Colorado Rapids
2 points from 10 games (0-8-2) -13 GD
In the understatement of the year, Colorado need a win badly. Kei Kamara remains highly dangerous in front of goal, and Benny Feilhaber continues to be an underrated midfielder, but need others to step up around them. Following a comment that his team lacked the quality to win in this league, Anthony Hudson was relieved of his duties. However, it remains hard to see how interim coach Conner Casey will be able to rally the troops. Big missed opportunity for points against Vancouver.