Major League Soccer

MLS Rewind: Revs roll, Wizards cruise and LA crumbles


The first weekend of the Major League Soccer season provided plenty of entertainment, excitement and storylines for the future as new stars emerged  and improved teams showed that they are ready to shake up the pecking order in MLS.

You had the New England Revolution playing without Taylor Twellman and still thrashing defending champion Houston. You had the Wizards outplaying the revamped D.C. United team that so many have pegged for greatness. Then you also had the Los Angeles Galaxy being ripped apart by a Colorado squad that looked like world-beaters against the Galaxy’s putrid defense.

Yes, it is only week one but the first round of games certainly told enough tales to let us know how things might go in the immediate future.

Here are the new SBI MLS power rankings as well as a closer look at all six of the weekend’s matches:

SBI MLS Power Rankings

  1. New England Revolution
  2. Kansas City Wizards
  3. Houston Dynamo
  4. D.C. United
  5. Chivas USA
  6. Columbus Crew
  7. Colorado Rapids
  8. Chicago Fire
  9. FC Dallas
  10. Real Salt Lake
  11. New York Red Bulls
  12. San Jose
  13. Toronto FC
  14. Los Angeles Galaxy

Here is a rundown of the weekend’s games:

Revolution 3, Dynamo 0

New England ran Houston off the field on Saturday night, showing off its young talent in a drubbing of the Dynamo. Taylor Twellman tweaked his knee before the match, but that didn’t seem to matter to the Revs, who rode impresses performances from Kenny Mansally, Adam Cristman and Sainey Nyassi (as well as the rest of New England’s midfield). I was particularly impressed with the work done by Jeff Larentowicz, who was instrumental in neutralizing Houston’s normally potent midfield. And yes, Cristman had a solid opener. I still think the Twellman-Mansally tandem winds up with the job but Cristman showed he’s ready to prove that his rookie year wasn’t a fluke.

As for the Dynamo? I wouldn’t worry too much. I don’t need to remind Houston fans how bad the team’s opening month was last year and we know how things turned out.

Wizards 2, D.C. United 0

That sound you hear is the Kansas City Wizards bandwagon filling up, and yes, I was on it before the season started. The Wizards toppled heavily-favored D.C. and while It is only one game but the skill, attacking quality and defensive discipline showed by KC in game one against a loaded D.C. team bodes well for the Wizards having the breakout year some think they can have. The Claudio Lopez-Ivan Trujillo forward tandem should make it easy for KC fans to forget Eddie Johnson and the revamped defense debuted in grand fashion with a shutout against a team many expected to set some scoring records this year.

As for D.C. United, you can argue that chances were created and the game was closer than the scoreline indicated. You can also make a case for this week’s Champions Cup action providing at least somewhat of a distraction. Either way, D.C. disappointed and KC looked great.

Rapids 4, Galaxy 0

With all due respect to Colorado, which looked amazing on Saturday, the Rapids drubbing of the Galaxy was much more of an indictment of just how bad the LA team, and defense in particular, is. Ruud Gullit would have been better off trotting out some traffic cones rather than the defense he put on the field as it became painfully obvious that Abel Xavier is past it and the Xavier-Vanney tandem is way too slow to survive in MLS.

As for the Rapids, there will be plenty of good feelings from this result but it should be remembered that Colorado won last year’s opener in impressive fashion as well. Christian Gomez looked good in his Rapids debut while Omar Cummings stated his case to be Colorado’s go-to goal-scorer.

Crew 2, Toronto FC 0

Toronto fans came to Columbus in bunches, a total of more than 2,300 actually, but that support meant little to a Columbus team that was tougher and more clinical when the chances came in Saturday’s win. The Crew didn’t look like a young team as much as a good team that just might be ready to go from team loaded with potential to team ready for a playoff run.

Toronto fans, particularly the ones who trekked to Ohio, aren’t going to be happy with TFC opening year two with a loss, and are even less happy with an attack that is clearly still lacking a playmaker. TFC insists that help is on the way but every week that passes will put Toronto deeper into a hole in the loaded Eastern Conference.

Chicago 1, Real Salt Lake 1

Cuauhtemoc Blanco did it again. SBI’s choice for league MVP got his candidacy off to a good start as he helped the Fire salvage a point against an RSL squad that showed some real attacking flair and quality. Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis has done a good job to integrate his new faces, though blowing a lead at home for a second straight home opener can’t sit well with RSL fans.

The Fire didn’t exactly look sharp, but salvaging a point on the road isn’t the worst way to start the Denis Hamlett era. That said, it would have been nice for a Chicago forward to step up and get off to a good start. Could scoring from the forwards still be a problem for the Fire. Chicago’s patchwork defense held its own (Bakary Soumare’s own goal aside) and you have to wonder whether Wilman Conde will ever get over his desire to join the Red Bulls and return to the all-star caliber form he showed for Chicago last year.

Chivas USA 1, FC Dallas 1

FC Dallas spent a decent amount of money and created a good amount of buzz surrounding its signing of Mexican defender Duilio Davino despite concerns about whether he was really worth it. His costly error in FC Dallas’ 1-1 tie vs. Chivas USA on Sunday leves that question as a "no" right now.

Davino’s turnover helped Maykel Galindo find an equalizer in a game FC Dallas took control of in the second half. The draw was probably a fair result but FCD fans won’t be happy seeing their high-priced defender giving away points. Chivas USA will gladly take a road point with forwards Ante Razov and Galindo still recovering from injuries.

What did you think of this weekend’s games? What stood out? Was it the great goals scored, the pitiful showing by the Galaxy? New England’s thrashing of Houston? Share your thoughts below

  • Joseph D'Hippolito

    Expect the Galaxy to stay 14th in Ives’ power rankings for the rest of the season. The Gals have no speed, no depth, no cohesion and no dependable experience on defense. The only reason Xavier is in the league is that the Gals were desperate and he was a free transfer (Note to Lexi: Don’t trust free transfers from mid-level Premiership teams).

    Don’t expect Gullit to be fired. He has too big a job on his hands and too many adjustments to make. Don’t expect Lalas to be fired, either (though he certainly deserves to be, since he’s the one who has the scortched earth philosophy on player transactions); he’s too useful to AEG as a corporate tool.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The Gals will finish last in the conference, won’t win 10 games and will concede a minimum of 60 goals.

    Thursday night’s prediction. San Jose 2, Gals 0.

    BTW, Fred, “toolbox” as a nickname for the Home Depot Center is great!


  • Ben

    ok these are last years numbers but behind the “big 3” only Klein and X to a part delivered. This was mentioned aswell in other columms today and is spot on.

    Becks 415k (5.5 M $)

    Donovan 415k (900k)

    Ruiz 325k

    Vanney 237k

    Klein 188k

    Xavier 156k

    Buddle 150k

    Vagenas 132k

    Jazic 115k


  • alex

    Columbus is way too high. As a TFC, fan i can simply say those have to be the two worst teams in MLS at this point. The level of technical skill was bordering on negative.

    The Crew might look better once their singings on the field, and my team unfortunately is just hopeless. If you ever wanted proof the tactics in the championship and league one suck, that was it.


  • Patrick

    So, let me get this right… Chicago has two shots on goal all game (Yes, that’s right, TWO!) and you have them ranked 8th? Were you even watching the games? RSL outplayed Chicago every moment of that match except for the one luck/random bounce that Blanco got in extra time. Give me a break, Ives!


  • Mark

    Colorado was impressive as the started a bunch of reserve players due to injury, and they did still well. Of course, it was against the Galaxy…

    With that said, man has Hercules Gomez’s stock fallen since he came on as a reserve even though a bunch of players were hurt. Damn shame…


  • Ives

    Patrick, I appreciate your opinion but I could do without the “Were you even watching the games attitude.” RSL played well and Chicago didn’t play that well but I’m not going to catapult RSL over Chicago when they were the home team that dropped points against a Fire team that underperformed. That’s not how any rankings should work. By that standard I suppose you would rank Colorado ahead of Houston and D.C. United. You might, I won’t.

    Now, if RSL beats Chivas USA, or even ties Chivas USA, then I’ll move them up.


  • Patrick

    Ives – no offense intended. It was more exasperation than “attitude.” I appreciate your blog and contribution to the sport. However, I would rank Colorado over DC United & Houston because they won and those teams didn’t. If Power Rankings are based off a weekly performance, then Colorado deserves credit (even if they wiped the floor with a scattered Galaxy opponent). Houston is a mess and New England exploited every one of their weaknesses, and while I think D.C. United will be in the top 4 at the end of the season, right now – they are not more deserving. It’s not about reputation or last year’s performance – it’s about Week #1 and RSL was better than Chicago during that match. The stats don’t lie. I guess as Ron Burgundy says: Agree to disagree.


  • Justin O


    I don’t think you are making sense. If Derby County draw one week and Arsenal lose, does that mean Derby should be ranked ahead of Arsenal in the following week’s rankings? Rankings that only reflect that week’s performance would seem to me a pretty pointless excercise.

    Team’s have good weeks, bad weeks, and so-so weeks. Rankings are there to assess where a team fits in the big picture in the opinion of the person doing the ranking. One week out of a 30-week season should not mean that much.


  • OZ fan

    Wizard forwads looked really good and keep in mind Piojo (Lopez) just joined the team and has had limited practice time.

    Also, who is this Eddie Johnson people keep on mentioning?


  • Patrick

    Justin –

    Your logic is correct if you’re talking about Week 14 in a 30 week season. But Week #1 in a 30 week season it makes absolute sense. There’s not a season long body of work to judge a team by – it’s one week. RSL outplayed and was a stronger team than Chicago during the first game of the season.

    If Colorado loses next week & Houston / DC dominate, god knows CO should move down and the Dynamo / DV should move up. However, all I read is all the reason why Chicago deserve to be higher due to random excuses (bad pitch, on the road, earned luck), yet RSL is not afforded that same luxury.


  • edub

    Just to let all of you know… the “Rice-Eccles pitch is terrible and RSL has practiced there while Chicago hadn’t” argument is wrong. Though it is the worst pitch in the league, RSL has only trained there twice this preseason (and Chicago actually got one session in there prior to the game.) Sure, RSL will have to prove that they are improved and this is not just a one-week occurrence before they significantly move up, but they were easily the best team on that field on Saturday and arguing otherwise would simply be ludicrous.


  • realslfan

    Before you give RSL too much of an advantage on their home turf, remember that well over half of their senior roster have played less than 1/2 a season on it, and several starters last week played their first game on the turf. I’m not sure where the advantage is.


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