Well, that was unexpected. Here’s how the Stumptown Countdown shakes out after Week One with last week’s ranking in parentheses:
1. FC Dallas (4) - Their 3-1 win over Sporting Kansas City probably looks a little bit better than it actually was, especially in light of one improperly allowed goal and a saved penalty. But Blas Perez has begun his 2015 MLS season like a bull in a china closet, and that’s a good sign for the Burn.
2. Columbus Crew (6) - It might be easy to overrate their win over Toronto FC in light of the first-half red card issued to Justin Morrow, but Crew SC looked plenty capable of securing the result before David Gantar intervened and were merciless once they had their man-advantage. The Crew are forgiven for their hard-luck season-opening loss to Houston.
3. L.A. Galaxy (3) - They were a little bit fortunate to pull out a draw against the Timbers, but, frankly, Portland isn't playing as poorly as some would like you to believe right now. The Galaxy really flexed their muscles in the 20 minutes after halftime when they put their very well-earned first equalizer in the book.
4. Toronto FC (2) - The Reds’ Week One win was convincing enough that we’re giving them a little bit of a pass for falling to Columbus on the road. The Crew look as good as anybody in MLS right now and TFC didn’t appear overmatched until Morrow was sent off. Still, their poor response to that adversity doesn’t bode well for inevitable summer injuries and national-team absences.
5. Seattle Sounders (1) - Was this was a fluke poor performance from Brad Evans? The latest iteration of a San Jose Earthquakes curse (Seattle is 3-7-1 against the Quakes since 2012)? Or an indication of fundamental problems playing teams that absorb pressure, don’t let Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins get into the open field, and lure Seattle numbers forward to expose a suspect backline? Whatever it was, it wasn’t pretty. Unless you live in Portland, I suppose.
6. New York Red Bulls (7) - The middle of the pack didn’t have a great week, so the Red Bulls move up a spot by virtue of a Week Two bye. Are they overrated? Probably. We’ll know more after they visit D.C. on Sunday.
7. Vancouver Whitecaps (13) - The Caps leapfrogged the peloton by virtue of a 1-0 away win over the hapless Fire. Vancouver generated plenty of chances, but blew all but one of them in sometimes amusing fashion. If they want to stay at 7, they’re going to have to improve their strike rate.
8. Sporting Kansas City (5) - Many will probably drop Sporting farther than 8 after a 3-1 loss at FC Dallas, but the dirty little secret about that game is that the Wiz didn’t look all that bad. The scoreline, like their primary kit, was unflattering, but SKC deserved more than what looked to box-score watchers like a rout.
9. San Jose Earthquakes (17) - The team with the most impressive win of the week makes the biggest jump. Innocent Emeghara looks like the real deal and Dom Kinnear may just get this team in shape after two years in the woods. Hard to say at this point if Saturday’s shocker was fool’s gold, but credit where it’s due for now at least. They’ll win their Avaya Stadium opener against the Fire, but the bigger test will be in two weeks at New England. Win both and we’ll be believers.
10. Portland Timbers (8) - Another day, another solid performance at home, another draw. The Timbers just about had three points in the bag before Alan Gordon’s header at the death, but the win would’ve been a little bit generous. Portland had some nice spells of play against a very good Galaxy team, but also suffered through some ugly periods. Now they’re going to have to prove they can win in March on the road.
11. New York City FC (16) - This is probably charitable. Sunday was a great evening in the Bronx, and the Citizens deserved the 2-0 result, but let’s not forget that a pretty mediocre New England team looked plenty capable of equalizing before Jose Goncalves was issued his marching orders. David Villa was genuinely sublime, though. Also, Jason Kreis, please stop playing Adam Nemec in games of soccer. Seriously.
12. D.C. United (9) - You know that bye-week bump the Red Bulls got? United didn’t get that. Sorry. We’re confident they’ll make their way up the Countdown no later (though probably not much earlier) than the return of Fabian Espindola.
13. Philadelphia Union (18) - Philly put in a very good performance in Salt Lake on Saturday, with Fernando Aristeguieta looking like the finisher the Union have lacked since Jack Mac cooled off. No way to push the Union any higher, however, with only a week between us and their stinker against Colorado.
14. Real Salt Lake (11) - Two games, two lucky draws. They should’ve lost in Portland and really should have lost to Philadelphia. Somebody buy Allen Chapman his dinner so he can order a beer for himself.
15. New England Revolution (12) - Tough draw having to be the foil in NYCFC’s home opener. The Revs weren’t terrible before Goncalves went off, but they were pretty poor afterward. They won’t stay this low for very long.
16. Orlando City (14) - How can I drop Orlando City, you ask incredulously. They won, you exclaim. Did you watch that game? You’d drop them, too, if you did.
17. Montreal Impact (15) - For the most part the Impact are just the victims of a couple solid performances beneath them. Still, there’s a good chance they’re going to have a hard time in Justin Mapp’s absence. But good luck midweek against Alajuelense!
18. Houston Dynamo (10) - What’s worse than playing terribly and winning? Playing terribly and losing. The Dynamo have done both so far in 2015. They stunk in beating the Crew. They stunk even more in losing to Orlando City. Conclusion: They stink.
19. Chicago Fire (19) - Actually had some spells in the first half in which they weren’t painful to watch. Those spells, however, were brief. Not playing Harry Shipp out of position was a nice change, though. Certainly Frank Klopas will move him back to the wing next week.
20. Colorado Rapids (20) - Was Week Two only good because the Rapids didn’t play? It’s not out of the question.