Little excitement in the league leads to little movement in the Stumptown Countdown. The biggest thrill in Week Three was the San Jose Earthquakes opening Avaya Stadium to the 1906 Ultras’ 300-inspired tifo, perhaps a reference to the fact that the Quakes should have built the stadium most of a decade ago.
Here is how the Stumptown Countdown shakes out after Week Three:
1. FC Dallas (1) - They were helped by a first-half Zach Pfeffer red card, but the Burn weren’t seriously challenged in Philadelphia. The bigger test will come this week when the Perez-less Hoops welcome the Dempsey-less Sounders to Toyota Stadium.
2. Columbus Crew (2) - The Crew could have been vulnerable to drop a spot or two in their week off had anybody below them made a statement. Nobody did.
3. Toronto FC (4) - Largely in the same boat as Crew SC, the Reds bump up a spot by attrition as a function of LA Galaxy being less than convincing against Houston. National-team calls create a bit of a conundrum for the Countdown, but it’s safe to say the Countdown will take this week’s JV game between TFC and Real Salt Lake with a grain of salt.
4. Seattle Sounders (5) - The Sounders are on notice after their Week Two loss to San Jose: If they go to Dallas and struggle, it will be time for Seattle to take a tumble.
5. New York Red Bulls (6) - Perhaps the most impressive result of the weekend, the Red Bulls midfield was strong in knocking off D.C. United on Sunday. There still isn’t much body of work, but early returns for the Red Bulls are surpassing expectations and will continue to do so if Bradley Wright-Phillips keeps justifying his DP contract.
6. LA Galaxy (3) - A home draw to Houston isn’t a great look. Yes, Houston played negatively, but an elite team will usually find a way. In reality, the Galaxy’s body of work (a home win over hapless Chicago, a fortunate road draw against middling Portland, and a loss to ugly Houston) is lacking. If they don’t look good in D.C. this week, there could be more slippage for L.A.
7. Vancouver Whitecaps (7) - Wins over Chicago and Orlando City aren’t really anything to write home about, even on the road. But Vancouver has genuinely looked the better team in both games, suggesting they’re worthy of being comfortably in the top half. If they get home results against the Timbers and Galaxy in the next two weeks, we’ll become believers.
8. Sporting Kansas City (8) - Were the likelier team to pull the full three points against Portland, but considering the lack of results, having SKC this high is more of an exercise in faith than experience.
9. Portland Timbers (10) - Little aesthetic quality to their draw at Sporting Kansas City, but taking a road point from (what the Countdown thinks is) a good team doesn’t hurt a team’s standing.
10. San Jose Earthquakes (9) - What’s more impressive: a road draw with SKC or a relatively close home win over Chicago Fire? Probably the former, though neither the Timbers nor Earthquakes looked to be world-beaters in securing their respective results.
11. Real Salt Lake (14) - The biggest beneficiary of poor results above them, RSL moves up this week entirely by default.
12. D.C. United (12) - United's first half in Harrison was an absolute stinker. D.C. looked a little bit better in the second half, but questions linger about this team that we still haven’t seen much from.
13. New York City FC (11) - All you need to know is this: NYCFC was pretty well dominated by Colorado in Commerce City. The Citizens are fortunate not to drop even further.
14. Houston Dynamo (18) - You have to bump them up for earning a very good point away to the Galaxy, but the Countdown’s purism was deeply offended by Owen Coyle’s cynical approach to the game. Houston might not end up being all that bad, but if Saturday is any indication, they’ll be unwatchable.
15. Montreal Impact (17) - The Impact are snakebitten. First Justin Mapp goes down for the longterm in a solid performance at D.C. Then CCL-darling Cameron Porter suffers a knee-ligament injury in another acceptable team performance against the Revolution.
16. New England Revolution (15) - If New England learned one thing this week it’s that it gets more difficult to slip in power rankings when you’re already near the bottom. While losing one spot may not be considered continuation of a free-fall, the scorn of being only one spot above the Rapids should make up for their lack of downward mobility this week.
17. Colorado Rapids (20) - The worst unbeaten team in MLS, the Rapids looked better in their home opener against NYCFC than they did a couple weeks back against the Union. Still, it’s hard to see the Rapids garnering any significant success between now and July when Kevin Doyle arrives, as their current strikeforce is the worst in the league.
18. Philadelphia Union (13) - The loss to Dallas was bad. Zach Pfeffer’s elbow on Mauro Diaz was worse. Needless to say the Union lost all goodwill they earned against RSL.
19. Orlando City SC (16) - Kaka is one of the best attacking players in MLS. It’s not his fault that the Lions’ offense has yet to create a legitimate goal. Also, Orlando City really needs to clean up the diving if they’re going to collectively become 2015’s Sebastian Fernandez.
20. Chicago Fire (19) - After being buoyed the last two weeks by Colorado’s dreadful performance in Philadelphia, the Fire have taken their rightful spot at the bottom. If things don’t improve with the return to full fitness of David Accam, Frank Yallop will be fired before the 4th of July.