Abysmal performances near the top. Breakout wins at the bottom.
This league is bonkers right now. Resisting the urge to have all 20 teams tied for 10th, here is this week’s Stumptown Countdown.
1. New York Red Bulls (1) - All the Red Bulls had to do to maintain their top spot this week was keep from throwing up all over themselves in D.C. Played well, but were ultimately a little bit fortunate to come away with the draw. But it was that kind of week at the top.
2. Seattle Sounders (3) - Yes, they lost. But the Countdown is about who would beat whom on a neutral field right now, and outplaying LA Galaxy at Stub Hub Center (in addition to having Ozzie Alonso fully fit) while dealing with some niggling injuries is enough to make the Countdown go out on a limb a little bit.
3. D.C. United (4) - Probably would have been in the top spot had they held on to beat the Red Bulls. They’re not especially attractive, but United’s tactical discipline and absurdly effective pressing regime is enough to make them a reliable pick near the top right now. And Bill Hamid isn’t going to spill rebounds like that often.
4. Columbus Crew (8) - Two road draws and the Crew jump from eighth to fourth. Again, it was that kind of week. Columbus, however, is a very soft fourth, as it’s a ranking that is very, very generous the Crew’s actual results. Nonetheless, this week’s were good results, even if they weren’t always pretty.
5. Vancouver Whitecaps (2) - A home draw to Columbus (that the Whitecaps should have won) and then a sleepwalk through San Jose. The Whitecaps body of work is good enough to justify a little mercy for now, but the "Vancouver's just been really lucky" narrative isn’t as dead as it looked a week ago.
6. Real Salt Lake (9) - Talk about a team whose results have outpaced their performances. Somehow still undefeated after a season full of uninspiring performances like the one they put in at Sporting Park on Saturday.
7. Orlando City (18) - They were previously rated too low on the basis of their inability to close out games. That wasn’t a concern on Sunday. In Portland the Lions put in their first complete performance of 2015.
8. New England Revolution (5) - The draw with Columbus was pretty dreadful, something the Countdown is choosing to blame the home team for. Real Talk: Lee Nguyen has created two chances from the run of play this year. Was 2014 an aberration?
9. Sporting Kansas City (10) - Gets some pity on account of Ike Opara’s ruptured achilles. SKC looked like the likelier team to win at Sporting Park on Saturday, but their difficulties scoring goals against teams that aren’t the Union remain a concern.
10. LA Galaxy (12) - A win over Seattle means something, even if the Galaxy were the second best side on the day. Also, Jaime Penedo isn’t normally that good. But boy was he ever grand on Sunday.
11. San Jose Earthquakes (15) - The Countdown is starting to get a sinking feeling that San Jose might be unwatchably competent this year.
12. Houston Dynamo (16) - The Dynamo and the Earthquakes are looking more and more like they’ll forever be stylistic twins in MLS. Okay, maybe not identical twins. The Dynamo were much more impressive in their win over Montreal than they have been in weeks past. Is this an early sign Owen Coyle is starting to put his stamp on the team?
13. Toronto FC (13) - It was a good week to have off.
14. Portland Timbers (7) - They’ve played well at times this year, but don’t have the results aside from a now-suspect win over Dallas. A team will free fall after a stinker when it doesn’t have the points to back up the eyeball test.
15. New York City FC (10) - "If losing to the Union is cool, I’m Miles Davis" - said nobody else in MLS this year.
16. Chicago Fire (14) - Maybe a little bit unjust to drop the Fire after a week off and with their win over TFC still fresh in mind, but this is mostly a function of a few teams behind them playing well.
17. Colorado Rapids (20) - Prove it.
18. Philadelphia Union (19) - Were fortunate to win a pretty poor game against a so-so NYCFC team. Still, there’s something not entirely horrible about this Union team despite their inability to, you know, pass a soccer ball.
19. FC Dallas (6) - They deserve every bit of this fall. Remember, the Countdown is about present form. And two losses to bottom-half teams by a combined score of 7-1 will earn a team a spot in the cellar.
20. Montreal Impact (19) - They’re in the CCL Final! Also, they have the worst point total and goal difference in MLS. They might be a little bit better than this once they get CCL out of the way, but right now they’re not.