What do you call a conference with six of the seven worst teams in the league?
Oh, sorry, did you think that was the setup to a joke? No, it’s just the MLS Eastern Conference.
So I guess it’s kind of a joke. On to the Countdown.
1. New England Revolution (2) - Probably a little fortunate to climb to the top spot this week after giving up a late 2-0 lead at Orlando City, but unbeaten in 8 is still unbeaten in 8. And the Revs have a chance to put TFC into full tailspin mode this week with a visit to BMO Field.
2. FC Dallas (3) - Winners of three of four including a comeback win this week against LA Galaxy, the Burn didn’t look as sharp this week as they did the week before in dismantling Houston. Still, Mauro Diaz is a magician, with his scooped assist on Blas Perez’s goal being one of many playmaking highlights this week.
3. Columbus Crew (6) - The best win of the week goes to Columbus Crew, who exposed Seattle’s fallible defense in a 3-2 win in C-Bus. We’ll know even more about the Crew after a visit to the surprisingly hot Earthquakes.
4. D.C. United (4) - The home draw with SKC wasn’t especially impressive, but the Black and Red are notoriously bad at the eyeball test while being very good at the results test. In this case, seven unbeaten (with four wins sprinkled throughout) speaks for itself.
5. Vancouver Whitecaps (5) - No doubt about the ‘Caps win over the Union on Saturday, as Vancouver blitzed Philadelphia 3-0. The biggest concern for the rest of MLS, however, is that Pedro Morales is starting to look like Pedro Morales.
6. Seattle Sounders (1) - A weekend visit to Vancouver will give the Sounders the opportunity to jump back up toward the top, but with the defense being as expected perhaps the greater concern about the Sounders is that the attack (while still potent) doesn’t appear to be regaining its ridiculous 2014 form. With a middling defense, the Sounders really don’t have much margin for error on offense.
7. New York Red Bulls (7) - Were dominant in their 2-1 win over NYCFC even with 10 men, but, let’s face it, that probably wouldn’t have worked out against any other team. With a pair of blasé home draws and a loss to New England joining the NYCFC win in the Red Bulls’ last four, the Countdown is getting a little concerned about the Red Bulls’ recent results.
8. Sporting Kansas City (10) - After an unimpressive start to 2015, SKC is starting to show some form, as they went into RFK Stadium this week and looked at least as likely to come away with three points as D.C. United.
9. San Jose Earthquakes (12) - Five points from four consecutive road games isn’t bad, but it’s what the Quakes left on the table that will haunt them, as the draws in Salt Lake and Colorado easily could (and probably should) have been wins.
10. LA Galaxy (8) - Winless in their last four, the loss at FC Dallas would be much more forgivable if the Galaxy had anything else to point to in their recent form. The reality right now, however, is this isn’t a better than average team.
11. Real Salt Lake (13) - There was plenty of reason to be skeptical about RSL’s attack heading into Bridgeview to play a suddenly streaking Fire team. RSL gave their fans reason for hope in Chicago, however, and Joao Plata is looking like he may only be a couple weeks away from returning to the field.
12. Portland Timbers (14) - With Diego Valeri starting to round back into form, it’s time for the Timbers to do more than bounce between the middle of the Countdown. Saturday’s win in Montreal wasn’t a bad start.
13. Houston Dynamo (16) - Sunday’s win to spoil TFC’s home opener came as a bit of a surprise for a Dynamo team that had really struggled of late, getting blown out by FC Dallas and losing at home to San Jose. We’ll see if this is a one-off win or a sign of a turning of the tide in Houston.
14. Toronto FC (9) - The Countdown got a taste of what it feels like to be a TFC fan this week: Show even the tiniest bit of faith in the Reds and they reward you with an absolute stinker.
15. Chicago Fire (11) - The Fire looked poised to jump into the top half and notch a fourth win in five with a struggling RSL team coming into Bridgeview. Instead, the Fire dropped their second straight (the other being a respectable 1-0 defeat at SKC) and now have to visit a desperate NYCFC team in Week Eleven’s pillow fight.
16. Orlando City (15) - The comeback against New England to salvage a point at home was exciting, but the Lions were far from good throughout much of the game. A visit to D.C. is not what the doctor ordered for an expansion side that is starting to suffer some growing pains.
17. Colorado Rapids (17) - The odds-on favorite to be 2015’s Chicago Fire, the Rapids have drawn 7 of their 10 games in 2015.
18. Philadelphia Union (18) - Were thoroughly embarrassed in Vancouver for the Union’s fourth loss in a row and seventh in their last nine. 18 is probably a bit generous, but would be equally flattering to those below the Union. The race for the wooden spoon is awfully compelling at this point.
19. Montreal Impact (19) - The Impact didn’t look entirely hapless in their 2-1 loss to the Timbers, but with two points out of their five MLS games, the Impact are fortunate not to be in the bottom spot.
20. New York City FC (20) - One point in their last seven games. The scoreline at Red Bull Arena flattered City, who looked dreadful even playing with a man advantage. Perhaps worse news? There are bubbling attitude questions about David Villa. Jason Kreis will likely find a way out of this, but the path forward isn’t clear at the moment.