Week 20 in MLS is in the books, and like a splattering of paint thrown onto a picture that was starting to become clear, the international transfer window has absolutely changed the game.
Steven Gerrard, Giovani dos Santos, Cubo Torres, Frank Lampard, Andrea Pirlo,
Chicharito Hernandez and a few more players have or will soon make debuts for their new clubs, and with those debuts come significant alterations to any person's reasonable expectations for this 2015 MLS campaign.
1. LA Galaxy (Last Week: 3)
The champs made the biggest splashes in the transfer market when they forced the league to change its rules in signing both Gerrard and dos Santos. Gerrard has played a higher, more advanced attacking role than I ever expected him to, and he didn't look bad there either. Sebastian Lletget has scored five goals in eight games since joining the Galaxy. Robbie Keane is the reigning MVP and is still doing Robbie Keane things. Alan Gordon just got called up to the USMNT for the Gold Cup despite the fact that he's only started six games all year, scoring only four goals. Add in Gyasi Zardes, Omar Gonzalez, dos Santos, Jaime Penedo and Robbie Rodgers, who all have as much talent as anyone at their respective positions in the league. This team is stupid loaded.
Food for thought: LA has scored five goals in three of its last five league games. No other team has scored five goals in a game this season.
Alexi Lalas has talked about this being the "super team" of MLS and it undoubtedly is. This LA team could sleepwalk its way through some games and still win now. Don't expect them to move out of this spot any time soon.
Your "This Was Probably a Don Garber Wet Dream" Moment of the Week: This slow-mo video of Gerrard's first goal accompanied by an overly-dramatic orchestral score. Enjoy.
2. Sporting Kansas City (Last Week: 1)
I doubt even the most ardent SKC fan could argue that they deserve the top spot after the week LA had. LA-SKC is gonna be one helluva blowout in the MLS Cup playoffs.
3. FC Dallas (Last Week: 4)
Remember Dallas' Craptastic Streaks? So much for that column gimmick. Since their craptastic streak ended, Dallas has reeled off four straight victories and has vaulted into a tie for first place in the Supporter's Shield standings with D.C.
4. D.C. United (Last Week: 2)
5. Toronto FC (Last Week: 6)
6. Portland Timbers (Last Week: 5)
7. Columbus Crew SC (Last Week: 16)
The Crew has a chance at the MLS Cup this year. I'm convinced of that. They don't, however, have any chance of selling out
Mapfre Crew Stadium.
8. Vancouver Whitecaps (Last Week 7)
9. New York Red Bulls (Last Week: 12)
10. Orlando City (Last Week: 10)
11. Real Salt Lake (Last Week: 14)
12. Colorado Rapids (Last Week: 17)
Is this too high? Probably. Here's why I put them here: Colorado has won three straight and is still the second best defensive team in the league behind SKC. Perhaps this winning streak is another MLS anomaly, or perhaps it's the start of a push to sixth place in the west. We shall see.
13. Houston Dynamo (Last Week: 13)
Owen Coyle's men are now tied for last in the West. I have to think that when Cubo Torres, Giles Barnes and the ageless DaMarcus Beasley return they'll have something to say about that.
14. New England Revolution (Last Week: 19)
15. San Jose Earthquakes (Last Week: 8)
16. New York City FC (Last Week: 11)
17. Seattle Sounders (Last Week: 9)
Seattle might not even beat Seattle Sounders 2 right now. That's six losses in eight.