I often think about what kind of league MLS should try to be. We often hear about the Dutch league being high-scoring and wide open, while the Italian league is based on organized defense. While this has to do with the style of play that is associated with that country, it's also the perception of the league.
What will be MLS's perception, in terms of style? As both MLS and the USMNT develop, the topic of style of play is an ongoing debate that adds another point to any side of the argument with each passing game.
For me, MLS is best when its young players are starring. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy watching Robbie Keane make fools of his opponents, and I enjoyed watching Thierry Henry embrace the league. If you've been reading this column, you know how much I love Giovinco (if he doesn't win MVP, it'll go to show what a joke the award is in MLS. I mean, Mike Magee has won MVP before. No I'm not kidding about that.) but Cyle Larin and Fabian Castillo excite me more.
Rather than a league where we look for aging European stars to raise the level of play, give me the young, energetic team that can run for days and has the enthusiasm to grow together. MLS and U.S. Soccer at large will have truly arrived when NYCFC doesn't sign two midfielders that are old enough to be the fathers of some of their teammates, but instead is building around some young midfielder they drafted in the off-season.
1. LA Galaxy (Last Week: 1)
2. D.C. United (Last Week: 4)
3. Sporting Kansas City (Last Week: 3)
4. Vancouver Whitecaps (Last Week: 8)
With their 3-0 thrashing of the hapless Sounders, the 'Caps ascended to first place in the West. Coincidentally, that number (1) is one number more than the percent chance that they win the MLS Cup this year.
They're good, but I don't see it happening when all the chips are on the table. Last year's loss to Dallas in the play-in game of the playoffs doesn't quite count. Look for them to make a deep run, but they won't win it all.
5. FC Dallas (Last Week: 2)
Losing to Chicago is a worse look than this was back in in the day.
6. Toronto FC (Last Week: 5)
7. New York Red Bulls (Last Week: 11)
I think the SWP-BWP connection is the most underrated story line in an MLS transfer window that overflows with story lines.
8. Real Salt Lake (Last Week: 9)
9. Houston Dynamo (Last Week: 10)
10. Portland Timbers (Last Week: 7)
Here we go again...
The Ineptitude Standings (Number of times a team is involved in a 0-0)
1. Colorado, RSL and Portland (4)
2. SKC and Dallas (3)
3. New England, Seattle and San Jose (2)
4. Houston, Columbus, LA, Montreal, NYCFC, NYRB, Philly, Vancouver, Toronto and D.C. (1)
Welcome to first, Portland! Orlando and Chicago are still holding out.
11. Montreal Impact (Last Week: 13)
12. Columbus Crew SC (Last Week: 6)
C-bus reminds me of a bipolar ex-girlfriend I had: sometimes they play nice and win, sometimes they slash your tires and give up five goals.
13. Orlando City (Last Week: 15)
Orlando and D.C. joined LA and NYCFC as the only teams to score five goals or more in a game. They are now the only team in the league to have scored five goals and given up five goals in a game this season, and did it on back-to-back weeks, to boot.
Addendum to the intro: Orlando isn't Kaká's team, it's Cyle Larin's. Or at least that's what the front office should think.
14. New England Revolution (Last Week: 16)
15. Colorado Rapids (Last Week: 12)
LA is only the second team to score more than two goals against Colorado.
16. San Jose Earthquakes (Last Week: 17)
The Quakes are without a win in five, and are now the holders of the longest such current streak in the league.
17. New York City FC (Last Week: 14)
The benefit to that tiny field at Yankee Stadium? Lampard and Pirlo won't have to use their walkers nearly as much to get around at home.
18. Chicago Fire (Last Week: 20)
19. Seattle Sounders (Last Week: 18)
During this skid, Seattle has been outscored 13-2.