We've had quite the penalty-filled beginning to 2016. After 52 games this season, PRO referees have awarded 19 penalties. That is on pace to be nearly 250 penalties in total by season's end. By comparison, the most penalties awarded in an MLS season came in 2014 when 134 spot kicks were awarded.
Somebody has had a happy whistle so far in 2016.
1. FC Dallas (Last Week: 1)
The Dallas train just keeps on rolling along, despite the lack of electric play of one of the breakout stars of last season, Fabian Castillo. The 23-year-old Colombian has one goal and one assist through six games so far in 2016, after posting a nine-and-nine mark in those two categories last year.
2. Sporting Kansas City (Last Week: 2)
SKC is really making a push to dethrone Dallas at the top. If Kansas City wins and Dallas can only surmise a draw for the third straight week, the top two will flip.
3. Montreal Impact (Last Week: 4)
Montreal has had a strong start to 2016, and it hasn't come at the expense of bottom-feeding teams. The Impact has three wins in five games, all against playoff teams from a season ago.
4. Real Salt Lake (Last Week: 5)
With Orlando falling on the road to Philly this week, RSL is now the only undefeated team remaining in the league.
5. LA Galaxy (Last Week: 3)
So what's a guy got to do to get a red card in MLS? Break a leg?
On a more serious note, I wish someone who has a larger brain than I do would do something about tracking fouls called on star players in MLS as opposed to regular Joes. We thought the NBA was bad in preferential treatment to stars, but I'm starting to think MLS is right up there.
6. Orlando City (Last Week: 6)
A 2-1 setback at Philly isn't bad news. Look on the bright side, at least Orlando didn't get shellacked by four goals to a team like D.C. If you're taking your first loss five games into the season, you're doing OK.
Cyle Larin is on pace to score 17 goals this season.
7. San Jose Earthquakes (Last Week: 10)
San Jose probably should have assumed a higher spot like this several weeks ago, were it not for my personal bias against their general grossness.
8. Toronto FC (Last Week: 9)
Operation Stay Afloat is nearly complete, and the Red Army of Canada claimed a victory in the battle of Foxborough this week. With three more games in TFC's season-opening, nine-game road trip, a 1-1 draw at New England is a positive result.
9. Portland Timbers (Last Week: 7)
Fanendo Adi may be off to a strong start in 2016 (four goals in five games) but the Timbers aren't. After playing five very winnable games, the champs only have claimed one victory.
10. Vancouver Whitecaps (Last Week: 8)
Last week I said Vancouver simply didn't excite me, and then the Caps went off and lost to an even less exciting D.C. team by four goals. Not a good week in the Canadian section of the Pacific Northwest.
11. Philadelphia Union (Last Week: 17)
Maybe I've been sleeping on Philly all year, or maybe the Union is just off to a quick start to be followed by a quicker decline. We shall see. Either way, they get a bit of a belated bump in the rankings.
12. Houston Dynamo (Last Week: 12)
From the makers of the "excuse me swing" in baseball comes the "excuse me finish" in soccer, as best exemplified by Giles Barnes this week. Barnes scored when he didn't even know the ball was coming to him, and that is why I hope it wins goal of the week.
13. New York City FC (Last Week: 13)
"It may be time to put Frank Lampard's mug on milk cartons." Couldn't have said it better myself.
14. D.C. United (Last Week: 20)
All that pent up rage D.C. players have been feeling about playing their games in RFK was let loose on the heads of Vancouver this week. Imagine if in Italy, Roma played its games in the Colosseum, and you have some idea of what United games at RFK are like.
15. New England Revolution (Last Week: 14)
The 2014 Chicago Fire set the standard in MLS mediocrity by accumulating 18 draws over the course of the season. New England is on pace for 23. If you're going to be a mid- to bottom-level team, you might as well do it in record setting fashion.
16. New York Red Bulls (Last Week: 11)
SKC just about shredded the Red Bulls apart this week at Red Bull Arena. In a topsy-turvy year so far in MLS, New York is just one of a few teams that I didn't expect to end up down this far in the power rankings.
17. Seattle Sounders (Last Week: 16)
Part of Seattle's slow start that seemingly nobody is talking about is how difficult the Sounders' schedule has been so far. Seattle's first five games all came against playoff teams from a year ago. That's not saying the Rave Green shouldn't have done better in those five, but just some added context. Call them the anti-Montreal.
18. Colorado Rapids (Last Week: 18)
Colorado's streak of scoring fewer than two goals in a game remains intact. If this lasts all season Pablo Mastroeni should put that at the tip-top of his résumé. Like even before his name. "Coached a Colorado team that failed to score two goals in a game the entire season." Somebody would hire that guy. It's a bold strategy, and people like boldness.
19. Chicago Fire (Last Week: 19)
Take a seven-goal game, place it on a smaller field with less space, give it a frantic pace with lots of chances, and somehow you come out with a zero-goal game. At least that's what happened when NYCFC and Chicago met at Yankee Stadium for their second meeting of the year. Go figure. Welcome to soccer.
20. Columbus Crew SC (Last Week: 15)
C-bus is now the only team still in search of a win. Remember when for years the loser of the Super Bowl missed the playoffs the following year? Whatever you want to call that disease (Loseritis? Not-so-Super Fever? A Hangover?), it has seemingly infected the Crewmen this season.