If you're watching an MLS game, there are two things that are fairly likely to happen: 1) the referee makes or doesn't make a call that is questionable at best and egregious at worst, and 2) someone in the commentary booth will refer to something as "world class." Perhaps the second falls under the pet peeve category, but I've reached a relative boiling point on the subject.
If you say something too many times it loses its meaning. Remember in season five of Mad Men when Roger trips LSD with his former secretary and (soon-to-be-ex wife) Jane? He tells her she's beautiful, and she responds with "That's all you ever say." In this scenario, MLS is Jane, everyone who talks and writes about MLS is Roger, and the phrase "world class" is "beautiful."
Why does every good play have to be "world class?" Can't it just be a good play? Are there no other adjectives that MLS color commentators have in their lexicons to describe a play that took great skill, strong effort, and that had a major impact on the game? Do those people also refer to other things in their lives as "world class?"
"Gee honey, this roast is world class!"
"Say friend, this ice cream cone is world class!"
"My, my, what a world-class film about birds!"
What does "world class" mean, anyway? Last I checked, the world was a pretty big place, with lots of classes. Calling something "world class" doesn't imply high quality, just that it is of some quality, regardless of whether it is good or bad. Calling a soccer play "world class" is just MLS exhibiting its inferiority complex over and over every week. Stop it, MLS. Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken, and referring to yourself as "world class" doesn't make you as good as the Premier League. You're 20 years old now. Stop with the adolescent insecurities and just be you.
1. LA Galaxy (Last Week: 1)
LA is five points back of first with two games in hand, it has scored the most goals in the league despite that deficit in games played, and its goal differential is double that of the next-best team (12 to Colorado's six). A draw this week is good enough to keep the Galaxy in first place.
2. Colorado Rapids (Last Week: 2)
Ditto for Colorado. The Rapids are in first place in MLS, which continues their sudden rise from irrelevancy to contenders. Also, this team will be adding Tim Howard over the summer, so don't expect them to go away.
3. FC Dallas (Last Week: 4)
Two wins in a week for Dallas, on the heels of three straight road losses, brings the Texans up to third. Dallas has New England, San Jose, and Houston for its next three -- all of which should be very winnable games.
4. Vancouver Whitecaps (Last Week: 9)
The 'Caps took three wins from three games in the span of a week to vault into third in the Supporters' Shield standings as well as the Western Conference standings. I'm not certain Vancouver can be title contenders come playoff time, but the Whitecaps are certainly warming up.
5. San Jose Earthquakes (Last Week: 5)
Putting the Quakes this high feels very wrong, but San Jose has produced so far this season to the tune of fifth place in the league. To me, this team feels a lot like D.C. from last year -- they might be able to produce good regular season results, but there's no way they win the MLS Cup.
6. Toronto FC (Last Week: 3)
Way to put that home-field advantage to use, Toronto. After surviving that long road trip to start their season, the Reds dropped a thriller at home to Canadian counterpart Vancouver this week. Suddenly, tomorrow night's game against NYC figures to have a significant impact on the early season Eastern Conference playoff picture.
In other news, Sebastian Giovinco continues to be
world-class superb. (See what I did there? I used a word that expressed how I felt about a player that didn't make him relative to other soccer players in the world who may or may not be better than him. Isn't that something?)
7. Real Salt Lake (Last Week: 5)
After being the early pace-setter out west, RSL now finds itself in the heat of the race with 17 points, which ties Salt Lake with SKC on either side of the red line. It's been, and will be, an ultra-competitive Western Conference this year, and RSL might not have enough gas to last the whole season.
8. Philadelphia Union (Last Week: 8)
Philly drew Montreal and LA this week, so they get the nod over the Impact in this week's rankings.
9. Montreal Impact (Last Week: 7)
Drogba scored this week, which makes him tied for second on the team in goals. I wonder how many more he would have scored if he had gone through preseason and played in the first portion of the season with the rest of his teammates like a big boy?
10. Sporting Kansas City (Last Week: 10)
SKC was lucky it played Orlando this week, because Orlando is making a nasty habit of allowing teams who are on terrible runs of form to win.
11. New York City FC (Last Week: 15)
Three wins in a row for the New York Soccer Yankees puts them in a tie with Montreal for first place in the East. Wanna see a real life rags-to-riches story (this side of Leicester City)? Just watch the Eastern Conference, where every team can go from first to last and back again.
12. Seattle Sounders (Last Week: 11)
Jordan Morris didn't score this week for Seattle, ending his record-setting rookie run. This is important, because J-Mo has officially taken the mantel of "USMNT Striker of the Future" from Jozy Altidore, whose hamstrings apparently have less fortitude than a cube of Jell-O.
13. Portland Timbers (Last Week: 12)
Portland was better than NYC this weekend and deserved better from the game. They won every statistical category on the stat sheet and Darlington Nagbe had a good game. However, Tommy McNamara and his 2016 edition mullet was the difference.
14. D.C. United (Last Week: 16)
D.C. beat the Red Bulls this week in a game pitting two teams with no hope of winning the championship against each other.
15. New England Revolution (Last Week: 17)
Major kudos to New England for capitalizing on C-Bus' drama to acquire Kei Kamara. The Revs needed some kind of boost, and the front office should be proud that it was able to go out and grab a player who has the potential to be that boost.
16. Orlando City (Last Week: 13)
Orlando is now the owner of a six-game streak without a win, which is currently the longest running such streak in the league. I expect this team to still make the playoffs in the East, but if it doesn't, Adrian Heath should get fired (his suspension for this week's game at SKC notwithstanding).
17. New York Red Bulls (Last Week: 14)
After going unbeaten in three, the Red Bulls lost to D.C. this week. This is kind of like if you were working really hard to climb up a hill, only to have a really old lady hit you on the head to send you tumbling back down again.
18. Houston Dynamo (Last Week: 18)
Houston beat RSL to give itself two wins in its last three. The saddest part about MLS this year is that Houston is in last place in the West, but would be one point out of the playoffs in the East (and tied with Orlando).
19. Columbus Crew SC (Last Week: 18)
For whatever reason, Columbus decided to slam its championship window shut by trading Kei Kamara away. I'm not in the Crew locker room to be able to tell you how it went down so quickly, but I've got to think that either this had been brewing way longer than we realize or everyone in that locker room is far too sensitive.
20. Chicago Fire (Last Week: 20)
Chicago is so bad, I bet the NBC show of the same name gets better ratings than Fire games in the Windy City.