There were only six games to ponder this week in MLS, but there were still some serious observations to be made about the league. For instance, has anyone else noticed that Frank Lampard is starting to go bald?
1. FC Dallas (Last Week: 1)
Dallas beat Portland this week despite missing five regular starters, which doesn't include the recently departed Fabian Castillo. Besides the more meta-inspired question of what Castillo's departure means for the league, what does it say about MLS that its best team can get rid of its best player and still remain in first place?
2. Real Salt Lake (Last Week: 2)
A much-needed week of rest for RSL which is about to take on LA at home and travel to Portland on a Wednesday-Saturday split. If the claret and cobalt can come away with four or more points from that pair of games, their status as serious MLS Cup contenders will be fulfilled.
3. New York City FC (Last Week: 3)
Frank Lampard scored two goals, including the late winner, in the Bronx Blues' 3-2 win over D.C. on Friday night. In 16 games, Super Frankie has 13 starts under his belt and has scored an impressive 11 goals so far in 2016. Not a bad return for a guy that looked for a minute as though he'd never actually play a game in Yankee Stadium.
4. Toronto FC (Last Week: 4)
Luckily for TFC, one of the four weeks Giovinco will miss due to injury was this one, where the Reds were given a bye.
5. New York Red Bulls (Last Week: 5)
BWP has matched his 17 goals scored from a year ago, including the winner in the 50th minute this week against Vancouver, and he has done so in 32 fewer shot attempts.
6. Montreal Impact (Last Week: 7)
The Impact are the last team in the East standings to have a positive goal differential, and are currently in fifth.
7. Colorado Rapids (Last Week: 6)
Colorado had an embarrassing loss to New England this week, but it really doesn't reflect what a full strength Rapids team might have done because some of the blame for the loss goes to Zach MacMath, who started in place of Tim Howard.
8. Sporting Kansas City (Last Week: 10)
Matt Besler scored for the national team, not long after becoming a father. If I'm an SKC fan, I'm hoping Besler starts having babies more often.
9. Portland Timbers (Last Week: 8)
Portland has lost five of its last seven games, including this week to Dallas. Despite that fact, the Timbers are still three points ahead of San Jose for the final playoff spot in the West, and they luckily play at home in each of their next two games.
10. Philadelphia Union (Last Week: 9)
Philly lost to Chicago this week, 3-0. Alejandro Bedoya was missing on international duty for the Union. Coincidence? I think not.
11. LA Galaxy (Last Week: 12)
LA got rid of Nigel De Jong, which could end up being addition by subtraction. His likely replacement, Baggio Husidic, is no slouch and has lots of quality experience in the league, not to mention the superb goal he scored this week.
12. D.C. United (Last Week: 11)
D.C. is the epitome of why the MLS playoffs are watered down. In no way does this team deserve a shot at the championship, but there it is, above the red line.
13. Orlando City (Last Week: 13)
There was college football at
Camping World Stadium the Citrus Bowl last night, which reminds me that despite all the complaining we get about turf, it's better than having sloppy, ran-through grass to play on.
14. Seattle Sounders (Last Week: 14)
Jurgen Klinsmann said that he thinks Clint Dempsey will be fine after this irregular heartbeat situation works itself out, which makes me worry for Deuce's health even more.
15. San Jose Earthquakes (Last Week: 15)
The 'Quakes are three points behind Portland with two games in hand for the last Western Playoff position. If they make it, I'll only be able to watch them with at least a half a bottle of bourbon already in me.
16. New England Revolution (Last Week: 19)
New England with a big win over Colorado, which puts the Revs squarely in the playoff hunt. Fortunately for those of us with discerning taste, their competition for that spot have games in hand.
17. Houston Dynamo (Last Week: 17)
So far, I've tossed out the ideas of making DaMarcus Beasley the first player-coach in MLS history and having the Dynamo play a game in the Astrodome. Anybody else got some ideas of how to keep the Dynamo relevant this year?
18. Chicago Fire (Last Week: 20)
Chicago has registered two 3-0 victories within a month and is just six points off of D.C. for the last playoff spot in the East with a game in hand. No that's not a typo.
19. Columbus Crew (Last Week: 16)
C-Bus and Houston are the only two teams in MLS with double-figure losses and ties in the standings. Coincidentally, the two teams are also each in last place in their respective conferences.
20. Vancouver Whitecaps (Last Week: 18)
The 'Caps are the current owners of the longest winless streak in the league, at eight games.