You can never overreact from a preseason "friendly" result, but the MLS All-Stars were impressive and should have made soccer fans in the United State proud. Jay DeMerit had to play the entire match because of an Aurelien Collin injury while goals were scored by Chris Wondolowski, Chris Pontius, and Eddie Johnson. Although all of the players on the team are highly skilled, a team that had only a few days to learn how to play together vanquished one of the world's best teams.
Real Salt Lake is still a title contender.
Real benefitted from a controversial penalty awarded to Alvaro Saborio and continued their winning ways with a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps. They now sit two points behind San Jose in the race for the Western Conference crown. San Jose crushed Real 5-0 two weeks ago, but it feels like Real are slowly creeping up on the Earthquakes. A very favorable schedule lies ahead in the coming weeks and there is no doubt they can maintain the momentum they are building.
Houston is rounding into form.
Yes they beat an outmanned Toronto FC squad on the road, but the Dynamo are an absolute force when at full-strength. They will lose Geoff Cameron to English side Stoke City, but it should not hamper such a dynamic offensive team. Young stud, Will Bruin, as well as veterans Calen Carr and Macoumba Kandji, have come on strong lately for Houston.
When at full-strength, the Red Bulls should handily beat a team like Montreal, even on the road. They have way too much talent, even if Thierry Henry played in the mid-week All-Star game. At times, their offense looks like the best in the league. An offense with the likes of Joel Lindpere, Dax McCarty, Sebastian Le Toux, Kenny Cooper, and Henry should manhandle lesser talented opponents. A 3-1 loss on the road to Montreal is reason for concern going forward.
What is going on in Kansas City?
An up-and-down pattern continued for Sporting KC's season. Sporting were at full-strength and lost at home to the middling Columbus Crew. They are winless in their last three and should probably have gotten at least four points. Like New York, when at full-strength health wise, SKC have a tremendous offensive attack. Seeing this confounds the observer even more. They should get back to their winning ways with an upcoming schedule of: at New England, home to DC United and at Toronto FC.
The Galaxy plan on defending their title.
Full-strength or not the Galaxy can win anytime and anywhere. The combination of their offensive and defensive units make them the most cohesive squad in Major League Soccer. A road win at Dallas without David Beckham or Landon Donovan prove the previous point. When his team focuses and plays unselfishly, Bruce Arena looks like the top manager in the league. With a manageable upcoming schedule combined with having the ability to keep their stars well-rested, the Galaxy should continue to improve.
A team that competes well at home and on the road, the Sounders showed this by beating a lesser Colorado Rapids team in Commerce City. They now sit tied for third in the Western Conference standings and have righted a once wobbly ship. Over the weekend, they also traded designated player Alvaro Fernandez to the Chicago Fire, but acquired German midfielder Christian Tiffert from Kaiserslautern FC. Like the other MLS teams who have made transfer window transactions, we'll see how well they can integrate their new player to contribute to achieving success.
San Jose, as we already knew, are the Cardiac Kids.
Once again in following their season's trend, the San Jose Earthquakes left it until the final seconds to snatch a victory from their opponents. A Steven Lenhart stoppage-time goal saved a point for San Jose at home against the Chicago Fire. Their supporters love it, but those of us watching from afar continue to be astounded. A manageable schedule is coming up with a home match against Seattle, on the road at Montreal, and home to Colorado, lying ahead.