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Stauff Nation

Been a little behind lately. Sorry to leave you waitin, but here's an updated table (as of April 15th) and my thoughts on it.


Eastern Conference  Overall       GPWDLGSGA             GDP1 Chicago 321061             572 Kansas City 421165             173 Columbus 320165             164 New England 420266             065 New York Red Bulls 210122             036 DC United 310247             -337 Toronto FC 310248             -43

Western Conference  Overall       GPWDLGSGA             GDP1 Colorado 320173             462 Dallas 312064             253 Real Salt Lake 311164             244 Chivas USA 311176             145 Los Angeles 310247             -336 Houston 302136             -327 San Jose 200203             -30


Three Surprises

1) Trouble in Paradise-  DC United and Houston at the bottom of the table? What gives? These were two of the most exciting teams in the league last year, and they've only gotten better over the offseason with the addition of Marcelo Gallardo in DC and Dynamo with the arrival of proven defender Bobby Boswell. DC have given up a league high 7 goals already (tied with the Galaxy, who desperately miss Joe Cannon) and Houston isn't far behind with 6 goals conceded. There's some obvious defensive issues both teams have to face if they want to get back onto the right track again.

2) Mile High-  I expected them to improve after signing Christian Gomez, but WOW. I gotta say, Colorado look really scary and Gomez is out playing like a man possessed on the field. Scoring once already and taking a team high eight shots on goal, he's looking ready for another huge season. I don't see Colorado slowing down for a real long time. Consider them as big a threat as DC United and the Fire. They look determined and ready for a title.

The Rapids look ready to challenge the MLS's heavyweights this season.


3) Chicago on Fire-  The Fire have outright proven to be the best team in the MLS so far, tearing the hearts out of New England and scoring four goals against the Minutemen in Chicago's home opener. The Fire are one of only two teams in the league that is still undefeated (FC Dallas being the other), scoring an Eastern Conference high six goals and condeding a league low one. They also tie for the most points in the league (7). Bottom line: The Fire mean business and are out to prove to everyone they're the best. Look for that trend to continue.


Three Expectations

1) Trouble in Hollywood-  Landon Donovan and David Beckham looked pretty good in their nationally televised game against San Jose two weeks ago, both scoring and grabbing assists. The link up play was excellent in that game and LA were dominant against an uncoordinated San Jose. Though I've been told the Galaxy looked horrible in their other two games, losing one 4-0 to the Rapids and 3-2 to Toronto. If LA are to succeed, Beckham and Donovan need to be scoring every game. Since this expectation is ridiculous and unachievable, look for LA to not succeed. Bet Galaxy fans are missing Joe Cannon a lot right now.

Los Angeles could have benefited greatly with Celestine Babayaro's prescense in the back line, but Manager Ruud Gullit cut him a shortly after his arrival. Think Ruud's kickin' himself in the rear yet?


2) Earthquake Warning-  Though the San Jose Earthquakes have looked terrible in their first three games, expect them to improve near midseason. Keep in mind that the Earthquakes are a totally different team then they were before they moved to Houston, and with a whole new group of players that have only been playing with each other for a few months, it will take time for the team's confidence and chemistry to grow.

3) David vs Goliath-  I'm really excited at how the '08 season has started out for one big reason: many the crappy teams from last season look to be playing with a new pop in their step, determined to fight for a playoff spot that nearly everyone says they won't reach this season. Teams like Real Salt Lake, Columbus Crew and the Rapids are really looking dangerous this season so far. Whether these Davids are for real this time around or the Goliaths are taking their time to get out of bed is uncertain, but it should be exciting to watch how these teams continue throughout the season.

So that about wraps things up. I'll be back with more scores, commentary and observations soon.


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