The Other Side of Summer

Boy, crowded weekend. An overloaded MLS slate, plus the Euro quarterfinals. I predicted the result of today's game almost 100% wrong, so I'll leave Euro aside until I get back on Monday. I'm going up to San Jose to try out as a forward. Seriously, the Quakes need help on offense? Who could have seen this coming?

I'm on a Potentially Actually Useful Power Rankings! kick, so let's see how they look so far in order of Fewest Goals Given Up Per Game. Defenses in the past couple of seasons have struck me as seriously subpar - I mean, our reigning Defender of the Year is Eddie Robinson, for God's sake. And defense wins championships - Eddie Robinson has four rings, for God's sake.

1. Chicago, 0.81818181818181818.
2. New England, 1.0714285714285.
3. Columbus, 1.16666666666667.
4. Salt Lake, 1.3076923076923.
5. Toronto, 1.3333333333333333.
6. Houston, 1.384615384615.
7 (tie). New York, 1.4166666666667.
7 (tie). San Jose, 1.4166666666667.
9. Kansas City, 1.4545454545454545.
10. Dallas, 1.461538461538.
11. Colorado, 1.5.
12. Bizarro Chivas, 1.583333333333333.
13. Los Angeles, 1.75.
14. DC United, 1.846153846153.

Hm, if Salt Lake ever learns to score, they're the West's number one seed. Also, if Los Angeles ever learns to play defense. The Galaxy would be 14th on this list, except for shutouts courtesy of San Jose.

CHIVAS USA v. CHICAGO is underway - Chivas could make the East a lot less interesting with a win at home, since New England has been quietly gathering points. The Fire need to win to gain ground. If Bob Bradley can't gather enough fourth-tier out-of-season Euros, then Bob Bradley will probably choose from these, two of his former teams. I hate saying the road team is ever a prohibitive favorite, but I'm getting a real solid Blanco 2, Goats 0 vibe from this, Guzan or no.

TORIES v. WIZARDS. And all of a sudden, Toronto gets entertaining as well as successful? I don't believe it. The Wizards need to turn around their fortunes in a hurry, or else - well, let's just say they won't need to worry about blowing a playoff spot in the last week of the season. I hate jumping from one bandwagon to another - not that the Wizards have had a bandwagon this year - but I'm getting a real solid TFC 2-0 vibe from this.

RAPIDS v. DYNAMO. Ooh, now we're cooking with evil gas. A tie doesn't help anyone but Dallas and Los Angeles, so this one should be exciting. That New England hiccup apart - Houston has had NO luck with the Revolution this year - the Dynamo have been pretty damn terrific recently. And everyone loves Brian Ching again. We'll find out this week whether being at sea level, or being without Bouna, was the trouble for Colorado. I hate to bet against the thin air, but I'm getting a real solid Ching 2-1 from this.

JERSEY v. GUERNSEY. Well, the Red Bulls did just tie the team with the best record in the league. And despite looking awful, and so far replacing Jozy with nobody, they've lost at home fewer times than any team founded before 2005. Dallas just beat Chicago, sure, but Dallas always beats Chicago. No, seriously, they've won the Brimstone Cup every year since 2002. That's just odd. The FC of the South haven't beaten anyone else too often, though, and even though I hate betting against a team trying to impress a new coach, I'm getting a real solid JPA 2-0 vibe from this.

ROYALISTS v. REVOLUTIONARIES. The irresistible force here is Salt Lake's invincible fortress, Rice-Eccles Stadium, the only unconquered castle in America. I hate betting against both the law of averages and common freaking sense, but I'm getting a real solid 0-0 vibe from this. Again, my assumption is that the Royals go unbeaten at home, and miss the playoffs.

SIGI'S OLD TEAM v. SIGI'S NEW TEAM. The Crew own the Galaxy. Sigi has only lost to Los Angeles once. I would have had higher hopes for the Galaxy this week, but the Crew chewed up and spat out Kansas City on the road last week, and Ruud hasn't gotten the Galaxy at the super-sexy level quite yet. I hate to bet against first place teams that I coincidentally mark out for, but I'm getting a real solid 3-1 vibe from this, even if Bradley doesn't call in Landon yet again (Bradley's called in Landon for dumber reasons).

THE FIRST GAME EVER. Well, okay, the one in September is the actual re-enactment of the first MLS game ever. This one's in Washington. The Quakes are better on the road than they have any right to expect, but Frank Yallop is still coaching like it's 2003 - small squads, few subs - and that's leaving the team way too vulnerable to injuries and callups. But why haven't they added anyone? They can't seriously count Peguero against the cap, can they? Well, whatever happens, it won't happen before Sunday afternoon, so I'm getting a real solid 3-0 home win from this. The United probably aren't going to win their third straight Shield after all, but it's looking like they'll come closer than we thought a month ago. Whatever Soehn did to get Emilio's attention, it worked.