Since the gridiron lines are invading the pitch, I figured it should be time that the NFL invades the Cupcake Nation. Full disclosure, I love watching the NFL (and college football for that matter). I'm not the one to get into the whole "my football is better than your football" slapfest.
It's time to take the tried and true comparison post template and break it out here. Here are your MLS Power Rankings:
1- DC United as the Indianapolis Colts
It really pains me to compare my favorite MLS team to the Colts. I do have an irrational hatred for Peyton Manning, one that I think has only intensified with the 937 commercials he stars in and his Super Bowl win last season. However, the way DC is playing right now looks like the way the Colts ran roughshod over the NFL last year. 4-0 on the road in Dallas on Saturday night? That's a whooping of Peyton to Marvin Harrison proportions. I'll actually be at RFK this weekend to see the preview of the Eastern Conference final between DC and New England. It has that classic Colts v. Patriots vibe to it right now. I'm just hoping DC gets revenge on the Revs for knocking them out in the playoffs last year.
2- Houston Dynamo as the Chicago Bears
The Dynamo aren't exactly flashy, although DDR and the boys are capable of popping some special plays. They are really built around their defense. They set the record earlier this season of consecutive minutes without allowing a goal, and they've given up the least goals in the league this year. At least there's no one you can compare to Tank Johnson with this group. Ricardo Clark is turning into a force in middle, much like Brian Urlacher. Let's just hope he doesn't follow Brian's off the field style...
3- Chivas USA as the New Orleans Saints
The Goats are pretty exciting to watch, much as the Saints were last year. I'll take a Maykel Galindo/Reggie Bush comparison as an easy one, and a Jesse Marsch/Drew Brees one for the unheralded guy who holds the team together. With their firepower, Chivas is a team I wouldn't want to see come playoff time.
4- New England Revolution as the New England Patriots
Surprise, surprise, they have the same owner and the same stadium, so it's natural that they would be pretty similar teams. Nothing fancy out of these two, just hard work that often leads to success. While the Revs haven't matched the Pats championships, they have been close to that level of success. It took the Patriots a couple of tries to win a Super Bowl, maybe the same is true for the Revs? Unfortunately for The Fort, I don't think so. I think New England is on the downturn. They've never replaced Clint Dempsey on the field, and I think will be poised to see more key players leave this offseason. It's now or never for this group.
5- New York Red Bulls as the New York Jets
Another set that share the same stadium, but also share some characteristics. Both teams have some quality players, but do you really see them as champions? Claudio Reyna, the guy who can barely step onto the field without hurting himself, do you see him hoisting MLS Cup? Chad Pennington, the guy who can barely throw the ball 20 yards, do you see him hoisting the Lombardi Trophy? No and no are your correct answers. The Red Bulls have come a long way this year, they're no longer a laughing stock, but they're not serious contenders either.
6- FC Dallas as the San Diego Chargers
Lots of talent on both of these teams, but the results just don't match up. The addition of Denilson in Dallas could make me change my opinion of the Hoops, but I just don't think they're getting what they should out of the team. Same goes for the Chargers, how do you go 14-2 last year and then get bounced out in the first playoff game (again)? At least they finally had the good sense to get rid of Marty Schottenheimer. Dallas got rid of Colin Clarke last year, but haven't really had the change in results they were looking for. We'll see in the playoffs.
7- Kansas City Wizards as the Carolina Panthers
Other than sharing a similar shade of blue in their color scheme, the main thing these two teams share is the inability to get anyone excited. They're both very bland, and very average. There just isn't anything special about them. I expected a little more out of the Wiz, they started strong and Eddie Johnson was on fire. They fallen backwards since though, and I just can't see them passing up any of the stronger teams in the East.
8- Colorado Rapids as the Cincinnati Bengals
You never know what you're going to get with these two. I had really big hopes for the Rapids, but they've been quite the disappointment, much like last year's Bengals. It took a near mutiny in the stands to start the turnaround. Colorado is just seen as thugs on the field (ask the Dallas and Salt Lake fans about it), while the Bengals had as many arrests as wins last year. Let's just hope that Bouna Condoul doesn't start taking tips from Chris Henry.
9- Columbus Crew as the Buffalo Bills
These two teams are flying under the radar, and maybe a year away from being difficult to deal with. Adding Guille Schelotto has been a huge coup for the Crew, he's made them instantly better. I just don't think he has the pieces around him to take the Yellow & Black very far. It's kind of like JP Losman and Lee Evans in Buffalo. While they're good for some spectacular plays (and nice to have in Fantasy Football), I don't think they can carry the Bills by themselves. They're just not quite there yet.
10- Chicago Fire as the Dallas Cowboys
Cuauhtemoc Blanco and Terrell Owens are rather interesting characters. I think T.O. actually has more haters than Blanco, which isn't an easy feat to accomplish. Joe Buck and Eric Wynalda have similar reactions to these guys. However, the addition of Blanco has made the Fire a team to watch down the stretch. I wouldn't be shocked at all to see them climb into the playoffs, although I think it's a case of running out of time.
11- Real Salt Lake as the Cleveland Browns
Lovable losers, these two. They both are currently in the midst of youth movements (Brady Quinn coming to town in Cleveland, the Argentine trio in Salt Lake), but it's going to take a couple of seasons to change their fortunes. I just hope that none of the new RSL guys decide to do this at a wedding with photographers present...
12- LA Galaxy as the Atlanta Falcons
Although the circumstances are completely different, the loss of the face of the franchise (Beckham in LA, Vick in ATL) has killed hopes for these teams this year. The Galaxy are just awful at this point, how do you blow a lead and lose at home to RSL? How in the world did they take Pachuca to PK's in the SuperLiga final, and how did they beat DC in the semis? Who knows? In LA, it should be interesting to see who leaves this team between now and the kickoff of the 2008 season. Yallop? Lalas? Donovan? All three are possible.