What do Seattle, Chivas, Los Angeles, San Jose, Houston, and New York all have in common? They all had at least one player sent off this weekend. In the case of Los Angeles, it was two, after Alan Gordon picked up two yellow cards within five minutes and Gregg Berhalter denied a clear goalscoring opportunity.
With so many players missing in action, it was tough for teams to develop any sort of fluidity in their game. Playing a man down forced some teams into unnaturally defensive postures. This in turn led to three 0-0 or 1-0 scorelines out of seven matches this weekend.
Ugly? I think so. Let's hope for some better results from week five.
After four weeks, we have three unbeaten teams and an astounding five teams still searching for their first win.
Last week's ranking in parenthesis
1. Chivas USA (2)
Despite losing Paulo Nagamura for an entire half, Chivas hung on for a draw with Los Angeles in the Superclasico and now sit by themselves atop the Western Conference standings. Zach Thornton played remarkably well between the pipes to preserve the shutout for Chivas, who remain undefeated.
2. Chicago Fire (3)
They may have only taken home a single point from their match against San Jose, but the offense roared to life with three goals. Brian McBride and Chris Rolfe both jump-started their seasons, and Cuauhtemoc Blanco saw some significant action. Chicago remains undefeated and sits atop the the Eastern Conference with eight points.
3. Seattle Sounders FC (1)
It took 350+ minutes of match action, but Seattle has finally conceded a goal. After having Kasey Keller sent off in the 29th minute for using his hands outside the box, 10-man Seattle unsuccessfully tried to keep Kansas City scoreless. Davy Arnaud put Seattle's shutout streak to rest with a goal in the 80th minute.
4. New England Revolution (4)
New England was off for the week.
5. Real Salt Lake (7)
Salt Lake is rebounding nicely from their season-opening shutout loss at the hands of Seattle. They've now won two straight matches, scoring six times in those two games. Those six goals have been spread out among four players, meaning that opponents must respect a diversified offensive attack. Look for RSL to continue their winning streak against New York this week.
6. Colorado Rapids (6)
Conor Casey continued his hot streak, supplying Colorado's only goal as they drew with defending champs Columbus. In the preseason, there were questions regarding Casey's ability to carry the offense. He's done his best to silence those critics in the past couple of weeks, with four goals in his last two matches.
7. Kansas City Wizards (10)
Kansas City gets a huge bump for being the first club to figure out Seattle. They might have risen even farther if they had beaten a full-strength Seattle squad. Still, you can't be harsh on a club that defeated MLS' best defense.
8. DC United (5)
Luciano Emilio has been dangerous for DC, as always. Unfortunately, Christian Gomez isn't stepping up like the club had hoped. DC needs a better effort at both ends of the pitch if they want to make the playoffs at the end of the season.
9. San Jose Earthquakes (11)
Bobby Convey's 2009 MLS season: one shot, one goal. It's about time he got going. San Jose might have beaten Chicago if not for an 82nd minute red card picked up by Shea Salinas while the 'Quakes were up a goal.
10. Toronto FC (8)
Toronto looked like they would be walking away with all three points, until a late FC Dallas corner took a few lucky deflections and ended up at the feet of Pablo Ricchetti. The inability to hang on could prove to be demoralizing later in the season.
11. Columbus Crew (9)
There's no easy way to say it...Columbus has looked painfully inept this season. For a more in-depth look at the Crew's woes, take a look at this article.
12. LA Galaxy (12)
Los Angeles should be ashamed of the way they performed against Chivas on the weekend. After trying to take advantage of being a man up for 25 minutes, Alan Gordon and Gregg Berhalter got sent off within eight minutes of each other. Suddenly, LA was a man down and fighting to keep Chivas out of the goal. On a positive note, Donovan Ricketts looked fantastic in his first action as the Galaxy keeper.
13. Houston Dynamo (13)
Houston continues to fight with FC Dallas in the race to occupy the cellar in the West. Luckily for their fans, their two losses have come on the road.
14. New York Red Bulls (14)
New York remains among the winless this season. They've only managed one goal in four games this season, but should be happy not to have conceded against Houston this weekend. Juan Pablo Angel is no doubt thrilled that he signed a contract extension before the season began.
15. FC Dallas (15)
Dallas took home their first points of 2009 with a draw at Toronto FC. It's not enough to lift them from the bottom of the power rankings however, as the six teams directly in front of them also took home a point this weekend.