The Major League Soccer season is at its virtual halfway point, with most team's 15th game coming up.
So far there have many surprises (New England not winning, Seattle in third), and this slideshow will try to break down how each MLS team is doing so far through the season.
This slideshow is ordered on the standings of the MLS teams as of July 4, 2009.
The Dynamo have probably been the most succesful expansion team in the history of expansion in American sports. The Dynamo have already won two MLS Cups, and it's this writer's opinion that they will win another Cup this year.
They have a relativley easy schedule remaining, with matches against New England, Kansas City, FC Dallas, and Los Angeles, coupled with difficult matches against Seattle FC, Chicago, and Colorado.
But the Dynamo's dynamic (pun intended) offense and defense should propel Houston to another MLS Cup.
Houston so far is 8-4-3.
Chivas USA will likely be the runners up to Houston in the Western Conference Finals. The second best team in the league, Chivas USA has the misfortune of playing behind Houston.
Chivas has a relativly easy schedule remaining, with games against Los Angeles, New England, Kansas City, New York, San Jose and Real Salt Lake. Bet they also have very difficult matches against Houston, DC United, Seattle FC, and Chicago.
So far this season, Chivas is 8-3-4.
The Drew Carey-owned Seattle Sounders FC has probably had the best single season ever for an expansion team in any sport.
Seattle is third overall in the MLS rankings, and third in the Western Conference. I have a personally like Roger Levesque, who is from my hometown of Portland, Maine.
Anyway, the Sounders are lead by Freddy Montero on offense, who has eight goals in 14 games, but he's on loan and likely won't return for the Sounders next season.
The Sounders have an all right schedule, with tough games against Houston, Chivas USA, DC United, Chicago, and Columbus. They also have easy matches against New England, Los Angeles, Kansas City and FC Dallas.
Seattle will have to win at least a few of the tough games against Chivas and Houston if they want an assured spot in the MLS playoffs.
So far this season, Seattle is 6-7-3.
DC United is best in the Eastern Conference, but fourth in the MLS overall rankings. United will probably win the Eastern Conference, but if that happens, United will be runners up to Houston.
United has a very mixed schedule with easy matches against San Jose, Kansas City, Los Angeles, FC Dallas, but hard matches against Houston (whoever wins that match will likely win the MLS Cup), Seattle FC, Columbus, Colorado, and Chivas USA.
So far this season DC United is 5-9-3.
Chicago is currently in third in the Eastern Conference, and are still very much alive in the playoff race.
The Fire are led on the offense by their captain Brian McBride.
Chicago has a hard late season schedule with tough matches against Houston, Chivas USA, Seattle, Columbus, and DC United. The Fire also have two matches against New England, while one match against Los Angeles, San Jose, and Kansas City.
So far, Chicago is 6-6-3.
Columbus is currently in 3rd in the Eastern Conference, but still very much in the playoff picture as are most teams in the East. Columbus is 6th in the MLS overall rankings.
I think Columbus will make the playoffs, if they can win some of their difficult matches, such as against Houston and DC United. They also have easy matches against New England, FC Dallas, San Jose, and New York.
The Crew are led offensively by Guillermo Barros Schelotto.
So far this season, Columbus is 5-8-3.
Toronto FC is currently 4th in the Eastern Conference and 7th in the MLS overall rankings. Toronto is still very much in the MLS playoff push.
Toronto has a difficult remaining schedule, with two matches against Colorado, one against Houston, Columbus, Seattle, DC United, and Chicago, with easy matches coming against Los Angeles, New England, San Jose, Red Bull New York, and Real Salt Lake.
So far this season, Toronto FC is 6-4-6.
Colorado is currently ranked 4th in the Western Conference, and 8th in the MLS overall rankings. Colorado is still very much alive in the push for the MLS playoffs.
Colorado has an easy schedule, with two matches against San Jose and FC Dallas, and one match against New England, Real Salt Lake, Red Bull New York, and Kansas City.
So far this season, Colorado is 5-6-4.
The Galaxy have underachieved this season, but should start winning more with Landon Donovan returning from his Confederations Cup duties, and David Beckham returning from his loan to AC Milan.
The Galaxy are currently just out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, as the Galaxy are in 5th place. They are 9th in the MLS overall rankings.
Los Angeles has some easy matches against Red Bull New York, Kansas City, New England, FC Dallas, and San Jose. The rest of their matches are going to be difficult matches against better teams.
So far this season Los Angeles is 4-9-3.
Real Salt Lake is still alive in the race for the MLS playoffs, but have their backs up against the wall with having to jump over the Galaxy.
Salt Lake is 6th in the Western Conference and 10th in the MLS overall rankings.
Real Salt Lake has a very difficult remaining schedule, with matches against Houston, Columbus, Chicago, DC United, Seattle, Colorado, and Toronto FC.
Real Salt Lake can still have some matches in the second half that they can call 'wins', with matches against FC Dallas, New England, Kansas City, and Red Bull New York.
Real Salt Lake is 5-5-6 so far this season.
The Wizards are not mathematically out of the playoffs, and just a few breaks could see the Wizards in the MLS playoffs. Kansas City is 5th in the Eastern Conference, and 11th in the MLS.
Kansas City has 10 matches against better teams, with at least one match against every team above them in the MLS overall rankings. They do have easy matches against New England, San Jose, Red Bull New York and FC Dallas, though.
So far this season, Kansas City is 5-4-6.
FC Dallas is not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, but having to jump over two better teams in Los Angeles and Real Salt Lake to get in the picture will be a tall task for FC Dallas. FC Dallas is currently in 7th position in the MLS Western Conference, and 12th overall in the MLS rankings.
FC Dallas has an extremely difficult schedule ahead of them, with 11 matches against teams that are ranked higher than they are. They do have easy matches against New England, Red Bull New York and San Jose.
So far this season, FC Dallas is 4-5-7.
New England has been dealt hard blows, with injuries to their best player Taylor Twellman, team captain Steve Ralston, and some other players.
New England came into this season as one of the favorites in the east, but now they basically need a win in every one of their remaining matches to make the MLS playoffs, as they are ranked 6th in the Eastern Conference and 13th overall.
The Revolution need to get healthy, and when they do, they can tear up the league, by beating teams like Kansas City, FC Dallas, and Real Salt Lake, who are ranked higher than the Revs.
So far this season, the Revs are 4-4-5.
San Jose is ranked last in the incredibly strong MLS Western Conference, and it will take a miracle for the Earthquakes to make the playoffs. San Jose is ranked 7th in the Western Conference and 14th overall.
The Earthquakes have a very difficult schedule, as it seems every team is better than them. The Earthquakes don't even face the one team in the MLS is that is ranked lower than them, Red Bull New York.
So far this season, San Jose is 3-4-9.
The worst team in the MLS so far is Red Bull New York. Despite the Eastern Conference being notoriously weak, the Red Bulls will almost definitely not make the playoffs, especially when New England gets healthy.
Their schedule seems of insurmountable difficulty, and I think Red Bull New York will win 2-4 matches for the entire remainder of the season, maybe beating FC Dallas, and/or Kansas City.
So far this season, Red Bull New York is 2-4-13.