The Daily Wave: Week 5 MLS rankings and predictions

Too bad the Rapids couldn't chase down SKC late last Saturday - Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

It was a wacky and topsy-turvey week in Major League Soccer. Several teams coughed up results by allowing last-minute goals (like the Colorado Rapids) or were done in by ill-advised red cards (like the Colorado Rapids).

Let's just get to this weeks business, shall we?

WESTERN CONFERNENCE

1. Vancouver Whitecaps (Defeated the Houston Dynamo 2-1) Former Rapid Jordan Harvey put Vancouver on the board early against the defensively stingy Dyanamo, and a second goal by Kenny Miller proved too much for Houston to overcome late. Vancouver ranks ahead of FC Dallas because they've played a tougher schedule so far and weathered it better.

2. Real Salt Lake (Defeated Toronto FC 3-0) The MLS love affair with the big spenders out of Toronto took a hit with small-market RSL paddling the league's newest darlings. Nick Rimando has been a tremendous help for RSL this season (like he has in most) but the three-goal effort led by Alvaro Saborio's brace means Colorado's hated rival could be one of the league's top three teams.

3. FC Dallas (Defeated Portland Timbers 2-1) It's tough to have Dallas ranked so low, especially after showing their mettle against a should-be-playing-better Timbers side. Their opening slate of opponents haven't been the toughest, but Oscar Pareja's club is picking up points where they're expected to, and that's how you get a nice, high seed in the playoffs in a competitive Western Conference.

4. Seattle Sounders (Lost to Columbus Crew 2-1) Sometimes the Sounders make it easy for people to hate them when they whine about losing to Columbus because a ref distracted them. CenturyLink, what with its tens of thousand screaming fans, should be distracting to opponents. But two teams have left Seattle with three points in hand in a young season, which isn't a good look for the Sounders.

5. Colorado Rapids (Lost to Sporting Kansas City 3-2) The obvious criticism of the Caribous Rapids is that they're only scoring goals on penalty kicks, but the underlying problem in the Sporting KC game was clear lapses of attention by the defense, which in the first half frustrated the hell out of the likes of Graham Zusi. But miscues in the second half gifted SKC three goals in a game that resembled many of the frustrating results of the 2012 campaign.

6. Los Angeles Galaxy (Idle) When do we get to see these guys play?

7. San Jose Earthquakes (Lost to New England Revolution 2-1) Here's where the Western Conference starts looking ugly. One of the presumptive preseason favorites in the Timbers goes up against the offensively inept Revs and coughs up two goals, including an embarrassing late score by Lee Nguyen where he traveled the field unchallenged before burying the game-winner. We expected more offense out of the Quakes by this point, but certainly expect better defense than what they showed against the Revs.

8. Chivas USA (Tied New York Red Bulls 1-1) The Goats are off to a scrappy start, but we're still not expecting much from this squad. Dan Kennedy bailed Chivas out against New York, which is what top-flight keepers like him are paid to do. But it won't pay long-term dividends for the Goats until they have a more reliable scoring attack (but Mauro Rosales is proving to be one of the smartest offseason acquisitions).

9. Portland Timbers (Lost to FC Dallas 2-1) It's hard to pinpoint what's going wrong with a Timbers team that should by all accounts playing much better, but it's easy to see that the results aren't there. Caleb Porter's big challenge in his young career is figuring out a way to get this ship turned around because the top three teams right now look poised to run away with the conference at this pace.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

1. Columbus Crew (Defeated Seattle Sounders 2-1) So far Columbus is playing like the most complete team in Major League Soccer. They've got the goalscoring guns and the defensive lineup to go places like Seattle and steal big victories. They're clearly the league's turnaround team of the early season.

2. Houston Dynamo (Lost to Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1) No one except Columbus has given up only two goals so far this season (Galaxy don't count because they've only played two games), but both came in a tough game against the 'Caps. Not worried about the Dynamo though.

3. Sporting Kansas City (Defeated Colorado Rapids 3-2) SKC's trouble with scoring on the run of play got snuffed out last weekend, albeit against a sloppy Rapids defense. But aside from the Rapids lapses, the SKC attack didn't look too fearsome. No doubt these guys will get it together as the season wears on, just like they did last year.

4. Philadelphia Union (Tied Montreal Impact 1-1) We were getting all ready to get excited about a possibly surprising Union squad when they held a 1-0 lead on Montreal and Andrew Wenger hit the showers following a straight red. Then they coughed up a late goal and settled for a tie against the shorthanded and inferior Impact. Still, the Union are looking early on like a strong playoff contender, especially because the Eastern Conference isn't looking as tough as it once did.

5. Toronto FC (Lost to Real Salt Lake 3-0) Nothing like a good drubbing to wipe the sheen off a hyped up newcomer to the MLS marketing machine. More troubling is the injury to Jermain Defoe, who will miss their upcoming game against the Crew. Defoe has represented all of Toronto's scoring output so far this season.

6. New York Red Bulls (Tied Chivas USA 1-1) Now we're firmly in the dregs of the suddenly ragged Eastern Conference. Last year's Supporter's Shield winners are playing like anything but. It's not that the talent isn't there, it's mostly that they just don't seem to care.

7. Chicago Fire (Tied D.C. United 2-2) Former Rapid Quincy Amarikwa saved the Fire from an embarrassing loss to D.C. United. Amarikwa seems to have lost the hotheadedness that made him expendable with the Rapids into potentially a reliable threat, enough so that the Fire dispensed with Chris Rolfe by trading him to D.C. United.

8. New England Revolution (Defeated San Jose Earthquakes 2-1) We weren't expecting the smaller, nimble Revs to chalk up goals against the rough-n-tough Quakes after going scoreless in the first three games of the season. Seeing them poke some goals through was a welcome sight for a team that should be much higher in the standings.

9. Montreal Impact (Tied Philadelphia 1-1) Is Justin Mapp the most underrated player in MLS? The walking Rogaine commercial nicely set up Marco Di Vaio for Montreal's game-tying goal against the Union. Montreal is a team in flux, but Mapp has always been a steady presence for the Impact.

10. D.C. United (Tied Chicago 2-2) It's nice to see D.C. United get some production out of its offense. Too bad, so sad it came on a day when their defense left Bill Hamid utterly out to dry.

WEEKEND PREDICTIONS

Seattle at Portland - Draw

New York at Montreal - Montreal victory

Philadelphia at Chicago - Chicago victory

Toronto at Columbus - Columbus victory

Colorado at Vancouver - Vancouver victory

New England at D.C. United - D.C. United victory

Dallas at Houston - Houston victory

RSL at SKC - RSL victory

L.A. at Chivas - Draw

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