The race to the Supporters' Shield will go through Kansas City.
Sporting Kansas City, is the lone unbeaten club in Major League Soccer after six weeks of play. Peter Vermes' side downed Real Salt Lake over the weekend in the battle of the league's top two sides. The perfect 6-0-0 start to the season gives Sporting the inside track to the league's Supporters' Shield.
Week 6 saw three games end in comeback fashion while one got rained out. After the dust settled on a bunch of 1-0 and 2-1 results, things seem a bit clearer at the top and bottom of the table.
Impressive. That is the word that comes to mind when you look at this Sporting KC squad. Vermes has finally gotten his team where he wants it. A speedy, hungry team that doesn't stop defending for 90 minutes. If you look at this team from a year ago, the foundation was there. They stumbled out of the gate in 2011 due to the many road games but toward the end of the season, the defense came around and the offense began to shine. Once Vermes worked out the mental errors that hurt this team late in games last year, things took off.
To start out any season undefeated for a few games is always impressive. Judging how Sporting has beaten teams is also equally impressive. They are no longer losing games late like they were in 2011 - just the exact opposite - with a couple late game-winners already this season, you can never really count this team out of any game.
The wealth of the attack is getting spread around more this season as well. Kei Kamara leads the way with guys like C.J. Sapong, Graham Zusi and even a couple defenders like Aurelien Collin scoring goals as well. They spread out teams with their pace on the wings but their defense could easily be the most impressive part of this club. Collin, Matt Besler, Chance Myers and Seth Sinovic have been impressive as a group all season long.
Going into the game with Salt Lake, the group had an impressive 245-minute streak during which they had not allowed a shot on goal. You read that correctly, not just a shutout streak but not allowing someone to shoot on their goal. Salt Lake snapped it in stoppage time with a shot that Jimmy Nielsen easily handled.
Quakes give New York all they can handle
TIme to give it up to the San Jose Earthquakes. Many had this club pegged for a long and tough season back in March, but flip to the present day and they are second in the Western Conference and third overall in MLS.
The Quakes gave the high-powered offense of the New York Red Bulls all they could handle on Saturday. A 2-2 draw at Red Bull Arena was impressive given the fact that the Red Bulls entered the game scoring 13 goals in their last three games.
The first half in this one was about as entertaining as it could possibly be. Both teams traded punches as the top duo of the Red Bulls, Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper, got their noses out in front before Chris Wondolowski found the game-tying goal in the 35th minute.
The second half was all San Jose however. On the road, against a tough offensive club, the Quakes buckled down defensively and found their mojo in the midfield to be working. They couldn't find a game-winner but what they did prove was how for real they are this season.
Frank Yallop has to be commended for what he has done with this team. His defense is stronger than ever before, and possibly deeper considering they have a guy in Ike Opara just sitting on the bench. Their midfield is stronger with Shea Salinas and Marvin Chavez and Wondowlowski no longer has to be the only offensive weapon.
Trouble brewing in the Rose City
Ruh-roh. Things are not looking good in Portland. The losing streak for the Portland Timbers has now hit four in a row with the 3-1 loss to the LA Galaxy over the weekend. Kris Boyd is scoring for the Timbers but yet again the defense isn't staying up to the challenge and the Portland midfield is lacking the grit and possession that it needs to make a statement in this league.
Portland has been able to control games at various times this season. Against LA they were dominate for the first 25 minutes but things fell apart once LA got on the board.
LA finally got going thanks to some defensive miscues by the Timbers and some strong play up front with Landon Donovan, Juninho and David Beckham all finding the back of the net. Robbie Keane proved to be a handful as well and in the end the Timbers just had no answers for the Galaxy offense.
Time for some changes in the Rose City if you ask me. Either John Spencer needs to get a little more creative with his lineup choices or someone has to step up defensively to guide this team back to where most expected them to be this season, a playoff contender.
Dallas leaves it late again
For the second week in a row, FC Dallas pulled out a late win over an Eastern Conference side. For 45 minutes neither FC Dallas or the Montreal Impact could really get a hold of the game but it was a penalty call on Dallas that changed the course of the game for both sides.
One thing Dallas is starting to show is that once those three get on the same page, their offense will be just as strong as some of the top teams in the league. Defensively they have things sorted out very well with Ugo Ihemelu and George John leading the way yet again while Zach Loyd has become one of the better fullbacks in MLS.
The six points for FCD over the last two weeks has got them back in the thick of things in the Western Conference.
A couple games this weekend ended very closely. Chivas USA edged Toronto FC 1-0 thanks to a goal by new midfielder Oswaldo Minda. Toronto is now the only club in MLS without a point. Torsten Frings made his return to the Reds lineup but it wasn't enough to elevate Toronto to any points. It may be time to push that panic button in Toronto.
Philadelphia rode a penalty kick by Gabriel Gomez to beat the Columbus Crew 1-0 for their first win of the season. Despite a make-shift back line for Peter Nowak, the Union controlled the tempo of the game and never really gave the Crew that much space to work with in the attack.
D.C. United rode a come back in the second half to get by the New England Revolution 2-1. Jose Moreno scored his first goal for the Revs but goals from Maicon Santos and Chris Pontius gave the Black-and-Red a big three points on the road.