Eastern Conference roundup: May 20
1. New England Revolution— 20 pts. | 5-3 win at Philadelphia Union; Week 12: vs. D.C. United
Four straight victories and back-to-back five goal outbursts have vaulted New England atop the East, and deservedly so. Via the Elias Sports Bureau’s Peter Hirdt, the Revolution became the third-ever team to score five or more goals in consecutive matches, and are impressively doing so with little influence from Designated Players (lone DP Jerry Bengtson has one start in 2014).
2. Sporting Kansas City— 17 pts. | 2-1 loss vs. Philadelphia Union, 2-1 loss vs. Chicago Fire; Week 12: vs. Toronto FC
With Graham Zusi and Matt Besler gone for FIFA World Cup camp, and top defender Aurelien Collin injured, explaining Sporting Kansas City’s loss to Chicago on Sunday is relatively easy. The club was forced to start the promising, but inexperienced 17-year-old Erik Palmer-Brown at centerback in the defeat. Explaining the earlier midweek loss to Philadelphia with a full-strength lineup is a bit tougher.
3. Houston Dynamo — 17 pts. | 1-0 win vs. LA Galaxy; Week 12: at D.C. United, at San Jose Earthquakes
Houston faced questions of how they would score without Brad Davis (away at FIFA World Cup camp). Earlier in the year, the Dynamo was shut-out in three consecutive matches with Davis out due to injury. In eeking out a 1-0 win over LA Galaxy, Houston did well to step up in his absence, prioritizing defense. David Horst continues to shine on this club’s backline.
4. D.C. United — 15 pts. | 1-1 draw vs. Montreal Impact; Week 12: vs. Houston Dynamo, at New England Revolution
It has to be a relief for D.C. United that Eddie Johnson finally opened his account in Black-and-Red. The duo of Johnson and Fabian Espindola has the potential to be one of MLS’ best striker tandems when the two are clicking on all cylinders. A big intra-Conference double-match week awaits this side as they attempt to climb the table.
5. New York Red Bulls — 14 pts. | 2-0 loss at Toronto FC; Week 12: vs. Portland Timbers FC
It’s tough to know what to make of the Red Bulls, who lost for the second straight week, this time in Toronto. Bradley Wright-Phillips will have nightmares over a missed chance from very close that would have tied the match after Jermain Defoe’s early stunner; a miss that was difficult to comprehend given his incredible form of late.
6. Columbus Crew— 13 pts. | 3-3 draw at Portland Timbers FC; Week 12: vs. Chicago Fire
The Crew broke out of its goal-scoring slump in a big way, with Federico Higuain earning MLS Player of the Week honors for his two-goal, one-assist performance—exactly the type of effort the Black & Gold need as they enter Week 12 down three-fourths of their backline.
7. Toronto FC — 12 pts. | 2-0 win vs. New York Red Bulls; Week 12: at Sporting Kansas City
This was the performance Toronto FC needed, a big home result against a team it will likely see itself competing against for a playoff spot down the line. Jermain Defoe’s rocket goal was overshadowed by later highlight-reel efforts from Obafemi Martins, Federico Higuain and Vincent Nogueira, but it was something special. Speaking of that, is this the strongest Goal of the Week field in MLS history?
8. Chicago Fire — 12 pts. | 2-1 win vs. Sporting Kansas City; Week 12: at Columbus Crew
Chicago caught a huge break in facing the defending champions at the perfect time, but credit to the Fire for delivering with a home victory. Two straight wins after a 0-2-6 start has Chicago two points out of playoff position—proof of the parity in the Conference.
9. Philadelphia Union — 11 pts. | 2-1 win at Sporting Kansas City, 5-3 loss vs. New England Revolution; Week 12: at Los Angeles Galaxy
Wednesday’s triumphant road result over Sporting Kansas City was quickly erased by a 5-3 defeat at home to New England. Amobi Okugo has moved back to defensive midfield, a development to keep an eye on as this club searches for both consistent scoring and defense.
10. Montreal Impact — 7 pts. | 1-1 draw at D.C. United; Week 12: at Colorado Rapids
Montreal has the fewest points in MLS at the moment, but it held on for a road draw at D.C. United after Jack McInerney opened the scoring at RFK Stadium. The Impact’s midweek trade for Issey Nakajima-Farran is likely not the only move this club will make as it seeks to rebound from its slow start.