MLS Power Rankings through Week 4/5 – Rapid(s) Advance

Beginning this year not many expected the Colorado Rapids to be a team to beat; I think that viewpoint needs to change; at least for now.

  • In offering that, there’s another view here as well; it’s simply too early and there are too many unknowns to put any stock in any team performance statistics.
  • That’s a worthy view but it should be noted that after five weeks last year – of the top ten teams in the CPWP Index, only New York City and Real Salt Lake failed to make the playoffs.
  • Of the top four teams, after Week 5 in the Western Conference (F.C. Dallas, Vancouver, Portland, and Seattle) all four were in the top six.
  • And the top Eastern Conference team, after Week 5, was New York Red Bulls, who won the Supporter’s Shield.
  • If that isn’t enough to convince you, after five weeks in 2014, L.A. Galaxy were third best and they won the Championship while Seattle, who were fifth best won the Supporter’s Shield.
  • Only New England showed poorly in early 2014.  And it’s likely their move up the Index was about Jermaine Jones – who wasn’t even with the Revolution at that time.
  • Meaning – it’s early – but it’s not too early to spot potential trends.

So who are the top five teams after week five this year?

MLS CPWP Index Week 4-5 Season to Date

So… if you’re thinking about your team making the playoffs this year it’s pretty reasonable that D.C. United, New York Red Bulls, Seattle Sounders, and the Portland Timbers need to really pick it up – and probably be quick about it!

And if you’re thinking about which of the top ten teams are best positioned to win the Championship or Supporter’s Shield it may be a worthy bet to go with either Colorado, Sporting, Dallas, Columbus, or the Galaxy.

Here’s the four teams Bovada figures to have the worst chance: Chicago, Houston, Colorado, and Philadelphia.  A flutter on Colorado might be a worthy gamble given $100 offered will earn you $5,000 in return.

Here’s how the teams moved in my Index from Week 3 to the end of Week 5:

MLS CPWP Index Week 4-5 Movement Chart from Week 3

 

The biggest movers are Montreal (-6), Columbus (+5), Dallas (+4), with Houston and Toronto both (-4).

  • If you’re a Timbers supporter that 4-1 thumping by Orlando saw Portland drop three places to fourth bottom.
  • The lowest position the Timbers have ever been in the Composite PWP Index.
  • Jorge Villafana, who flew under the radar with much of the press in Portland last year, is now sorely missed by those same writers.
  • Jack Barmby tried his best last weekend, given the pitch and it being his first game, but he struggled with his passing and first touch.
  • A real weakness is not having a suitable replacement for Liam Ridgewell…  AND Jorge Villafana (together).
  • I wonder how much Norberto Paparatto is missed now?  We shouldn’t forget that the Timbers super center-back sub was never on the losing end of a game when he started.
  • Another real weakness is Portland playing in a predictable way – this has been a weakness for Columbus and it’s no secret now to clog the middle against Portland.
  • Why?  Because Lucas Melano has still to develop a killer first touch and teams are keying on Diego Chara and Darlington Nagbe; others may see that differently.

As for Colorado taking the top spot:

  • In looking back at last year it shouldn’t surprise many the defensive side of the Rapids team was pretty good.
  • Through 34 games the Rapids had the sixth best defensive PWP of any team in MLS; this year they sit second best after five weeks.
  • As for Attacking PWP; last year they were worst in MLS – while this year they’re seventh best.
  • In terms of production…
    • After five weeks last year they hadn’t scored a goal – and their defense averaged .50 goals against.
    • This year they are averaging the same .50 goals against but have increased their average goals scored from 0 to .75 over four games.

In closing – Some fun facts:

  • Seattle get their first win and Sporting get their first loss.
  • The average passing accuracy for MLS, to date, is 75.42%
  • 13 red cards have been issued in 42 games this year – that’s almost 1 in every three games.
  • Of those 12 games only one team won with a red card – Sporting K.C.
  • Home teams have taken 75 points while away teams have taken just 39 points.
  • Eastern Conference teams have taken 25 points at home and 23 points on the road.
  • Western Conference tams have taken 50 points at home and just 16 points on the road.

Best, Chris

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