MLS Week 26 Collective Rankings: Harmony Achieved

The Semi-Detached Pundit Collective (SDPC) experienced a little shrinkage this weekend: we’re down to 9 pundits from 12…and Sports Illustrated’s Ryan Hunt is back to skipping deadlines (how does he keep his job?).  Though smaller in number, we are more powerful of brain because we’re moving the teams as one.  It’s as if our collective mind makes them move…

I’ll get into this a bit more after the jump, but one of the more surprising things about this week’s collective take comes with the general agreement on the big jumps – e.g. how a lot most pundits decided on an abrupt move up for Chicago and LA or an abrupt move down for Colorado and Columbus.

As for the mechanics, the usual stuff applies: in parentheses after the current week’s ranking and average, you’ll see the most common ranking for each team (e.g. three #1 votes, which will show below as “#1 X 3”) and the previous week’s ranking and average.

Here are the participants for Week 26’s pool:

Center Holds It (Me)
MLS Underground/American Soccer Daily
My Soccer Blog
Sideline Views (Luis Bueno)
Fox Soccer (Keith Costigan)
ESPN (another collective)
Fullback Files
Tim (the Enchanter)

And…drumroll, please….here are the collective rankings, comments to follow:

1. DC United, 1.0 (#1 X 9; last week, #1, 1.0)
2. Chivas USA, 2.6 (#2 X 6; last week #2, 2.0)
3. Houston Dynamo, 3.0 (#2, 3 and 4 X 3; last week, #3, 3.4)
4. New England Revolution, 3.4 (#3 X 5; last week, #4, 3.6)
5. Chicago Fire, 5.3 (#5 X 6; last week, #7, 6.7)
6. Red Bull New York, 5.8 (#5 X 6; last week, #5, 5.4)
7. FC Dallas, 7.2 (#7 X 5; last week, #6, 6.4)
8. Kansas City Wizards, 8.0 (#8 X 4; last week, #8, 7.5)
9. Los Angeles Galaxy, 9.2 (#10 X 4; last week, #11, 11.7)
10. Columbus Crew, 10.3 (#11 X 5; last week, #9, 9.0)
11. Real Salt Lake, 10.6 (#9 and 12 X 3; last week, #11, 10.8)
12. Colorado Rapids, 11.6 (#10 X 8; last week, #10, 10.6)
13. Toronto FC, 13.0 (#13 X 9; last week, #13, 12.9)

– May as well start with the obvious: DC is #1 and TFC is #13.  The Top Four held their order and KC stayed at a desperate #8.  After that, all hell broke loose.

– With all the changes, I’m actually going to parse these numbers team by team, but, as noted at the top, there’s something pretty eerie about pundits separately choosing this week to suddenly dub Chicago the best of the second-tier teams.  Crazy coincidences of this sort abound and, to me, they suggest a kind of solidifying of perceptions.  A couple of these may not hold – say, KC in the #8 spot, Columbus outside the playoffs, etc. – but it’s worth pointing out a lot of people thought they will when compiling their rankings.

Moving on, now, to a team-by-team parsing of the SDPC data.

DC United: No other place, but #1 will do.  Easy call.

Chivas USA: Still #2, but definitely on the watch list and poised to drop…I know I dropped ‘em, along with a couple others.

Houston Dynamo: Ranked #2, 3, and 4 three times each, Houston looks like the team no one can peg.  What felt like an eternity off combined with a win over a sinking Dallas club left everyone waiting on the future.  Says here another win plus another indifferent performance out of Chivas and the Dynamo leap-frogs in the rankings.

New England Revolution: A very modest improvement befitting a very modest performance against Colorado.

Chicago Fire: Here we get to the half-weird synchronicity of the collective mind: three consecutive ties won’t usually provoke a jump from #7 to #5.  Judging by recent rankings, the shock will be nearly universal if Chicago misses the post-season.

Red Bull New York: If an anomaly exists in the rankings, it’s with Red Bull.  They didn’t suffer much for last weekend’s draw to RSL (much like they won’t suffer much tonight when they draw at TFC), but with the playoff-bound teams slumping and the disqualified teams surging, who to rank above them?  Something else, however, is equally clear: no one really rates this bunch.

FC Dallas: Dallas’ descent has been steep, but steady.  The only thing saving this once-proud team from a lowly #8 (and they did drop that low on a couple pundits’ rankings) are sneaking suspicions that KC may yet miss the post-season.

KC Wizards: What happens this weekend if KC loses – as they look like they might – and the teams chasing them all win?  Apparently, that’s what the SDPC wants to know.  And this can happen due to the match-ups on offer: Chicago might beat a Cup-hungover New England, while the Crew might finally put one past a shaken-up FC Dallas.  That would draw Chicago level and put the Crew within two.  If no one rates Red Bull, they all rate KC – poorly.

LA Galaxy: This week’s big movers, without question.  Everyone bumped these guys up; they even had a few #8 rankings.  I’m guessing Houston will stop them, but this says a lot about the lower-bracketed teams; apart from Chicago, I don’t think the Top Four have cause for anxiety.

Columbus Crew: In spite of how close they are, the SDPC has all but written off the Crew.  And it’s hard to blame ‘em given the FCD-like funk.

Real Salt Lake: After Houston, views on RSL show the greatest divide; what else does an equal number of #9 and #12 votes say?  LA’s surge combined with Columbus’ stagger slips the former best-of-the-worst to a mediocre #11.

Colorado Rapids: Merrily ticking their way down the rankings – from #9 in week 24, to #10 in Week 25, to #12 this week – the Rapids may yet pass Toronto before season’s end.  Perhaps it’s the sense that 1) Toronto might do something about their problems, unlike Colorado who can’t shake Fernando Clavijo, and, 2) when the Rapids actually do something, it’s usually an awful idea quite possibly motivated by keeping Clavijo.  Add in Toronto’s still-existing ability to draw fans and this isn’t far-fetched.

Toronto FC: Then again, last week’s slightly better 12.9 average rankings dropped to #13 across the board this week.

3 Responses

  1. […] makes me find Red Bull New York’s loss to lowly Toronto FC so funny (from yesterday’s collective rankings): “[Red Bull] didn’t suffer much for last weekend’s draw to RSL (much like they won’t […]

  2. […] I’ll then roll them into this week’s collective rankings (which will look a lot like last week’s – only Dallas should be a little higher, KC a little lower, […]

  3. O6Noyi comment5 ,

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