Week 1 Power Rankings: Setting the Stage
Sunday's season opener against the Portland Timbers provided a range of emotions over the 90 minutes of intense back-and-forth action. You can of course chime in below with your own comments, but this might be a clear indication of what a lot of fans were feeling (in abbreviated form):
YES! NO! YES! YES AGAIN! (halftime) NO! NO! PLEASE GO WIDE! Phew.
OK, so admittedly that was the Cliff Notes version of a soccer match. Odds are you watched it for yourself, and if not you've undoubtedly seen the highlights by now. There were ups, there were downs, but in the end there was a point salvaged on the road in the first match of the season; a match that was played in front of one of the most raucous home crowds in MLS.
Watch: Espindola Opens RBNY Account
It's hard to label Sunday's outing as a complete success (that would be associated with three points instead of one), but you can't necessarily call it a failure either.
Fact is, the Red Bulls are laying the ground work for the road ahead. Players are still learning one anothers tendencies and developing chemistry. And as the old saying goes - and stop me if you've heard this one before - it's not how you start, but how you finish.
If you want a recent indicator of that, look no further than two teams on opposite ends of the spectrum last season. Sporting KC fired out of the gate with a stellar seven straight wins over March and April, before bowing out of the postseason in the Conference Semifinals. The LA Galaxy started off the first month of the season 1-3-1, and we know how that one ended.
Rest assured the Red Bulls aren't brushing off Sunday's performance. They know there's work to be done, and it will be interesting to see how the team bounces back Sunday when they head out west yet again for a 10pm ET kick against the San Jose Earthquakes (Watch on ESPN2).
Now, let's take a look at some (very) early-season power rankings:
MLSSoccer.com has the Red Bulls placed 11th overall, one spot above the Timbers:
"What team do we rank: the ruthless, energetic side that punished every mistake Portland made in the first 30 minutes, or the listless, confused one that spent the final hour chasing the game before coughing up two points? It's pretty clear New York, for all their talent, have a ton of work to do building chemistry on both sides of the ball."
That's also the same place where New York debuted in the ESPNFC rankings:
"Fabian Espindola opened his account with two goals against Portland, but New York's inability to manage the game's tempo in the second half ultimately cost it two points."
Sports Illustrated slotted the Red Bulls at the seventh spot, suggesting any match up between New York and Portland is far from conventional (editor's note: isn't it a shame these sides only meet once a year?).
We'll have some more power rankings to work with next week, hopefully ones that reflect a bump for New York after a strong outing in San Jose. Until then, what's your take on this week's rankings?