The New York Red Bulls look like they are beginning to get into a groove. Compared to 2015, this year is a bit of more of the same, just it happened in March-April instead of May-June.
The Red Bulls are the dark red line in the chart below. They came out of preseason at #4, then dropped to #17 in less than two months, going scoreless in five of their first six games. However, RBNY looks to be rebounding, unbeaten in their last three while scoring eight in that span, climbing into 9th. Even though they have a league-worst six losses, they are sitting in the East's last playoff spot. Oh, MLS...
Other storylines are beginning to emerge:
Biggest jump - Colorado Rapids: Started in 20th, slowly rising to 15th by Week 6 (record of 3-2-1), then added Jermaine Jones to the mix and have skyrocketed to 2nd (3-0-1 in that time). Similar to Jones' first (half) season with the New England Revolution.
Biggest fall - Columbus Crew: Started in 3rd. Plummeted to 19 in six weeks. Looked to start recovering over two weeks, then fell back to 19th. Locker room looks to be fractured. Rumors of Kei Kamara transfers. Not good for the defending Eastern Conference champs.
Biggest wow (team) - LA Galaxy. Goal differential for LA Galaxy: +12. Goal differential rest of the league: -12. Goal differential for all Eastern teams in a playoff spot: +5. Goal differential for all Western teams in a playoff spot (besides LA): +1. Yes... Wow.
Biggest wow (player) - Sacha Kljestan. From a fantasy perspective, Kljestan scored 27 points his first six games this season (1g, 1a). The wow? He's scored 44 in his last four (1g, 5a). 44! Even redhot rookie Jordan Morris, who has 4 goals and 1 assist in his last four games, only scored 32 points in that same span. And Jermaine Jones (3g, 2a) has scored only 35 points in the four games he's played this season. Kljestan has been all over the field, gathering bonus points like they are falling from the sky. He didn't find this form until Week 17 last year. Good to see he's off to an earlier start this season.
As Mark Fishkin pointed out, the Red Bulls' next few opponents are just shy of average overall...
Record of #RBNY's next five opponents: 14-16-15— Mark Fishkin (@MarkFishkin) May 9, 2016
... they can get into last year's form before Copa America starts. Let's hope that continues against D.C. United on Friday night.