Thiago Martins

First XI: Hot stuff through Week Three

less "we want quality football" bulljive -- from the fans and the media in Chicago than in any other market in the league. Kudos, Peter.

3. Brad Davis. A goal and two assists two weeks ago, all from dead ball situations. No one in the league strikes as nice a ball as Davis. Is there more to his game? That's going to be a big question for the Quakes as this season unfolds. Dominic Kinnear has put a lot on Davis' shoulders.

2. The Crew. A 3-0 win. A 3-0 loss. A 1-0 win against an energy-depleted D.C. team. No team in the league intrigues me as much as the Crew right now. I think the Edson Buddle-Ante Razov tandem has as much potential as any strike pair in the league, but it's also a highly volatile (a.k.a. "streaky") tandem. I'm kind of upset that the Crew-Colorado game will not be on TV this weekend, because I'm anxious to see how the Crew fare in their second road game. As you can tell by so many of these notes, the East is a mess, two good teams in the same conference are likely to miss the playoffs this year. Not sure if we've ever been able to say that before in nine seasons of MLS.

1. Landon Donovan. The best player in the league. The best player in the hemisphere? I hope he can stay hyped up the whole year (tough during a qualifying year), because when he comes to play, he makes the game thrilling like no player in the history of the league. I cannot wait to see this weekend's derby and hope Chivas plays him super tough and brings out the best in him. Heck, I hope every team gets after him. That's what it's all about.

Jeff Bradley is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. Send your comments and complaints (200 words or less, please) to Jeff at and he promises to read (but not respond to) all of them. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author's, and not necessarily those of Major League Soccer or

Stay connected: Get access to breaking news, videos, and analysis from North America's best soccer reporters via "This Week in MLS" newsletter or using our FREE mobile app.