SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week Five

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What a weekend.

MLS fans were treated to goals galore and some pretty tightly-contested matches this weekend. From Chicago and New England scoring second-half game-winners to Columbus holding on for its own 1-0 victory, there was plenty of drama in the last weekend in April.

There were blowouts too, including the highly-entertaining romp by Los Angeles against Chivas USA. You also had D.C. United exacting revenge against Real Salt Lake by posting a 4-1 victory just two weeks after being pummeled, 4-0, by the same team.

The most impressive aspect of the weekend may have been how the Eastern Conference dominated the West. East teams swept the intra-conference battles 5-0, outscoring their West counterparts 12-2 in the process. For those keeping track at home, the East now boasts an 11-3-2 edge against the West this year.

That domination is reflected in the latest SBI MLS Power Rankings, where East teams occupy seven of the top eight spots. Only FC Dallas was able to crack the top eight.

Here are this week’s MLS Power Rankings:

SBI MLS Power Rankings

1. (Last week- 3) Columbus Crew (4-1)

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Led by Wil Hesmer’s heroics in goal, the Crew registered a third straight win to remain unbeaten at home this year.

2. (6) Toronto FC (3-2)

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Amado Guevara’s brace and another stellar performance by the TFC defense has fans in Toronto going crazy.

3. ( 4) Chicago Fire (3-1-1)

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John Thorrington scores two to help Chicago post another win and to stake his claim to the right wing role.

4. (5) New England Revolution (3-2-1)

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Despite being severely shorthanded, the Revs went on the road and handed FC Dallas its first loss.

5. (2) FC Dallas (2-1-2)

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Hoops should have been able to handle a short-handed Revs squad but their offense failed to show up.

6. (1) Kansas City Wizards (3-2-1)

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Defensive miscues were costly, but the sputtering offense ultimately cost the Wizards vs. Toronto.

7. (7) New York Red Bulls (2-1-1)

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Posting a win without Juan Pablo Angel is an accomplishment, stopping Toronto’s winning streak on Thursday would be a bigger one.

8. (14) D.C. United (2-3)

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Look who finally decided to wake up? D.C. flexed its muscle and could be poised to climb the standings.

9. (12) Los Angeles Galaxy (2-2-1)

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Landon Donovan is playing out of his mind right now, but the real stunner in the 5-2 blowout of Chivas USA was the performance by much-maligned forward Alan Gordon.

10. (8)  Colorado Rapids (2-3)

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Should have come away with a point in Chicago, but shaky defense surrendered a late game-winner.

11. (9) Real Salt Lake (1-3-1)

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What a difference a week makes. RSL had no answers for D.C., but Los Angeles should provide an easier test.

12. (10) Chivas USA (1-3-1)

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The Chivas USA defense is officially a mess. When Alan Gordon drops a brace and assist on you, it’s time to re-evaluate things.

13. (13) San Jose Earthquakes (1-3)

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Peguero Jean-Philippe showed some signs, but San Jose showed that as goes Ronnie O’Brien, so goes the Earthquakes offense.

14. (11) Houston Dynamo (0-2-3)

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The bad news is the defending champions still haven’t won a game. The good news is that they play in the woeful Western Conference.

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I’m sure LA and Colorado fans will argue that their teams deserve to be ahead of D.C. I don’t see it, not after seeing D.C. dismantle Real Salt Lake. Yes, the Galaxy crushed Chivas USA, but that defense is still extremely shaky. I suppose you could flip-flop D.C. and L.A., I just chose not to.

Columbus deserves the top spot, there’s little debate there, but I’m sure some Fire fans will argue about not being ranked second. In my opinion, Toronto has played the best soccer in the league the past two weeks and it’s pretty clear to anybody that this isn’t the same TFC team that started the season.

Houston fans, I readily admit that there’s no way the Dynamo is the worst team in MLS. That said, the results are what they are and until the Dynamo wins games (or a game) I can’t really justify keeping them ahead of anybody.

That’s all for now. Share your thoughts on the weekend and the rankings in the comments section below.

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34 Responses to SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week Five

  1. Brant says:

    Woohoo! Go Crew!

  2. Fred says:

    The world has been turned upside down.

  3. Unoriginal Aaron says:

    Hopefully as Columbus’ wins climb up, so will the attendance.

  4. William Shakespeare says:

    ….Fair is foul and foul is fair!

  5. Porno Stud says:

    Yeah, as nice as it is to have Amado and Robert feeding balls and creating quality chances (and scoring!!), even nicer to see Toronto’s D giving up very little over their last two games. Sutton has had very little work to do lately, which is nice. With rookie Phelan and James on the bench, Cunningham a last quarter of the game sub and an aparant DP signing later this summer, this improved play (and future) certainly looks more than just a flash in the pan. This team looks pretty legit right now. Unreal what two quality wings can do to a team, huh? And Carl Robinson, wow!! Great game on Saturday.

  6. Reid says:

    I really hope that new stadium helps with attendance, it sucks that being next to a city like ny and the team can only draw those kinds of numbers

  7. Brian says:

    Isn’t Peguero’s name Jean-Phillipe Peguero? I’ve seen it in two stories the other way around (Peguero Jean-Phillipe).

  8. EDB says:

    I don’t really think that was an ugly win. The fire carried play and missed quite a few nice opps for additional goals.

  9. m@ says:

    Dynamo fan here. While I agree with your post script that the Dynamo aren’t the worst team in the league (and I think they’re not even in the bottom half), the results speak for themselves and they deserve the bottom slot. They’re digging themselves a big enough hole that they’ll have to spend the rest of the season acquitting themselves, but that’s not an impossible task in the MLS, particularly in the Western Conf.

    If they keep playing as they have in the middle, the forwards will have enough opportunties that even they can’t avoid the odds of finding the net, and the backs will eventually find their chemistry. Well, maybe not that last part since we still have BoBo starting as centerback.

  10. Spencer says:

    Alright I’m confused about DC’s win. I saw they had 2 pks for their first 2 goals. I can believe one pk could have happened but 2 no way. Not without giving the player a yellow. I think that took the wind out of RSL. Also TFC was profited by a bone head call by the side line ref in him not watching Amado cherry pick from an off side position.

  11. George says:

    I’m not an expert on Dominic Kinnear’s off season moves, but I suspect that Houston didn’t add any real defense help because Bobby Boswell has been shocking. Seriously, has he always been this slow or have I not been paying attention? Its like Boswell’s too slow, Waibel, Barrett, and Robinson are too old and Lanni is too young.

    I know Nate and Joseph left, but D’Ro and Ching have been quiet this season. Clark is quality, but he’s a holding midfielder and can’t give them that many goals.

    Caraccio currently doesn’t impressive me and I hope Kinnear see’s an upside because I don’t think the flashes of talent and skill he’s shown merit a starting position

  12. smorebs says:

    Spencer,

    If you listen to Arena’s comments on the Replay, he’s actually correct. While Guvara was in an offside position, the linesman was correct to keep his flag down, as a KC defender miss played the ball right to Guvara’s feet. If a defender plays the ball, well or not, Guvara can play the ball from an offside position with out violating the rule.

  13. Spencer says:

    Smorebs,

    I am looking back at the FIFA Laws of the game because I use to referee and needed a refresher right quick. Here is what it says about being offsides. Gaining an advantage by being in that position means playing a ball that rebound to him off a post or the crossbar having been in an offside position or playing a ball that rebounds to him off an opponent having been in an offside position.

    So from this definition I deduct that he was offsides, because it was a deflection and not just a back pass.

  14. smorebs says:

    Spencer,

    I am a referee as well and reviewed the game with a more senior official and we both determined that there was an attempt to play the ball by the KC Defender. The rule does not say that the defender must play the ball well, just that he must initiate contact with the ball, which he did by swiping at it.

  15. Adam says:

    I agree with EDB. The Fire probably had at least 65% of possession, and if it weren’t for some brilliant saves by Bouna, the scoreline would be a lot more lopsided.

  16. ArteEtLabore says:

    Spencer:

    Watch the replay. You are not offside if the opposing team plays the ball to you. KC’s defender tried to clear the ball away, it took a deflection off another KC defender and landed at Guevera’s feet.

  17. Tim K says:

    Interesting. but my question is how is colorado 10??? They played a good game in chicago and Im a chicago fan! They deserve at least to be above DC United who is is more two faced than my last girlfriend!!! other than that wierd to see coloradoa nd Toronto to be up there

  18. TomM says:

    Bill Shakespeare- can I have your autograph? Are you re-incarnated in Jimmy Conrad’s body?

    Ives- I think a guest oped is warranted…

  19. Alex says:

    Toronto isn’t done yet either. I posted earlier that Toronto was upgraded froma Cat.3 Hurricane to a Cat.4 with the signings of Robert, Guevara and Ricketts. Now with Tebily on board and new assistant coach in Luton City’s Chris Cummins and with the recent 3 WINS in a row, this team is just getting started to fire on all cylinders!! GET READY TO WATCH THE BEST FOOTY IN ALL OF MLS IN THE WEEKS TO COME! This hurricane is officially a Cat.5 !!!

  20. Steve says:

    I’m a Fire fan with a dissenting opinion. I think they ultimately deserved to win because the quality of their chances were better and they could have scored a few more but, Colorado outshot them on the night and dominated possession for the majority of the 1st half. You can’t let that happen on your home field.

    Now they’re going to get tested. Road games at NE and DC the next two weeks but I’ve got no beef with where they’re sitting here.

    The East absolutely looks head and sholders above the West right now. We’ll see what it looks like in a few months but teams have now played 20% of their games and its starting to look like the easiest path to MLS Cup will be from fifth place in the East (so you get swapped to the Western bracket).

  21. Steve says:

    I thought you could get prescriptions cheaper in Canada?

    TFC fans need to start using some of those to calm themselves down.

  22. Original Aaron says:

    I think if you inverted spots 7-10 you would have a much more accurate ranking. The Red Bulls simply aren’t that good. They have good coaching, and probably the best strike force in the league, but the rest of the team is mediocre, and their lack of depth is alarming. That, combined with the fact that along with those other teams they only have 2 wins, but their second win was an ugly one which came at home against an expansion side… RBNY is the most overated team in this week’s rankings and should hold the 10 spot IMO. Likewise, the scoresheet for DC United looks much better than the actual game did. Their first 2 goals came from PKs which, although not exactly against the flow of play, were definitely not the inevitable results of relentless pressure. Their performance didn’t convince me that they have woken up yet, and I think they should be #9. The Gals should probably stay where they are (you have to admit that if LD keeps playing this way they may be able to overcome their defensive shortcomings- especially once Fish comes back to take some of the pressure off). I for one am surprised by the strength of their last couple performances, but happy b/c I think MLS really needs the Galaxy to at least be decent in order to not just maintain, but maximize the Beckham momentum. Colorado has been impressive all season, and losing on the road (which is almost a foregone conclusion in MLS this season), especially since it was to one of the strongest teams in the league, hasn’t really done much to dampen my opinion of them- so I would have put them at #7. There’s my 2 cents…

  23. JayDelight says:

    Toronto won at home? Really, who knew winning at home was possible.

    Until, they have solid results on the road putting them at #2 is surprising Ives.

    I think New England and Columbus at this point in the season have shown the best “body” of work. Considering the Revs have done what they have done without Twellman and Noonan.

    In MLS, nothing is proven in home games. In this past weekend, EVERY home team was victorious (6-0).

    For the year, the home teams are 20-8-6 at home. They are winning 58% of the games. Home teams lose only 23.5% of the time.

    Pretty good if you ask me.

    Beat a decent team away from home and that shows me something.

  24. Collin says:

    I don’t feel that a 2-0 loss at one of MLS’s toughest venues constitutes such a drop for KC.

  25. tex says:

    Crazy start to the season but no soccer knowledgeable person really believes it will stay this way.

    Houston, Chivas, DCU & Ne will still be at the top at the end and WE ALL KNOW IT!

  26. Steve says:

    Ives-You’re name is still up on ESPN as a contributor to their weekly power rankings. Is what you post here the same as what you submit to that ‘collective’ effort?

  27. Modibo says:

    I think LA deserves to be higher based on the excitement they’re generating. These rankings aren’t based solely on records – past or present – they’re also about buzz. If that’s a reason for TFC to be #2 (which I think it is frankly ’cause they have to prove it on the field away from BMO) then LA should definitely move up. Donovan has been electrifying to watch, esp when he connects with Beckham. And they won the so-called “super-classico” which is good for at least one extra bump in the standings if you ask me.

    No, I’m not an LA fan just so you know. But goddam I love sweet goals!

  28. TFCRed says:

    Toronto beat LA away from BMO Field and Donovan hit TFC for a brace. Please don’t tell me that they haven’t done anything on the road.

    I know they lost to Columbus and DC on the road, but if you’re not going to rate LA as a decent club for TFC to play on the road then drop LA in the rankings.

  29. Zungazan says:

    Houston and San Jose have only had one home game each. Surely home/away games should be considered in the rankings, no?

    “For those keeping track at home, the East now boasts an 11-3-2 edge against the West this year.”

    Out of those 16 matches, only 5 have been on Western teams’ home soil.

  30. Eugene says:

    Ives,

    I’m a Red Bulls fan, but you have them WAY too high in this ranking considering it took them 79 minutes to score on this year’s expansion team.

  31. Eugene says:

    Reid,

    At the end of last season, the Red Bulls were consistently drawing 20,000+ which is pretty close to what Toronto and LA draw, even though it looks much smaller in Giants Stadium. I believe the reason NY hasn’t hit those attendance numbers yet this season is because the team is playing like crap and their record will soon start to show it (next two games are on the road and the next four games are against in form opponents).

    NY fans are smart enough to demand high-quality performances. Until the team stops playing like bullshit, I know I won’t be giving them my money. And I don’t think I’m the only fan who feels this way.

    Collin,

    Toronto is THE toughest venue in MLS. With a skilled, well-balanced team, depth on the bench and their 12th man in the stands, this team is on a role to do some serious damage. Every other team in MLS should be taking note right now.

    Jay,

    Amigo, Toronto played it’s road games before they picked up Guevara, Ricketts, Laurent Robert and Tebily. Picking up Guevara was the catalyst for them to become dangerous, it was evident right from his first game when they beat LA on the road 3-2 in front of 20,000 LA fans. Having Edu and Robinson behind Guevara frees him up from any defensive responsibilities and having Dichio and Cunningham available in front of him should be frightening to most other MLS teams. And that’s not even touching on the wingers.

  32. Jimmy says:

    Eugene,

    Since a quick google of MLS 2007 attendance did not allow me to find single game figures for last year, we needed to go to the math. NYRB had full season average of 16,530. Backing out the 66,327 for LA, that is an average of 12,973 for the other 14 games. If ‘At the end of last season, the Red Bulls were consistently drawing 20,000+’, one or more of your words makes no sense. If they averaged 20,000 for the last 5 games, they had less than 9,000 for the first 11 non-LA games. I think it is probably safer to say that at teh end of last season the Red Bulls were consistently getting near average MLS attendance. Fitting for an average MLS team.

  33. Eugene says:

    Jimmy, you are wrong. I was there physically and I saw the “official” numbers. I can’t speak to the attendance at the beginning of the season pre the LA game.

    I don’t know where your numbers are wrong and also don’t know if your 16,530 average includes the play-off game in NJ which also drew over 20,000.

    But lets say that the 16,530 is for the 15 regular season home games and we back out 66,327 for the LA game. That leaves 181,623 for the other 14 home games. If the last 4 drew 20,000 each, it means the earlier 10 drew on avg. 10,162/game. So there is nothing contradictory in my statement.

    If 16,530 is the avg. for all 16 games in NJ, doing the same math with 4 games drawing 20,000 each raises the avg. for the other 11 games to 10,741. So again, nothing contradictory.

  34. Eugene says:

    Ok, to finish the debate about NY attendance last season, I found the numbers on MLSnet.com.

    link to web.mlsnet.com

    Just click on the month to see the attendance for each game. I recall the attendance for the NE-NY play-off game in NJ being higher than the stated 14,165 and I wonder if that number was revised downwards, but the “official” numbers are there for everyone to see.

    I guess I was wrong.