SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 28

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                                                                  Photo by ISIphotos.com

Look what team has shown up and crashed the party for title contenders. None other than Chivas USA.

Last year’s Western Conference regular season champions struggled through most of this year with injuries and the departure of Brad Guzan, but suddenly things have started to come together for the Goats. Alecko Eskandarian is looking like the player who starred for D.C. United before injuries ravaged him and Sacha Kljestan is proving why many consider him one of the best midfielders in MLS and a worthy U.S. national team starter.

The Goats have won four of five and have gone from potential playoff team to playoff lock, which is saying something in an otherwise messy playoff race that has eight teams vying for three playoff spots.

While Chivas USA is on the rise, two teams on the decline are the New York Red Bulls and D.C. United. The Eastern Conference rivals have both hit the skids, with D.C.’s season looking downright awful after the club hoisted the U.S. Open Cup this summer. With Marcelo Gallardo out for the year and the squad looking lost, it could very well be an early vacation for D.C. for the first time since Ray Hudson was stalking the sidelines.

Here is how this week’s SBI MLS Power Rankings shook out:

MLS Power Rankings

1 (Last week-1). Columbus Crew (16-6-5)

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Last Week:  Beat Los Angeles, 1-0, on Saturday.

This Week: at Chicago on Sunday.

Last Five MLS Games: 4-0-1

Outlook: Columbus is on a 7-0-1 run and looking pretty unbeatable right now. With Guillermo Barros Schelotto back, the Crew will be looking to keep the run going into the playoffs.

2 (2). Houston Dynamo (11-5-10)

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Last Week: Tied UNAM Pumas, 4-4, last Tuesday (CONCACAF Champions League), Beat Colorado, 3-1, last Saturday.

This Week: vs. San Francisco FC on Tuesday (CONCACAF), vs. D.C. United on Sunday.

Last Five MLS Games: 3-0-2

Outlook: The champions are looking like a champion again and still have an outside chance of catching Columbus for the Supporter’s Shield.

3 (5). Chivas USA (11-10-6)

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Last Week:  Beat D.C. United, 3-0, last Saturday.

This Week: at San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.

aLast Five MLS Games: 4-1

Outlook: With Alecko Eskandarian looking like his old productive self again, and DeJair looking like an impact player, the Goats are suddenly looking like a worthy challenger to Houston in the West. We will see how for real Chivas USA is when it takes on a desperate San Jose team on Saturday.

4 (3). New England Revolution (12-8-7)

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Last Week: Tied Real Salt Lake, 2-2, on Saturday.

This Week: at Kansas City Wizards on Saturday.

Last Five MLS Games: 1-2-2

Outlook: The Revs showed great life in fighting back from two goals down against RSL, but the club’s inability to find consistently good form is troubling as we move closer to the post-season.

5 (4). Chicago Fire (12-9-6)

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Last Week: tied Kansas City, 1-1, on Sunday.

This Week: vs. Columbus Crew on Saturday.

Last Five MLS Games: 2-2-1

Outlook: Chicago is moving along but the offense is an area of concern. Consider that the Fire has managed to score more than one goal in just one of its past eight games.

6 (6). Colorado Rapids (10-13-4)

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Last Week:  Lost to Houston, 3-1, on Saturday.

This Week: at Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday.

aLast Five MLS Games: 2-2-1

Outlook: Rapids have a dream match-up, facing the Galaxy without Landon Donovan and David Beckham. Missing Conor Casey will hurt but Colorado will have no excuse for not taking three points.

7 (8). FC Dallas (8-9-10)

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Last Week: Beat D.C. United, 3-0, on Sunday

This Week: vs Toronto FC on Saturday.

Last Five MLS Games: 2-1-2

Outlook: The Hoops are on a four-match unbeaten streak and now face a gift of a match against a Toronto FC squad that will be ravaged by national-team call-ups.

8 (7). San Jose Earthquakes (7-10-9)

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Last Week: Tied FC Dallas, 1-1, last Thursday.

This Week: vs. Chivas USA on Saturday.

Last Five MLS Games: 2-1-2

Outlook: Earthquakes have to feel robbed after a dubious late penalty cost them a win against FC Dallas. Now comes a crucial match against a red-hot Chivas USA squad.

9 (10). Real Salt Lake (9-10-8)

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Last Week: Tied New England, 2-2, on Saturday.

This Week: vs. New York Red Bulls on Thursday

Last Five MLS Games: 1-2-2

Outlook: RSL could wind up sorely regretting the two-goal lead it gave away against New England, but now attention shifts to Rio Tinto Stadium, the club’s new home. Real Salt Lake sorely needs a win on Thursday to strengthen its playoff hopes, but the same goes for the Red Bulls.

10 (11). Kansas City Wizards (8-10-9)

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Last Week: Tied the Chicago Fire, 1-1, on Sunday.

This Week: vs. New England on Saturday.

Last Five MLS Games: 2-2-1

Outlook: The Wizards are in desperation mode and face a New England team that hasn’t looked that strong in recent weeks. Can the KC offense show up against a good team for once?

11 (14). Toronto FC (8-12-7)

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Last Week: Beat New York, 3-1, on Saturday.

This Week: at FC Dallas on Saturday.

Last Five MLS Games: 1-2-2

Outlook: TFC has shown some heart in recent weeks (beating the Red Bulls and tying Houston and Columbus), and the win in New York was vital, but winning at Pizza Hut Park minus half the team’s top starters may be too much to ask for.

12 (9). New York Red Bulls (9-10-8)

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Last Week: Lost to Toronto FC, 3-1, on Saturday.

This Week: at Real Salt Lake on Thursday.

Last Five MLS Games: 1-4

Outlook: With Colorado and FC Dallas facing very winnable match-ups, and RSL poised to move past them with a win, the Red Bulls cannot afford to lose on Thursday in Utah. They are out of breaks.

13 (12). Los Angeles Galaxy (7-12-8)

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Last Week: Lost to Columbus, 1-0, last Saturday.

This Week: vs. Colorado on Saturday.

Last Five MLS Games: 1-3-1

Outlook: Another loss and another game on the schedule without Landon Donovan and David Beckham. Will players like Edson Buddle and Eddie Lewis step up and put up a fight against the Rapids?

14 (13). D.C. United (10-14-3)

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Last Week: Lost to Cruz Azul, 1-0, last Wednesday (CONCACAF), lost to Chivas USA, 3-0, last Saturday.

This Week: At Deportivo Saprissa on Thursday (CONCACAF), at Houston on Sunday.

Last Five MLS Games: 0-4-1

Outlook: The Death March is on now. Look for the Dynamo to put another nail in D.C.’s coffin on Saturday.

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Teams 3 through 5 were pretty interchangeable in my book, but the rest of the rankings ar

Share your thoughts on this weekend’s power rankings in the comments section below

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26 Responses to SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 28

  1. eric says:

    Funny how the year started with the East as the dominant conference and the West a joke. Now it’s a race to the bottom with 4 of the bottom 5 from the East. Still, a lot of mediocrity to go around.

  2. ccfc0123 says:

    DC lower than LA???

  3. kpugs says:

    Ah, how swift the fall back to 12 can be.

    ccfc0123: 6 losses in a row for DC Scum, lost 7 of their last 8. Where should they be in the rankings, first? Galaxy are awful but they’ve only lost 2 in a row, and have a win and a draw in their last 6 if I’m not mistaken. Hence why power rankings change every week.

  4. SonicDeathMonkey says:

    Better yet, funny how 4 teams that are currently out of the playoffs are ranked ahead of NYRB.

  5. TCompton says:

    I think we’re passed putting nails in the DC coffin. This week Houston will shuvel a bunch of dirt over the coffin.

    I can’t wait for this season to be over. I think I have to route for Columbus her on out.

  6. Unoriginal Aaron says:

    DC lower than LA? Absolutely.

  7. Lloyd says:

    The Earthquakes are 2-2-1 in the last 5 games

    Also, as a fan I do feel robbed

  8. silent e says:

    Ives, I’m curious how you can say that 2-5 are interchangeable. Sure, Chivas has come on strong but they have yet to look as good as Houston, despite the fact that Houston has dealt with the disruption of a hurricane and now faces midweek games every week for the foreseeable future. Don’t forget that Houston has managed to get valuable road draws (and can feel genuinely disappointed not to have won either) in CONCACAF play despite fielding weakened lineups in an effort to manage the schedule. I don’t think they deserve to be #1 but #2 is theirs with no current challengers.

  9. Ives says:

    Silent E, I meant to write teams three through five. Columbus and Houston are on another level.

    As for the LA ahead of DC ranking. Who in the world would question that? Both teams are collapsing but LA actually beat DC recently and has looked like less of a mess than DC. I think anybody outside of DC would agree with that one.

  10. RK says:

    Before I read this, I was going to joke that DCU should be in last…and there it is.

  11. Ives says:

    Thanks Lloyd, I accidentally included the Seattle friendly loss in my tally.

    And the Red Bulls have dropped in the standings because they have been awful the past month while the teams behind them in the standings who are now ranked ahead of them have been playing well for a while.

  12. KL says:

    Why does Dallas and San Jose switch spots from the previous week? How can a home tie with help from the ref bump FC Dallas above the Quakes? Would that not at least keep them in their respective places for another week?

  13. Thanks for putting together the power rankings all season long. Greatly appreciated. How did it all go wrong for Toronto FC? Wait till next year!

  14. Ives says:

    KL, I didn’t do the rankings last week, so the reality is the bump was based on the past two weeks of results, not just last week’s result.

    I don’t just look at the given week. I look at the past month’s results.

  15. WTF says:

    PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PRAY THAT DC LOOSES NEXT WEEK! lolllll

  16. Brant says:

    “PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PRAY THAT DC LOOSES NEXT WEEK! ”

    Looses what? Their waistbands? The dogs of war? ;)

  17. KL says:

    Thanks Ives. I would agree with the switch based upon the last two weeks. The loss to RSL by the Quakes was just something I would like to forget about.

  18. jspot says:

    DC united Your 2008 Lamar Hunt US open trophy winner…

    highlights from the game that I attended:

    1. L. Crayton quoted in the wash post “this was the worst day of my football career”

    2. Gallardo Injured again…. I saw him on the field and I was blown away that he was out there I was a little wasted trying to run around and start some cheers but yup there he was.

    3.Fred injured, Emilio injured.

    4.Watching a game where Marc Burch did NOT receive a card.

    5.a packed RFK filled by drunk DC 101 fans who left at halftime after their buzz wore off from the festival the aforementioned radio station held in partnership with dc…

    6. Eating veggie chili and drinking woo woo’s at hardtimes to forget about THE WORST SOCCER GAME I HAVE EVER WATCHED…

    to keep with the coffin metaphor, this is gonna take a Beatrix type escape to make it to the playoffs as we are already shot full of rock salt, madder then hell and buried 6 feet under.

    (yeah there’s a great sports metaphor for you come full circle)

  19. f4denz says:

    So how is San Jose who got beat at home by RSL ranked higher than RSL? RSL played the 2nd best team on the road and got a draw, San Jose played Dallas and granted they got robbed but they still got a draw.

  20. Joel says:

    What a shame that the scheduling conflicts with the international matches are likely going to have an effect on who makes the playoffs.

  21. ETucker says:

    DC United and KC have the same problem: their aging Argentine all-stars were not fit to start the league, underestimated the competition, and are battling injury.

    It is amazing that Blanco and Beckham have avoided injury so far – a sign that both have stayed in shape and, after one season, understood how physically demanding MLS is.

    http://www.futfanatico.com

  22. betinho says:

    It’s a travisty that this late in the season – during the palyoff run – teams are losing key players to national team call ups. Something has to be done. As some one who has next zero friends who like soccer (thus the need to vent here on the daily basis), it’s hard to turn my friends on to soccer when, in crunch time, when the game is suppose to be turned up a notch from the dog days of summer, some of the best players are missing. It’s simply rediculous when trying to build a brand and grow the sport. Dumb dumb dumb.

  23. red_renegade says:

    How can RSL be lower than Colorado? Real is ahead on points and got a valuable (though still disappointing) draw on the road while the Rapids were getting pounded at home.

  24. eric says:

    Now Fred is done for the year for DC. Man, what a lousy training staff they have.

  25. Tom P says:

    shame to see DC & Toronto miss out while the Rapids may slip in. As a neutral I would like to see the best fans rewarded.

    It seems to me that Chivas, The Rapids and KC have the weakest fan bases from what you see watching the matches on TV.

  26. Jason says:

    For me:

    Top Tier

    Columbus and Houston are the class of the league.

    Second Tier

    Chicago, NE, and Chivas in any order.

    With some healthy players or a good run of form, could challenge.

    The Pack

    Throw in RSL, KC, COL, SJ, FCD.

    All have shown some signs of life and some fight lately, though only 2 (RSL, COL) currently sit in the playoffs.

    The Suck

    NY, TFC, LA, DC

    Maybe a bit harsh on TFC, who got a huge win last week. NY has the points but look like sh!te and with their schedule (@RSL, Crew, @Fire) will NOT qualify IMHO.

    LA and DC are the worst. I’d put DC last.