SBI MLS Power Rankings (Week 5)

Fredy Montero 2 (ISIphotos.com) 

                                                                               Photo by ISIphotos.com

The Seattle Sounders are learning just how tough MLS can be, while three previously winless teams finally tasted victory.

Those were just some of the storylines from MLS Week Five as New York, Houston and FC Dallas all registered their first victories of the season. Seattle lost its second straight, and failed to score in a second straight match, in losing to Chivas USA. No reason to panic just yet Seattle fans, you simply hit a tough part of your schedule.

Chivas USA removed any doubts about whether it deserves the top spot in the SBI MLS Power Rankings with its thorough victory vs. Seattle this weekend. Preki's newcomers, from Eduardo Lillingston to Bojan Stepanovic and now to Chukwudi Chinjindu, are all contributing and the Goats look very good right now.

Here is how this week's SBI ML Power Rankings shook out:


SBI MLS Power Rankings (Week 5)

1. Chivas USA (4-0-1)

2008_014

Last Week: Beat Seattle Sounders, 2-0, on Saturday.

This Week: at Toronto FC on Wednesday (7:30pm, Direct Kick), vs. FC Dallas on Saturday (Direct Kick, 10:30pm)

Outlook: The Goats are the best team in the league and their newcomers are producing stellar performances. Preki's off-season signings have really come through and suddenly Chivas USA boasts depth and a well-balanced squad. Zach Thornton has quietly put together a strong season to help address one of the team's biggest concerns heading into this season.

2. Chicago Fire (2-0-3)

2008_013_2

Last Week: Tied Kansas City Wizards, 2-2, on Saturday.

This Week: at Columbus Crew on Saturday (7pm, Fox Soccer Channel)

Outlook: The Fire played well enough to run away with Saturday's match vs. KC, but poor finishing cost Chicago, which will be in for a tough test against a rested and health Crew team still searching for its first win.

3. New England Revolution (2-0-2)

NE Revs  

Last Week: Tied D.C. United, 1-1, on Friday.

This Week: at Real Salt Lake on Saturday (9pm, Direct Kick)

Outlook: Losing a lead in the 90th minute is tough to swallow but the Revs still came away with a road point against a tough opponent. Brad Knighton has been a revelation for New England, filling in admirably for injured starter Matt Reis.

4. Seattle Sounders (3-2)

Seattle Sounders FC - JPEG      

Last Week: Lost to Chivas USA, 2-0, on Saturday.

This Week: vs.San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday (10:30pm, Direct Kick).

Outlook: Not having Kasey Keller certainly hurt the Sounders, but Keller's absence isn't why Seattle has failed to score in two straight matches. With defenses paying more and more attention to Fredy Montero, Nate Jaqua is going to have to step up and start taking avantage of the space and opportunities he's being given.

5. Kansas City Wizards (2-2-1)

Kc_wizards_logo

Last Week: Tied Chicago Fire, 2-2, on Saturday.

This Week: vs. New York Red Bulls on Thursday (8pm, ESPN2), at Toronto FC on Sunday (5pm, Direct Kick).

Outlook: Showed tremendous heart in fighting back from two goals down on the road, but the Wizards gave up a ton of chances. Kevin Hartman came through in a big way, as did Josh Wolff, who is playing his best soccer since coming back to MLS. KC will have a chance to show off its depth with two games in four days this week.

6. Real Salt Lake (2-2)

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Last Week: Lost to New York Red Bulls, 2-0, on Saturday.

This Week: vs. New England Revolution on Saturday (9pm, Direct Kick)

Outlook: Came out extremely flat vs. New York and defense just looked incapable of dealing with Macoumba Kandji. Not having Jamison Olave didn't help, but the midfield was outworked, something that doesn't tend to happen to RSL.

7. Colorado Rapids (2-2-1)

2008_015_3 

Last Week: Lost to Houston Dynamo, 1-0, on Saturday.

This Week: vs. Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday (9:30pm, Direct Kick)

Outlook: The Rapids' over-reliance on Conor Casey proved costly as no other Rapids could step up to deliver a goal vs. Houston. Omar Cummings continues to look dangerous at times, but neither he or the Rapids midfield is doing much to instill fear in opposing defenses. Colorado will have a chance to get its attack going against LA, which it has already beaten this year (3-2 on April 4th).

8. D.C. United (1-1-3)

2008_017

Last Week: Tied New England, 1-1, on Friday.

This Week: at New York Red Bulls on Sunday (3pm, Telefutura).

Outlook: The simplest stat to consider is this one: D.C. is unbeaten this season when Ben Olsen plays. Okay, so maybe four games isn't much of a sample size, but it is clear that D.C. plays with more determination and effort when Olsen is on the field. Now if only the attack could finish more of its chances. 

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

Red_bulls_logo

Last Week: Beat Real Salt Lake, 2-0, on Saturday.

This Week: at Kansas City on Thursday (8pm, ESPN2), vs. D.C. United on Sunday (3pm, Telefutura).

Outlook: A complete and thoroughly impressive performance against Real Salt Lake has fans in NY/NJ optimistic again. The Red Bulls squad on Saturday was closer to the full team than we have seen all season, so the victory shouldn't be written off as a fluke. We will see just how far the Red Bulls are with a tough pair of games this week.

10. Houston Dynamo (1-2-2)

2008_019_2 

Last Week: Beat Colorado Rapids, 1-0, on Sunday.

This Week: Bye

Outlook: The Dynamo defense has found its form with two straight shutouts, but the Dynamo attack continues to struggle with creating multiple scoring chances. The bye week should allos Houston to integrate Ade Akinbiyi into the attack.

11. San Jose Earthquakes (1-2-2)

2008_025_2

Last Week: Tied Los Angeles Galaxy, 1-1, on Saturday.

This Week: at Seattle Sounders FC (10:30pm, Direct Kick)

Outlook: The San Jose offense remains inconsistent even as the defense shows signs of improvement. Dropping points at home is becoming a habit for the Earthquakes who will face a Seattle squad eager to snap a two-game losing streak.

12.  Columbus Crew (0-2-3)

2008_016_2

Last Week: Bye

This Week: vs. Chicago Fire on Saturday (7pm, Fox Soccer Channel)

Outlook: The bye week should only help a Crew team that was beginning to show flashes before going on its bye.

13. FC Dallas (1-3-1)

2008_018

Last Week: Beat Toronto FC, 3-2, on Sunday.

This Week: at Chivas USA on Saturday (10:30pm, Direct Kick).

Outlook: The Hoops offense looked extremely dangerous on Sunday, but the defense continues to leak goals. Four points from two games is something to build on, but road trip to face unbeaten Chivas USA could be too tough to handle.

14. Toronto FC (1-2-2)

2008_026

Last Week: Lost to FC Dallas, 3-2, on Saturday.

This Week: vs. Chivas USA on Wednesday (7pm, Direct Kick), vs. Kansas City Wizards on Sunday (5pm, Direct Kick).

Outlook: This might seem like a steep drop but you can't ignore the fact that TFC has failed to win in four straight. Chad Barrett finally found the net, but a suspect TFC defense could doom Toronto to mediocrity thiseason.

15. Los Angeles Galaxy (0-1-3)

2008_021_2

Last Week: Tied San Jose Earthquakes, 1-1, on Saturday.

This Week: at Colorado Rapids on Saturday (9:30pm, Direct Kick).

Outlook: A road draw isn't a terrible reult, but Bruce Arena's men still haven't found a victory this season. Can the Galaxy travel to Colorado and win in what is usually a tough place to play?

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What do you think of this week's rankings? Share your thoughts below.

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36 Responses to SBI MLS Power Rankings (Week 5)

  1. Jeff Parke - American Soccer LEGEND says:

    Seattle has problems in defense. They need to overpay someone in a headband to shore things up back there.

  2. ELAC says:

    Remember when the Goats got clowned by the local media and some other national media-types for not upgrading their roster?

    Well anyways, thanks Ives. Its still a loooooong season. Chivas USA still has a long ways to go.

  3. EDB says:

    I really think Seattle should Sit Nate and start zakuani up top with montero. I think montero can hold the ball up enough that they could use a speedy forward with him.

  4. Chris says:

    RBNY looked better than they have, but I’m not sure I’d jump them up the list quite so much. Having your best 11 all healthy and on the field is actually pretty rare in MLS. More typical is when 2 or more players are injured or suspended.

    We’ll learn more Sunday.

  5. Spike says:

    Hard to take this seriously with the Red Bulls up at 9. Sure does not say much for the league.

  6. JoeW says:

    I think the real reason RBNY fans should be encouraged is not by how the team looked this past week but rather the result against the opponent. RSL looked the best of any MLS team this preseason (from what I could see and read): very consistent, playing at a high level against almost everyone, playing pretty good competition. And they started the season well, looking good or playing tough against everyone. Chivas, Chicago and RSL have probably been the most consistently “good” teams in this short season so far, so a strong result against anyone of them is a very nice barometer.

  7. J says:

    nice job, Ives. just one small request. can you include last week’s rank somewhere, so we can see how the team’s rank changed from the previous week?

  8. Michael Cuello says:

    RBNY has not and will not have its complete lineup until two games from now really; this past week was a glimpse of what the real team should look like and still missing two supposed starters in Celades and Johnson; This team played 3 out of its first 4 games away from home with only one true bad game against Seatle, was this victory a fluke? we’ll see this week!

  9. DC Josh says:

    Ives… Toronto down to 14th and Red Bulls up to 9th? I trust your judgement better than mine.

    The league will be wide open this year and is pretty even across the board, should be an exciting playoff race.

  10. joe k says:

    michael — one true bad game? did you not see that debacle in chicago where rbny had zero chances (okay maybe one weak one) in 75 minutes of 11 on 10 action?

  11. sonicdeathmonkey says:

    Jeff, considering you are already employed by Vancouver, thats not going to happen.

  12. Rekro says:

    Red Bulls are the 9th best team in the league!?!?!?!
    Hey, maybe if they score another goal, they’ll go up a couple more spots…..

  13. kpugs says:

    I’m definitely not optimistic about RBNY yet, but they played really well. At the very least I’m comforted knowing they still have it in them, and pray they can be consistent.

    Rekro…no offense, but you are stupid.

  14. EDB says:

    The fact that NY just scored their first 2 goals of the year, I find it hard to see them at 9. This is a team that couldn’t score on a 10 man team for 75min..

  15. Joamiq says:

    People complaining about the Red Bulls being 9th after one win should note that none of the teams ranked behind them have more. Nor did any of them play as well as NY last weekend.

  16. Tim says:

    i agree 1000% with the drop of TFC down that far…brutal offense.

  17. Modibo says:

    Ives – I think Columbus is “beginning to show flashes” not “beginning to how fashes” no?

    I am dubious of Chicago’s continued no 2 ranking. They were outstanding in the first half vs KC but flat in the second. It’s official: they’re addicted to the tie.

  18. CO_Soccer_FAN says:

    I watched the Chicago game on FSC against KC and I couldn’t believe my eyes. Chicago was the better team until they decided to pack it in at about the 75 minute mark.

    Kudos to Josh Wolff and KC for hanging tough, playing the whole 90 minutes, and walking away from the field with a point.

  19. madmax says:

    Ives, “No reason to panic just yet Seattle fans, you simply hit a tough part of your schedule.”

    Disagree Ives, the Keller brain f@rt can be traced backed directly to two of the three goals they gave up, so when you do the math other than Keller’s blunder, Sounders 1 goal given up in 5 matches.

    The loss of offense can be tied directly to a change of tactics and personnel Sigi imposed beginning at the KC game. TV Color Commentator said he couldn’t understand why Sigi changed the winning attacking formula and neither can I.

    Not a difficult schedule at all,
    One goal allowed.
    Coach goes conservative after three smashing wins.

  20. PCFC says:

    Does profitability lead to terrible play?

    *in reference to LAG, TFC and FCD having the best revenue last year (according to Forbes).

  21. KCB says:

    What’s up with the scheduling this week? a handful of clubs double up but Houston gets the weekend off. And don’t say Houston is off because of the Champions League Final this week, there was no way an MLS club, especially Houston, would have made it through the gauntlet of Mexican clubs. Maybe MLS was being a little overly optimistic there.

  22. Justin O says:

    Thorton has been great, and I wouldn’t say he’s been “quietly” great either!

    And Ives, you say TFC is at risk of “mediocrity” if their defense doesn’t improve. However, I’d say mediocrity would be a signifcant improvement on being ranked 14th!

  23. Aljarov says:

    Defence hasn’t really been Toronto’s #1 issue – it’s coaching. Bad choices in starters, tactics and substitions have strangled us this season.

    Barrett and the other strikers have been very poor.

    And I’ve seen nothing yet to convince me that Frei is both ready to start and better than Sutton. He’s not….not yet.

  24. Skinn says:

    Poor analysis on TFC. Yup, they haven’t looked good in the last 4 and 14th in the PR is probably justified, but defense hasn’t been the problem (despite allowing 3 last night). The problem has been finishing and tactics.

  25. Leonardo says:

    Modibo,

    i think you are having “ho flashes.”

  26. DC Josh says:

    Does profitability lead to terrible play?

    *in reference to LAG, TFC and FCD having the best revenue last year (according to Forbes).

    Posted by: PCFC | April 20, 2009 at 12:48 PM

    ——————

    PCFC that’d make for a great article or debate. It’s very interesting, althought I’d subtract LA because of their star power.

  27. Jon E says:

    LA Galaxy in last place?!!! This just proves what a NJ/NY homer you are!!! LA is awesome. Look at all our new players, and our great scouting, and our kick-ass front office. You’re so wrong– I mean, you’re not totally right– I mean…

    Oh, screw it. We’re not very good. Just… not… good.

    “Bad,” I think is the word.

    Sigh.

  28. Roman says:

    Poor finishing from the Fire? Blanco had a point blank miss, but I think superhuman saves from Hartman are the reason the Fire didn’t finish the game with 4+ goals.

  29. lou says:

    Chris that wasn’t our best XI we were missing johnson which forced us to play Hall out of position at the right back spot, and consequently that was the only side real salt lake could break through from. Celadas was also out of action seriously hindering our potential to spray the ball around. Next match we won’t have hall so we again won’t have our starting XI. If we are that good with two players missing from the starting XI against a very solid team, just imagine what we could be with a full squad.

  30. Jedik says:

    Lou, if you want to play the imagining game, Chivas USA wins the cup this moment. They are 4-0-1, in what could have easily been a 5-0 record. All this while missing 8 players, some of which include Razov, Galindo, and Suarez. If everyone was healthy we should just award them the cup already.

    /sarcasm

  31. Zach says:

    I really like the rankings but i remember last year in the summer NY redbulls were last and guess who played Columbus in MLS Cup 2008 – NY redbulls.

  32. rke says:

    A little too much slack given to Chicago for my taste. They’ve come up short too many times to remain so close to the top.

    I agree with comments that NYRB leap was also a little drastic for their first “consistent” performance. (Hey, anyone can be consistent once in a while.)

    And I agree that Olsen is a huge factor for DCU. On one hand, it’s wonderful to have such an effective, iconic player. On the other hand, they need to find a way to fill the emotional void when he’s not on the pitch.

  33. Dave says:

    A little off topic, but, Ives, if you are reading this, can you let your co-power-rankers at ESPN to never refer to RSL as the “Lakers.” It is offensive.

  34. C-note says:

    I so look forward to reading the power ranking, but as a season ticket holder, I’d feel better about the Fire earning which ever spot they get with a victory.

  35. CrispyST3 says:

    Wowww, Bruce Arena needs to get his head out of his assss, and make sum trips to South America, Central America, and maybe even in the Caribean, i’ve said this before, and i’m serious, LA needs diversity, we are going nowhere with old school US players, thats just not how it goes, you think Barcelona, or Man U, or Liverpool, would where they are at with a team full of their own country’s soccer players, noooooo! Arena needs to wake up and smell the roses, There are other countries than USA, buddy, and maybe a few trips south of Mexico would be ligit, and bring in a promising youngster, maybe at the wings, or outside mids, and a experienced holding mid, Argentina, Brazil, Columbia, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, T&T, any of these countries im pretty sure u can find better players than the ones in LA right now, with the exeption of Donovan, Buddle, Beckham(when he gets back), Ricketts, and thats basically all we have,

  36. Dominghosa says:

    Big jump by RBNY after one win at home.
    Can’t wait for Colin Clark to finally get consistent and be a part of the USMNT pool. The talent is there.