SBI MLS Power Rankings (Week 10)

RalstonBrennan (ISIphotos.com)

                                                        Photo by ISIphotos.com

The lead pack in Major League Soccer is taking shape and this week's results set up a pair of big-time match-ups for next week.

Chivas USA remains the top team in the MLS Power Rankings despite its tie vs. Kansas City, but will be tested for that spot by surging Chicago, which moves up to No. 2 with a second straight victory. The conference leaders will square off on Thursday on ESPN2.

Another intra-conference clash sure to be worth watching is Houston-TFC, two teams that posted impressive victories this weekend. Amado Guevara is playing amazingly, having earned MLS Player of the Week honors for his two-goal effort. Houston battered San Jose early and often to post another victory.

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


SBI MLS Power Rankings (Week 10)

1 (Last week- 1). Chivas USA (7-1-3)

2008_014

Last Week: Tied Kansas City Wizards, 1-1, on Saturday.

This Week: vs. Chicago Fire on Thursday (10:30pm, ESPN2).

Outlook: Playing on the extremely narrow field at Kansas City didn't help Chivas USA any, but the Goats still should have found a way to beat a nine-man Wizards squad. The ultimate match-up against unbeaten Chicago awaits on Thursday.

2 (3). Chicago Fire (4-0-6)

2008_013_2

Last Week: Beat New York Red Bulls, 1-0, on Sunday

This Week: at Chivas USA on Thursday (10:30pm, ESPN2); vs. FC Dallas on Sunday (Telefutura).

Outlook: The Fire has put the defensive lapses of the early season in the past and is looking more like the stingy defensive squad we remembered from last season. Chris Rolfe's game-winning goal should keep him in the starting lineup while Wilman Conde has a Defender of the Year look to him.

3 (2). D.C. United (3-1-7)

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Last Week: Beat the New York Red Bulls, 5-3 (U.S. Open Cup); tied Real Salt Lake, 0-0, on Saturday.

This Week: at New England Revolution on Saturday (7:30pm, Direct Kick)

Outlook: Smoked the Red Bulls at midweek, but delivered a snoozer against RSL. Tom Soehn's decision to play the veterans and bench Chris Pontius and Rodney Wallace was a curious one that might have cost his team two points.

4 (5). Houston Dynamo (4-2-3)

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Last Week: Beat San Jose Earthquakes, 3-1, on Saturday

This Week: vs. Toronto FC on Saturday (8:30pm, Direct Kick)

Outlook: Two goals in the first twelve minutes finished San Jose off before the game even got started. If Brad Davis can start delivering service like that on a regular basis then the Dynamo attack just might have the ingredient its been missing.

5 (7). Toronto FC (4-3-4)

2008_026 

Last Week: Beat New England Revolution, 3-1, last Saturday.

This Week: at Houston Dynamo on Saturday (8:30pm, Direct Kick).

Outlook: Amado Guevara is, dare I say, looking like a serious MVP candidate these days. The recent form of Guevara and DeRosario almost makes up for the terrible finishing of Toronto's forwards. Almost.

6 (4). Seattle Sounders (4-2-4)

Seattle Sounders FC - JPEG      

Last Week: Tied Colorado Rapids, 2-2, last Saturday.

This Week: vs. Columbus Crew on Saturday (10:3pm, FSC)

Outlook: A tie in Colorado is a good result but one win in seven matches does not a championship contender make. Fredy Montero scoring a goal is big for the Sounders, who now face Sigi Schmid's former team in what should be an exciting clash. It will be interesting to see how the Sounders do if they are forced to play without Osvaldo Alonso, who left the Colorado match with an injury.

7 (6). Colorado Rapids (3-2-4)

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Last Week: Tied Seattle Sounders, 2-2, on Saturday.

This Week: at New York Red Bulls on Saturday (7:30pm, MSG)

Outlook: With Colin Clark in good form, the Rapids attacking trio of Clark-Casey-Cummings is proving a handful for anybody. They'll get a chance to halt their road woes against struggling New York, which is a tougher opponent than people realize.

8 (8). Kansas City Wizards (4-4-3)

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Last Week: Tied Chivas USA, 1-1, on Saturday.

This Week: at Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday (10:30pm, Direct Kick)

Outlook: Claudio Lopez's stunning free kick was memorable, but losing two players to red cards was forgettable (and a bad job by the referee). Now the Wizards must face Los Angeles without leading scorer Josh Wolff and Santiago Hirsig. KC will struggle to score without Wolff against a Galaxy team that has mastered the "art" of keeping games ugly and low-scoring.

9 (9). Real Salt Lake (3-5-2)

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Last Week: Tied D.C. United, 0-0, on Saturday.

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

Outlook: It wasn't a road win, but Real Salt Lake can walk away from its tie vs. D.C. confident in its play. RSL had the better chances and more chances in what was a pretty ugly game. All that said, Real Salt Lake isn't winning many road games with its 4-5-1 formation. Then again, San Jose is up next and the Earthquakes look incapable of beating anybody.

10 (10). New England Revolution (2-3-4)

NE Revs  

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

This Week: vs. D.C. United on Saturday (7:30pm, Direct Kick)

Outlook: While Shalrie Joseph might be scoring some goals at his new position of forward, you have to wonder what his absence in midfield is doing to the Revolution. With D.C. United up next, Steve Nicol might have no choice but to play Joseph and Ralston in more traditional roles, or risk having his midfield dominated.

11 (11).  Columbus Crew (1-2-6)

2008_016_2

Last Week: Bye week

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

Outlook: Another week for the Crew to recover and get healthy. Up next is a suddenly-struggling Seattle squad that hasn't looked quite as invincible at home in recent games. With the pack in the East continuing to rack up points, the Crew are moving toward must-win mode, or at least "Really need to win" mode.

12 (13). Los Angeles Galaxy (1-1-8)

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Last Week: Tied FC Dallas, 1-1, on Saturday.

This Week: vs. Kansas City Wizards on Saturday.

Outlook: When you can't beat a 10-man FC Dallas team just how much can a long unbeaten streak really mean? The Galaxy keep on racking up the ties as Landon Donovan's time to leave for national team duty moves closer. Facing KC without Josh Wolff is fortunate, very fortunate, but may still not be enough to help LA finally win a game.

13 (12). New York Red Bulls (2-6-3)

Red_bulls_logo

Last Week: Lost to D.C. United, 5-2, on Wednesday (U.S. Open Cup); Lost to the Chicago Fire, 1-0, on Sunday.

This Week: vs. Colorado on Saturday (7:30pm, MSG)

Outlook: The Red Bulls played what was probably their second-best game of the year and still came away without a point. Another loss against Colorado on Saturday will make the shouts for Juan Carlos Osorio's job start to ring more loudly.

14 (14). FC Dallas (1-6-3)

2008_018 

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

This Week: at Chicago Fire on Sunday (3pm, Telefutura)

Outlook: Overcame a red card to earn a draw vs. Los Angeles. Losing Bruno Guardo to a knee injury hurts, but not as much as having to face unbeaten Chicago on Sunday.

15 (15). San Jose Earthquakes (1-6-2)

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

This Week: vs. Real Salt Lake on Saturday (10:30pm, Direct Kick)

Outlook: The return of Jason Hernandez wasn't enough to help San Jose's defense stop the bleeding. Two early goals surrendered vs. Houston spelled doom for a team that just doesn't have much reason for optimism these days. Facing an RSL team that is notoriously bad on the road should help, but I can't see San Jose beating anybody these days.

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I will add more observations to this post tonight. For now I'll offer a few:

Kansas City and Colorado are pretty close and I nearly moved KC ahead of the Rapids, but Colorado is playing better than people realize. Now, if the Rapids stumble and KC can upend LA, you'll see a correction.

I moved LA ahead of the Red Bulls, but not because I think they're better. Points are points so you can't ignore the Galaxy's unbeaten streak despite its ties, but the Red Bulls looked significantly better against Chicago than LA looked against a short-handed FC Dallas team.

That's all for now. Share your thoughts on this week's rankings in the comments section below.

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31 Responses to SBI MLS Power Rankings (Week 10)

  1. Jason says:

    Uh, Columbus and San Jose play in midweek, you’ve left the game completely off in terms of the schedule.

  2. Dave Clark says:

    How many MLS teams would pick up a point on the road down four starters?

    Depth was tested, and the Rave Green did fairly well.

  3. Justin O says:

    In fairness, CUSA played a 9-man KC for only the last 10 minutes. And as long as you can put 8 men behind the ball, it’s not that hard to shut out an opponent for 10 minutes.

    And yes, KC had a couple breaks forward, but on balance 8 men behind the ball is how they played.

  4. DC Josh says:

    BRING BACK BREAK-AWAY SHOOTOUTS!!!!!!!!

    just kidding

  5. Nick says:

    “…one win in seven matches does not a championship contender make.”

    Watching Star Wars lately Ives? lol

  6. lou says:

    “Another loss against Colorado on Saturday will make the shouts for Juan Carlos Osorio’s job start to ring more loudly.”

    How much louder do we have to shout. I really wish i could have his job, osorio has probibly the only job were you can continue to lose and make the same mistakes and still get paid.

  7. Matt Mathai says:

    Hey Ives, I don’t think there was anything mysterious about Soehn leaving Pontius and Wallace on the bench. They desperately needed a break. They’ve been getting a ton of minutes.

    The slowness of the vets and the general lack of sharpness (I’ll put it down to fatigue from having played some 6 matches in 20 days) combined with RSL’s bunkering made for a real snoozefest.

  8. Casey C. says:

    “How much louder do we have to shout. I really wish i could have his job, osorio has probibly the only job were you can continue to lose and make the same mistakes and still get paid.”

    Ever heard of FC Dallas?

  9. madmax says:

    A tale of two imports. If Jaun Pablo Angel doesn’t improve his form, NYRB will not challenge for play-offs. And if Freddy Ljungberg becomes the next Claudio Reyna, missing game after game, than Sounders will race to the bottom.

  10. wally says:

    Yeah, so, what’s the deal with Angel. Is there a lingering injury we’re not hearing about? Has he lost a step or three? Just in a short term funk? Please advise.

  11. rudy says:

    Galaxy should definitely be behind NY. That result in Frisco was abominable.

  12. Dave Clark says:

    madmax, what is Seattle’s record in games where Freddie Ljungberg plays less than a half?

  13. Mattoomba says:

    Houston-TFC will be an inter-conference clash. An “intra-conference clash” would be Houston vs a Western Conference opponent or TFC vs an Eastern Conference opponent.

  14. Iammetro says:

    Juan Pablo’s biggest issue is the turf. He seems much better on the road, but thats when Osorio decides to make everyone just play defense.

  15. Michoacano says:

    Ives, the Chivas USA vs Kansas City match ended 1-1 and not 2-2.

    Dave Clark, Chivas USA has been playing with less than 4 regular starters and continue to be on top. That excuse can no longer be used, it’s Preki’s fault.

  16. Dave Clark says:

    Michoacano, I dont’ think that anyone would argue against Chivas.

    Oddly Seattle gets dropped though when they have a draw against the Rapids while down four starters. Because “its a sign” or whatever.

    And the answer about Seattle’s record in matches were Freddie doesn’t/hardly plays?

    2 Wins and 2 Draws with 8 Goals and 3 Against. His absence is obviously the problem.

  17. tim says:

    Dave Clark obviously doesnt watch much MLS, lots of teams often are missing 4 starters and do much better than Seattle.

  18. Dave Clark says:

    Yes, obviously I’m an idiot and a homer, and I certainly haven’t looked at the records of teams when playing without a signifcant amount of starters.

    I’m not the type to look into history, and I’m certainly not the type to be able to back my statements up with facts.

    I’d rather just make stuff up.

  19. bigtfw says:

    So Chicago Drawing all those times makes them a Championship contender and not the Sounders?

    Are you kidding me? Considering Seattle went to Chicago in front of ZERO fans and got a draw they shouldn’t have, got a draw down a man against LA, and got a draw minus there starting mid field.

    I also love how going undefeated there past 4 or 5 games means dropping and Chicago rising.

    Give me a break Ives.

  20. bigtfw says:

    Plus Toronto has more losses then us and we have beat them IN Toronto.

    That is ridiculious

  21. Earthquakes fan says:

    Yeap, pretty sure we have the Supporter’s Shield wrapped up. The rest of the season is basically deciding who we’ll face in the MLS Cup final.

  22. JSquaredNY says:

    I’m calling it right now, Juan Pablo Angel is washed up. There’s no excuse for missing a wide open opportunity from 6 yards out. Heads need to start rolling in NY. A lucky run to the MLS Finals last year isn’t enough…

  23. Ives says:

    Bigfw, I appreciate you being a Sounders fan and all but your argument against Chicago makes no sense. The Fire is undefeated and has won two in a row on the road. Seattle has one win in its last seven. What is your argument exactly?

    I can see you asking about Toronto, but Seattle’s win in Toronto was two months ago. TFC is 3-1-2 in its past six, Seattle is 1-2-4 in its past seven, with the lone win coming against San Jose.

    Seattle has some games coming up against Columbus, Chivas USA and D.C. that should show us if they’re ready to return to that early-season form, or if this current form is closer to Seattle’s true level.

  24. Gary says:

    hey lou, and even if he DOES get fired, he still gets a paycheck until october 2011.

  25. and we wonder why Chivas is in first says:

    KC outplayed Chivas until the fix came in

  26. joe k says:

    jsquared — you’re right that angel had his worst game ever in the MLS this weekend, but i think he’ll come back and play better. everyone has an off day once in a while…

  27. Dave Clark says:

    When putting out rankings are you discussing current form, or expectations for the full season?

    If it is the latter, than shouldn’t the totality of the season, as well as the causes for the current performance be included?

    Let’s say that McBride was going to be out for two matches (call it a family issue, so its clear he will be back for playoffs) and Chicago draws those two. Would they fall in the rankings?

    Also, why do you compare a past 6 for Toronto and a 7 for Seattle?

    Seattle in their last five is 1-2-2

    Toronto in their last five is 2-1-2

    Now TFC has had a significant event (coaching change) so their current form may indicate that the early season was in effect useless. But what are the indicators from the play on the field that Seattle’s early season is useless in judging their final season talent level?

    For people paying attention to the game, it would be the run of Red Cards, and that only 3 matches have had the team fully healty (while certainly Chivas has done the best job in the league dealing with injury).

    I guess I’m asking, does recent form have any relationship whatsoever to the chance that a team wins the upcoming game, or is as useful as form was in baseball in the 80s?

  28. rednow.red4ever says:

    Hey Dave, I got some mathematics for you:

    18 > 16. Suck it.

    P.S. If we lost McBride then we could play nyarko and rolfe at the same time…ooo…it would be sooooo horrible!

  29. Steve T says:

    Dave Clark= Seattle Sounders biggest apologist

    Seriously Dave, your post made absolutely no sense. Between the nonsensical stats and the whining “We’ve gotten red cards, wahhh, we’ve had injuries, wahhh” I did well not to puke after reading that.

    TFC is playing better so deal with it.

  30. madmax says:

    Ives, “Seattle has some games coming up against Columbus, Chivas USA and D.C. that should show us if they’re ready to return to that early-season form, or if this current form is closer to Seattle’s true level.”

    Ives. I agree with you 100% here. Statistics that include the first three games are correct of course but they fail to show direction and form.
    If Seattle gets the same results without Ljungberg as they did in the first three games than the business model of making him the highest paid player is a failure. But since I don’t believe Ljungberg’s absence was the catalyst, the question remains, will Ljungberg miss a ton of minutes like Reyna did with NYRB?

  31. sublicon says:

    Why kid ourselves? Just put the Red Bulls last..