SBI MLS Power Rankings (Week 20)

Stuart Holden 1 (ISIphotos.com) 

                                                                                Photo by ISIphotos.com

The once-struggling Houston Dynamo is back in business with the return of Brian Ching and Stuart Holden reviving an offense that faltered badly without them.

The Dynamo scored four goals in its 4-3 win vs. D.C. United on Saturday, one more goal than Houston scored in the month of July in MLS play (three in four games). Ching and Holden combined for three of Houston's four goals to help the Dynamo extend its lead atop the Western Conference.

Houston still doesn't have the top spot in the SBI MLS Power Rankings. That honor stays with the Columbus Crew, which won its third straight by beating Colorado on Saturday. The three-game winning streak is made even more impressive by the fact that all three wins came without injured MLS MVP Guillermo Barros Schelotto.

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


SBI MLS Power Rankings (Week 20)

1 (Last Week-1).  Columbus Crew (8-3-9)

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Last week- Beat Colorado Rapids, 1-0, last Saturday.

This week-  at San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.

Last Five (in MLS) - 3-0-2 in last five (W-W-W-T-T), unbeaten in last six.

Outlook - Chad Marshall shows that he can score with his feet while the Crew defense shuts down a dangerous Rapids attack.

2 (3). Chicago Fire (8-3-8)

2008_013_2 

Last week- Beat Real Salt Lake, 1-0, last Saturday.

This week- vs. Tigres on Wednesday (SuperLiga final); at Houston on Sunday.

Last Five - 3-0-2 (W-T-W-W-T), four straight shutouts.

Outlook - No Wilman Conde or Cuauhtemoc Blanco? No problem for a deep Fire team that looks to have finally figured out how to win at Toyota Park.

3 (4). Houston Dynamo (10-5-5)

2008_019_2 

Last week- Beat  D.C. United, 4-3, last Saturday

This week- at FC Dallas on Thursday, vs. Chicago Fire on Sunday.

Last Five - 2-2-1 (W-L-T-L-W)

Outlook - With Ching and Holden back, the Dynamo stand poised to run away with the West. A tough pair of games this week will test Houston's defense that hasn't posted a shutout in a month.

4 (6). Los Angeles Galaxy (6-3-10)

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Last week- Lost to FC Barcelona, 2-1, last Saturday.

This week-  at New England Revolution on Saturday.

Last Five - 4-0-1 (T-W-W-W-W)

Outlook - With Landon Donovan and David Beckham on form, the Galaxy can solidify its playoff positioning with a win in New England, but LA needs goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts back ASAP.


5 (2). Seattle Sounders (7-4-8)

Seattle Sounders FC - JPEG      

Last week- Lost to San Jose Earthquakes, 4-0, last Sunday.

This week- vs. FC Barcelona tonight (friendly);  at Real Salt Lake on Saturday.

Last Five - 2-1-2 (L-T-W-W-T), winless in seven straight on the road (0-3-4).

Outlook - Sounders drop yet another road game and have a troubling 0-3-3 record on grass this season. A visit to Rio Tinto Stadium looms large as a loss to Real Salt Lake could put Seattle's playoff bid on shaky ground.

6 (5). DC United (6-4-10)

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Last week- Tied Luis Angel Firpo, 1-1, on July 30 (CONCACAF Champions League); Lost to Houston, 4-3, last Saturday; tied Luis Angel Firpo, 1-1, last Tuesday.

This week- vs. Real Madrid on Sunday (friendly).

Last Five - 1-2-2 (L-T-W-T-L) 

Outlook - Winning Champions League series is impressive, but one has to wonder whether qualifying for the group stage could ultimately hurt DC United's MLS playoff prospects.


7 (7). Colorado Rapids (7-6-6)

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Last week- Lost to Columbus Crew, 1-0, last Saturday.

This week-  vs. Chivas USA on Saturday.

Last Five - 2-3 (L-W-L-W-L)

Outlook - Ugo Ihemelu's red card didn't cost the Rapids the loss vs. Columbus, but it sure didn't help. If Conor Casey can return from his groin injury, Colorado will have a good chance of knocking off Chivas USA and creating some distance in the West standings.

8 (8). Chivas USA (8-6-3)

2008_014 

Last week- bye

This week- vs. Colorado Rapids on Saturday.

Last Five – 1-4 (L-L-L-L-W)

Outlook – Will the time off help Preki figure out what happened to the Goats' early-season form? The better question is can Dan Kennedy fill in well for injured starter Zach Thornton?



9 (9). Real Salt Lake (6-8-5)

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Last week- Lost to Chicago Fire, 1-0, last Saturday.

This week-  vs. Seattle Sounders on Saturday.

Last Five - 2-2-1 (L-W-L-T-W).

Outlook - Can RSL keep Seattle's road woes going? Salt Lake's defense has been better, but the attack needs to find some consistency.

10 (11). New England Revolution (6-5-6)

NE Revs  

Last week- vs. Toronto FC on Saturday.

This week-  vs. Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday.

Last Five -  2-1-2 in last five (T-W-W-T-L), unbeaten in four.

Outlook - The Revs are the forgotten team in MLS these days, but they are slowly awakening and have games in hand on the rest of the playoff field.

11 (10). Toronto FC (7-7-6)

2008_026 

Last week- Lost to Puerto Rico Islanders, 1-0, last Wednesday (CONCACAF Champions League); tied New England Revolution, 1-1, on Saturday.

This week- at Puerto Rico Islanders tonight (CONCACAF Champions League); vs. Real Madrid on Friday (friendly).

Last Five - 1-2-2 (T-L-T-W-L)

Outlook - With Champions League over, TFC can now focus on its first MLS playoff spot. You still have to worry about why Toronto couldn't manage one goal in two games vs. Puerto Rico.

12 (13). FC Dallas (5-9-5)

2008_018 

Last week- Beat Kansas City Wizards, 6-0, last Saturday.

This week-  vs. Houston Dynamo on Thursday.

Last Five - 2-2-1 (W-L-L-W-T)

Outlook - Jeff Cunningham's four-goal barrage was impressive, but goals will be tougher to come by against Geoff Cameron and Houston.

13 (12). Kansas City Wizards (5-7-6)

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Last week- Lost to FC Dallas last Saturday.

This week-  Bye

Last Five - 1-2-2 (L-T-T-L-W)

Outlook - Curt Onalfo is out, Peter Vermes is in and he has two weeks to organizing a team capable of making a playoff run.


14 (14). San Jose Earthquakes (4-10-5)

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Last week- Beat Seattle Sounders, 4-0, last Sunday.

This week-  vs. Columbus Crew on Saturday.

Last Five - 1-2-2 (W-T-L-L-T)

Outlook - You could see the upset of Seattle coming after San Jose's stirring comeback vs. DC United. So are the Earthquakes for real? We'll find out when the champs come to town.


15 (15). New York Red Bulls (2-15-4)

Red_bulls_logo

Last week- Tied W Connection, 2-2, on Thursday (CONCACAF Champions League); Bye in MLS

This week- vs. W Connection on Wednesday (CONCACAF Champions League).

Last Five - 0-5 (L-L-L-L-L), winless in 12 straight.

Outlook - Dead team walking in MLS, Red Bulls can find some new life if they can beat W Connection tonight and qualify for the Champions League group stage.

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

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20 Responses to SBI MLS Power Rankings (Week 20)

  1. EDB says:

    Sounders have a friendly with Barcelona today too ives ;)

  2. Jason says:

    Good job. Though I have two nits, or maybe three.

    1) Seattle too high. Home heavy schedule so far, only 4 home games left, and haven’t won on grass the whole year. And that’s #4?

    2) Sorry, LA is number 4 easily. 4-0-1 in last five, and LD and Becks back in the fold.

    3) NE too low. But only just.

    (SBI- You’re right about LA. I meant to move them up but forgot to. They’re No. 4 now. Seattle is No. 5, as bas as they’ve been on the road they’ve been dominant at home so they’ll stay there for now.)

  3. Colin says:

    LA definitely needs Ricketts back, but Saunders has been absolutely AMAZING (by recent LA goalkeeping standards) as a backup this year…

    Seattle will drop back down to earth after they go through some more road games. I see them BARELY making the playoffs, which is still a great feat for an expansion team.

  4. DantheMan says:

    You have to give New England more credit here Ives. They have 2 or 3 games in hand to all these teams, and with at least 2 wins, they are right in the thick of the race in the east. AND they have been doing this with basically a B team.

    (SBI-Yes, the Revs have games in hand, but they still have to make the most of those games. You don’t get credit for results you haven’t recorded yet.)

  5. Cary says:

    If houston beats chicago, Houston should get the nod at number one. That is my 2 cents.

  6. Trent says:

    I’m very proud of the Crew this year. The only thing with the Crew though, they have never had their projected starting lineup all healthy at the same time all year. Many times this season, the Crew have had to go onto the field with 6-7 starters. It will be interesting to see what can happen when and if they can finally put out their starting lineup. It seems like the backups have played more games than the starters.

  7. Rodolfo says:

    Blanco told Televisa he’ll be starting today (or at least getting some minutes).

  8. DantheMan says:

    Ives, you’ll see the Revs coming along. They’re certainly not one of the best teams out there right now, but with a team mostly made out of minimum waged players they’re doing well.

  9. Galaxian says:

    Very proud of my Gals. Am crossing my fingers that we dont collapse like last year but i dont see it since we have Bruce Arena and also Donovan Ricketts. GO GALAXY!!!!!

  10. socrates says:

    Revs have some games in hand, but don’t expect much from them. They are still getting Joseph back to full health. They have basically been unable to score without Joseph & Ralston both being healthy, which has not happened much. The rest of their squad is pretty weak, especially their forwards and wide midfielders.

  11. Byron says:

    Dynamo are top of the MLS standings despite missing several players to the Gold Cup, Confederations Cup and injury and land at number three? Great rankings guys….

    (SBI- Houston’s having a great year, but they’re not the only team doing well. They had a rough July and will have every chance to reclaim the ground they lost because of that. For now though, Columbus is rolling and so is Chicago.)

  12. Chrös says:

    I would love to see the Galaxy take home the MLS Cup, just to put a twist in everything. For the first time since Beckham arrived, the Galaxy finally looks like a good team.

    With the two most high profile players in the league surrounded by former USMNT guys like Eddie Lewis and Gregg Berhalter, T&T international Chris Birchall, top rookie Omar Gonzalez, not to mention big-name MLS guys like Alecko Eskandarian and Chris Klien, the Galaxy finally have the look of a bigger club in this league. Kind of.

  13. Jason says:

    Big picture, I see:

    1) An elite 3.5. Houston, Chicago, and Columbus. All have had injuries and callups to deal with, and they are all atop the heap.

    LA may be surging away from the chasing pack to join them with Becks and LD back.

    Then I see a pack of 7 teams chasing, with Seattle and DC potentially the best of the bunch. Colorado has been missing most/part of its offense for two months due to callups, and Chivas is in a skid and hans’t played in forever. NE has the games in hand, and RSL is great at home, but awful on the road. TFC has the offensive talent, but poor D.

    FCD and SJ moved up into KC’s league with wins, but these three are clearly adrift of playoff contention, but could still get in it with a run.

    NY is toast.

  14. soccerroo says:

    I guess I can see that Chicago and the crew are improving but If Houston win and Tie this week then they are the Number team. If they lose to Chicago and beat FCD then I can understand them staying where they are but that is the only way I think they are not #1 next week.

  15. Leonardo says:

    Sounders need Hurtado badly. 4-0 thrashing by the Quakes without Hurtado. atrocious. maybe this will prove to everyone how valuable Hurtado is in the back. best in the league, but wow did that D fall apart when he wasn’t there!

  16. Chris says:

    Kennedy won’t be playing for injured Thornton this Saturday as he is on the DL and will remain there for some time. The Goats have no choice but to start 3rd stringer Lance Parker… or sign Conway.

  17. jamin barnes says:

    LA can win it all.

  18. madmax says:

    Sounders have a large patch of road games. I look for them to just barely make play-offs, but only if Ljungberg stays healthy.

  19. Jeter says:

    I’m glad to see at least a few positive remarks for the boys in Orange (Dynamo).

    I’ve was biting my fingernails in anticipation of when Ching, Holden & Hannault would be back from Gold Cup & National duty. Also, waiting the return of injured players, Weaver, Kamara, Mullen, Mulrooney and Robinson. Houston was without SEVERAL starters for 8 straight road games are still in the number one spot.

    Now, with all this, they’re still not in first place on your little power ranking poll???

  20. theRick says:

    Columbus….Chicago….Houston….it seems the difference may be explained by the ability to win without their regulars always available. Columbus and Chicago seem to do alright in that category. By contrast, Houston had a bit of a stumble.