SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 3

Rapids (Getty Images)

There's a Rocky Mountain feel atop the SBI MLS Power Rankings.

After a convincing victory over D.C. United, the Colorado Rapids are off to the best start in club history and have slotted up to No. 2 behind Rocky Mountain rival Real Salt Lake.

The San Jose Earthquakes are also on the rise, taking the No. 5 spot from Philadelphia, which fell a place after a tough loss at Los Angeles.

As for a team taking the biggest tumble, FC Dallas has fallen from its perch in the preseason top five all the way down to 15th after a winless start to the 2011 campaign.

Here are this week's SBI MLS Power Rankings (as voted on by SBI staff):

SBI MLS POWER RANKINGS (WEEK 2)

1. (Last week – 1) REAL SALT LAKE (2-0-0)

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Last week: Idle.

This week: at New England, 7:30 p.m., Saturday.

Outlook: Much depends on the outcome of RSL's CONCACAF Champions League semifinal second leg match with Deportivo Sapissa on Tuesday. Win or lose, Salt Lake could be ripe for the picking after what is sure to be a physical and emotional match on Tuesday. Never doubt the mettle of a tested winner, though.

2. (3) COLORADO RAPIDS (3-0-0)

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Last week: Beat D.C. United, 4-1, on Saturday.

This week: at FC Dallas, 9 p.m., Friday, Fox Soccer Channel

Outlook: The defending champions are off to the best start in club history, and more importantly, they showed yet again that they can be effective if Conor Casey or Omar Cummings can't go. Casey was at less than 100 percent, and Cummings came off the bench upon his return from international duty, leaving new signing Caleb Folan to play the hero against D.C. with two goals. Based on current form, Friday's MLS Cup rematch is going to be pretty one-sided.

3. (2) NEW YORK RED BULLS (1-0-2)

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Last week: Tied Houston, 1-1, on Saturday.

This week: at Philadelphia, 7 p.m, Saturday, ESPN2/ESPN Deportes.

Outlook: The first 45 minutes of the Dwayne De Rosario era were pretty fruitful, with the Red Bulls clicking despite having their new acquisition arrive to Red Bull Arena just hours before contributing an assist on his first touch in the team's draw with Houston. The Red Bulls-Union clash this weekend just got that much more interesting.

4. (2) LOS ANGELES GALAXY (2-1-1)

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Last week: Beat Philadelphia, 1-0, on Saturday.

This week: at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m., Saturday.

Outlook: With Donovan Ricketts back in goal and Omar Gonzalez back in the lineup, the Galaxy reverted to its 2010 stingy ways by holding down a stout Union attack. The Galaxy's much-ballyhooed attack has yet to really get going, but D.C.'s defense will be without Perry Kitchen for the weekend's matchup.

5. (6) SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (1-1-1)

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Last week: Tied Seattle, 2-2, on Saturday.

This week: vs. Toronto FC, 10:30 p.m., Saturday.

Outlook: Well hello Khari Stephenson. The Jamaican midfielder's blast from distance to tie Seattle was one of the major talking points to come out of MLS' Week 3 and might have earned him a permanent spot in the Earthquakes' midfield. San Jose looks primed to build on its successful start as it welcomes lowly TFC to Buck Shaw Stadium.

6. (5) PHILADELPHIA UNION (2-1-0)

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Last week: Lost to Los Angeles, 1-0, on Saturday.

This week: vs. New York, 7 p.m., Saturday, ESPN2/ESPN Deportes.

Outlook: The Union fell for the first time all season but still sits atop the Eastern Conference standings after three matches. Despite having a man advantage over the Galaxy for much of the second half, Philadelphia couldn't crack L.A.'s back line but still managed to hold down the Galaxy attack. A huge early-season encounter with New York awaits on Saturday. It should be quite a scene at PPL Park.

7. (7) NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (1-0-2)

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Last week: Tied Portland, 1-1, on Saturday.

This week: at Vancouver, 10 p.m., Wednesday; vs. Real Salt Lake, 7:30 p.m., Saturday.

Outlook: After taking an early lead, the Revolution has to feel a bit disappointed in yielding a home draw to the Timbers. Stephen McCarthy's first-career goal was impressive, though, and the Revs remain unbeaten on the season. This could be a make-or-break week early in the season, with a cross-country road test at Vancouver followed by a cross-country trip back home to face RSL.

8. (8) CHICAGO FIRE (1-0-1)

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Last week: Idle.

This week: at Seattle, 4 p.m., Saturday.

Outlook: The Fire has to be feeling pretty good after snatching four points in its first two games, moving on in the U.S. Open Cup qualifying tournament and having a bye week to rest up. Uruguayan strikers Diego Chaves and Gaston Puerari are making a necessary immediate impact, Jalil Anibaba is on the way to reaching his rookie potential and Marco Pappa is showing flashes of his good side. Saturday's test at Qwest will be very telling about where this team really stands.

9. (13) VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (1-1-1)

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Last week: Tied Sporting Kansas City, 3-3, on Saturday.

This week: vs. New England, 10 p.m., Wed.; at Houston, 7 p.m., Sunday, Galavision.

Outlook: The Whitecaps valiantly earned a point against Sporting Kansas City and showed that there's plenty of firepower in the team's arsenal even without Eric Hassli and Omar Salgado in the lineup. Nizar Khalfan was superb off the bench, Davide Chiumiento is a difference-maker when healthy and Camilo showed his ability to contribute up top in clutch moments. Two tough matches await this week that will put Vancouver's top-10 ranking to the test.

10. (12) SPORTING KANSAS CITY (1-1-1)

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Last week: Tied Vancouver, 3-3, on Saturday.

This week: Idle.

Outlook: Eight goals scored, eight goals conceded. You can be sure that defense and late-game situations will be stressed heavily by Peter Vermes during the bye week after the team's collapse at Empire Field. That said, SKC's attack is downright frightening, especially with Teal Bunbury fully fit. Not many teams boast a four-pronged attack like SKC's Bunbury-Omar Bravo-Kei Kamara-C.J. Sapong unit.

11. (10) D.C. UNITED (1-2-0)

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Last week: Lost to Colorado, 4-1, on Sunday.

This week: vs. Los Angeles Galaxy, 7:30 p.m., Saturday.

Outlook: It would've been asking a lot for a short-handed D.C. side to go into Colorado and come away with a result, but United can't feel good about its overall effort, letting Folan manhandle the makeshift backline in a lopsided result. After such a promising start to the season, D.C. needs to dig deep to find a result against L.A. after consecutive losses.

T-12. (11) SEATTLE SOUNDERS (0-2-2)

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Last week: Tied San Jose, 2-2, on Saturday.

This week: vs. Chicago, 4 p.m., Saturday.

Outlook: Without Fredy Montero available, Seattle did well to earn a point at San Jose, although the Sounders twice blew one-goal leads. Steve Zakuani is rounding into form, though, and the worries about the team's ability to score goals have subsided for the time being. After going four games without a win, the Sounders need a home result against the Fire to save some face.

T-12. (15) COLUMBUS CREW (1-1-1)

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Last week: Beat FC Dallas, 2-0, on Friday.

This week: at Chivas USA, 10:30 p.m., Saturday.

Outlook: It took almost three full games, but the Crew finally scored in the run of play. Eddie Gaven's smooth finished put FC Dallas away, clinched the Crew's first victory of the season and provided a sense of relief and joy in a locker room that needed it.

14. (14) HOUSTON DYNAMO (0-1-2)

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Last week: Tied New York, 1-1, on Saturday.

This week: vs. Vancouver, 7 p.m., Sunday, Galavision.

Outlook: Credit the Dynamo and its resolve for answering Dane Richards' goal off De Rosario's assist pretty quickly, but there has to be a sense of concern that A) Brian Ching was forced out of another match because of an injury and B) Tally Hall had to save the day yet again. Hall has been a revelation in goal, but the Dynamo had better tighten up its defensive shape against Vancouver's surprisingly sharp attack. Then again, road points at Seattle and New York are nothing to scoff at.

15. (9) FC DALLAS (0-2-1)

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Last week: Lost to Columbus, 2-0, on Friday.

This week: vs. Colorado, 9 p.m., Friday.

Outlook: It's not panic time in Big D just yet, but can someone teach FCD some discipline? Two red cards in three games is not a recipe for success. Neither is constantly shifting the starting lineup and players' roles. Once FCD settles into a rhythm, the defending MLS Cup runners up should be OK, and there's enough talent on that team to find results. David Ferreira needs some help in central midfield, though, and he hasn't been getting it. Paging Eric Alexander.

16. (16) TORONTO FC (1-1-1)

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

This week: at San Jose, 10:30 p.m., Saturday.

Outlook: Give the Reds some credit for battling back from an early deficit while dealing with the hangover of the De Rosario trade. Alan Gordon scored against his old club, and Maicon Santos should've done the same, or at least passed to Alen Stevanovic, in a moment that could've brought TFC a victory. Match No. 2 in the post-De Rosario era won't be easy, especially considering how tough the Earthquakes have been playing recently.

17. (17) CHIVAS USA (0-2-1)

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Last week: Tied Toronto FC, 1-1, on Saturday.

This week: vs. Columbus, 10:30 p.m., Saturday.

Outlook: Considering TFC's situation in the aftermath of the De Rosario deal, more should've been expected from Chivas this week. Road points are nice, but that draw with Toronto was a very winable match. Justin Braun going up against Chad Marshall should be one of the weekend's more intriguing personal battles.

18. (18) PORTLAND TIMBERS (0-2-1)

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Last week: Tied New England, 1-1, on Saturday.

This week: Idle.

Outlook: Kudos to the Timbers for securing the first MLS point in team history. Jeremy Hall and Jack Jewsbury combined for a solid goal and a strong response after the team fell behind midway through the first half to give Portland something to build off going into a bye week.

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30 Responses to SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 3

  1. prizby says:

    if tfc beat san jose on the road, how far up would they move?

  2. abc says:

    Next time ask a more realistic hypothetical question.

  3. gcowie@hbms.ca says:

    Ok, when TFC crushes San Jose on the road again, how far up will they move? :)

  4. Kevin says:

    I’ve been pretty impressed with SJ so far. To be fair, at the very least they should have taken a point away from their opener with RSL, if not all three.

  5. fenel1 says:

    Looks like Colorado winning the MLS Cup last year wasn’t a fluke after all.

  6. zacalie says:

    Too premature to make that statement. They’ve played a cupcake schedule thus far — Portland at home, Chivas away, DCU at home. They have looked good in winning games that they SHOULD win. Now if they win these next two at FCD and at RSL, I’ll be convinced.

  7. RB says:

    Not too early to make that statement. He didn’t say they would clearly repeat, just that last year wasn’t a fluke.

    Now, too early for a lot of people to come to grips with last year not being a fluke? Probably so, yeah…

  8. Sjquakes408 says:

    Hahaha! Dream on! Quakes are smash tfc!

  9. sk in denver says:

    Folan looks like a beast and has great feet, if he gets enough games I could see him with 12+ goals,

  10. Fred says:

    Too high for NE and Philly, too low for Houston, Dallas, and Seattle IMO

  11. Phil says:

    NYRB and LAG beat out a team with a better record = Smack. Just saying.

  12. nam says:

    East coast bias (Ives forgot Houston was in the Eastern conference) ;)

  13. Beckster says:

    Just happy to see DCU mid-pack….after last year, I can once again open the ratings up!

  14. acj says:

    How does San Jose draw at home against the 11th ranked team and move up a spot, and the 11th ranked team draws on the road against the 6th ranked team and move down? Not that I’m complaining about the overall rank. They’re as high as even I could put them as a fan given that they’ve only gotten two points through four matches.

  15. Brit says:

    Could we maybe get the point total next to the teams’ records?

  16. Frank Garrett says:

    The New England Bunkers stink…

  17. MLSER says:

    your power ranking makes no sense…How can Vancouver, Columbus, Kansas City, all move up dramatically, but Toronto stay stagnant? They have the exact same record. Then there’s Seattle…2 points in 4 matches!!! Nuff’ said!

  18. 20 says:

    You named three teams without a win.. what have they done to deserve a higher spot

  19. 20 says:

    agreed Toronto deserves to be higher. Switch Toronto and Seattle then the rankings will be spot on.

    -Not a TFC fan

  20. zacalie says:

    I saw what he said. What I am saying is that beating the league bottom feeders doesn’t prove that Colorado is clearly better than their record last year would indicate(their regular season record being the reason that people think the MLS Cup win was a fluke, correct?). I clearly remember that RSL’s cup win was written off as a fluke when they started 2-2-1 last year. Then they proved over the course of last season that they were, in fact, a team on the rise.

    Colorado may be just like RSL — hitting their stride at the right time last year and continuing to rise this year. All I’m saying is that it is too soon to make a judgment call either way, given that the season has just started and they haven’ t played a strong team yet.

  21. Martha c says:

    1 win and 2 ties against easy teams and you have NJ Metro Bulls third?
    Your such a homer sometimes Ives.

    You should go by they actual play on the field (nothing special) and not their Xbox rankings

  22. RB says:

    Well sorry but I don’t think you did read it, then. You’re (still) talking about what kind of team they will be this season and going forward. He’s talking about what happened at the end of last season.

    But whatever — it’s all just going to boil down to definitions, in the end…

  23. Soncho says:

    SJ is ranked so high cuz they had to come from behind to tie SSFC?

  24. Zacalie says:

    Nope. He’s validating what happened last season by what’s happening now.

  25. abc says:

    I guess Charlie Sheen was right about winning…

  26. A wise man once says:

    Ives, thanks for getting these out so much sooner than MLS!

  27. Rico says:

    NE and DCU need to be moved lower. FCD gets this ranking only because of Hyndeman’s unnecessary lineup changes. I’m not sure why he is straying so far from last season’s late formula.

  28. The Dream says:

    I’m excited to see what KC does this year if they get their defensive act together…still too early to make any big judgements though.

  29. RB says:

    Like I said… :-)

  30. Disco Stu says:

    “This could be a make-or-break week early in the season, with a cross-country road test at Vancouver followed by a cross-country trip back home to face RSL.”

    nothing makes or breaks an MLS team this early in the season