Photo by David Bernal/ISIphotos.com
After a one-week hiatus, the Los Angeles Galaxy are back on top.
FC Dallas' loss at Real Salt Lake coupled with the Galaxy's victory over the Chicago Fire propelled Landon Donovan & Co. back to No. 1 in SBI's latest MLS Power Rankings.
D.C. United made its return to the Top 10 after an impressive victory at rival New York, while the San Jose Earthquakes took a bit of a tumble after being held scoreless in two games last week.
Here are this week's SBI MLS Power Rankings (as voted on by SBI staff):
SBI MLS POWER RANKINGS (WEEK 17)
1. (Last Week — 2) LOS ANGELES GALAXY (10-2-9, 39 points)
Last week: Beat Chicago, 2-1, on Saturday.
This week: Idle.
Outlook: It was quite the week for David Beckham, who had a hand in both Galaxy goals, welcomed a new daughter to his family and earned an All-Star First XI nod. Now he gets to face one of his former teams, as the Galaxy take a break from MLS to host Real Madrid Saturday night.
T-2. (3) SEATTLE SOUNDERS (9-4-8, 35 points)
Last week: Beat Portland, 3-2, on Sunday.
This week: vs. Colorado, 4 p.m., Saturday, Fox Soccer Channel.
Outlook: The Sounders are on a roll, unbeaten in their last eight matches after a statement victory at rival Portland. More importantly, Fredy Montero scored twice and appears to be figuring things out after a slow start to the season. Seattle hosts Colorado this weekend, but it looks like Brian Mullan will escape the venom of Sounders fans after coach Gary Smith indicated it's unlikely that he'd make the trip.
T-2. (4) REAL SALT LAKE (8-3-6, 30 points)
Last week: Beat FC Dallas, 2-0, on Saturday.
This week: at Vancouver, 4 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: RSL turned to its stout defense (12 goals conceded, 17 games) to stifle FC Dallas and managed to do so even without Nat Borchers (suspended). The two teams meet again in U.S. Open Cup play Tuesday night, but Alvaro Saborio won't be part of the traveling crew after throwing a bit of a tantrum when he was subbed off Saturday night.
4. (1) FC DALLAS (10-5-4, 34 points)
Last week: Lost to Real Salt Lake, 2-0, on Saturday.
This week: vs. D.C. United, 9 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: After a week in the top spot, FC Dallas came back to earth with a loss at Rio Tinto Stadium. Dallas had a golden chance to equalize against RSL when the game was still in the balance, but Jackson's effort at the goal mouth wasn't hit with full power, and Chris Wingert cleared the danger to keep FCD scoreless. Both Jackson (three games) and Brek Shea (four) had their goal-scoring streaks snapped.
5. (5) PHILADELPHIA UNION (7-4-7, 28 points)
Last week: Tied San Jose, 0-0, on Saturday.
This week: at New England, 7 p.m., Sunday.
Outlook: In the first game after the surprising Jordan Harvey trade and with Carlos Valdes not making the trip to California, the Union's defense did just fine in keeping San Jose off the scoreboard. Despite the team's attack remaining inconsistent, the Union is tied for first in the Eastern Conference with two games in hand on New York.
6. (6) NEW YORK RED BULLS (6-4-10, 28 points)
Last week: Beat Toronto FC, 5-0, on Wednesday; Lost to D.C. United, 1-0, on Saturday.
This week: at Chivas USA, 10:30 p.m., Saturday, Galavision.
Outlook: After thrashing Toronto FC in one of the more complete performances of the season, New York was stifled by D.C. United and had salt thrown into the wounds when Dwayne De Rosario scored the game-winning goal less than two weeks after the teams made their blockbuster deal. Joel Lindpere's strong season continues, but Luke Rodgers has reportedly been ruled out for the Red Bulls' upcoming game with an injury.
7. (8) COLUMBUS CREW (7-5-6, 27 points)
Last week: Beat Vancouver, 1-0, on Wednesday.
This week: vs. San Jose, 7:30 p.m., Saturday
Outlook: Jeff Cunningham tied the league's all-time goal-scoring mark (133) in dramatic fashion, netting a late winner that yielded the Crew three points. Columbus gets to host a team that's had trouble finding the back of the net lately but must be wary of former Crew striker Steven Lenhart, who has been a streaky finisher with his new club.
8. (10) COLORADO RAPIDS (6-5-9, 27 points)
Last week: Tied Sporting Kansas City, 1-1, on Wednesday; Beat Vancouver, 2-1, on Saturday.
This week: at Seattle, 4 p.m., Saturday, Fox Soccer Channel.
Outlook: With their win Saturday night, Colorado snapped a seven-game home winless streak. Conor Casey scored for the sixth time in seven games, and it remains to be seen if Smith will opt to start the trio of Casey, Omar Cummings and Caleb Folan up top again to apply pressure to a Seattle defense that should be without the injured Jhon Kennedy Hurtado.
9. (7) SPORTING KANSAS CITY (5-6-7, 22 points)
Last week: Tied Colorado, 1-1, on Wednesday; Tied Chivas USA, 1-1, on Saturday.
This week: at Houston, 8:30 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: Sporting KC's unbeaten streak stands at 10 now after consecutive 1-1 draws. Omar Bravo's last-gasp header against Chivas kept the streak alive and also kept SKC unbeaten at Livestrong Sporting Park. After this weekend's game at Houston, SKC's following nine games are at home.
10. (12) D.C. UNITED (5-5-7, 22 points)
Last week: Beat New York, 1-0, on Saturday.
This week: at FC Dallas, 9 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: The De Rosario deal certainly is showing some decent early returns. His goal against New York represented a big moment for D.C., which already has as many points as it did all of last season. Perhaps more notable, though, is that the defense managed to hold a lead and finish off the game, something that had been an issue as of late.
11. (11) HOUSTON DYNAMO (5-6-8, 23 points)
Last week: Beat Toronto FC, 2-0, on Saturday.
This week: vs. Sporting Kansas City, 8:30 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: The Dynamo continue to hang around near the top of the Eastern Conference table, and their next game is a good opportunity to distance itself from a close competitor. With the summer transfer window set to open and the Dynamo lurking, keep an eye on Houston to make some noise in the upcoming weeks.
12. (14) CHIVAS USA (5-7-7, 22 points)
Last week: Beat San Jose, 2-0, on Wednesday; Tied Sporting Kansas City, 1-1, on Saturday.
This week: vs. New York, 10:30 p.m., Saturday, Galavision.
Outlook: Nick LaBrocca scored in both games to continue his outstanding first half of the season, and Dan Kennedy likely should have had two shutouts, but the Goats had to settle for four points instead of six. Even so, Chivas is firmly in the postseason picture but will need to protect its own turf when the Red Bulls come to town.
13. (9) SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (5-6-7, 22 points)
Last week: Lost to Chivas USA, 2-0, on Wednesday; Tied Philadelphia, 0-0, on Saturday.
This week: at Columbus, 7:30 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: Where's the offense? The Earthquakes haven't scored in four of their last five games, and that's with Chris Wondolowski back in the lineup. Columbus' defensive unit is one of the stingier ones in the league, but San Jose put three goals on the Crew in their meeting earlier this season and will be looking for a repeat performance.
14. (13) CHICAGO FIRE (2-5-12, 18 points)
Last week: Lost to Los Angeles, 2-1, on Saturday.
This week: vs. Portland, 8:30 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: The Fire's eight-game unbeaten streak (seven of them being ties) was snapped at the Home Depot Center, and Chicago finds itself in the same position as its upcoming opponent — needing a win. The Fire are lucky that skilled attacker Patrick Nyarko didn't suffer a serious injury after a tackle from L.A.'s Chris Birchall and will look to use their speed against the Timbers.
15. (16) PORTLAND TIMBERS (5-9-3, 18 points)
Last week: Lost to Seattle, 3-2, on Sunday.
This week: at Chicago, 8:30 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: The Timbers took a punch to the gut after Osvaldo Alonso's late penalty snapped a would-be draw and put the Sounders in the Cascadia Cup driver's seat. Centerback Eric Brunner won't be available for Portland's match against Chicago, a team that it beat in the Jeld-Wen Field opener earlier this season.
16. (17) NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (3-8-7, 16 points)
Last week: Idle.
This week: vs. Philadelphia, 7 p.m., Sunday.
Outlook: The week off provided a chance for the Revolution to catch their breath after a poor spell. In order to turn the corner, the Revs will look to put forth a strong performance against Manchester United on Wednesday night before hosting the conference-leading Union over the weekend.
17. (15) TORONTO FC (3-9-9, 18 points)
Last week: Lost to New York, 5-0, on Wednesday; Lost to Houston, 2-0, on Saturday.
This week: Idle.
Outlook: All of the optimism surrounding TFC fell by the wayside after a nightmare week on the road. The mid-week match against New York was one of the poorest efforts shown by an MLS team this season, and the club lacked a finishing touch against the Dynamo. Torsten Frings and Danny Koevermans can't suit up soon enough.
18. (18) VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (2-10-8, 14 points)
Last week: Lost to Columbus, 1-0, on Wednesday; Lost to Colorado, 2-1, on Saturday.
This week: vs. Real Salt Lake, 4 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: The Whitecaps keep slip-sliding down the Western Conference standings, but help is rumored to be on the way with a major player signing Tuesday afternoon. But with the team in the league's cellar and a match with Real Salt Lake on tap, is it too late for anybody to come in and help?