SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 29

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Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIphotos.com

The Los Angeles Galaxy have fortified their stay atop the SBI MLS Power Rankings after their league-leading 18th victory, and while they shoot to top their league-record 68 points (set in 1998), the teams behind them continue to jockey for position. 

That could not have been more evident than what happened this past week, with new teams occupying every slot between Nos. 4 and 9 in the latest rankings.  

With FC Dallas on a slide, Sporting Kansas City scooted up to fourth following a crucial win over Eastern Conference competitor Columbus. The Philadelphia Union, which are right on SKC's heels in the conference table and have a game in hand, also moved up after their four-point haul this past week as the playoff race heats up to its highest temperature yet.

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

SBI MLS POWER RANKINGS (WEEK 29)

1. (Last Week — 1) LOS ANGELES GALAXY (18-3-10, 64 points)

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Last week: Beat Real Salt Lake, 2-1, on Saturday. 

This week: vs. New York Red Bulls, 8 p.m., Tuesday, ESPN2.

Outlook: The Galaxy are a win away from putting the finishing touches on their second straight Supporters' Shield after grinding out a come-from-behind result against RSL. If they're to seal the league's top point total at Red Bull Arena, they'll have to rely on their depth. Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane are among those that will not available to Bruce Arena for the match, but as Los Angeles has shown throughout the season, others are more than capable of filling the void.

2. (2) SEATTLE SOUNDERS (16-6-9, 57 points)

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Last week: Beat New England, 2-1, on Saturday.

This week: vs. Philadelphia, Saturday, 10 p.m.

Outlook: The opportunistic Fredy Montero made the Revolution pay for two defensive gaffes, and as a result, Seattle's hot streak is alive and well. The Sounders have turned in perhaps the most impressive calendar year of all MLS teams, reaching the U.S. Open Cup final, pushing the race for the Supporters' Shield down to the final weeks all while clinching a place in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.

3. (3) REAL SALT LAKE (15-10-6, 51 points)

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Last week: Lost to Chicago, 3-0, on Wednesday; Lost to Los Angeles, 2-1, on Saturday.

This week: at Vancouver, 9:30 p.m., Wednesday.

Outlook: On the heels of a five-game winning streak, RSL has now dropped three straight but still appears to be locked in to the third seed in the Western Conference (which unfortunately means an early-playoff encounter with Seattle as opposed to a later meeting between two of the league's top teams. Thanks, playoff system). The match against the Whitecaps is a make-up date for the game that was postponed due to TurfGate at Empire Field ahead of the World Football Challenge.  

4. (5) SPORTING KANSAS CITY (11-9-12, 45 points)

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Last week: Beat Columbus, 2-1, on Wednesday; Tied San Jose, 1-1, on Saturday.

This week: Idle.

Outlook: Sporting KC sits atop the Eastern Conference after a four-point week and one that included a crucial win over Columbus. Teal Bunbury saved the point against the Earthquakes with his clutch finish that was a direct answer to a San Jose goal. With two games remaining and a playoff spot all but clinched, SKC's turnaround from its horrid start to the season is all but complete.

5. (7) PHILADELPHIA UNION (10-7-14, 44 points)

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Last week: Beat D.C. United, 3-2, on Thursday; Tied Chivas USA, 1-1, on Sunday.

This week: at Seattle, 10 p.m., Saturday.

Outlook: Philadelphia made a statement in its victory over hard-charging rival D.C. but couldn't quite hold on to complete what would have been an impressive six-point haul. Sebastien Le Toux's run of form doesn't appear to be going anywhere, and rookie Michael Farfan has really found his bearings for Peter Nowak's squad, which seems safely in the playoffs with three games remaining.

6. (9) COLORADO RAPIDS (11-9-12, 45 points)

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Last week: Beat FC Dallas, 1-0, on Saturday.

This week: Idle.

Outlook: Colorado is back to its winning ways after a five-game winless stretch in league play. Drew Moor came up with the winner against his former team, and now Gary Smith's decision to send reserves to the team's CCL match in El Salvador looks like a stroke of genius after wins in both competitions. Considering Dallas' struggles, Colorado could sneak into the first wildcard slot.

7. (6) HOUSTON DYNAMO (10-9-13, 43 points)

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

This week: Idle. 

Outlook: Houston is in the awkward spot of being on the verge of first place in the conference or missing the postseason altogether, and each scenario could manifest itself in a matter of one result. Letting former Dynamo striker Dominic Oduro find the equalizer in Saturday's draw has to sting a bit, especially considering a win would have given houston some much-needed breathing room with two games to play.

8. (4) FC DALLAS (13-11-7, 46 points)

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

This week: Idle.

Outlook: Make that four straight league games without a goal and four straight losses for fading FCD. The club dropped its MLS Cup rematch against Colorado and has to stew on that result until Oct. 12, when it faces in-form Chicago. That club is likely to be without Marvin Chavez for that game, seeing how he'll be playing for Honduras the day before, meaning that the club's attacking depth, which has been exhausted, will be relied upon once again.

9. (11) COLUMBUS CREW (12-12-8, 44 points)

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Last week: Lost to Sporting Kansas City, 2-1, on Wednesday; Beat D.C. United, 2-1, on Sunday.

This week: Idle.

Outlook: The return of Eddie Gaven came at the right time for Columbus, who got a wonderful game-winner from its star midfielder in a must-have game against United. The mixed results during the week still has the Crew with solid footing among the automatic playoff berths in the Eastern Conference. Columbus is on the road for the final two games this season, but one is at already-eliminated New England.

10. (10) NEW YORK RED BULLS (8-7-16, 40 points)

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

This week: vs. Los Angeles, 8 p.m., Tuesday, ESPN2.

Outlook: The Red Bulls couldn't replicate their 5-0 thrashing of Toronto and had to rely on a late Thierry Henry equalizer to even snatch a point from TFC. Now facing another must-win situation against red-hot Los Angeles, Hans Backe has to be asking himself, "Are we better off without Rafa Marquez in the lineup?" Despite his price tag and resume, most fans and pundits would unequivocally answer, "Yes."

11. (12) PORTLAND TIMBERS (11-13-7, 40 points)

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Last week: Beat Vancouver, 1-0, on Sunday.

This week: Idle.

Outlook: The Timbers' win over rival Vancouver at BC Place kept its playoff hopes alive and well. The remaining schedule is daunting with a home game against Houston followed up by road matches at D.C. and Real Salt Lake. If the last few weeks have shown us anything, though, it's that the Timbers certainly won't be chopped down without a fight.

12. (13) CHICAGO FIRE (7-8-16, 37 points)

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Last week: Beat Real Salt Lake, 3-0, on Wednesday; Tied Houston, 1-1, on Saturday.

This week: Idle.

Outlook: What can you say about the late run by the Fire? After going 6-1-3 in their last 10 games, Chicago is miraculously in position to be a player in the postseason race. If Chicago can come up with a win in the U.S. Open Cup final, there's no telling what the momentum will mean for the club's final games against Dallas, D.C. and Columbus, who have all looked vulnerable as of late.

13. (8) D.C. UNITED (9-10-11, 38 points)

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Last week: Lost to Philadelphia, 3-2, on Thursday; Lost to Columbus, 2-1, on Sunday.

This week: Idle.

Outlook: That sound is the wind slowly being taken out of the D.C. sails following consecutive losses to direct competitors for the postseason. Fortunately for United, all of the other Eastern Conference playoff candidates played to draws over the weekend, so the club is still within striking range, but it missed a glorious opportunity to make a statement and create a larger margin for error. 

14. (14) CHIVAS USA (8-12-12, 36 points)

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Last week: Tied Philadelphia, 1-1, on Sunday.

This week: Idle.

Outlook: Juan Pablo Angel continues his resurgence for Chivas, which remains mathematically alive for the postseason in large part to Angel's goal-scoring ways. His late equalizer against Philadelphia salvaged another point for Chivas, which will look to topple rival Los Angeles in hopes of staying alive down to the final week.

15. (15) SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (6-11-14, 32 points)

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Last week: Tied Sporting Kansas City, 1-1, on Saturday.

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

Outlook: The Earthquakes settled for a 1-1 draw for the third consecutive game after Chris Wondolowski's late goal was cancelled out by an equalizer just seconds later. Wondolowski maintains a shot at repeating as Golden Boot winner, as he trails Dwayne De Rosario by two as the season winds down. 

16. (16) TORONTO FC (6-13-13, 31 points)

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

This week: Idle.

Outlook: The Reds gave the Red Bulls all they could handle, with Danny Koevermans and Torsten frings continuing to look like great assets for next season. Koevermans' seventh goal in his ninth game with the club gave Toronto a deserved lead as the club maintains playing with maximum effort despite being out of the postseason hunt. Defensive stability is an issue the team will undoubtedly address in the offseason.

17. (17) NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (5-14-12, 27 points)

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Last week: Lost to Seattle, 2-1, on Saturday.

This week: vs. San Jose, 7:30 p.m., Saturday.

Outlook: The Revs have nobody to blame but themselves for giving away three points to Montero and the Sounders and officially eliminating themselves from the postseason picture. With the futures of coach Steve Nicol and captain Shalrie Joseph both uncertain, the attention starts to turn to next season for the once-proud franchise.

18. (18) VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (4-16-10, 22 points)

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Last week: Lost to Portland, 1-0, on Sunday.

This week: vs. Real Salt Lake, 9:30 p.m., Wednesday.

Outlook: BC Place is sparkling, but the Whitecaps' play against the Timbers left much to be desired. They'll get another chance to christen their new home with a victory against suddenly-reeling RSL, which will be playing with a bit of a chip on its shoulder after the rescheduling of this upcoming match forced even more congestion to the team's calendar.

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10 Responses to SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 29

  1. A wise man once says:

    Love the blurb about the playoff schedule :D

  2. Something smells fishy says:

    Anyone notice the drastic difference between SBI and MLS rankings for Chicago? Wonder if MLS is drumming them up going in the USOC final?

  3. mikey says:

    If you look at the records of the teams Chicago has beaten, it takes the luster off the feat of their late run. Once Chicago starts beating top playoff sides, they will garner more positional respect in the polls.

  4. Kanye king of the West says:

    “The Sounders have turned in perhaps the most impressive calendar year of all MLS teams”

    Yo Seattle, I’m really happy for you. Imma let you finish but the Galaxy had the most impressive calendar of all time.

    I mean really. They were at the top of the league table the ENTIRE season.

  5. hogatroge says:

    I’d like to pull for the Fire tonight, but they cost my Dynamo 2 points the other day, and I’m afraid they’ll crash out in the group phase of the CCL if they win a spot with a USOC victory.

  6. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Yes, but the Sounders lost their starting striker hours before the season started, thier best player to a horrible broken leg, and even the forward who was expected to replace their star striker to kind of a freak condition. Yet they are just behind the Galaxy for the Supporters Shield.

    Impressive? Got to give Seattle the edge here, as good as the Galaxy have been

  7. Benny Dargle says:

    Well, the Galaxy lost their starting goalkeeper, two of their three center fullbacks, and another defender and one of their only speedy players in Franklin and they still have one of the better defenses in the league. They also lost lots of player time to international duty, particularly the Gold Cup.

  8. Travis says:

    Seattle also knocked LA out of the USOC and LA isn’t even in the CCL, unlike Seattle. More than just MLS league play dictates a teams form

  9. Skip says:

    Huh. Um, LA is in the CCL.

  10. Travis says:

    ya youre right my bad. i was thinking of last year when they got embarrassed by puerto rico