SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 1

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Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIphotos.com

We're only one week into the season, but the SBI MLS Power Rankings have already experienced an unexpected shake-up at the top.

For all the offseason talk about how the Los Angeles Galaxy have only gotten better since their MLS Cup triumph, Real Salt Lake moved to No. 1 with a triumph over the Galaxy on Saturday at the Home Depot Center, where Los Angeles didn't suffer a single loss all last season.

Elsewhere, Sporting Kansas City claimed its spot as the highest-ranking Eastern Conference side with a dramatic 1-0 victory at D.C. United, while the likes of FC Dallas and the Portland Timbers used statement wins to secure positions toward the top of the ladder.

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


SBI MLS POWER RANKINGS (WEEK 1)

1. REAL SALT LAKE (1-0-0, 3 points)

RSL_Primary_COL

Last week: Beat Los Angeles, 3-1, on Saturday.

This week: vs. New York, 10 p.m., Saturday.

Outlook: It was a fairly quiet offseason for coach Jason Kreis' side, but with its win at the Galaxy, Salt Lake showed its veteran core is more than capable of competing for the Supporters' Shield this year. And a return to full health and fitness for playmaker Javier Morales will only make Salt Lake tougher.

2. SEATTLE SOUNDERS (0-0-0, 0 points)

SEA_Primary_COL

Last week: Idle.

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

Outlook: Seattle hasn't opened its MLS season yet, but the Sounders did show well in a 2-1 win over Santos Laguna in Champions League play. Forward Fredy Montreo looked particularly sharp in that encounter, and the Colombian could be poised for an MVP-caliber season.

3. LOS ANGELES GALAXY (0-1-0, 0 points)

LA_Primary_COL

Last week: Lost to Salt Lake, 3-1, on Saturday.

This week: vs. D.C. United, 7 p.m., Saturday, Galavision.

Outlook: Fatigue seemed to get the better of Los Angeles against Salt Lake as the visitors grabbed three late goals to notch a stunning road result. The Galaxy won't get a break from their fixture congestion this weekend, swinging right back into MLS action Sunday after tonight's CONCACAF Champions League match against Toronto.

4. FC DALLAS (1-0-0, 3 points)

DAL_Primary_COL

Last week: Beat New York, 2-1, on Sunday.

This week: vs. Portland, Saturday, 8:30 p.m.

Outlook: Even without playmaker David Ferreira back in the fold, Dallas looked much sharper in Sunday's win over New York than it did while wrapping up 2011 with a whimper. But losing Brek Shea to Olympic qualifying duty for the next couple weeks will be a tough blow.

5. SPORTING KANSAS CITY (1-0-0, 3 points)

SportingKClogo

Last week: Beat D.C., 1-0, on Saturday.

This week: vs. New England, 8:30 p.m., Saturday.

Outlook: Kansas City on Saturday looked like a team returning 10 starters from a squad that finished atop the Eastern Conference last year, controlling the match and creating numerous chances. Although the finishing touch wasn't quite there, forward C.J. Sapong showed the kind of depth coach Peter Vermes has to play with, coming off the bench to notch the late winner.

6. PORTLAND TIMBERS (1-0-0, 3 points)

TimbersLogo

Last week: Beat Philadelphia, 3-1, on Monday.

This week: at Dallas, 8:30 p.m., Saturday.

Outlook: Keyed by a standout performance from winger Kalif Alhassan, Portland kicked off its season with an impressive triumph over Philadelphia amid a raucous atmosphere at Jeld-Wen Field. With his classy header goal, Kris Boyd looked like the perfect fit up top for Portland.

7. HOUSTON DYNAMO (1-0-0, 3 points)

HOU_Primary_COL

Last week: Beat Chivas USA, 1-0, on Sunday.

This week: at San Jose, 5 p.m., Saturday.

Outlook: After recording just two wins on the road all of last season, Houston kicked off its 2012 campaign with one against Chivas. The Dynamo will need to keep up with that kind of production away from home, considering their opener at BBVA Compass Stadium is still two months away.

8. COLORADO RAPIDS (1-0-0, 3 points)

RapidsLogo

Last week: Beat Columbus, 2-0, on Saturday.

This week: at Philadelphia, 4 p.m., Sunday, NBC Sports.

Outlook: Paced by right back Kosuke Kimura's two assists, Colorado recorded a convincing victory Saturday over a scattered Columbus side. This weekend's trip to the City of Brotherly Love should provide new Rapids coach Oscar Pareja with a more stern test.

9. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (1-0-0, 3 points)

WhitecapsLogo

Last week: Beat Montreal, 2-0, on Saturday.

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

Outlook: Sebastien Le Toux didn't wait long at all to make his presence felt for a Vancouver attack that has the weapons to be one of the best in the Western Conference. This weekend's trip to play Chivas presents the Whitecaps with a prime opportunity to keep the momentum going with a valuable road win.

10. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (1-0-0, 3 points)

SJ_Primary_COL

Last week: Beat New England, 1-0, on Saturday.

This week: vs. Houston, 5 p.m., Saturday.

Outlook: Well Chris Wondolowski started his 2012 campaign with the same scoring touch he ended 2011 with, notching an early goal that ended up being all San Jose needed to dispose of New England. He'll have his hands full this weekend, though, trying to break through Houston's stellar back line. 

11. NEW YORK RED BULLS (0-1-0, 0 points)

NY_Primary_COL

Last week: Lost to Dallas, 2-1, on Sunday.

This week: at Salt Lake, 10 p.m., Saturday.

Outlook: Although rookie Ryan Meara looked solid in goal, the defense in front of him wasn't quite so stellar during a loss to Dallas. That back line will be put the test again this weekend, when New York travels to Rio Tinto Stadium to take on Fabian Espindola, Javier Morales and the rest of Salt Lake's vaunted attack.

12. CHICAGO FIRE (0-0-0, 0 points)

CHI_primary_COL

Last week: Idle.

This week: at Montreal, 2 p.m., Saturday, TSN.

Outlook: The Fire watched from the sidelines during Week 1 and were pleased to see just two Eastern Conference rivals — Kansas City and Houston — pick up victories. Chicago this weekend will open its season against the expansion Impact in the league's first game in Montreal.

13. PHILADELPHIA UNION (0-1-0, 0 points)

UNI_Primary_COL

Last week: Lost to Portland, 3-1, on Monday.

This week: vs. Colorado, 4 p.m., Sunday, NBC Sports.

Outlook: Offseason acquisitions Gabriel Gomez and Lionard Pajoy turned in decent performances for the Union against Portland, but goalkeeper Zac MacMath's erratic night between the posts and a lack of cohesion going forward cost them. Philadelphia will look to rebound from the comforts of home Sunday against Colorado at PPL Park.

14. TORONTO FC (0-0-0, 0 points)

 TOR_Primary_COL

Last week: Idle.

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

Outlook: A 2-2 home draw against Los Angeles in Champions League play was ultimately a disappointing effort, one Toronto will look to nullify with a win in tonight's second leg at the Home Depot Center. Matters don't get much easier for Toronto in MLS play on Saturday, when the Reds travel to CenturyLink Field to take on the Sounders.

15. D.C. UNITED (0-1-0, 0 points)

DCU_Primary_COL

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

This week: at Los Angeles, 7 p.m., Sunday.

Outlook: After a scattered preseason that saw a combination of injuries, national team commitments, late signings and weather issues keep coach Ben Olsen from using his preferred starting XI, United looked like a team in need of chemistry during a disjointed loss to Kansas City. In a break for United, they catch Los Angeles this weekend coming off another midweek Champions League fixture.

16. COLUMBUS CREW (0-1-0, 0 points)

CLB_Primary_COL

Last week: Lost to Colorado, 2-0, on Saturday.

This week: Idle.

Outlook: With MLS now featuring an odd number of teams, that means at least one club will be on bye every weekend. That's Columbus this time around, and Crew coach Robert Warzycha will be more than happy to have some extra time to work with his side after it looked completely out of sorts during a loss at Colorado on Saturday.

17. CHIVAS USA (0-1-0, 0 points)

CHV_Primary_COL

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

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

Outlook: Opening 2012 just the way it opened 2011 — with a loss at home — Chivas had a few chances to bury Houston but couldn't capitalize, allowing the Dynamo to stay in the game and ultimately snatch the winner off a stoppage-time set piece. This weekend's match against Vancouver should be a good barometer for both sides early in the campaign.

18. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (0-1-0, 0 points)

NE_Primary_COL

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

This week: at Sporting Kansas City, 8:30 p.m., Saturday.

Outlook: New England has some real talent in midfield with the likes of Benny Feilhaber, Shalrie Joseph and Kelyn Rowe, but the rest of new coach Jay Heaps' roster is quite suspect. After falling to San Jose, New England faces a tough trip to Livestrong Sporting Park and the prospect of an 0-2 start.

19. MONTREAL IMPACT (0-1-0, 0 points)

Logo Impact MLS

Last week: Lost to Vancouver, 2-0, on Saturday.

This week: vs. Chicago, 2 p.m., Saturday, TSN.

Outlook: Montreal didn't look out of its league during a loss at Vancouver to open its existence as an MLS franchise, but coach Jesse Marsch's bunch did look like an expansion side lacking in depth and continuity. After Vancouver and Portland both won their emotional home openers last year, can Montreal do the same Saturday against Chicago?

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28 Responses to SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 1

  1. Kasey says:

    LA barely deserves the top 5 from what I saw

  2. Neruda says:

    If LA advances in CCL I hope MLS gives them a break from a league game as they did for RSL last year before the championship series against Monterrey. That way we don’t have to hear about the fatigue LA is under from the congested schedule.

    Vancouver looks better than Colorado but we shall see.

  3. PAL says:

    You’re silly

  4. RBNY Maestro |10| says:

    Lol seriously? I’m not even a Galaxy fan and find your comment to be borderline retarded

  5. tdb says:

    What exactly did you see?

    A team starting numerous players who not even a week ago played 90 in Toronto?

    Or maybe a team that still created plenty of chances and hit the crossbar numerous times?

    3-1 is a flattering scoreline for RSL and the outcome would have been much different if both teams were fresh.

  6. Zac says:

    “…the outcome would have been much different if both teams were fresh.”

    Dude, you LA fans need to get over yourselves. RSL and LAG have ALWAYS played each other tough, so that is an incredibly arrogant statement to make, IMO. You could also say the scoreline would have been much different if Morales, Saborio, Will Johnson and Nat Borchers would have played the full match. The fact is, on any given day, each of those teams is more than capable of beating the other whether it’s home or away (although much more difficult away, obviously).

  7. JJ says:

    Philly and New York were AWFUL. Philly will battle Montreal for least goals scored this year. New York will get even worse once Henry realizes he’s the whole team and gets too tired to walk. They should be lower. Toronto should be higher, they are going to have their best season (I know, not saying much …).

  8. shelsilverstein says:

    lol ranking ny, who lost pathetically, above chicago and other teams that did not play yet

    clowns on this site

  9. UnionJames says:

    Is there a worst tactical coach in the MLS than Nowak right now? What he does is maddening.
    Playing players out of position, tinkering with the lineup so much it’s blatantly obvious these players have no cohesion, changing the formation every game or even midgame.
    What the hell did we even do during this preseason, I have to wonder? Why do we look like this team just started playing together last week?

  10. Charles says:

    8 out of 10 spots are Western teams, and one of the “Eastern” teams is Houston.

    The East might be lucky they switched the playoff format.

  11. CG says:

    Another historic opening night for the Fire… as visitors

  12. Larry says:

    I’ll bet the Supporters Shield will be won by someone from the East – either Kansas City or Houston. The scheduling favors it.

  13. Charles says:

    yeah, I hope they give that Seattle break, after they take it from LA. Sub a home March game in Seattle for middle of summer and a CCL championship.

  14. Charles says:

    I am not so sure, there is parity in the East. If there was one team that could finish even 3rd in the West, but they are all very close, IMHO.

  15. T says:

    If they stay healthy, RSL and the Sounders could be this year’s Juggernauts. Also, other clubs like FC Dallas, SKC, could potentially be in the conversation. L.A. has to get their defense sorted out for me to see them as contenders again, I knew Gonzalez being absent from the backline would be crucial no matter how many goals the Galaxy can manage to score.

  16. Gilby says:

    Wow 8 of the top 10 in the West, the East is least once again. Cascadia is going to be tough this year both Vancouver and Portland are much better teams.

  17. Neruda says:

    I’ve been saying that Gonzales being out hurts more than the addition of buddle helps. LA is going to win but with euros, Olympics and US matches leaving the team without their true quality they will be vulnerable.

  18. Kevin_Amold says:

    Agreed totally. I think LA are a really good team, but this incessant whining from part of their fanbase about scheduling is offputting. Not only that, it demeans their opposition. RSL were worthy winners in my view (I am an RSL fan, so fair disclosure), but LA could have won the game as well and I’d have had no complaints.

  19. sciroccer says:

    If they get to that point as RSL did? I think the whole league should give any MLS team time off if they reach the champonship series (I don’t think any will) I hope I am wrong. Keep in mind, RSL didnt get CCL breaks until that point last year and the most certainly werent “worn out” after the first two games they played for the year.

  20. Kishan Jeter says:

    These rankings and MLSsoccer.com rankings are retarded. Teams have only played one game this year. It looks like they’re trying to add points from last year. If a team didn’t win the cup last year, make it to the finals, or make it to the playoffs then they shouldn’t be placed ahead of the Houston Dynamo. On MLSsoccer.com rankings, Houston was demoted in rank for winning, as was San Jose Earthquakes and Montreal Impact. What kind of “Enron” math is this? How is Seattle ranked 2nd place when they haven’t even played an MLS game yet? The Galaxy get molly-whopped 3-1 and here they’re given 3rd place and on MLSsoccer they’re in 2nd place? Really?

  21. VADCUfan says:

    It was one set of games where all of the western conference teams played at home against eastern opponents. Further, all of the top western teams have a returning core of players whereas the majority of the eastern teams are trying to integrate tons of new players into their starting XI. It will take several game weeks to really see how things are going to shape up.

  22. Gnarls says:

    From an LA fan who flipped his lid at the congested MLS/CCL schedule, I actually agree with you. There are too many LA fans a) making excuses and b) unfairly undermining RSL’s well-deserved win. The scoreline doesn’t lie. RSL came from behind and squarely knocked the wind out of LA.

    That said, if you’re unwilling to admit that maybe – just mayyyybe – playing a game 3 days prior, 2000 miles away, had something to do with LA’s collapse, then you’re just a biased tool.

  23. Gnarls says:

    Might be lucky? SKC is the luckiest team in professional sports.

  24. Gnarls says:

    I think you’re right; which is the exact reason why soccer pundits are saying the SS is devalued now. It’s still a ticket to CCL though, thus something to strive for.

  25. Gnarls says:

    Didn’t you get the memo? We don’t use the R word anymore, ya ding dong. Yes, “ding dong” is the only kosher insult left.

  26. Gnarls says:

    By the way, they’re POWER rankings. It’s more about potential than past performance.

  27. Chupacabra says:

    From what I’m seeing right now, neither does Seattle (and Santos scores #6 as I type).

  28. otergod says:

    “How is Seattle ranked 2nd place when they haven’t even played an MLS game yet? ”

    clearly Ives rates Seattle highly.