SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 22

Carr (Getty)

Welcome to the top spot, Houston.

Riding a five-game winning streak and six shutouts in their past seven matches, the Dynamo have climbed to No. 1 in this week's SBI MLS Power Rankings. Houston's latest triumph, a 2-0 result against the New York Red Bulls, put the Dynamo on top of the Eastern Conference as well.

The Los Angeles Galaxy, meanwhile, experienced the week's biggest fall, dropping three slots to No. 8 after a 4-0 defeat at the Seattle Sounders, who jumped two positions to a tie for sixth.

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


SBI MLS POWER RANKINGS (WEEK 22)

1. (Last week — 3) HOUSTON DYNAMO (11-5-7, 40 points)

HOU_Primary_COL

Last week: Beat New York 2-0 on Friday

This week: Friday at New York, 8 p.m.

Outlook: The combination of Oscar Boniek Garcia's introduction, the effective switch to a 4-3-3 and a slew of home games has made Houston unbeatable in recent weeks. And the Dynamo are getting U.S. World Cup veteran Ricardo Clark back in the fold to somewhat negate the loss of Geoff Cameron.

2. (1) SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (13-5-5, 44 points)

SJ_Primary_COL

Last week: Idle

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

Outlook: The Earthquakes lost their grasp on the top spot during a week off, but they'll have a compelling case to get right back to No. 1 if they can get a win over a surging Seattle team Saturday. Scoreless in three games, Chris Wondolowski is due to get back on the board.

3. (2) REAL SALT LAKE (13-8-3, 42 points)

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Last week: Lost to Colorado 1-0 on Saturday

This week: Saturday at Vancouver, 7 p.m.

Outlook: After opening Champions League play with a tough loss to Herediano in Costa Rica, Salt Lake dropped a 1-0 result at rival Colorado. Centerback Jamison Olave's hamstring strain is a tough blow for a team that already is without Chris Schuler (foot).

4. (6) SPORTING KANSAS CITY (12-7-4, 40 points)

SportingKClogo

Last week: Beat New England 1-0 on Saturday

This week: Saturday vs. D.C. United, 8:30 p.m.

Outlook: It wasn't pretty, but Kansas City gladly took the three points at New England thanks to an opportunistic Teal Bunbury strike. Now the focus is on Wednesday's U.S. Open Cup final against Seattle at what is sure to be an electric Livestrong Sporting Park.

5. (4) NEW YORK RED BULLS (11-7-5, 38 points)

NY_Primary_COL

Last week: Lost to Houston 2-0 on Friday

This week: Friday vs. Houston, 8 p.m.

Outlook: Well that probably wasn't how Tim Cahill imagined his debut. For as many attacking pieces as New York has acquired, the defense remains suspect. The back line will get a mulligan of sorts against the Dynamo, though, as New York will play host when the two sides meet for second straight Friday night at Red Bull Arena, where the club is 7-0-3.

T-6. (7) D.C. UNITED (11-7-3, 36 points)

DCU_Primary_COL

Last week: Beat Columbus 1-0 on Saturday

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

Outlook: An inspired run from Nick DeLeon to set up Chris Pontius' 10th goal of the season snapped United's first losing streak since March as they were able to grind out a 1-0 win over Columbus. In his first appearance since April, centerback Emiliano Dudar turned in a steady defensive performance.

T-6. (8) SEATTLE SOUNDERS (10-5-7, 37 points)

SEA_Primary_COL

Last week: Beat Los Angeles 4-0 on Sunday

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

Outlook: With Eddie Johnson and Fredy Montero both in fine goal-scoring form, the Sounders are not a team anyone wants to face right now. After opening the Champions League with a 3-1 win over Caledonia this past week, Seattle will try to win its fourth straight Open Cup crown before facing San Jose in a marquee Western Conference match on Saturday in a massive stretch spanning all fronts.

8. (5) LOS ANGELES GALAXY (10-11-3, 33 points)

LA_Primary_COL

Last week: Lost to Seattle 4-0 on Sunday

This week: Sunday at Chivas USA, 11 p.m.

Outlook: A 5-1 loss to Real Madrid midweek hardly came as a surprise as the Galaxy pulled their entire starting 11 at halftime. But losing by four goals at Seattle was a disturbing setback for a team that seemingly was clicking on all cylinders and ready to make its early-season struggles a distant memory.

9. (9) CHICAGO FIRE (10-7-5, 35 points)

CHI_primary_COL

Last week: Beat Toronto 2-1 on Saturday

This week: Sunday at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.

Outlook: Austin Berry's late winner gave the Fire a crucial three points and bolstered the centerback's Rookie of the Year odds. The match also marked the debuts of new DPs Alvaro Fernandez and Sherjill MacDonald, who could help make the Fire a dark-horse contender in the East come playoff time.

10. (10) VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (9-7-7, 34 points)

WhitecapsLogo

Last week: Idle

This week: Saturday vs. Salt Lake, 7 p.m.

Outlook: The week off came at a good time for Vancouver, which has had a lot of new attacking pieces join the fold and not much time in training to get them acclimated. The coming weeks will be key for the Whitecaps, who are teetering between a top-three spot in the Western Conference and falling out of the playoff field entirely.

11. (11) COLUMBUS CREW (8-8-4, 28 points)

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Last week: Lost to D.C. United 1-0 on Saturday

This week: Saturday vs. Toronto, 7:30 p.m.

Outlook: The death of midfielder Kirk Urso early Sunday morning sent shock waves through MLS and left the Crew organization in mourning. Coach Robert Warzycha now faces the toughest challenge of his career as he tries to regroup his club ahead of matches that, in the grand scheme of things, are quite trivial.

12. (14) MONTREAL IMPACT (9-13-3, 30 points)

Logo Impact MLS

Last week: Beat Philadelphia 2-0 on Saturday

This week: Sunday at New England, 7 p.m.

Outlook: Nelson Rivas' headbutt stole the headlines from a sound performance for Montreal, as the Impact secured a rare shutout by flanking Rivas and Alessandro Nesta with left back Matteo Ferrari and right back Hassoun Camara. But with Rivas facing a suspension, we likely won't be seeing that unit again for a while.

13. (12) PHILADELPHIA UNION (7-11-2, 23 points)

UNI_Primary_COL

Last week: Lost to Montreal 2-0 on Saturday

This week: Sunday vs. Chicago, 7 p.m.

Outlook: The Union have done well to rally from a slow start and make a push in the Eastern Conference. But they just can't string together enough results to make a legitimate bid for a playoff slot. Perhaps Bakary Soumare's impending debut will give the club the boost it needs.

14. (13) CHIVAS USA (7-8-5, 26 points)

CHV_Primary_COL

Last week: Idle

This week: Sunday vs. Los Angeles, 11 p.m.

Outlook: Chivas may have had the week off from league play, but they still made a splash when they acquired Shalrie Joseph from New England. The midfield anchor will look to spark attacks from his deep-lying position for a club that has remarkably scored just 14 goals in 20 games.

15. (16) COLORADO RAPIDS (8-14-1, 25 points)

RapidsLogo

Last week: Beat Salt Lake 1-0 on Saturday

This week: Saturday at Dallas, 9 p.m.

Outlook: Joseph Nane's first MLS goal and a sound defensive effort were enough for Colorado to end a six-game losing streak in satisfying fashion: with a win over rival RSL. If the Rapids grab a victory over a vulnerable Dallas side, they might be back in the playoff conversation. 

16. (15) NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (6-11-5, 23 points)

NE_Primary_COL

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

This week: Sunday vs. Montreal, 7 p.m.

Outlook: New England's first game in the post-Shalrie Joseph era wasn't terribly inspiring, with the Revolution getting shut out at home. The return of Jerry Bengtson after the Honduran's attention-grabbing Olympic performance should give that attack a welcome jolt.

17. (17) FC DALLAS (5-11-8, 23 points)

DAL_Primary_COL

Last week: Tied Portland 1-1 on Sunday

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

Outlook: Brek Shea marked his return to the lineup with an assist, but it wasn't enough to get the full three points as Dallas settled for a draw in Portland. For Dallas, the emphasis now might be on getting Shea and David Ferreira back in top form as the club looks to build momentum heading into 2013.

18. (18) TORONTO FC (5-13-4, 19 points)

 TOR_Primary_COL 

Last week: Lost to Chicago 2-1 on Saturday

This week: Saturday at Columbus, 7:30 p.m.

Outlook: The new forward partnership of Ryan Johnson and Eric Hassli got off to a splendid start when Johnson scored early against Chicago, although Toronto eventually was once again let down by its defense. The Reds did get off to a good start in Champions League play, though, rolling to a 5-1 win over C.D. Aguila.

19. (19) PORTLAND TIMBERS (5-12-5, 20 points)

TimbersLogo

Last week: Tied Dallas 1-1 on Sunday

This week: Idle

Outlook: A point at home against a team like Dallas would hardly be considered a moral victory for most clubs. But considering the Timbers entered Sunday night's contest on a five-game losing streak, the 1-1 draw was a welcome development for Gavin Wilkinson and Co.

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19 Responses to SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 22

  1. Kosh says:

    It looks like something very painful is about to happen to Calen Carr in that pic.

  2. Devin Brown says:

    As a Houston fan I am thrilled, but I am also shocked that Seattle’s 4-0 win over LA didn’t steal all the headlines.

    At any rate, I feel this is well deserved. Houston beat the defending Eastern Conference leaders to push their win streak to 6. They are truly the hottest team in MLS at this moment.

  3. Rowsdower says:

    +1 that’s his ‘signature’ celebration. A similar pic was in the game magazine we got before the red bull’s game. My wife thinks it is hilarious.

  4. The Imperative Voice says:

    The Dynamo and local press have been selling the Clark signing as a trade of Clark for Cameron, but the reality is that Cameron played primarily back this year and Clark is a specialist DM. Clark is definitely an upgrade over Watson/ Camargo/ Moffat/ Sturgis/ Creavalle/ etc. but the question to me is going to be if the defense holds up. If we were wise we’d trade some of the people Clark just made redundant at DM and secure some backup backs, just in case. As it is we’re starting Ashe and when Taylor was out on personal leave we started Creavalle and subbed in Sarkodie. I think we’re on a roll but so was the 2008 team that ran into Barrett injuries. Don’t bet too heavily on the health of the backs with CCL coming…

    To me, the formation change was bigger than anything else, although the signings are moving us even further forward. DK’s willingness to experiment this season — not his usual trait — has covered for the fact we don’t have more than 1 really good striker this season, Bruin. By playing a 433/ 451 he accentuates Bruin and then gives Boniek, Kandji, and others room to operate in hybrid forward/ mid roles.

    I had been worried about set piece effectiveness but as the streak has progressed that’s come back.

    Nope, my one concern is defense, we’re a little slow but more importantly with Cameron gone inch-deep on the bench. Since the people our signings have replaced are redundant ship them off to someone who wants to clear a back off their payroll, someone solid enough we can overcome any adversity.

  5. alex says:

    That’s quite the vertical Carr has … although it might partially be the angle of the shot.

  6. Kris says:

    I agree we need a backup for defense. Though Sturgis and Creavalle are both able to play defense I still think shopping Watson or Moffat (maybe both) for help in the CCL is our best bet. I think Watson has the higher cap chunk so I’m betting he’s first on the trade block.

  7. hogatroge says:

    I think Sturgis is first on the chopping block, followed by Sarkodie.

    We haven’t seen much of Sarkodie, but he’s been a liability when he has played.

  8. Kris says:

    Sarkodie has been injured. Plus, I think it’s too soon to cut him.

  9. The Imperative Voice says:

    Sarkodie has looked awful whenever used with the first team — and I was high on that level of speed at first, until Zakuani schooled him last year in a rare start — and did nothing with the U23s to dispell my concerns.

    Sarkodie dives in defensively and offensively often passes poorly. He makes Ashe look composed which takes doing.

  10. The Imperative Voice says:

    I would cut Sturgis and Sarkodie for next season because they are non-entities. But for this year my suggestion is work a trade for at least one veteran back because we can’t possibly use all these DMs and we need depth elsewhere in the park.

  11. The Imperative Voice says:

    I would make a distinction between Creavalle who can PLAY defense WELL and the rest of the defense who are nominally listed there. Creavalle has potential to be a Taylor-like terror, gets stuck in. He’s what many thought Sarkodie might be (and hint to Sarkodie fans, when we draft another RB this year after drafting Sarkodie to play there last year, he didn’t make the sale yet).

    I still think we need some depth because we’re only a player or two from a Montreal situation where we’d go from the team du jour to punching bag quickly, against the wrong opponent.

    I don’t see the value to all the rostered DMs — we can’t possibly use them all — so I’d fix the backline depth potentialities now before the trade deadline, so that if anything happens it’s not a “Davis problem” that costs you competitiveness. Think ahead, and we have plenty of CCL + MLS games to plan for.

  12. Kris says:

    Agreed. Creavalle is certainly passing Sarkodie in a hurry. I’ve been genuinely surprised by Dom playing Creavalle and Ownby as much as he has in the first place. The question is: Who can we trade to get with those assets? It will be interesting to see what Kinnear & Co can come up with before the deadline.

  13. The Imperative Voice says:

    He played Ownby because before the Boniek trade and Kandji’s emergence (and perhaps Carr as well, career year so far), we looked like a depth problem at wing. The team was struggling and he’d hustle. With the 433 switch and the signings and Kandji’s stepup I think he’s less valuable, and the reality is he was as sloppy as Cruz used to be, needs serious work. But a guy with that energy who creates chances can be useful.

    With the exception of the third goal in the Vancouver game where he got caught back post Creavalle has played well when used. Along with some DM injuries and his multipositional utility I think that’s helped him emerge as well.

    If you want to start Clark and play perhaps Davis and Boniek to his sides, then you really don’t need Camargo Sturgis Watson Moffat etc., trade a couple. Lest people start shedding tears their general mediocrity is part of the reason the team sucked until the transfer window and the re-working of the squad. Shed redundant depth and get us a back and maybe a wing “just in case.”

  14. Charles says:

    Kind of telling LA has 11 losses in 8th place.
    The Sounders, only 1 place above has 5.

    Se4ttle and San Jose have been on the top for a while now, with other teams close behind, whether Power Rankings want it that way or not.

    So if Se4ttle wins both and NY beats Houston, the Sounders move from 6th to 1st ?

  15. Ivar Clam Man says:

    Can]t wait for NYRB to get spanked again.. At home.. will probably still make the top 6 regardless

  16. JRP says:

    Where have you been? Seattle has been behind SJ and RSL for all but two weeks of the whole year. SJ has been behind RSL half the time, too.

  17. Old School says:

    As a Chicago resident, I had no idea Carr had a “signature” anything other than being injured, having weird number for a forward and being greatly ineffective

  18. Greg says:

    It’s all about the right fit for the right team

  19. Kris says:

    Exactly. Oduro couldn’t score to save his life in Houston, but he’s done much better in Chicago. A perfect trade really.