SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 26

HiguainCrew (Getty Images)

The Columbus Crew are making some serious waves as the season reaches its most vital point on the calendar.

The Crew's second consecutive six-point week not only catapulted them into the Eastern Conference playoff picture, but also up a couple of spots to eighth in SBI's MLS Power Rankings as they brace for another match Wednesday night against sputtering New England.

San Jose held firm atop the rankings with a convincing victory over Chivas USA, while Portland continues its ascent from the bottom after a second straight victory, one that brought the club out of the Western Conference cellar and within range of climbing to seventh in the West with a second straight win over Colorado. 

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

SBI MLS POWER RANKINGS (WEEK 26)  

1. (Last Week- 1) SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (16-6-5, 53 points)

SJ_Primary_COL

Last week: Beat Chivas USA, 4-0, Sunday

This week: Bye

Outlook: The Quakes posted four more goals, none of which came from their potent strike force. Instead, defenders Ramiro Corrales and Victor Bernardez and midfielder Simon Dawkins did the honors, showing once again how deep and versatile the club's options are.

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2. (2) SPORTING KANSAS CITY (15-7-5, 50 points)

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Last week: Beat Toronto FC, 2-1, Saturday

This week: Bye

Outlook: In the absence of Teal Bunbury (torn ACL), C.J. Sapong stepped into the lineup, but it was Paulo Nagamura and newcomer Oriol Rossell that stepped up to carry SKC to three more points and keep them on pace with San Jose in the race for the Supporters' Shield.

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3. (3) SEATTLE SOUNDERS (12-6-8, 44 points)

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Last week: Tied FC Dallas, 1-1, Sunday

This week: vs. Chivas USA, 4 p.m., Saturday

Outlook: How refreshing was it to see Steve Zakuani running with his trademark pace, using his unique creativity and hitting a perfect ball for Mauro Rosales for the club's goal in Dallas? The returning star winger is just another option now for Sigi Schmid, who may get another attacking player to trot out with Iceland international Eidur Gudjohnsen on trial this week.

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4. (4) NEW YORK RED BULLS (13-7-7, 46 points)

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Last week: Tied D.C., 2-2, Wednesday

This week: Bye

Outlook: Makeshift left back Wilman Conde not only stepped up with a late blast to deliver a draw for the Red Bulls on the road, but he also held his own against a right side that included Nick DeLeon and Andy Najar. The schedule gats ratcheted up after the international break, with matches against in-form Columbus and Sporting KC.

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5. (6) LOS ANGELES GALAXY (13-11-4, 43 points)


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Last week: Beat Vancouver, 2-0, Saturday

This week: Bye

Outlook: Holy Golazo. Between Juninho's long-range blast and David Beckham's latest free kick masterpiece, the Galaxy treated their fans to a show while distancing themselves from the Whitecaps in the Western Conference playoff race. After so much early-season uncertainty and even with Landon Donovan dinged up, the Galaxy have a strong foothold in the playoffs now and are aiming for a top-three spot to avoid a wildcard match.

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6. (7) REAL SALT LAKE (14-10-4, 46 points)


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

This week: at Houston, 8:30 p.m., Thursday

Outlook: Will Johnson's goal provided three valuable points for a club that has now shut out three straight opponents across all competitions. Having Nick Rimando in goal before he departs for the second USA-Jamaica match will be key against an increasingly more desperate Dynamo side that has yet to lose at BBVA Compass Stadium.

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7. (9) CHICAGO FIRE (13-8-5, 44 points)

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Last week: Beat Houston, 3-1, Sunday

This week: Bye

Outlook: The bad news: Marco Pappa left for his move to Heerenveen ahead of schedule. The good news: It didn't seem to matter. Patrick Nyarko guided the attack with an early goal against the Dynamo, and the Fire looked just as dangerous offensively against a good defensive side while Sean Johnson maintained the form that earned him another U.S. call-up. 

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8. (10) COLUMBUS CREW (12-8-6, 42 points)


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Last week: Beat Philadelphia, 2-1, Wednesday; Beat Montreal, 2-1, Saturday

This week: at New England, 8 p.m., Wednesday

Outlook: The hottest team in the league resides in Columbus. A second straight six-point week has the Crew surging into postseason contention, with Federico Higuain and Jairo Arrieta continuing to work their magic. The last time the two faced New England, Higuain hit twice on free kicks, and Arrieta scored the late winner. They'll get another crack at the Revs tonight.

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9. (5) HOUSTON DYNAMO (11-7-9, 42 points)

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Last week: Lost to Chicago, 3-1, Sunday

This week: vs. Real Salt Lake, 8:30 p.m., Thursday

Outlook: The Dynamo's form has taken a sudden dip, and the club finds itself in the bottom of the Eastern Conference playoff picture with the pressure starting to rise. Winless in four matches, Houston returns home, where it is unbeaten, for a tough match against RSL. Both will be shorthanded with players squaring off on the international stage, as Houston has Jermaine Taylor and JeVaughn Watson on duty with Jamaica while RSL's Kyle Beckerman will be with the USA.

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10. (8) MONTREAL IMPACT (12-14-3, 39 points)

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Last week: Lost to Columbus, 2-1, Saturday

This week: Bye

Outlook: The loss to the Crew that snapped a five-game winning streak was a dagger for the club's playoff hopes. The Impact still sit just three points out of playoff positioning, but Columbus has played three fewer games, making Montreal need plenty of outside help in its to quest to reach the postseason.

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11. (12) D.C. UNITED (12-10-5, 41 points)

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Last week: Tied New York, 2-2, Wednesday

This week: Bye

Outlook: Suddenly, D.C. is on the outside of the playoff picture looking in. A 1-2-2 swoon over a 14-day stretch has the club in sixth place, a point behind Columbus. Fortunately for D.C., the club's next five games come against non-playoff teams and a home match with Columbus looms later in October. It's all about staying within striking range or reclaiming playoff positioning until then.

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12. (13) FC DALLAS (8-12-9, 33 points)


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Last Week: Tied Seattle, 1-1, Sunday

This week: Bye

Outlook: FCD missed out on a golden chance to apply even more pressure on the Vancouver Whitecaps for the final playoff spot in the West, but the club continues to play better. It probably should have defeated Seattle considering the amount of misses in front of goal — most notably by Jackson — but Schellas' Hyndman's players are playing with a purpose and are still within range of an improbable playoff berth.

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13. (11) VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (10-11-7, 37 points)


WhitecapsLogo

Last week: Lost to Los Angeles, 2-0, Saturday

This week: Bye

Outlook: Make that four straight losses for the plummeting Whitecaps, who have conceded eight goals in that time and have seen FC Dallas surge to within striking range. Their meeting in the first game back after the international break can essentially act as a postseason clincher, though, if the Whitecaps can snap their funk and come out on top.

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14. (15) PHILADELPHIA UNION (7-13-5, 26 points)


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Last week: Lost to Columbus, 2-1, Wednesday; Tied New England, 0-0, Saturday.

This week: Bye

Outlook: The Union keep missing opportunities to seal maximum points, and as a result, their already-faint playoff hopes are dead. The focus is on next season, with John Hackworth shedding the interim label and becoming the permanent head coach and the foundation for the team's future.

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15. (19) PORTLAND TIMBERS (7-13-6, 27 points)


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Last week: Beat Colorado, 1-0, Friday

This week: at Colorado, 9 p.m., Wednesday, NBC Sports Network

Outlook: Much better. The Timbers have won two straight games and every player is taking to the field with something to prove before Caleb Porter takes the reins in December and assesses his roster. Bright Dike has been a man on a mission since returning from his loan, doing well enough to supplant Designated Player Kris Boyd in the starting lineup.

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16. (14) CHIVAS USA (7-11-7, 28 points)


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Last week: Tied New England, 3-3, Wednesday; Lost to San Jose, 4-0, Sunday

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

Outlook: Chivas' defense, once a saving grace for its putrid attack, has been absolutely torched recently, conceding 13 goals in the club's last three games. Six of those came against this weekend's opponent, meaning that hung-out-to-dry stud goalkeeper Dan Kennedy could be in for another long day between the posts.

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17. (17) COLORADO RAPIDS (8-17-2, 26 points)


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Last week: Lost to Portland, 1-0, Friday

This week: vs. Portland, 9 p.m., Wednesday, NBC Sports Network

Outlook: With a league-worst 17 losses, the Rapids have sunk to new lows not even two years after capturing MLS Cup. At the very least, Honduran midfielder Hendry Thomas looked every bit like a player who can step in and succeed for the team this season and beyond after his promising debut.

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18. (16) NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (6-14-7, 25 points)

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Last week: Tied Chivas USA, 3-3, Wednesday; Tied Philadelphia, 0-0, Saturday

This week: vs. Columbus, 8 p.m., Wednesday

Outlook: Winless in their last 10 matches, the Revs will be without Saer Sene (torn ACL) and Jerry Bengtson (international duty) as they try and take on the hottest team in the league, Columbus. The last time they met, the Revs got out to a 2-0 lead only to watch Higuain work his magic and Arrieta steal a win in the final moments. Suffice it to say, the defending will have to be better this time around.

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 19. (18) TORONTO FC (5-16-6, 21 points)

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Last week: Lost to Sporting Kansas City, 2-1

This week: Bye

Outlook: The Reds had a lead on the Eastern Conference's top team, but as has been the case on multiple occasions this season, they let it get away late and were left without any points. All this after the disappointment of conceding two late goals against Santos Laguna in CCL play to watch a potential draw turn into a demoralizing loss. 

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What do you think of this week's rankings? 

Share your thoughts below.

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6 Responses to SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 26

  1. The Imperative Voice says:

    The opposition has resorted to higher pressure and more physical defense, and in turn the Dynamo have regressed back into kickball and started dropping down the table like a rock. Time for a tactical reboot, though the busy callup and CCL seasons complicate that, along with some injuries.

    I don’t think we’ll miss the Jamaicans because they looked one foot on the plane already this weekend. Neither of them looked worth a darn, and I generally like Taylor. Watson is not a big loss because he’s been spot-playing and not really impressed, but Taylor being out starts to expose the lack of quality defensive depth hidden behind the Cameron transfer. Creavalle is out so we start having to play people like Sarkodie or Sturgis, and things start going south. And as a general proposition I’m just not sold the current 4 are a cup-winning defense. Right day, maybe, but just too slow with Taylor/ Boswell/ Hainault. I felt like Cameron helped hide that but now it’s just there, and once the offense started sputtering the defense went swiss cheese. With this backline I think the ball has to stay more at the other end for us to succeed. We were doing that until people caught on to the 433.

    I’m also a little concerned that during this congested fixture period Kinnear seems to be relying more on low energy vets and less on his high energy rookies. I’d like to see more Ownby and some of the players who play like they care and less of Colin Clark and people who can’t seem to get by their own grandmothers. I don’t care if Colin Clark is nominally more technical, the Dynamo of late have just looked sluggish and slow. You don’t improve that by rotating in more slow, technical players. We need more of a fear of god element.

  2. Charles says:

    11 points seperate the top 7 teams in the East.

    This era is the best that soccer in the US has ever been….and it will keep improving. If you aren’t enjoying MLS you need your head examined.

  3. elgringorico says:

    DC has a (hopefully) easy next 5 games and should reclaim their playoff spot. Could make for a couple very interesting final games against Columbus and Chicago.

  4. dan says:

    At the beginning of the season lots of talk how the west would have the better teams this season…. top 3-4 teams in each division seem very similar at this point in the season.

  5. Charles says:

    Really becoming a non-factor.

    East had ( and I think still has ) a better points per game than the West.

  6. Gnarls says:

    Parity. MLS has it. Euro leagues don’t.