SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 28

RobbieKeaneLA (ISIPhotos.com)

The San Jose Earthquakes continued to lead Major League Soccer as the steamroll toward an inevitable Supporters Shield, but they aren't the only team in the midst of a serious roll toward the pre-season.

The LA Galaxy pushed their unbeaten streak to five matches, posting their fourth shutout victory in five matches, with last Friday's victory against the Colorado Rapids. Newly-acquired Christian Wilhelmsson looked impressive in his debut while Marcelo Sarvas played one of the best matches of any midfielder in MLS last week. With Landon Donovan back healthy, and Edson Buddle working his way back, the Galaxy stand poised to challenge Seattle and Real Salt Lake for the No. 2 spot in the West behind San Jose.

The Galaxy's unbeaten run has helped them not only climb up the Western Conference standings. It has propelled them to the No. 2 spot in the latest SBI MLS Power Rankings. The Earthquakes remain the top squad in the league, but the Galaxy's recent form has them closing the gap.

The Chicago Fire carry the label of hottest team in the East, and their two-win week has pushed Frank Klopas' squad to within a point of first place Sporting Kansas City. The team's handful of mid-season signings have helped not only offset the departure of Marco Pappa, but also boosted the attack to a new level that has the Fire threatening to challenge for the conference crown.

One team heading in the opposite direction is the Vancouver Whitecaps. Once a team on the verge of challenge for a top three place in the Western Conference, A five-match losing streak, capped by their recent last-second loss to FC Dallas, has the Whitecaps within a point of losing their grip on the fifth and final playoff spot in the West. The losing streak has also helped Vancouver slide down the power rankings.

Here are this week's SBI MLS Power Rankings:


SBI MLS Power Rankings (Week 28)

1. (Previous Rank- 1) SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (17-6-5, 56 points)

SJ_Primary_COL

Last week: Beat Chivas USA, 2-0, last Saturday.

This week: vs. Portland Timbers on Wednesday; at Seattle Sounders on Saturday.

Outlook: The team's latest home victory pushed the Earthquakes to 6-0-1 in their past seven at home, a stretch during which they have outscored opponents 22-7. A busy week awaits, but facing Seattle without Eddie Johnson (suspended) is a major plus. A win against the Sounders would clear the toughest remaining regular season hurdle to the Supporters Shield.

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2. (5) LOS ANGELES GALAXY (14-11-4, 46 points)

LA_Primary_COL

Last week: Beat Colorado Rapids, 2-0, last Friday.

This week: at Puerto Rico Islanders on Wednesday (CONCACAF Champions League); vs. Toronto FC on Saturday.

Outlook: Landon Donovan is healthy again and Edson Buddle is working his way back, so everything is falling into place for the Galaxy, who face a busy but manageable week ahead. Bruce Arena will make full use of the team's depth in September, but come October he will have some tough decisions to make as he settles on a starting XI heading into the playoffs.

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3. (2) SPORTING KANSAS CITY (15-7-6, 51 points)

SportingKClogo

Last week: Tied Houston Dynamo, 1-1, last Friday.

This week: at New York Red Bulls on Wednesday; at Montreal Impact on Saturday.

Outlook: Dropping points at home again had to be frustrating for Sporting KC, but the upcoming road trip might be a blessing in disguise. Sporting KC is unbeaten in their past five, but are also 4-1 in their past five road games (posting three shutouts in the process). The Red Bulls will offer their toughest road test to date, having posted an unbeaten record at Red Bull Arena this season.

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4. (4) NEW YORK RED BULLS (14-7-7, 49 points)

NY_Primary_COL

Last week: Beat Columbus Crew, 3-1, last Saturday.

This week: vs. Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday; at New England Revolution on Saturday.

Outlook: Rafa Marquez enjoyed a solid return to the Red Bulls starting lineup against Columbus, but his return makes Hans Backe's job of selecting a preferred lineup that much tougher. The current back four has settled into a good groove for the Red Bulls, but the attack has become a bit too reliant on Thierry Henry. New York will need either Kenny Cooper or Sebastien LeToux to get going if the Red Bulls are going to extend their five-match home winning streak against Sporting KC on Wednesday.

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5. (7) CHICAGO FIRE (15-8-5, 50 points)

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Last week: Beat Toronto FC, 2-1, last Wednesday; Beat Montreal, 3-1, last Saturday.

This week: vs. Columbus on Saturday.

Outlook: The Fire have won six of seven matches and that run is a product of an attack that has had several different players step up to carry the load. You can't key on a single player in Chicago's offense. Not with Sherjill MacDonald and Alvaro Fernandez playing at a high level now, and not with Chris Rolfe around. The Fire has been feasting on a soft portion of their schedule in the past month, but upcoming matches against fellow East playoff teams should give them a chance to climb even further up the rankings if they can keep winning.

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6. (3) SEATTLE SOUNDERS (13-6-9, 48 points)

SEA_Primary_COL

Last week: Tied Portland Timbers, 1-1, last Saturday.

This week: at CD Marathon (CONCACAF Champions League) on Wednesday; vs. San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.

Outlook: The Sounders are unbeaten in their past five matches, but their draw in Portland has allowed the LA Galaxy to close within two points for second place in the West. Beating San Jose without Eddie Johnson won't be easy, especially considering the travel strain put on the team by a mid-week trip to Honduras.

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7. (6) REAL SALT LAKE (14-11-4, 46 points)


RSL_Primary_COL

Last week: Bye week.

This week: at Tauro FC (CONCACAF Champions League); vs. Portland on Saturday.

Outlook: A week off came at the perfect time, as RSL prepares for a crucial Champions League match against Tauro FC. RSL needs a win to boost their chances of qualifying out of the group stage. Jamison Olave is expected to be ready, but with Kyle Beckerman suspended it won't be easy to win in Panama.

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8. (9) HOUSTON DYNAMO (12-7-10, 46 points)

HOU_Primary_COL

Last week: Tied Sporting Kansas City, 1-1, last Friday.

This week: vs. CD FAS on Thursday (CONCACAF Champions League); at Philadelphia Union on Sunday.

Outlook: Tally Hall's heroics helped Houston salvage a point in Kansas City, but the amount of chances he faced raises questions about just how well the Dynamo defense is playing these days. Brad Davis is hitting a good run of form these days, but the Dynamo will need forwards Will Bruin and Brian Ching to step up their game during a busy week, especially against a Philadelphia side that is tougher defensively than some people realize.

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9. (11) D.C. UNITED (13-10-5, 44 points)

DCU_Primary_COL

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

This week: at Philadelphia on Thursday; vs. Chivas USA on Sunday.

Outlook: Losing Dwayne DeRosario to a knee injury was a crushing blow, but Chris Pontius and Bill Hamid stepped up to show that D.C. is far from finished in its quest for a playoff berth. Branko Boskovic didn't exactly light it up in DeRosario's place, but he will have time to settle in as a starter and will need to start producing if D.C. United is going to hold on to a playoff place.

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10. (12) FC DALLAS (9-12-9, 36 points)


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Last Week: Beat Vancouver Whitecaps, 1-0, last Saturday.

This week: Bye Week.

Outlook: Julian DeGuzman's late winner vs. Vancouver gave the club a serious jolt, and could just be the thing that turns around a season, but losing George John to an ankle injury is definitely a troubling development. Rookie Matt Hedges stepped up well in his absence, but Dallas will be hoping the week off allows John to recover for a vital last four matches of the season.

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


CLB_Primary_COL

Last week: Lost to New York Red Bulls, 3-1, last Saturday.

This week: vs. Chivas USA on Saturday.

Outlook: Suffered their second straight loss against the Red Bulls on Saturday, and it was no real surprise that the team struggled without injured star Federico Higuain. Robert Warzycha chose to rest him in order to try and have him available to face Chivas USA this weekend. That strategy should reap rewards considering how badly the Chivas USA defense has been playing lately.

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12. (10) MONTREAL IMPACT (12-15-3, 39 points)

Logo Impact MLS

 

Last week: Lost to Chicago Fire, 3-1, last Saturday.

This week: vs. Sporting Kansas City on Saturday.

Outlook: Badly needed a win in Chicago, but settled for a loss that put a serious dent in the team's playoff hopes. You get the sense folks in Montreal are bracing for the disappointment of missing out on the post-season, but a win against Sporting KC coupled with some D.C. United losses this week could still keep things interesting.

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13. (14) PHILADELPHIA UNION (7-13-6, 27 points)


UNI_Primary_COL

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

This week: vs. D.C. United on Thursday; vs. Houston on Sunday.

Outlook: Sheanon Williams' late equalizer against Toronto FC felt like a just reward for a team that played well enough to earn a point at BMO FIeld, but the offense looks every bit as toothless now as it has for the past few weeks. Four draws in five matches is hardly outstanding, but each passing result only serves to magnify the team's drastic need for help at forward.

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14. (13) VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (10-12-7, 37 points)


WhitecapsLogo

Last week: Lost to FC Dallas, 1-0, last Saturday. 

This week: vs. Colorado Rapids on Sunday.

Outlook: Saw their losing streak extended to five straight matches thanks to Julian DeGuzman's late game-winner. The mis-firing offense just isn't putting up enough goals, which is putting entirely too much pressure on the Vancouver defense to play flawlessly in order to secure results. Martin Rennie's side will catch a break this week taking on a hapless Rapids side that has been pretty beatable on the road all season.

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15. (15) PORTLAND TIMBERS (7-14-7, 28 points)


TimbersLogo

Last week: tied Seattle Sounders, 1-1, last Saturday.

This week: at San Jose on Wednesday; at Real Salt Lake on Saturday.

Outlook: The Timbers showed well in tying Seattle, and have put together a decent run of results, but this week's brutal set of matches should offer plenty of opportunity for players to show they should return in 2013. David Horst certainly played like he wants to come back with his solid showing against Seattle. As for Kris Boyd, it's safe to assume he'll be on the first flight out of town when the season ends.

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16. (17) COLORADO RAPIDS (9-18-2, 29 points)


RapidsLogo

Last week: lost to LA Galaxy, 2-0, last Friday.

This week: vs. Vancouver on Sunday.

Outlook: As good an addition as Honduran Hendry Thomas is for the stretch run of the season, he will serve more of a benefit as a piece to build around come 2013. This season remains a bit of a lost cause, though seeing players like Tony Cascio make the most of these final matches should serve Oscar Pareja well as he figures out just who to keep and who to dump this off-season.

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17. (18) NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (7-15-7, 28 points)

NE_Primary_COL


Last week: lost to D.C. United, 2-1, last Saturday.

This week: vs. New York Red Bulls on Saturday.

Outlook: The nightmare season continues with the Revs blowing a lead and dropping their latest result against East rival D.C. United. Midfielder Juan Toja looks like a promising addition, and rookie Kelyn Rowe showed once again why he's a top prospect, but there isn't much to get excited about in New England these days.

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18. (16) CHIVAS USA (7-13-7, 28 points)


CHV_Primary_COL

Last week: lost to San Jose, 2-0, last Saturday.

This week: at Columbus Crew on Wednesday; at D.C. United on Sunday.

Outlook: The Goats are 0-4-1 in their past five, and have been outscored 17-6, a stretch that has turned Chivas USA from potential playoff contender to full-blown disaster. Robin Fraser shouldn't be in trouble, but given the fact that Jorge Vergara has full ownership of Chivas USA now you have to think Fraser could be in jeopardy of losing his job this off-season.

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19. (19) TORONTO FC (5-17-7, 22 points)

TOR_Primary_COL

Last week:  Lost to Chicago Fire, 2-1, last Wednesday; tied Philadelphia Union, 1-1, last Saturday.

This week: at LA Galaxy on Saturday.

Outlook:  Blowing a late lead to Philadelphia just seemed like the most fitting end to TFC's most recent match in a season that is threatening to be the most disappointing one in the club's history. Luis Silva remains one of the few bright spots, and things will probably only get uglier when Toronto travels to Los Angeles to take on the Galaxy.

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What do you think of this week's rankings? Who do you feel is rated to highly? Is there a team you feel is rated to low?

Share your thoughts below.

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42 Responses to SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 28

  1. Matt says:

    Frank Klopas, not Yallop.

  2. Matt says:

    Already fixed–sorry!

  3. dan says:

    LA 2nd???? I would put KC in 2nd…. rather generous Ives :)

  4. Pete says:

    I agree LA should be in 6th place , SJ,KC,NY,Chi,Stl,La , you got to remeber that La played 2 more games than rest of the top teams

  5. Gnarls says:

    Match up LA against any of those teams, save SJ, and LA wins. This is about **POWER** (I hear an echo in my head when I type that), but standings or games in hand.

  6. Gnarls says:

    not*, not but.

  7. DJ says:

    Yep, LA is merely a sexy temp at 2nd. Only around long enough to give Garber ants in his pants. Someday we’ll discover that MLS exists outside of NY/NJ and LA suburbs.

    I’ve heard they have decent fan bases in some random backwards-a$$ places like Seattle or Portland or KC.

  8. MLSsnob says:

    ESPN has the Fire as 2nd overall on the power rankings, they’ve won 5 of 6. 5th seems to low.

    (SBI-Not much separating 2 through 5. Chicago has put together a nice run of results, but have also played a stretch of opponents that aren’t exactly world beaters. I could have had them as high as 2nd, but will wait to see them beat a top team first.)

  9. DJ says:

    ^^ IRONY INTENDED, by the way. I’m totally sure Garber has never done anything appropriate with any temp, be it LA or NY.

  10. Ceez says:

    I don’t know how LA leapfrogged both SKC and NYRB when they only beat a poor Colorado team (16th in your ranking) while SKC drew with Houston and NYRB beat a formidable Columbus Crew squad. That’s interesting.

  11. DJ says:

    Garber would definitely NEVER give unfair monetary/allocation advantages to them.

  12. Pete says:

    I wouldn’t be so sure about that , NY and Fire defenetly would take care of La at this point . SJ been really good, but there are way to many calls going their way .

  13. The Imperative Voice says:

    I think the Dynamo defense is missing Geoff Cameron, who was their most athletic back. On Friday it was Taylor and Boswell in the middle with Hainault off the bench and none of them is particularly mobile.

    I also think we’re bumping up against the limits of our defensive depth, and Kinnear is making poor choices within what is left. We have all hands on deck at back because no Cameron replacement was signed. Plus, I’m a Creavalle fan because he gets stuck in, but Kinnear has instead favored the awful Sarkodie as the second choice right back of late.

    Last, the offense has sputtered and become more of a half-court crossing offense in the manner of the 442 we’ve traditionally played. When the ball stays on the other end the defense magically looks better. But since we’re not getting down the field quick like we briefly were in July, the attack is stagnating and the defense is under more pressure.

    Since we can’t really sign any new backs, the only things we can really control are exactly who we put out there, and how sharp and fast the attack is. Bluntly I’d like to see Barnes and Ownby and some of the faster players instead of Colin Clark and some of the slow, technical types who have been only moderately effective. And then Kandji needs to pick it up a bit. The Dynamo simply need to be a little faster and less predictable.

  14. William the Terror says:

    Re: your first sentence. Actually, I think it might be teams like Philadelphia, Portland and New England that are “in the midst of a serious roll toward the PRE-season.” But I do agree that LA is on a serious roll towards the post-season.

  15. Gnarls says:

    I doubt it, but maybe LA will meet one of those teams in the playoffs and we’ll see how it goes.

  16. The Imperative Voice says:

    You are talking about a team that hasn’t lost in 6 weeks and only tied once in the same period (while playing double fixtures counting CCL), while rehabbing Landon Donovan, that now also has this Wilhelmsson character. Particularly if you recall how many of their losses were early season minus Gonzo, and that they have Becks and Keane, suggesting this is more of the big city media conspiracy is a tad off. If they can keep their old core healthy it’s a scary team to end up facing in the playoffs.

  17. Gnarls says:

    It’s just lazy to fall back on the “They’re a big market team, so [fill in the dismissive remark].”

    LA was garbage the first half of the season; no one denies that. Now they have the 2011 back four together, plus Keane & Donovan, plus Becks, Marcelo, Juninho, and Chippen. That’s a dominant team.

  18. solles says:

    im telling you, the Scottish players are overrated, big-signing scottish flops are helping to destroy 2/3 of the cascadia cup.

  19. solles says:

    …and when was Etienne Barbara supposed to be a good player again? He looks old fat and lazy.

  20. RLW2020 says:

    if the season ended today it would be:
    the winner of DC vs. Houston to play SKC and Chicago vs. NYRB in the east
    the winner of RSL vs. Vancouver to play San Jose and LA vs. Seattle in the west

    some pretty good playoff match-ups there. I could see Dallas or Columbus possibly sneaking in. Right now id say the final will be NYRB vs. Seattle. about a month from the beginning of the playoffs…

  21. Ryan says:

    Also unbeaten in 7 of the last 9…including a tie in San Jose that should have been a win.

  22. Travis says:

    LA wins a game and leaps three places? come on now. They may be closing the gap in the table but they also have played at least a game or two more than everyone else around them

    (SBI-Well, they won more than a game since we didn’t actually do the power rankings last week during the international break. And please try to remember that power rankings aren’t meant to be the standings. That’s what standings are for. It’s a measure of total season as well as current and more recent form. LA has the best record in the league since the June international break, and they are really putting things together. I think most teams would rather play the teams below them in the power rankings than the Galaxy.)

  23. Gnarls says:

    Actually they’ve won 4 of their last 5, with a GAA of 0.20. And they’ve earned 2.13 ppg in their last 15 games.

  24. lassidawg says:

    Using that logic then Seattle should be way above LAG. Seattle has lost once since June 24th to SJ 3 days after the Open Cup final.
    I am fine with Seattle sitting under the radar in Power Rankings.
    The Suspension to EJ actually makes things easier for Sigi, play EJ in the CCL on Wednesday rest him Saturday and get Tiffert and Rosales back in the line up for Saturday.

  25. eric says:

    I love all the L.A. hate! Keep it up guys!

  26. Brain Guy says:

    Henry has a good game, after not scoring for a while, and now RBNY are “too reliant” on him? Curious reasoning.

  27. Karen says:

    It’s not just the Colorado game though, it’s their run of form as of late. Since June, they’ve been pretty much back to 2011.

    So much so that despite being one of the WORST teams early in the season, they’re now looking more and more likely to finish Top 3 for the 4th consecutive season.

    From the Riot Squad’s facebook page…

    “We gave the rest of the league a head start, but since then… Last 15 games? 2.13ppg. Last 10 games? 2.30ppg. Last 5 games? 2.60ppg… Just sayin’…”

    “In the Last 16 games (start of June) the Galaxy allowed 1.18 goals per game, in the last 10 games that figure went down to 1.10, and in the last 5 games…. 0.20″

  28. portlandtreatmentcenter says:

    Houston started winning once Cameron was moved FROM the back…

  29. The Imperative Voice says:

    Actually, Seattle since June 1 has lost to SKC in USOC, Chelsea in a friendly, and SJ, Portland, and Montreal in MLS. They have also drawn 4 times.

    In the same period LAG lost to SJ and Philly, and drew three times, including Spurs.

    Advantage LA.

    And then at some point we have to factor in that I’d go with Donovan and Keane over Montero and EJ; etc. The issue with LA I foresee is keeping all the old farts healthy. Little bad luck and you’re Montreal with a row of Serie A retirees sitting in rockers on your sideline.

  30. Gnarls says:

    Heh, that’s where I stole my stats. It’s good times in LA! Things were looking bleak for a while, but things have turned around.

  31. The Imperative Voice says:

    And then they started playing .500 ball again lately with him still moved from there.
    I think you are confusing the initial burst of dominance from the 433 with new personnel with us gaining relief long term from Cameron being gone.

    I don’t think Cameron’s focus was strong but I think the grander tactical issue is the lack of defensive speed, initially around Cameron and now on its own. Even Ashe is overrated in terms of his speed. Particularly away from home in bigger fields, the Dynamo have struggled to stay with their people.

    [In contrast, they feed off the energy and small dimensions of the BBVA field, whose lines we've kept deliberately small. Hence a massive home-road disparity, which to me reflects our lack of speed.]

  32. King Crimson says:

    It’s not the end all be all folks. The man has another 6 weeks to get it wrong. Give him a chance. Although a ranking that creates this much controversy is probably biased and unworthy of putting any faith into. That’s why he gets the big bucks while we focus on the shortcomings. Suck feattle!

  33. The Imperative Voice says:

    Maybe it’s just me but SJ strikes me as the sort of mythic well-coached team that will compete for if not win the Shield, then bomb out of the playoffs in the conference final or MLS Cup to one of the more talented rosters?

    Cause in terms of who has the best players on hand, it’s more like, East, SKC, NYRB, Houston if they got their tactical crap together; West, LA and Seattle. I think SJ is decent but just don’t buy the Wondo/ Gordon etc. will be that great when it’s just 8-10 good teams left.

  34. PARTY PARTY says:

    San Jose going to win the league.

  35. Pete says:

    And if that would be the case , we would have first MLS cup in winter weather Dec1 at RBA ..I will take that

  36. Pete says:

    Actually final in Toronto was pretty cold as well….well we RBNY would have a advantage over anyone

  37. Shuler says:

    This is not inevitable. They don’t have the depth that other top tier teams do.

  38. Clean Sheet says:

    Seattle should be higher

  39. dont_panic says:

    TFC are ranked too high.

  40. Ryan says:

    How again would NYRB have a “cold” advantage over anyone? It gets pretty cold in some other places of the country too…

  41. Shake says:

    LA has the best record in the league for the last 5 games in mls play. Throw in CCL and no other team is hotter.

  42. Shake says:

    TFC aren’t fit for the USL…