SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week Eight

SoundersRapids (Getty)

By IVES GALARCEP

The Seattle Sounders hit rock bottom in last week’s SBI MLS Power Rankings, but after recording their first win of the season the Sounders look poised to start their climb toward the top.

The Sounders defeated the Colorado Rapids to not only erase the zero from their win column, but also to help open the account for Nigerian forward Obafemi Martins, who scored his first Seattle goal on Saturday. With Eddie Johnson still sidelined, Martins picked a good time to start showing a return on Seattle’s considerable investment.

There was no change at the very top of the power rankings, with FC Dallas continuing to roll. Schellas Hyndman reached a milestone, becoming Dallas’ all-time winningest coach, and Dallas continues to boast a sizable lead on the rest of the Western Conference.

One team that looks poised to start chasing down FC Dallas is the Los Angeles Galaxy. An impressive 2-0 win over Sporting Kansas City helped the Galaxy climb into the No. 2 spot in the power rankings, and now with Landon Donovan rounding into form, the Galaxy look ready to go on a strong run.

Here are the latest SBI MLS Power Rankings:

SBI MLS Power Rankings (Week Eight)

1. (Last week- 1) FC DALLAS (6-1-1)


DAL_Primary_COL

LAST WEEK- Beat Vancouver Whitecaps, 2-0, last Saturday.

THIS WEEK- at Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday.

OUTLOOK- Another solid outing for the top team in the league and now FC Dallas has to travel north to face the same Whitecaps team they just beat. David Ferreira is looking like his old MVP self while Michel Garbini continues to be one of the best signings of the off-season.

————————-

2. (3)  LOS ANGELES GALAXY (3-1-2)

LA_Primary_COL

LAST WEEK- Beat Sporting Kansas City, 2-0, last Saturday.

THIS WEEK- at Real Salt Lake on Saturday.

OUTLOOK- With Landon Donovan looking like Landon of old, and Robbie Keane starting to resemble the 2012 force who helped lead the Galaxy to an MLS Cup title, LA might be set to go on a long run of positive results.

————————-

3. (2)  SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-2-2)

SportingKClogo

LAST WEEK- Beat New York Red Bulls, 1-0, last Wednesday; lost to Los Angeles Galaxy, 2-0, last Saturday.

THIS WEEK- vs. Portland Timbers on Saturday.

OUTLOOK- Their defensive dominance came to an end against the Galaxy, but it was pretty clear that fatigue took its toll after a mid-week game across the country. They return home to face a very good challenge from the Portland Timbers, who should give their midfield a good test.

————————-

4. (4)  HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-2-1)

HOU_Primary_COL

LAST WEEK- Tied Toronto FC, 1-1, last Saturday.

THIS WEEK- vs. Colorado Rapids on Sunday.

OUTLOOK- It was an ugly game, and one they were thoroughly out-played in, but the Dynamo will still come away from their draw at Toronto FC feeling good about earning a point after going down a man and losing Brad Davis. At some point Dom Kinnear needs to get his team to play better on the road though.

————————-

5. (5) MONTREAL IMPACT (4-1-1)

Logo Impact MLS

LAST WEEK-  Bye Week

THIS WEEK- vs. Chicago Fire on Saturday.

OUTLOOK- The week off had to help the veteran Impact squad, and could allow them to field their first-choice back-line for the first time in a month. Marco DiVaio was starting to show signs of breaking out before the bye week. The Chicago Fire should be a team he can find chances against.

————————-

6. (6) PORTLAND TIMBERS (2-1-4)

TimbersLogo

LAST WEEK- Tied San Jose Earthquakes, 1-1, last Sunday.

THIS WEEK- at Sporting Kansas City on Saturday.

OUTLOOK- Knocked the ball around well, but weren’t effective enough in the final third to take full advantage. Valeri is a special player, but you can tell he’s still adjusting to the organized passing system because he spends more time freelancing and floating out of position than he should. Once he adapts to the system though, Valeri could be an all-star.

————————-

7. (9) REAL SALT LAKE (3-3-2)

RSL_Primary_COL

LAST WEEK- Beat Chivas USA, 1-0, last Saturday.

THIS WEEK- vs. Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday.

OUTLOOK- You already knew Nick Rimando was one of the best goalkeepers in MLS, if not the best, but Olmes Garcia is fast becoming a young forward you have to keep an eye on MLS. The young Colombian has the qualities to be a star.

————————-

8. (10)  PHILADELPHIA UNION (3-2-2)

UNI_Primary_COL

LAST WEEK- Beat D.C. United, 3-2, last Sunday.

THIS WEEK- at New England Revolution on Saturday.

OUTLOOK- Jack McInerney continues to steal the show, as he should, but the Union’s surprising early-season success isn’t just because of him. Conor Casey has shown he still has some tread on the tire and workhorse midfielder Danny Cruz is the type of relentless presence who helps set a good tone for the squad. One question lingering around the Union is how Kleberson isn’t getting playing time yet.

———————–

9. (7) CHIVAS USA (3-3-1)

CHV_Primary_COL

LAST WEEK- Lost to Real Salt Lake, 1-0, last Saturday.

THIS WEEK- vs. San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.

OUTLOOK- A second straight week of looking flat for Chelis’ squad, and it’s clear the team misses Juan Agudelo’s presence as the target forward leading the attack. The midfield hasn’t been clicking of late, and now they face a good test against a physical Earthquakes side that might actually be a good match-up for them.

————————-

10. (11) SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (2-3-3)

SJ_Primary_COL

LAST WEEK- Tied Portland Timbers, 1-1, last Sunday.

THIS WEEK- at Chivas USA on Saturday.

OUTLOOK- Adam Jahn’s stoppage-time equalizer earned San Jose a draw and left a good vibe at Buck Shaw Stadium, but lost in that late-goal hype is the fact San Jose still didn’t play all that well. Shea Salinas looked good in a starting role, and with Marvin Chavez working closer to a full return to action, the Earthquakes should start creating more chances for Chris Wondolowski.

————————-

11. (14) NEW YORK RED BULLS (3-4-2)

NY_Primary_COL

LAST WEEK- Lost to Sporting Kansas City, 1-0, last Wednesday; beat New England Revolution, 4-1, last Saturday.

THIS WEEK- at Toronto FC on Saturday.

OUTLOOK- The Red Bulls attack came alive against a normally-stingy Revolution defense, and putting four goals on the board has to give the team a boost of confidence. Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of last week’s matches was the improved play of Roy Miller, who really has responded well to being re-inserted into the lineup. Now they have to show they can get a result on the road.

————————-

12. (8) COLUMBUS CREW (2-2-3)

CLB_Primary_COL

LAST WEEK- Lost to Chicago Fire, 1-0, last Saturday.

THIS WEEK-vs. D.C. United on Saturday.

OUTLOOK- Turned in a thoroughly disappointing performance against the Fire, and once again the Crew attack fails to find some consistency. They now play host to a D.C. United side that is ripe for the beating. Federico Higuain hasn’t had one of his BIG games in a while. This could be the week.

————————-

13. (12) COLORADO RAPIDS (2-4-2)

RapidsLogo

LAST WEEK- Lost to Seattle Sounders, 1-0, last Saturday.

THIS WEEK- at Houston Dynamo on Saturday.

OUTLOOK- No team has been more ravaged by injuries than the Rapids, and their bad luck on the injury front has really started to take its toll. The disappointing thing for Colorado is that, despite all the injuries, they could have definitely taken at least a point against Seattle if they had finished their chances.

————————-

14. (16) CHICAGO FIRE (2-4-1)

CHI_primary_COL

LAST WEEK- Beat Columbus Crew, 1-0, last Saturday.

THIS WEEK- at Montreal Impact on Saturday.

OUTLOOK- Don’t look now but the Fire are making a strong climb up the rankings on the backs of a solid run of performances. They have won two of three, and their loss was a good showing at Houston. The defense needed a shutout badly to instill some confidence after a rough start to the season, and while the team still clearly misses Arne Friedrich, and still need a go-to striker, the Fire are starting to look more like a playoff team.

————————-

15. (15) TORONTO FC (1-2-4)

TOR_Primary_COL

LAST WEEK- Tied Houston Dynamo, 1-1, last Saturday.

THIS WEEK- vs. Montreal Impact on Wednesday (Canadian Championship); vs. New York Red Bulls on Saturday.

OUTLOOK- It’s been a bittersweet month for TFC. They have played well enough to win as many as four or five matches, but they have seen late-game collapses cost them on three occasions in matches they looked destined to win. Ryan Nelsen deserves some credit for the team showing considerable improvement from 2012, but he needs to sort out the late-game defending if TFC is going to have any sort of success this year.

————————-

16. (13) VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (2-3-2)

WhitecapsLogo

LAST WEEK- Lost to FC Dallas, 2-0, last Saturday.

THIS WEEK- at FC Edmonton on Wednesday (Canadian Championship); vs. FC Dallas on Saturday.

OUTLOOK- A five-match winless skid has to make you wonder whether we should really take them seriously as a contender in 2013. Yes, they made the playoffs last year, but they were terrible down the stretch. Getting Kenny Miller back should help them, but they need to figure out what is wrong with Darren Mattocks.

————————-

17. (19) SEATTLE SOUNDERS (1-3-2)

SEA_Primary_COL

LAST WEEK- Beat Colorado Rapids, 1-0, last Saturday.

THIS WEEK- Bye Week.

OUTLOOK- Here come the Sounders. Okay, so maybe we shouldn’t get too worked up about a 1-0 victory against a relatively weak team decimated by injuries, but sometimes that first win is all a team needs to turn things around. They hit a much-needed bye week to get healthy and get Eddie Johnson back healthy, but the schedule that awaits them in May is BRUTAL. We will really find out then just how good this Sounders team really is.

————————-

 

18. (17) NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (1-3-2)

NE_Primary_COL

LAST WEEK- Lost to New York Red Bulls, 4-1, last Saturday.

THIS WEEK- vs. Philadelphia Union on Saturday.

OUTLOOK- The scoreline didn’t offer a real indication of just how competitive the Revs were in their loss to the Red Bulls, but ultimately a stagnant offense and some late-game defensive breakdowns doomed them. Until Saer Sene is fit enough to start, we aren’t likely to see too much from the Revs attack.

 ————————-
19. (18) D.C. UNITED (1-5-1)

DCU_Primary_COL

LAST WEEK- Lost to Philadelphia Union, 3-2, last Sunday.

THIS WEEK- at Columbus Crew on Saturday.

OUTLOOK- The good news? D.C. United finally created some chances? The bad nes? Their defense played their worst game of the season. Getting Dwayne DeRosario back clearly helped D.C., but there are starting to be questions raised about the form of winger Chris Pontius, who hasn’t looked anywhere close to the standout who won MLS Comeback Player of the Year in 2012.

————————-

This entry was posted in Featured, SBI MLS Power Rankings, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week Eight

  1. Jake says:

    Ives you have FC Dallas as a bye this next week but they play Vancouver again.

  2. ed - houston says:

    I like these this week too. DC is, correctly, ranked last.

  3. bottlcaps says:

    Everybody make a big deal about KC’s fatigue against the Galaxy a reason for their defeat. Well, the Galaxy lost to Dallas after a midweek game in MEXICO and nobody (or few) gave it any mention. Maybe it was the fact that the Galaxy had more than a few subs and reserves in the game (which they narrowly lost) and didn’t give the appearance that they were tired.

    This then brings up a telling point. Squad depth. If KC had to play their tired regulars and the Galaxy utilized the squad depth to give Dallas a narrow win. it bodes well for those teams whose squad depth will make them competitive in every match. Lose a few player through injury, call-ups etc and it could effectively put your team behind the eight ball. Have a deep team and it;s no problem.

    I think that KC and probably Dallas do not have a deep team. Their first 12-3 players are as good as any team. but go down to 14-16 players and they suddenly look very vulnerable.

    It is telling if your first 11-3 are performing well. On paper the Sounders look like one of the deepest and strongest teams in the west, but they have performed far below expectations. The old adage that you don’t win games on paper rings true here.

    Fortunately the season is long, and those teams who are good on paper have a whole season to get back into it, a la the 2012 MLS cup winners the Galaxy.

    • Reboot says:

      I agree with you for the most part.

      Peter Vermes got a lot of crap in KC for not rotating out some of the starting XI in the Galaxy game. I think this SKC team has more depth than you credit them for, they just aren’t regularly seeing the pitch.

      So, shame on Vermes. Big ups to the Galaxy for pouncing.

    • Dan says:

      I think no one also gives the Galaxy any breaks simply because they are the Galaxy, they are the team to beat and everyone loves to hate the team to beat (ie United, Milan, Madrid, etc)

      As for depth, the Galaxy have one of the deepest squads in MLS and it’s really not that deep… The salary cap is REALLY hindering the growth MLS could have with depth because teams just can’t afford it. The biggest question I think to take away from this discussion is at what time does Garber loosen the reigns of the salary cap or institute new rules so MLS sides can have real depth and compete in multiple games and multiple competitions. Perhaps a 2nd salary cap used only for bench players? (complex to institute im sure)

      • Lost in Space says:

        Perhaps raise the salary cap…but also raise the roster size.
        If you raise the Cap alone you run the risk that teams would pay a few players a higher salary (name recognitition) at the expense of the teams overall depth.
        Raise roster size…without raising the cap and you water down the the league since you’ll essentially be paying players less (unable to attract/hold good players).
        Best thing to do to improve the depth in MLS is to institue the youth policy that the Mex League did….young players (age limit) on a roster have to be given X% of PT. It forces teams to have youth and use the youth that they have. Giving them experience, which in turn improves the depth of the team, league, and as an added bonus would help the National Teams.
        Just a thought.

  4. Chris2 says:

    Can’t disagree with these rankings. I’d put DC a five or six slots lower, though.

  5. The Imperative Voice says:

    The difference between the old and new Dynamo teams is in the glory years we were playing with DeRo in the middle, with both an attacking mid and a center mid. Those teams were capable of scoring plenty of goals, including on the road. Thus even though Kinnear is, in his bones, a conservative road coach, the team could mix in some road wins in spite of the coach’s negative road tactics.

    But in the past few years they have descended into a defensive caricature, and we now start two DMs centrally, of late Clark and Moffat. The result has been a team that scores 2 goals on a good day — even at home — and that basically plays for the tie on the road. We still have the talent to carry out the Kinnear mission over a season, and the controlled approach is usually enough to get us consistent home points plus the occasional road stalemate.

    The TFC game was basically this road stalemate machine in operation. We started 2 DMs as usual, played fairly defensively against a mediocre TFC squad that perhaps merited more attacking aggression, and were outplayed for most of the match. After the injuries and cards, we subbed in a defender and a third DM (playing as a wing). We had no punch in the run of play whatsoever. As luck would have it, TFC only knocked one in playing up a man and the cynical approach paid off because we got the late goal off a corner. But while games like this help us make the playoffs year after year, I think it’s not the same level of effectiveness we need to win titles, and it doesn’t prepare us for some neutral site or road must-win. So if we don’t secure home field, we end up going to LA and losing in the final. We need at least the option of inserting a playmaker in lieu of Moffat, and at least a latent capability of putting more goals up on the board.

    • Marc t says:

      Except for the fact that Toronto scored before the card… Which kind of undermines your statement, they weren’t mediocre, the stats are pretty clear on that.

      The “Toronto sucks” thing is really starting to skew how some of you guys are seeing these games.

      16 Attempts on Goal 7
      4 Shots on Target 2
      8 Shots off Target 3
      4 Blocked Shots. 2
      8 Corner Kicks 4

      Go ahead, guess which was which….

      • ed - houston says:

        TFC, for all the money they have spent over the years, truly have bad luck and, yes, they still suck. No MLS playoffs appearances, ever, how about that stat for you.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        Let’s see, 1 W 2 L 4 T, sounds mediocre. 9 GF but 10 GA, mediocre. 8th in the East, mediocre (generous). 1 goal against a 10 man team (they didn’t score against the 10 men), mediocre.

        But my basic issue was that Kinnear’s tactics and subbing were so conservative that we didn’t really pressure TFC and basically bunkered — against a team allowing 1.5 G/game. You can point to the stats and they do say what you suggest but the stats to me reflect the tactics more than that one team was that much better. If I play bunker and longball you will probably outshine me in every category but saves.

        We therefore ended up on the low side of the average because we played for a low-scoring result, scoreless or 1-1 tie.

        I felt like TFC was vulnerable in the back, no one was marking on the equalizer, Boss had some distribution giveaways, but we were pushed so far back we basically degraded into hoofball that made it easy for the TFC defense. We didn’t even test the situation.

        Kinnear’s over-conservatism has been a long term pattern, he played very defensive against FCD and we went down 2-0, attacked, got back into a tie score, backed off, allowed the 3rd. The irony of his approach, to me, is that we hand away road points like candy and thus finish lower down the table than we probably should. If you think about it, one road win and two losses — 3 points — is more valuable than two ties and one loss — 2 points. The latter strategy may make paper draws easier — we rack up ties — but it’s suboptimal points accumulation (even though you think you’re getting that “road point”) and it doesn’t teach your team how to win tough road games, a skill you might need in the ultimate playoff rounds.

  6. The Imperative Voice says:

    I liked Earnshaw from TFC but what the heck were they doing marking space on the equalizer? They had about four guys in a line inside the six and most of them didn’t have a mark. The corner instead goes out towards the spot and gets knocked back in to the space abandoned as the defenders rushed out, where it gets re-directed into the net. TFC is an improved team but all they had to do was either get that last ball over the sideline, or defend a corner with Davis out, and they could’t manage either.

  7. The Imperative Voice says:

    IMO the top 3 have separated from the pack. I think both Chivas and Montreal are going to fall back because the former was a young team coming out of the blocks fitter and more ready than the rest, and I think that’s going away as teams round into midseason form and fitness, and Montreal is old and bound to crater over time.

  8. Matt DCU says:

    Pontius didn’t win Comeback Player Of The Year. Eddie Johnson (undeservedly) won it.

  9. Charles says:

    Portland leads Cascadia by 10 spots. I am going to go on a cry break over lunch….I may or may not be back.

  10. Andy says:

    Keane starting to resemble 2012?????

    Well, he is certainly complaining to officials, throwing his hands in the air, and yelling at young players like it is 2012.

    But not really scoring goals so much. He is active, makes good runs, and then he pulls a Chad Barrett.

    • Gnarls says:

      Sad but true. If anything, Mike Magee is starting to resemble Robbie Keane’s 2012 form.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      They just beat KC and he selflessly rolled that ball across the box to Donovan weakside for the second, insurance goal. Not the best week to be riding Keane. Your broader point might have merit, although if they re-load with a Lampard-type player I think a strong LA team will be that much stronger, and Keane will likely go back to getting his.

  11. Dan M says:

    The criteria for this border on whimsicle. The Rapids were no worse than last week. They outchanced the Sounders and could have had a couple goals. Seattle held on for dear life and squeaked out of there with a win. I guess it is fair to ding the Rapids for a home loss, but their rookie talent has them a couple bad breaks away from being an above .500 club. They should have gotten a result at Dallas too, don’t forget, but for an awful gaffe from the goalie. And that was before the rookies and new signings were playing together and gelled.

    • Travis says:

      They lost at home and moved down one spot, not sure how there is flawed logic in that? Did they outplay Seattle at times? Yes, not in the first half though when Seattle were the much better side. Bottom line is they lost.

  12. Oog says:

    Thanks for the Olmes Garcia shout out. The kid is fun to watch with the skills and the potential to be something great. Hopefully he keeps playing the way he has the last 2 days.

  13. DCUnitedWillRiseAgain says:

    Cruz for Pajoy was an awful trade.

  14. Stefan says:

    I’ve been waiting to throw this out there: are Dallas really that good? It seems silly not to have the team that’s currently number one in the league on top, but surely the difficulty of teams faced and home and away games should come into account. Dallas’s early schedule has been ridiculously easy- they play 7 of their first 11 games at home, and the away games of this leg were/will be Chivas, New England, Toronto, and Vancouver. I don’t think Dallas are as bad as some of their detractors think, or that there’s another team more deserving for the top spot, just that they’ve had a gift of a start. If I were a Red Bulls fan (only 2 of first 7 games were played at home) I’d probably be a little pissed.

    • boosted335 says:

      they actually havent been playing as good as their record indicates….im talking possession and attacking movement. With that said they lead the league in clean sheets AND scoring! My point is they may not be that good….they’re probably better

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I don’t know if Dallas is #1 after the dust settles, but I actually think they belong up pretty high. Dallas was my dark horse coming into the season based on acquiring Cooper and Hassli (in addition to Perez). There are some creme puffs on the schedule so far, but they have not lost in a month and a half, and have also beaten Houston and LAG, the two finalists.

      I do think Dallas is vulnerable on defense.

      • boosted335 says:

        Id be shocked if its Dallas’ defense that sees them slip. Id be pleasantly suprised if Hassli or Cooper make a significan impact on the field. We are very different people lol….regardless FCD is good. Im happy