SBI MLS Power Rankings (Week Two)

Kyle Beckerman

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN ITEL

It may have been a disappointing result for Real Salt Lake, considering they conceded a stoppage time goal that led to a  3-3 draw on the road against the San Jose Earthquakes, but a point at Buck Shaw Stadium is never anything to scoff at.

The thrilling finish, at a place where San Jose remain unbeaten in 21 straight matches, was enough to keep the defending MLS Cup runners up atop the Week 2 SBI MLS Power Rankings.

The Houston Dynamo made another jump after becoming the only MLS team to win their first two games. And they continued to impress in doing so, with another clean sheet and Will Bruin’s third goal of the season in a 1-0 win over the Montreal Impact.

Toronto FC’s 2014 debut saw them impress in a convincing road victory against Seattle, with Jermain Defoe’s first-half brace keying a 2-1 victory and serving notice that the big spending by TFC this winter was money well spent.

Here are the SBI Power Rankings, as voted on by the SBI editorial staff:

SBI MLS Power Rankings (Week 2)

1. (Last Week-1) REAL SALT LAKE (1-0-1)

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OUTLOOK- RSL followed up an impressive 1-0 road victory against the LA Galaxy with a roller coaster 3-3 draw at San Jose. Kyle Beckerman’s goal vs. San Jose was pure class and Nick Rimando is in fine form, but the defense needs to tighten up, especially late in games.

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2. (6) HOUSTON DYNAMO (2-0)

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OUTLOOK- The Houston Dynamo were counting on continuity and improvement from last year heading into 2014 and two games into the season, they’re receiving better than expected results. Will Bruin scored for the second straight game and Ricardo Clark, Oscar Boniek Garcia, and Brad Davis have dominated the midfield.
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3. (10) TORONTO FC (1-0)

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OUTLOOK- Plenty of expectations are being heaped on the high-priced stars of Toronto FC early this season and in their first game, at Seattle, they most definitely lived up to the hype. Jermain Defoe scored two, goal-scorers goals, Michael Bradley bossed the midfield, and TFC looked the better team, even on the bad turf in Seattle.
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4. (5) LOS ANGELES GALAXY (0-1)

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OUTLOOK- The Galaxy had a bye in MLS Week 2 as they prepared for their CONCACAF Champions League return leg in Tijuana. Following a shaky defensive performance from Bruce Arena’s team, the LA Galaxy manager may shake up the lineup a bit in a rematch against Real Salt Lake.
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5. (8) PHILADELPHIA UNION (1-0-1)

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OUTLOOK- It’s obviously still very early in the season but the Union’s brand-new midfield are getting fans excited for this season. The acquisitions of Maurice Edu, Vincent Nogueira, and Cristian Maidana have played very well early on, but it was the fan favorite Sebastian Le Toux who put the finishing touch on the Union’s 1-0 victory last Saturday. The undefeated record so far is a good sign for the team’s future.
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6. (6) SEATTLE SOUNDERS (1-1)

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OUTLOOK- It’s a little bit worrying that the Sounders, with so much money invested in Designated Players Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins, have scored just two goals in two games, both at home. The Sounders defense on the other hand is aging, and Djimi Traore was absolutely helpless to try and stop Jermain Defoe in the first half last Saturday.
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7. (4) SPORTING KANSAS CITY (0-1-1)

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OUTLOOK- In the middle of a brutal five-games-in-15-days stretch, Sporting KC haven’t gotten off to the start they expected, though the final score isn’t indicative of the results. With key players being rested for CONCACAF Champions League games, Sporting has dropped points this year due to defensive errors off of set pieces. Once Peter Vermes has his regular back line all starting together, expect this team to rocket back up the power rankings.
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8. (3) PORTLAND TIMBERS (0-0-2)

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OUTLOOK- Two rainy home games, two come-from-behind draws. The Timbers and Caleb Porter have struggled to play their distinctive style against both the Philadelphia Union and the Chicago Fire, and only Gaston Fernandez has been there to save the Timbers from dropping even more points. Max Urruti is running out of time to make an impact up top, especially with other options available.
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9. (7) VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (1-0-1)

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OUTLOOK- Following a superb performance against the New York Red Bulls at home, the Whitecaps couldn’t find that same energy or rhythm at the StubHub Center last Sunday. Sure, it was unseasonably warm, but the Whitecaps looked lost in the heat against a ten-man Chivas USA team. Carl Robinson may want to start Kekuta Manneh from now on, though Darren Mattocks did show plenty of desire to win the ball and attack the goal in the game.
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10. (12) FC DALLAS (1-0-1)

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OUTLOOK- FC Dallas could have counted themselves lucky to face the Montreal Impact without Andres Romero, Nelson Rivas, and Marco Di Vaio in week one, but they put together a solid performance last Saturday at Sporting Kansas City. Matt Hedges, the goal scorer, continues to grow and should be counted on all year to be a big presence in the box at both ends of the field.
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11. (9)  NEW YORK RED BULLS (0-1-1)

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OUTLOOK- The Red Bulls rebounded from their embarrassing defeat in Vancouver with a better performance at home against the Colorado Rapids, though it’s easy to see that the Red Bulls are far from match fit. Head coach Mike Petke made more changes in the midfield and it’s clear that the chemistry is just slightly off. Petke said that the team is working more this week on being more creative with the ball to open space for teammates.
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12. (13) COLUMBUS CREW (1-0)

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OUTLOOK- The Crew had a bye week in Week 2 and have had plenty of time to continue to practice and fully understand head coach Gregg Berhalter’s tactics. The Crew looked very strong at D.C. United in Week 1 and fans are expecting a similar performance in their home opener this Saturday vs. the Union.
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13. (16)  CHIVAS USA (1-0-1)

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OUTLOOK- Chivas USA may be the butt of many league jokes but the club looks much more organized since Wilmer Cabrera has taken charge. Chivas USA looked the better team against Vancouver and should be happy to take a point off the Whitecaps.

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14. (14) COLORADO RAPIDS (0-0-1)

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OUTLOOK- The Rapids should be delighted to have come away with a point from Red Bull Arena, even if it was in controversial circumstances. John Berner was solid in his MLS and professional debut, though the Rapids need to work on finding a replacement for Hendry Thomas in defensive midfield. Marvell Wynne’s speed is a huge asset on recovery runs.
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15.  SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (0-0-1)

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OUTLOOK- The Earthquakes showed tremendous fight and passion to score in the fifth minute in extra time against last year’s MLS Cup finalists. Victor Bernardez scored twice but his team also conceded three times. It’s a good sign though that Chris Wondolowski has started his season off with a goal.
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16. (11) NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (0-2)

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OUTLOOK- One of the most exciting teams from last season has put up a couple of goose eggs in their first two matches. Without Jose Goncalves, the defense is lacking their big, powerful presence. Diego Fagundez has started his season slow too, having a number of chances but failing to score.
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17. (19) CHICAGO FIRE (0-1-1)

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OUTLOOK- The Fire deserve credit for toughing out a draw in Portland but they haven’t looked up to the test so far this year. Patrick Nyarko’s red card after coming on as a substitute doesn’t help the team at all.
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18. (17) MONTREAL IMPACT (0-2)

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OUTLOOK- Still missing Marco Di Vaio, the Impact fell for the second week in a row against the Houston Dynamo. After making almost no changes during the offseason, Frank Klopas has a difficult task of squeezing anything more out of this aging squad.
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19. (18) D.C. UNITED (0-1)

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OUTLOOK- D.C. United are probably thankful for the off week after a poor performance in their home opener. Ben Olsen is also hoping that his new signings are melding together better than in Week 1.
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What do you think of this week’s power rankings? Do you think any team is ranked too high? Any too low?

Share your thoughts below.

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34 Responses to SBI MLS Power Rankings (Week Two)

  1. Bean says:

    Felipe, and Bernardello seem to be very good players that at times can dominate the midfield. Montreal may still do good this season if those two can see the pitch regularly.

  2. Expat4455 says:

    Sorry, I would put Toronto at the top of the list.

    • MLSfan says:

      I’m a TFC fan but I don’t think 1 win puts us there.
      Give it a few weeks.

    • divers suck says:

      Full props to Toronto, they fully deserved the 3 points against Seattle. It has to be said that while Michael Bradley, indeed, bossed the midfield. It was only in the 1st half and aided by the maddening play by Seattle, most notably the art of gift giving compliments of Marco Pappa, who was responsible for Defoe’s game winner.
      In the second half, MB (or anyone else on TFC) was hardly bossing anything as Alonso and Pineda completely took over in the midfield and in reality, TFC was lucky to come away with their 3 points in the end and full props to their D.

  3. Expat4455 says:

    A little off-thread, but I can’t hold it back. There are so many Americans who strongly believe that America would be the best soccer nation in the world if only the best athletes chose soccer over american football or basketball. I believe this common wisdom is completely, totally, wrong!

    As evidence to why I can say this may I please present this. Which player in MLS was named “player of the week”? Answer: Jermaine Defoe. Defoe is 5′ 5 1/2″ tall and weighs maybe 140 lbs.. Please, all you who say the best American athletes choose football or basketball tell me, what chance would Defoe have to play in the NBA or the NFL?

    • Bean says:

      Just imagine Terrell Davis, or Moss playing association football from birth. They would possibly have the touch, vision, and athleticism to do well. It’s all about development, but a couple of the best players in the world are short, small Argentines. ( Maradona, Messi)

      • Expat4455 says:

        and Lahm, Ribery and on and on.

      • The Other Jeff says:

        This idea that there is a universal metric for “best athlete” has no basis in sport science. Different sports have different needs. Different sizes, different compositions of fast and slow twitch muscles, different mixes of aerobic and anaerobic capacity, and above all different mental makeups and motivations. Terrell Davis and Randy Moss chose the sport in which they have the most success, the flip side of which is, they would more likely than not be less successful in anything else. Especially soccer.

      • alex says:

        Agreed with the original author, the notion is misplaced.

        The ball is on the ground and your skill development and understanding of the game trumps whatever it is you have athletically. Spain is a vastly inferior team when you look at them based on their athletic stock.

    • Hogatroge says:

      Add to that players like Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose (uninjured), James Harden, Steph Curry, etc.

      • Expat4455 says:

        I really question whether Kobe, Rose, Harden, Davis, Moss etc. would, even if they played soccer from the age of 5, become world-class soccer players.

        Soccer demands so much more than basketball or american football

    • dan says:

      The black race has the best athletes, yet no African country is a soccer power. Athleticism isn’t enough in soccer. It help in some positions but not enough.

    • divers suck says:

      I’d imagine if the USA had the choice of Soccer, Criquet and Rugby as their top sports of choice (with baseball, basketball and football not included in the mix), they’d most definitely be in the top 5 in the world every year and World Cup. If American children grew up playing soccer in the streets, parks, beaches etc. etc. in the same way as Brazilian kids do in the favelas, parks, beaches etc. of their country, why wouldn’t they be just as skilled? Your name pretty much gives it away that you are somewhat biased against Americans though, as your OP indicates.

      • Expat4455 says:

        I don’t know if u will read this divers suck, but here goes anyway.

        Your reply concerning my comment is quite off the mark. I only made a single point, which can be seen in my first comment on the subject above. Now, I completely agree with you, if american kids grew up playing pick-up soccer in parks, vacant lots, where ever , and this is important, the kids also had soccer roll models to look up to, then yes, I also believe America would be, as you say, in the top 5. I would also add, even if baseball, basketball and american football were still in the mix.

        The soccer athletes are there, heck, just go to any 4th-6th grade rech. program. But, the good ones, the ones who never stop, never even slow down, and quickly develop a feel for the game have no where to go once they get older (see next paragraph). They are too small for basketball or football. Oh, some may play those sports in high-school but mostly that’s it for them in sports.

        I very recently moved back to the U.S. after living abroad for a long time. Because of my love of soccer and having some free time at my age I thought I would get involved somehow in youth soccer. (The metro area has maybe 1.5 – 2 million people). There is a program for kids aged 8 and up for good year-round soccer play. They have excellent facilities, even indoors. They pretty much are it in the area.

        I visited with them 2 weeks ago, met with the coaching director, and here is what I found out. They are a business, (the parent/s of an 8 yr. old must pay around $2000.00/yr., not including travel, etc.). They are interested in developing good soccer players, but only from their player pool. The business model for soccer development in the USA will not work. We need something else.

        That is the main reason I am so happy Julian Green just declared. I believe he could be what our young kids need. A soccer hero they can look up to. We will see.

  4. Expat4455 says:

    btw Bean, did you read the article in the London Daily Mail on Steven Gerrard talking about his coach? If u didn’t u should check it out.

    Dang, but I do believe Liverpool will make a great run at it in the next 9 matches.

    • Bean says:

      I haven’t read it yet, but thank you for pointing it out.

      It seems that part of the issue of consistency, especially on the defensive side of the ball, has been ironed out for now. Some of the injured players are coming back, which is great. If all stay healthy I expect around 19 more points by the end of the campaign, but they could possibly do better. I’m still just hoping for a UCL spot, but a title run may be possible.

      • Expat4455 says:

        just wait ’til you read it. I will give u a preview. Gerrard: “I have been absolutely blown away by his sessions, his tactics and his maturity in the job and I am learning from him every single day”.

      • Expat4455 says:

        What? 19 points! My minimum prediction is more than that

        • Bean says:

          19 points are what I expect, but any more points would be great, and likely, I’d think.

          • Expat4455 says:

            Of course Bean, I understand, you have been a Liverpool fan for a long time. I have never been interested in the Premier. Only Bundesliga, La Liga and Serie A for me. But I went to a local soccer bar on boxing day, watched liverpool score first then lose 2:1 to City. the owner is a big liverpool fan and he was happy I was rooting for Liverpool.

            Anyway, as I was walking I said I think Liverpool played good, they could have won. He said, maybe we can finish 4th. I said, don’t worry, they will be in it all the way.

            Now guess what, I watch the Premier League too. And I am a big Liverpool fan. Until next year and the play Bayern in CL.

            • Bean says:

              I’m glad to hear it. It’s hard to not like Liverpool’s style this season, with their forwards in such high form. It may be a very exciting ending to the season this spring!

  5. Sounders says:

    Dan Itel, Timbers beat writer. If Sounders have so many problems, why bother ranking them #6? LOL.

  6. Travis says:

    Sounders actually played a decent game and created a lot of chances, especially in the second half. TFC just made the most of the mistakes Seattle made and punished them for it. This writer makes it seem like the team is atrocious and falling apart at the seams. The defense is aging? Their RB and LB last week are 20 and 23 respectively I believe, yes the CBs are older but stop the nonsense. Although I would be interested to see how Anibaba combos with Marshall, would like a bit more athleticism at CB.

    • Travis (S.) says:

      When I read that comment I thought the same thing, and Marshall is only 29 (which for a defender is not bad).

    • The Other Jeff says:

      The thing that Sounders fans should be more concerned about than goals for or goals against is, the TFC game continued a years-long pattern of starting big games not mentally ready, falling behind, then playing heroically to try to catch up. They contained Defoe pretty well once they woke up, the problem really wasn’t that they couldn’t but that they weren’t ready to when the game began.

      • Sounders says:

        Except most of the damage happened when Evans was down. Sounders started 1st 20 minutes in control. Not buying your take, OJ.

    • James says:

      +1
      This is going to sound crazy, seeing as he scored two goals, but I really didn’t think Defoe “tormented” the defense. His first goal was a clever run/pass – the defense was sloppy and he punished them for it. The second was 100% on Papa for his back pass. Both were clinical finishing, no doubt, but I don’t recall him creating chance after chance for himself. Just finishing ruthlessly on his two chances.

    • divers suck says:

      I agree and apologize for echoing all of your points before reading down here in this thread. Jermaine Defoe’s goals, while impressive, in reality both were soccer 101 finishes gifted to them by the Seattle defense/midfield, notably Pappa on #2. And it is extremely frustrating that it takes the adversity of a goal (or 2) against for the Sounders to step up their game….Full credit to their dominating second half, but too little too late in lieu of their miserable first half.

  7. swift says:

    So the Quakes play to a 3-3 tie after a champions game 4 days before and missing to starters on defense and you put them at 15th? Please send me what your smoking, it must be real good!