SBI MLS Power Rankings (Week Three)

JermainDefoeTFC1-DCUnited2014 (USATodaySports)

By DAN KARELL

Toronto FC are finally living up to their fans’ expectations.

After the busy and high-spending offseason, TFC have won their first two games of the season, including a 1-0 victory last Saturday with all three Designated Players, Michael Bradley, Gilberto, and goal-scorer Jermain Defoe, playing key roles in the build-up to the goal. TFC’s early-season form has jumped them to the top spot of the SBI MLS Power Rankings.

Both Sporting Kansas City and the Seattle Sounders jumped up places in the top 10 but the biggest movers were the Columbus Crew, moving up to No. 7 following a gritty 2-1 win against the Philadelphia Union.

The Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps each dropped out of the top 10 as well, while the Montreal Impact and D.C. United remained in the bottom two places in this week’s SBI MLS Power Rankings.

Here are the SBI MLS Power Rankings for Week 3 (as voted on by SBI staff):

SBI MLS Power Rankings (Week 3)

1. (Last Week- 3) TORONTO FC (2-0)

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OUTLOOK- It’s no fluke that Toronto FC are off to the best start in franchise history. With Michael Bradley bossing the midfield and Gilberto and Jermain Defoe striking terror into the hearts of the defense, TFC are proving to be one of, if not the, best team in MLS at this moment.
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2. (2) HOUSTON DYNAMO (2-0)

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OUTLOOK- The Dynamo remain in the No. 2 spot after a bye week, which they’ve used to help Tony Cascio and Ricardo Clark overcome some early injuries. The bye came at a bad time for Will Bruin, who scored three goals in the first two games of the year.
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3. (1) REAL SALT LAKE (1-0-2)

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OUTLOOK- Real Salt Lake are still searching for their top form but they’ll be content with a 1-1 draw with the LA Galaxy. The loss of Joao Plata for two to three weeks hurts in the short term.

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4. (4) LOS ANGELES GALAXY (0-1-1)

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OUTLOOK- The Galaxy rebounded from an early season defeat to Real Salt Lake and a midweek disaster against Club Tijuana with a defensively stout result at RSL. With the league now the main priority, Bruce Arena will be counting on Omar Gonzalez and Leonardo to hit stride quickly.
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5. (6) SEATTLE SOUNDERS (2-1)

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OUTLOOK- The Sounders couldn’t have asked for a better time to face the Impact than Sunday, where they won comprehensively, 2-0. Having Obafemi Martins back on the scoresheet is huge and they’ll take a bit more confidence back home to Seattle.
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6. (7) SPORTING KANSAS CITY (1-1-1)

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OUTLOOK- Sporting KC rebounded from their CONCACAF Champions League collapse midweek with their first league victory of the season against the San Jose Earthquakes. Even with Matt Besler on the bench, Ike Opara and Aurelien Collin held down the fort in defense to help the team to a clean sheet.
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7. (12) COLUMBUS CREW (2-0)

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OUTLOOK- The Crew continue to impress, topping their opening victory at D.C. United with a hard-fought three points at home against the much-improved Philadelphia Union. While Bernardo Anor scored both goals, Michael Parkhurst and Giancarlo Gonzalez have been terrific in central defense and Steve Clark has been strong in goal too.
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8. (5) PHILADELPHIA UNION (1-1-1)

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OUTLOOK- The Union are on the precipice of turning into one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. The new-look midfield continues to impress but John Hackworth’s team have given up stoppage-time goals in the last two games.
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9. (10) FC DALLAS (2-0-1)

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OUTLOOK- FC Dallas put Chivas USA back in their place when they visited Toyota Stadium on Saturday. Mauro Diaz continues to be the heartbeat of the FC Dallas midfield and a healthy Michel only helps on set pieces.
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10. (14) COLORADO RAPIDS (1-0-1)

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OUTLOOK- Much like the Portland Timbers last year under a first-year MLS coach, the Rapids have continued to defy the odds, this time defeating 10-man Portland at home, 2-0. Moving Marvell Wynne to center back and having Shane O’Neill at right back could be a masterclass move by head coach Pablo Mastroeni.
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11. (9) VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (1-0-2)

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OUTLOOK- For the second week in a row, the Whitecaps struggled mightily to break down an opposing defense on the road. Recent results are starting to make their 4-1 thrashing of the Red Bulls look like a fluke. Losing Nigel Reo-Coker doesn’t help the team either, though Pedro Morales should return to the starting lineup.
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12. (8) PORTLAND TIMBERS (0-1-2)

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OUTLOOK- The Timbers have been the league’s most underachieving team so far this season as they still look for their first win of the year. Gaston Fernandez is still learning and the front three of Darlington Nagbe, Steve Zakuani, and Fernandez didn’t look particularly dangerous in Colorado. Caleb Porter is hoping that changes this Saturday in Dallas will make the difference.
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13. (11)  NEW YORK RED BULLS (0-1-2)

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OUTLOOK- The Red Bulls are no strangers to slow starts but they could call themselves lucky to leave Toyota Park with a point. Tim Cahill is ill suited to play as a lone striker with Thierry Henry drifting in midfield to start the attack, and it affects the team across the park as Eric Alexander struggles to play alongside Dax McCarty in the center.
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14. (15)  SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (0-1-1)

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OUTLOOK- The Earthquakes had a couple of chances to score against Sporting KC last Saturday but not many teams leave Sporting Park with points so it’s not indicative of their play. However, it remains to be seen if the Earthquakes have enough attacking talent to pick the team up and win some more games this season. A healthy Alan Gordon would help.
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15. (13)  CHIVAS USA (1-1-1)

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OUTLOOK- Chivas USA followed up their impressive draw with a comprehensive defeat on the road. Eriq Zavaleta, making his first MLS start, and as a defender no less, struggled predictably alongside Carlos Bocanegra in the second half. Chivas just doesn’t have enough attacking talent to overcome their defensive deficiencies.

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16. (17) CHICAGO FIRE (0-1-2)

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OUTLOOK- An aging Fire team has done just enough to get results early on, but not enough to grab a game by the scruff of the neck. Mike Magee’s return from injury should help up top moving forward but the team still lacks goal-scoring depth through the squad.
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17. (16) NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (0-2-1)

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OUTLOOK- The Revolution followed up a poor showing at PPL Park with an even poorer match at home last Saturday against the Vancouver Whitecaps. Jose Goncalves returned to the squad which should give them a boost but Diego Fagundez, Kelyn Rowe, and Lee Nguyen have been misfiring early on.
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18. (18) MONTREAL IMPACT (0-3)

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OUTLOOK- Not much is looking up for the aging Impact, who can’t seem to win without Marco Di Vaio out on the field. Di Vaio returns this week but the Impact are in desperate need of some signings to improve their squad.
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19. (19) D.C. UNITED (0-2)

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OUTLOOK- For the second straight game, D.C. United struggled to muster up many chances offensively and only thanks to Bill Hamid did the game stay as close as it was. D.C. United have a huge opportunity this Saturday to prove that the first two games of the season were an anomaly and that the team is actually improving on the field.
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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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35 Responses to SBI MLS Power Rankings (Week Three)

  1. John Lowe says:

    It’s still too early in the season to have any ture idea where teams rank, but power ranking are fun anyway. Can’t say I agree with you on a lot of this but good job and thanks for taking the time.

    • Increase0 says:

      I feel like Dallas is low but… then again. SKC is like 2 slots above them and they drew. Sooo you are pretty much right. There is no way to know strength except for maybe Houston as they seem are almost boringly consistent.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        Our rough period will be this spring/ summer when Garcia will be with Honduras, and I could see some out of Davis, Hall, Clark, and Bruin getting called to US camp but maybe only Davis goes to Brazil.

        We also need to stay healthy up front and in the back because quality depth is an issue. I’ll be interested if anything happens this summer to address the issues. I expect Lopez to get shed at some point because he makes $200K and sits without many flashes of excellence.

    • Hogatroge says:

      Power rankings are a dynamic thing. It’s never too early for them as it reflects the situation in the here & now.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        I think it’s useful from historical and accountability perspectives to see how a team’s fortunes change over time.

        In fairness, though, the Dynamo have often used the championship year(s) Rockets’ approach of cruising into mediocre playoff position with a veteran team, being inactive in the offseason, instead making summer moves, then trying to flip the switch in the playoffs with some success (though not the ultimate variety recently).

        The key thing right now is don’t get people hurt and stay with the pack. You look at some teams that missed the playoffs last season after starting out slow then going on a run, and it does matter if you hand away too many points right now.

        FWIW, there is also some history of teams like Nowak’s old DC sides that used to come out of the chute fast because they were drilled to a “T” but by October they were toast because their legs were gone.

  2. Ian says:

    Wow, hats off to Toronto. It’s “SBI official”: TFC are genuinely good.

    Galaxy are too high. I say that as a Galaxy fan. They’re middling at best. And with the loss of Riley, we’re stuck with Dan Gargan at right back. Bruce Arena has made some terrible personnel decisions of late.

    • Dave says:

      Your better off without Riley? (speaking as a DC fan)

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      The issue I see with TFS is how they might handle Defoe, Bradley, and Julio Cesar all potentially being called up. It’s an improved team but a lot of that owes to their handful of marquee players. But this is obviously TFC’s best chance at the playoffs in years.

  3. MLSsnob says:

    I can’t wait for miami to join the league so I won’t have to root for the cheap Fire. I’m so sick of the nickel and dimeing.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I realize that the league has for legal and marketing reasons triggered Beckham’s option and started that ball rolling, giving it a college try. But renderings aside I will believe that franchise exists when the stadium is funded and shovels start going. Until then you’re talking about a theoretical 2017 team that may or may not come to pass.

  4. MLSfan says:

    TFC!!!!!!!!

  5. KC Gunner says:

    regarding the Quakes, you give them a pass because “not many teams leave Sporting Park with points,” but Sporting KC drew 3 and lost 5 at home in 2013. Home form was 5th best in Eastern Conference. SKC took 30 points at home out of 51 available, and took 28 on the road out of 51 available. Seems SP isn’t the fortress you think and therefore maybe the Quakes should be scored more stringently for not taking their chances at SP…

    • Hogatroge says:

      Agreed. If Wondo doesn’t blow that open goal, SKC are getting docked this week for giving up points to a mid-tier team.

  6. Bean says:

    TFC look to be right to me, and if the Dynamo can win in Canada this Saturday, then they need to stay in 2nd.

    • Hogatroge says:

      The game @ Vancouver will say a lot about Houston’s upcoming season.

      They are traditionally bad on the road and AWFUL in Canada.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        I expect some schizophrenia on that this season, as we have typically struggled on bigger road pitches with our slow, methodical team. We may still have issues with defensive mobility but I think if Cummings is healthy we have a faster attack for the bigger fields.

  7. kyle says:

    not to nitpick, but philly did not give up stoppage time goals in the last two games.

  8. Chris2 says:

    DCU ranked too high.

    • Nic D "The TX 2 Stepper" says:

      FUNNY! Because it’s TRUE!

    • Travis in Miami says:

      Could be fun once NASL and USL are playing to include them in a US Pro Soccer Power Ranking… Where would NY Cosmos or Orlando be in relation to some MLS teams?

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        The compelling issue in DC is how long Olsen stays around.

        But if you compare DC’s roster to OC or Cosmos it’s not really a comparison on paper. I’d be interested how a game would come out with one side motivated and the other depressed, but it’s kind of like the people who think some NCAA team would be better than the Houston Texans, any given Sunday aside, you’re not acknowleging the big gap in talent between MLS and the minors.

  9. C C says:

    2 wins and a draw gets you…. 9th?

  10. Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

    Wow, so much to disagree with. Here are the two glaring ones.

    Toronto is NOT the best team in the league and should not be number 1 in the power rankings.
    Enjoy while you can TFC fans. They are a good team, but not at the great status.

    LA at 4? Are you kidding me. Riley at RB is now his replacement at RB. OG keeps making mistakes. 98% of the way to a great game isn’t good enough.

  11. T P says:

    In what way are the Fire “aging”

    • Front Row says:

      It starts with having to many birthdays. :)

      But really, I agree with the ageing comment. The Fire have a lot of young players that started the third game.

  12. divers suck says:

    Easy Ives! While an way win vs Seattle was impressive and MB did boss the midfield in the first half of that game (not the second), and a 1 nil home win vs. lowly DC United is far too early and incomplete to start anointing them MLS Cup winners or MLS version of Barcelona….

  13. Dace says:

    Whoa Ives, FCD only goes up one spot?! MLSsoccer.net has us in first, SUCCUMB TO THE PEER PRESSURE!

    I get it…you want to make sure it’s not a flash-in-the-pan run of good form and next week will be the big jump…I gotchya.

  14. RB says:

    “Gaston Fernandez is still learning and the front three of Darlington Nagbe, Steve Zakuani, and Fernandez didn’t look particularly dangerous in Colorado…”

    …unless maybe you were the AR whose arm kept popping up on them in that first half. I think it may have been 7 times. In that respect, it was like watching a U11 game…

  15. buffusion says:

    TFC’s goals haven’t exactly been brilliant, not that different from the start to 2013, just bigger names preying on poor defense. Didn’t catch the DC match, but Seattle DOMINATED the second half of that match. Teams, specifically the 7th place Crew, have been far more effective with fewer marquee players. Trounced DC away and held up against Philly and scored 4 neat run-of-play goals. Bring on the Trillium Cup! (as if anyone else cares….)

  16. Scott says:

    I’m a TFC fan, but I think it’s premature to have us at the top of the power rankings. We played a solid counter-attacking away game against Seattle, and could have destroyed DC 3-0 or 4-0 if Defoe had managed to bag more than one of his golden opportunities (not complaining!). However, I think DC are in for another 3 win season, judging by what I saw.

    So does one solid win against a pretty good team give us the best form in the league right now? Questionable. If we manage to eke out a win in Salt Lake City this week, then I might be more amiable to it.

    Of course, all of this hesitation might just be the emotionally abused TFC fan in me, who is scared and confused about having a good team this year.

  17. Fuegofan says:

    “An aging Fire team”? Average age of the players on Sunday: 25.3. Average age of the players on the whole team: 25.6. Number of players on Sunday 30 or over? One-Larentowicz. I’ll grant that Hurtado, McGee, and Watson are all 29, but this is hardly Ancelotti’s AC Milan or last year’s Montreal Impact we’re talking about here.

    • T P says:

      Right?

      I don’t have that much of a problem with where the Fire ended up in the power rankings. But to say they are ageing is just lazy.

      The team that started the game against Chivas could be called “ageing,” so chances are whoever wrote this up didn’t bother to check the 11 that played the other two games…sloppy.