Photo by ISIphotos.com
We are just two weeks into the new season but you can almost feel the sense that there is a changing of the guard in Major League Soccer this season.
You have the expansion Seattle Sounders off to a torrid start, then you have Toronto FC starting the year off with four points from two road games. You have last year's MLS Cup finalists, Columbus and New York, combining for just three points from a combined four matches, then you have the former MLS Cup champion Houston Dynamo sitting at 0-1-1 after two weeks.
Not everything has been shaken up. The Chicago Fire keep recording points despite missing several key players from the starting lineup. New England continues to hover among the contenders despite playing rookies and new faces.
Yes, it's just two weeks into the season, but there are certainly some interesting developments early in the season.
Here is how the SBI MLS Power Rankings shook out after Week Two of the MLS season:
SBI MLS Power Rankings (Week 2)
1. Chicago Fire (1-0-1)
Last Week: tied D.C. United, 1-1, on Saturday.
This Week: vs. New York Red Bulls on Sunday (3pm, Telefutura)
Outlook: No Soumare and no Segares? No problem for the Fire, who battled a game D.C. squad for a road point. Patrick Nyarko has looked sharp through two weeks of the season. The real question is when will Cuauhtemoc Blanco and Chris Rolfe actually start a game?
2. Seattle Sounders (2-0)
Last Week: Beat Real Salt Lake, 2-0, on Saturday.
This Week: at Toronto FC on Saturday (4pm, Fox Soccer Channel)
Outlook: Tenacious defense and dynamic offense on display again as the Sounders proved too much for a RSL squad playing its first game. Seattle gets its toughest test to date on Saturday, with a road trip to Toronto in what will be a can't-miss match.
3. Toronto FC (1-0-1)
Last Week: tied Columbus Crew, 1-1, Saturday.
This Week: vs. Seattle Sounders on Saturday (4pm, Telefutura).
Outlook: Managed a road point vs. Columbus despite missing Amado Guevara and Carl Robinson. Offense struggled a bit vs. the Crew, but returning to BMO Field should provide a boost to the TFC attack.
4. New England Revolution (1-0-1)
Last Week: tied New York Red Bulls, 1-1, on Saturday.
This Week: vs. FC Dallas on Saturday (7:30pm, Direct Kick)
Outlook: Steve Nicol is weaving his magic again. The Revs have four points after two road games, and have earned those points without Taylor Twellman and Steve Ralston. Two weeks into the season Fredy Montero will get most MVP votes, but Shalrie Joseph is just as deserving.
5. Chivas USA (2-0)
Last Week: Beat FC Dallas, 2-0, on Sunday.
This Week: vs. Columbus Crew on Sunday (8pm, Direct Kick)
Outlook: Newcomers make a big impact for the Goats as new signings Eduardo Lillingston and Bojan Stepanovic deliver goals in another win. First tough test of the season awaits in the defending champion Crew, which will be coming in off a Thursday night game.
6. Columbus Crew (0-0-2)
Last Week: tied Toronto FC, 1-1, on Saturday.
This Week: at Real Salt Lake on Thursday (ESPN, 9pm), at Chivas USA on Sunday (Direct Kick).
Outlook: After scoring late equalizer in week one, the Crew give one up vs. TFC and suddenly the champions have just two points from two matches with a two-game road swing to the West Coast this week.
7. Real Salt Lake (0-1)
Last Week: Lost to Seattle, 2-0, on Saturday.
This Week: vs. Columbus Crew on Thursday (9pm, ESPN2).
Outlook: Real Salt Lake has never been good on the road, so losing at Seattle wasn't that surprising. RSL will get their chance to prove they are for real this year when they play host to Columbus.
8. San Jose Earthquakes (1-1)
Last Week: beat Houston Dynamo, 3-2, on Saturday.
This Week: at Kansas City Wizards on Sunday (3pm, Direct Kick).
Outlook: So much for that trouble finishing. The Earthquakes overwhelmed Houston's suddenly suspect defense, scoring three first-half goals. Can they do it again vs. a struggling KC team that has given up
six five goals in two games?
9. Colorado Rapids (1-1)
Last Week: Beat Kansas City, 2-1, on Saturday.
This Week: at Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday (10:30pm, Direct Kick)
Outlook: Rapids look more like the team that had so much success at home last season. Can they find a way to win on the road? Conor Casey and Omar Cummings have to be loving the match-up vs. LA.
10. Houston Dynamo (0-1-1)
Last Week: Lost to San Jose Earthquakes, 3-2, on Saturday.
This Week: at D.C. United on Saturday (7:30pm, Direct Kick).
Outlook: Houston still doesn't know what hit it in that first half vs. San Jose, when the Earthquakes rattled off three goals. The Dynamo defense looks vulnerable and Dom Kinnear better sort things out ahead of a trip to D.C. against a United squad still capable of scoring goals in bunches.
11. D.C. United (0-0-2)
Last Week: Tied the Chicago Fire, 1-1, on Saturday.
This Week: vs. Houston on Saturday (7:30pm, Direct Kick).
Outlook: D.C. hasn't played badly in its first two games, but have yet to record a win. Could Luciano Emilio get going after scoring on Saturday?
12. Los Angeles Galaxy (0-0-1)
Last Week: Bye Week
This Week: vs. Colorado Rapids (10:30pm, Direct Kick)
Outlook: A week to work out the kinks and train the rookies can't hurt LA, who can't afford to drop points at home for a second straight match.
13. New York Red Bulls (0-1-1)
Last Week: tied New England, 1-1, on Saturday.
This Week: at Chicago Fire on Sunday (3pm, Telefutura).
Outlook: Red Bulls played much better in week two than week one, but that last-minute equalizer they gave up makes the tie vs. New England feel like a loss. Help is on the way, but it may not come in time to help for their trip to Chicago, where they were mauled 5-1 in their last regular season game of 2008.
14. Kansas City Wizards (0-2)
Last Week: Lost to the Colorado Rapids, 2-1, on Saturday.
This Week: vs. San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday (3pm, Direct Kick)
Outlook: The Kansas City offense is looking like its old, toothless self again. Will Santiago Hirsig make an impact? Somebody needs to step up to spark the attack because last place in the East could become a lonely place.
15. FC Dallas (0-2)
Last Week: Lost to Chivas USA, 2-0, on Sunday.
This Week: at New England Revolution on Saturday (7:30pm, Direct Kick).
Outlook: The bad news is that FCD lost to Chivas, the worse news is that barely anyone was there to see it. Hoops have just one goal in two games, Kenny Cooper's Hail Mary vs. Chicago. Don't look for that first win to come at Gillette Stadium.
Some notes for everybody:
Yes, Seattle has been great, but until they do something on the road I can't give them the top spot.
Columbus fans will wonder why the Crew slipped to sixth. Two points from two games makes it tough to put them higher.
Chivas USA is 2-0 but the competition in those matches is why I don't have the Goats higher.
Houston fans will feel slighted with the Dynamo in 10th but losing to San Jose and having one point from two matches is why. That and the shaky look of Houston's defense.
That's all for now. What do you think of this week's rankings? Share your thoughts below.