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The Seattle Sounders are learning just how tough MLS can be, while three previously winless teams finally tasted victory.
Those were just some of the storylines from MLS Week Five as New York, Houston and FC Dallas all registered their first victories of the season. Seattle lost its second straight, and failed to score in a second straight match, in losing to Chivas USA. No reason to panic just yet Seattle fans, you simply hit a tough part of your schedule.
Chivas USA removed any doubts about whether it deserves the top spot in the SBI MLS Power Rankings with its thorough victory vs. Seattle this weekend. Preki's newcomers, from Eduardo Lillingston to Bojan Stepanovic and now to Chukwudi Chinjindu, are all contributing and the Goats look very good right now.
Here is how this week's SBI ML Power Rankings shook out:
SBI MLS Power Rankings (Week 5)
1. Chivas USA (4-0-1)
Last Week: Beat Seattle Sounders, 2-0, on Saturday.
This Week: at Toronto FC on Wednesday (7:30pm, Direct Kick), vs. FC Dallas on Saturday (Direct Kick, 10:30pm)
Outlook: The Goats are the best team in the league and their newcomers are producing stellar performances. Preki's off-season signings have really come through and suddenly Chivas USA boasts depth and a well-balanced squad. Zach Thornton has quietly put together a strong season to help address one of the team's biggest concerns heading into this season.
2. Chicago Fire (2-0-3)
Last Week: Tied Kansas City Wizards, 2-2, on Saturday.
This Week: at Columbus Crew on Saturday (7pm, Fox Soccer Channel)
Outlook: The Fire played well enough to run away with Saturday's match vs. KC, but poor finishing cost Chicago, which will be in for a tough test against a rested and health Crew team still searching for its first win.
3. New England Revolution (2-0-2)
Last Week: Tied D.C. United, 1-1, on Friday.
This Week: at Real Salt Lake on Saturday (9pm, Direct Kick)
Outlook: Losing a lead in the 90th minute is tough to swallow but the Revs still came away with a road point against a tough opponent. Brad Knighton has been a revelation for New England, filling in admirably for injured starter Matt Reis.
4. Seattle Sounders (3-2)
Last Week: Lost to Chivas USA, 2-0, on Saturday.
This Week: vs.San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday (10:30pm, Direct Kick).
Outlook: Not having Kasey Keller certainly hurt the Sounders, but Keller's absence isn't why Seattle has failed to score in two straight matches. With defenses paying more and more attention to Fredy Montero, Nate Jaqua is going to have to step up and start taking avantage of the space and opportunities he's being given.
5. Kansas City Wizards (2-2-1)
Last Week: Tied Chicago Fire, 2-2, on Saturday.
This Week: vs. New York Red Bulls on Thursday (8pm, ESPN2), at Toronto FC on Sunday (5pm, Direct Kick).
Outlook: Showed tremendous heart in fighting back from two goals down on the road, but the Wizards gave up a ton of chances. Kevin Hartman came through in a big way, as did Josh Wolff, who is playing his best soccer since coming back to MLS. KC will have a chance to show off its depth with two games in four days this week.
6. Real Salt Lake (2-2)
Last Week: Lost to New York Red Bulls, 2-0, on Saturday.
This Week: vs. New England Revolution on Saturday (9pm, Direct Kick)
Outlook: Came out extremely flat vs. New York and defense just looked incapable of dealing with Macoumba Kandji. Not having Jamison Olave didn't help, but the midfield was outworked, something that doesn't tend to happen to RSL.
7. Colorado Rapids (2-2-1)
Last Week: Lost to Houston Dynamo, 1-0, on Saturday.
This Week: vs. Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday (9:30pm, Direct Kick)
Outlook: The Rapids' over-reliance on Conor Casey proved costly as no other Rapids could step up to deliver a goal vs. Houston. Omar Cummings continues to look dangerous at times, but neither he or the Rapids midfield is doing much to instill fear in opposing defenses. Colorado will have a chance to get its attack going against LA, which it has already beaten this year (3-2 on April 4th).
8. D.C. United (1-1-3)
Last Week: Tied New England, 1-1, on Friday.
This Week: at New York Red Bulls on Sunday (3pm, Telefutura).
Outlook: The simplest stat to consider is this one: D.C. is unbeaten this season when Ben Olsen plays. Okay, so maybe four games isn't much of a sample size, but it is clear that D.C. plays with more determination and effort when Olsen is on the field. Now if only the attack could finish more of its chances.
9. New York Red Bulls (1-2-2)
Last Week: Beat Real Salt Lake, 2-0, on Saturday.
This Week: at Kansas City on Thursday (8pm, ESPN2), vs. D.C. United on Sunday (3pm, Telefutura).
Outlook: A complete and thoroughly impressive performance against Real Salt Lake has fans in NY/NJ optimistic again. The Red Bulls squad on Saturday was closer to the full team than we have seen all season, so the victory shouldn't be written off as a fluke. We will see just how far the Red Bulls are with a tough pair of games this week.
10. Houston Dynamo (1-2-2)
Last Week: Beat Colorado Rapids, 1-0, on Sunday.
This Week: Bye
Outlook: The Dynamo defense has found its form with two straight shutouts, but the Dynamo attack continues to struggle with creating multiple scoring chances. The bye week should allos Houston to integrate Ade Akinbiyi into the attack.
11. San Jose Earthquakes (1-2-2)
Last Week: Tied Los Angeles Galaxy, 1-1, on Saturday.
This Week: at Seattle Sounders FC (10:30pm, Direct Kick)
Outlook: The San Jose offense remains inconsistent even as the defense shows signs of improvement. Dropping points at home is becoming a habit for the Earthquakes who will face a Seattle squad eager to snap a two-game losing streak.
12. Columbus Crew (0-2-3)
Last Week: Bye
This Week: vs. Chicago Fire on Saturday (7pm, Fox Soccer Channel)
Outlook: The bye week should only help a Crew team that was beginning to show flashes before going on its bye.
13. FC Dallas (1-3-1)
Last Week: Beat Toronto FC, 3-2, on Sunday.
This Week: at Chivas USA on Saturday (10:30pm, Direct Kick).
Outlook: The Hoops offense looked extremely dangerous on Sunday, but the defense continues to leak goals. Four points from two games is something to build on, but road trip to face unbeaten Chivas USA could be too tough to handle.
14. Toronto FC (1-2-2)
Last Week: Lost to FC Dallas, 3-2, on Saturday.
This Week: vs. Chivas USA on Wednesday (7pm, Direct Kick), vs. Kansas City Wizards on Sunday (5pm, Direct Kick).
Outlook: This might seem like a steep drop but you can't ignore the fact that TFC has failed to win in four straight. Chad Barrett finally found the net, but a suspect TFC defense could doom Toronto to mediocrity thiseason.
15. Los Angeles Galaxy (0-1-3)
Last Week: Tied San Jose Earthquakes, 1-1, on Saturday.
This Week: at Colorado Rapids on Saturday (9:30pm, Direct Kick).
Outlook: A road draw isn't a terrible reult, but Bruce Arena's men still haven't found a victory this season. Can the Galaxy travel to Colorado and win in what is usually a tough place to play?
What do you think of this week's rankings? Share your thoughts below.