SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 3

SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 3

SBI MLS Power Rankings

SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 3

Rapids (Getty Images)

There's a Rocky Mountain feel atop the SBI MLS Power Rankings.

After a convincing victory over D.C. United, the Colorado Rapids are off to the best start in club history and have slotted up to No. 2 behind Rocky Mountain rival Real Salt Lake.

The San Jose Earthquakes are also on the rise, taking the No. 5 spot from Philadelphia, which fell a place after a tough loss at Los Angeles.

As for a team taking the biggest tumble, FC Dallas has fallen from its perch in the preseason top five all the way down to 15th after a winless start to the 2011 campaign.

Here are this week's SBI MLS Power Rankings (as voted on by SBI staff):

SBI MLS POWER RANKINGS (WEEK 2)

1. (Last week – 1) REAL SALT LAKE (2-0-0)

RSL_Primary_COL

Last week: Idle.

This week: at New England, 7:30 p.m., Saturday.

Outlook: Much depends on the outcome of RSL's CONCACAF Champions League semifinal second leg match with Deportivo Sapissa on Tuesday. Win or lose, Salt Lake could be ripe for the picking after what is sure to be a physical and emotional match on Tuesday. Never doubt the mettle of a tested winner, though.

2. (3) COLORADO RAPIDS (3-0-0)

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Last week: Beat D.C. United, 4-1, on Saturday.

This week: at FC Dallas, 9 p.m., Friday, Fox Soccer Channel

Outlook: The defending champions are off to the best start in club history, and more importantly, they showed yet again that they can be effective if Conor Casey or Omar Cummings can't go. Casey was at less than 100 percent, and Cummings came off the bench upon his return from international duty, leaving new signing Caleb Folan to play the hero against D.C. with two goals. Based on current form, Friday's MLS Cup rematch is going to be pretty one-sided.

3. (2) NEW YORK RED BULLS (1-0-2)

NY_Primary_COL

Last week: Tied Houston, 1-1, on Saturday.

This week: at Philadelphia, 7 p.m, Saturday, ESPN2/ESPN Deportes.

Outlook: The first 45 minutes of the Dwayne De Rosario era were pretty fruitful, with the Red Bulls clicking despite having their new acquisition arrive to Red Bull Arena just hours before contributing an assist on his first touch in the team's draw with Houston. The Red Bulls-Union clash this weekend just got that much more interesting.

4. (2) LOS ANGELES GALAXY (2-1-1)

LA_Primary_COL

Last week: Beat Philadelphia, 1-0, on Saturday.

This week: at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m., Saturday.

Outlook: With Donovan Ricketts back in goal and Omar Gonzalez back in the lineup, the Galaxy reverted to its 2010 stingy ways by holding down a stout Union attack. The Galaxy's much-ballyhooed attack has yet to really get going, but D.C.'s defense will be without Perry Kitchen for the weekend's matchup.

5. (6) SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (1-1-1)

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Last week: Tied Seattle, 2-2, on Saturday.

This week: vs. Toronto FC, 10:30 p.m., Saturday.

Outlook: Well hello Khari Stephenson. The Jamaican midfielder's blast from distance to tie Seattle was one of the major talking points to come out of MLS' Week 3 and might have earned him a permanent spot in the Earthquakes' midfield. San Jose looks primed to build on its successful start as it welcomes lowly TFC to Buck Shaw Stadium.

6. (5) PHILADELPHIA UNION (2-1-0)

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Last week: Lost to Los Angeles, 1-0, on Saturday.

This week: vs. New York, 7 p.m., Saturday, ESPN2/ESPN Deportes.

Outlook: The Union fell for the first time all season but still sits atop the Eastern Conference standings after three matches. Despite having a man advantage over the Galaxy for much of the second half, Philadelphia couldn't crack L.A.'s back line but still managed to hold down the Galaxy attack. A huge early-season encounter with New York awaits on Saturday. It should be quite a scene at PPL Park.

7. (7) NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (1-0-2)

NE_Primary_COL

Last week: Tied Portland, 1-1, on Saturday.

This week: at Vancouver, 10 p.m., Wednesday; vs. Real Salt Lake, 7:30 p.m., Saturday.

Outlook: After taking an early lead, the Revolution has to feel a bit disappointed in yielding a home draw to the Timbers. Stephen McCarthy's first-career goal was impressive, though, and the Revs remain unbeaten on the season. This could be a make-or-break week early in the season, with a cross-country road test at Vancouver followed by a cross-country trip back home to face RSL.

8. (8) CHICAGO FIRE (1-0-1)

CHI_primary_COL

Last week: Idle.

This week: at Seattle, 4 p.m., Saturday.

Outlook: The Fire has to be feeling pretty good after snatching four points in its first two games, moving on in the U.S. Open Cup qualifying tournament and having a bye week to rest up. Uruguayan strikers Diego Chaves and Gaston Puerari are making a necessary immediate impact, Jalil Anibaba is on the way to reaching his rookie potential and Marco Pappa is showing flashes of his good side. Saturday's test at Qwest will be very telling about where this team really stands.

9. (13) VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (1-1-1)

WhitecapsLogo

Last week: Tied Sporting Kansas City, 3-3, on Saturday.

This week: vs. New England, 10 p.m., Wed.; at Houston, 7 p.m., Sunday, Galavision.

Outlook: The Whitecaps valiantly earned a point against Sporting Kansas City and showed that there's plenty of firepower in the team's arsenal even without Eric Hassli and Omar Salgado in the lineup. Nizar Khalfan was superb off the bench, Davide Chiumiento is a difference-maker when healthy and Camilo showed his ability to contribute up top in clutch moments. Two tough matches await this week that will put Vancouver's top-10 ranking to the test.

10. (12) SPORTING KANSAS CITY (1-1-1)

SportingKClogo

Last week: Tied Vancouver, 3-3, on Saturday.

This week: Idle.

Outlook: Eight goals scored, eight goals conceded. You can be sure that defense and late-game situations will be stressed heavily by Peter Vermes during the bye week after the team's collapse at Empire Field. That said, SKC's attack is downright frightening, especially with Teal Bunbury fully fit. Not many teams boast a four-pronged attack like SKC's Bunbury-Omar Bravo-Kei Kamara-C.J. Sapong unit.

11. (10) D.C. UNITED (1-2-0)

DCU_Primary_COL

Last week: Lost to Colorado, 4-1, on Sunday.

This week: vs. Los Angeles Galaxy, 7:30 p.m., Saturday.

Outlook: It would've been asking a lot for a short-handed D.C. side to go into Colorado and come away with a result, but United can't feel good about its overall effort, letting Folan manhandle the makeshift backline in a lopsided result. After such a promising start to the season, D.C. needs to dig deep to find a result against L.A. after consecutive losses.

T-12. (11) SEATTLE SOUNDERS (0-2-2)

SEA_Primary_COL

Last week: Tied San Jose, 2-2, on Saturday.

This week: vs. Chicago, 4 p.m., Saturday.

Outlook: Without Fredy Montero available, Seattle did well to earn a point at San Jose, although the Sounders twice blew one-goal leads. Steve Zakuani is rounding into form, though, and the worries about the team's ability to score goals have subsided for the time being. After going four games without a win, the Sounders need a home result against the Fire to save some face.

T-12. (15) COLUMBUS CREW (1-1-1)

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Last week: Beat FC Dallas, 2-0, on Friday.

This week: at Chivas USA, 10:30 p.m., Saturday.

Outlook: It took almost three full games, but the Crew finally scored in the run of play. Eddie Gaven's smooth finished put FC Dallas away, clinched the Crew's first victory of the season and provided a sense of relief and joy in a locker room that needed it.

14. (14) HOUSTON DYNAMO (0-1-2)

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Last week: Tied New York, 1-1, on Saturday.

This week: vs. Vancouver, 7 p.m., Sunday, Galavision.

Outlook: Credit the Dynamo and its resolve for answering Dane Richards' goal off De Rosario's assist pretty quickly, but there has to be a sense of concern that A) Brian Ching was forced out of another match because of an injury and B) Tally Hall had to save the day yet again. Hall has been a revelation in goal, but the Dynamo had better tighten up its defensive shape against Vancouver's surprisingly sharp attack. Then again, road points at Seattle and New York are nothing to scoff at.

15. (9) FC DALLAS (0-2-1)

DAL_Primary_COL

Last week: Lost to Columbus, 2-0, on Friday.

This week: vs. Colorado, 9 p.m., Friday.

Outlook: It's not panic time in Big D just yet, but can someone teach FCD some discipline? Two red cards in three games is not a recipe for success. Neither is constantly shifting the starting lineup and players' roles. Once FCD settles into a rhythm, the defending MLS Cup runners up should be OK, and there's enough talent on that team to find results. David Ferreira needs some help in central midfield, though, and he hasn't been getting it. Paging Eric Alexander.

16. (16) TORONTO FC (1-1-1)

TOR_Primary_COL

Last week: Tied Chivas USA, 1-1, on Saturday.

This week: at San Jose, 10:30 p.m., Saturday.

Outlook: Give the Reds some credit for battling back from an early deficit while dealing with the hangover of the De Rosario trade. Alan Gordon scored against his old club, and Maicon Santos should've done the same, or at least passed to Alen Stevanovic, in a moment that could've brought TFC a victory. Match No. 2 in the post-De Rosario era won't be easy, especially considering how tough the Earthquakes have been playing recently.

17. (17) CHIVAS USA (0-2-1)

CHV_Primary_COL

Last week: Tied Toronto FC, 1-1, on Saturday.

This week: vs. Columbus, 10:30 p.m., Saturday.

Outlook: Considering TFC's situation in the aftermath of the De Rosario deal, more should've been expected from Chivas this week. Road points are nice, but that draw with Toronto was a very winable match. Justin Braun going up against Chad Marshall should be one of the weekend's more intriguing personal battles.

18. (18) PORTLAND TIMBERS (0-2-1)

TimbersLogo

Last week: Tied New England, 1-1, on Saturday.

This week: Idle.

Outlook: Kudos to the Timbers for securing the first MLS point in team history. Jeremy Hall and Jack Jewsbury combined for a solid goal and a strong response after the team fell behind midway through the first half to give Portland something to build off going into a bye week.

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