SBI MLS Power Rankings

SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 4

Torres (Getty Images)

Everyone expecting the Philadelphia Union to revert back to the mean is in for a rude awakening. Just ask the New York Red Bulls.

In its second season as a franchise, the Union has the look of a winner after gutting out a home result against New York, maintaining its spot atop the Eastern Conference standings and climbing into the top three of the SBI MLS Power Rankings.

Perched at the top of the rankings, Real Salt Lake doesn't seem to be going anywhere after a convincing win over New England turned in by its reserves. Meanwhile, FC Dallas is back on the rise after a thrashing of its 2010 MLS Cup adversary, previously unbeaten Colorado.

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


1. (Last week – 1) REAL SALT LAKE (3-0-0)


Last week: Beat New England, 2-0, on Saturday.

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

Outlook: RSL can do no wrong. Fielding a reserve-heavy lineup, the CONCACAF Champions League finalists went into Gillette Stadium and smacked around the previously unbeaten Revolution. Collen Warner, Paulo Jr. and Chris Schuler stood out while given the chance to start, and Kyle Reynish earned the clean sheet in place of Nick Rimando. Up next: A Rocky Mountain Cup rivalry match with Colorado, which was shorthanded but exposed nonetheless by FC Dallas on Friday.

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


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

This week: at Toronto FC, 8 p.m., Wednesday; at Chicago, 4 p.m., Sunday, Telefutura.

Outlook: Without Landon Donovan, the Galaxy didn't have the most fruitful attack but still did enough to earn a result against United. That is, until Charlie Davies drew a controversial PK on Omar Gonzalez and salvaged the draw. Road points in MLS aren't the easiest to come by, but the Galaxy will need to make up for lost points in its two road matches this week to avoid falling even further behind RSL in the West.



Last week: Beat New York, 1-0, on Saturday.

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

Outlook: Say what you'd like about the possession/chances disparity between the Red Bulls and the Union, but Philadelphia found a way to win and cashed in on a pretty bad error by the normally sure-footed Tim Ream. After four consecutive 1-0 results (odd, right?), the Union must play down the hype and turn its attention to suddenly streaking Seattle, which seems to have found its offensive roadmap.

4. (2) COLORADO RAPIDS (3-1-0)


Last week: Lost to FC Dallas, 3-0, on Friday.

This week: at Real Salt Lake, 9 p.m., Wednesday.

Outlook: Without Pablo Mastroeni and Conor Casey, the Rapids struggled to maintain its early-season form. David Ferreira carved up the Colorado midfield, and he and Fabian Castillo had too much speed and creativity for the back line to handle. Considering the forms of the two teams, we figured the MLS Cup rematch might be a one-sided affair — just the other way around. The Rapids could struggle again unless Mastroeni returns to combat the RSL attack.

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


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

This week: vs. San Jose, 7:30 p.m, Saturday.

Outlook: It's a long season, but that loss to the Union certainly put a damper on the enthusiasm surrounding Hans Backe's star-studded roster. Granted, Juan Agudelo hit the post twice, and New York was the better side by all metrics other than the scoreboard; however, in the end, the scoreboard is all that matters. There's no rest for the weary, as the Red Bulls have to figure out how to finish their chances against the team that knocked them out of the postseason last year. 



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

This week: at New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m., Saturday.

Outlook: Drawing TFC at home can only be seen as a disappointment, but the continued emergence of Simon Dawkins is a big plus as the Earthquakes prepare for a 2010 playoff rematch against the Red Bulls. The potential Ike Opara-Juan Agudelo/Tim Ream-Chris Wondolowski matchups should entice USMNT fans.

7. (T-12) SEATTLE SOUNDERS (1-2-2)


Last week: Beat Chicago, 2-1, on Saturday.

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

Outlook: Mauro Rosales is certainly going to give Sigi Schmid something to think about if/when Fredy Montero is ready to return. In his second game playing a major role, the veteran Argentine was a standout performer and the Sounders' attack was better off for it. With two goals in each of their last two games, the Sounders are on a roll but face one of the league's stingier defenses in one of the more anticipated matchups of the week.

8. (15) FC DALLAS (1-2-1)


Last week: Beat Colorado, 3-0, on Friday.

This week: at Portland, 6 p.m., Sunday.

Outlook: Now that's the FC Dallas team that came so close to winning MLS Cup. Against the Rapids, Ferreira looked every bit like the MVP he was last season, other attackers took pressure off of him and allowed him to operate in space, and the defense — led by Ugo Ihemelu and George John — rendered Omar Cummings irrelevant. Now let's see if FCD can build on its best performance of the season.

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


Last week: Beat Vancouver, 3-1, on Sunday.

This week: vs. New England, 7 p.m., Sunday.

Outlook: The Dynamo turned in a pretty complete performance to win its first match of the season and now gets the Revolution at the right time — with Shalrie Joseph unavailable due to suspension. Perhaps the most encouraging item to come from the win over Vancovuer was that the team posted three goals with Brian Ching unavailable due to his rib injury.



Last week: Lost to Houston, 3-1, on Sunday.

This week: vs. Chivas USA, 7 p.m., Saturday.

Outlook: Health is starting to become a factor for the Whitecaps, who have Jay DeMerit and Terry Dunfield on the shelf. In a positive development, though, Omar Salgado made his MLS debut in the waning minutes of the Houston loss. If Eric "The Red" Hassli can go a game without getting ejected and Davide Chiumiento can stay fit, we might finally see the Whitecaps' attack at full strength. Salgado potentially taking on Chivas is a tasty storyline heading into Week 5.



Last week: Lost to Real Salt Lake, 2-0, on Saturday.

This week: at Houston, 7 p.m., Sunday.

Outlook: Yes, the Revolution was a bit short-handed, and yes, the team had just played in Vancouver a few days earlier. But there's no excuse for the egg the team laid at home against a reserve-laden Real Salt Lake side. It's not so much the result itself as much as it is how the result was achieved. RSL's reserves dominated for 90 minutes. Now the Revolution will be without Joseph (red card) for the weekend's match against a Houston team that's starting to find itself.

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


Last week: Idle.

This week: at Columbus, 7:30 p.m., Saturday.

Outlook: Did Kansas City sort out its defensive issues during its bye week? Playing the Crew is a good way to take a step in the right defensive direction, as Columbus has managed just three goals (two PKs) in four matches. Omar Bravo will be out for the next month or so with a sports hernia, giving more responsibility to able-bodied rookie C.J. Sapong, who should continue to see prime minutes.

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


Last week: Lost to Seattle, 2-1, on Saturday.

This week: at Portland, 11 p.m., Thursday, ESPN2/ESPN Deportes; vs. Los Angeles, 4 p.m., Sunday, Telefutura

Outlook: Despite Diego Chaves finding the net for the third straight match, the Fire was put out by Kasey Keller over the weekend, and the club is in the unenviable position of being the away team at Portland's home opener. If that wasn't tough enough, Chicago has to turn around three days later and host the Galaxy in Sunday's early game. Both matches are on national TV, too, so whatever the Fire does, for better or for worse, will be magnified because of the exposure.

14. (11) D.C. UNITED (1-2-1)


Last week: Tied Los Angeles, 1-1, on Saturday.

This week: at Toronto FC, 7 p.m., Saturday, Fox Soccer Channel.

Outlook: D.C. was pretty fortunate to escape Saturday's match with a point, but give United credit for managing to rescue the point while down a man. As the red-carded Santino Quaranta said after the match, it's not a result the team would have gotten last season. United will try to replicate its victory over TFC at BMO Field from last season this weekend.

15. (T-12) COLUMBUS CREW (1-1-2)


Last week: Tied Chivas USA, 0-0, on Saturday.

This week: vs. Sporting Kansas City, 7:30 p.m., Saturday.

Outlook: On the plus side, the Crew's defense turned in its third consecutive clean sheet. On the down side, the team's offensive woes continue. Something will likely give one way or another this weekend, as the Crew takes on SKC, which is scoring and yielding more than two goals per game (highest in the league for both).

16. (16) TORONTO FC (1-1-2)


Last week: Tied San Jose, 1-1, on Saturday.

This week: vs. Los Angeles, 8 p.m., Wednesday; vs. D.C. United, 7 p.m., Saturday, Fox Soccer Channel.

Outlook: Coming up with a tie at San Jose is an impressive result for a team in flux, and new additions Tony Tchani and Danleigh Borman seem to be fitting in just fine in their new-found starting roles. TFC welcomes two home challenges this week, and we should know a bit more about where Aron Winter's team really stands after tough matches with L.A. and D.C.

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


Last week: Tied Columbus, 0-0, on Saturday.

This week: at Vancouver, 7 p.m., Saturday.

Outlook: Robin Fraser looks to have worked out some of the kinks on the defensive end, but Vancouver's attack will put that to the test at what is sure to be a raucous Empire Field Saturday night. The lack of goals for the Goats is still troubling.

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


Last week: Idle.

This week: vs. Chicago, 11:30 p.m., Thursday, ESPN2/ESPN Deportes; vs. FC Dallas, 6 p.m., Sunday.

Outlook: Still in search of their first win, the Timbers will open the doors (and windows) to JELD-WEN Field for the first and second times in what should be a pair of memorable nights in the Rose City. Portland had a week to rest while building off the momentum of its road draw against the Revolution, and Darlington Nagbe used the break to score in a friendly against Oregon State University.

  • DC on the rise...hopefully

    The rankings are what they are and I think most readers have become conditioned to them.

    I don’t care what DCU is ranked now anyway. Here are some of the things that they did well and some things they need to work on and they will eventually imo move up the rankings.

    -Back line looked great. White shut down the LA strikers with Jakovic. Korb also showed well on the outside especially when he was able to get forward and provide some timely passes and crosses. Before the game, I was worried about the rookie defenders nerves playing in such a big match but they showed great poise.

    -Pontius looks like his old rookie self, he looked very comfortable on the left and he showed great skill on the ball and went at Galaxy players often during the match.

    -Groan all you want about Davies dive but the kid is fast and his pace will get him a lot of calls because central defenders look like they are walking when he goes by them just ask Omar and Chad Marshall (I know Marshal slipped but that could also be because he knew who was getting ready to get the ball in space).

    -DCU has used a lot of different players so far and if they weather this injury storm that could add to the depth of the team which will come in handy down the stretch.

    -Hamid looked healthy in the net but he definitely needed some time to settle into the game. He was lucky not to give up a goal when he scuffed a clearance. Hopefully he got most of the butterflies out with that game.

    -Santino was very active in the air for 50/50 balls but his judgement on tackles was bad along with some of his passes. It will be interesting to see how Olsen deals with playing him or Najar on the right. Obviously with Santino getting the red, he will not be playing against TFC so Najar will get the nod and his performance may go a long way to determine who will play more.

    -DCU showed grit, kept attacking and their hard work paid off with the equalizer, hopefully this will spark some momentum going on the road to Toronto.


  • Dave in San Jose

    You’re right, Drew. I was probably reacting to Johnson’s poor crossing and a 2nd half where it felt like we ran out of ideas. (It also seemed like TFC were playing for the 1 point.) I just don’t feel like this team has the urgency, yet, it needs at home to take the 3 points. Once again, we didn’t really start playing until we were scored upon. Maybe it’s a mentality/coaching thing. But until we get that, I have trouble calling us a Top 6 team.

    (SBI-Fact of the matter is there just aren’t a ton of teams truly standing out early and aside from the top four or five, the next eight-ten teams are pretty comparable. San Jose hasn’t racked up points but has looked good in several matches, and the Quakes lone loss was a 1-0 loss to RSL, the toughest game RSL has had this season.)


  • Patrick Bateman

    he’s not, he’s a union fan, and he’s speaking from experience as an expansion side.


  • Coop

    Wow Power-rankings are such a polarizing endeavor. As a Houston fan I was surprised at the 5 spot jump. I know they finally came through at home but it’s not like Vancouver did much to stop them. We should have scored 6-7 but some glaring mistakes prevented that. Multi-goal games I will take but I’m not ready to book my play-off tickets just yet.


  • jeremys evil twin

    Oh and I meant that KC is better than their record indicates. They get a defense they will be scary.


  • Stan Kroenke

    FCDallas and Colorado should be #1 they were the finalists last year.

    Sorry to tell you the truth.


  • Soccer Aficionado

    Based on the comments of everyone else, I guess it must just be me when I say the Galaxy and NYRB are rated too high at this point, and that those are the two teams Ives seems to favor. Minor nitpicks though. It’s impossible to please everyone.


  • qax

    True but I am optimistic…we finally showed some effective and fun-to-watch soccer this weekend. If we can put away the “easy” ones and Tally Hall can keep stealing us points on the road we may get somewhere this year.


  • Supsam

    Hey Ives, did RSL modify their logo? When I go to their website and see their crests on their jerseys, they apparently got rid of the word “Real” on it.

    (SBI-The logo we use is the one provided by MLS, so while it may not be the shield on their jersey, it’s their logo.)


  • Matt

    correct, the jersey just has the crest with the circle around RSL and the soccer ball.


  • Drew from SJ

    I agree that there was no urgency in the second half. Other than the second half against TFC, the Quakes have looked good the first few games.


  • SilverRey

    Field-Turf blows! Watch how many times you see these guys slip and fall after they kick the ball – and this is on a professional level. MLS should mandate grass fields for all stadiums.


  • Drew

    Not sure half of the Red Bull fans on here understand what power rankings mean… No one is arguing that the Union’s lineup is superior to that of the RB… The argument to be made is that if your a team that beats either LA or NY in this league you should be rewarded for it… Philly has one loss and its against LA… if other fans are going to whine, watch Philly play defense first and realize Mondragon has that defense playing to its full potential (fyi SBI Player of the month)… If you want to argue that NY’s roster entitles them to a high ranking, maybe its time to look at the pre-season power rankings and actually try to play defense and get your money’s worth from new acquisitions… Haters gon hate and Hard Work > Talent … Union till I die


  • Eddie

    I have to agree. I thought Philly were awful. They won because of an unusual mistake and RBNY’s lack of finishing (and Henry’s terrible play). Sure, they get credit for the win, but I think some of their fans need a reality check.


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