Photo by Nick Turchiaro/ISIphotos.com
As two of the league's top teams continue to drop points, two eager teams have pounced to climb their way up the SBI MLS Power Rankings ladder.
The Philadelphia Union and FC Dallas have replaced Real Salt Lake and the New York Red Bulls in the Nos. 2 and 3 spots, respectively, after picking up big victories over the past week.
Another big jumper was D.C. United, which did something no MLS team had done in league play — win in Portland. D.C. is back in the Top 10 after its showing at Jeld-Wen Field.
Here are this week's SBI MLS Power Rankings (as voted on by SBI staff):
SBI MLS POWER RANKINGS (WEEK 11)
1. (Last week – 1) LOS ANGELES GALAXY (8-2-5, 29 points)
Last week: Beat Houston, 1-0 on Wednesday; Beat New England, 1-0, on Saturday.
This week: vs. D.C. United, 11 p.m, Friday, Fox Soccer Channel.
Outlook: The Galaxy loses its two Donovans — Landon and Ricketts — to the Gold Cup, but the club is hitting its stride defensively regardless. Perhaps more importantly, Miguel Lopez is starting to make an impact, and David Beckham continues to provide pinpoint service. The club has already showed that it can win without Donovan or Ricketts this season, and it will be on Beckham & Co. to maintain that level of play in their absences.
2. (6) PHILADELPHIA UNION (6-3-2, 20 points)
Last week: Beat Toronto FC, 6-2, on Saturday.
This week: at Colorado, 9 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: What a difference a couple of weeks make. After having one of the league's most anemic attacks, statistically, through its first nine games, Philadelphia now boasts one of the league's most prolific offenses after its six-goal showing at Toronto. Without Carlos Ruiz in the lineup, Danny Mwanga and Sebastien Le Toux thrived in their attacking roles, while Justin Mapp was excellent as well in the rout. A test in altitude against a more physical defense should be more telling of where Philly's attack really stands.
3. (5) FC DALLAS (6-3-4, 22 points)
Last week: Beat Seattle, 1-0, on Wednesday; Tied Houston, 2-2, on Saturday.
This week: vs. New England, 8:30 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: Kevin Hartman's shutout streak is over, but the team's unbeaten streak is alive at nine. The Red Stripes are one of the hottest teams in the league, though they probably felt like they should've taken all three points at Robertson Stadium instead of settling for the draw. The way the team has responded in the absence of David Ferreira has Schellas Hyndman's name back on the radar for Coach of the Year — on the early shortlist, anyhow.
4. (2) REAL SALT LAKE (5-2-2, 17 points)
Last week: Lost to Seattle, 2-1, on Saturday.
This week: vs. Vancouver, 9 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: RSL looks to start a new Rio Tinto streak after suffering a let down at the hands of the Sounders. The offense has still yet to click without Javier Morales in the lineup, as substitute Nelson Gonzalez got RSL on the board with a late consolation goal against Seattle. The club will hope to contain Eric Hassli and the Whitecaps without Jamison Olave, who received a straight red card on Saturday.
5. (3) NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-2-6, 18 points)
Last week: Tied Colorado, 2-2, on Wednesday; Tied Vancouver, 1-1, on Saturday.
This week: vs. Columbus, 7:30 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: The Red Bulls didn't win in the month of May (0-1-4) and now face the most daunting month of its season with Tim Ream, Juan Agudelo, Dwayne De Rosario, Rafael Marquez and Dane Richards gone for the Gold Cup. Much will hinge on the fitness of Thierry Henry, who missed the Vancouver draw with a knee injury. As long as Luke Rodgers continues to score goals at his rate, New York should be able to tread water.
6. (7) SEATTLE SOUNDERS (5-4-5, 20 points)
Last week: Lost to FC Dallas, 1-0, on Wednesday; Beat Real Salt Lake, 2-1, on Saturday.
This week: at Chicago, 8:30 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: The Sounders cracked the Rio Tinto code by winning in Utah Saturday night on the strength of more goals from unexpected sources. Patrick Ianni and Lamar Neagle picked up the slack against RSL, with DP Fredy Montero reduced to a reserve role. While Montero was active off the bench, he'll be looked to shoulder the load at Toyota Park this weekend.
7. (4) PORTLAND TIMBERS (5-4-2, 17 points)
Last week: Lost to D.C. United, 3-2, on Sunday.
This week: at Chivas USA, 10:30 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: It will be interesting to see how the Timbers react to their first home loss as they take to the road, where they're just 0-3-2 thus far. Jack Jewsbury continues to make his case as one of the top offseason acquisitions, as the captain has three goals and four assists and might have claimed penalty duties after replacing Kenny Cooper during Portland's third-time's-a-charm PK scenario against D.C.
8. (8) COLORADO RAPIDS (4-3-6, 18 points)
Last week: Tied New York, 2-2 on Wednesday; Tied Sporting Kansas City, 1-1, on Saturday.
This week: vs. Philadelphia, 9 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: That's five consecutive draws for the Rapids, who are 1-3-6 in their last 10 matches. The champs continue to have problems putting teams away, and it won't get any easier over the weekend, with scorching-hot Philadelphia coming to town.
9. (T-9) HOUSTON DYNAMO (3-4-6, 15 points)
Last week: Lost to Los Angeles, 1-0, on Wednesday; Tied FC Dallas, 2-2, on Saturday.
This week: at San Jose, 10 p.m., Saturday, Galavision.
Outlook: The Dynamo followed up a six-game unbeaten streak with a six-game winless one, although Houston must have had a good feeling after Saturday's come-from-behind draw with a man down against rival Dallas. Brad Davis continues to display his All-Star form, but the team's attack is a bit shorthanded after Koke's abrupt departure this week.
T-10. (T-13) D.C. UNITED (4-4-3, 15 points)
Last week: Beat Portland, 3-2, on Sunday.
This week: At Los Angeles, 11 p.m., Friday, Fox Soccer Channel.
Outlook: United's young guns are growing up quite quickly. Perry Kitchen, Ethan White and Blake Brettschneider each played big roles in stunning Portland and showed Ben Olsen they can be counted on in hostile conditions. D.C. finishes its mini West Coast swing with its final tilt against the Galaxy, and Charlie Davies should make his return to action after being upgraded to "probable" on the injury report.
T-10. (10) CHIVAS USA (3-4-4, 13 points)
Last week: Tied Columbus, 3-3, on Saturday.
This week: vs. Vancouver, 10:30 p.m., Wednesday; vs. Portland, 10:30 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: The Chivas attack is clicking, though Robin Fraser won't be happy with a defensive effort that coughed up three leads. He'll turn his attention to the league's two expansion sides, as the Goats welcome both to the Home Depot Center this week and are the first to get a crack at the new-look Whitecaps.
12. (T-11) SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (3-4-4, 13 points)
Last week: Tied Chicago, 2-2, on Saturday.
This week: vs. Houston, 10 p.m., Saturday, Galavision.
Outlook: The Earthquakes' depth will be put to the test, as Chris Wondolowski (USA) and Ryan Johnson (Jamaica) depart for international Gold Cup duty. Rookie midfielder Anthony Ampaipitakwong looks poised to do well in an expanded role after his two assists guided the Quakes to a point against the Fire.
13. (T-11) COLUMBUS CREW (3-3-5, 14 points)
Last week: Tied Chivas USA, 3-3, on Saturday.
This week: at New York, 7:30 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: The good news: Andres Mendoza and Emmanuel Ekpo broke out and led the Crew to a three-goal outburst. The bad news: It still wasn't enough to get three points. The usually stable Crew back line yielded three goals to Chivas USA and had to settle for one point despite coming back from deficits on three occasions. Columbus will face a shorthanded New York side for the second time this season this weekend.
14. (T-13) NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (3-5-4, 13 points)
Last week: Lost to Los Angeles, 1-0, on Saturday.
This week: at FC Dallas, 8:30 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: The Revolution were denied by the post, A.J. DeLaGarza, Landon Donovan and Donovan Ricketts repeatedly last week and couldn't get a home result against the Galaxy. Making matters worse, Benny Feilhaber injured his right ankle in the waning moments of the game and the team still waits on his diagnosis. The silver lining is that Shalrie Joseph won't be leaving the club for the Gold Cup after all, spurning Grenada to be with the Revs.
15. (16) CHICAGO FIRE (1-4-6, 9 points)
Last week: Tied San Jose, 2-2, on Saturday.
This week: vs. Seattle, 8:30 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: The Carlos de los Cobos era is over, probably 11 games later than most would've expected after the way last season played out. Frank Klopas is the man in charge now, and he'll have to find a way to get the Fire to snap its nine-game winless streak without Marco Pappa, who's on international duty with Guatemala for the Gold Cup.
16. (17) VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (1-5-6, 9 points)
Last week: Tied New York, 1-1 on Saturday.
This week: at Chivas USA, 10:30 p.m., Wednesday; at Real Salt Lake, 9 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: Despite being 30 minutes away from winning the Canadian championship before torrential downpours and lightning forced the abandonment of the game and despite tying the Red Bulls a few days later, the Whitecaps showed coach Teitur Thordarson the door and gave the reins to Tom Soehn. His first two tasks won't be easy, as he'll face two solid sides on the road in his first week at the helm.
17. (15) TORONTO FC (2-5-6, 12 points)
Last week: Lost to Philadelphia, 6-2, on Saturday.
This week: vs. Sporting Kansas City, 7 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: The six goals that Toronto FC yielded marked a franchise-record, and injury was added to insult when centerback Adrian Cann went down with a torn ACL in training on Tuesday. He's done for the season, and the Reds may be too after their latest performance had them booed off their own pitch by a furious contingent of fans.
18. (18) SPORTING KANSAS CITY (1-6-2, 5 points)
Last week: Tied Colorado, 1-1, on Saturday.
This week: at Toronto, 7 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: Ryan Smith's laser of a goal against the Rapids gave SKC some momentum heading into the final game of its season-opening 10-game road trip. After seeing what the Union was able to accomplish at BMO Field, SKC will be hopeful of doing the same so it can be off and running when opening Livestrong Sporting Park next week.