Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By IVES GALARCEP
Real Salt Lake is on a full-blown roll, having won four of their past five matches to climb into first place in the MLS Western Conference.
RSL’s 2-0 win vs. the Seattle Sounders helped them join the Portland Timbers atop the West and also helped them climb up to the No. 2 spot in the latest SBI MLS Power Rankings.
The Timbers maintain their hold on the top spot after routing the Colorado Rapids to push their unbeaten streak to 15 matches, tied for the fourth longest unbeaten streak in MLS history.
D.C. United has climbed out of the basement after their win vs. the San Jose Earthquakes. The victory was the first for D.C. in 13 matches, and it was enough to help Ben Olsen’s squad move past free-falling Chivas USA, which suffered their seventh straight loss in a 1-0 setback vs. the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Here are the SBI MLS Power Rankings for Week 17:
SBI MLS Power Rankings (Week 17)
1. (Last Week- 1) PORTLAND TIMBERS (7-1-9)
LAST WEEK– Beat Colorado Rapids, 3-0, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK– at FC Dallas on Wednesday (U.S. Open Cup).
LAST FIVE– W-T-W-T-W
OUTLOOK– The Timbers pushed their unbeaten streak to 15 MLS matches, and 17 in all competitions, with a thorough beating of the Rapids. Rodney Wallace didn’t miss a beat upon his return from international duty, slotting three assists in the win. A very tough mid-week test awaits though as Portland looks to take a step closer to a trophy with a win at FC Dallas.
2. (4) REAL SALT LAKE (9-5-3)
LAST WEEK– beat Seattle Sounders, 2-0, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK– vs. Carolina Railhawks on Wednesday (U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal); at Toronto FC on Saturday.
LAST FIVE– W-W-W-T-W
OUTLOOK– Kyle Beckerman turned in a strong effort to lead RSL’s victory over Seattle, the most impressive win of the team’s recent run. Young centerback Carlos Salcedo turned in another strong outing, and has quietly established himself as one of the more impressive teenagers in MLS this season. As well as RSL have played in MLS play, they have struggled at times in the U.S. Open Cup, so look for Jason Kreis to stress a complete performance against Carolina on Wednesday.
3. (2) MONTREAL IMPACT (9-3-2)
THIS WEEK– vs. Colorado Rapids on Saturday.
LAST FIVE IN MLS– W-L-W-W-W
OUTLOOK– The Impact were off last week, but remain ahead of the pack in the East with multiple games in hand. They will look to avoid a slip-up coming off a bye week, which happened the last time the Impact had a week off.
4. (3) FC DALLAS (8-3-5)
LAST WEEK-tied Sporting Kansas City, 2-2, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK– vs. Portland Timbers on Wednesday (U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal); at Philadelphia on Saturday.
LAST FIVE– T-L-T-W-L
OUTLOOK– One win in five qualifies as a slump, but FCD has to feel good about rallying back to salvage a point against a tough Sporting KC side. Things don’t get much easier though, not with another meeting with red-hot Portland, and a road trip to take on a surging Philadelphia side. Having Walker Zimmerman score a big goal is good news though, as he looks more and more like a viable option in the team’s centerback rotation, which is needed given how often George John and Matt Hedges take knocks.
5. (5) SEATTLE SOUNDERS (6-5-3)
LAST WEEK-lost to Real Salt Lake, 2-0, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK– Bye
LAST FIVE– L-W-W-L-W
OUTLOOK– A flat outing vs. RSL is worrisome, and Sigi Schmid didn’t mince words about how some of his top players failed to deliver. A bye week should help the Sounders, particularly if it gets injured star Osvaldo Alonso back on the field. The Sounders have missed him against the league’s top teams.
6. (7) SPORTING KANSAS CITY (6-5-5)
LAST WEEK-tied FC Dallas, 2-2, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK– vs. Columbus Crew on Saturday.
LAST FIVE– T-L-T-T-W
OUTLOOK– The C.J. Sapong red card was a tough blow, but Sporting KC still had no excuse for surrendering two late goals the way they did. A return home with a full-strength squad will be a big help, especially against a vulnerable-looking Columbus Crew side.
7. (9) VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (6-5-4)
THIS WEEK– at D.C. United on Saturday.
LAST FIVE– W-W-L-W-T
OUTLOOK– A week off probably wasn’t what Martin Rennie wanted as his team were riding good run of results, but the rest should help them ahead of a cross-country trip to take on a beatable D.C. United side.
8. (11) PHILADELPHIA UNION (7-5-4)
LAST WEEK– beat New York Red Bulls, 3-0, last Sunday.
THIS WEEK– vs. FC Dallas on Saturday.
LAST FIVE– W-W-T-L-W
OUTLOOK– The trio of Conor Casey, Jack McInerney and Sebastien LeToux looked good together in the win vs. the Red Bulls and should stay intact for the immediate future. The Union defense turned in another solid showing, with fullbacks Sheanon Williams and Ray Gaddis doing well to contain the Red Bulls on the wings. Stopping FC Dallas will be tougher though.
9. (6) NEW YORK RED BULLS (7-6-4)
LAST WEEK– lost to Philadelphia Union, 3-0, last Sunday.
THIS WEEK– vs. Houston on Sunday.
LAST FIVE – L-L-T-W-T
OUTLOOK– Looked flat in their loss vs. the Union, even before losing Lloyd Sam to a red card. The Red Bulls obviously missed Tim Cahill and Jamison Olave, and the Lloyd Sam red card in the first half didn’t help matters, but some players just didn’t step up when given the chance. A return home and a match vs. struggling Houston could help the Red Bulls turn things around.
10. (10)LOS ANGELES GALAXY (7-6-3)
LAST WEEK– beat Chivas USA, 1-0 last Sunday.
THIS WEEK– at San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.
LAST FIVE– W-T-L-L-W
OUTLOOK– Robbie Rogers played his best game since joining the Galaxy in the win vs. Chivas USA, but the Galaxy struggled to break down the bunkered Chivas USA defense. Gyasi Zardes is starting to get comfortable in the Galaxy lineup, and could be poised for a run at the Rookie of the Year award.
11. (8) NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (5-5-5)
LAST WEEK– Bye
THIS WEEK– at D.C. United on Wednesday (U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal); at Chivas USA on Saturday.
LAST FIVE– L-T-W-W-W
OUTLOOK– The Revs enjoyed a week off, but now face a week that could be a special one. They will be favored despite being on the road vs. D.C. in their Open Cup quarterfinal, then travel to the West Coast as Juan Agudelo faces Chivas USA for the first time since being traded away. A pair of wins and suddenly the Revs are riding into summer with a chance to do some special things.
12. (13) CHICAGO FIRE (5-7-3)
LAST WEEK-beat Columbus Crew, 2-1, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK– vs. Orlando City on Wednesday (U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals).
LAST FIVE– W-W-T-W-T
OUTLOOK– The slow and steady climb up the East standings and Power Rankings continues as Mike Magee keeps on racking up the goals. Keep an eye on Dilly Duka, who could be primed for a strong run after scoring a gratifying goal against his former team, the Columbus Crew.
13. (12) COLORADO RAPIDS (5-7-5)
LAST WEEK– lost to Portland Timbers, 3-0, last Sunday.
THIS WEEK– at Montreal on Saturday.
LAST FIVE– L-L-L-T-W
OUTLOOK– Winless in four, the Rapids have suddenly hit the skids and now they face a daunting task in beating Montreal at Stade Saputo, where the Impact have yet to lose and have only dropped points once.
14. (14) COLUMBUS CREW (5-6-5)
LAST WEEK– lost to Chicago Fire, 2-1, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK– at Sporting Kansas City on Saturday.
LAST FIVE– L-W-L-T-T
OUTLOOK– Their trip to Sporting Park is a vital one, as a loss could leave the Crew falling as far as eighth in the East.
15. (15) HOUSTON DYNAMO (6-5-5)
LAST WEEK– tied Toronto FC, 0-0, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK– at New York Red Bulls on Sunday.
LAST FIVE– T-L-T-T-L
OUTLOOK– Mired in a six-game winless streak, the Dynamo have to be feeling the heat, as a loss to the Red Bulls could see them lose their grip on a top five spot in the East.
16. (16) SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-7-6)
LAST WEEK– lost to D.C. United, 1-0, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK– vs. Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday.
LAST FIVE– L-W-L-L-T
OUTLOOK– A disappointing loss to D.C. United has to have the Earthquakes concerned about a season on the verge of slipping out of control. Yes, they are only four points out of a playoff spot, but most of the teams they are chasing have games in hand and we simply haven’t seen much from San Jose lately to suggest they are poised for a true turnaround.
17. (17) TORONTO FC (2-7-6)
LAST WEEK– tied Houston Dynamo, 0-0, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK– vs. Real Salt Lake on Saturday.
LAST FIVE– T-W-T-L-L
OUTLOOK– It wasn’t a win, but TFC will be happy to escape Houston with a point, and all of a sudden Ryan Nelsen’s squad is unbeaten in three. It’s modest, but given some of the nightmare results the team has had, it can be considered small progress.
18. (19) D.C. UNITED (1-11-3)
LAST WEEK– beat San Jose Earthquakes, 1-0, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK– vs. New England Revolution on Wednesday (U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal); vs. Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday.
LAST FIVE– W-L-T-L-L
OUTLOOK– Snapped their 11-match winless slide, which should provide a confidence boost heading into their all-important U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal vs. New England. It is their best (and only) chance for a trophy this year so you would imagine Ben Olsen will field his strongest possible lineup on Wednesday.
19. (18) CHIVAS USA (3-10-2)
LAST WEEK– lost to Los Angeles Galaxy, 1-0, last Sunday.
THIS WEEK– vs. New England Revolution on Saturday.
LAST FIVE– L-L-L-L-L
OUTLOOK– Tried a very defensive approach to earn a result against the Galaxy, but even that wasn’t enough to avoid continuing their seven-match losing slide. The Goats also transferred midfielder Eric Avila to Chivas de Guadalajara, which means that rather than receiving summer reinforcements from south of the border, the Goats are actually losing players to their parent club.
What do you think of this week’s power rankings? Think anyone is rated too highly? See anyone being too low?
Share your thoughts below.