By DAN KARELL
When Clint Dempsey plays as well as he is right now, there’s only one outcome for the Seattle Sounders.
Sigi Schmid’s side have climbed to the summit of the SBI MLS Power Rankings for the first time this season after their 4-1 rout of the Colorado Rapids, with Dempsey scoring two goals to take his season tally to eight. The win was the Sounders’ third win in a row and fourth unbeaten, with the team scoring a total of 13 goals in that span.
Real Salt Lake, FC Dallas, the LA Galaxy, and the Columbus Crew round out the top five of this week’s Power Rankings, while D.C. United and the New England Revolution each jump up two places in the top ten following crucial wins.
The Montreal Impact’s shock win against the Philadelphia Union has moved the Impact out of the bottom, where Chivas USA sit now.
Here are the SBI MLS Power Rankings for Week Eight (as voted on by SBI staff):
SBI MLS Power Rankings (Week 8)
1. (3) SEATTLE SOUNDERS (5-2-1)
OUTLOOK– The Sounders are absolutely rolling in the past month and it’s all thanks to the form of Clint Dempsey, who finally looks back to his old self. The Rapids last Saturday didn’t exactly make life difficult for the Sounders but credit to Seattle for finishing their multitude of chances.
2. (1) REAL SALT LAKE (3-0-5)
OUTLOOK– RSL were mere seconds away from winning their fourth game of the season before the Whitecaps’ Sebastian Fernandez sent a laser past Nick Rimando to force a draw. Despite the disappointing ending with the Whitecaps scoring twice in the final five minutes plus stoppage time, RSL remain unbeaten and proved that for the most part they are still one of the best teams in MLS.
3. (2) FC DALLAS (5-2-1)
OUTLOOK– FC Dallas surprised fans across the league as they collapsed last Saturday, finishing with 9 men in a 4-1 defeat at D.C. United. Losing Zach Lloyd late in the first half hurt FC Dallas’ chances but it is worrying to give up three goals in ten minutes in the second half. Michel’s presence on free kicks will be missed too.
4. (5) LOS ANGELES GALAXY (2-1-2)
OUTLOOK– The Galaxy had yet another bye week and used it to rest and relax ahead of a busy month of May and beginning of June.
5. (8) COLUMBUS CREW (3-1-3)
OUTLOOK– The Crew finished their third-consecutive 1-1 draw in hosting the Red Bulls last Saturday and are starting to look devoid of options at times going forward. Head coach Gregg Berhalter has some decisions to make this week with Dominic Oduro and Bernardo Anor both gunning for their old starting spots and Berhalter may need to tinker with his tactics to break through teams in the middle of the field.
6. (4) SPORTING KANSAS CITY (3-2-2)
OUTLOOK– Sporting KC were stunned in a 2-0 loss against the Revolution, who have been so up and down this season. Also stunning, Aurelien Collin was shown his first red card in his MLS career. Sporting were only a few minutes away from holding on to a scoreless draw but maybe they’ll blame the turf for their inability to score. Sporting KC need more from Graham Zusi, Benny Feilhaber, and Dom Dwyer in tough road games like this.
7. (9) VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (2-2-4)
OUTLOOK– The Whitecaps have seemingly been a Jekyll and Hyde team this season, never producing consistent performances in consecutive weeks. Last Saturday, they were set to lose 2-0 before Nicolas Mezquida and Sebastian Fernandez scored late in the match. The Whitecaps will struggle all season though until they develop some consistency in midfield and up top.
8. (10) D.C. UNITED (3-2-2)
OUTLOOK– D.C. United might just be for real. Ben Olsen’s side are unbeaten in five straight matches and completely routed FC Dallas last Saturday with goals from four different players. Fabian Espindola has adjusted to life in D.C. quickly and the defensive tandem of Bobby Boswell and Jeff Parke are proving to be one of the better pairings in MLS.
9. (11) NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (3-3-2)
OUTLOOK– The Revolution won their third match of the season behind two stoppage-time goals, but are still struggling without Jose Goncalves and Kelyn Rowe in the lineup. Teal Bunbury broke his long goal-duck so that will be huge for his confidence and Diego Fagundez played a part in the game-winner as well.
10. (7) TORONTO FC (3-3)
OUTLOOK– TFC used a bye week to heal up a number of their injured stars. Michael Bradley underwent a minor foot operation, Jermain Defoe returned to training following rehab on his hamstring, and Doneil Henry and Jonathan Osorio had a weekend off to heal their respective knocks.
11. (6) COLORADO RAPIDS (3-2-2)
OUTLOOK– The Rapids completely forgot how to defend in last Saturday’s debacle as Pablo Mastroeni faced his worst defeat since becoming a coach. Everyone from Clint Irwin to Drew Moor, Shane O’Neill, and Chris Klute had a shocker and the Rapids will need to quickly put this defeat behind them when they face another offensive behemoth in the Galaxy.
12. (12) NEW YORK RED BULLS (2-2-5)
OUTLOOK– The Red Bulls have suddenly re-discovered their mojo. After a difficult start to the season, the Red Bulls, thanks to Bradley Wright-Phillips’ four goals, have suddenly looked more like the team that last year won their first ever silverware. With Wright-Phillips on form and Eric Alexander and Lloyd Sam dangerous on the wings, the Red Bulls can always be counted on for a goal or more per game. It’s up to their defense to keep the other team’s out now.
13. (14) HOUSTON DYNAMO (2-3-2)
OUTLOOK– The Dynamo extended their winless run to five games on Sunday but at least they did secure a point behind a rare goal from Will Bruin. The big forward has struggled this season to finish his chances so he should be boosted from his goal, though the team still can’t find a way to win. It’s still early, and we should expect Dom Kinnear to identify the team’s problems and fix them.
14. (18) SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (1-2-3)
OUTLOOK– The Earthquakes won their first game of the year with a 1-0 decision against Chivas USA. Yannick Djalo scored again for the Earthquakes and has been one best technical signings made during the offseason. The Earthquakes now need to show that they can be more consistent on the attacking end.
15. (19) MONTREAL IMPACT (1-4-3)
OUTLOOK– The Impact won their first match of the season in surprising circumstances, against a seemingly better Union team. Montreal moved Hassoun Camara back to right back and paired Mateo Ferrari and Karl Ouimette together centrally and it kept out the Union attack of Vincent Nogueira, Andrew Wenger, and Danny Cruz.
16. (13) PHILADELPHIA UNION (1-3-5)
OUTLOOK– Alarm bells are ringing throughout Philadelphia after the Union stunned their fans with a defeat at Montreal. Head coach John Hackworth made the perplexing decision of starting Danny Cruz and Fabinho ahead of Sebastian Le Toux and Cristian Maidana and the team suffered for it. While the Aaron Wheeler experiment could succeed in the long run, it’s failing in the short-term and it seems more likely that Austin Berry will win back his spot in center defense.
17. (17) PORTLAND TIMBERS (0-3-5)
OUTLOOK– The Timbers have still yet to win in eight games after drawing with the Dynamo last Sunday. The defensive struggles continue as the Timbers conceded a goal to Will Bruin on a wide-open header at the top of the six-yard box. They’ll try to win their first on Saturday against D.C. United
18. (16) CHICAGO FIRE (0-1-6)
OUTLOOK– The Fire had the week off to regroup and to heal some of the regular knocks picked up during the year. Like the Timbers, the Fire are still searching for their first win of the season despite having drawn in six straight games.
19. (15) CHIVAS USA (1-4-3)
OUTLOOK– Chivas USA have not looked good in the past three weeks. Last Saturday, they fell on the road to the Earthquakes and had a man sent off, this time goalkeeper Dan Kennedy. Their team just lacks the talent to make the playoffs in MLS and the loss of Thomas McNamara likely for the season did nothing to help their squad.
What do you think of this week’s power rankings? Do you think any team is ranked too high? Any too low?
Share your thoughts below.