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SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week Three


Does anybody want to be considered the top team in MLS in April?

Houston and D.C. United started the season fighting for those honors, but they now have a single win between them after six combined games. Kansas City looked poised to hold on to the top spot before going winless on a two-game home stand.

Which brings us to the Chicago Fire, which has played two mediocre road games but earned four points from those matches. Good teams win even when they struggle and the Fire did just that, beating San Jose on an emotional day in Oakland.

The Fire jumped into the top spot in the SBI MLS Power Rankings this week and will have a chance to put a stranglehold on the No. 1 spot when it plays host to Kansas City on Sunday.

The bottom of the rankings have changed a bit, with the Los Angeles Galaxy plummeting yet again after another awful defensive performance. Here’s a question: If Ty Harden wanted to do charity work why didn’t he just stay with the Galaxy?

Here is how the SBI MLS Power Rankings shook out this week:

SBI MLS Power Rankings

1. (Last week- 4) Chicago Fire (2-0-1)


Four points from two road games and big win over Revs give Fire top spot.

2. (5) New England Revolution (2-2)


Outplayed Colorado but couldn’t find the net. Win against Wizards moves them up.

3. (1) Kansas City Wizards (2-1-1)


Winless week at home raises questions about their offense.

4. (9)  Colorado Rapids (2-1)


Rapids showed they can win a close match on the road, but just one shot on goal?

5. (7) FC Dallas (1-0-2)


The Hoops defense finally didn’t collapse late as that potent attack made things more comfortable.

6. (2) Chivas USA (1-1-1)


Brad Guzan’s blunder costs them a road point in crazy game that saw two Goats ejected.

7. (11) Columbus Crew (2-1)


Crew will be happy to take the victory in Saturday’s shootout, but that defense has issues that need to be addressed.

8. (12) Real Salt Lake (1-1-1)


I’m afraid to say it but after three straight home wins against them, Real Salt Lake owns D.C. United.

9. (3) D.C. United (1-2)


Champions Cup hangover or not, D.C. was downright embarrassed by Real Salt Lake. 

10. (8) Houston Dynamo (0-1-2)


Shutout was sorely needed but the offense had a horrible week.

11. (6) New York Red Bulls (1-1)


Attack was lost without Juan Pablo Angel, but the make-shift defense is what cost the Red Bulls.

12. (13) Toronto FC (1-2)


Nice debut for Amado Guevara as Toronto prepares to go home for the first time this season.

13. (10) Los Angeles Galaxy (1-2)


How bad was Celestine Babayaro if he couldn’t make this defense?

14. (14) San Jose Earthquakes (0-2)


Much better performance in game two but the finishing is terrible and Frank Yallop needs to add some attacking players pronto.

Since there are always questions when it comes to rankings I will try to address a few of them:

New England stays ahead of Colorado despite losing to the Rapids because A) NE beat KC, which beat Colorado, which beat NE. With that being a wash, I went with who I felt has looked the best this season, and B) I think the Revs outplayed Colorado despite losing. That said, Colorado jumping up to No. 4 is still a big jump.

Columbus beat Chivas USA but still sits behind the Goats. Well, if you saw Saturday’s game you know it wasn’t your typical game. Two red cards and a horrendous blunder by Brad Guzan helped the Crew post its second home victory. Columbus deserves credit for the win, which is why I jumped them four points in the standings, but memories of that ugly performance against the Red Bulls still resonate.

Why does D.C. plummet? Did you see the RSL game? Seriously though, D.C. has looked shaky in MLS play, a win against a short-handed Toronto FC notwithstanding. Marcelo Gallardo is struggling hasn’t exactly dominated (that better?) and D.C. is feeling the absence of Ben Olsen. Until they can put together a strong showing against a good team they will sit low in the standings.

Share your thoughts on this week’s MLS Power Rankings in the Comments section below.


  1. Both DC and Houston are way better than your ranking show. They will move up the ranking very quickly once they have an opportunity to get to some semblance of a reasonable schedule.

    Actually, I think payback is going to be hell with a rested DC hosting RSL.

  2. If the power ratings are an indication of how teams are doing right now. How could a team sitting in 5th place lose at home to a team that is in 9th place move up to 2nd place?

    Ives did you steal the secret BCS formula?

  3. I think these rankings are pretty fair, personally.

    And don’t use AdBlock on this site. It’s not cool. I’ll admit when I saw that Americans Abroad was now sponsored, I paused, but you know what? If it pays the man’s bills, I don’t mind it being there. Ives isn’t exactly a huge corporation – he’s an individual professional soccer writer who’s in touch with his readers, and that’s worth seeing ads for.

  4. Speaking of Argentinians, anyone know what happened with Carlos Marinelli and why he was subbed out 25mins into the KC-Hou game? He’s the secret engine that makes KC go, kinda how DC only plays well when Fred is on his game.

  5. Marcelo Gallardo is struggling? What is your justification for this statement? He looked pretty good against TFC and Pachuca, while he didn’t even play against RSL this weekend…

  6. I gotta chime in that Columbus and Chivas should swap positions. I watched that game twice (@ game and on TiVo at home to do some running commentary for those that couldn’t see it).

    Chivas tried to pound the ball through the middle 25m of the field and never had any rhythm. They had 1 great moment – the first goal – and 2 blunders by the Crew. But the Crew spent most of the game behind the Chivas defense, and Rogers could’ve easily had 2 more great goal chances: 1 was bad offsides call; 1 when he dribbled into the corner to kill the game.

    The red cards came *after* all the goals, when Chivas was showing their frustration. And honestly, Galindo should’ve been booted when he started shoving Salazar after Kliejstan’s red card.

    In a sublime game from GBS, Chivas looked unoriginal in the front, and concrete-shoed in the back. Columbus still needs to replace Danny O’Rourke at centerback until he gets some more games under his belt in the reserve squads (it was his dreadful positioning error that led to Chivas’ 2d goal) but with GBS feeding Rogers and Gaven on the wings, and Carroll linking the front and back, the Crew looked pretty damn good.

  7. I don’t really have a problem with the rankings–I think they’re fair given how teams have played so far. Just a few comments.

    1. I don’t get the comments about DCU has troubles or Gallardo is struggling. DCU just played 5 games in 15 days (2 of them on the road and at altitude) and it showed–they looked good in 2 of those games and by the time the 5th came around they stunk.

    2. I also don’t see the argument about Houston will eventually be #1 in the West. They were legitimate MLS Cup winners the past 2 years but what people forget is that they didn’t win the West either of those years. I think the failure of Chivas to impress is more telling–Houston is right about where I’d expect them to be given all the players they lost.

    3. I think that part of the reason the results have been so topsy-turvy is that over another 2 months, we’ll see that some teams match up real well against others and a “larger sample size” will allow us to see. For instance, my educated guess at this point is that KC is really going to make LAG look bad. Not because KC has such amazing talent. But combine a good tactical coach (Onalfo) with a few shrewd attackers (Lopez, et. al.) and they’ll expose the deficiencies in the LAG defense in a brutal fashion. Other teams…not so much.

  8. I finally did see the Russian girl ads and have put in to have them blocked. Hopefully it works.

    And Tim, if you did rankings based on who should do the best by year’s end you would do those once and then just wait. A team’s actual talent does play a part in a ranking but after a while a team has to get results, and for all of D.C.’s talent it still got smoked by RSL, so how are they supposed to be ranked higher? Same for Houston, which is winless in three. If those teams turnings around then they will move up. That’s how it goes.

  9. ossi:

    I was referring to the people who choose to block all ads, I mistakenly thought you were talking about doing that. my bad.

  10. Im not trying to take money out of his pocket and dude definitely deserves to get money. Just making a friendly suggestion. I dont think a huge amount of people will take me up on it because to most people, like myself, ads like that simply dont matter. If that does happen ill cut a check, just tell me the amount Ives:)

  11. power rankings are a snapshot in time. no one is saying this is how the season will end, that’s what preseason predictions are for. power rankings are to say, basically, if the teams all played each other in a round robin this weekend, this is how the standings would look.

  12. It seems nearly everyone is using power rankings as a measure of whose playing the best so far, instead of as a measure of future success. Thats the only explanation for putting Houston and DC so low.

  13. I know I was a bit annoyed with the spam I got this morning! do you know that cat (to continue the 1950’s references) Ives?

    and Ossi: why are you trying to take money out of Ives’ pocket? pretty sure those ads are there to do things like pay his airfare to Salzburg. Do you send him a check, or just not think his writing is worth getting paid for?

  14. Chris: The Fire have only been scored on once and that was an own goal. We don’t have Brown in the lineup and Conde just played his first game so far. I think we have the best defense in the league and our offense is looking good if they can all gel together. Only time will tell

  15. Ives and others – I wasn’t necessarily disagreeing with the rankings, just wondering what Ives considers putting them together. The RBNY – Houston example was easiest to point to with question.

    Red Bulls need to adjust their roster or they will stumble this year.

    My own rankings would probably be:




    New England



    Red Bulls






    San Jose


    I see Red Bulls playing well with very injured roster, but still having some gaps in the lineup. As for the rest, it’s skewed towards the teams I’ve watched (either positively or negatively), so I make no apologies.

  16. AlexS:

    You fail to realize that at multiple points in the game the Dallas offense had straight aways to the goal in which no keeper would be able to stop. Though they failed to capitalize on these breakaway chances it just goes to show you that Dallas was able to break down the Houston defence.

  17. Thanks Ives

    Perhaps clicking around on that Daily Star site you linked us to last week triggered something in google and is getting me in trouble!!!

    As far as rankings – thankfully we don’t have some situation like college football where all these subjective rankings really matter. Just one man’s opinions to stir some debate – but what really matters are the points earned on the field.

  18. j1m – i consider these power rankings to be similar to the rankings in NCAA basketball… where a bad game would knock a team down a few pegs, and a good game has potential of bringing them up…

  19. The “Russian Chick” ads can’t be based on the reader. I’m on a new computer at work (first time I’ve ever used it today) and I just got the Russian chick ad.

  20. Well then Scott, you must forget that Tony Caig gifted you a point in Houston, where your league-best midfield couldn’t do anything against Houston’s second string.

    Perhaps that’s why they don’t get the credit you feel they deserve?

  21. Why does nobody give dallas any credit (except for Mark)? Arturo Alvarez is proving himself to be one the best attackers in the league, Kenny Cooper finishes like Gerd Muller, Mccarty,Richetti,Rocha and Toja in the midfield is the best in the league. Once the defense gels a little better, FCD will far and away be the best team in the league. The only team I can see matching Dallas is DC, and they look like garbage so far.

  22. HAHAHA

    If thats the case, its gonna take alot more then just adblocker on firefox to get rid of those russian lady cookies somewhere on your harddrive.

  23. Keith G, you are entitled to your opinion, but if you have actually seen all of Houston’s games I can’t imagine how you would rate them behind Los Angeles and Toronto.

    And J1M, it’s all those things you mentioned combined. All those things plus opponents, plus my own feel in a given week. There is no exact science to trying to rank teams, and I’m not saying mine are perfect, I do them as a gauge for people to get a sense of where I think the teams are ranked. If you disagree, that’s okay, but when somebody says my rankings are terrible I can’t help but laugh since it’s all subjective anyway.

    And lastly, Fred McMurray, I don’t pick the ads, the ads you speak of are generated by Google. I haven’t seen the Russian women ads but if I do I will ad them to the list of blocked ads. Unfortunately I don’t get those ads often. Not sure if the ads are generated based on the reader or what.

  24. Why are FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake always so low in everybody’s rankings? In my opinion, they’ve been excellent so far and would make the play-offs on this form.

  25. Houston and DC will be back to the top before too long. Do they have questions? Yes. But I don’t think we’ve seen either team play as well as they are able to.

  26. I’m glad to see the Revs that high. Very impressive to see them that high when you have four guys who were expected to start and contribute immensely out.

    When they get back, I think you’ll see another Revolution team going to the final. Hopefully the new talent gives them a trophy to lift this year.

  27. I think MLS messed up on the Rapids box score. C. Gomez had a shot saved off the line by a Revs defender in the first half. I don’t know how it didn’t make the stats. It has to be considered a shot on goal.

  28. Are these power rankings based on the week’s performance, or the season to date, or how strong you think the team is?

    I ask because I notice that NYRB is behind Houston, even though they have a better record.

  29. I don’t think there is going to be any way to even come close to a consensus on what the rankings should be, so unless we want to spoil the whole thing we might want to hold off on the criticism unless we feel like something is way off. Otherwise it will just end up like the FIFA rankings and everyone will just say they are a joke and there will be no point in Ives continuing with it.

  30. LA needs to seriously consider replacing Vanney. He cost them all three goals on Sunday. They need to cut him and Able loose and find a couple of solid denfenders fast.

  31. FredMacMurray:

    Of course a wholesome guy like Fred MacMurray would be offended by the “Russian chicks”.:)

    There’s a very easy to way to solve your problem. Just right click on one of the images and select block images by pagead2.googles. From what I could see it just removed that ad and nothing else.

  32. Wow those rankings where horrible in my mind. My rankings would go like this.

    1- Chicago Fire

    2- Kansas City Wizards

    3- Colorado Rapids

    4- Colombus Crew

    5- New England Revolution

    6- Chivas USA

    7- Real Salt Lake

    8- FC Dallas

    9- New York Red Bulls

    10- DC United

    11- Toronto FC

    12- Los Angles Galaxy

    13- Houston Dynamo

    14- San Jose Earthquakes

    Im sorry but our deffending champs have been playing terrible, and untill they can start winning, they are playing like one of the worst teams in the league. I think right now with Toronto FC’s additions, that they could be Houston right now. As for the Red Bulls, well I think FC Dallas is a good team and with the Red Bulls down with injuries, you realy couldnt expect the to play that great.

  33. So, my question would be – are your power rankings supposed to reflect how good a team is – regardless of the final results achieved so far? Because, take Toronto for example – they got absolutely crushed by LA, but won because LA gave up 3 chances on complete blunders, vs the 7-8 that LA had and couldn’t finish. LA is clearly a better team than Toronto (yes even with that defense). But, you ranked Toronto ahead of them because they won this weekend. Just looking for clarification.

  34. I saw the Columbus game and was really surprised at how well they played. It’s hard to believe they lost to the Red Bulls when you see them playing like that. I don’t think the red cards really helped them that much, it was too late in the game and the score was already settled. In fact the red cards were an indication of how much of a struggle it was for Chivas to try and contain Columbus. I would say that you’re not giving Columbus enough credit, but there is something about Columbus that seems like it can’t stand progress. They seemed like they should have been two goals up the whole game, but they were missing too many chances and their defense just seemed to collapse any time they looked like they might put Chivas away. Great game by Schelotto. He picked Chivas apart with his passing.

  35. D.C. always starts out like this. A new team, with a completely different lineup will take some time to gel. I think everyone know that it is only a matter of time before D.C. is back in the top slot…

  36. I’m ok with the rankings, but these russian chicks on the sidebar ad make this site a bit dicey with the wife, and I’m not sure I want my kids klicking thru them either.

    I understand the need for revenues Ives, but…

  37. FC Dallas is No. 5.

    And yes, the season hasn’t exactly made for doing rankings easily, but I think New England has shown enough in its non-Fire blowout games to deserve the No. 2 spot, especially considering the absences. I also think the fact that the Revs played a mid-week road match and still came home and dominated play against Colorado deserves mention. The Revs are playing well, and probably would be No. 1 based on form, but Chicago has the results and have the top spot for now.

  38. Yeah, the MLS is absolutely wacky so far. Home dominance (10-0-3) for the first 2 weeks, and then a road revival (TFC, Revs, Colorado, Chicago) in week 3 combined w/ upstarts (TFC, Real, Colorado) posting shockers. I think your power rankings are gutsy, but probably correct so far, but I’m still not impressed with Chicago. I’d say there’s not a single team in the league with an impressive defense yet.

  39. I believe you’re going to take quite a bit of schtick for placing New England so high. Many of our fans are tossing blame all over the place because of the 1-0 loss to Colorado. Some have even gone as far to say that we weren’t ready for injuries. I don’t know how you can prepare for losing Twellman, Ralston, Larenowitz, Albright, and Thompson all at the same time. Against Colorado we had so many young players getting the run out and still managed to dominate. So it took me a while to say it, but I agree with your pick of New England at number 2. Once they’re healthy there won’t be any questions about it.


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