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SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 4


And then there was one.

FC Dallas is the lone remaining unbeaten team in Major League Soccer as we look past week four of the 2008 season. Chicago was knocked from the unbeaten ranks by Kansas City, which regained the top spot in the newest power rankings after traveling to Toyota Park and posting a shutout.

The action at the bottom of the power rankings was just as interesting. San Jose posted a stunning win against Colorado while Toronto FC made it two straight with its 1-0 against Real Salt Lake.

Here is how the SBI MLS Power Rankings shake out after Week 4:

SBI MLS Power Rankings

1. (Last week- 3) Kansas City Wizards (3-1-1)


Road win at Chicago boosts KC back to top spot.

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


League’s only unbeaten team, Hoops took care of short-handed Chivas USA squad with ease.

3. (7) Columbus Crew (3-1)


The Crew offense moved well and created plenty of chances, but it was the work of the defense against D.C. United that is cause for the most optimism.

4. ( 1) Chicago Fire (2-1-1)


Such a flat performance at home begs the question of whether the Fire has enough in the attack to win when Cuauhtemoc Blanco isn’t the one scoring?

5. (2) New England Revolution (2-2-1)


Outplayed but still escaped with a point despite playing a man down for almost a half.

6. (12) Toronto FC (2-2)


Won second straight, but the second half against Real Salt Lake wasn’t exactly quality soccer.

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


Tie feels disappointing, but the Red Bulls completely stifled the potent New England attack and created multiple chances. Not bad considering the team had a hobbled Juan Pablo Angel play just a half.

9. (4)  Colorado Rapids (2-2)


Just when you thought the Rapids were for real they go and deliver a stinker like the one against San Jose on Saturday.

10. (8) Real Salt Lake (1-2-1)


Loss to Toronto was tough but RSL can come away knowing it dominated the second half. Now if only they could find an equalizer.

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


Goats had 13 corner kicks but still couldn’t find the net, you wonder if they can win without Sacha Kljestan.

11. (10) Houston Dynamo (0-1-3)


Two blown leads has the Dynamo still looking for its first win.

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


Coming from behind twice to equalize against Houston should help boost morale, but giving up multiple goals yet again keeps L.A. from celebrating too much.

13. (14) San Jose Earthquakes (1-2)


Ronnie O’Brien shows why San Jose traded so much to get him. He is still capable of taking over a game.

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


Having the offense struggle can be chalked up to lack of familiarity, but the terrible play of the defense in recent weeks is inexcusable.


Some explanations (because there are always going to be issues with the rankings).

First, teams which have played well but not gotten results do get some consideration in their rankings even when their records aren’t the best. Take Real Salt Lake, which outplayed Chicago and tied and outplayed (or at least played evenly with) Toronto and lost. RSL moves up a bit despite losing because teams ahead of them lost AND played poorly. If there’s a team that is probably higher than they should be, it’s RSL, but Colorado losing to San Jose had to result in a penalty and I think RSL has played well enough in recent weeks to merit the ranking. Okay folks, I dropped RSL in the rankings. Some good arguments were made and as I started originally, I was aware that I was probably ranking them too high. I have made the adjustment.

The Red Bulls move up despite the draw against New England because they actually outplayed the Revs when the teams were at equal strength and they essentially shut down a Revs attack that has thrashed the likes of Kansas City and Houston in weeks past. (And let me be clear, the Red Bulls held the Revolution to ZERO shots on goal in the first half when both teams were at full strength, so the Red Bulls defense containing the Revs attack wasn’t simply about the red card.)

So why D.C. United in last place? Well, I don’t honestly think D.C. is the worst team in the league, but their form in the past two weeks has been atrocious. I’m confident that Tom Soehn will turn things around, just as he did last season, but for right now D.C. in last place shouldn’t be considered a big stretch.

So why not Houston in last place? Well, the Dynamo hasn’t lost since the season opener and has just as many points as D.C. in the same number of matches. The Dynamo has also managed three straight draws despite missing the likes of Pat Onstad, Stuart Holden and recently suspended Eddie Robinson, among others.

That’s all for now. Share your thoughts on the rankings below.


  1. Chicago looked flat, Ives? They were generating so may chances, but poor finishing (Chad Barrett… Ugh…) and good goalkeeping kept them from scoring. Chicago looked great! All they need is an Angel-type FWD and they’re the best team in the league.

  2. Chicago dominated KC and missed on 2 open goal chances. KC has no business being #1. They were gifted that game.

    Also, Blanco only has 2 goals. They have been relying on others most of the season. He has been pretty absent the last 2 weeks.

    They deserve to drop a few slots, but KC has no business being #1.

  3. Ives, I’m not crazy. ESPN has DC United ranked 10th above Toronto and the Galaxy as they should be. Not buying your argument!

  4. Here are my MLS power rankings:

    1. FC Dallas

    2. Columbus

    3. Kansas City

    4. Toronto FC

    5. Chicago

    6. New England

    7. Colorado

    8. Chivas

    9. New York

    10. Real Salt Lake

    11. Los Angeles

    12. San Jose

    13. Houston

    14. DC United

    Partial bias about several teams, because being a United supporter, I detest and loathe New York (really Jersey) and New England, but I think this is fairly reasonable. KC just have not impressed me enough to be a 1. And C-Bus is better than everyone thinks; they went into a defensive lockdown for 45 minutes and still beat United on the road.

  5. Modibo, look beyond just chad barrett for yesterday’s loss. He had the most obvious mistake, but Thorrington’s awful pass 2vgoalie to Frankowski was just as bad and Busch had a bad mistake on KC’s goal. Spread the blame, there was more than enough to pass around!

    Fire at 4 sounds fair to me by the way. Yes a few mediocre showings, but they probs deserved more than a loss yesterday (showing that things generally do balance out in the end).

  6. Red,

    RSL tied Chicago. Yall lost. I think what people want to see is the Quakes continue scoring. If they win this next game then expect more respect. Till then its hard to get if your team didn’t score till the 3rd game.

  7. Ive never seen a season of football (in any league) that is as scattered for wins/losses as this one. Its amazing and greatly entertaining to watch. Giants have fallen, weak teams has risen to the occasion. Noone is safe at any point in time and it truly looks as if every game matters…

  8. Ives,

    If we’re giving credit to RSL for taking it to Chicago but losing, you also have to give the same credit to the Quakes. They dominated Chicago for long stretches and had 3 balls off the woodwork. Plus we wiped the floor with Colorado.

  9. Jloome, I mistyped. RSL dominated the 2nd half, and TFC dominated the 1st. TFC pressed very well the 1st half, but come the 2nd RSL took control of the movement of the game.

    If RSL finds someone that can score everyone is in trouble. RSL has yet to be outplayed in a full game. The closet was in the TFC game, but even then it was a tale of two halves.

  10. Here’s an idea – both RSL and Toronto are bad and are rated too highly. RSL has actually played btter soccer so far, but Toronto has gotten undeserved results.

    Also , I agree KC is good, but Dallas really looks like the best team right now.

  11. I dont see how you can put Houston so low. Only 1 loss, and only 1 game at home? And two draws against your #1 and #2 teams? Please. Go back to analysis school, because you failed this week.

  12. Steve Morrow should be coach of the year. He has finished building a team capable of winning the Cup this year. Juan Toja, Kenny Cooper and Arturo Alverez can’t be matched in the attack. McCarty and Richetti are great destroyers. Serioux, Davino and Moor are improving by leaps and bounds every game, proving they are all excellent defenders. Dallas should definitely be number one next week after they handily dispose of a toothless New England squad.

  13. Modibo- while i agree that the games have lacked that sort of luster that draw interest to the game, we cannot deny that we have managed the results… and isnt that wat a good team does?? from time to time, play badly and still manage results?? Brazil is a key example of this, in the WC06 they played uninspired and lack luster, but still managed to progress through groups just b/c they are brazil…

    not comparing the Fire to Brazil, nor am i hyping them up to be an amazing team… but they managed to pull points on lack-luster games….

    barrett moves to bench, Rolfe back up top, and thorington our right (until we can muster a quality winger).. that should solve some problems…

  14. KC on top, DC on bottom. Awesome! KC’s defense didn’t look like a #1 at times this weekend but sometimes you just gotta grit it out on the road to get the job done. So good call.

    Maybe DC should consider bringing the strips back.

    DC w/o strips reminds me of when Michael Jordan wore #45.

  15. Spencer, are you mental? TFC had about 80% of the possession in the first half, RSL hardly even touched the ball. If we’d come out in the second half pressing, it would’ve been more of the same. RSL only dominated POSSESSION in the second half. They still only had three shots on the whole game, and none of those were tester. Take off the blinders, buddy.

  16. AS an RSL fan, I like that you’re giving RSL a little love, Ives, but actually I’m less optimistic after the Toronto game then I was before it. Despite dominating the second half they did not score. This has become a serious problem for the team (it remains to be seen if the DCU game was just an anomoly from the other three games) that I’m not sure they have solved. Deuchar, RSL’s target forward, is being played out of position and he has scored only 1 goal in 3.5 matches. Even in the second half when they dominated possession they did not create a lot of scoring chances. This is something they are going to have to work out if I am going to be convinced that they are a team to be recogned with. The jury’s out on them. The potential is there, but it has not come together enough to be confident of being a consistently good team. The Toronto game was 2 giant steps back in the progression of the team’s form.

  17. I’d still take RSL over NY! It’s all good, I got my bandwagon seats on the cheap. RSL needs to learn the winning mentality to go with their talent, it’s a well put together squad. We’ll learn more over their next 3 against the current cellar of MLS: DC (again), San Jose, and LA.

    Plus, can someone wake up Brad Guzan please?

  18. Beckster, if D.C. is good enough then they won’t be in 14th place long. Also, as for the Toronto win, it was 4-1 and D.C. played a man up for more than a third of that match.

    Also, that was three weeks ago, before Toronto got its reinforcements. It’s pretty well accepted that Toronto before two weeks ago was utterly horrendous. Now, with Amado Guevara, Laurent Robert and Rohan Ricketts in the fold you are seeing a stronger squad.

    I have no doubt that D.C. will climb out of the doldrums, but I had to reward San Jose for its big road win and D.C. had to pay for its terrible play the past two weeks.

  19. D.C. in last is a little harsh. I mean, they put on a respectable show against Pachuca in D.C. and perhaps the strain of the early season travel is making it difficult to find the right chemistry. When Ben Olsen is healthy they will have the workhorse to compete. And, maybe they’ll decide to bench Emilio in favor of someone who can score.

  20. brett, I’m sorry to say that I’m a Fire fan too – I’d like to believe that they deserve this placement but I’m losing my faith. True I didn’t actually see the match, and some reports say that Chicago looked good but didn’t get the result.

    And let’s face it, I’m not interested in watching a Chelsea knockoff all season long. I’ll tell you what – I’ll be at the game on Saturday. If going to TP for the fist time in almost a year doesn’t raise the team in my eyes, regardless of result, I don’t know what will! Esp since I’ll be on the beer bus.

  21. Ives – Yeah – TFC fan – and giddy from the lack of oxygen with my team at the lofty heights of .500. It goes to the head! I think we can all agree RSL is a much improved team.

    BTW thanks for your MLS coverage – without you and Goff this league would go largely uncovered. I swear Toronto reporters troll your site to find out what is going on at FC. BTW, any more news on Olivier Tebily?

  22. Nice work Savannah, very original for a first post.

    The Red Bulls have one loss (on the road against the only unbeaten team in MLS), one win (dominated the Columbus Crew, which is 3-1) and one tie (against a strong New England team). All that despite not having a healthy Jozy Altidore-Juan Pablo Angel tandem or Dane Richards and Hunter Freeman. I really don’t see how a No. 7 ranking is undeserved. If anything I probably dropped them too far after last week’s loss.

  23. Okay, Al, you helped sway me. I wrote in the original piece that I was probably putting RSL too high but there were enough good points made to help me realize that I was right about that so I have dropped RSL down accordingly.

  24. “Homer Ives Simpson” as usual.

    The Red Bulls blow a lead, against a team with one less player on the pitch, and you move em up three rankings. Sure… That makes sense.

    Not in the Soccer related manner, but in the kissing up to your customers kind of way.

  25. Ben, the Red Bulls outplayed the Revs in the first half when the teams were at full strength. New England had ZERO shots on goal in fact. That’s where I can say the Red Bulls stifled the Revs attack without it simply being a case of the red card.

  26. how can you praise new york for “stiffling” new england’s attach without mentioning their red card? take off the goggles and get real here.

  27. RSL had a decent second half but the result is pretty important. YOu have two teams below RSL that beat them.

    I agree, RSL look a lot better, but until that translates onto the league standings it’s not really very scientific. Hell, I’ve watched Spurs for years play nice football and lose. Doesn’t make them one of the big Four.

    I’d have RSL #9 and bump up everyone in between. I think you’ve under-rated Colorado too (I’d still have them above TFC).

    Of course, that’s my opinion and you’re entitled to yours…


  28. Schteve town, can I assume you are a Toronto fan? Look, I give Toronto credit for the win and moved them up accordingly, but just because team A beats team B doesn’t mean team A jumps team B in the rankings. If you consider the teams to be equal, then Toronto winning 1-0 at home doesn’t exactly say they’re that much better than RSL does it?

    As I stated in the post, If there was a team I had ranked a bit high it was probably RSL, but I have seen them play well for long stretches in every game this year. Yes, they’re 1-2-1, but I think they’re better than people realize. If people are complaining about one ranking spot (such as me having RSL ahead of Toronto) I think some people need to relax.

  29. Ives, did you actually watch the TFC/RSL game? RSL had very little of the ball in first half. To suggest that, overall, RSL outplayed TFC is a bit suspect. Add to that TFC actually won and has a better record than RSL and its hard to see RSL as the better team. Or are you stil thinking about RSL’s drubbing of the DC reserves last week?

  30. Ossington, nowhere do I say that Toronto didn’t deserve the win. They certainly did. My point was that RSL shouldn’t be written of simple because it lost that match.

  31. Well RSL dominated TFC in the first half. And well TFC’s goal was a blunder by the wall. They jumped and turned enough to let the ball go under their feet. It was a lucky shot and a bad move by the wall. TCF didn’t do much in the first half either, yes they did well the first half but they didn’t have many chances either. Plus TFC moved up 5 spots so be happy.

  32. DCUinCT,

    Perhaps, it’s just time for you to realize the rankings are exactly as advertised. That is, Ives’ Power Rankings based on Ives’ opinion of the current form and record of MLS teams. You are more than welcome to disagree and come up with your own power rankings, but that doesn’t make Ives wrong. Could it be that your pride may just be a little hurt that your beloved United are sucking it up right now?

  33. Homey Boehme I agree 100%. Can anyone say “international duty?” I hope someone tries that in a press conference – just to see Gullit stab himself in the eye with his pen.

  34. Ives,

    Isn’t the whole point of “Power” rankings to take into account not just the teams placement in the standings, but the intanglibles? So if you don’t think that DC is the worst team in the league, why are they last in the Power ranking?

    It seems that your Power ranking, and all the others on MLS just basically take the point standings and maybe make a slight adjustment for their favorite team. It basically takes the whole idea of the “expert opinion” and throws it out the window. Perhaps it’s just time to drop them and just have a separate opinion piece.

  35. Modibo- while you may not rate us as high, the Fire have done exactly what it’s needed in the 1st 3 games, and thats get the points… while you may see our games as “uninspired” we still got the results….

    the Fire can continue to play “uninspired” just as long as they continue getting the results… they were 1st last week, and with the loss they dropped 3 spots, what more do you want??

  36. If Landy-cakes or Beckham miss a match or become injured, the La Galaxy are done. You can’t beat teams with 2 players.

  37. Ossington is right. Salt Lake dominated possession in the 2nd half, but they didn’t do anything with it. Sutton hardly had to make a save.

  38. Ives – You need to take into account DCU won the reserve game against the Crew, that should bum us up the rankings ladder…

    …Ok, maybe not.

  39. I can appreciate a hesitancy to put us high in the rankings but to say we didnt earn that win is a bit much…

  40. I think its a bit much to say that RSL played better then TFC, of course im biased. We dominated the second half and didnt do much the second half. RSL did play a bit better then us but i wouldnt say that they outplayed us by any means.

  41. Adam, I don’t think we could argue for DC’s defense. As a defender by where they are at in the year they should be well acquanted. Its not like the offense where you are trying to figure out what runs people are going to make. Case is DC just has a pathetic central defense.

  42. I would drop Chicago further than 4th. Sure their defense has only let in one goal but three out of four matches have been uninspired at best… I’m less convinced that their relative successes at RSL and SJ can be chalked up to the luck of a winning team. It now seems more like just luck. CHAD BARRETT!

  43. ives – cant you also chalk up DC’s poor defense to unfamiliarity too? with the (unrelated) Gonzalos and new GKs, thats a good chunk down the middle of the defense that still has to familiarize itself as much as the forwards.


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