SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 16

SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 16

Major League Soccer

SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 16

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                                                                                   Photo by ISIphotos.com

So who is the hottest team in MLS right now? Yes, we know, it’s D.C. United without a doubt. Who falls second in that same category? You might have to say Real Salt Lake.

RSL has put together what is likely the best run of results in the club’s history, riding a tough defense and the playmaking of Colombian Argentine Javier Morales to a 4-1-3 record in their past eight matches. That run, capped this weekend by a convincing 2-0 win over Columbus on Saturday, has moved RSL into first place in the wide-open Western Conference.

Real Salt Lake isn’t the only team climbing out of an early-season hole. The Kansas City Wizards are slowly creeping back into the playoff race and Josh Wolff’s arrival should provide a boost for a team that is closing on the other teams in the East.

Something I will clarify regarding the MLS Power Rankings is that from this week forward I will take non-MLS results into consideration. No, not friendlies, but competitions such as SuperLiga, CONCACAF Champions Cup and the U.S. Open Cup. I hadn’t done so before, but I will from this week forward.

Now, onto this week’s MLS Power Rankings:

SBI MLS Power Rankings

1. (Last week- 1) New England Revolution (10-4-3)

2008_022

Last Week: Off in MLS (beat Santos Laguna, 1-0, in SuperLiga on Sunday).

This Week: Off in MLS, vs. Pachuca on Tuesday and at Chivas USA on Sunday in SuperLiga.

Last Five MLS Games: 3-1-1

Outlook: Solid display in knocking off Santos on Sunday, but things get tougher against Pachuca. Will Twellman’s latest injury keep him out long?

2. (2) D.C. United (7-7-1)

2008_017

Last Week: Off in MLS (beat Chicago Fire in U.S. Open Cup, 2-1 in OT on Tuesday, lost to Chivas de Guadalajara, 2-1, in SuperLiga on Saturday) 

This Week: Off in MLS (vs. Atlante on Tuesday, vs. Houston on Saturday in SuperLiga).

Last Five MLS Games: 4-0-1

Outlook: Knocked off Chicago to reach Open Cup semis before dropping SuperLiga opener in match D.C. should have gained a point in. Who could have imagined Jaime Moreno missing a penalty kick?

3. (3) Columbus Crew (8-5-3)

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Last Week: Lost to Real Salt Lake, 2-0, on Saturday.

This Week: vs. Kansas City Wizards on Thursday (ESPN), friendly vs. West Ham United on Sunday.

Last Five MLS Games: 2-1-2

Outlook: Normally dangerous Crew attack had no answers against a stingy RSL defense that limited them to just two shots on goal. Suddenly, the match against a revived Kansas City has much more intrigue.

4. (5) Houston Dynamo (4-4-8)

2008_019_2 

Last Week: Off in MLS (beat Atlante, 4-0, in SuperLiga on Saturday.)

This Week: Off in MLS (vs. Chivas de Guadalajara on Tuesday and at D.C. United on Sunday in SuperLiga.)

Last Five MLS Games: 1-1-3

Outlook: Showed championship form for the first time this year in dismantling Atlante on Saturday. Is Stuart Holden ready to breakout after having his early season marred by injuries? Two tough tests await in SuperLiga, with Dwayne DeRosario set to miss the Chivas match.

5. (6) Chicago Fire (7-5-3)

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Last Week: beat Toronto FC, 2-1, on Saturday (lost to D.C. United, 2-1, in U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday.)

This Week: vs. Real Salt Lake on Saturday.

Last Five MLS Games: 1-2-2

Outlook: After winless June, Chicago is sudenly on a three-game unbeaten streak. Could they be ready to break out of the funk and play like the MLS Cup contenders they looked like in May? Their offense will face a stiff test from RSL.

6. (9) Real Salt Lake (6-6-5)

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Last Week: beat Columbus Crew, 2-0, on Saturday.

This Week: at Chicago Fire on Saturday.

Last Five MLS Games: 2-1-2

Outlook: You might not have noticed, but Real Salt Lake suddenly has the toughest defense in MLS. How tough? Try just three goals allowed (one being an own goal) in their past eight matches (RSL is 4-1-3 during that stretch). If RSL wants to be taken seriously though, they’ll need to prove they can win on the road, something they’ve done just once in seven matches (1-6).

7. (4) Toronto FC (6-6-3)

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Last Week: lost, 2-1, to Chicago on Saturday (tied Vancouver, 2-2, on Wednesday in CONCACAF Champions League qualifier.)

This Week: vs. San Jose on Saturday (friendly vs. Independiente on Tuesday.)

Last Five MLS Games: 1-3-1

Outlook: Stretch of five games in 15 days took its toll, but last-minute loss to Fire is still inexcusa
ble. TFC needs to learn how to win at home on the road to be taken seriously. Home game vs. San Jose seems like the perfect remedy to stop the skid.

8. (7) Los Angeles Galaxy (6-6-4)

2008_021_2

Last Week: tied Chivas USA, 1-1, on Thursday.

This Week: at New York Red Bulls on Saturday.

Last Five MLS Games: 1-2-2

Outlook: Edson Buddle’s clutch finish helped slumping Galaxy salvage a point. The offense looked off against Chivas USA, but a chance to rebound awaits at Giants Stadium against the faltering Red Bulls.

9. (8) Chivas USA (6-6-4)

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Last Week: tied Los Angeles Galaxy, 1-1, on Thursday (lost to Pachuca, 2-1, in SuperLiga on Sunday.)

This Week: Off in MLS (vs. Santos Laguna on Wednesday and New England on Sunday in SuperLiga.)

Last Five MLS Games: 2-1-2

Outlook: Goats looked solid against the Galaxy, at least before the late equalizer. Losing Brad Guzan will put a major dent in Chivas USA’ playoff push as well as SuperLiga hopes.

10. (13) Kansas City Wizards (5-5-5)

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Last Week: beat New York Red Bulls, 2-1, on Thursday (lost to Seattle Sounders, 0-0 (6-5 in penalty kicks) in U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday, beat Atlas, 2-1, in friendly on Friday.)

This Week: at Columbus Crew on Thursday.

Last Five MLS Games: 2-1-2

Outlook: Wizards have slowly climbed within striking distance of the pack in the Eastern Conference. Beating Columbus will be key to a real charge up the standings. Josh Wolff should be avaliable and it will be interesting to see how much he helps the attack.

11. (10) FC Dallas (4-6-6)

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Last Week: Off in MLS (lost, 3-1, to Charleston Battery on Tuesday in U.S. Open Cup.)

This Week: vs. Colorado Rapids on Saturday.

Last Five MLS Games: 1-2-2

Outlook: Bye week should help coach Schellas Hyndman work on his system, and hopefully some more support for all-star striker Kenny Cooper.

12. (11) Colorado Rapids (6-8-2)

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Last Week: tied San Jose, 1-1, on Saturday.

This Week: at FC Dallas on Saturday.

Last Five MLS Games: 1-2-2

Outlook: Was anybody really surprised by the fact that Colorado followed up its best performance of the season with a total stinker against San Jose? The Rapids’ inconsistency is mind numbing.

13. (12) New York Red Bulls (5-6-5)

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Last Week: lost to Kansas City, 2-1, on Thursday.

This Week: vs. Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday.

Last Five MLS Games: 1-2-2

Outlook: Another mistake-plagued performance by the Red Bulls, who showed some life in the final 20 minutes against KC, but not nearly enough. A slew of new players is expected come on board this week and it will be interesting to see just how long it takes that group to adjust to the team and to MLS. It better happen fast because the Red Bulls will fall deeper into last place in the East if they don’t.

14. (14) San Jose Earthquakes (3-9-4)

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Last Week: tied Colorado, 1-1, on Saturday.

This Week: vs. Toronto FC on Saturday.

Last Five MLS Games: 0-2-3

Outlook: Earthquakes showed some life and played better against Rapids than they have in recent weeks. Arrival of Darren Huckerby should help the putrid attack, but may not be enough to help San Jose be a real threat.

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Some thoughts on the rankings.

I know the Crew lost an ugly one but their season has been too strong to drop them because of one loss. It does close the gap between them and the teams chasing.

Houston may only have four wins but the blowout of Atlante reminded us just how good they can be. The Dynamo will start turning those ties into wins, and for my money they are still the best team in the West.

Toronto FC is slumping but I won’t drop them behind the LA teams because they have played a much tougher schedule than either of them.

What do you think of this week’s rankings? Share your thoughts below.

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