SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 18

SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 18

Major League Soccer

SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 18

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                                                                Photos by ISIphotos.com

Somebody stop Real Salt Lake. No, really.

RSL won another home game last week, beating Toronto FC on a late Robbie Findley goal last week to move four points clear of the pack in the Western Conference. Jason Kreis’ squad is off this weekend as it prepares for a tough stretch of road games, which will allow some of the other West teams to try and close the gap.

New England keeps its hold on the top spot as it downed Atlante to reach the SuperLiga final. Columbus is keeping the pressure on after its impressive win at Colorado.

Who is sliding? Try the Los Angeles Galaxy, which could be poised for a fall against a revamped San Jose side that will certainly be looking to avenge a pair of early-season losses (not to mention Frank Yallop’s personal history with the Galaxy).

Before you take in this weekend’s games, here are the SBI MLS Power Rankings heading into the weekend schedule:

SBI MLS Power Rankings

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

2008_022

Last Week: Off in MLS (defeated Atlante, 1-0, in SuperLiga semifinals)

This Week: Off in MLS

Last Five MLS Games: 3-1-1

Outlook: Revs will have a chance to rest before SuperLiga final on Tuesday.

2. (3) Columbus Crew (9-5-4)

2008_016_2

Last Week: Beat Colorado Rapids, 2-0, last Sunday.

This Week: at Houston Dynamo on Sunday.

Last Five MLS Games: 2-1-2

Outlook: Will Hesmer has a strong case for being team MVP and his performance against Colorado showed why. Dynamo will provide a very tough test.

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

2008_019_2 

Last Week: Beat D.C. United, 2-0, on July 23rd (beat Pachuca, 2-0, in SuperLiga semifinal last Tuesday).

This Week: vs. Columbus on Sunday.

Last Five MLS Games: 1-1-3

Outlook: Tough pair of games in short time with Crew at home on Sunday and Revs in SuperLiga final on Tuesday. We’ll find out how close to championship form Houston really is.

4. (6) Real Salt Lake (7-6-6)

2008_024

Last Week: beat Toronto FC last Monday.

This Week: OFF

Last Five MLS Games: 2-1-2

Outlook: RSL heads into its bye week in first place. Who would have ever thought we would say that about RSL in August? Jason Kreis can thank a strong defense and Javier Morales for leading the way.

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

2008_013_2

Last Week: tied Kansas City on Sunday, 1-1.

This Week: vs. Chivas USA on Saturday.

Last Five MLS Games: 1-0-4

Outlook: Offense is sputtering but with Brian McBride on the way and Patrick Nyarko looking good, the Fire just might find its top form again very soon.

6. (2) D.C. United (7-8-1)

2008_017

Last Week: lost to Houston, 2-0, on July 23

This Week: vs. Kansas City on Saturday.

Last Five MLS Games: 4-1

Outlook: SuperLiga failure showed some flaws as injury absence of Marcelo Gallardo and defensive weaknesses prove troubling.

7. (8) Kansas City Wizards (5-5-7)

Kc_wizards_logo

Last Week: tied Chicago Fire, 0-0, on Sunday.

This Week: at D.C. United on Sunday.

Last Five MLS Games: 2-0-3

Outlook: Wizards defense has straightened up, but the attack still needs to find another gear if KC is to grab a playoff spot.

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

2008_014

Last Week: OFF

This Week: at Chicago Fire on Sunday.

Last Five MLS Games: 2-1-2

Outlook: Acquisition of veteran Zach Thornton should help in goal, as should the time off for a team coping with some injuries.

9. (11) FC Dallas (5-6-7)

2008_018

Last Week: beat Los Angeles Galaxy, 4-0, on Sunday.

This Week: at Toronto FC on Sunday.

Last Five MLS Games: 1-1-3

Outlook: With Kenny Cooper still around, Hoops have the look of a team that could make a strong second-half run. Who among Eric Avila, Bruno Guarda and Viktor Sikora will come in and pick up the slack?

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

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Last Week: Lost to Real Salt Lake, 2-1, on Monday (tied Montreal Impact, 1-1, in CONCACAF Champions League qualifier on June 22)

This Week: vs. FC Dallas on Sunday.

Last Five MLS Games: 0-3-2

Outlook: Offense is an absolute mess and arrival of Chad Barrett doesn’t necessarily instill confidence. If TFC loses its touch at BMO Field things could get ugly in a hurry.

11. (9) Los Angeles Galaxy (6-7-5)

2008_021_2

Last Week: Lost to FC Dallas, 4-0, on Sunday.

This Week: at San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday.

Last Five MLS Games: 0-3-2

Outlook: A month ago the Earthquakes game would have been written off as an easy win. Now, the Galaxy are in must-win mode against a revamped San Jose squad. A loss on Sunday could make things very interesting around Home Depot Center.

12. (12) Colorado Rapids (6-9-3)

2008_015_3

Last Week: lost to Columbus Crew, 2-0, on Sunday.

This Week: OFF

Last Five MLS Games: 1-2-2

Outlook: Not much transfer or trade activity for a team that clearly has issues. Bye weeks usually help teams straighten themselves out. With the Rapids, don’t be so sure.

13. (13) New York Red Bulls (5-6-7)

Red_bulls_logo

Last Week: tied San Jose, 1-1, on Sunday

This Week: OFF

Last Five MLS Games: 0-2-3

Outlook: Juan Carlos Osorio is desperately seeking forwards and running out of time. Unless he finds an inexpensive gem, the Red Bulls are looking like a team that will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2002.

14. (14) San Jose Earthquakes (3-9-6)

2008_025_2

Last Week: tied New York Red Bulls, 1-1, on Sunday.

This Week: vs. Los Angeles on Sunday.

Last Five MLS Games: 0-1-4

Outlook: You think Frank Yallop is looking forward to Sunday’s game and a chance to help get Alexi Lalas fired? You bet your life. With Arturo Alvarez joining fellow newcomers Darren Huckerby, Francisco Lima and Scott Sealy, the Earthquakes are a team you won’t want to face late in the year.

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

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