SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 26

SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 26

Major League Soccer

SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 26

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Larentowiczmastroeni_isiphotoscom

                                                                       Photo by ISIphotos.com

Just when thought the playoff race was easy enough to track, now 13 of 14 teams have put themselves in position to try and qualify with just a month to go in the season.

Kansas City, FC Dallas and Los Angeles all posted victories last week to help resurrect playoff hopes that looked to be fading. Those wins, coupled with losses by the Red Bulls, Chicago, D.C. United and Real Salt Lake made it that much tougher to try and rank the teams when there is so little seperating them.

Here are this week’s SBI MLS Power Rankings:

SBI MLS Power Rankings

1 (Last week-1). Columbus Crew (14-6-5)

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Last Week: Beat New York Red Bulls, 3-1, on Thursday.

This Week: at New England on Saturday.

Last Five MLS Games: 4-0-1

Outlook: Unbeaten in six (5-0-1), the Crew look very good heading into its showdown with the Revs. Will Schelotto be fit? Columbus will need him against a recharged New England squad.

2 (2). Houston Dynamo (10-5-9)

2008_019_2 

Last Week: Game vs. San Jose was postponed, tied San Francisco of Panama, 0-0, in CONCACAF Champions League on Tuesday.

This Week: at Toronto FC on Saturday.

Last Five MLS Games: 3-1-1

Outlook: Week off due to Hurricane Ike could wind up helping the Dynamo as a congested part of the schedule hits.

3 (4). New England Revolution (12-7-6)

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Last Week: Tied Colorado, 1-1, last Saturday.

This Week: vs. Columbus on Saturday.

Last Five MLS Games: 1-1-3

Outlook: Showdown vs. Columbus is New England’s best chance to catch the Crew. How much will the Revs’ 4-0 loss to Columbus earlier this month weigh on their minds?

4 (5). San Jose Earthquakes (7-9-8)

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Last Week: Game at Houston was postponed.

This Week: vs. Real Salt Lake.

Last Five MLS Games: 3-0-2

Outlook: Will the week off kill the Earthquakes momentum? Don’t count on it. Not when they’ll be playing at home against an RSL team that has started to fade in the standings, and boasts the worst road record in MLS.

5 (9). Chivas USA (9-10-6)

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Last Week: Beat Real Salt Lake, 1-0, on Saturday.

This Week: vs. Kansas City on Saturday.

Last Five MLS Games: 3-1-1

Outlook: With the lineup getting healthier, the Goats have found a nice run of form lately, but things won’t be easy this week against a hungry KC team that has found its stride.

6 (3). Chicago Fire (11-9-5)

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Last Week:  Lost to FC Dallas, 4-1, on Sunday.

This Week: vs. Los Angeles on Thursday.

Last Five MLS Games: 2-3

Outlook: Two straight losses by the combined score of 6-1 has to have Fire coach Denis Hamlett concerned. The real question is why is the offense still struggling with McBride and Blanco on board?

7 (6). New York Red Bulls (9-8-8)

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Last Week: Lost to Columbus, 3-1, last Thursday

This Week: vs. Colorado on Saturday.

Last Five MLS Games: 2-2-1

Outlook: Offense was flat awful vs. Columbus, failing to create chances and putting the defense in tough situations. Now comes Colorado in a game the Red Bulls need to win to stay ahead of the pack in the East, and to put some pressure on Chicago for third place.

8 (11). Colorado Rapids (9-12-4)

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Last Week: Tied New England, 1-1, last Saturday.

This Week: at New York Red Bulls on Saturday.

Last Five MLS Games: 2-2-1

Outlook: Unbeaten in three straight, the Rapids will need to win at Giants Stadium to avoid being passed up by the suddenly lively bottom of the West standings.

9 (14). Kansas City Wizards (8-9-8)

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Last Week: Beat Toronto FC, 2-0, last Saturday.

This Week: at Chivas USA on Saturday.

Last Five MLS Games: 2-2-1

Outlook: With the offense awakened, the Wizards have the look of a team ready to grab a playoff spot. Chivas USA will offer a tough test but Wizards just might have the momentum to pass D.C. in the East.

10 (7). D.C. United (10-12-3)

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Last Week: Lost, 5-2, to Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday.

This Week: at CD Marathon on Wednesday (CONCACAF Champions League), at FC Dallas on Sunday.

Last Five MLS Games: 1-2-2

Outlook: Don’t look now but D.C. is winless in four straight and just had its defense ripped apart by the Galaxy. Now comes a road game against an FC Dallas team that just put up a four-spot on Chicago. With Kansas City charging, and Marcelo Gallardo sidelined, D.C. is in real trouble.

11 (10). Los Angeles Galaxy (7-10-8)

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Last Week: Beat D.C. United, 5-2, last Saturday.

This Week: at Chicago on Thursday.

Last Five MLS Games: 1-2-2

Outlook: Was the blowout win vs. D.C. an illusion, or a real sign that LA is ready for a playoff run? It’s tough to count out any team with Landon Donovan and David Beckham, but the comeback could end on Thursday. Anything less than a win and the Galaxy’s chances will fade before they ever got really started.

12 (12). FC Dallas (7-9-9)

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Last Week: Beat Chicago, 4-1, on Sunday.

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

Last Five MLS Games: 1-2-2

Outlook: Hoops snapped a five-match winless run in a big way and now comes a match against a sliding D.C. squad. Is Jeff Cunningham really ready to turn it on late in the year? Can Kenny Cooper keep it up?

13 (8). Real Salt Lake (8-10-7)

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Last Week: Lost to Chivas USA, 1-0, last Saturday.

This Week: at San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.

Last Five MLS Games: 1-3-1

Outlook: Can RSL stop the free fall? Real Salt Lake must find a way to win on the road for just the second time this season, and do so against an Earthquakes team unbeaten in nine matches.

14 (13). Toronto FC (7-10-5)

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Last Week: Lost to Kansas City, 2-0, last Saturday.

This Week: vs. Houston on Saturday.

Last Five MLS Games: 0-3-2

Outlook: A season that showed so much promise early on has officially flat-lined. Auditions for 2009 are underway and it will be interesting to see which players step up and show they’re worth keeping around next season.

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What do you think of this week’s rankings? I should point out that choosing between team’s 5-13 is tough because there’s just so much parity. Recent form is the big criteria with so many teams so close together. Take Real Salt Lake. I have them 13th but they’re not that much worse, if at all worse, than No. 8 Colorado, but the Rapids have been better lately and thus get the nod.

Share your thoughts on this weekend’s power rankings in the comments section below

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