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Major League Soccer seasons are famous for the streaks and slumps that teams invariably go through and two teams coming out of mid-season slumps just in time for the stretch run are New England and Chivas USA.
The Revs are, after the COlumbus Crew, the hottest team in MLS, with a 4-1-2 record in their past six, including a win in Seattle. Steve Nicol's squad has games in hand and should rocket up the standings in the coming weeks if they can feast on a string of weak opponents.
Chivas USA isn't on that good a run, but two straight wins have helped Preki's team regain its playoff footing after losing six straight. Another team with multiple games in hand, Chivas USA can move closer to the top of the West with a win tonight vs. RSL.
Not everyone is streaking. Seattle continued its own slide with a loss and tie last week to drop its recent record to 1-3-2 in their past six.
Here is how this week's SBI MLS Power Rankings shake out:
SBI MLS Power Rankings (Week 23)
1 (Last Week-1). Columbus Crew (10-3-9)
Last week- Bye
This week- at Cruz Azul tonight (CCL); at New York Red Bulls on Sunday.
Last Five (in MLS) - 5-0 in last five (W-W-W-W-W), unbeaten in last nine in all competitions (7-0-2).
Outlook – Crew will face toughest test in some time tonight as it looks to win in Mexico, something no MLS team has done before in an official competition.
2 (2). Houston Dynamo (11-6-7)
Last week- Tied Seattle Sounders, 1-1, last Sunday.
This week- at Arabe Unido tonight (CCL); at Colorado Rapids on Sunday.
Last Five – 2-1-2 (T-T-W-L-W)
Outlook – Addition of Luis Angel Landin comes at just the right time. Anybody thinking that Panamanian side Arabe Unido is a pushover might want to ask Pachuca about that (Arabe Unido thumped a mostly reserve Pachuca side, 4-1, in the opening group stage match).
3 (3). Los Angeles Galaxy (8-4-11)
Last week- Tied D.C. United, 0-0, last Saturday.
This week- vs. Chivas USA on Saturday.
Last Five - 2-1-2 (T-W-L-W-T).
Outlook – Didn't look great at a rain-soaked RFK Stadium, but a point will suffice as the Galaxy marches toward the post-season. LA's playoff hopes will receive a major boost with a win against a Chivas USA team that has won two straight, but still doesn't look like the team that dominated earlier this season.
4 (4). Chicago Fire (10-5-8)
Last week- Lost to Los Angeles Galaxy, 2-0, last Wednesday; beat Colorado Rapids, 3-2, last Sunday.
This week- vs. D.C. United
Last Five - 3-2 (W-L-W-L-W).
Outlook – Coming back from two goals down to post a much-needed home victory should do wonders for a Fire team that was looking vulnerable for a late-season slide. Bakary Soumare's departure will hurt, but Chicago is one of the only teams in MLS with the depth to cover for that loss. D.C. United's offense isn't quite clicking like Colorado's so the Fire should have a better time keeping the score low. The question is whether the attack can produce on a consistent basis.
5 (6). New England Revolution (8-6-6)
Last week– Beat Seattle, 1-0, last Thursday; beat Real Salt Lake, 3-1, last Sunday.
This week- vs. San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.
Last Five - 3-1-1 in last five (W-L-T-W-W)
Outlook – With a 4-1-2 record in their past seven matches, the Revs are officially a team nobody wants to face right now. In winning two games last week, they showed they can win tough games on the road and they can crush weaker opponents. With some winnable matches on the upcoming schedule (San Jose, KC, New York), the Revs could catch Chicago in the East.
6 (5). Colorado Rapids (8-7-6)
Last week– Lost to Chicago Fire, 3-2, last Sunday.
This week- vs. Houston Dynamo on Sunday.
Last Five - 2-3 (L-W-L-W-L)
Outlook – Omar Cummings torched the FIre defense but that Rapids back-line, which has had its question marks this season, surrendered three second-half goals to the Fire. The Rapids have one of the easier remaining schedules in the league, but they still need to try and grab at least a point from Houston to help the cause.
7 (11). Chivas USA (10-7-3)
Last week- beat Toronto FC, 2-0, on Saturday.
160;at Real Salt Lake tonight; at Los Angeles on Saturday.
Last Five - 2-3 (W-W-L-L-L).
Outlook - Consecutive wins have the Goats looking like contenders again. With three games in hand on LA and Seattle, and four on Houston, Chivas USA could make a charge for first place in the West. Jesus Padilla has looked good early on and Sacha Kljestan is slowly, but surely, starting to regain the form that made him a standout last season.
8 (7). Seattle Sounders (8-6-9)
Last week- Lost to New England, 1-0, last Thursday; tied Houston Dynamo, 1-1, last Sunday.
This week- vs. Toronto FC on Sunday.
Last Five - 1-3-1 (T-L-L-W-L)
Outlook – With just one win in six matches, the Sounders are suddenly sliding away from playoff safety. They did well to get a point in Houston, but that doesn't take away from the team's continued struggles with finishing chances. With a schedule that will only get tougher, and with multiple teams having multiple games in hand on Seattle, the Sounders can't afford any more slip-ups, which makes the Toronto FC game as close to a must-win as you can get in August.
9 (8). Toronto FC (8-8-6)
Last week– Lost to Chivas USA, 2-0, last Saturday.
This week- at Seattle Sounders on Saturday.
Last Five - 1-2-2 (L-W-T-L-T)
Outlook – TFC's offense continues to struggle to find consistency (zero shots on goal vs. Chivas USA) while the squad's youngsters still have something to learn about playing (and winning) on the road. Things don't get any easier with a trip to Qwest Field.
10 (9). DC United (6-5-11)
Last week- Tied Los Angeles Galaxy, 0-0, last Saturday.
This week- vs. Toluca tonight (CCL); at Chicago Fire on Saturday.
Last Five – 1-2-2 (L-L-T-W-T)
Outlook – The travel has to be getting to a D.C. United bunch that hasn't gotten the boost from its newcomers it would have hoped for. Toluca will be a very stiff test tonight, but the game in Chicago is truly a crucial one for D.C. if it wants to stay within striking distance of a playoff berth.
11 (10). Real Salt Lake (7-9-6)
Last week- Lost to New England Revolution, 3-1, last Saturday.
This week- vs. Chivas USA tonight; at Kansas City Wizards on Saturday.
Last Five – 2-2-1 (L-T-W-L-W).
Outlook – The RSL offense continues to struggle, with just two goals in the four matches since the All-Star break. Neither Rachid El Khalifi or Pablo Campos is looking like the answer and a Javier Morales groin injury won't help matters either. Anything less than a win tonight and RSL can start looking toward 2010 because there are just too many teams ahead of them for RSL to keep dropping points.
12 (14). San Jose Earthquakes (5-11-5)
Last week– Beat Kansas City Wizards, 1-0, last Saturday.
This week- at New England Revolution on Saturday.
Last Five - 2-2-1 (W-L-W-T-L)
Outlook – The Earthquakes are definitely showing some signs of life although the playoffs are pretty much a dead end now. Chris Wondolowski's game-winning goal was a great moment for a hometown kid who just might develop into a real player in San Jose. The real question in San Jose is whether the Earthquakes have shown enough to lead us to believe that Frank Yallop and John Doyle should return in 2010. The jury is certainly still out.
13 (12). FC Dallas (6-11-5)
Last week- Lost to New York Red Bulls, 3-2, last Sunday.
This week- Bye Week
Last Five - 2-3 (L-L-W-W-L)
Outlook – The FCD midfield didn't have a great day in New York, but it was the defense that let Dallas down, though asking a kid like Kyle Davies to deal with Juan Pablo Angel is a bit much. The week off should help Schellas Hyndman incorporate the team's most recent signings, and hopefully settle on a back-line that can hold up against the worst team in the league.
14 (13). Kansas City Wizards (5-9-6)
Last week- Lost to San Jose Earthquakes, 1-0, last Saturday.
This week- vs. Real Salt Lake
Last Five – 0-3-2 (L-L-L-T-T)
Outlook – The Wizards have no gone six matches without a win and its offense is playing about as poorly as a pro team could play. One goal in six league matches and one goal in two months is awful and right now Peter Vermes
15 (15). New York Red Bulls (3-16-4)
Last week- Beat FC Dallas, 3-2, last Sunday.
This week- vs. Columbus Crew on Sunday.
Last Five - 1-4 (W-L-L-L-L)
Outlook – The Red Bulls showed more energy as a group, avoided the defensive blunders that have plagued them all year, and looked dangerous in the attack with Juan Pablo Angel back. Of course, playing FC Dallas helped. The Columbus Crew will prove a much tougher test for interim head coach Richie Williams and his s
What do you think of this week's rankings? Starting to believe in New England? Are you a worried Seattle Sounders fan, or are you a Seattle fan confident the team will regain its early-season form? Think D.C. United is set to fall apart under the weight of its loaded schedule?
Share your thoughts below.