Western Conference powers took a hit this week as the Seattle Sounders and Real Salt Lake both suffered tough losses in tightly-contested matches.
Those results, coupled with another impressive showing by the revamped New York Red Bulls have helped shake up this week's SBI MLS Power Rankings.
The Columbus Crew held on to the top spot, while the Galaxy moved into No. 2 after its comprehensive victory vs. Chivas USA, but the Red Bulls have climbed all the way up to No. 3 after its thoroughly impressive victory against the Sounders at Qwest Field.
Here is how this week's SBI MLS Power Rankings shook out:
SBI MLS POWER RANKINGS (Week 2)
Last Week– Bye week.
Next Week– at FC Dallas on Saturday.
Outlook: Will Chad Marshall be back? The Crew could use him against Dallas' high-powered offense.
2 (4). LOS ANGELES GALAXY (2-0)
Last Week– Beat Chivas USA, 2-0, last Thursday.
Next Week– at Houston Dynamo on Saturday.
Outlook: Beating Chivas USA was no real surprise, but now the Galaxy must leave the comfort of Home Depot Center to take on a tough Dynamo side.
3 (8). NEW YORK RED BULLS (2-0)
Last Week– Beat Seattle Sounders, 1-0, last Saturday.
Next Week– at Chivas USA on Saturday.
Outlook: Their defensive effort vs. Seattle was unlike anything we have seen by New York in years. The question now is whether the offense can catch up to the defense.
4 (7). HOUSTON DYNAMO (1-0-1)
Last Week– Beat Real Salt Lake, 2-1, last Thursday.
Next Week– vs. Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday.
Outlook: Hard-fought win vs. RSL is a great tone-setter, but the Dynamo must now try to stop the LA Galaxy and do so without Brian Ching.
5 (5). KANSAS CITY WIZARDS (1-0)
Next Week– vs. Colorado on Saturday.
Outlook: KC probably didn't want a bye week, but a friendly victory vs. AC St. Louis was a nice break before jumping back into the MLS fray.
6 (2). REAL SALT LAKE (1-1)
Next Week– vs. Seattle Sounders on Saturday.
Outlook: Jamison Olave will eventually learn that slide-tackling in the penalty area is a bad idea. The loss to Houston should provide some serious motivation for Real Salt Lake to go after Seattle in the home opener at Rio Tinto Stadium.
7 (3). SEATTLE SOUNDERS (1-1)
Next Week– at Real Salt Lake on Saturday.
Outlook: One of Seattle's 2009 problems, poor finishing, is back. Can the Sounders afford to wait for Nate Jaqua to return from injury, or should we expect Pat Noonan to be playing forward before long (and yes, I was harsh on Seattle's road record, which wasn't terrible in 2009).
8 (6). COLORADO RAPIDS (1-0-1)
Last Week– Tied Chicago Fire, 2-2, last Saturday.
Next Week– at Kansas City Wizards on Saturday.
Outlook: Blew a pair of leads in tying Chicago, with Marvell Wynne on the wrong end of both goal plays. He shows promise at centerback, but can a centerback pairing of Wynne and Moor work in MLS? The Wizards will bring us a step closer to finding out.
9 (11). NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (1-1)
Last Week– Beat D.C. United, 2-0, last Saturday.
Next Week– vs. Toronto FC on Saturday.
Outlook: Beating D.C. without Shalrie Joseph, Matt Reis and Darrius Barnes was thoroughly impressive, and Stevie Nicol has some new players emerging in Pat Phelan and rookie Seth Sinovic. The home opener at Gillette Stadium against Toronto FC should tell us just how serious the Revs are about remaining an East power.
10 (9). CHICAGO FIRE (0-1-1)
Last Week– Tied Colorado Rapids, 2-2, last Saturday.
Next Week– vs. San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.
Outlook: The Fire played better than in their opener, but still needed a corner kick and penalty kick to score its two goals. Two games without a goal in the run of play isn't a great start for Chicago, but a home opener against lowly San Jose just might be what the doctor ordered.
11 (10). FC DALLAS (0-0-1)
Last Week– Bye Week
Next Week– vs. Columbus Crew on Saturday.
Outlook: I'm still not sold on the FC Dallas defense and the Columbus Crew attack should be able to tell us just how good or bad that back-line is.
12 (12). D.C. UNITED (0-2)
Last Week– Lost to New England, 2-0, last Saturday.
Next Week– at Philadelphia Union on Saturday.
Outlook: Curt Onalfo must have watched the game tape of the New England loss and asked himself how his team lost. The simple answer is the team did nothing dangerous in the final third. All of a sudden, Saturday's match at Philadelphia carries a ton of pressure for D.C. United.
13 (13). CHIVAS USA (0-2)
Last Week– Lost to Los Angeles Galaxy, 2-0, last Thursday.
Next Week– vs. New York Red Bulls on Saturday.
Outlook: Few bright spots for Chivas USA following loss to the Galaxy. For one, we have been reminded that Michael Umana wasn't a standout defender his first time around MLS. Martin Vasquez gets no rest though, as his goal-less attack must try to produce its first goal of the season against a Red Bulls team that has yet to surrender a goal.
14 (14). TORONTO FC (0-1)
Last Week– Bye Week.
Next Week– at New England Revolution on Saturday.
Outlook: A closer look at the season-opening loss to Columbus revealed a closer game than the score indicated, but it also showed a team that still needs a goal-scoring threat. And a central defender. Or two.
15 (15). SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (0-1)
Last Week– Bye Week
Next Week– at Chicago Fire on Saturday.
Outlook: Not a great opening schedule for the Earthquakes, opening against the champions and then traveling to Chicago for their home opener. There won't be any excuses though of Frank Yallop's squad can't put together a strong performance against a Chicago side that hasn't gotten off to the best start to the season.
16 (16). PHILADELPHIA UNION (0-1)
Last Week– Bye Week
Next Week– vs. D.C. United on Saturday.
Outlook: How does a team have a good bye week? Peter Nowak watched Seattle and D.C. United lose, and he may have found his new right back in Christian Arrietta. The Union's home opener at Lincoln Financial Field should be an unforgettable scene, but the Union will need to be much better than in their season opener to avoid a disappointing homecoming.
What do you think of this week's rankings? Which team do you think is rated too highly? Which team's rating isn't high enough?
Share your thoughts below.