Somebody finally managed to slow down the Los Angeles Galaxy, but keeping them off the top of the SBI MLS Power Rankings is another story.
The Kansas City Wizards outplayed the Galaxy and came very close to knocking off the unbeaten squad in Kansas City this weekend, but some stellar goalkeeping from Donovan Ricketts (along with one inexplicable miss) force the Wizards to settle for a tie.
While there wasn't a bunch of shifting at the top of this week's rankings, one team that made a considerable jump up is the Chicago Fire, which won its second straight match and is starting to look like the Eastern Conference power we expected when the season began.
Here are this week's SBI MLS Power Rankings:
SBI MLS POWER RANKINGS (Week 5)
1 (Last Week- 1). LOS ANGELES GALAXY (4-0-1)
Last Week– Tied Kansas City, 0-0, last Saturday.
Next Week– vs. Philadelphia Union on Saturday.
Outlook: Narrow field in Kansas City (and the Wizards tough defense) made things difficult for the Galaxy attack, but Donovan Ricketts stepped up and LA showed it can get road points even without playing well. A return to Home Depot Center to face a vulnerable Union defense should help the Galaxy attack get rolling again.
Last Week– Beat Real Salt Lake, 1-0, last Saturday.
Next Week– at Seattle Sounders on Saturday.
Outlook: The Crew offense didn't exactly light it up against RSL, and it took a standout performance from Wil Hesmer to preserve the three points. Columbus is definitely missing injured defensive star Chad Marshall, and head to Seattle to face a struggling Sounders squad desperate for three points.
3 (3). NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-1)
Last Week– Beat Philadelphia Union, 2-1, last Saturday.
Next Week– at D.C. United on Saturday.
Outlook: Another less than stellar performance for the Red Bulls, but another home victory. New York isn't winning pretty, but we are seeing signs of maturity from a team that has shown it can win even without playing at its best. A tricky tilt awaits at RFK Stadium, where a rested and desperate D.C. United awaits.
4 (5). KANSAS CITY WIZARDS (2-1-1)
Next Week– at Houston Dynamo on Saturday.
Outlook: It can be argued that the Wizards have been the better team in all four of its matches this season (with the loss to Seattle the toughest to argue), but the Wizards dropped points because of poor finishing. A road game against a vulnerable Houston side should show us just how seriously we can take the Wizards as a powerhouse this season.
5 (8). COLORADO RAPIDS (3-1-1)
Last Week– Beat New England Revolution, 2-1, last Saturday.
Next Week– at San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.
Outlook: The tandem of Pablo Mastroeni and Jeff Larentowicz is anchoring a Rapids squad that has quietly established itself as a force. The bigger question is whether the defense can keep playing at its current level.
6 (11). CHICAGO FIRE (2-2-1)
Last Week– Beat Houston Dynamo, 2-0, last Saturday.
Next Week– vs. Chivas USA on Saturday.
Outlook: Most would have expected Collins John and Brian McBride to be key to a Fire resurgence, but it has been Marco Pappa and Patrick Nyarko who have provided the energy to a Chicago offense starting to find a good rhythm. Carlos De Los Cobos has also turned to some unlikely young players in Baggio Husidic and Peter Lowry, which is helping develop the Fire's depth.
7 (4). SEATTLE SOUNDERS (2-2-2)
Next Week- vs. Columbus Crew on Saturday.
Outlook: What is wrong with the Sounders? Aside from Steve Zakuani and Kasey Keller, there are a lot of underachieving players in rave green these days and the result is dropped points. Is Fredy Montero thinking about a summer move? Are we finding that Seattle's depth isn't as strong as we thought? Saturday's match vs. Columbus will reveal plenty.
8 (7). SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (2-2)
Last Week– Lost to Chivas USA, 3-2, last Saturday.
Next Week– vs. Colorado Rapids on Saturday.
Outlook: Poorly officiated match may have cost San Jose a point, but the normally stingy defense gave up too much to Chivas USA (though we suspect the midfield was as much to blame). It still feels like San Jose is a top striker short of being a serious contender, but Saturday's match vs. Colorado will tell us whether Earthquakes are for real or not.
9 (6). HOUSTON DYNAMO (2-2-1)
Last Week– Lost to Chicago Fire, 2-0, last Saturday.
Next Week– vs. Kansas City Wizards on Saturday.
Outlook: Dom Kinnear must have a lot of black cats in his neighborhood because he's being hit with new levels of bad luck. Losing Geoff Cameron for the season is a real hammer blow and now the Dynamo have to hold the fort down for three months. Houston needs Brian Ching back badly, but the lack of creative central midfield options is scary.
10 (10). REAL SALT LAKE (1-3-1)
Next Week– vs. Toronto FC on Saturday.
Outlook: In terms of the quality of soccer they've played, RSL probably deserves to still be a top five team, but they haven't been able to win any of these tough early-season matches. Having a healthy Javier Morales will help, but Jason Kreis needs his forwards to start converting chances ASAP. Toronto is playing much tougher lately, but RSL will welcome the Canadians to Rio Tinto after having faced the toughest schedule of the early season.
11 (12). CHIVAS USA (2-3)
Last Week– Beat San Jose Earthquakes, 3-2, last Saturday.
Next Week- at Chicago Fire on Saturday.
Outlook: Sacha Kljestan stepped up to the challenge and helped the Rojiblancos post a much-needed win. We're still not sold on Chivas USA though, particularly on the road, and a stiff test awaits from the Chicago Fire. If the central defense of Michael Umana and Dario Delgado is for real, the FIre tandem of McBride and John will let us know for sure.
12 (9). NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (2-3)
Last Week– Lost to Colorado Rapids, 2-1, last Saturday.
Next Week- vs. FC Dallas on Saturday.
Outlook: Marko Perovic signaled his arrival in New England with a beautiful free kick, but not much else went right for the Revs attack. It was no small coincidence that on the day Jeff Larentowicz returned to face his former team, that same team would surrender two long range strikes from midfield. Perhaps Shalrie Joseph's absence had as much to do with that. Now that Joseph is out indefinitely, New England suddenly finds itself in trouble.
13 (15). TORONTO FC (2-3)
Last Week– Beat Seattle Sounders, 2-0, last Sunday.
Next Week– at Real Salt Lake on Saturday.
Outlook: It took three matches, but Toronto FC finally put together a performance that might lead fans to believe this season will be something other than a failure. O'Brian White has the look of a future standout, but TFC needs another forward. Julian DeGuzman took a step toward silencing the talk of him being a DP bust. A tough road test awaits in Utah.
14 (13). FC DALLAS (0-1-3)
Last Week– Tied Seattle Sounders, 2-2, last Thursday.
Next Week- at New England Revolution on Saturday.
Outlook: For the third time this season, Dallas has managed to pull out a draw in a match it could have easily lost. To be fair, Dallas deserved a tie against a lackluster Seattle side, but it can't be ignored that Jeff Cunningham continues to struggle in the run of play (his goals have all come from the penalty spot). Until he regains his scoring touch, Dallas will continue to struggle for points.
15 (14). PHILADELPHIA UNION (1-3)
Last Week– Lost to New York Red Bulls, 2-1, last Saturday.
Next Week– at Los Angeles Galaxy, on Saturday.
Outlook: The Union attack continues to show good promise, and Peter Nowak showed some ingenuity in making some interesting lineup moves, but miscues cost the Union yet again as Michael Orozco's handball gave New York the winning goal. Roger Torres struggled a bit and may start to feel the pressure that comes with being the team's lead creator. Things get no easier for the expansion side as the unbeaten Galaxy await.
16 (16). D.C. UNITED (0-4)
Last Week– Bye Week
Next Week– vs. New York Red Bulls on Saturday.
Outlook: The week off couldn't have come at a better time for D.C., which will look to get healthy ahead of a crucial showdown vs. arch-rival New York.
What do you think of this week's rankings? Who do you feel is ranked too highly? Who isn't ranked high enough?
Share your thoughts below.