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SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 5

Saborio (Getty)

The stage has been set for Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City to do battle with early-season supremacy at stake.

For the second week in a row, the teams are 1-2 in the SBI MLS Power Rankings. Salt Lake notched a pair of victories, including a Rocky Mountain Cup triumph over the Colorado Rapids, to maintain its No. 1 standing, while Sporting KC kept pace thanks to a 1-0 win over the struggling MLS Cup champion Los Angeles Galaxy.

Which side truly deserves the top slot will now be decided on the field, when Salt Lake travels to Livestrong Sporting Park on Saturday for the only meeting between the two clubs this season.

Here are this week's SBI MLS Power Rankings (as voted on by SBI staff):


1. (Last week — 1) REAL SALT LAKE (5-1-0, 15 points)


Last week: Beat Montreal 1-0 on Wednesday, Beat Colorado 2-0 on Saturday

This week: At Kansas City, 8:30 p.m., Saturday

Outlook: Even with injury setbacks for Javier Morales and Ned Grabavoy, Salt Lake just keeps on rolling. Now that Nat Borchers and Jamison Olave are back together in central defense and Fabian Espindola and Alvaro Saborio are fit, healthy and scoring goals up top, Salt Lake will be tough to dethrone.

2. (2) SPORTING KANSAS CITY (5-0-0, 15 points)


Last week: Beat Los Angeles 1-0 on Saturday

This week: Vs. Salt Lake, 8:30 p.m., Saturday

Outlook: Losing Omar Bravo may have been a blessing in disguise for Kansas City, which has seen Bobby Convey's presence as a traditional left winger create more opportunities for Kei Kamara and C.J. Sapong to get into the box and connect with service. But the defense, which recorded another shutout against the Galaxy, has been stellar too.

3. (5) SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-1-0, 12 points)


Last week: Beat Vancouver 3-1 on Saturday

This week: At New York, 7 p.m., Saturday

Outlook: Chris Wondolowski's brace against previously undefeated (and unscored upon) Vancouver brought the striker to six goals in five games, continuing his miraculous clip. But with just two goals allowed, goalkeeper Jon Busch and the back line have been another driving force behind San Jose's red-hot start.

4. (3) SEATTLE SOUNDERS (2-1-1, 7 points)


Last week: Tied D.C. United 0-0 on Saturday

This week: Vs. Colorado, 4 p.m., Saturday

Outlook: Marc Burch nearly played hero for Seattle in D.C., hitting the crossbar against his former team deep into stoppage time. But the Sounders still earned a tough road draw, largely thanks to yet another controlling performance from holding midfielder Osvaldo Alonso. Eddie Johnson's 24-minute shift against United bodes well for Seattle's forward depth going forward.

T-5. (4) HOUSTON DYNAMO (2-1-0, 6 points)


Last week: Idle

This week: At Chicago, 7 p.m., Sunday, Galavision

Outlook: After back-to-back bye weeks, Houston finally returns to action Sunday with a trip to Chicago. It has been easy to forget about the Dynamo amid the team's hiatus, but let's take a moment to remember that Dominic Kinnear's club has already recorded two road victories — matching its total from all of last year.

T-5. (6) NEW YORK RED BULLS (3-2-0, 9 points)


Last week: Beat Columbus 4-1 on Saturday

This week: Vs. San Jose, 7 p.m., Saturday

Outlook: The year still is young, but New York acquiring Kenny Cooper from Portland for a first-round SuperDraft pick and allocation money is turning out to be quite the move for the Red Bulls. With six goals, Cooper is tied for second in the league, only trailing teammate Thierry Henry, whose seven tallies have helped the Frenchman become the first player to win three straight MLS Player of the Week awards.

7. (T-7) VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (2-1-2, 8 points)


Last week: Lost to San Jose 3-1 on Saturday

This week: Idle

Outlook: The good news was Sebastien Le Toux returned to the score sheet after looking a bit off his game in recent matches. But after starting the year with four straight shutouts, the Vancouver defense collapsed in an 11-minute second-half stretch that sealed the Whitecaps' fate against San Jose.

8. (T-7) COLORADO RAPIDS (3-2-0, 9 points)


Last week: Lost to Salt Lake 2-0 on Saturday

This week: At Seattle, 4 p.m., Saturday

Outlook: Well, it's safe to say Oscar Pareja won't be experimenting with Drew Moor in midfield again anytime soon. The tactical switch, which brought veteran Tyrone Marshall into the back line and relegated standout rookie Tony Cascio to the bench, seemed to throw off Colorado's rhythm against Salt Lake. It looks like the Rapids will have to find another way to fill Pablo Mastroeni's void.

9. (11) D.C. UNITED (1-2-2, 5 points)


Last week: Tied Seattle 0-0 on Saturday

This week: At New England, 4 p.m., Saturday

Outlook: A week after breaking out with four goals in a win over Dallas, United against Seattle returned to their tepid attacking tendencies of weeks prior, getting shut out for the third time in five games. Seeing how the attack was invigorated by second-half substitutes Chris Pontius and Branko Boskovic, it's hard to imagine Ben Olsen will keep them on the bench much longer.

10. (13) FC DALLAS (2-2-1, 7 points)


Last week: Beat New England 1-0 on Thursday

This week: Vs. Montreal, 8:30 p.m., Saturday

Outlook: Six days after falling apart in the second half of a 4-1 loss at D.C. United, Dallas bounced back against New England, using an Ugo Ihemelu strike five minutes into second-half stoppage time to down New England. It wasn't the most convincing performance, but it was three points in a match that marked the returns from injury of George John and Fabian Castillo.

11. (16) CHIVAS USA (2-3-0, 6 points)


Last week: Beat Portland 2-1 on Saturday

This week: At Toronto, 4:30 p.m., Saturday

Outlook: Maybe Chivas should just play of their games away from the Home Depot Center. Robin Fraser's squad is 0-3 with no goals scored at home but 2-0 on the road. If Chivas have the mettle to come from behind in environment such as Jeld-Wen Field, then perhaps this team can make some noise in the Western Conference.

12. (10) NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (2-3-0, 6 points)


Last week: Lost to Dallas 1-0 on Thursday

This week: Vs. D.C. United, 4 p.m., Saturday

Outlook: The Revolution were seconds away from going unbeaten on a tough two-game road swing to Los Angeles and Dallas before Ugo Ihemelu nabbed the result for Dallas. The centerback pairing of A.J. Soares and Stephen McCarthy continues to show promise, though, as does Clyde Simms' partnership with Shalrie Joseph.

13. (9) LOS ANGELES GALAXY (1-3-0, 3 points)


Last week: Lost to Kansas City 1-0 on Saturday

This week: Vs. Portland, 10:30 p.m., Saturday

Outlook: With David Beckham out of the lineup, the Galaxy once again lost the midfield battle against Kansas City. And Edson Buddle, who was yanked in favor of Chad Barrett in the 57th minute, continues to struggle to develop chemistry with Robbie Keane. Of course, an early-season schedule featuring matches against the likes of Salt Lake and Kansas City hasn't made matters any easier.

14. (15) CHICAGO FIRE (1-1-1, 4 points)


Last week: Idle

This week: Vs. Houston, 7 p.m., Sunday, Galavision

Outlook: Chicago had its second bye week of the young MLS season, so Frank Klopas' side will be well-rested for a home match against the Dynamo, who are coming off two weeks off themselves. The Fire will hope the time off has helped veteran right back Dan Gargan (toe sprain) return to health.

T-15. (12) COLUMBUS CREW (2-2-0, 6 points)


Last week: Lost to New York 4-1 on Saturday

This week: At Philadelphia, Saturday, 3:30 p.m., NBC Sports

Outlook: Columbus may have a respectable six points in four games, but with wins over lowly Toronto and Montreal offsetting ugly losses to Colorado and New York, it's hard to put much stock in that record. Defensively, this is a team that could sure use a healthy Julius James alongside Chad Marshall.

T-15. (14) PORTLAND TIMBERS (1-3-1, 4 points)


Last week: Lost to Chivas USA 2-1 on Saturday

This week: At Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m., Saturday

Outlook: Another week, another lead surrendered at home in a demoralizing loss. Defensively, the Timbers have some issues that need to be sorted out before making their trip to Los Angeles on Saturday. For as out of sorts as the Galaxy look, they still boast an imposing plethora of attacking talent.

17. (17) PHILADELPHIA UNION (0-3-1, 1 point)


Last week: Idle

This week: Vs. Columbus, Saturday, 3:30 p.m., NBC Sports

Outlook: Coming off a bye week with a full complement of players following Olympic qualifying, Philadelphia will be near full strength for this weekend's match against Columbus. It'll be intriguing to see how Peter Nowak incorporates playmaker Freddy Adu back into an attack that just hasn't clicked yet in 2012.

18. (19) MONTREAL IMPACT (1-4-1, 4 points)

Logo Impact MLS

Last week: Lost to Salt Lake 1-0 on Wednesday, Beat Toronto 2-1 on Saturday

This week: At Dallas, 8:30 p.m., Saturday

Outlook: The centerback pairing of Matteo Ferrari and Shavar Thomas has produced better results than the Ferrari-Tyson Wahl duo used in the season's opening weeks. And rookie Andrew Wenger's well-taken goal against Toronto was an exciting taste of the No. 1 overall pick's potential.

19. (18) TORONTO FC (0-4-0, 0 points)


Last week: Lost to Montreal 2-1 on Saturday

This week: Vs. Chivas USA, 4:30 p.m., Saturday

Outlook: After crashing out of the Champions League with a 6-2 midweek loss at Santos Laguna, Toronto reached a new low over the weekend, dropping to 0-4 while handing expansion Montreal the franchise's first MLS win. The feel-good vibes of that Champions League upset of Los Angeles are now long gone.


  1. I never said RSL had the best kits, just better than KC’s. KC’s kits are utterly boring; boring color, boring design, lazy effort after the re-branding.

    Your “honesty” is pretty biased there Brett, but I guess I can’t expect anything else when your team starts out 5-0. I hope reality doesn’t hurt too much when we take three points out of your shiny new stadium!

  2. Well, what does your list look like?

    oh yeah, i don’t read soccer by shelsilverstein. Nor would I.

    Great job SBI.

    I read it and I like it.

  3. Lets interject some facts here. RSL opponents are 11-17-2 this year. A .367 winning percentage and averaging 1.16 per game.

    SKC’s opponents are 8-13-3 for a winning percentage of .333 and 1.13.

    So not a whole lot of difference as far as I can see. Oh had 3 of our 5 wins have come against the vaunted Western Conference.

    All this analysis seems a little silly at this point in the season but it keeps me busy till Saturday.

  4. Well RSL lost to Chivas at home who SKC beat on the road. So saying RSL is a better team hands down is hyperboyle not backed up by facts.

    I’m not saying RSL might not be better, RSL has looked great this year and I think the Chivas game was an aberation. You did say one thing that was true though – we’ll see on Saturday.

  5. EJ except for a handful of recent minutes has not played or scored in over a year. This goes beyond optimism and should be treated medically.

  6. RSL has one of the worst kits in the league, I’m assuming ur statement was purely sarcasm. Sporting’s light blues are pretty good actually. But for my money vancouver’s white kit is the best in the league. Lastly, lets be honest, the only mls fans that actually think RSL will win this weekend are RSL fans.

  7. Looking at this list of comments it looks like some people are boobs who take things like this list to seriously! I don’t think SKC has had to face a team like RSL yet so this should be a good game, and likely the MLS Cup. “Ridiculous” is just a baby’s comment. If your team sucks this year, deal with it! It’s still early, if their the best they will climb up the rankings. It seems like a pretty acturate list to me, they explained exactly why teams are where they are! Disagree if you like, but every team gets missed calls- for and against. RSL was beat by Chivas on a foul by Townsend to get the goal, and a legite one that was called back, and Chivas had a “goalie/Defender mishap goal in Portland- What goes around comes around no matter who you are! The list looks correct to me. RSL beats SKC 3-1

  8. Good point, Clark. But you are just going to anger the masses. They don’t like to remember their shameful performance down south.

  9. I might give you the Rosales part, but you have a high opinion of a player that hasn’t scored a meaningful goal in seasons. I agree EJ doesn’t look bad, but placing him over so many quality MLS strikers would be like me elevating Salihi even though he has yet to score for DC yet.

  10. when you ask for the ref to deal with an encroaching player on a free kick, you have to wait for the referee to blow the whistle to take the kick.there’s your reason. calling back that goal against chivas was completely legitimate. espindola’s goal was not.

  11. Schedule is front loaded for RSL for Champs League in the late-Summer. The league is smart, they want a team in the Champs league that won’t get blown out 6-2 or 6-1 down in Mexico.

  12. shouldn’t nyrb be above houston- maybe even seattle?! they are on a great streak right now, while houston has had two byes and hasn’t impressed much, while seattle
    s offense hasn’t done well….

  13. Yes RSL did lose to Chivas 1 nil. Chivas is improving and is here to play the spoiler as they did in Portland last week with a come from behind win.


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