SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 6

SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 6

Major League Soccer

SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 6

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Nielsen (Getty)


It may be seven months before the MLS Cup is awarded, but at this point in 2012, there is little doubt Sporting Kansas City is the top team the league has to offer.

Entering the weekend as the league's only unbeaten club, Kansas City separated itself from the pack in the SBI MLS Power Rankings with a 1-0 win over the previous No. 1 squad, Real Salt Lake, moving to 6-0-0.

The positioning otherwise held firm, more or less. The most significant moves were made by D.C. United and FC Dallas, who used late wins to slide into the No. 7 and 8 slots, respectively.

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

SBI MLS POWER RANKINGS (WEEK 6)

1. (Last week – 2) SPORTING KANSAS CITY (6-0-0, 18 points)

SportingKClogo

Last week: Beat Salt Lake 1-0 on Saturday

This week: At Vancouver, 10 p.m., Wednesday; At Portland, 10:30 p.m., Saturday

Outlook: Kansas City has been held to a single goal in four of its six wins. But a stout back line anchored by goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen has emerged as the league's best, allowing just one tally thus far. So what happens when the offense really gets going?

2. (1) REAL SALT LAKE (5-2-0, 15 points)

RSL_Primary_COL

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

This week: At San Jose, 10:30 p.m., Saturday

Outlook: Playing without Javier Morales or Ned Grabavoy, Salt Lake went to Livestrong Sporting Park and very well could have earned a result, were it not for one set-piece lapse. Matters hardly get easier this weekend, though, with a trip to San Jose.

3. (3) SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-1-1, 13 points)

SJ_Primary_COL

Last week: Tied New York 2-2 on Saturday

This week: Vs. Salt Lake, 10:30 p.m., Saturday

Outlook: Coming back from a goal down twice on the road is no easy task, but San Jose managed to do so and grab a point at New York. As long as Chris Wondolowski keeps producing, the Earthquakes will remain a surprise team to beat in the Western Conference.

4. (4) SEATTLE SOUNDERS (3-1-1, 10 points)

SEA_Primary_COL

Last week: Beat Colorado 1-0 on Saturday

This week: Idle.

Outlook: The Sounders returned to their winning ways against Colorado, riding right back Zach Scott's first career strike to victory. To record a win with midfield maestros Alvaro Fernandez and Mauro Rosales both out of the lineup was no small feat.

5. (T-5) HOUSTON DYNAMO (2-1-1, 7 points)

HOU_Primary_COL

Last week: Tied Chicago 1-1 on Sunday

This week: At Columbus, 7:30 p.m., Saturday

Outlook: Even with three-fourths of its starting midfield missing, Houston still managed to get a point on the road against Chicago in Sunday's lightning-shortened affair. Even better news? The opening of BBVA Compass Stadium is less than a month away.

6. (T-5) NEW YORK RED BULLS (3-2-1, 10 points)

NY_Primary_COL

Last week: Tied San Jose 2-2 on Saturday

This week: At D.C. United, 6 p.m., Sunday, ESPN2

Outlook: Kenny Cooper's seventh goal drew him even with strike partner Thierry Henry atop the league's scoring chart. But depth up the middle is a problem for New York, with Wilman Conde and Teemu Tainio dealing with injuries and Rafa Marquez likely facing another lengthy suspension.

7. (9) D.C. UNITED (2-2-2, 8 points)

DCU_Primary_COL

Last week: Beat New England 2-1 on Saturday

This week: Vs. Montreal, 7:30 p.m., Wednesday; Vs. New York, 6 p.m., Sunday, ESPN2

Outlook: How deep a team have Ben Olsen and Co. built? Well, United were able to bring Chris Pontius, a U.S. national team call-up last September, off the bench to score the winning goal against New England while leaving the likes of Andy Najar and Branko Boskovic on the bench as unused subs.

8. (10) FC DALLAS (3-2-1, 10 points)

DAL_Primary_COL

Last week: Beat Montreal 2-1 on Saturday

This week: At Vancouver, 10 p.m., Saturday

Outlook: With one timely, skillfully taken strike, Brek Shea seemed to bury his Olympic frustrations while giving his side its second straight last-gasp victory. And things get better for Dallas: Brazilian defender-midfielder Jackson returns from his loan stint this week.

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

WhitecapsLogo

Last week: Idle

This week: Vs. Kansas City, 10 p.m., Wednesday; Vs. Dallas, 10 p.m., Saturday

Outlook: After a week off from action, Vancouver gets two home fixtures in four days. The rested Whitecaps should present quite the challenge for Kansas City, which could be in danger of a let-down following its much-hyped clash against Salt Lake.

10. (8) COLORADO RAPIDS (3-3-0, 9 points)

RapidsLogo

Last week: Lost to Seattle 1-0 on Saturday

This week: Vs. Los Angeles, 9 p.m., Saturday

Outlook: Colorado has leveled off after its hot start, falling to .500 with a loss at Seattle during which the Rapids couldn't get much going offensively. The impending return of Conor Casey from a long-term Achilles injury should be a welcome boost.

11. (11) CHIVAS USA (3-3-0, 9 points)

CHV_Primary_COL

Last week: Beat Toronto 1-0 on Saturday

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

Outlook: Chivas are now 3-for-3 on the road and 0-for-3 at home. Unfortunately for Robin Fraser's club, they play Philadelphia on Saturday at the Home Depot Center, where they still haven't scored a goal yet this season.

12. (13) LOS ANGELES GALAXY (2-3-0, 6 points)

LA_Primary_COL

Last week: Beat Portland 3-1 on Saturday

This week: At Colorado, 9 p.m., Saturday

Outlook: Even with the new centerback partnership of David Junior Lopes and Tommy Meyer, it looked like the Galaxy were following the same old script when Portland struck first. But then Landon Donovan, Juninho and David Beckham reminded everyone what this Los Angeles team is capable of on a good day.

13. (14) CHICAGO FIRE (1-1-2, 5 points)

CHI_primary_COL

Last week: Tied Houston 1-1 on Sunday

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

Outlook: Logan Pause against the Dynamo scored about as undeserving a goal as one will see, ducking from a Pavel Pardo free kick, only to see the shot deflect off his back and pass Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall. But they all count the same. Even better luck for Chicago? They get to play Toronto on Saturday.

14. (12) NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (2-4-0, 6 points)

NE_Primary_COL

Last week: Lost to D.C. United 1-0 on Saturday

This week: Idle.

Outlook: Losing Shalrie Joseph against United to a retroactive suspension was a tough blow that hindered New England's midfield control. On the plus side, Jose Moreno scored in his first start, and Benny Feilhaber logged 35 minutes off the bench in his return from injury.

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

TimbersLogo

Last week: Lost to Los Angeles 3-1 on Saturday

This week: Vs. Kansas City, 10:30 p.m., Saturday

Outlook: Kris Boyd gave Timbers fans plenty of reason for optimism when he struck the opener against Los Angeles, but Portland once again fell apart late. It's a disturbing pattern for the Timbers, whose record would look a whole lot better if games were called in the 80th minute.

16. (17) PHILADELPHIA UNION (1-3-1, 4 points)

UNI_Primary_COL

Last week: Beat Columbus 1-0 on Saturday

This week: At Chivas USA, 10:30 p.m., Saturday

Outlook: It wasn't the prettiest affair — a 1-0 result decided by a penalty kick — but Philadelphia against the Crew happily claimed their first victory of 2012. Freddy Adu's performance was particularly encouraging, though his being lifted in the 62nd minute was quite curious.

17. (T-15) COLUMBUS CREW (2-3-0, 6 points)

CLB_Primary_COL

Last week: Lost to Philadelphia 1-0 on Saturday

This week: Vs. Houston, 7:30 p.m., Saturday

Outlook: Seeing as the Crew's two wins came over the only teams below them in these rankings, there is definitely cause for concern in Columbus. And losing goalkeeper Will Hesmer to hip surgery for the next six months isn't helping matters.

18. (18) MONTREAL IMPACT (1-5-1, 4 points)

Logo Impact MLS

Last week: Lost to Dallas 2-1 on Saturday

This week: At D.C. United, 7:30 p.m., Wednesday

Outlook: The Impact were minutes from securing their first away point in MLS before Brek Shea intervened for Dallas. They'll get another crack at a result on the road when they travel to the nation's capital for a midweek fixture against D.C. United.

19. (19) TORONTO FC (0-5-0, 0 points)

 TOR_Primary_COL 

Last week: Lost to Chivas USA 1-0 on Saturday

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

Outlook: It's truly mind-boggling to think this Toronto team was at one point three games away from competing in the Club World Cup. The squad's only hope seems to be the return of injured defender-midfielder Torsten Frings, whose stability has been sorely lacking these past few weeks.

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