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SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 7

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Sporting Kansas City is still the team to beat in MLS right now, but the San Jose Earthquakes sure are making things interesting.

While Kansas City suffered its first loss of the season in Portland over the weekend, the Earthquakes improved to 5-1-1 with a 3-1 triumph over Real Salt Lake, pushing them to No. 2 in this week's SBI MLS Power Rankings. It has been an unlikely rise for a San Jose team that missed the playoffs last season, with a stout defense and the torrid scoring form of Chris Wondolowski sparking the club's hot start.

Elsewhere in the rankings, the Los Angeles Galaxy continued to climb back toward the top of the ladder, moving up four spots to No. 8 following a road win over Colorado. And the Philadelphia Union jumped three slots to No. 13, using a 1-0 victory at Chivas USA to put the club's 0-3 start even further in the rear-view mirror.

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


1. (Last week – 1) SPORTING KANSAS CITY (7-1-0, 21 points)


Last week: Beat Vancouver 3-1 on Wednesday; lost to Portland 1-0 on Saturday

This week: Idle

Outlook: It turns out the only team capable of beating Kansas City apparently is … Kansas City. Chance Myers' epic own goal gifted Portland the only tally it would need to hand Kansas City its first loss of the season. But it was still a productive Pacific Northwest road trip for Peter Vermes' squad, which dominated a formidable Vancouver side midweek.

2. (3) SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (5-1-1, 16 points)


Last week: Beat Salt Lake 3-1 on Saturday

This week: At Philadelphia, 7 p.m., Saturday

Outlook: Up a player from the 29th minute on and enjoying a two-man advantage after the 69th minute, San Jose still waited until second-half stoppage time to find the winner from Simon Dawkins (as well as Chris Wondolowski's clincher). It wasn't the most convincing performance, but three points against a team like Salt Lake is typically three points well earned.

3. (2) REAL SALT LAKE (5-3-0, 15 points)


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

This week: At Dallas, 8:30 p.m., Wednesday; vs. Toronto, 9 p.m., Saturday

Outlook: It was nearly a heroic draw for Salt Lake, which was minutes away from grabbing a point on the road despite two red cards. Alas, it wasn't meant to be for Salt Lake, which now must travel to Dallas without the suspended Fabian Espindola or Jamison Olave. On the plus side, a home game against lowly Toronto looms around the corner.

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


Last week: Idle

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

Outlook: The bye week came at a good time for Seattle, which avoided having to play another game without midfield maestros Alvaro Fernandez (quad strain) and Mauro Rosales (knee sprain). Steve Zakuani's continued progress while recovering from a broken leg is another welcome development for the Sounders.

5. (5) HOUSTON DYNAMO (2-1-2, 8 points)


Last week: Tied Columbus 2-2 on Saturday

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

Outlook: With just two games remaining on its seven-game road trip to start 2012, Houston still has just a single loss. Despite missing Brad Davis again this past weekend, the Dynamo got another point thanks to a standout performance from second-year player Will Bruin, who notched a goal and an assist.

6. (7) D.C. UNITED (3-2-3, 12 points)


Last week: Tied Montreal 1-1 on Wednesday; beat New York 4-1 on Sunday

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

Outlook: Even with the Designated Player duo of playmaker Branko Boskovic and striker Hamdi Salihi not producing for coach Ben Olsen, United are still racking up the goals. If Chris Pontius (four goals), Maicon Santos (four goals) and Nick DeLeon (three goals) stay in form, Boskovic and Salihi could end up being the league's two most expensive bench players.

7. (9) VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (3-2-2, 11 points)


Last week: Lost to Kansas City 3-1 on Wednesday; beat Dallas 1-0 on Saturday

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

Outlook: After being handled at home by Kansas City, the Whitecaps did well to bounce back and return to their stingy defensive ways in a win over Dallas on Saturday. One question fans are now wondering: Did 2011 No. 1 pick Omar Salgado do well enough in a rare start to warrant another one next weekend?

8. (12) LOS ANGELES GALAXY (3-3-0, 9 points)


Last week: Beat Colorado 2-1 on Saturday

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

Outlook: It was a welcome sight for Galaxy fans, seeing Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan link up for the second goal against Colorado in a play reminiscent of Donovan's MLS Cup-winning tally in November. While an awful penalty kick call in the waning moments nearly gifted Colorado a result, Josh Saunders came up with the massive save for Los Angeles.

9. (6) NEW YORK RED BULLS (3-3-1, 10 points)


Last week: Lost to D.C. United 4-1 on Sunday

This week: Vs. New England, 3:30 p.m., Saturday

Outlook: Playing without Wilman Conde, Roy Miller, Teemu Tainio and Rafa Marquez, New York apparently decided to just forgo defense altogether during its trip to the nation's capital. If Thierry Henry's body language was any indication, the Frenchman's patience is starting to wear dangerously thin.

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


Last week: Lost to Vancouver 1-0 on Saturday

This week: Vs. Salt Lake, 8:30 p.m., Wednesday; at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m., Saturday

Outlook: With a loss at BC Place, Dallas dropped to 0-3 on the road this season. On the plus side, the club will return home, where it is 3-0-1, for a midweek match against Salt Lake before traveling Saturday to take on another Western Conference powerhouse in the Galaxy. Dallas will be hoping goalkeeper Kevin Hartman's back spasms aren't too serious.

11. (13) CHICAGO FIRE (2-1-2, 8 points)


Last week: Beat Toronto 3-2 on Saturday

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

Outlook: The Fire have seemingly flown under the radar because of their light schedule to start the year, but if Dominic Oduro keeps scoring goals, Sebastian Grazzini continues controlling the midfield and Arne Friedrich stays healthy in the back, Chicago will be a team to keep an eye on.

12. (10) COLORADO RAPIDS (3-4-0, 9 points)


Last week: Lost to Los Angeles 2-1 on Saturday

This week: Vs. Chivas USA, 9 p.m., Saturday

Outlook: It was perhaps fitting that Omar Cummings missed his stoppage-time penalty kick, seeing as it was an opportunity the Rapids had no business having. But it was still a tough pill to swallow for Colorado, which came so close to battling back from a 2-0 deficit to grab a point against the defending champions.

13. (16) PHILADELPHIA UNION (2-3-1, 7 points)


Last week: Beat Chivas USA 1-0 on Saturday

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

Outlook: Despite drawing two red cards on the road, the Union still found a way to win against Chivas, using a clever back-heel strike Freddy Adu and another steady performance from resurgent goalkeeper Zac MacMath to claim the three points. Unbeaten in three, can Philadelphia put an end to San Jose's good run of form?

14. (11) CHIVAS USA (3-4-0, 9 points)


Last week: Lost to Philadelphia 1-0 on Saturday

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

Outlook: It's truly remarkable that Chivas have somehow managed to lose all four of their home games by a 1-0 score this season — while going 3-0 on the road. Is the lifeless atmosphere at the Home Depot Center for Chivas games really that detrimental? Perhaps the return of Juan Pablo Angel will spark that anemic attack.

15. (15) PORTLAND TIMBERS (2-4-1, 7 points)


Last week: Beat Kansas City 1-0 on Saturday

This week: At Montreal, 3:30 p.m., Saturday

Outlook: It was far from pretty, but the Timbers ended their four-game losing streak with a triumph over previously undefeated Kansas City. It looks like Portland has found a home for Lovel Palmer in his natural central midfield position after previously using the Jamaican as a right back.

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


Last week: Idle

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

Outlook: After a week off, the Revolution will make the short trip to Red Bull Arena for a match against the defensively challenged Red Bulls. It's an enviable matchup that must have new strikers Saer Sene (two goals in five games) and Jose Moreno (one goal in one start) chomping at the bit.

17. (17) COLUMBUS CREW (2-3-1, 7 points)


Last week: Tied Houston 2-2 on Saturday

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

Outlook: Eddie Gaven's brace wasn't enough to get Columbus back in the win column, even though the Crew were facing a road-weary Houston team playing without MVP finalist Brad Davis. Defensively, Chad Marshall and Co. have some significant issues to sort out.

18. (18) MONTREAL IMPACT (1-5-2, 5 points)

Logo Impact MLS

Last week: Tied D.C. United 1-1 on Wednesday

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

Outlook: Another game, another lead surrendered by the Impact. At least this time around, Montreal still managed to hang onto a point, grabbing a nice midweek result in D.C. After Lamar Neagle's active appearance off the bench included an exquisite cross to set up Bernardo Corradi's strike, the former Seattle man may have worked his way back into the starting 11.

19. (19) TORONTO FC (0-6-0, 0 points)


Last week: Lost to Chicago 3-2 on Saturday

This week: At Salt Lake, 9 p.m., Saturday

Outlook: All the optimism that Torsten Frings' return would stabilize Toronto quickly evaporated when the German's blunder gifted Chicago a score in the opening minute. While Reggie Lambe's two-goal performance provided BMO Field with some short-lived energy, this team remains an absolute mess defensively.


  1. Olave is faster than Lenhart. Lenhart was trying to keep position by using his arm. He didn’t pull Olave into him. Olave weighs at least as much as a truck; nobody is going to pull him anywhere from such an awkward arm position. Olave was behind lenhart and the contact wasn’t shoulder-to-shoulder. Olave got beat on that play before the contact even occurred.

  2. Not saying whether Olave did or did not deserve a red card…..but I think I read it was not being contested, if he did not and it was so obvious, then why is SLC not contesting it?

  3. Silly comment. It is about the right fit with the right team, not the league. Salihi is a scorer. No matter what the Eurosnobs think, it usually takes at least a half season to adjust to the US. Nobody comes in and lights up the league right away.

  4. Down with Lenhart…errrmmmm…I guess he does that by himself….

    I think the ref should have looked to his linesman for confirmation. Bumping shoulders isn’t red worthy and Olave didn’t initiate the tumble…

  5. one more tie or win and we can start putting them in the top three again.. It won’t matter how many other teams have better records and more points.

  6. Hopefully they don’t target 35 year olds for both of those positions!

    Personally, I think Stephen Ireland would be a great signing. Not a world-beater, but a high-quality player IN HIS PRIME that addresses a true need (attacking mid) for the team.

  7. “I thought San Jose controlled that game against San Jose from the start.”

    So you’re saying it’s a “they’re their own worst enemies” type of situation?

  8. “It wasn’t the most convincing performance.” I thought San Jose controlled that game against San Jose from the start. They were attacking and knocking the ball around even before the red cards came out.

  9. Any team that loses a major back line defender will need to go a period of readjustment till it starts to jell. And so it is with the NYRB who lost Ream and the Galaxy who lost Gonzales. Both are having backline issues. The Galaxy seem to have found stopgap with the new Brazilian signing, Lopes, from Chivas, , but the NYRB has yet to find the right combo, and with bad boy Marquez mailnly playing midfield or being suspended, you have a dearth of good backline players.

  10. Right. Pontius, Santos and DeLeon are all racking up some goals with the same squad. It’s not just about the goals though, Salihi never meshed well w/ the likes of DeRo and just didn’t really look threatening in general. I’m sure if you put him back out there during the team’s current run of form, he’d perform better. I’m just trying to give MLS props, heh.

  11. I think its trickier for the Red Bulls to walk that line than you think though. While in some respects, marketing opportunities drive the bus for RBNY, its also true that they need to maintain the *perception* that they are a legitimate sports team. If the perception becomes that they are doing things detrimental to the health of the team for the purposes of marketing, the whole house of cards tumbles down pretty quickly, and then THAT impacts marketing. To wit, do you think Henry is interested in playing for a club that starts a center back who is detrimental to the team just because he sells red bull in Mexico? No. And he’s a hell of a lot more important than Marquez. It also begins to chip away at the Red Bulls brand in a negative way if club management is seen as a joke being pulled along by Red Bull corporate.

    The situation is more delicate than you make it seem.

  12. So given Salihi’s inability to score goals and subsequent benching, is it fair to assume that the MLS is at the very least better than the AUSTRIAN league? 🙂

  13. Not sure how to rate RBNY. Based on the last game, they are circa-1999 level. Earlier games were better. Don’t know why they don’t sell out RBA–you can’t take your eyes off them. Like a car wreck.


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