Top Stories

SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 20

Dynamo (Getty)

Don't look now, but here come the MLS Cup finalists.

After spending much of the season in the middle of the SBI MLS Power Rankings pack, the Houston Dynamo and Los Angeles Galaxy have ridden unbeaten runs to the fifth and sixth positions, respectively, in this week's poll.

Houston, undefeated in six and on a three-game winning streak, now sits third in the Eastern Conference. The Galaxy, who languished in last place early in the campaign, are 3-0-1 in their last four and are seven points clear of Chivas USA for the fifth and final Western Conference playoff slot.

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


1. (Last week — 1) SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (13-5-4, 43 points)


Last week: Beat Dallas 2-1 on Wednesday; lost to Vancouver 2-1 on Sunday

This week: Saturday vs. Chicago, 10:30 p.m.

Outlook: San Jose has seemed invincible at times this year, but the Earthquakes proved they are human with a 2-1 loss at Vancouver. Their All-Star contingent of Steven Beitashour, Justin Morrow, Ramiro Corrales and Chris Wondolowski now heads to Philadelphia to take on Chelsea.

2. (5) NEW YORK RED BULLS (11-5-5, 38 points)


Last week: Beat Chicago 1-0 on Wednesday; beat Philadelphia 2-0 on Saturday

This week: Saturday at Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

Outlook: The Kenny Cooper who carried New York on his back during Thierry Henry's injury woes earlier this year returned Saturday, recording a brace as New York notched its second win of the week and moved into first place in the Eastern Conference.

3. (3) REAL SALT LAKE (12-7-3, 39 points)


Last week: Beat Colorado 2-0 on Saturday

This week: Friday vs. Vancouver, 9 p.m.

Outlook: Salt Lake went about business as usual on Saturday, adding to its Rocky Mountain Cup rival's misery with a well-executed 2-0 win over Colorado. Friday's match against Vancouver will be crucial to Western Conference positioning.

4. (2) SPORTING KANSAS CITY (11-6-4, 37 points)


Last week: Lost to Houston 2-1 on Wednesday; tied New England 0-0 on Saturday

This week: Saturday vs. Columbus, 8:30 p.m.

Outlook: Kansas City followed its recent surge with a disappointing week, falling at Houston before settling for a scoreless draw at home against a New England team it handled in March. With 19 goals allowed in 21 games, though, that defense remains the league's best.

5. (8) HOUSTON DYNAMO (9-5-7, 34 points)


Last week: Beat Kansas City 2-1 on Wednesday; beat Montreal 3-0 on Saturday

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

Outlook: With two goals from Calen Carr on Wednesday and a brace from Macoumba Kandji on Saturday, it has become apparent Houston now boasts one of the league's most balanced attacks. Of course, finally getting a nice run of games at home doesn't hurt.

6. (7) LOS ANGELES GALAXY (9-10-3, 30 points)


Last week: Tied Vancouver 2-2 on Wednesday; beat Chivas 3-1 on Saturday

This week: Saturday at Dallas, 8 p.m.

Outlook: It was another productive week for the Galaxy, who earned a dramatic road draw in Vancouver before avenging their loss to Chivas earlier this season. David Beckham, Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane just continue to play like the big-name stars they are.

7. (4) D.C. UNITED (10-7-3, 33 points)


Last week: Lost to Columbus 1-0 on Saturday

This week: Idle

Outlook: United lost consecutive games for the time since the season's opening contests, following up a 4-0 loss at Houston with a 1-0 defeat in Columbus. Despite the team's depth, losing Andy Najar's energy on the right flank while he is with the Honduran Olympic side hurts.

8. (10) VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (9-6-7, 34 points)


Last week: Tied Los Angeles 2-2 on Wednesday; beat San Jose 2-1 on Sunday

This week: Friday at Salt Lake, 9 p.m.

Outlook: Newcomers Dane Richards and Barry Robson made their influence felt with goals in Vancouver's upset win over San Jose on Sunday, and Scottish striker Kenny Miller also is working his way into the lineup. Once this team's new-look attack comes together, it could be lethal.

9. (9) SEATTLE SOUNDERS (8-5-7, 31 points)


Last week: Idle

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

Outlook: Fredy Montero shined with a brace against Chelsea midweek, although the Sounders' ultimately fell 4-2 to the European champions. All-Stars Osvaldo Alonso and Eddie Johnson get another shot at the Blues on Wednesday.

10. (6) CHICAGO FIRE (9-7-4, 31 points)


Last week: Lost to New York 2-0 on Wednesday

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

Outlook: The Fire have hung onto fifth place in the Eastern Conference, but they'll need to develop more consistency if they're going to hold off the likes of Columbus and maybe even Philadelphia. Saturday's trip to San Jose will be a tough test.

11. (13) COLUMBUS CREW (7-7-4, 25 points)


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

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

Outlook: An unlikely strike by Chris Birchall and another stingy effort from Andy Gruenebaum and Co. gave Columbus a key conference win over United. Dilly Duka's return from injury has given the Crew attack a much-needed lift.

12. (11) PHILADELPHIA UNION (6-10-2, 20 points)


Last week: Lost to New York 2-0 on Saturday

This week: Sunday vs. New England, 7 p.m.

Outlook: Philadelphia's three-game winning streak was snapped at Red Bull Arena, but the Union still sit just 11 points out of playoff positioning with two games in hand. Considering this team's start, the fact that it is even in the discussion is impressive.

13. (12) NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (6-9-5, 23 points)


Last week: Lost to Montreal 2-1 on Wednesday; tied Kansas City 0-0 on Saturday

This week: Sunday at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.

Outlook: New England did well to secure a tough draw in Kansas City after falling to Montreal midweek, but one point in two games just isn't enough for a Revolution team that is now eight points out of a postseason slot. 

14. (14) CHIVAS USA (6-8-5, 23 points)


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

This week: Saturday at Portland, 11 p.m.

Outlook: Chivas continue to hang around despite a 3-6-2 record at home that would have already buried most other teams. Juan Agudelo's knee injury has taken a lot of the punch out of a Chivas attack that was beginning to find a rhythm with the teenager up top.

15. (16) MONTREAL IMPACT (7-13-3, 24 points)

Logo Impact MLS

Last week: Beat New England 2-1 on Wednesday; lost to Houston 3-0 on Saturday

This week: Saturday vs. New York, 7:30 p.m.

Outlook: After a 3-0 loss to Houston, Montreal has surrendered a stunning 42 goals in 23 games. Alessandro Nesta can't make his MLS debut soon enough for the Impact, who have been waiting for the Italian to reach full fitness and are still dealing with injuries to centerbacks Matteo Ferrari and Nelson Rivas.

16. (15) COLORADO RAPIDS (7-13-1, 22 points)


Last week: Lost to Toronto 2-1 on Wednesday; lost to Salt Lake 2-0 on Saturday

This week: Saturday vs. Seattle, 9 p.m.

Outlook: Make it five straight losses for the Rapids, who have rapidly fallen from the middle of the Western Conference pack to near the cellar. The acquisition of left back Tyson Wahl should help reinforce the uncharacteristic mistakes in the back, but it may be too little, too late.

17. (18) FC DALLAS (5-10-7, 22 points)


Last week: Lost to San Jose 2-1 on Wednesday; beat Portland 5-0 on Saturday

This week: Saturday vs. Los Angeles, 8 p.m.

Outlook: The rift between Brek Shea and Schellas Hyndman may have stolen the headlines, but Dallas sure looked sharp in a 5-0 triumph over Portland. Having David Ferreira and Jackson in the lineup sure has made this team more dangerous going forward.

18. (17) TORONTO FC (5-11-4, 19 points)


Last week: Beat Colorado 2-1 on Wednesday

This week: Saturday vs. Houston, 4:30 p.m.

Outlook: After three straight wins, Toronto is just a point away from escaping last place in the Eastern Conference. The acquisiton of Eric Hassli gives the team a bruising target forward to fill in for the injured Danny Koevermans.

19. (19) PORTLAND TIMBERS (5-11-4, 19 points)


Last week: Lost to Chivas 1-0 on Wednesday; lost to Dallas 5-0 on Saturday

This week: Saturday vs. Chivas, 11 p.m.

Outlook: Carrying the worst record in MLS (they're below Toronto thanks to a minus-16 goal differential), the Timbers have lost four in a row and are coming off a 5-0 defeat at second-to-last Dallas. The season has officially entered "lost cause" territory.


  1. As usual you seem to ignore reality. In this case the REALITY is that since the switch to 4-3-3 and having certain players on the wing (Carr, Kandji) we have been very successful. Your own opinion is fine but results are more important and you seem to be disregarding the fact that we’re winning.

  2. Lovely novella. You’ll have better luck discussing the starter/bench player argument with someone that would actually replace Davis. (Remember your Ching argument?) It just comes off as frantic. Still, you should ease on the paranoia. Asking questions is part of a discussion, not a frame job. I’m inquiring, that’s all. And sure, you don’t have to answer. Your call.

  3. Taking your question from a different angle does not render me mentally challenged. No one says I have to run headlong into self-serving arguments and rhetorical questions, or that I can’t make my own generally related or even tangential comments.

    In short: I don’t have to accept your frame-job. Mentally challenge that.

    All due respect to the self-serving logic you offer, one player was on the field Wednesday and the other wasn’t. There are XI spots and more players than that. Some of those players, like, say, Camargo — who spelled Davis — can be deployed in Davis’ spot. If there’s a Carr-Boniek-Davis-Camargo domino fall, Carr and Davis need not be mutually exclusive to impact each other’s usage.

    The rest of your argument is rhetorical questions posing as genuine interest.

    I think I’ve made clear what my point is, that Davis is being under-utilized in the 433, and that we need to make sure the best XI are fielded as the important games near. I used Davis and Carr as the most dubious inclusion/exclusion. It doesn’t even have to be mutually exclusive to be something to worry about, but my domino theory argument actually explains how playing one player can impact the XI even if they aren’t the same spot. Because multi-position players can be bumped around until he’s off the field!

    My basic point remains that I see Davis as a starter and Carr as a backup and worry Kinnear might take individual game results and get the really wrong idea. You’ve undercut that not at all. Thanks for playing. Spare me the ad hominems, I didn’t call you dumb for disagreeing, in terms of either comments or even thought processes.

  4. I get the feeling you are mentally challenged in some way. Why can’t Davis and Carr play at the same time in your fantasy world? Bash Carr all you want, I’m not saying he’s top level calliber. I AM saying his wing play has improved since Boniek’s arrival and since the 4-3-3 switch. To that end, he and Davis should both continue to start as planned.

    Now, we can continue with this parallel talk and your repeated suggestions or you can finally address the issue. Why can’t Carr and Davis play at the same time? One is a RW and the other is LM. Why do you contend they are exclusive? And if they ARE exclusive, who is your replacement? What formation are you now using?

  5. I mean, the team is improved, credit to the management, and my worry is just we run into LA or some such team in a final, do we have the right XI to change our fortunes. Our experience last season (as well as 2008 and 2009) suggests that regular season grind it out does not necessarily mean you’re well-set for the final. You put Carr against a decent defense in a cup final and I think he has a long day. It’s actually a compliment to the improved Dynamo to be saying, I think guy x can get us in the postseason I just want someone else in a final.

    I’d really like to see us get Rico in town so we can up the talent level just one more notch. But that may depend on Cameron and that effort has been quiet for a few days again.

  6. I’m not sure where you’re seeing breathing room and time on the ball for Davis SINCE the 433. My general impression is that the 433 forced him inside in favor of Kandji and Ashe wide. Particularly with regard to the latter, whose crossing is comparatively awful, I did not feel this was the optimal outcome for Davis and the Dynamo.

    Whether he’s the captain is immaterial, Ching was the captain before that and look where he is (bench). In Ching’s case it’s justified by performance and stats. In Davis’ case I think we need to make sure his spot in the formation maximizes his talents and value to the team.

    I’m not disregarding that Carr scores or assists once in a blue moon and is often a pretty sloppy hustle player. He can be clutch in spots but that doesn’t mean he’s a 90 minute guy (I said the same thing about Ching when I thought he should become a sub). I’m a little worried people are drawing too much meaning from one career-level outing when he was fresh and a lot of the other people around or against him weren’t. I don’t think he’s that good a player most nights and I hope Kinnear is mindful of that. Kinnear has a bad habit of rolling with questionable choices, eg, Ashe, who should be sitting behind Taylor (if Cameron stays) or maybe even Creavalle (if Taylor goes inside and Rico comes back).

    I don’t mind us getting a little cute with fixture congestion and the need to keep the team fresh, I just hope that when the money is on the table the right people are relied upon. Like I said, that means Davis in and Carr off the bench.

  7. Imperative,

    I’m not debating Carr’s past performance. I’m also not disregarding the rather odd injury he was recovering from last season. Nonetheless, you seem to think Carr and Davis are exclusive, when in fact they play entirely different positions. The transition you see,the elevation of Carr, has more to do with the addition of Boniek than Dom, or the team for that matter, forgetting about their captian. I’ll repeat that for you: THEIR CAPTAIN. The addition of Boniek has eliminated the chance to flood the left side of the field as teams were doing before his arrival(when Houston struggled).

    Just watch Davis’ stat line as the season progresses. He now has breathing room and time on the ball, contrary to earlier this season. What you see is a team forgetting about it’s captain. What I see is opposing teams forgetting about the Dynamo captain. And THAT is a danger I welcome with open arms.

  8. Davis was only benched to keep the line up fresh. The dynamo had played 3 games in 7 days in 90+ weather. He is not being benched for anyone.


  9. Carr’s best season ever was 3 G 2 A. Davis’ best seasons were 6 G (Dallas 2003) and 16 A (last year Houston). I’m not sure if it was a single-game mid-week tinker job or a dumb idea Kinnear got from Carr’s “career” outing against KC, but I think the recent trend of elevating Carr and treating Davis like another player is a little trendy and foolish. Davis’ 2 assists remind he would be more productive if we exploited him better, and Carr, with the exception of occasional plays, remains as sloppy as ever. Kinnear will have to juggle to make it through MLS and CCL seasons but I think he needs to remember which players are the more and less reliable ones. Go back and look at Carr’s history, look at his game log with Houston even — all those 0s for Gs and As — and tell me you’re going to assume upon a KC game every week.

    Carr is an interesting energy bench player but if Kinnear starts making him into something he’s not he might be risking our postseason by doing so. Cause most weeks Carr does not score 2 goals, he instead runs around like mad, hits wormburner crosses, passes the ball back, and is generally ineffective.

  10. “I’m not sure if depending on Carr as a starter and benching Davis is long term sustainable.”

    What does that even mean? lol
    Davis got a bit of rest on the 3rd game in 7 days (still got 2 assists btw), but he won’t be benched long term. I don’t know what made you think of that. And Carr is a lot to handle when Boniek is right behind him facilitating.

    Carr is a beast and not simply because of recent form. His career was nearly ended with that inner ear disturbance/concussion and all he does is work his tail off until he breaks through. I’ve got nothing but respect for a guy like that.

  11. No slam against TFC but Dallas’ 5-0 win and better record (yeah, slightly) give them the nudge.

    But down at that end of the scale, “Power” ranking is a bit of misnomer. 🙂


  12. The top end is interesting. I think NY will move ahead of SJ (better home record, more momentum, Cahill) but then they both have pretty high GA. Not sure if either is championship material.

    At which point you move down to SKC, with a low GA, but they’ve not yet beat Houston below them, who is surging. But Houston’s defense can sometimes get porous and I’m not sure if depending on Carr as a starter and benching Davis is long term sustainable, and CCL now nears.

    Salt Lake has a decent record but is not as defensively stingy as usual. Vancouver looks OK on the table but has a losing road record and negative GD. DCU was the flavor du jour until lately, then collapsed.

    I think we could even witness a late LAG run based on recent form. Gonzo is back the Euros are over etc.

    I think it’ll be an interesting few months. At minimum I think it’s a reminder that MLS does not often reward a fast starter.

  13. What a joke. TFC wins its third straight game, first time they’ve done that since 2008, and they go DOWN a spot?

    Sure they’re terrible, but these rankings are incoherent.

  14. “Despite the team’s depth, losing Andy Najar’s energy on the right flank while he is with the Honduran Olympic side hurts.”

    I read this and realized again that the US is not in the Olympics…and I threw up in my mouth.

    Go Honduras though. It ain’t their fault.


Leave a Comment