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SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 30

BradDavis (Getty)

The Houston Dynamo were in a bit of a tailspin mode in recent weeks, having won just one of their past seven MLS matches, but a change in formation and a well-earned victory have Dom Kinnear's squad back on track and back in the top half of the SBI MLS Power Rankings.

The Dynamo reverted to their old 4-4-2 formation in their 2-0 victory against the New England Revolution and the shift away from the 4-3-3 to a 4-4-2 produce the kind of performance Houston will need to solidify their hold on a playoff spot in the East.

With Brad Davis and Oscar Boniek Garcia workings the flanks, and Ricardo Clark and Adam Moffatt anchoring the midfield, Houston put together a solid match that should give the Dynamo something to build on as they close out the regular season.

Both the New York Red Bulls and Real Salt Lake used match-ups against the two weakest teams in MLS to enjoy a pair of confidence-building blowouts. As much fun as the Red Bulls and RSL had against Toronto FC and Chivas USA respectively, their upcoming tasks will provide significantly tougher challenges. The Red Bulls take on the Chicago Fire while RSL take on the Galaxy, two match-ups that will go a long way in determining who will finish in the top two in each conference.

There weren't many dramatic changes in the latest power rankings, but one team that did move up despite not posting a victory is the Vancouver Whitecaps. They settled for a scoreless draw against the Seattle Sounders, but the match was arguably the best match they had played in weeks and could be just what they need to turn things around in the final weeks of the regular season.

Here are this week's SBI MLS Power Rankings:

SBI MLS Power Rankings (Week 30)

1. (Previous Rank- 1) SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (18-6-7, 61 points)


Last week: Tied FC Dallas. 3-3. last Saturday.

This week: at Colorado on Saturday.

Outlook: Needed another late comeback to salvage a point against FC Dallas. You keep getting the sense that they just might use up all their late-game magic too soon. As inspiring as the comeback was, giving up three goals to Dallas has to be a cause for concern for San Jose's defense.


2. (2) SPORTING KANSAS CITY (17-7-7, 58 points)


Last week: Beat Chicago Fire, 2-0, last Friday.

This week: at Columbus Crew on Sunday.

Outlook: With Graham Zusi playing some of the best soccer in MLS, and their defense looking like the stongest unit in MLS, Sporting KC is on a roll and their convincing victory against the Fire showed just how well they are playing. Peter Vermes isn't afraid to experiment either, with his decision to star Lawrence Olum ahead of Aurelien Collin certainly turning some heads.


3. (3) LOS ANGELES GALAXY (15-11-5, 50 points)


Last week: Tied Colorado Rapids, 1-1, last ASunday.

This week: vs. Real Salt Lake on Saturday.

Outlook: The good news for Bruce Arena was that David Beckham made a successful return and Marcelo Sarvas continued his outstanding form. The bad news? The Galaxy look to have lost A.J. DeLaGarza for the rest of the regular season. With tough matches against Real Salt Lake, San Jose and Seattle left on the schedule, the Galaxy will have to work very hard to grab the No. 2 seed in the West playoffs.


4. (4) CHICAGO FIRE (16-9-5, 53 points)


Last week: Lost to Sporting Kansas City, 2-0, last Friday.

This week: vs. Philadelphia Union on Wednesday; at New York Red Bulls on Saturday.

Outlook: Thoroughly outplayed in the first half of their loss to Sporting Kansas City, the Fire did look much better in the second half, which gives them something to build on down the stretch. Graham Zusi's success finding space in the Chicago midfield is something the Fire will want to look at, while Guillermo Franco's effort off the bench was definitely an encouraging sign that he is ready to make an impact.


5. (5) REAL SALT LAKE (16-11-4, 52 points)


Last week: Beat Chivas USA, 4-0 last Saturday.

This week: At Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday. 

Outlook: As much attention as Alvaro Saborio's hat-trick will receive, the man of the match for RSL on Saturday was Fabian Espindola, who was magical in tearing apart the Chivas USA defense. If he finds his form heading into the playoffs then RSL is suddenly a title contender once again after a so-so past few months.


6. (7) SEATTLE SOUNDERS (13-7-10, 49 points)


Last week: Tied Vancouver Whitecaps, 0-0, last Saturday.

This week: vs. Portland Timbers on Sunday.

Outlook: The Sounders defense held up well against the Whitecaps, but the attack's inability to seriously test Vancouver does raise some eyebrows. Fredy Montero has cooled off in recent weeks, but he faces a favorite target in the Portland Timbers next, and given his track record against them, you would have to like his chances to find the net.


7. (8) NEW YORK RED BULLS (15-8-8, 53 points)


Last week: Beat Toronto FC, 4-1, last Saturday.

This week: vs. Chicago Fire on Saturday.

Outlook: If there was ever a team that needed a confidence-building win against a punching bag, it was the Red Bulls, and they took full advantage against Toronto FC. Lloyd Sam's contributions on the right wing were the most encouraging sign from the match, followed closely by a two-goal effort from the streaky Kenny Cooper, who just might be ready for another hot streak.


8. (6) D.C. UNITED (15-10-6, 51 points)


Last week: Tied Portland Timbers, 1-1, last Saturday.

This week: at Toronto FC on Saturday.

Outlook: D.C. United's lack of offensive punch finally caught up to them against the Timbers, and only a questionable penalty call kept them from being shut out. The D.C. defense has held up well, and just might be good enough to carry the team into the playoffs, but until some players start stepping up to recharge the offense in the absence of Dwayne DeRosario, D.C. will be destined to settle for a wild card spot.


9. (11) HOUSTON DYNAMO (13-8-10, 49 points)


Last week: Beat New England Revolution, 2-0, last Saturday.

This week: vs. Montreal on Saturday.

Outlook: When Dom Kinnear switched to a 4-3-3 earlier in the season it was seen as a surprising change from a coach who had been a 4-4-2 lifer, so it shouldn't have come as a surprise that he would return to the 4-4-2 to help his team snap out of a recent slump. The midfield foursome of Davis-Clark-Moffatt-Garcia was very effective and should stay together the rest of the way.


10. (9) FC DALLAS (9-12-10, 37 points)



Last Week: Tied San Jose Earthquakes, 3-3, last Saturday.

This week: at Chivas USA on Sunday.

Outlook: As disappointing as blowing a late lead is, FC Dallas still has plenty to feel good about coming away from their road draw at San Jose. Matt Hedges continues to excel, and Blas Perez looks to have returned this outstanding early-season form. If Perez is going to be a consistent threat down the stretch, Dallas can definitely catch Vancouver for the final playoff spot in the West.


11. (10) COLUMBUS CREW (14-11-6, 48 points)


Last week: Beat Philadelphia Union, 3-2, last Saturday.

This week: vs. Sporting Kansas City on Sunday.


12. (14) VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (10-12-9, 39 points)


Last week: Tied Vancouver Whitecaps, 0-0, last Saturday.

This week: vs. Chivas USA on Wednesday.


13. (12) MONTREAL IMPACT (12-15-4, 40 points)

Logo Impact MLS


Last week: Bye

This week: at Houston on Saturday.


14. (13) PHILADELPHIA UNION (8-15-6, 30 points)


Last week: Lost to Columbus Crew, 3-2, last Saturday.

This week: At Chicago Fire on Wednesday; vs. New England Revolution on Saturday.


15. (15) COLORADO RAPIDS (9-18-4, 31 points)


Last week: Tied Los Angeles Galaxy, 1-1, last Sunday.

This week: vs. San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.


16. (16) PORTLAND TIMBERS (7-15-9, 30 points)


Last week: Tied D.C. United, 1-1, last Saturday.

This week: at Seattle Sounders on Sunday.


17. (17) NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (7-16-8, 29 points)


Last week: Lost to Houston Dynamo, 2-0, last Saturday.

This week: at Philadelphia Union on Saturday.


18. (18) CHIVAS USA (7-16-7, 28 points)


Last week: Lost to Real Salt Lake, 4-0, last Saturday.

This week: At Vancouver Whitecaps on Wednesday; vs. FC Dallas on Sunday.


19. (19) TORONTO FC (5-19-7, 22 points)


Last week: Lost to New York Red Bulls, 4-1, last Saturday.

This week: vs. D.C. United on Saturday.


What do you think of this week's rankings? Who do you feel is rated to highly? Is there a team you feel is rated to low?

Share your thoughts below.



  1. Have to agree with Charles. Henry doesn’t get a mention in the Red Bull blurb but he was the whole story. I hate to admit that because I don’t like the man, but he had a goal and three assists, one of which was absolutely brilliant. Defense certainly remains a concern though. Toronto didn’t really test it at all…

  2. In 2009 TFC missed out on the playoffs by a point after getting shelled 5-0 by NY in the last game of the season. They ultimately were only 12th in a theoretical single table and were not even the first team out in terms of the East (DC had one more point), but that game they controlled their own destiny and could have leaprogged many teams in the table with the right result. Cummins got fired afterwards.

    The next season, 2010, they had a strong middle of the season under Preki but faded badly late. Technically this time they would have been 11th in a theoretical single table, but 3 teams back of the playoffs in the East (KC and Chicago also missed). Their crap run of form before the end meant even a win to close the season didn’t change much. So technically Preki + Dasovic got them further up the pecking order, but arguably further from the playoffs. They also had 4 fewer points (39 to 35).

  3. Certainly a fair oppinion. Barklage’s return is a Welcome boost. The next couple matches will tell if the currant form of RBNY will be able to get through the playoffs with Cahill and McCarty helping on D the way they have.

  4. In terms of results a telling reason we are struggling for playoff position is the sheer number of ties we have — 10 — which leads the East. Kinnear of late has a tendency to create stalemate machines that can rack up ties. The initial team moved over from SJ had plenty of ties but converted many to wins. I think that had to do with DeRo central. You seem to emphasize feeding the wings who then feed the forwards but I see that as the actual problem. As CAM has deteriorated, we have used Holden then Cameron and now just 2 DMs. The team has become more deadball oriented, slow, and predictable. Occasionally it all gels and you have a 2011 run.

    I agree the issue is CAM but what we need is a virtuoso able to create for himself, to combo with people centrally, and also able to play it out wide. At that point the direct and wide attacks compliment each other and teams can’t, say, sit on Davis.

    So I agree we need to work on CAM (as in, having one), but I think that player needs to be in part an attacking end in himself. Barnes has shown some ability to create on his own but that outside shot against FAS was still more in the nature of a DM like Moffat, Clark, or before them Palmer, whacking from 30 out. What we need is someone with technique and speed who can commit and/or beat people by himself. That may not be on this roster, but we ought to be looking for it.

    That being said, though he has done the righ thing abandoning the 433 the way he was using it, we both know Kinnear is generally hidebound and that with 3 games left and each potentially being decisive, he will likely trot out precisely the same lineup that just won, 2 DMs or not. I think he’d only change grudgingly if we left points on the table and had to generate offense to even smell playoffs.

  5. There really are very few dimensions to FM’s game, he is just so good at those dimensions.

    For the most part he is not going to break down defenses by himself.

    But is there anyone who gets his shot off quicker/harder than Montero ? No.

  6. My opinion NY’s D is very weak.

    They are living off one guy right now, Henry, who is playing incredible. To say that Cooper is finding his game, is kind of a joke. I could have found my game last week too tapping in Henry assists.

  7. Montero’s issues have pretty much conincided with Rosales and Tiffert being out. And Johnson was out against Vancouver. Getting them back in the line up and on the same page again should help Fredy get going again.

  8. Assuming fitness, I would love to see the Dynamo go forward with a Ricardo Clark / Giles Barnes tandem rather than the Rico/Moffat pairing. Based on the very limited time we’ve seen him I think Barnes links up going forward very well and Rico works best in a reserved #6 position. Just not sure Rico and Moffat provide enough create spark to get the wings and forwards connecting.

  9. Are TFC’s continued struggles indicative of the roster or the coaching? The talent level obviously stinks but the initial Mariner uptick seems to have faded. I look at a team like FCD that started out bad but have gotten themselves back in the mix.

    Also, and I’ve heard this approached from a different tack, but why do all the Canadian teams seem obsessed with older, name signings? The Canadian teams have some of the more loyal and sizeable followings, why the gimmickry? I know TFC fans don’t want to hear it, but their best team (that didn’t quite make it, and then got blown up) was the Guevara era bunch.

  10. NY’s offense looks better, but Seattle looked much better defending set pieces (too often their achilles heel).

    I’m not used to seeing RSL ranked so low, but we have been a mediocre team at times. Hopefully Espy can maintain a high level. All too often he’ll have a great game or two, and then go ice cold.

    It’s meaningfull when so many decent team (columbus, whitecaps, montreal… even philly and portland) are in the bottom half of the table. MLS sure has come a long way. Heck, everyone but Chivas and Toronto have had decent runs at some point in the season.


  11. I think Kinnear could have made the 433 or a 451 work with Davis and Boniek truly wide — part of the problem I saw was meal ticket Davis getting playing at mid in the 433 often pushed inside and giving up crosses to the awful Ashe instead — but the 442 serves the same purpose.

    Personally, I think our primary problem is the defense is a tad slow, and Kinnear seems to see the speed fix as Sarkodie, who is awful and got beat by Adu two weeks back. A better choice? Creavalle, who has generally played well when used, has similar speed, and is simply a better defender and more composed attacker….hence the second assist on a nice cross off the bench. But to invert Sarkodie and Creavalle Kinnear would need to get past his veteran pecking order, because Sarkodie was the 2011 pick and Creavalle the 2012 guy.

    Also, I’m a little concerned there is no tablesetter #10. Clark and Moffat was kind of like the empty USA buckets people criticize. There was a little too much emphasis on getting the ball wide and crossing in the rain Saturday, when I felt the more effective strategy was short passing and running at players, such as on Rico’s goal. Though the Dynamo can be good at crosses and deadballs, that can devolve into low percentage whacking the ball across, and I think when the Dynamo really hum they can either counter with numbers or combo through a defense. Houston needs to avoid becoming its stereotype because the older, more diversified teams were more successful whereas the more recent outfits relying on heavy defense and deadballs have struggled for playoff goals, particularly against LA.

  12. Just curious, why Seattle above NY? Both in terms of overall season and current form, I would take NY. But I don’t watch enough to know.


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