Photo by Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports
By RYAN TOLMICH
The league’s last remaining unbeaten team has now been beaten, while a series of victories by some other Eastern Conference contenders headline this past weekend’s MLS action.
Entering unbeaten, the New York Red Bulls now have a loss on their resume after falling to a surging New England Revolution side that continues to establish itself as a contender. Meanwhile, D.C. United remained hot as well, defeating the previously hot Columbus Crew in a statement victory.
Out west, the Sounders thrashed New York City FC, 3-1, behind the attack of Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey, signaling the team’s status as the class of the Western Conference.
Here’s a look at Week 9’s MLS Power Rankings:
SBI MLS Power Rankings (Week 9)
1. (Last Week- 3) SEATTLE SOUNDERS (5-2-1)
LAST WEEK: Defeated NYCFC, 3-1, last Sunday
THIS WEEK: at Columbus on Saturday
OUTLOOK– In what may be the least surprising revelation of these power rankings, the duo of Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey are an absolute force. The two combined to absolutely unravel the NYCFC defense on Sunday, demonstrating once again that they are the most creative and dynamic duo on the league. With Marco Pappa rounding into form, that bodes well for a Sounders side that is looking like the team many expect to see.
2. (4) D.C. UNITED (5-1-2)
LAST WEEK: Defeated Columbus Creew, 2-0, last Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. Sporting KC on Saturday
OUTLOOK– Fabian Espindola’s return has provided D.C. United with the dimension needed to really separate themselves from the rest of the pack. D.C. United is unbeaten since the Week 2 loss at Red Bull Arena, one that saw Ben Olsen criticize his side’s effort. They seem to have gotten the message.
3. (5) NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (5-2-2)
LAST WEEK: Defeated New York Red Bulls, 2-1, last Saturday
THIS WEEK: at Orlando City on Friday
OUTLOOK– The Revs remained hot this weekend by claiming the Red Bulls’ unbeaten start to the season. Charlie Davies has been a real standout, combining with Lee Nugyen, Teal Bunbury and Juan Agudelo to create an attacking unit that should continue to threaten just about every defense out there.
4. (3) LOS ANGELES GALAXY (3-2-4)
LAST WEEK: Ties Colorado Rapids, 1-1, last Saturday
THIS WEEK: at Real Salt Lake on Wednesday; at FC Dallas on Saturday
OUTLOOK– Alan Gordon continues to pop up in big moments, as the Galaxy forward once again played hero with the equalizer against the Rapids. Having a weapon like Gordon for late-game situations demonstrates the Galaxy’s wealth of riches up top, especially once Robbie Keane reemerges from his injury troubles.
5. (1) NEW YORK RED BULLS (3-1-4)
LAST WEEK: Tied Colorado Rapids, 1-1, last Wednesday, Lost, 2-1, to New England Revolution last Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. New York City FC on Sunday
OUTLOOK– The Red Bulls finally have a blemish on the team’s record, but it remains far from concerning. Saturday’s lineup was far from full strength, as Jesse Marsch looked to preserve some legs for the upcoming face-off with NYCFC. More concerning was the midweek draw with the Rapids, one that leaves the Red Bulls with just one win in five.
6. (8) FC DALLAS (5-2-2)
LAST WEEK: Defeated Houston Dynamo, 4-1, last Friday
THIS WEEK: vs. LA Galaxy on Saturday
OUTLOOK– FC Dallas looked as scary as ever on Friday night, dismantling a generally pragmatic Dynamo side to the tune of four goals. After stumbling a bit following the team’s early season success, FC Dallas looked like a contender again Friday, a claim that could be solidified this coming weekend against the Galaxy.
7. (7) VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (5-3-2)
LAST WEEK: Tied Portland Timbers, 0-0, Last Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. Philadelphia Union on Saturday
OUTLOOK– Stifled by the Timbers defense, Saturday’s performance was far from a vintage one from the Whitecaps, but the team will certainly take the point after conceding a penalty kick. With a Canadian Championship matchup with FC Edmonton coming midweek, the Whitecaps will be happy to host a hapless Union side int his week’s action.
8. (9) TORONTO FC (3-4-0)
LAST WEEK: Defeated Philadelphia Union, 1-0, last Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. Houston Dynamo on Sunday
OUTLOOK– While not quite a performance to turn heads, TFC did what was required in dispatching of the Union. Unsurprisingly, it was Sebastian Giovinco’s class that shined brightest, but TFC still has plenty to show, especially with this weekend’s home opener at the renovated BMO Field.
9. (6) COLUMBUS CREW (3-3-2)
LAST WEEK: Lost, 2-0, to D.C. United last Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. Seattle Sounder on Saturday
OUTLOOK: After looking like they had truly turned the corner, the Crew suffered a bit of a setback against fellow contenders D.C. United. Saturday’s loss is a bit of a measuring stick, showing that the Crew still have some growing to do. The return of Wil Trapp will certainly spur that growing, and the pieces remain in place in the forms of Kei Kamara, Federico Higuain and Ethan Finlay.
10. (10) SPORTING KANSAS CITY (3-2-4)
LAST WEEK: Defeated Chicago Fire, 1-0, last Sunday
THIS WEEK: at D.C. United on Saturday
OUTLOOK– It came from an unlikely source, but Paulo Nagamura’s finish was enough to lead Sporting KC over a recently-hot Chicago Fire team. SKC still remains a bit of an enigma, one that continues to sway towards the positive end due to the boost provided by the surging play of Benny Feilhaber.
11. (11) CHICAGO FIRE (3-4-0)
LAST WEEK: Lost, 1-0, to Sporting KC last Sunday
THIS WEEK: vs. Real Salt Lake on Saturday
OUTLOOK– After really starting to climb out of their early-season hole, the Fire fell back in a little bit with a loss to Sporting KC. David Accam’s sending off makes things all the more difficult in this weekend’s matchup with a RSL side in need of a victory.
12. (15) PORTLAND TIMBERS (2-3-4)
LAST WEEK: Tied Vancouver Whitecaps, 0-0, on Saturday
THIS WEEK: at Montreal Impact on Saturday
OUTLOOK– On paper, Saturday’s clash with the Whitecaps produced merely a point, but the meeting meant so much more to the Timbers. The return of Diego Valeri could be a turning point for the Timbers, one that could help boost the team out of its scoring slump that has produced just seven goals this season.
13. (13) SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (3-4-1)
LAST WEEK: Tied Real Salt Lake, 1-1, on Friday
THIS WEEK: at Houston Dynamo on Tuesday; at Colorado Rapids on Friday
OUTLOOK– Friday’s result was far from pretty for the Earthquakes, who saw a Chris Wondolwski’s offside finish ruled on, while Victor Bernardez scored an own goal. Regardless, a point is a point, especially one taken away from Rio Tinto.
14. (17) COLORADO RAPIDS (1-2-6)
LAST WEEK: Tied New York Red Bulls, 1-1, on Wednesday; Tied LA Galaxy, 1-1 on Sunday
THIS WEEK: vs. San Jose Earthquakes on Friday
OUTLOOK– Snagging two points from two of the league’s top teams is no small feat for the Rapids. In particular, Gaby Torres has proven lethal, scoring in both matches in what could be a sign that the Rapids have finally found their goalscorer.
15. (16) ORLANDO CITY (2-4-2)
LAST WEEK: BYE
THIS WEEK: vs. New England Revolution on Friday
OUTLOOK– Orlando City had a bye week this past weekend, but still found a way to lose. Kevin Molino’s torn ACL puts a big hole in an Orlando City attack that was still sputtering. Now, the Lions are tasked with facing off with a surging Revs side at the Citrus Bowl, where Orlando City has struggled mightily.
16. (12) HOUSTON DYNAMO (2-3-4)
LAST WEEK: Lost, 4-1, to FC Dallas last Friday
THIS WEEK: vs. San Jose Earthquakes on Tuesday; at Toronto FC on Sunday
OUTLOOK– For the second week in a row, the Dynamo surrendered four goals after conceding that many through the first seven games. Owen Coyle’s side has hit a bit of a rough spot defensively, one that will need to be fixed immediately with a double gameweek on the horizon.
17. (14) REAL SALT LAKE (2-2-4)
LAST WEEK: Tied San Jose Earthquakes, 1-1, on Friday
THIS WEEK: vs. LA Galaxy on Wednesday; at Chicago Fire on Saturday
OUTLOOK– Real Salt Lake has struggled in recent weeks, but snagged a point against the visiting Earthquakes. Still, RSL was held scoreless with their lone finish coming via an own goal that ended a 387 minute scoreless streak. Adding to the woes is the loss of Javier Morales, who sustained a concussion.
18. (19) MONTREAL IMPACT (0-2-2)
LAST WEEK: BYE
THIS WEEK: vs. Portland Timbers on Saturday
OUTLOOK– The Impact’s CCL dreams ended in a nightmare, falling to Club America after a disastrous second half. Left with week and a half to recover, the Impact now have to play catchup in MLS action, starting Saturday against the Portland Timbers.
19. (18) NEW YORK CITY FC (1-5-3)
LAST WEEK: Lost, 3-1, to Seattle Sounders on Sunday
THIS WEEK: at New York Red Bulls on Sunday
OUTLOOK– It may seem that things can’t get any worse for NYCFC, but things could continue to spiral Sunday in the first clash with the New York Red Bulls. Mehdi Ballouchy continues to be the only player capable of scoring, as NYCFC has truly lacked any sort of creativity.
20. (20) PHILADELPHIA UNION (1-6-3)
LAST WEEK: Lost, 1-0 to Toronto FC last Saturday
THIS WEEK: at Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday
OUTLOOK– Can things get any worse in Philadelphia? On the field, the team continues to be a mess with loss after loss after loss. Off the field, things are just as bad as C.J. Sapong’s status is now up in the air after being suspended for a DUI. Things can only go up from here, but a trip to Vancouver will surely be no easy place to try and turn things around.
Outside of LA and NY, who will always be ranked too high (remember when NYC was ranked high ?), I pretty much agree with these rankings.
Can anyone explain why Marsch chose to rest some of his starters on the road against the Reva instead of at home against the (less fearsome) Rapids?
Good question. Maybe he figured he should try to get max points at home,…regardless of the opposition. I don’t disagree with that idea. Maybe he thought that even if he rested the squad and played the Revs full strength with fresh legs,…they would still lose to a better team. Disapointing thing is that they got two points out of a possible nine. Not too impressive considering two of the games were at home and against a depleted Galaxy and a weak Rapids team.
Dial up the crap NYCFC team for a little remedy.
With the Red Bulls,….it should be the SBI Power Outage Rankings. 2 points out of 9! 2 points from two home games. The only solace is that they are playing NYCFC on Sunday.
Agree that Dallas is in better form than La and Red Bulls.
The SBI rankings always rate the Galaxy higher than I do, and I’m a huge fan. A “wealth of riches up top” you say? Unfortunately, that so-called wealth of riches has failed to produce many goals. We’re relying on inexperienced (if exciting) young players to get us through until Keane returns. If anything, I think LA is experiencing a dearth of firepower at the moment.
Ya …idk.. based on results..i would have to ask…why red bull and Galaxy would be higher than Dallas?
Are we punishing Dallas for having a fairly easy schedule at the beginning? ..
I think it’s simpler than that: LA and NYRB are just looked upon more favorably by soccer media, and the opposite is true of FCD.
Dallas had an easy schedule? LA was dominated by the Sounders in a win, lost to DC and Vancouver and played a handful of easy wins ( for the fourth best team ) that they converted into ties
NYFC looked pretty bad. At least half their players should not play for MLS. David Villa could not make up for that. Ballouchy may have scored a goal but that does not make him a good player for the rest of the game. The passing was very mediocre and the ball sense needs to improve. Jason Kreis has some experience coaching. So, is it that there is a lack of chemistry?