Photo by Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports
By RYAN TOLMICH
With some of the league’s biggest rivalries on full display, several MLS teams made major moves this week in dispatching some of their most loathed opposition.
The New York Red Bulls emerged from a month-long funk with a pair of wins, topping Real Salt Lake midweek before overcoming NYCFC on Sunday for their second-straight derby win. Meanwhile, the San Jose Earthquakes made a major statement in dispatching the LA Galaxy, who were forced to settle for just three points in a double gameweek.
The week was much less kind to the Seattle Sounders, who fell to the Philadelphia Union and the rival Portland Timbers, shaking up both the top of the Western Conference and this week’s SBI MLS Power Rankings.
The busy mid-week slate last week left us with plenty of teams having played two matches, which also led to some sizable jumps and drops in the rankings.
Here are the SBI MLS Power Rankings for Week 17, as voted on by SBI’s editorial staff:
SBI MLS POWER RANKINGS (WEEK 17)
1. (Last Week-1) D.C. UNITED (10-4-5)
LAST WEEK: Defeated Chicago Fire, 1-0, last Wednesday; Tied Toronto FC, 0-0, last Saturday
THIS WEEK: at Seattle Sounders on Friday
OUTLOOK– Not exactly a banner week for D.C. United, but definitely not a disappointing one. Four points from a pair of road fixtures is nothing to sneeze at, as D.C. United continues to set the pace in the Eastern Conference. The test continues this week, though, with a U.S. Open Cup match with the Union midweek before traveling west for a marquee matchup with the Sounders.
2. (4) SPORTING KANSAS CITY (7-3-6)
LAST WEEK: Defeated Colorado Rapids, 2-0, last Saturday
THIS WEEK: BYE
OUTLOOK– With Saturday’s win over the Rapids, Sporting KC has now lost just one of the team’s last eight games and has surged all the way up to fifth in the west. Now entering an MLS bye week, the break may have come at the worst time for SKC, who will need to reestablish momentum a bit when they return to league play.
3. (3) VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (10-6-2)
LAST WEEK: Defeated New England Revolution, 2-1, on Saturday
THIS WEEK: At Colorado Rapids on Saturday
OUTLOOK– Despite the recent struggles of the Revs, going into Gillette Stadium and picking up a win is always a good barometer of success. This Whitecaps team is legit and now sits just three points behind D.C. United in the Supporters’ Shield race despite having played two less games.
4. (2) SEATTLE SOUNDERS (9-7-2)
LAST WEEK: Lost, 1-0, to Philadelphia Union last Wednesday; Lost, 4-1, to Portland Timbers last Sunday
THIS WEEK: vs. D.C. United on Friday
OUTLOOK– Rough week for the Sounders, who fell twice without Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins in the lineup. Wednesday’s defeat to the Union hurt, sure, but a 4-1 thumping against the Timbers is never a welcome sight, regardless of who starts up top. Luckily, Dempsey should be set to return this week, as the Sounders now have to get back to work when it comes to setting themselves apart out west.
5. (6) LOS ANGELES GALAXY (7-6-7)
LAST WEEK: Defeated Portland Timbers, 5-0, last Wednesday; Lost, 3-1, to San Jose Earthquakes last Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. Toronto FC on Saturday
OUTLOOK– Following the performances of this week, questions are beginning to arise when it comes to what exactly this Galaxy team can be pre-Steven Gerrard. Wednesday’s Galaxy continued to put the hurting on the opponent, marking a 16-1 scoring stretch. However, Saturday’s Galaxy struggled to get much going through a majority of the match, putting just a bit of a damper on what has been a spectacular two week period.
6. (7) PORTLAND TIMBERS (8-6-4)
LAST WEEK: Lost, 5-0, to LA Galaxy on Wednesday; Defeated Seattle Sounders, 4-1, last Sunday
THIS WEEK: vs. San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday
OUTLOOK– What a difference a few days makes. After seeing their hot-streak end in an absolute thumping at the hands of the Galaxy, the Timbers rebounded admirably to top the rival Sounders. Highlighted by a spectacular performance from Darlington Nagbe, the Timbers’ roll into form continues, despite the epic midweek slip-up.
7. (8) SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (7-5-4)
LAST WEEK: Defeated LA Galaxy, 3-1, last Saturday
THIS WEEK: at Portland Timbers on Sunday
OUTLOOK– After toppling the Sounders last week, the Earthquakes proved it was no fluke by looking even more dynamic in a win over the rival Galaxy. The Earthquakes are a lot better than people give them credit for, and Dom Kinnear deserves to be in the discussion for Coach of the Year given his team’s turnaround to this point.
8. (12) TORONTO FC (7-6-2)
LAST WEEK: Defeated Montreal Impact, 3-1, on Wednesday; Tied D.C. United, 0-0, on Saturday
THIS WEEK: at LA Galaxy on Saturday
OUTLOOK– After taking care of business against the Impact on Wednesday, Toronto FC was forced to settle for a draw with D.C. United on Saturday. Given recent form, TFC may be the team more hard-done by the result, showing just how far the team has come in the past few weeks.
9. (14) NEW YORK RED BULLS (-5-5)
LAST WEEK: Defeated Real Salt Lake, 1-0, last Wednesday; Defeated NYCFC, 3-1, last Sunday
THIS WEEK: at Columbus Crew on Saturday
OUTLOOK– What a week it was for the Red Bulls. Struggling prior to this week’s action, the Red Bulls kickstarted things with a lackluster albeit effective 1-0 win over RSL before the big one on Sunday. Topping NYCFC yet again is a major feather in the cap for a Red Bulls team that now looks back on track to make moves in the East.
10. (11) FC DALLAS (7-5-5)
LAST WEEK: Defeated Houston Dynamo, 2-0, on Friday
THIS WEEK: vs. New England Revolution on Saturday
OUTLOOK– Entering in a bit of a rough spell, FC Dallas turned things around in a major way with a win over the rival Dynamo on Friday. That win will have to be a turning point, though, as the Western Conference continues to become more and more crowded in the race for playoff positioning.
11. (5) NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (6-7-6)
LAST WEEK: Lost, 2-1, to Columbus Crew on Wednesday; Lost, 2-1, to Vancouver Whitecaps last Saturday
THIS WEEK: at FC Dallas on Saturday
OUTLOOK– Another rough week for the Revs, who can’t find any sort of way to win without Jermaine Jones. Now losers of three out of four games, the Revs are in full on struggle mode, and the schedule doesn’t get any easier with a trip to take on the always exciting FC Dallas this coming weekend.
12. ORLANDO CITY (6-6-5)
LAST WEEK: Defeated Colorado Rapids, 2-0, on Wednesday
THIS WEEK: at Real Salt Lake on Saturday
OUTLOOK– Solid win for Orlando City, who continue to hold strong in the playoff race out West. The question now arises on who replaces Cyle Larin up front in the coming weeks, as the Orlando City striker will join Canada for the Gold Cup. Without Larin, Orlando City have struggled up top, something that could hinder the team while their star rookie is on international duty.
13. (16) COLUMBUS CREW (5-6-6)
LAST WEEK: Defeated New England Revolution, 2-1, last Wednesday; Tied Real Salt Lake, 2-2, last Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. New York Red Bulls on Saturday
OUTLOOK: Big week for the Crew coming off a bye, snagging four points from a possible six. Ethan Finlay and Kei Kamara continue to fire, while Wil Trapp’s imminent return should bolster the midfield. Look for the Crew to continue on their upswing, although a difficult face-off with the Red Bulls awaits this weekend.
14. (15) HOUSTON DYNAMO (5-7-5)
LAST WEEK: Lost, 2-0, to FC Dallas on Friday
THIS WEEK: vs. Chicago Fire on Friday
OUTLOOK– The Dynamo continue to slide following this week’s loss in the Texas Derby. With just four points from five games, the Dynamo are rapidly falling out of the playoff race and will need to right the ship this Friday against fellow strugglers Chicago.
15. (10) NEW YORK CITY FC (4-8-5)
LAST WEEK: Lost, 3-1, to New York Red Bulls on Sunday
THIS WEEK: at Montreal Impact on Saturday
OUTLOOK– NYCFC saw their three-game winning streak halted, but Sunday’s loss to the Red Bulls was so much more than that.Having scored an early goal, the game presented a chance to make a major statement, one which NYCFC squandered in yet another loss. Andrea Pirlo and Frank Lampard appear to be incoming, but this one will sting regardless of what reinforcements lay on the horizon
16. (11) MONTREAL IMPACT (5-6-3)
LAST WEEK: Lost, 3-1, to Toronto FC last Wednesday; Tied Philadelphia Union, 2-2, last Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. New York City FC on Saturday
OUTLOOK– Frustrating week for the Impact, starting with a defeat at the hands of their Canadian rivals which can be excused due to the play of TFC’s three DPs. However, the more difficult result to cope with will be the two points dropped in Philadelphia, as the Impact let a lead slip away just six minutes after Jack McInerney’s emotional goal against his former team.
17. (17) REAL SALT LAKE (5-7-6)
LAST WEEK: Lost, 1-0, to New York Red Bulls last Wednesday; Tied Columbus Crew, 2-2, last Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. Orlando City on Saturday
OUTLOOK–Like the Dynamo, RSL is slowly drifting out of the playoff race, and this week’s results aren’t helping the team’s case. The point against the Crew could prove to be a valuable one, but the 1-0 loss at Red Bull Arena will be a frustrating one given how ugly the game was.
18. (20) PHILADELPHIA UNION (5-10-4)
LAST WEEK: Defeated Seattle Sounders, 1-0, on Wednesday; Tied Montreal Impact, 2-2, on Sunday
THIS WEEK: BYE
OUTLOOK– After being thumped by the Galaxy last week, the Union bounced back in a big way to top the shorthanded Sounders midweek before tying the Impact with a comeback win. Great week for the Union, who will use these four points to help boost morale heading into a bye week.
19. (19) COLORADO RAPIDS (2-6-9)
LAST WEEK: Lost, 2-0, to Orlando City last Wednesday; Lost, 2-0 to Sporting KC last Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday
OUTLOOK–Another disappointing week for the Rapids, who have last place in the West all but on lockdown. Now five points behind the ninth-place Dynamo, the Rapids still can’t score goals, having scored just 12 all season.
20. (18) CHICAGO FIRE (4-9-2)
LAST WEEK: Lost, 1-0, to D.C. United last Wednesday
THIS WEEK: at Houston Dynamo on Friday
OUTLOOK– The Fire continue to flounder in MLS play, although a loss to D.C. United isn’t exactly condemning. Still, it’s time to start picking up points, or risk falling out of the postseason picture by midsummer. A midweek U.S. Open Cup match against the Charlotte Independence could prove to be a major confidence boost, but now it’s all about applying something productive towards MLS play.
What do you think of this week’s rankings? Which team do you feel isn’t ranked highly enough? Which team do you think has too generous a place in the rankings?
Share your thoughts below.
happy to see a Metros jersey in the second row.
Unless he acts like a belligerent child for USMNT too…..
I thought Dempsey was suspended for a few games in MLS , as well as a fine, on top of his US Open Cup 2 year suspension? How many games in MLS was he suspended for?
It was only 3 MLS games and the Portland one was his last. He’s available for the next game, but after he returns from national team duty…
Come on the FCs in 15th at 4-8
This is a parity league and everyone is close..except them.
And I forgot. +2 goal difference on the field as well
Although I think we are in the right spot or could even be lower… that comment on skc doesn’t do them justice. They have 2 fewer losses then anyone else, undefeated at home and have multiple games in hand on almost everybody