Photo by Mike DiNovo/USA TODAY Sports
By RYAN TOLMICH
With many of the league’s top teams raided by Gold Cup absences, this past week proved to be the week of the underdog.
The four lowest ranked teams of last week’s SBI MLS Power Rankings each emerged victorious this past weekend, as the Montreal Impact, Colorado Rapids, Philadelphia Union and Chicago Fire each picked up victories over teams above them in the standings.
With many of the league’s favorites dropping points, Sporting Kansas City remained hot, defeating fellow contenders in the Vancouver Whitecaps to cement SKC’s status as the league’s most in-form team.
Elsewhere, both FC Dallas and the New York Red Bulls sent clear messages in big-time wins, while Toronto FC and New York City FC demonstrated their attacking prowess, and their defensive frailties, in an exciting 4-4 draw.
Here are the SBI MLS Power Rankings for Week 19, as voted on by SBI’s editorial staff:
SBI MLS POWER RANKINGS (WEEK 19)
1. (Last Week- 1) SPORTING KANSAS CITY (8-3-6)
LAST WEEK: Defeated Vancouver Whitecaps, 1-0, on Sunday
THIS WEEK: at Portland Timbers on Sunday
OUTLOOK – Having now won four of five, Sporting KC continues to be MLS’ hottest team after picking up a big-time win on the road against a fellow contender in the Whitecaps. It took some time to get things rolling, but SKC appear to be a well-oiled machine that can win a game in a variety of different ways.
2. (2) LOS ANGELES GALAXY (8-6-7)
LAST WEEK: BYE
THIS WEEK: vs. San Jose Earthquakes on Friday
OUTLOOK – The Galaxy had a bye from MLS play, but certainly impressed in the team’s friendly against Club America. With Steven Gerrard now entering the fold, it looks like the Galaxy are prepping for their now typical mid-to-late summer run through the league.
3. (4) D.C. UNITED (10-5-5)
LAST WEEK: BYE
THIS WEEK: at FC Dallas on Saturday
OUTLOOK – Riding a bye week, D.C. United remains firmly planted atop the Eastern Conference standings, albeit with more games in hand. Still, D.C. has some questions to answer as to where they stand in the grand scheme of things, questions that can be answered in this weekend’s matchup with a Western Conference contender in FC Dallas.
4. (7) FC DALLAS (9-5-5)
LAST WEEK: Defeated Orlando City, 2-0, on Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. D.C. United on Saturday
OUTLOOK – Winners of three straight, FC Dallas is on a run, one that has carried the team all the way to a tie atop the Western Conference with a game in hand. The team faces a tough test this week, though, in D.C. United, with a win going a long way towards establishing FCD as a Supporters’ Shield threat.
5. (3) SEATTLE SOUNDERS (10-8-2)
LAST WEEK: Lost, 1-0, to Chicago Fire last Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. Colorado Rapids on Saturday
OUTLOOK – For the Sounders, the upcoming series of games is about merely surviving, as the team continues to falter without Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey. Without the team’s two stars, the Sounders aren’t much of a threat, so these next few weeks are about hanging in the playoff race enough to strike when the duo returns.
6. (6) VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (10-8-2)
LAST WEEK: Lost, 1-0, to the Sporting KC on Sunday
THIS WEEK: at Portland Timbers on Sunday
OUTLOOK – For the second time in as many weeks, the Whitecaps were frustrated by a loss. Luckily, the West continues to condense around them, leaving the race for the conference’s top spots wide open for team’s one through six.
7. (9) NEW YORK RED BULLS (7-6-5)
LAST WEEK: Defeated New England Revolution, 4-1, on Saturday
THIS WEEK: at Orlando City on Saturday
OUTLOOK – Following a loss to the Crew last time out, the Red Bulls absolutely thumped the Revs in a game that turned into quite a statement. When clicking, the Red Bulls are a scary team that can press to death, posing a major test to each and every team in the league on their best day.
8. (8) TORONTO FC (7-7-3)
LAST WEEK: Tied New York City FC, 4-4, on Sunday
THIS WEEK: vs. Philadelphia Union on Saturday
OUTLOOK – For as good as Sebastian Giovinco was, the TFC defense was equally as putrid. Giovinco literally carried TFC to four goals, but TFC’s efforts were undone by sloppy defending that yielded two penalty kicks. Defensive reinforcements would be welcome, but as long as Giovinco is around to carry the load, TFC has a chance.
9. (5) PORTLAND TIMBERS (9-67-4)
LAST WEEK: Lost, 3-0, to the Philadelphia Union on Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday
OUTLOOK – Having run through nearly all opposition in recent weeks, this past weekend’s defeat to the Union is a tough pill to swallow for the Timbers. Losing to one of the league’s bottom dwellers is a tough one, signaling a need to regroup against the rival Whitecaps this weekend.
10. (13) NEW YORK CITY FC (5-8-6)
LAST WEEK: Tied Toronto FC, 4-4, on Sunday
THIS WEEK: at New England Revolution on Saturday.
OUTLOOK – In a matchup featuring two absolutely calamitous defenses, NYCFC did well to come from behind twice to earn a home point against a superhuman Sebastian Giovinco. David Villa continues to fire on all cylinders on the attacking end, giving NYCFC plenty to look forward to if/when Frank Lampard takes the field.
11. (10) SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (7-7-4)
LAST WEEK: Lost, 2-0, to Houston Dynamo on Friday
THIS WEEK: at LA Galaxy on Friday
OUTLOOK – Following back-to-back wins, the Quakes have now been saddled with back-to-back losses in what has been a frustrating two-week goalless stretch. Sitting five points out of a playoff spot in a crowded Western Conference, the Quakes will need to be better going forward to seal a spot in the postseason.
12. (15) HOUSTON DYNAMO (6-7-6)
LAST WEEK: Defeated San Jose Earthquakes, 2-0, on Friday
THIS WEEK: at Real Salt Lake on Saturday
OUTLOOK – Another frustrating defeat for the Dynamo, who just can’t seem to put it all together for any sustainable amount of time. Still hanging on out West, the Dynamo remain in the playoff conversation, but won’t for long if results don’t start coming.
13. (11) COLUMBUS CREW (5-7-6)
LAST WEEK: Lost, 3-0, to Montreal Impact on Saturday
THIS WEEK: at Chicago Fire on Wednesday; vs. Chicago Fire on Saturday
OUTLOOK – Another stinker from the Crew follows what appeared to be a breakout performance last time out against the Red Bulls. Getting absolutely smashed by the Impact is a horrible result for the Crew’s playoff ambitions, as the team continues to sink back into the crowded Eastern Conference picture.
14. (14) ORLANDO CITY (6-7-6)
LAST WEEK: Lost, 2-0, to FC Dallas on Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. New York Red Bulls on Saturday
OUTLOOK – Without Kaka and forward Cyle Larin, Orlando City couldn’t muster enough to challenge FC Dallas this past weekend. Kaka will return following his suspension, while Larin may rejoin the team if Canada are eliminated from the Gold Cup, giving the Lions some extra firepower this weekend against the Red Bulls.
15. (17) MONTREAL IMPACT (6-7-3)
LAST WEEK: Defeated Columbus Crew, 3-0, on Saturday
THIS WEEK: at Sporting KC on Saturday
OUTLOOK – A huge win for the Impact, who did well to jump on the Crew early to snag a crucial three points. The early season games in hand are starting to catch up, and the Impact have put themselves in a position to make a legitimate run at the postseason.
16. (12) NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (6-9-6)
LAST WEEK: Lost, 4-1, to FC Dallas on Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. New York CIty FC on Saturday
OUTLOOK – Having now lost five out of six, the Revs are in an absolute rut. Even without Jermaine Jones, the Revs aren’t this bad. It’s certainly not a lack of talent, but rather a lack of effort or confidence, something Jay Heaps will need to remedy and soon.
17. (19) PHILADELPHIA UNION (6-10-4)
LAST WEEK: Defeated Portland Timbers, 3-0, on Saturday
THIS WEEK: at Toronto FC on Saturday
OUTLOOK – Huge victory for the Union, who really took it to a Western Conference contender in the Timbers. Sitting just outside the playoff picture, one has to praise the resolve shown by the Union to move out of that early-season funk and back into a legitimate position in the Eastern Conference.
18. (18) COLORADO RAPIDS (4-6-9)
LAST WEEK: Defeated the Real Salt Lake, 3-1, on Saturday
THIS WEEK: at Seattle Sounders on Saturday
OUTLOOK – Five goals in two games see the Rapids pick up back to back wins on the heels of what might be two of their more impressive performances of the campaign. The pair of performances give Pablo Mastroeni’s side something to build off with plenty of time left to add some positives to the campaign.
19. (20) CHICAGO FIRE (5-9-3)
LAST WEEK: Defeated the Seattle Sounders, 1-0, on Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. Columbus Crew on Wednesday; at Columbus Crew on Saturday
OUTLOOK – The Fire did well to take full advantage of a shorthanded Sounders team, earning a tough three points against a true contender. With a pair of games against the Crew upcoming, it’s now about building momentum and consistency to be carried throughout the summer months.
20. (16) REAL SALT LAKE (5-7-8)
LAST WEEK: Lost, 3-1, to Colorado Rapids on Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. Houston Dynamo on Saturday
OUTLOOK – Without Nick Rimando, Kyle Beckerman and Alvaro Saborio due to the Gold Cup, RSL struggled mightily against a Rapids side they should be expected to beat. Giving up three goals to the Rapids is rough, as RSL’s rebuilding year continues to sink down the drain.
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.