Photo by Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports
By RYAN TOLMICH
While several of the Western Conference’s biggest contenders faltered, FC Dallas made a major statement to remain atop the table.
Throttling the Portland Timbers, 4-1, FC Dallas has asserted itself as the West’s best team, while the LA Galaxy and Sporting Kansas City fell to disappointing setbacks in the forms of momentum-halting defeats.
In the East, D.C. United put together a masterful comeback to break the hearts of the Union, while the Columbus Crew, Toronto FC and New York City FC continue to score goals in bunches while trying to establish themselves as legit contenders.
Here are the SBI MLS Power Rankings for Week 21, as voted on by SBI’s editorial staff:
SBI MLS POWER RANKINGS (WEEK 21)
1. (3) FC DALLAS (10-5-5)
LAST WEEK: Defeated Portland Timbers, 4-1, last Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. Chicago Fire on Sunday
OUTLOOK – Now with five straight wins, FC Dallas remains atop the Western Conference table despite having games in hand. FCD’s attack is absolutely lethal and, paired with the difficulty of playing in the summer heat of Toyota Stadium, FC Dallas is certainly looking like a good bet to stay atop the West.
2. (4) D.C. UNITED (11-7-5)
LAST WEEK: Defeated Philadelphia Union, 3-2, last Sunday
THIS WEEK: vs.Real Salt Lake on Saturday
OUTLOOK – Down two goals just five minutes in, D.C. Unites demonstrated the kind of character that makes them favorites in the Eastern Conference. Led by recent acquisition Alvaro Saborio, D.C. may have found a legitimate goalscorer, filling what might be the team’s biggest, and only, true weakness.
3. (1) SPORTING KANSAS CITY (9-4-6)
LAST WEEK: Lost, 2-1, to Real Salt Lake on Friday
THIS WEEK: vs. Houston Dynamo on Saturday
OUTLOOK – After winning five of six, Sporting KC suffered a bit of a letdown Friday night against Real Salt Lake, a team that has proven to be a bit of a thorn in Sporting KC’s side. A loss was bound to happen eventually, but there are positives to be taken from Friday’s clash, as Benny Feilhaber is still scoring scoring at an impressive rate heading into the All-Star Game
4. (5) VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (11-8-3)
LAST WEEK: Defeated San Jose Earthquakes, 3-1 , on Sunday
THIS WEEK: at Seattle Sounders on Saturday
OUTLOOK – Looking to keep pace with FC Dallas atop the West, the Whitecaps put forth a collected and, at times, dominant performance against a tough Earthquakes team. Having halted a three-game winless run and with Kendall Waston back in the fold, things are certainly looking up heading into a clash with a soon-to-be full-strength Sounders.
5. (2) LOS ANGELES GALAXY (9-7-7)
LAST WEEK: Lost, 3-0, to Houston Dynamo on Saturday
THIS WEEK: at Colorado Rapids on Saturday
OUTLOOK – Riding a thumping of the San Jose Earthquakes, one has to ask: what was that? The Galaxy showed no resemblance to the team that had played the previous week, getting outplayed by a Dynamo team that, on paper, hardly matches up. Reinforcements are on the way though, with Omar Gonzalez, Gyasi Zardes and Jaime Penedo returning from Gold Cup duty, and Gio Dos Santos ready to join the Galaxy for the first time.
6. (6) NEW YORK RED BULLS (8-6-5)
LAST WEEK: BYE
THIS WEEK: at Philadelphia Union on Saturday
OUTLOOK – Despite being off from league play, it was a busy week for the Red Bulls with three games in the U.S. Open Cup and International Champions Cup. Despite the loss to the Union in the USOC, wins over Chelsea and Benfica should build some confidence as the team heads back into league play with young stars like Sean Davis flying high.
7. (8) TORONTO FC (8-7-4)
LAST WEEK: Tied Columbus Crew, 3-3, on Saturday
THIS WEEK: at New England Revolution on Sunday
OUTLOOK – After going 3-0 down, TFC pulled off quite the comeback to earn a point against the Crew. Sebastian Giovinco continues to score, while the return of Jozy Altidore has already paid some dividends. With Michael Bradley soon to follow, it looks like TFC may be in for a bit of an upswing.
8. (9) PORTLAND TIMBERS (9-8-5)
LAST WEEK: Lost, 4-1 to FC Dallas on Saturday
THIS WEEK: at San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday
OUTLOOK – The Timbers ran into an absolute buzzsaw in FC Dallas and proceeded to get crushed. Still, Caleb Porter’s side isn’t the first to be dismantled in Dallas, but a much, much improved performance will be expected on Saturday as new DP Lucas Melano continues to integrate himself.
9. (7) SEATTLE SOUNDERS (10-10-2)
LAST WEEK: Lost, 1-0, to Montreal Impact
THIS WEEK: vs. Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday
OUTLOOK – And the free fall continues. Losers of seven of nine, the Sounders are less than a shell of themselves without Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey, the latter of which returns this week. That fact is about the only positive to come from this week, as the Sounders are creating quite a hole to climb out of when the U.S. Men’s National Team star returns.
10. (10) COLUMBUS CREW (8-7-7)
LAST WEEK: Tied Toronto FC, 3-3, on Saturday
THIS WEEK: at Orlando City on Saturday
OUTLOOK – Once again, the Crew’s attacking trio of Kei Kamara, Ethan Finlay and Federico Higuain was on full display, but the defending unit sure wasn’t. Letting in three unanswered to settle for a draw is inexcusable, but there are positives in seeing the attacking unit continue to thrive. The Crew should be able to overpower teams on most days, and the defense will certainly not be this poor week in, week out.
11. (12) NEW YORK CITY FC (6-9-6)
LAST WEEK: Defeated Orlando City, 5-3, on Sunday
THIS WEEK: vs. Montreal Impact on Saturday
OUTLOOK – While Andrea Pirlo certainly brought the party, David Villa continues to provide the goals for NYCFC. With nine goals in the past two home matches, NYCFC has looked like a legitimate threat, especially with Pirlo pulling the strings and limiting midfield giveaways. Still, the team needs to show more defensively, especially from the centerback position, if they are to contend with the league’s top, top teams.
12. (15) HOUSTON DYNAMO (7-8-6)
LAST WEEK: Defeated LA Galaxy, 3-0, on Saturday
THIS WEEK: at Sporting KC on Saturday
OUTLOOK – A spectacular performance from the Dynamo, who really took it to the LA Galaxy on Saturday. With what could be a statement win, the Dynamo now have Erick ‘Cubo’ Torres to lead the way up front, which may kickstart a bit of a run for Owen Coyle’s team.
13. (11) SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (7-9-4)
LAST WEEK: Lost, 3-1, to Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. Portland Timbers on Sunday
OUTLOOK – Once again overwhelmed by one of the West’s elite, the Quakes seemed to be penciled in as the West’s gatekeeper. Seemingly unable to take that final step, wins against the league’s top sides aren’t quite consistent enough, although the playoffs still remain a legitimate target despite back-to-back losses.
14. (13) NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (7-9-7)
LAST WEEK: Tied Chicago Fire, 2-2, on Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. Toronto FC on Saturday
OUTLOOK – After picking up a much-needed win against NYCFC last week, the Revs slumped yet again in dropping points to the lowly Fire. Still in the playoff picture, it’s not quite panic time at Gillette Stadium, especially with Jermaine Jones nearing legitimate fitness. Still, the time to improve is coming, or else the Revs will be rapidly written off after showing so much promise last season.
15. (14) ORLANDO CITY (6-9-6)
LAST WEEK: Lost, 5-3, to New York City FC on Sunday
THIS WEEK: vs. Columbus Crew on Saturday
OUTLOOK – Cyle Larin continues to be the league’s premier rookie, but the forward was certainly let down by his defense on Sunday. The Orlando City backline was absolutely melted by the NYCFC attack to the tune of five goals, spoiling a Larin hat-trick on what should have been a coming out party for the Canadian forward.
16. (17) REAL SALT LAKE (7-7-8)
LAST WEEK: Defeated Sporting KC, 2-1 on Friday
THIS WEEK: at D.C. United on Saturday
OUTLOOK – After defeating the Dynamo last week, RSL picked up another victory on Friday, one that should serve as a major statement. Defeating Sporting KC, at least on their recent run, is no easy task, and with Nick Rimando and Kyle Beckerman set to return, RSL might just still be in the postseason race.
17. (18) MONTREAL IMPACT (7-7-3)
LAST WEEK: Defeated Seattle Sounders, 1-0, on Sunday
THIS WEEK: at New York City FC on Sunday
OUTLOOK – The Impact picked up a solid win over a lackluster Sounders team while continuing to be a tough team to knock off on home field. Still, the most impressive victory of the weekend likely came at the negotiating table, as the Impact will feature a new look in the immediate future with the addition of star forward Didier Drogba.
18. (16) COLORADO RAPIDS (5-6-9)
LAST WEEK: BYE
THIS WEEK: vs. LA Galaxy on Saturday
OUTLOOK – With the focus turned toward the All-Star Game, the Rapids were off this week, perhaps harming a bit of the team’s momentum. Winners of three straight, the Rapids’ streak will be tested Saturday against an angry LA Galaxy team.
19. (19) PHILADELPHIA UNION (6-12-4)
LAST WEEK: Lost, 3-2, to D.C. United on Sunday
THIS WEEK: vs. New York Red Bulls on Saturday
OUTLOOK – What a heartbreaking defeat. The Union collapsed, yet again, allowing a two goal lead to slip en route to a frustrating loss to D.C. United. After digging an early hole, these are the points that the Union need to collect if they hope to have any semblance of hope of making the playoffs.
20. (20) CHICAGO FIRE (5-11-4)
LAST WEEK: Tied New England Revolution, 2-2, on Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. FC Dallas on Sunday
OUTLOOK – After back-to-back losses to the Crew, the Fire did well to snag a point against the Revs. With scoring continuing to be an issue aside from this past weekend, the addition of Gilberto could help fill a major gap in a Fire lineup that is much more talented than the team’s record indicates.
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.