MLS Power Rankings: Week 9

A pitch-perfect game for the Galaxy and some offensive woes for Real Salt Lake mean one thing: We have a shift of power in the rankings. LA take over the top spot while FC Dallas continue to surge up the charts, and Columbus and Philly stumble after their defenses did them in. Got an issue with ours? Vote for your own!

All match times for this week's games are ET; only MLS regular-season games reflected on schedule.

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Was Saturday’s pummeling a breakout game or a tease? Won’t know for sure until a few games down the road, but for now we're impressed. Even with Landon Donovan gone next month for the Gold Cup, the formula for LA’s success is the same as it ever was: One of the forwards must produce. If Juan Pablo Ángel is really back, then so is LA. If he’s not, then it’s up to Chad Barrett.

  • Last Week: Tied Philadelphia, 1-1 (RECAP/WATCH), Beat Sporting KC, 4-1 (RECAP/WATCH)
  • This Week: Saturday at Chivas USA (10 pm, ESPN2/Deportes)
  • Last Five: WLTTW

 

 

 

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Yeah, the offense without Javier Morales and, er, Álvaro Saborío is MIA. Fact remains that RSL are the only team in the league to have won more than 50 percent of their games, and their defense is still one of the best in MLS. The rest will take some sorting, but the chances they generate will eventually turn into goals.

  • Last Week: Tied Houston, 0-0 (RECAP/WATCH)
  • This Week: Sunday at FC Dallas (7 pm, MatchDay Live )
  • Last Five: WWLWT

 

 

 

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The Red Bulls had their cans handed to ‘em by a hungry, surging Chivas USA team. They have a midweek friendly in Montreal to thank, and a glaring lack of communication on set-pieces. They don’t generate any offense on their own set-pieces either: 14 corners against Chvias led to just one shot on goal. That’s a problem heading into Houston.

  • Last Week: Lost to Chivas USA, 3-2 (RECAP/WATCH)
  • This Week: Saturday at Houston (8:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: WWWTL

 

 

 

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Everything that Schellas Hyndman touches turns into bizarro-world. Somehow his team lost David Ferreira and is now playing their best soccer of the season, undefeated in four straight. Fabián Castillo is a double-handful up top, and the midfield is rediscovering the toughness it had in 2010. Oh, and that Kevin Hartman fella’s pretty decent, too, isn’t he?

 

 

 

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We at the Power Rankings Committee don’t think anyone would argue that the Rapids are playing particularly good soccer, but that just makes going on the road and getting four points last week an even better accomplishment. This team will hang around until after the Gold Cup, at which point — if injury-free — they’ll take off.

  • Last Week: Tied D.C. United, 1-1 (RECAP/WATCH)
  • This Week: Sunday vs. Toronto (7 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: LTWTT

 

 

 

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The defensive meltdown against San Jose was pretty unexpected, given how well the Crew had been playing in front of Will Hesmer since Week 1. They should probably get a mulligan for it, but the lack of offense is putting too much pressure to put up shut-outs every week, and the Crew were bound to crack.

  • Last Week: Lost to San Jose, 3-0 (RECAP/WATCH)
  • This Week: Saturday at Portland (11 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: WTWTL

 

 

 

 

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They had the better of play against Portland but were lacking the spark and spacing the final third to generate quality chances. Without Steve Zakuani, Mauro Rosales and Brad Evans, the Sounders are too static and predictable through the middle, and the Fredy Montero/Nate Jaqua pairing is profligate in front of net. They need shutouts for wins.

  • Last Week: Tied Portland, 1-1 (RECAP/WATCH)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. Sporting KC (10 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: WWLTT

 

 

 

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They’ve won three of four with the only loss coming while down two men against RSL — a game which they nearly stole a point out of, anyway. They just became the first team to cross the country and get three points, and they’ve done so while coping with injuries and formation changes since the preseason. Robin Fraser deserves some early Manager of the Year buzz.

  • Last Week: Beat New York, 3-2 (RECAP/WATCH)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. LA (10 pm, ESPN2/Deportes)
  • Last Five: TWWLW

 

 

 

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Only one loss in seven games, a home fortress and a second draw on the road — at their biggest rivals, no less — means John Spencer’s team is for real. Take the “expansion franchise” tag off and replace it with “playoff contenders.” They’ll still take their lumps, but they’ve shown they’ll leave more than their share as well.

  • Last Week: Tied Seattle, 1-1 (RECAP/WATCH)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. Columbus (11 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: WLWWT

 

 

 

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They’re winless since April, but a scoreless draw at RSL is a good result every time. The Dynamo face a stiff test this coming weekend when they’re paid a visit by the Red Bulls in a game that should be a classic contrast of styles. Houston need to win set pieces and dominate in the air in order to avoid going winless in four straight.

  • Last Week: Tied Real Salt Lake, 0-0 (RECAP/WATCH)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. New York (8:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: TWLLT

 

 

 

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Everything that’s said about the Crew goes double for the Union. The attacking corps have come out and admitted that they’re not on the same page, the defense is finally showing some holes and the luck that carried them into May has come to an end. Philly need answers from Sébastien Le Toux, Danny Mwanga or Carlos Ruiz — and soon.

  • Last Week: Tied LA, 1-1 (RECAP/WATCH), Lost to FC Dallas, 2-0 (RECAP/WATCH)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. Chicago (8 pm, Galavisión)
  • Last Five: TWLTL

 

 

 

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The Revs are 2-1-1 since the acquisition of Benny Feilhaber, and though that’s a record they’ll be happy with, the overall play is still sporadic. Not surprising given the long and distinguished injury list, sputtering strike force and ever-changing formations. New England need some consistency and some goals.

  • Last Week: Beat Vancouver, 1-0 (RECAP/WATCH)
  • This Week: Saturday at San Jose (10:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: LWLTW

 

 

 

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Did the nightmare finally end Saturday night in the rain at Buck Shaw Stadium? Not only did the Quakes get a vintage Chris Wondolowski goal, but they were suddenly dangerous off of set-pieces and, with Brad Ring and Khari Stephenson, a handful in the center of the pitch. Need to do it for a few games in a row, but things could be on the upswing in the South Bay.

  • Last Week: Tied Vancouver, 1-1 (RECAP/WATCH), Beat Columbus, 3-0 (RECAP/WATCH)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. New England Toronto (10:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: LLLTW

 

 

 

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Carlos de los Cobos has had trouble finding the right mix all year, but appeared to have hit on something very nice in the second half of the draw at Toronto. Corben Bone controlled the central midfield in the 4-4-2, and Orr Barouch both found and created space up top, easing the pressure on Diego Cháves.

  • Last Week: Tied Toronto FC, 2-2 (RECAP/WATCH)
  • This Week: Saturday at Philadelphia (8 pm, Galavisión)
  • Last Five: LTTTT

 

 

 

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Only one win in their past 5 games, but undefeated in three after the two consecutive thrashings they got against New York and Houston, respectively. With the improved  defense, however, has come an anemic offense that’s having trouble generating chances. Two weeks off for Josh Wolff and Charlie Davies could be the break this team needs.

  • Last Week: Tied Colorado, 1-1 (RECAP/WATCH)
  • This Week: Bye
  • Last Five: LLWTT

 

 

 

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For 45 minutes, it looked as though the Reds were going to get their second win in three games, but then the game opened up in the second 45 as the Fire came storming back. This just isn’t the same team without Alan Gordon up front dragging defenders all over the pitch, and defensively they can still be exploited.

 

 

 

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The ‘Caps haven’t won since opening day and have now scored just once in their last three games — and that goal came off a misplayed cross. The offense is shooting blanks, the defense is breaking down at critical times, and there’s starting to be discontent about the tactics and lineups from some big-name players.

  • Last Week: Tied San Jose, 1-1 (RECAP/WATCH), Lost to New England, 1-0 (RECAP/WATCH)
  • This Week: Bye
  • Last Five: LLTTL

 

 

 

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The bad news is that Sporting haven’t won since First Kick. The good news is that they only have a few more weeks to go before they get to open LIVESTRONG Sporting Park and sample some home cookin’. Right now they’re hanging on for dear life, and the chances of a second-half-of-the-season comeback are flickering more and more each week.