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MLS Power Rankings: Week 18

Thierry Henry (power rankings)

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The dog days of summer are here, and there's a fitting dog fight atop the Power Rankings. This week the LA Galaxy hang on to the top spot, but after a dramatic rally against Colorado, the Sounders are nipping at the heels of the league's best.

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

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LA didn’t look listless in the US Open Cup against Seattle last Wednesday night; they were simply outplayed by what was, on the night, a better team. A ray of hope, though, comes from the fact that Adam Cristman scored against the Sounders and against Real Madrid. If LA have a forward who finds net regularly, they’re the team to beat.

  • Last Week: Bye 
  • This Week: Wednesday vs. Columbus (10:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: TWTTW

 

 

 

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It was “emphatic statement week” in Seattle. First was a dominant end-to-end performance against LA in the US Open Cup quarters, then a “revenge game” against Colorado. The Sounders let their play do the talking in both, playing 180 minutes of beautiful, irresistible soccer.

  • Last Week: Beat Colorado, 4-3 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Bye: Next: July 30 at Houston (8:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: WWTWW

 

 

 

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They bounced back from last weekend’s 2-0 loss against Real Salt Lake with a 2-0 home win over RSL at Pizza Hut Park in the US Open Cup. It wasn’t an overwhelming display, but it got the job done. They did, however, look a bit gassed against DC in this weekend’s scoreless draw. Not a good sign with the fixtures piling up.

  • Last Week: Tied D.C. United, 0-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Wednesday at Toronto (8 pm, MatchDay Live), Saturday at New York (6 pm, Galavision)
  • Last Five: WWWLT

 

 

 

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RSL are still solidly in the thick of it in the West, and unlike the three teams ahead of them (LA, Seattle, Dallas), they don’t have to worry much about fixture congestion from the Champions League. They do have to worry a bit about their body language, though, because they don't necessarily look like the same team we've seen in the past.

  • Last Week: Match at Vancouver postponed 
  • This Week: Saturday vs San Jose (10 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: TTWTW

 

 

 

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The tempting thing is to say “don’t put too much stock in a 3-0 win over a bad New England side,” but the fact is that MLS is filled with teams who don’t get the job done in that situation. The Union were clinical, scoring a trio of well-worked team goals and never really giving the Revs an opening.

  • Last Week: Beat New England, 3-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Bye: Next: July 29 vs. Colorado (7:30 pm, Fox Soccer)
  • Last Five: TWTTW

 

 

 

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The Crew played an utterly forgettable game against San Jose on the weekend, but they have still won three of five on league play and have the pieces to make a second-half run. They need to get Rich Balchan back for the d-mid spot sooner than later and hope that Robbie Rogers shows something close to his best at some point.

 

 

 

 

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First came the embarrassment at Chicago in the Open Cup, then a pretty tame scoreless draw at Chivas in which players were seen openly yelling at head coach Hans Backe. It’s the second straight time they’ve been shut out, and they have some serious travel coming up with the Emirates Cup and no depth to speak of.

  • Last Week: Tied Chivas USA, 0-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Wednesday at Colorado (9:30 pm, MatchDay Live), Saturday vs. FC Dallas (6 pm, Galavision)
  • Last Five: TTWLT

 

 

 

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The 2-0 loss to Richmond Kickers in the US Open Cup is a crushing blow for a team that had aspirations toward a trophy for their first year in their new home. Following that up with an uninspiring draw at Houston leaves real questions about the offense. Hopefully new DP Jéferson can provide some much-needed answers.

  • Last Week: Tied Houston, 1-1 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. Toronto (8:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: WWTTT

 

 

 

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Their chances for 2011 hinge on how badly Conor Casey is hurt. The big forward went down from a non-contact injury — always a bad sign — and the Rapids offense has struggled badly without him this season. If he’s gone for an extended period, the best Colorado can hope for is to sneak into the playoffs.

 

 

 

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United suddenly have themselves a pretty respectable unbeaten streak going in the league, and the addition of Brandon McDonald has them adding some lock-down defense to what can be an explosive offense. A scoreless draw at Dallas is a good result for a young team that’s struggled to close out on the road.

  • Last Week: Tied FC Dallas, 0-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Wednesday vs. New England (7:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: TTTWT

 

 

 

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Tally Hall saved his team another point. The first-year starter has combined with Brad Davis to keep Houston in the mix despite an inconsistent defense and misfiring offense. Dom Kinnear even moved away from his preferred 4-4-2, but any data gathered from the experiment is tainted by the two red cards.

  • Last Week: Tied Sporting KC, 1-1 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday at Chivas USA (10:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: LTTWT

 

 

 

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The Rojiblancos really miss Alejandro Moreno, who’s going to be busy for another week with Venezuela in the Copa América. Moreno’s ability to bring others into the attack is just about irreplaceable; without him, it’s been all hoping that Nick LaBrocca pulls out a golazo every week. The good news is that the Goats are still a tough out that don’t give points away.

  • Last Week: Tied New York, 0-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. Houston (10:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: LTWTT

 

 

 

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They went on the road and got themselves a point at a pretty good Columbus side, but there’s not a lot else to recommend this Quakes side. They’re not consistently dangerous, they don’t move the ball well in transition and if you don’t give them set-pieces, they’re pretty simple to handle.

 

 

 

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The team’s first road win couldn’t have been much bigger. Full credit to John Spencer for moving away from his preferred 4-4-2 and sticking with the 4-1-4-1. It’s not the prettiest soccer in the world at the moment, but it protects the back line and, with the three points, the Timbers are back in the playoff hunt.

 

 

 

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The 4-0 midweek thumping of New York’s reserves — and with it a spot in the US Open Cup semifinals — will take some of the sting out of a flaccid 1-0 loss to Portland over the weekend. New playmaker Sebastián Grazzini better be a master string-puller, because right now the Fire offense is nowhere to be found.

  • Last Week: Lost to Portland, 1-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Bye Next: Aug. 3 vs. Philadelphia (9 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: TTTLL

 

 

 

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TFC are a completely new team after gutting the roster through trades and bringing in a bunch of veterans. It should make a difference, but are they too far out of the playoff race for it to really matter? Toronto’s future (for 2011, it appears) is in the CONCACAF Champions League.

  • Last Week: Bye
  • This Week: Wednesday vs. FC Dallas (8 pm, MatchDay Live), Saturday at Sporting KC (8:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: LLWLL

 

 

 

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It’s a toss-up for the bottom three teams in MLS right now. The ‘Caps are solidly in that group, and this week made a move to bring in more offense in the form of DP Mustapha Jarju. How he’ll fit and what formation Tom Soehn will have his team play in the coming months remain big question marks.

  • Last Week: Match vs. Real Salt Lake postponed 
  • This Week: Wednesday at San Jose (10:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: WLLLL

 

 

 

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Benny Feilhaber’s second yellow card against Philadelphia was petulant, but you can hardly blame him. Every time the midfielder got the ball there were two Union players in his face and no teammate within 30 yards. The Revs play like a bunch of strangers, and there’s little to suggest that’s going to change.