MLS Power Rankings: Week 21

There were two unmistakable facts we learned after another week in MLS: the Galaxy are still a beast, and the West is a best. The powers of the Eastern Conference buckled this week to their counterparts from the West, leaving us with a top four that gives little reason to look past Texas to find the best teams in the league.

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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 bounced back from the Portland loss like the champs they hope to be, kicking pieces out of a very, very good FC Dallas team for 90 minutes last weekend. There’s still the lack of scoring from forwards to fret over, but Adam Cristman at least creates chances and space for the Galaxy’s potent midfield. And the defense is best in the league.

  • Last Week: Lost at Portland, 3-0 (HIGHLIGHTS), Beat FC Dallas, 3-1 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Bye Next: Aug. 20 vs. San Jose (10:30 pm ET, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: WWWLW

 

 

 

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Dallas finally started to look tired against LA, and the Galaxy punished them for it. The mental mistakes were more worrying than the physical ones, but the reality is that FCD aren’t about to fold no matter how harsh a beating they took at the Home Depot Center. Even better is that Maicon Santos looked very useful in his debut.

  • Last Week: Lost at LA, 3-1 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday at Philadelphia (8 pm ET, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: TWTWL

 

 

 

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How is it possible that the three best teams in the league are all struggling to find a forward who can score? Yes, Nate Jaqua got the winner against San Francisco in the CCL, but that came after he and Fredy Montero both blew multiple gilt-edged chances. As it is, Seattle look a lot like LA: great midfield, great defense, no punch up top.

  • Last Week: Beat Sporting KC, 2-1 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. Chivas USA (4 pm ET, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: TWWLW

 

 

 

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When Conor Casey went down for the season a few weeks ago, we here at the Power Rankings Committee figured the Rapids would, at best, sneak into the playoffs. Instead the Omar Cummings/Sanna Nyassi pairing has been a revelation and Colorado are rocketing up both the table and the Power Rankings.

  • Last Week: Beat Columbus, 2-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday at San Jose (10:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: LWTWW

 

 

 

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One win and one loss from a Rocky Mountain road trip is a haul any team in the league would take with a smile. The bad news is that, just as guys like Dilly Duka, Rich Balchan and Danny O’Rourke are approaching fitness, Eddie Gaven picked up a nasty-looking injury, stretching the Crew depth even further. If he’s OK, they’ll be OK. If not ...

  • Last Week: Lost at Colorado, 2-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. New England (7:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: TLWWL

 

 

 

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It’s hard to give a team too much credit for throttling the Red Bulls, who looked like they were auditioning for season two of The Walking Dead. But let’s give RSL credit enough for picking the low-hanging fruit when it presented itself. Luis Gil at the point of the diamond, by the way, was a joy to watch.

 

 

 

 

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There wasn't a fan outside of Philly who wasn’t happy to see Carlos Ruiz go, but it’s always a risk for a winning team to mess with its chemistry midseason. The spotlight’s on Jack McInerney, Danny Mwanga and Sébastien Le Toux now and, quite frankly, they came up short against the Dynamo. Still, the Union are in the best shape of any Eastern team.

 

 

 

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The question is whether their 2-1 loss to Seattle trumps the 3-3 draw at Vancouver as Sporting’s “Most Disappointing Result of the Year.” Even with the (100 percent deserved) red card to Omar Bravo, Sporting looked like they were going to be good for the full three points. We’ll see how they bounce back.

 

 

 

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A draw at home against one of the worst teams in the league is usually nothing to brag about. But considering the way they went about snatching the point, DC shouldn’t hang their heads. Chris Pontius was dangerous throughout, Dwayne De Rosario is a legend and this team is set up nicely for a solid stretch run.

  • Last Week: Tied Toronto, 3-3 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. Vancouver (7:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: WTLWT

 

 

 

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Flying halfway around the world to play an elite team at altitude was a bridge too far for Hans Backe’s men. The RSL loss once again exposed the lack of depth in NY, and — more concerning — a lack of heart and fight in the side. They looked like 11 guys on a soccer field, not like a team.

  • Last Week: Lost at Real Salt Lake, 3-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. Chicago (7:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: LTLTL

 

 

 

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It was a well-earned point for Houston at Philadelphia, but they remain winless on the road this season. Not exactly the mark of a team gearing up for a stretch run. The schedule from here on out is fairly kind, and Carlo Costly should help, but they’re still dodgy defensively and unable to build from the back.

  • Last Week: Tied Philadelphia, 1-1 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Sunday at Portland (9 pm, Galavisión)
  • Last Five: WTLWT

 

 

 

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After a rough stretch they’ve now won two out of three, have Alejandro Moreno back and added the very useful-looking Laurent Courtois. And yeah, Nick LaBrocca keeps showing that the first half of the year was no fluke. Their August schedule, though, is brutal. They’ll need to roll with a few punches in the next few weeks.

  • Last Week: Beat New England, 3-2 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday at Seattle (4 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: TTWLW

 

 

 

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If they’d held on for the win at San Jose, the Timbers would be solidly on the edge of the playoff hunt and — coupled with the momentum of the 3-0 win over LA — possessed of momentum any team in the league would envy. Instead, they’re left to deal with the old problem of squandered leads.

  • Last Week: Beat LA, 3-0 (HIGHLIGHTS), Tied San Jose, 1-1 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Sunday at Houston (9 pm, Galavisión)
  • Last Five: WLTWT

 

 

 

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There was nothing good to take away from the Chivas loss until Diego Fagundez stepped onto the field, at which point Revs fans were treated to the most exciting 25 minutes of their season. They didn’t take any points and are all but out of the playoff hunt, but thanks to Fagundez, the fan base now has hope for 2012.

  • Last Week: Lost to Chivas USA, 3-2 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday at Columbus (7:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: LWTTL

 

 

 

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Anything that could have gone wrong for San Jose did this season. They started the year in the wrong formation, then injuries and absences prevented Frank Yallop from ever finding the right one. Then when they bring in Alan Gordon — someone who looks like he could help — he goes down with a hernia. Rough year in the South Bay.

  • Last Week: Tied Portland, 1-1 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. Colorado (10:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: TTLLT

 

 

 

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Looks like Andy Iro isn’t the answer at central defense. Beyond that, there are very encouraging signs in attack and in the midfield play — though they still concede way too much room. The Danny Koevermans-Joao Plata-Peri Marosevic forward line is a nice one to build around heading into next season.

  • Last Week: Tied D.C. United, 3-3 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. Real Salt Lake (7 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: LLLTT

 

 

 

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This is the team Vancouverites were hoping for way back in March when they took that First Kick win from Toronto. The rest of 2011 is figuring out which pieces to build around for the future, building morale and cohesion all across the field. They might not make the playoffs, but they can get a jump on next year.

  • Last Week: Beat Chicago, 4-2 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday at D.C. United (7:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: LLTLW

 

 

 

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The simple fact is that this team has too much talent to be 2-7-13, but in the words of Bill Parcells, “You are what your record says you are.” And the Fire’s record says that they’re one of the worst teams in the league this season. Maybe it's already time to start building toward 2012.

  • Last Week: Lost at Vancouver, 4-2 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday at New York (7:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: TLLTL