MLS Power Rankings: Week 22

There's not a ton of change in this week's rankings, but don't expect that to last. A crucial week looms with potentially huge matchups (take your pick between FC Dallas vs. Seattle or Columbus vs. Philadelphia) and there's no way some of those teams will get away unscathed. As for this week, the Union and D.C. United are on the move, while Eastern foe New England take a plunge.

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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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Certainly looks like a case of the rich getting richer. The Galaxy haven’t had consistent production from the forward slot all year; now they add one of the Premier League’s all-time leaders in Robbie Keane, albeit coming off a down season. If he integrates quickly (which he probably will), LA are nearly a lock for a second-straight Supporters' Shield.

  • Last Week: Bye
  • This Week: Saturday vs. San Jose (10:30 pm ET, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: WWWLW

 

 

 

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Dallas are starting to make “mental fatigue” mistakes, especially along the back line. It’s a couple weeks now since George John (who had a blown trap and a red card to his credit against Philly) has looked like himself, and no one else in the back four has been much better. They still got a good result, but need a reserve or two to step up over the next month.

  • Last Week: Tied Philadelphia, 2-2 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. Seattle (9 pm ET, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: WTWLT

 

 

 

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Seattle are still in the hunt but those two dropped points this past weekend could come back to haunt them when it comes time for playoff homefield advantage. Yeah, they had an argument at the end, but if they convert their earlier chances against a game, but far less talented Chivas side, they walk away with full honors.

  • Last Week: Tied Chivas USA, 0-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday at FC Dallas (9 pm ET, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: WWLWT

 

 

 

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Somehow they’ve turned into a juggernaut since losing their best player a month ago. It doesn’t make much sense, but it says something about the mental toughness of this group. They’ll need every bit of that in the coming weeks with CONCACAF Champions League fixtures clogging up the schedule. All-hands-on-deck time.

  • Last Week: Beat San Jose, 2-1 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. Chivas USA (9 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: WTWWW

 

 

 

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There may have been a few rolled eyes when Robert Warzycha said that Dilly Duka’s return would be crucial. Once again, though, the coach was right — Duka shredded New England for the final 25 minutes, allowing Robbie Rogers and Emilio Rentería (another welcome returnee) to find plenty of space in the attacking third.

  • Last Week: Beat New England, 3-1 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. Philadelphia (7:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: LWWLW

 

 

 

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Like the Galaxy with Keane, figuring how to integrate Freddy Adu could be the story for the rest of the Union’s year. They’re out of the hunt for the Shield, but they’re well within striking distance of the Crew for first in the East. Freddy showed glimpses of his creativity in the second half; now Philly need to finish those chances.

  • Last Week: Tied FC Dallas, 2-2 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday at Columbus (7:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: WLTTT

 

 

 

 

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It’s no surprise that RSL didn’t make any big transfer window moves, but they might have considered adding more speed either up top or on the flank. The hope is that Paulo Jr. can provide that, but can he stay healthy? Either way, this team has lost three of five and look a shadow of the side that made the CCL finals four months ago.

  • Last Week: Lost at Toronto, 1-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday at Houston (8:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: WLLWL

 

 

 

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Honest question: Dwayne De Rosario for league MVP? There’s at least one member of the Power Rankings Committee who’ll make the argument, and thousands of United fans who’ll back him up. DeRo is showing that he’s still one of the very best in the league, and DC are looking good to grab a playoff spot out of the weak East.

  • Last Week: Beat Vancouver, 4-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Thursday at Chicago (9 pm, ESPN2), Sunday at Sporting KC (8:30 pm, Galavisión)
  • Last Five: TLWTW

 

 

 

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This Wednesday’s game against Portland is a must-win for Sporting if they want to figure into the Eastern race. DC’s gotten hot, Columbus and Philly look like legitimate contenders, and Houston are showing signs of life. SKC can’t afford to drop any more home points if they’re going to stake a claim heading into the postseason.

  • Last Week: Bye
  • This Week: Wednesday vs. Portland (8:30 pm, MatchDay Live), Sunday vs. D.C. United (8:30 pm, Galavisión)
  • Last Five: TWTWL

 

 

 

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They’re in the running for “most disappointing season in league history,” and at this point have the body language to match it. The youngsters aren’t progressing and the goalkeeper situation is an epic mess, but at the very least, Joel Lindpere and Dane Richards have proved to be warriors, and Thierry Henry’s worth every cent.

  • Last Week: Tied Chicago, 2-2 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday at New England (7:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: TLLTL

 

 

 

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They added some nice pieces and have Brian Ching back, but until they get a win on the road and show that they’re over their defensive frailties — Tally Hall saved them again this weekend — it’s hard to take them too seriously. They might sneak into the playoffs, but they need seven points from the upcoming three-game stretch (at NE, vs. RSL, at VAN).

 

 

 

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They’ve lost just one of their last five and appear to have luck on their side after the weekend’s scoreless draw at Seattle. The Rojiblancos are probably a year away from looking like what Robin Fraser really wants, but they’re out there competing every week in spite of being essentially a collection of castoffs.

 

 

 

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They’ve won just once in seemingly forever, but they’re still within striking distance of a wild-card slot in the playoffs as long as they hold serve at home. It probably won’t happen — they’re young, they struggle at the back and no one’s scoring consistently — but they put in an honest effort every week. That’s something to build upon.

  • Last Week: Lost at Houston, 2-1 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Satuday vs. Vancouver (10 pm, Fox Soccer)
  • Last Five: LTWTL

 

 

 

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That 2-1 defeat to Colorado was a brutal game to lose, and it’s pretty difficult to imagine San Jose pulling themselves back into the playoff race. It’s a precipitous fall for a team that had legitimate high-level aspirations heading into 2011. Frank Yallop’s job now is to get them to regroup and identify who should be built around for 2012.

  • Last Week: Lost to Colorado, 2-1 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday at LA (10:30 pm ET, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: TLLTL

 

 

 

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A formation switch caught RSL off guard, and TFC got their signature league win of the year. More importantly in Peri Marosevic — whose near-post run on the goal was brilliant — and Joao Plata, they have two young, exciting attackers to learn from a core of solid veterans. And with the CCL as well as league play, plenty of games to get them all together.

  • Last Week: Beat Real Salt Lake, 1-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Sunday at Chicago (7 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: LLTTW

 

 

 

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Milton Caraglio hasn’t scored yet but he looked the part of a center forward who can occupy the defense and bring other attackers into the play. He, Benny Feilhaber, Rajko Lekic, Shalrie Joseph and Stephen McCarthy are a nice core to build around heading into next season. Figuring out what to do with the defense will occupy most of Steve Nicol’s time over the next few months, though.

 

 

 

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The Fire punished RBNY’s loose defense and confused central midfield, but were lucky to walk away with the point after being pinned back through most of the second half. Their season’s nearly over other than the US Open Cup semis in two weeks. Now it’s all about that game and — hopefully for the men in red — the final that follows it.

  • Last Week: Tied New York, 2-2 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Thursday vs. D.C. United (9 pm ET, ESPN2), Sunday vs. Toronto (7 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: LLTLT

 

 

 

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The wrong way to build upon a 4-2 win is to follow it with a lifeless 4-0 loss. Just about nothing’s gone right for Vancouver this year — though Eric Hassli is always worth the price of admission — but there’s lots of young talent there to admire. The cupboard won’t be bare when Martin Rennie takes over in the winter.

  • Last Week: Lost at D.C. United 4-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday at Portland (10 pm, Fox Soccer)
  • Last Five: LTLWT