MLS Power Rankings: Week 29

Kevin Hartman

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Can anyone explain what's happened to FC Dallas? The team some of us considered as a MLS Cup lock earlier this summer are a shadow of their former selves, while the Chicago Fire continue their charge up the rankings before the final buzzer.

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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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1

The RSL game was quietly a huge win for LA. First, the Claret-and-Cobalt have had LA’s number for the past few years. Second, Bruce Arena sides aren’t exactly known for their comebacks. That second half answered those two concerns very nicely. The next big test is going down to Motagua next week and getting all three points.

  • Last Week: Beat Real Salt Lake, 2-1 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Tuesday at New York (8 pm, ESPN2)
  • Last Five: TWWWW
2

2

They got the leadership they needed from Ossie Alonso and Fredy Montero in qualifying for the CCL knockout rounds and sneaking past the Revs. No, they’re not the same team without Mauro Rosales, but the Argentine maestro is due back for Tuesday’s US Open Cup final. If he’s fit, they’re firing on all cylinders.

  • Last Week: Beat New England, 2-1 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. Philadelphia (10 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: WLWWW

3

3

We’ll give them a mulligan for the past three games. Yeah, that’s a big mulligan, but extenuating circumstances and all that. One thing’s clear, though: While RSL may have a claim on being “best of the rest,” they’re definitely not at the same level as LA and Seattle, who have really separated themselves from the pack.

4

6

The 2-1 midweek win over the Crew was season-saving, and the bounceback goal against San Jose was nearly as important. Sporting aren’t dominating anyone these days, but they’re getting the results they need and showing some defensive chops now that they’re healthy again.

  • Last Week: Beat Columbus, 2-1 (HIGHLIGHTS), Tied San Jose, 1-1 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Bye Next: Oct. 15 vs. New York (4 pm, TeleFutura)
  • Last Five: LTWWT

5

4

We’re glad that Dominic Kinnear reads the Power Rankings. A couple more suggestions: Move Hainault back into central defense and Taylor over to right back, since Bobby Boswell’s just not getting it done. Other than that, just let the current mix stew a little longer and the Dynamo could be Eastern favorites come the postseason.

  • Last Week: Tied Chicago, 1-1 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Bye Next: Oct. 14 at Portland (10:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: LTWWT

6

7

A pretty decent week for the Union, who got three points against an Eastern rival at PPL then fought off Chivas USA for nearly the full 90 at the Home Depot Center. Their legs weren’t quite there at the end, but it’s hard to argue with a four-point week in the midst of a playoff race. They’ve got control of their own destiny now.

 

7

11

Back from the dead. First there was the almost entirely unexpected midweek win at Isidro Metapán in CCL action, then the solid 1-0 lockdown of FC Dallas that all but assured the Rapids of a playoff berth. They’re not pretty, but they got the job done when it needed doing.

  • Last Week: Beat FC Dallas, 1-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Bye Next: Oct. 14 vs. Real Salt Lake (10:30 pm ET, ESPN2)
  • Last Five: LLLTW

8

5

Nosedive. Tailspin. And maybe soon, a death spiral? Dallas are lucky they were so good up until August, because they’ve been arguably the worst team in MLS since then. They’re still locks for the playoffs, but they've left themselves with some work to do to make the CCL knockout rounds.

  • Last Week: Lost at Colorado, 1-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Bye Next: Oct. 12 at Chicago (8:30 pm ET, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: WLLLL

9

13

Over the past eight weeks, the three best teams in MLS have been LA, Seattle and the Fire. Didn’t expect that, did you? Going to Houston and getting an opportunistic point without Sebastián Grazzini and Pável Pardo kept them in the playoff race, and showed that their eyes are firmly on the USOC final Tuesday against the Sounders.

  • Last Week: Beat Real Salt Lake, 3-0 (HIGHLIGHTS), Tied Houston, 1-1 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Bye Next Week: Oct. 12 vs. FC Dallas (8:30 pm ET, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: LWWWT

10

10

They finally broke their six-game winless streak with that win over DC on the weekend. It’s clear how big a difference Eddie Gaven and Emilio Rentería make in the attack, and with them healthy the Crew are a decent bet to hold on for one of the final playoff spots. But they’ll have to do it on the road.

  • Last Week: Lost at Sporting KC, 2-1 (HIGHLIGHTS), Beat D.C. United, 2-1 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Bye Next: Oct. 15 at New England (7:30 pm ET, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: TLLLW

11

9

Thierry Henry once again saved them, this time with a majestic spin-and-shot for the game-tying goal in Toronto. Somehow they’re still in the 10th and final playoff spot, but probably have to get all three points when the Galaxy come calling on Tuesday. Not an easy task even against a shorthanded LA side.

  • Last Week:  Tied Toronto, 1-1 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Tuesday vs. LA (8 pm, ESPN2)
  • Last Five: TWLWT

12

8

Two brutal losses show that United still aren’t among the elite in the Eastern Conference, let alone the league as a whole. They’re still in good shape for the playoffs, though, since they end the season with a trip to Vancouver then three straight at home. If they can rediscover their September form, they could be in.

  • Last Week: Lost at Philadelphia, 3-2 (HIGHLIGHTS), Lost at Columbus, 2-1 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Bye Next: Oct. 12 at Vancouver (10 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: LTWLL

13

12

Huge away win to pull them even with New York on points, but is it too little, too late? They’ll need to hold serve against Houston at home next weekend, then win one of two on the road to end the season. Can’t rule them out, but young expansion teams aren’t exactly known for closing well.

  • Last Week: Beat Vancouver, 1-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Bye Next: Oct. 14 vs. Houston (10:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: TWTLW

14

14

Mathematically they’re still in it, but it would take a pretty amazing series of chokes from the other contenders to see the Rojiblancos into the postseason. They’ve shown some mettle, though, and have some pieces that bode well for 2012. That’s something to build upon.

  • Last Week: Tied Philadelphia, 1-1 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Bye Next: Oct.16 at LA (9 pm, ESPN)
  • Last Five: LLTWT

15

15

Frank Yallop as good as said that there’s going to be an offseason overhaul coming. Job one is sorting out the midfield, which was never really the same after they jettisoned Geovanni last season. Finding a permanent partner for Chris Wondolowski up top would help as well.

  • Last Week: Tied Sporting KC, 1-1 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday at New England (7:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: WLTTT

16

16

The big midweek CCL result – and it was very, very big – gives them some hope heading into the final matchday against FC Dallas next week. As it stands, TFC have a very good shot at advancing to the knockout stages. That would be a monumental accomplishment for Aron Winter & Co.

  • Last Week: Tied New York, 1-1 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week:  Bye Next: Oct. 15 at Philadelphia (4 pm, TSN)
  • Last Five: TWWLT

17

17

Complete this sentence: Diego Fagundez is the most exciting teenaged attacker to come into MLS since ... who? Do we go back one year to Juan Agudelo and Andy Najar? Five years to Jozy Altidore? Or even all the way back to 2001 and Landon Donovan? Whatever your answer is, there’s no denying the kid has got all kinds of game.

  • Last Week: Lost to Seattle, 2-1 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. San Jose (7:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: TTWLL

18

18

The 1-0 loss to open BC Place will probably go down as the lowlight of an almost entirely disappointing season. Martin Rennie has his work cut out for him – though the talent’s there for this ‘Caps side, the will isn’t, and that’s often more difficult to fix.

  • Last Week: Lost to Portland, 1-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week:  Oct. 4 vs. Real Salt Lake (9:30pm, MatchDay LIve) Next: Oct. 12 vs. D.C. United (10 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: WTLLL