MLS Power Rankings: Week 1

One week in the books and there's already a power struggle atop the rankings? That's what happens when the defending champs go down on their home turf. And it seems like the same old story with the Eastern Conference, with a two-horse race pulling their weight in the top 6.

Only MLS regular-season games reflected on schedule. All times are Eastern.

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3

Quite a statement game against the boys from Tinseltown, akin to the 4-1 drubbing RSL dropped on the Galaxy early last year. The difference is that the youngsters – particularly Sebastian Velasquez and Chris Schuler – showed that they have what it takes to hang.

2

1

Can we retroactively award the 2011 MLS MVP to Omar Gonzalez? The team that neutrals grumbled about for winning too many 1-0 games has come out in their first two of 2012 having conceded five goals. It's only week two, but they need to get the defense right – and quick.

3

2

Posting a victory against one of Mexico’s very best in your first competitive match since November? That’s top class stuff from the Sounders. Regardless of the CCL result against Santos on Wednesday, there’s no question they’re among the league’s best.

  • Last Week: Bye
  • This Week: Saturday vs. Toronto (10 pm ET, MLS LIVE)

4

4

Peter Vermes said all the right things after the 1-0 win over D.C. United, but at least a few members of the Power Rankings Politburo think he’s probably relieved to have a spot open for C.J. Sapong now that Teal Bunbury is with the Olympic team. Sapong showed he’s the more complete player right now.

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11

Seventy minutes of comprehensive dominance followed by 20 minutes of holding on for dear life. That’s probably not the way that Schellas Hyndman drew it up, but it was good enough for three points against New York. They’ll need to be more clinical to stay with the West's heavies, though.

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5

Sure, they needed another clutch goal from defender Andre Hainault, and many fans will worry about the poor finishing from Brian Ching and Will Bruin. But we’re choosing to focus on the outside-of-the-boot, 40-yard through ball Geoff Cameron hit. There won’t be a better pass in MLS all year.

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6

Should a team be penalized – and drop a spot – simply because its victory came against a debuting expansion side? Probably not, but that's how it goes. Besides, although Sebastien Le Toux and the 'Caps showed their attacking flair, they were actually outshot and outplayed for long stretches.

8

8

Kris Boyd did what Kris Boyd does, and JELD-WEN Field exploded. But what really made the fans come alive on Monday night were the exploits of Kalif Alhassan down that right flank, where he absolutely dismantled poor Porfirio López. 

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7

The good news is that Wondo picked up where he left off, getting a game-winner. And that the Quakes held onto a 1-0 win, a scoreline they didn’t land even once in 2011. But shouldn’t this team have buried a few more goals against the Revs? 

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12

The learning curve for the 4-3-3 didn’t look too steep on Saturday as the Rapids forced turnovers, created space in the inside channels, and generally ran the Crew ragged for 90 minutes. Getting Conor Casey back next month will only help, as will the midfield reinforcements from South America.

11

10

The Fire still sit idle while everyone else has played at least one competitive match, and best bet is they’re itching for a chance to kick the ball in anger. Everything is there for the Fire to be top-three in the East – and perhaps even more if Patrick Nyarko can find a pair of boots with some goals in them.

  • Last Week:  Bye
  • This Week: Saturday at Montreal (2 pm, TSN)

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9

The fans and coaches would do well to focus on the last 20 minutes of the loss to FCD, figure out what worked and go with that. To our eyes, it was letting Thierry Henry be a playmaker. It’ll take some tinkering, but that’s always the case in New York.

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14

 

That 2-2 draw in the first leg of the CCL quarters against the Galaxy showed both the good and the bad for TFC. Yes, they can score against anybody. Yes, they can play some beautiful, expressive soccer with the ball. But without it, and on set pieces, they still struggle. And if Torsten Frings gets hurt...

  • Last Week: Bye
  • This Week: Saturday at Seattle (10 pm ET, MLS LIVE)

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16

 

 

They had no answers for KC’s athleticism on the flanks and drive in the midfield, and now they’re losing their starting d-mid for a few weeks. That’s the bad news. The good news is that the East is so weak United can afford to take a month to get all their ducks in a row. 

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13

The Union are a work in progress, which is simply what has to happen when you ship out more than a dozen players in the offseason. They didn’t test Troy Perkins much at all, and were porous defensively. An inauspicious start to the post-Le Toux and -Mondragón era.

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15

In 2011 they were lousy before Rich Balchan was slotted in at d-mid. Then they were very, very good. Then Rich Balchan got hurt, and they became lousy again. He’s still hurt, and judging by last week loss, the Crew still have no permanent replacement for him. 

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17

The 2011 Revs would have been 3-0 down by halftime in last Saturday’s game against San Jose. Instead they gamely hung in there at 1-0, and were just a late Benny Feilhaber blast away from sneaking out with a point. This midfield is really, really good – now they need a finisher.

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18

The good news is that Dan Kennedy was spectacular in the goal. The bad news is that even with Kennedy at his spectacular best, the Goats still found a way to drop all three points at home.

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There have certainly been worse ways to start your MLS tenure than the 2-0 result they dropped at Vancouver. Obviously Jesse Marsch will have some words with Tyson Wahl and Matteo Ferrari this week, but that’s the thing: The goals came via individual breakdowns, not team cock-ups. Totally manageable.