MLS Power Rankings: Week 12

Power Rankings Week 12

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The three-day weekend was a good one for both D.C. United and Sporting KC, and it pushed both teams higher in the polls heading into the international break. Who says the West is the best? Agree or disagree with us? Let us know in the comments below.

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

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No Kyle Beckerman, no Nick Rimando, no Javier Morales, no Chris Wingert, no problem. They left it late — very, very late — against FC Dallas, but got the full three points they wanted. It's the best start in team history, the best record in the league and a deserved No. 1 in our rankings.

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2

Even the stoniest of hearts in section 101 had to soften a little when Juan Pablo Ángel got that spectacular midweek goal. Their old captain may have helped snap New York's winning streak, but "unbeaten in six and getting healthy" is a nice tag to wear right about now.

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The defense still needs some work, but Brandon McDonald and Dejan Jakovic made up for some gaffes at the back by pushing up and getting goals of their own. With the offense in high gear as well, that makes D.C. the most exciting team in the league for neutrals.

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Their last five is pretty ugly, with one win, two losses and two draws. But the losses were both to quality opponents, and they managed all of it without Víctor Bernárdez (their best defender) and Shea Salinas (a key midfielder). They've passed the depth test and have a friendly schedule ahead.

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Man, do they expend some energy out there. After a miserable six weeks they finally looked like their old selves, but only for 60 minutes before having to hang on for dear life at the finish. If they could be more clinical with the early chances they always generate, Sporting would be a juggernaut.

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5

Basically didn't show up midweek in that loss to Columbus. Yes, they dominated the ball, but they really only produced one great chance and took the foot off when down 2-0. A nice bounce-back point at Chivas, but this team is far from the force most figured they'd be.

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Nine games in 28 days. Yes, they only have two points from their last three, but coming through this brutal stretch with heads held high and solidly in the playoff hunt is plenty to build upon. Next step will be shaking off the disappointment of the ACC loss to Toronto.

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8

The Dynamo still don't look clinical, but they were far less vulnerable without Geoff Cameron than many had feared. With seven of the next 10 at home, it's time for a serious surge up the ladder if they're serious about competing for the Eastern Conference title.

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We at the Power Rankings politburo have preached patience with Robert Warzycha's rebuilding job. Even when the results weren't coming, it was clear that the pieces to compete were there. We just didn't expect it to come together this quickly. Question now is will it last?

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10

The Rapids are one of the more snake-bit teams in the league when it comes to injuries, particularly with regard to Conor Casey. If the big man is healthy, their ceiling is top three in the West. If he's sidelined with one malady after another, they'll struggle to make the MLS Cup Playoffs.

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Austin Berry and Jalil Anibaba have a ton of potential — US national team potential, as a matter of fact. But they've still got a lot to learn, and the Crew were only too happy to teach the youngsters a thing or two on the weekend. It's overshadowed, though, by their first Brimsone Cup win since 2001.

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Excellent result on the road, "meh" result at home. That's the story of the season for the Rojiblancos, who have stayed in the Western Conference hunt almost in spite of themselves. How quickly they get the new faces on the same page will determine whether they're in the playoffs or watching them.

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Yep, the defense still needs a lot of work. There's plenty to love about the New England team — beginning with Saer Sene's anarchic brilliance — but they're going to be outsiders until and unless they start learing to lock teams down. It's not in their arsenal yet.

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Jesse Marsch has a fun new toy in Marco Di Vaio, but six weeks to wait until he can use him. The interim should be about sorting out the midfield, figuring out where possession and creativity will come from and how to best protect the defense.

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That draw against Vancouver was gutting, but at least the Timbers can say they're unbeaten in four. And if Kris Boyd continues to be threatening in front of net, one point will begin turning into three. Will it be enough to get them back into the playoff hunt, though?

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A brutal pair of road losses, but now Schellas Hyndman's troops have a couple of weeks to lick their wounds, get healthy and get back in the hunt. The talent is definitely there, but figuring out how to keep it on the field — and functional — seems to be this year's biggest test.

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One week, two blown leads. This isn't the old Galaxy, is it? Getting Bryan Gaul and Kenney Walker on-the-job training is nice, but 2012 is beginning to look like a lost cause for Bruce Arena's men. They need to find some inspiration from somewhere, and quickly.

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Red storm rising! Two wins in a row, comprising yet another Canadian Championship and their first points in league play. Is this the start of a miraculous, storybook turnaround after a start record-breaking in its futility? No, it's not. But they're certainly not as bad as they looked in March and April.

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"Potential" is the scariest word in sports, which makes the Union's roster one of the most frightening ever conceived. They have a ton of guys who look like they may be good in two or thee years — if they improve. But with their track record so far, who'd bet on that?