MLS Power Rankings: Week 18

MLS Power Rankings: Week 18

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A busy holiday week is done, so let's sort the fallout. Turns out New England and Philadelphia could be on the way up, while we just can't figure out Columbus and Colorado. Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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

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1

They spun their wheels a little bit against Portland, playing excruciatingly direct soccer in a 2-1 loss on the turf that featured no late-game Goonies heroics. A couple of goal-line clearances kept them off the sheet against FCD, but the good news is that they posted their first shutout since March.

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2

United don’t have the fixture congestion other teams have dealt with, so they got a nice, relaxing week off. Should give them plenty of energy for the second half of the season, and what they surely hope will end with their first playoff appearance since 2007.

  • Last Week: Bye
  • Last Five: W-W-W-L-W
  • This Week: Sunday at Houston (9 pm, Galavision)

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4

Probably should have been a six-point week when you consider Álvaro Saborío’s goal against Seattle on the fourth that was incorrectly ruled offside. But four points from two conference rivals ain’t bad, and the way they dropped the hammer on Portland has RSL fans hoping that the boys are truly back.

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They’re hardly the juggernaut of March and April, but they ground out a win in Montreal and a draw at home vs. Houston, which is good enough to get them back atop the East. Still one of the best defensive sides in the league; still tons of questions about the attack.

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3

Like Sporting KC, the wheels are spinning a little bit for the Red Bulls, who’ve won just once in their last six outings. They were pretty thoroughly outclassed at New England, but now have a nice little homestand – and hopefully a healthy Thierry Henry – to look forward to.

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7

There’s no doubt that bringing Barry Robson on has changed the chemistry of the team a bit, and offensively they certainly struggled to put attacks together. But the defense is still one of the best in the league, and Joe Cannon’s a match-winner. Can’t argue with two road shutouts, can you?

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5

 

If the home game vs. the Galaxy was a statement game, then Chicago’s was “We’re not that good just yet.” LA didn’t let Dominic Oduro behind the backline, and when that happens, the Fire can be painfully short of answers. Especially when Sebastián Grazzini’s in Argentina tending to personal matters.

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8

Kind of amazing that a team on a nine-game winless slide never fell out of the top 10, but that’s the type of confidence we have in Sigi Schmid. Sooner or later he’s going to get all these pieces lined up and clicking, and the Sounders will climb the charts.

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9

Watching the Dynamo in a 4-3-3 is kind of like watching a bulldozer in the Indy 500. Whether or not the lineup makes the best use of their attacking parts, though, there’s no question that the defense has suddenly looked solid again. That’s a trade-off Dominic Kinnear’s probably happy to make.

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13

It’s starting to come together for the Revs, and ahead of schedule to boot. Few teams in the league knock it around as effectively as Jay Heaps’ men, and with Jerry Bengtson in town, a few more of those attacks should turn into goals. Three shutouts in the last five as well, so the D has finally come around.

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Getting Omar Gonzalez back for 45 solid minutes against Philly was huge. Getting three points at Chicago may have been even bigger. The Galaxy have now won four of their last six, and are snuggly into the fifth playoff spot in the West. Would you bet against them at this point?

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10

Back-breaker of a loss against Montreal, who spread the field for the final 20 minutes and ran the Crew midfield and defense ragged. Give Robert Warzycha credit for holding this team together, but if the offense doesn’t start clicking, they’re going to be watching the postseason from home.

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11

The Rapids still look better on paper than they do on grass – especially if said grass happens to be directly in front of their own goal. They leave Matt Pickens out to dry on set-pieces several times a game, and the Sounders killed them with just that on Saturday. And offensively, nobody seems to be on the same page right now.

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16

No. 14 with a bullet. They’ve found a stud for central defense in Amobi Okugo, who covers tons of ground and is a sure shot in distribution. Even better, though, is what’s happened to the attack under John Hackworth. Michael Farfan orchestrates one of the most creative, unpredictable offenses around. It’s fun to watch the Union again.

15

15

A Joe Cannon blinder kept them off the board at the weekend, but in all honesty, a playoff-bound team would have found a way to squeeze three points out of that one. Chivas are still in the mix, but it’s hard to have confidence in a side that squanders so many opportunities.

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14

Every expansion team has its ups and down, and that’s what we saw out of Jesse Marsch’s side this past week. It would be nice if one of their forwards would start scoring every now and again. Someone should point Marco Di Vaio in the direction of the goal next time they’re on the pitch.

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17

After five straight results, they finally got a thumpin’ down at PPL Park. Now we’ll get a chance to see how they bounce back under Paul Mariner, something they haven’t had to do. After this little test, chances are their attention will turn mostly to the CONCACAF Champions League.

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18

The Power Rankings Politburo has its questions about the John Spencer dismissal. Yes, the Timbers are easy meat on the road, but they’re still in the playoff hunt and there’s always plenty to be said for continuity. One-and-a-half years just doesn’t seem long enough for an expansion team’s first head coach.

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19

This team simply isn’t the same without Blas Pérez, even if they do have David Ferreira back. But that’s just the thing: Good teams figure out a way to play through injuries to crucial players, while bad teams sink to the bottom of the standings. Their lack of answers off the bench is shocking for a team that was in the MLS Cup just two seasons ago.