MLS Power Rankings: Week 26

Power Rankings: Week 25

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If you've somehow missed the LA Galaxy's steady climb up the table over the last few weeks, there's simply no avoiding them now. Bruce Arena's boys are in the top 5, but can they climb any higher?

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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Chris Wondolowski is in a slump. The Quakes have still scored eight goals in their past two games, and 11 in their last four. They've won three of those. Ho-hum.

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2

There's plenty of concern among Sporting fans about the team's inability to generate offense up the middle. It's not misplaced, of course – SKC are pretty punchless with that defense-heaving midfield. But they're still murder on set pieces and have the best defense in the league. It may not be pretty, but it's proven to be plenty effective.

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Watching Steve Zakuani do that was simply stunning. The Power Rankings Politburo didn't expect him to get his touch or first step back until next spring, at the earliest. But against FCD, he sure looked like he'll be a legit threat off the bench down the stretch and into the playoffs. Bravo to him.

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The Red Bulls got their second straight crucial draw on the road, and even though they weren't particuarly pleased with how they played (are they ever?), you can't ignore a team that keeps getting results. Now they have five of their last seven at home, where they're unbeaten.

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7

Their kids never, ever looked troubled by Puerto Rico in CCL play, then their veterans came out and dominated Vancouver in Saturday's regular-season tilt. Juninho's playing the best soccer of his life, and Omar Gonzalez looks like he was never hurt. Starting to feel very 2011-ish.

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6

They needed that win over United in the worst way, and got it only by the skin of their teeth. Even with all the mixing and matching the defense looks good, but offensively they simply aren't generating quality chances like other top teams. Lack of speed – pretty evident everywhere in the attack – is a real issue.

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In all honesty, we expect the Fire's attack to improve without Marco Pappa. The Guatemalan's a great individual talent, but he's a ball-stopper who didn't often play at the same tempo as the rest of the offense. Patrick Nyarko and Álvaro Fernández will do better work on the wings in the 4-2-3-1.

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Starting to believe that Federico Higuaín has magical powers.

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5

Their nosedive in the Power Rankings (and standings) coincides with Mac Kandji's nosedive in form. To make the 4-3-3 work, you need wingers who can beat their man both with and without the ball, threaten goal themselves and make quick decisions when double-teamed. Kandji's fallen short on those last two fronts over the past month.

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9

The streak was bound to come to an end eventually, and they're still definitely in the hunt. Problem is, it was Alessandro Nesta and Nelson Rivas who palyed the patsies against Columbus. Failure to deny service and failure to stay tight in the box – those are amateur defensive mistakes, not Serie A veteran defensive mistakes.

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Probably deserved a win against the Red Bulls, but if you don't finish your chances you leave yourself vulnerable to Conde-esque wonder goals. So ... that happened. And then they got Rimando'd in RSL. Lack of center forward production has simply been killing United.

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12

Nine points from their last 14 games. Four straight losses. Only saving grace right now is that four of their last five are at home, and they have just enough room in standings to make that count even if they drop a few points here and there. They are 4-1-2 in their last seven at home, for what it's worth.

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13

A win over the Sounders sure would have been nice, but a draw at least keeps them in the hunt. No question that they'll have to get the full three points against Vancouver when the 'Caps come to town on Sept. 15, the next game for both teams. Anything less than a win, and the Western Conference playoff race is over.

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Do we know how long until Darlington Nagbe gets his US citizenship? Also, let's talk about Bright Dike for a moment: Big, strong, mobile center forwards with soft feet like that don't come along every day, do they? Between those two, Sal Zizzo and Diego Chara, Caleb Porter has some wonderful young pieces to build around.

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15

Amobi Okugo's development as a central defender has been the best story of the season's second half for Philly. He reads the game very, very well and is extraordinarily comfortable in distribution. Still needs work in the air, the only aspect of his game that's below average. Now the offense needs to come around...

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Nice fightback against the Revs, but they should never have been down 3-0 in the first place. Against San Jose, their lack of communication all over the field was stunning. Dan Kennedy has to play an A+ game every time out for this team to have a shot.

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The big question this offseason will be, "Can we hold onto Martín Rivero?" It might take a DP contract, and even the Power Rankings Politburo is fractured a bit over that one. We'll simply leave it at this: Rivero's shown to be an elite creator who can handle the physicality of MLS. Those don't come cheap no matter their nationality.

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Earlier in the season, when things were going relatively well, the Revs held onto the ball for long stretches of time, spread the field and used possession as a weapon. Over the last two months, however, they've been so terrified of turnovers that they've devolved into a pure Route 1 team that skips the midfield entirely at the first sign of pressure. Unfortunate, given the amount of technical skill guys like Lee Nguyen, Benny Feilhaber and Kelyn Rowe possess.

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How long until Stefan Frei gets healthy, again? He'd improve this TFC side immensely.