MLS Power Rankings: Week 29

Chris Rolfe - PRanks

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Chris Wondolowski is officially the King of Cascadia, as he's scored at least two goals against every Pacific Northwest club this season. And it looks like that'll make the Quakes the Kings of MLS, as they took a big step toward a Supporters' Shield with four points vs. Portland and Seattle.

What happens in the East, meanwhile, may be determined by this week's games. It doesn't get much bigger than No. 2 overall Sporting KC hosting No. 3 Chicago. Got to think that whoever gets the result from that one is odds-on favorite to take the conference crown.

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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It's tempting to label the Quakes as "Wondolowski & Co." but they were 5-2-1 during Wondo's eight-game run-of-play dry spell, so they're not exactly a one-man gang. Of course, he did need to ride to the rescue to save a point vs. Portland, then set a league record with his 10th game-winner of the season in Seattle. MVP.

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Four points from a two-game in-conference road swing is what we've come to expect from the league's toughest road side. Sporting's home form has been relatively mediocre, though – and that'll need to change with the Fire coming to town.

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We can point to savvy midseason acquisitions and veteran leadership, but the simple fact is that the Fire have been built through the SuperDraft. Seven starters – Sean Johnson, Jalil Anibaba, Austin Berry, Gonzalo Segares, Logan Pause, Patrick Nyarko, Chris Rolfe – came to Chicago by that route. You don't have to spend big to win big.

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That said, spending big doesn't hurt if you're smart about it. Robbie Keane has been phenomenal since returning from the Euros and Landon Donovan is on the verge of setting a career high in assists. Of course, it's not all nickels and dimes  there's not a better deal in the league than Juninho.

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Rafa Márquez spent most of the season hurt, then started three games in eight days. Is it any wonder that he limped off after 35 minutes on the New England turf? At this point, it's hard to fathom Hans Backe's player-management strategy.

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The Power Rankings Politburo warned you that Seattle were fragile on set pieces. They give up too many good looks on restarts, and now those looks are finally starting to turn into goals. It's a major Achilles' heel heading down the stretch.

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They'll be relieved with the win and clinching the playoff berth, but now it's a dogfight to avoid fourth place and the subsequent play-in game. They can't count on two set-piece goals every game, and with Álvario Saborío still weeks away from health, the offense continues to be a major concern.

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Boniek García is more comfortable and dangerous on the wing. The problem is that Houston are more comfortable and dangerous with him in central midfield. Dominic Kinnear needs to go with that option, and just trust in Mac Kandji, Calen Carr and new man Giles Barnes to hold down the flanks.

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Four games left, and they'll need to win at least three of those to get into the postseason. It starts off pretty rough, though, with a trip to Buck Shaw Stadium – where the Quakes haven't lost since summer of 2011. No Jair Benítez PKs this time, please.

  • Last Week: Bye
  • Last Five: W-W-L-D-W
  • This Week: Saturday at San Jose (10:30 pm ET;  MLS Live)

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Both wins were huge, but it was the Chivas game – with Chris Pontius putting in a subpar at best performance – that says there's something for United to hang their hats on. They're not winning pretty, for sure, but suddenly they're tough and resilient. And in darn good position to make their first postseason since 2007.

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Still in the hunt, but losing three of four after that red-hot August has to have nerves fraying in central Ohio. We perhaps saw a hint of that with Dilly Duka going AWOL and the team squandering a gifted one-goal lead in a rivalry game vs. Chicago. Three points vs. the Union are a must.

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Give credit to the Impact for the fight they've showed all season. They improved on both sides of the ball as the year went on, and in Felipe, Collen Warner, Andrew Wenger and Sanna Nyassi have a solid young core to build around. Getting one central defender to count on game-in, game-out for 2013 has to be the top offseason priority.

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Even with their penchant for giving up late goals, they've still got to work really hard to miss the playoffs. Martin Rennie's side has three more home games left – including a pair of Cascadia Cup matches – and that should be enough. Especially with Kenny Miller finally looking the part of a DP striker.

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The Power Rankings Politburo admits to being Freddy Adu doubters, but there's little question he was very effective as a trequartista against Houston. Not only did he score a couple of goals, but he kept the ball moving, was dangerous on the break and held up well in traffic. If he's healthy, he needs an extended run in that spot to see if he can handle it on a weekly basis.

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So, so close to a big road win in San Jose. So, so close to a big road draw in Utah. Letting points slip away like that often happens to young teams, and the question now is if they can apply those lessons with four games left and a Cascadia Cup to play for.

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The Rapids missed Tony Cascio's pace and trickery on the wing badly against Vancouver – he gives them a dimension no one else on the team really brings. The 4-4-2 empty bucket was good enough for a point, but having a speedster on the flank finding space against the gappy 'Caps defense could have made the difference.

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In a season of sorrow for the Revs, Lee Nguyen's year-ending surgery is the latest blow. The attacker's been one of the more entertaining players in the league (even if he's prone to over-dribbling), and his presence will be missed as Jay Heaps' men try to put in a respectable end to the campaign.

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For the past several months, we've been saying that the Reds need to identify which young pieces they want to build around, and in Luis Silva, they have the keystone. In Freddy Hall, they do not. This team would be 10-15 points better if Stefan Frei hadn't gotten hurt.

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One of their patented last-minute concessions in the loss to the Crew, followed by a less dramatic (if more picturesque) defeat in D.C. Rock bottom has been reached.