SBI MLS Power Rankings (Week 3)


MLS Week Three had plenty of surprises and intrigue, as well as some truly impressive performances. With eight matches on the schedule, we saw a little bit of everything.

We saw Los Angeles and New England deliver thoroughly impressive performances, while surprising winners San Jose, Chivas USA and Philadelphia gave their fans reason to be optimistic.

We also saw plenty of bad soccer. D.C. United and Toronto FC suffered awful losses to plummet to the bottom of this week's SBI MLS Power Rankings, which see a new team on top, as well as a new team on the bottom.

Now, without further ado, here are this week's SBI MLS Power Rankings:




Last Week– Beat Houston Dynamo, 2-0, on Saturday.

Next Week– vs. Real Salt Lake on Saturday.

Outlook: Edson Buddle can't be stopped, and Sean Franklin looks poised for a big year.



Last Week– Beat Colorado, 1-0, last Saturday.

Next Week– at Seattle Sounders on Saturday.

Outlook: Another strong performance for the Wizards, but now KC must leave the friendly confines of home and show they can win on the road.


3 (Last Week- 1). COLUMBUS CREW (1-0-1)


Last Week– Tied FC Dallas, 2-2, last Saturday.

Next Week– Bye Week

Outlook: The Crew defense actually played well vs. FC Dallas, but dropping two points on a last-second equalizer has to burn heading into Columbus' second bye week of the early season (who made this schedule?).




Last Week– Beat Toronto FC, 4-1, last Saturday.

Next Week- at San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.

Outlook: Zach Schilawski's coming-out party was a welcomed sight for a team in need of a reliable goal-scorer. More importantly for New England was the return of Shalrie Joseph, who remains as important as ever.


5 (3). NEW YORK RED BULLS (2-1)


Last Week– Lost to Chivas USA, 2-0, last Saturday.

Next Week– vs. FC Dallas on Saturday.

Outlook: A flat performance doomed New York, though it was more the team's lack of attacking energy than defensive shortcomings. The first goal came on a Bouna Coundoul blunder, and the second came on a long goal-kick that bounced behind the defense. A tougher test awaits the defense in the form of 2009 MLS scoring leader Jeff Cunningham and FC Dallas.


6 (7). SEATTLE SOUNDERS (1-1-1)

Last Week– Tied Real Salt Lake last Saturday.

Next Week- vs. Kansas City Wizards on Saturday.

Outlook: The Sounders will hate giving up the late equalizer, but they have to feel good about taking a road point against a top Western Conference rival.


7 (4). HOUSTON DYNAMO (1-1-1)


Last Week– Lost to Los Angeles, 2-0, last Saturday.

Next Week– vs. Chivas USA on Saturday.

Outlook: Houston's offense continues to struggle to generate chances, struggles that are likely to continue while Brian Ching is sidelined. Will Dom Kinnear move Mr. Versatility, Geoff Cameron, up top to help try and generate more chances?


8 (6). REAL SALT LAKE (1-1-1)

Last Week– Tied Seattle Sounders, 2-2, last Saturday.

Next Week– at Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday.

Outlook: Late equalizer by Alvaro Saborio helped save RSL's blushes, but injury concern regarding Javier Morales


9 (8). COLORADO RAPIDS (1-1-1)


Last Week-Lost to Kansas City Wizards, 1-0, last Saturday.

Next Week– vs. Toronto FC on Sunday.

Outlook: Small field coupled with tough KC defense made things difficult for Rapids attack. Things should come more easily back at home against an awful TFC defense.


10 (13).  CHIVAS USA (1-2)


Last Week– Beat New York Red Bulls, 2-0, last Saturday.

Next Week– at Houston Dynamo on Saturday.

Outlook: Jesus Padilla provided sorely-needed energy to the Rojiblancos attack. Can Chivas USA go on the road and show that same energy?




Last Week– Beat Chicago Fire, 2-1, last Saturday.

Next Week– vs. New England Revolution on Saturday.

Outlook: Earthquakes defense delivered an impressive performance on the road, with Ike Opara flashing some Rookie of the Year talent.


12 (10). CHICAGO FIRE (0-2-1)


Last Week– Lost to San Jose Earthquakes, 2-1, last Saturday.

Next Week– at D.C. United on Saturday.

Outlook: The Fire didn't play terribly, but not enough finishing and some defensive blunders cost Chicago yet again. Anything short of a win against struggling D.C. United will lead to even more questions about the job Carlos De Los Cobos is doing.


13 (11). FC DALLAS (0-0-2)


Last Week– Tied Columbus Crew, 2-2, last Saturday.

Next Week- at New York Red Bulls on Saturday.

Outlook: Two home games to start the year and two draws. That's not good enough for a team with playoff aspirations. We will see how serious Dallas is about turning things around when it travels to Red Bull Arena.




Last Week– Beat D.C. United, 3-2, last Saturday.

Next Week– at Toronto FC on Thursday.

Outlook: The defense still has its shaky moments, but it was an overall much stronger performance from the Union in its second match. Sebastien LeToux will look to keep it going against a terrible Toronto FC defense.


15 (14). TORONTO FC (0-2)


Last Week– Lost to New England Revolution, 4-1, last Saturday.

Next Week– vs. Philadelphia Union on Thursday, at Colorado Rapids on Sunday.

Outlook: Where do we begin? The defense just looks flat-out putrid and After being throttled by New England, TFC now gets a two-game week. The match vs. Philly doesn't look as much of a pushover now, but Toronto needs a win to avoid a truly nightmarish start to the season.


16 (12). D.C. UNITED (0-3)


Last Week– Lost to Philadelphia Union, 3-2, last Saturday.

Next Week– vs. Chicago Fire on Saturday.

Outlook: Zero points from three matches with a -7 goal difference has D.C. at rock bottom and facing as close to a must-win game as you can have in April against an equally-struggling Chicago Fire side.


Some thoughts on this week's rankings:

I flipped back and forth between Columbus and New England at No. 3. We could go either way, but we'll give the nod to the Crew. Why? That Champions League series vs. Toluca impressed me and while that isn't MLS play, it's still official competition and they did well considering it was still the MLS pre-season.


D.C. and Toronto could both sit in last place, but D.C. has three losses and just lost to an expansion team, looking awful in the process. I probably should have just tied them for last, but D.C. has done more to earn the cellar.


I dropped the Red Bulls two spots, but couldn't really justify dropping them more because the first two wins are still there, including the Seattle win and the Sounders rebounded with their own impressive road performance. In the end, New York played poorly and still had a chance to beat Chivas USA, if not for Bouna Coundoul's blunder. We'll see what New York can do with Jeff Cunningham and FC Dallas.


Is there a team I'm tempted to rank higher despite their record? Chicago fits that description. They haven't been bad in any of their three matches, but costly mistakes have led to dropped points. Conversely, a team like FC Dallas has not played the best soccer, but has managed to gain points against two good opponents.


It's still early in the season, so you'll see plenty of dramatic shifting from week to week, like New England jumping six spots with a win, but the rankings should begin to settle in mid-to-late May as we have a better sample size to measure from.


Once again, please realize that these rankings are completely subjective and opinions obviously will vary.


What do you think of this week's rankings?

Share your thoughts below.

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82 Responses to SBI MLS Power Rankings (Week 3)

  1. Charley says:

    you really don’t like dallas. no love at all. you have san jose in front of them.

  2. TFCfan says:

    if tfc looses on thurs, i swear to effin mother of christ

  3. Charley says:

    i meant to add, san jose isn’t good. at all. same with chivas. that team stinks too. i see dallas as better than them. but i’m a homer, so i’m biased.

  4. plug713 says:

    LA Galaxy from worst to first in two seasons under Bruce Arena. Demonstrably the best coach ever produced on these shores. And they are going to get better.

  5. Charles says:

    In a league where 9 points seperated the top 10 teams last year, you don’t really want to give away points like Seattle and many others did late this week. Makes it tough to make the playoffs.

    I guess it goes without saying you don’t want to be down 9 points…..after 3 games.

  6. Charles says:

    You realize this is only a 3rd week Power Rankings. 😉

    They haven’t won anything yet…

  7. EDB says:

    The fire are frustrating.. they need to finish and maybe sit ward a game or 2..

  8. Lucy says:

    When are teams going to stop blaming the “small field” in KC for their poor performances? Colorado lost to KC because their defense shut down Casey and Cummings. Give credit where credit is due, Ives.

  9. sread says:

    HOU > RSL = mindboggling. HOU + Landín = overweight, overrated

    (SBI- Dynamo 2, Real Salt Lake 1. That was the score of the game they just played two weeks ago, in case you missed it.)

  10. K-Town says:

    The Galaxy were in the MLS Cup Finals last year and have picked up where they left off. Give Bruce the credit he deserves.

  11. K-Town says:

    Not to mention Bruce completely shored up the defense. From Horrendous most goals allowed, to very giving up close to the fewest in about a years time. Oh yeah, and it is only three games into the season, but that is a long time to not give up any goals.

  12. josip says:

    I am assuming this is just based on the short run…I can’t seem to even fathom a team below TFC right now–not even DCU. One of the strongest supported teams just has a garbage side at the moment. sucks.

  13. KZ says:

    Attendance figures shouldn’t affect your power rankings, and neither should point totals – it’s how good the team is. Finishing last season as one of the hottest teams in the league and tying your #3 and #7 teams should net higher than a #13 ranking for Dallas. Your bias against Dallas shows again.

  14. PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo says:

    The Galaxy are probaby 1 position too high, but based on early results its a fair pick for #1 right now.

    However, I can’t be with you on KC at #2 despite an ‘unbeaten-untied’ start…I’d still give Columbus and/or Seattle a nod over them at #2. (Though I get why Seattle had to fall as far as they did due to their home loss to NYRB)

    Also, really good point on Franklin for the Galaxy, he had a great game at right mid…I remember an interview with Bruce Arena from last year when AJ deLaGarza had it going and in response to a question about what he would do when Sean Franklin returns he answered “move Sean to mid-field’…

    I also liked the way Bornstein moved to LM for ChivasUSA for the first part of the game.

    The argument for the “best XI’ on the pitch at one time made a good case this last week.

  15. Sean says:

    At least RSL is in front of Colorado… Can’t wait to see your rankings after they beat the Galaxy at home, AGAIN.

  16. Boulder Rapidman says:

    uh, they are rated at number 2 after only two matches… Is that not enough credit?

    I’m not saying KC aren’t going to be a threat this year, I think Ryan Smith is also a great player, and Kei Kamara had a great game, but seriously? The size of the pitch makes a difference.

    If you practice all the time on a smaller pitch, you have a greater advantage over people who come in not having practiced on a smaller pitch. Like in Colorado. If you don’t practice at 1 mile altitude, it affects you more than if you are used to it.

    That game was just ugly all around.

  17. fischy says:

    You need to put more weight on strength of opponents. KC’s victories aren’t as impressive as the RSL-Seattle tie, because of the quality of the opposition. I realize RSL and Seattle have each lost a game, but does anyone really think KC is as good as either of those teams?

  18. burrito says:

    Seriously, this is the time of year to be playing more games – why the hell are there two byes for C-Bus? Did the FO expect them to be playing in the CCL?

  19. Jeff says:

    I say again – Curt Onalfo is garbage. Awful appointment

  20. Young Jova says:

    Its easier to defend Cummings when he has to play on a small field because it limits the effect of his speed. KC typically plays balls over the top and he runs onto them.

  21. scott47a says:

    I can’t decide who is worse, Nick Garcia or Curt Onalfo.

  22. Shirtees says:

    Finally LAG makes your first place spot. Im surprised you didnt put Columbus there yet again.

  23. wanker says:

    Dude two ties at home to open the season is not good and after Dallas loses to NY on Saturday it will be even more justifiable!

  24. CA says:

    Ive been unable to watch any LA Galaxy games thus far. To those who have, how has Donovan looked? Is Buddle doing it all on his own, or is Donovan-or other players-instrumental in Buddle being able to score goals at will? Thanks.

  25. DC Josh says:

    Where does DC rank in WPS?

  26. RSLguy says:

    We shall find out soon enough

  27. sread says:

    +1 what do people see in him??

  28. DC Josh says:

    To give him a bit of credit, the team is terrible. We have huge holes in every part of our formation. Let’s give him at least a season before we begin to bring on the “fire Onalfo” regime.

  29. fischy says:

    Also, KC has really done a good job in bringing in new talent this offseason. Was he responsible for the roster before, or could they have done a better job in support of him?

    I don’t have the answers, but it seems to me those are good questions.

  30. fischy says:

    Pretty rank.

  31. Jorge says:

    And if LA beats RSL, what shall you say then? :-)

  32. Camjam says:

    Dunno if the backline can deal with the physicality of Wambach

  33. Second City says:

    Nice post, Don. Really groundbreaking logic there, big guy.

  34. Duck says:

    For a Houston fan, the best thing out of the last game is that Landin can’t play in the next one.

  35. jloome says:

    Onalfo’s the better defender, Garcia’s the better coach.

  36. nash bridges says:

    Thanks for your hard work Ives. Over the years I’ve come to enjoy watching and keep track of MLS teams more than their European counter-parts. Though I still would like to hear more about the J-league.

  37. Anon says:

    The first goal against Houston was all Buddle. Franklin did his part to put the ball in the proper place for the second goal, but Buddle made a superb professional strike on the ball.

    Donovan has been doing well and he set up several of Buddle’s goals this year, but he gets lost a bit playing as the withdrawn striker. He is probably a more dangerous player on the left wing where he can cut inside to his right and make runs. If LA can find a suitable partner up top for Buddle, they will be even more dangerous with Landon in the midfield.

  38. irishapple21 says:

    I’m an RBNY fan, but I would have to honestly put us at #7 or #8. The Red Bulls played like absolute crap vs. Chivas with no attack to speak of.

  39. Second City says:

    Revs ahead of Houston, RSL, Seattle AND New York.

    While I don’t agree given their 6 points comes from knocking off arguably the two worst Clubs in the league, I have immense respect for Stevie Nichol.

    If he’s able to guide them to the playoffs and actually advance within the Cup it’ll be one of his best feats as a manager in this league.

    (SBI-I factored their opponents in those wins as well, but it should also be noted they gave LA all LA could handle and that was without Shalrie Joseph and Darrius Barnes. Nicol is working some magic this year.)

  40. Supsam says:

    not winning both of their home games will that while san jose got an road win over Chicago.

  41. bigvic says:

    yes, i hope for the love of god and all of humanity existing north of border that tfc can “put it together” on that night of nationally-televised soccer. I, as a 40% SJ fan (and the rest for galaxy), feel your pain tfc. I say this not in the fake bill clinton mode, but as someone who is physically just now feeling an intense abdominal pain as I think of the emotions that tfc fans must be going through (that might also just be the mexican food i ate at lunch time).

  42. fischy says:

    Pay the man, Shirley…

  43. madmax says:

    I was not impressed with the Sounders performance in RSL.You can move them up a place because they got a point on the road, but you must hold your nose at the way it was accomplished.

  44. jig says:

    you mean colorado plays balls over the top?

  45. Second City says:

    Fair point regarding some returning players, namely Joseph.

    With that said, we’ll definitely see how the season plays out and whether or not they can maintain against more formidable foes.

    I’m inclined to think they can’t but betting against a Nichol-lead Club probably isn’t the wisest thing either.

  46. Sean says:

    Against the run of play, with the second goal coming off a Ljundberg dive?

  47. Sean says:

    RSL is 3-1-4 against LA going back to 2007, I don’t see them losing. 2-2 tie this Saturday seems pretty likely

  48. Beckster says:

    Ives, we told you last week DCU should have been last – guess you believe us now. They were horrific on Saturday.

  49. Judging Amy says:

    You heard it on SBI, DC uses their DP slot on Abby Wambach.

  50. Ken says:

    Hmm Sean Franklin has not been cap to the senior team yet. Look forward to him playing for the US in 2014 when Dolo will be 35.

  51. Jeff says:

    You just look in Onalfo’s eyes and you can tell he is not a winner. I know its sounds a little out there, but winners have a “look”, you know? Onalfo does not have it. Bring in Ben Olsen

  52. Tom says:

    Hey Ives, do you come up with the rankings yourself or are this a compilation of all the SBI writers rankings? (just wondering)

  53. CrispyST3 says:

    Yah, the size of the field makes a big difference, ive played varsity soccer since i was a sophomore at my high school, our home field is a pro sized field and when teams come to play us we usually kill them cuz we are used to playing with more space, but when we play at their field we win by 1 or 2, also the other teams fields are usually grass and are torn up because of football, and ours is field turf and is very nice. The size of the field does matter

  54. Salty Dog says:

    I can live with never seeing Onalfo’s mug again.

  55. 123RSL says:

    Did you actually watch the RSL vs Seattle game?

  56. GSScasual says:

    Charlie…. are you retahhhded? You do know this is MLS power ranking, and not Charley’s favorite team ranking

  57. dantheblue says:

    bring the gonga you’re smoking to my section. I’d like to be where you are Sean. Please. You are getting SMOKED this Saturday at HDC…

    I’m LA til I die, I’m LA til I die, I am I am I know I am I’m LA til I die.

    Section 136

  58. dantheblue says:

    Good analysis Anon. I’d also like to point out that Landon is playing with so much confidence. His leadership is apparent and his hustle is without peer. Now that he has faith in Omar’s leadership in the back I can see where he is really concentrating on bringing the brazilian along for the ride now.

  59. Matt says:

    The second goal was scored by Nat Borchers, i was right behind the goal. I used to like him…

  60. south says:

    Well I mean, if it’s ‘power rankings’ then FCD tied #3 and #7, I agree, I don’t think 4th from bottom accurately represents that.

    Attending both games I can say we were unlucky not to beat Houston, and was happy when we equalized late on Saturday because both teams played pretty equally.

    Side note: Lenhart is beginning to look like a great big man up top, the guy was tireless and created quite a few defensive errors.

    Attention FCD: if you’re going to play one forward up top, it needs to be a guy like Lenhart.

  61. south says:

    I would agree w/ you if it wasn’t the “#13 team” tying two of the better teams in the league. By saying ties aren’t good you’re taking away from the quality of the two teams always finishing the season well.

    For FCD, after the way we opened last season, and finished, tying Columbus and Houston ARE good results, especially for a young team still adjusting its lineup.

  62. Brant says:

    Methinks the bye weeks early in Columbus’ schedule were to not overload them if they’d advanced in the CCL. Any idea if that’s how it worked out?

  63. Jay says:

    The field at the CAB is larger than the one they had at Arrowhead and is not as small as you think it is. There are two fields in the EPL that are smaller than the one at CAB. Laying in the outfield of a baseball field makes it look smaller than it is.

    Regardless, I think with all the speed the Wizards have, they are going to be even better in a large field. Thinking of Ryan Smith in space is very exciting.

    At the end of the day, both teams play on the same size field and the visiting team can easily change the dimensions of their practice field that week so they can get acclimated.

  64. Jay says:

    Seattle gave up a late equalizer and have not looked like the best team on the field for their games the entire time.

    I have attended both of the KC matches and they have been the best team on the field the entire game for the full 90 minutes both times without question.

  65. Wolfgang Depner says:

    I agree with Ives point re: schedule. What I like about the Bundesliga (representative for other European leagues) is the consistency of scheduling. Everybody involved from fans to media knows that games happen on this time, from this time to that time. Yes, MLS is different thanks to multi-use stadia and other reasons. But I really liked Saturday with its heavy league-wide schedule, especially the 8:30 PM ET slot with three games. We need more of that.



  66. Brian says:

    40% San Jose and 60% LA? Sports polygamy is a terrible thing

  67. Brian says:

    I’m starting the calls for Buddle to be be called up in May already. I hope he keeps it up

  68. Brian says:

    Definitely a prospect for 2014.

    Dolo will almost certainly be done for the national team after this World Cup. He’s playing pretty well for Hannover 96 right now, and they’ve almost put themselves out of the relegation zone. If they do end up going down though, you’d have to imagine Dolo would be gone. Maybe he comes and plays in MLS at some point?

    Still you’ve got Spector who is pretty young, and if he can stay healthy will be a starter at right back (or somewhere along the back 4) at least until 2014 (if not 2018).

    Franklin will be battling it out with guys like Lichaj, Simek, Alston, and other young up and comers in MLS and elsewhere. I refuse to consider Marvell Wynne.

  69. MOUF says:

    Stoke plays on the same size field, yet when you read match reports and excuses afterward it never mentions it as a factor…. Go figure

  70. MOUF says:

    Wizard fan saying that he played players in the wrong spots and tactically didnt get it… Off season was huge for Wizards though, I would assume Onalfo wasnt helping when you look at the past signings compared to this offseason

  71. Aristophanes says:

    The SJ Earthquake badge looks like it was made for a local U-12 team. pretty lame.

  72. sread says:

    Ok, Ives. Thanks for stating the obvious, but if these rankings were all results-based, why then would RBNY be so much higher than Chivas USA? (who just beat them 2 – 0 in case you missed it) So before you go ahead and say, “Well, they played two other matches which…” Yeah, then how in the world could HOU be ranked so high with 3 garbage matches that somehow produced a win? They didn’t even have a shot on goal vs RSL from the run of play! RSL looked good in their other matches, far superior to HOU in ANY of theirs.

  73. Super-Bro says:

    The key to the Revs this year will be the play of the newcomers. Really impressive group so far. This is a young team, and I imagine there will be many ups and downs.

    The sleeper Newcomer of the Year for the League may end up being Marko Perovic

  74. Fire says:

    Without Rolfe and Blanco Chicago looks like a whole different team.

  75. Jay says:

    No one knows how good KC is because half their team is new to the MLS. So far they have dominated both of their opponents and they are bound to get better as the season goes.

  76. Chicago - Scott says:

    I feel the same way about Chicago

  77. Chicago - Scott says:

    We are a whole different team, its okay though… Collins John gets that first goal on Saturday and we would of won 3 or 4 to 0. Fire has looked the better team in all 3 of their games… the wins will come.

  78. Chicago - Scott says:

    I think we are missing a nice DP in the center mid tho…

  79. 2341535135123 says:

    Perovic has a very impressive pedigree, the type of player I would expect my other favorite team, Fulham, to buy. Schilawski and Sinovic have been fantastic so far, Tierney looks like he has come a long way from last year. This Revs team could win it all.

  80. rideacruiser says:

    Despite my residence in (often-called) polygamist Utah, I fully agree! RSL all the way, 100%, til I die!

    Last minute equalizer aside, the way the Sounders played, I think they were very lucky to come away with a point at the RIOT. For that matter, Houston was very lucky as well to get those two PKs. I’m content waiting till May for you all to realize that RSL’s in the top-four bracket consistently this year.

  81. John says:

    Original chant right there…

    You’ll be a fan until they start losing again just like any other fan of LA based teams.

    Your contingent of so called fans was pathetic at best in Seattle for the MLS cup. RSL fans outnumbered you at least 4-1, and traveled twice the distance.