Real Salt Lake may have lost its playmaker, but it still has its spot atop the SBI MLS Power Rankings.
Despite having Javier Morales exit its match with a broken ankle, Salt Lake powered through to a victory over nine-man Chivas USA to improve to 5-1 on the season. That victory, coupled with the New York-Los Angeles stalemate left the top three spots unchanged.
Philadelphia remains at its No. 4 spot despite losing at Portland, which jumped from No. 9 to No. 5 as the week's highest riser.
On the other end of the spectrum, Toronto FC is out of the cellar after an impressive win over Houston. Sporting Kansas City, San Jose and Vancouver have the dubious distinction of being the bottom three teams in light of the Reds' victory.
Here are this week's SBI MLS Power Rankings (as voted on by SBI staff):
SBI MLS POWER RANKINGS (WEEK 8)
1. (Last week – 1) REAL SALT LAKE (5-1-0, 15 points)
Last week: Beat Chivas USA, 1-0, on Saturday.
This week: vs. Houston, 9 p.m., Saturday, Fox Soccer Channel.
Outlook: After gutting out a win after the Morales injury, RSL has to focus on filling the Argentine's void for the long haul. That task starts with a home match against the Dynamo. Second-year player Collen Warner becomes a more important piece to Jason Kreis' midfield puzzle in Morales' absence.
2. (2) NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-1-3, 15 points)
Last week: Tied Los Angeles, 1-1, on Saturday.
This week: vs. Chivas USA, 7 p.m., Sunday, Galavision.
Outlook: Tying the Galaxy in Los Angeles without Teemu Tainio is a pretty solid result for the Red Bulls, who got a stellar goal-line clearance from Tim Ream and another goal from Thierry Henry. Luke Rodgers' comments about Landon Donovan might steer the focus of the two teams elsewhere, but their level of play on the field Saturday was top-notch.
3. (3) LOS ANGELES GALAXY (4-2-4, 16 points)
Last week: Tied New York, 1-1, on Saturday.
This week: at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m., Wednesday; vs. Sporting Kansas City, 10:30 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: The Galaxy came inches away from grabbing three points against the Red Bulls, but Ream's clearance of what would have been Donovan's second goal preserved the draw. The Galaxy goes for a season-sweep of the Union in its mid-week clash before returning home to face slumping Kansas City.
4. (4) PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-2-1, 13 points)
Last week: Lost to Portland, 1-0, on Friday.
This week: vs. Los Angeles, 7:30 p.m., Wednesday; at FC Dallas, 8:30 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: Down two starting defenders, the Union succumbed to a header off a set piece inside the area again. Set pieces could be a point of contention again on Wednesday, as the Galaxy boasts David Beckham's service and a host of finishing options. Los Angeles took the first meeting between the two teams this season in a 1-0, defensive battle that was decided by — wait for it — a Beckham set piece.
5. (9) PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-3-1, 13 points)
Last week: Beat Philadelphia, 1-0, on Friday.
This week: at Seattle, 11 p.m., Saturday, ESPN2/ESPN Deportes.
Outlook: JELD-WEN Field strikes again. Futty Danso's winner against the Union made the Timbers a perfect 4-0 at home, and while it'll still take a strong road performance to make believers out of most, the Timbers seemed to have worked out the kinks that plagued the team earlier this season. A road win at Qwest Field this weekend would certainly turn some more heads.
6. (8) COLORADO RAPIDS (4-3-2, 14 points)
Last week: Beat Houston, 2-1, on Wednesday; Tied New England, 0-0, on Saturday.
This week: at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: The Rapids did well to come from behind and beat Houston on the road and then come back a few days later to earn a point at New England while posting a clean sheet. The team's worst nightmare is coming true though, with Omar Cummings joining Conor Casey and Caleb Folan among the club's injured forward brigade.
7. (5) SEATTLE SOUNDERS (3-3-4, 13 points)
Last week: Lost to D.C. United, 2-1, on Wednesday; Tied Columbus, 1-1, on Saturday.
This week: vs. Portland, 11 p.m., Saturday, ESPN2/ESPN Deportes.
Outlook: It wasn't a completely lost two-game road swing as the Sounders salvaged a point at Crew Stadium through Fredy Montero's goal and Kasey Keller's goalkeeping. Expect as wild an atmosphere as there's been at a league match this Saturday night when Seattle and Portland commence their highly anticipated rivalry on the MLS stage.
8. (7) COLUMBUS CREW (3-1-4, 13 points)
Last week: Tied Seattle, 1-1, on Saturday.
This week: at San Jose, 10:30 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: Make that four goals in the last three games for Emilio Renteria, who is doing just enough to keep the Crew competitive from an offensive standpoint. While Columbus isn't wowing anybody, it's getting results, and that's ultimately what matters.
9. (10) FC DALLAS (3-3-2, 11 points)
Last week: Tied D.C., 0-0 on Saturday.
This week: vs. Toronto FC, 9 p.m., Wednesday; vs. Philadelphia, 8:30 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: The Red Stripes can thank Kevin Hartman for preserving their road point at RFK Stadium after his stellar save on Fred kept things level late in the match. Two matches at Pizza Hut Park should provide the chance for FCD to add to its point total while working
10. (6) HOUSTON DYNAMO (3-3-3, 12 points)
Last week: Lost to Colorado, 2-1 on Wednesday; Lost to Toronto FC, 2-1 on Saturday.
This week: at Real Salt Lake, 9 p.m., Saturday, Fox Soccer Channel.
Outlook: We're not sure what to make of the Dynamo after its two-loss week. A home game against a weakened Colorado side and another game at Toronto should have yielded some points. Tally Hall took the blame for the first loss and Joao Plata was the reason for the second one. Now the Dynamo have to go into a house of horrors for visiting MLS teams — Rio Tinto Stadium — to try and get back on track.
11. (14) D.C. UNITED (3-4-2, 11 points)
Last week: Beat Seattle, 2-1, on Wednesday; Tied FC Dallas, 0-0 on Saturday.
This week: vs. Colorado, 7:30 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: D.C. righted the ship with its win over the Sounders and earned another point against a game FC Dallas side. It's no coincidence that Andy Najar's re-emergence has been the catalyst for United's resurgence. Rookie defenders Perry Kitchen and Ethan White also held their own against two talented attacking opponents and catch a break with Cummings, Casey and Folan potentially all out this weekend.
12. (11) CHIVAS USA (2-3-3, 9 points)
Last week: Lost to Real Salt Lake, 1-0, on Saturday.
This week: at New York, 7 p.m., Sunday, Galavision.
Outlook: The Goats had their five-game unbeaten streak snapped at Rio Tinto and now might lose Marcos Mondaini for a little while after his red-card-earning tackle that broke Morales' ankle. The road doesn't get any easier with games at New York and against rival Los Angeles on the horizon.
13. (12) NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (2-3-4, 10 points)
Last week: Tied Colorado, 0-0, on Saturday.
This week: vs. Vancouver, 7:30 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: The Revs unveiled their Shalrie Joseph-Ousmane Dabo-Benny Feilhaber midfield triumvirate but didn't get a huge return in settling for a home draw against the Rapids. New England was able to generate chances, though, and should have no problem doing the same in a home tilt against Vancouver, which will be the Whitecaps' second match in four days.
14. (13) CHICAGO FIRE (1-3-4, 7 points)
Last week: Tied Vancouver, 0-0, on Saturday.
This week: at Toronto FC, 7 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: Chicago is another team that generated plenty of chances but couldn't find the back of the net. Marco Pappa is rounding into form though, and when he's at his best, the Fire typically see some results. Catching TFC on the second of its two games this week could play into the Fire's favor.
15. (18) TORONTO FC (2-3-4, 10 points)
Last week: Beat Houston, 2-1, on Saturday.
This week: at FC Dallas, 9 p.m., Wednesday; vs. Chicago, 7 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: It took some Plata Power, but the Reds turned in perhaps the most impressive victory of the weekend by taking down the Dynamo. Coach Aron Winter says he wants to bring his rookie Plata along slowly, but after the diminutive Ecuadorian's performance against Houston, can he really afford to not loosen the shackles a bit more?
16. (15) SPORTING KANSAS CITY (1-4-1, 4 points)
Last week: Idle.
This week: at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: SKC had another week off to try and find a remedy to its problems, but putting that plan into action at the Home Depot Center is another matter. Designated Player Omar Bravo could be available off the bench as he makes his way back from sports hernia surgery.
17. (16) SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (1-4-2, 5 points)
Last week: Idle.
This week: at Vancouver, 10 p.m., Wednesday; vs. Columbus, 10:30 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: The Earthquakes were off in league play but at least earned a road win at Portland in U.S. Open Cup qualifying play. Granted, the Timbers trotted out a reserve-laden side, but for the Earthquakes, any positive result is a welcome sight.
18. (17) VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (1-4-4, 7 points)
Last week: Tied Chicago, 0-0, on Saturday.
This week: vs. San Jose, 10 p.m., Wednesday; at New England, 7:30 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: It'd be something if the Whitecaps put together a complete performance. On a day when the defense posted a clean sheet, the offense was nowhere to be found against the Fire. Vancouver hosts a bottom-of-the-table tussle mid-week before getting another crack at the Revolution. Perhaps Eric Hassli will keep his shirt on this time.