The Columbus Crew's surprising run isn't showing any signs of slowing down.
The Crew came up with a victory over Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium over the weekend to take over first place in the MLS Eastern Conference and vault up to No. 4 in the latest SBI MLS Power Rankings.
The Los Angeles Galaxy still maintain the top spot after another victory, but FC Dallas is right on their heels with a matchup between the two looming this weekend.
On the other end of the spectrum, the New England Revolution are starting to make some noise from the bottom of the table, while the league's Canadian teams keep trading the bottom spot back and forth.
Here are this week's SBI MLS Power Rankings (as voted on by SBI staff):
SBI MLS POWER RANKINGS (WEEK 20)
1. (Last Week — 1) LOS ANGELES GALAXY (12-2-9, 45 points)
Last week: Beat Vancouver, 4-0, on Saturday.
This week: at Portland, 10:30 p.m., Wednesday, ESPN2; vs. FC Dallas, 10:30 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: The Galaxy are unbeaten in their last 14 matches now after dismantling the Whitecaps in the second half of their match over the weekend. An important week awaits, though, as Saturday's match will have a strong impact one way or another on the race for the Supporters' Shield. Los Angeles has to be wary of overlooking a hungry, yet struggling, Portland side that will be playing in front of its home supporters.
2. (4) FC DALLAS (12-5-6, 42 points)
Last week: Beat Chivas USA, 1-0, on Sunday.
This week: at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: FCD keeps on rolling, turning in a trademark performance against Chivas. Marvin Chavez continues to have success in his new forward role, scoring the lone goal against the Goats; Jackson and Brek Shea maintained their dangerous play coming up the wings; and the defense is still rock solid in front of Kevin Hartman in goal. FCD has a golden chance to pull even in the Supporters' Shield race this weekend.
3. (2) SEATTLE SOUNDERS (10-5-8, 38 points)
Last week: Lost to Houston, 3-1, on Saturday.
This week: at Sporting Kansas City, 8:30 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: It's a tough week for Seattle, which has to commit a lot to its mid-week CONCACAF Champions League preliminary round second leg in order to keep its hopes alive on that front before traveling to Livestrong Sporting Park, where opposing teams have found little success.
4. (6) COLUMBUS CREW (9-6-7, 34 points)
Last week: Beat Real Salt Lake, 2-0, on Saturday.
This week: at Colorado, 9:30 p.m., Friday, Fox Soccer Channel.
Outlook: No team has turned more heads than the Crew, who made going into Rio Tinto and walking away with a victory look rather pedestrian. Even with goalkeeper Will Hesmer sidelined, Chad Marshall & Co. have manned the back line with a high level of consistency, and they'll need to do more of the same to combat the Rapids in a 2010 postseason rematch in another game at altitude.
5. (3) REAL SALT LAKE (9-4-6, 33 points)
Last week: Lost to Columbus, 2-0, on Saturday.
This week: at Sporting Kansas City, 8:30 p.m., Wednesday; vs. New York, 9 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: Jamison Olave was sorely missed in RSL's rare home loss over the weekend, and it doesn't get much easier for the club with a trip to SKC and a home game against New York on the docket for this week. RSL has the experienced players to get back on track, though, and getting Alvaro Saborio back from suspension will help the attack.
6. (8) COLORADO RAPIDS (8-6-10, 34 points)
Last week: Beat Philadelphia, 2-1, on Friday.
This week: vs. Columbus, 9:30 p.m., Friday, Fox Soccer Channel.
Outlook: The defending champs are in a bit of a groove, riding the hot streak of Sanna Nyassi to their latest victory. As the first team to go into Philadelphia and come away with a victory this season, the Rapids are quietly still in the thick of things in the West, although they've played a game more than L.A., Dallas and Seattle and five more than RSL, whom it leads by one point.
7. (5) PHILADELPHIA UNION (8-5-7, 31 points)
Last week: Lost to Colorado, 2-1, on Friday.
This week: at Chicago, 9 p.m., Wednesday; vs. Houston, 8 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: The Union fell for the first time at PPL Park this season and will have to go forward without the services of six-goal scorer Carlos Ruiz. Philadelphia is no longer in first place in the East, but it has a chance to get right back on top of things by taking advantage of one of its games in hand this week.
8. (7) SPORTING KANSAS CITY (6-6-9, 27 points)
Last week: Tied New England, 1-1, on Saturday.
This week: vs. Real Salt Lake, 8:30 p.m., Wednesday; vs. Seattle, 8:30 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: Sporting KC's renaissance (and 13-game unbeaten run) has been impressive, but Saturday's match was hardly the first one where the club had to scramble in the final minutes to salvage a 1-1 draw, a result that the team came up with four times in July. The club's unbeaten home record will be put to the ultimate test this week as two of the league's top teams venture to the league's newest stadium.
9. (9) NEW YORK RED BULLS (6-5-12, 30 points)
Last week: Idle.
This week: at Real Salt Lake, 9 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: The Red Bulls managed to win the Emirates Cup, beating Paris-St. Germain and tying Arsenal, but that still doesn't mitigate the team's recent problems in league play. Perhaps some overseas success will turn into good fortune for the league's biggest underachiever, which will look to follow Columbus' blueprint of stifling RSL.
T-10. (11) HOUSTON DYNAMO (6-7-9, 27 points)
Last week: Beat Seattle, 3-1, on Saturday.
This week: at Philadelphia, 8 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: The Good Dynamo showed up at home again, begging the question if the winless Road Dynamo will rear their ugly heads this weekend. When things are on for Houston, the club is a pretty stout unit, as Brad Davis, Geoff Cameron, Brian Ching and Colin Clark showed against Seattle. When things are off, however, the club plays to a below-average standard, as its 0-4-6 road mark will attest.
T-10. (12) D.C. UNITED (6-6-8, 26 points)
Last week: Beat San Jose, 2-0, on Saturday.
This week: vs. Toronto FC, 7:30 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: Dwayne De Rosario has been a one-man revenge tour this season, and he'll get a crack at another former team this weekend as D.C. United tries to string together consecutive league victories for the first time in more than two years.
12. (10) CHIVAS USA (6-8-8, 26 points)
Last week: Lost to FC Dallas, 1-0, on Sunday.
This week: at New England, 7:30 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: Chivas may have fallen to FCD, but the Goats hung with their opponent pretty tightly under hot conditions in Frisco, Texas. Although Chivas has had a good deal of success against the Revolution recently, making the cross-country trip for this weekend's match won't help things, and the Revs happen to have found a solid run of form.
13. (T-15) NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (4-9-9, 21 points)
Last week: Tied Sporting Kansas City, 1-1, on Saturday.
This week: vs. Chivas USA, 7:30 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: The Revs concluded a three-game road swing with a draw at a tough venue for opposing teams and went 1-0-2 in stops at D.C., Colorado and Kansas City. Not bad for a team that looked hopeless just a couple of weeks ago. There's still plenty of ground to be covered, but New England is at least on the right track. Compensating for the loss of suspended rookie A.J. Soares will be a test this weekend.
14. (14) PORTLAND TIMBERS (6-10-4, 22 points)
Last week: Tied Toronto FC, 2-2, on Saturday.
This week: vs. Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m., Wednesday, ESPN2; at San Jose, 10:30 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: The Jeld-Wen magic doesn't seem to exist anymore after Portland blew what looked to be a sure thing at home against lowly Toronto. After winning their first five home games, Portland has gone 0-4-2 at the House of Pane and is at risk of falling out of the postseason picture altogether with a treacherous week ahead.
15. (13) SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (5-8-9, 24 points)
Last week: Lost to D.C. United, 2-0, on Saturday.
This week: vs. Portland, 10:30 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: The Earthquakes continue to underwhelm, and it remains a mystery why Chris Wondolowski is stationed out wide when he is more of an asset on top of the formation. San Jose, which trails two teams for the 10th and final playoff spot, needs to start making up some ground and can't afford a home loss to a Portland side that will be playing its second game of the week.
16. (T-15) CHICAGO FIRE (2-6-12, 18 points)
Last week: Idle.
This week: vs. Philadelphia, 9 p.m., Wednesday; at Vancouver, 7 p.m., Sunday, Galavision.
Outlook: After plenty of time off from league play, the Fire have had the ability to work Sebastian Grazzini and Pavel Pardo into the mix but have precious little time to make up for lost points. If Chicago is going to make noise at all down the stretch — aside from in the U.S. Open Cup — it needs to win immediately.
17. (18) TORONTO FC (3-11-10, 19 points)
Last week: Tied Portland, 2-2, on Saturday.
This week: at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m., Saturday.
Outlook: TFC showed fight and heart to claw back from a 2-0 deficit at Jeld-Wen Field, and things may just be trending upward for the club, which has a chance to cement a place in the CONCACAF Champions League group stage Tuesday night. Despite renewed optimism, something must be done about the defense, which has conceded a league-worst 43 times — nine more than any other team.
18. (17) VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (2-11-9, 15 points)
Last week: Lost to Los Angeles, 4-0, on Saturday.
This week: vs. Chicago, 7 p.m., Sunday, Galavision.
Outlook: While the 4-0 scoreline is pretty lopsided, the Whitecaps were hanging with the Galaxy until the wheels fell off in the second half. Vancouver even generated its share of chances, with Shea Salinas hitting the post while the game was still scoreless. Moral victories won't help at this point, though, and the club has yet to see a return from new DP striker Mustapha Jarju.