For the second week in a row, the teams are 1-2 in the SBI MLS Power Rankings. Salt Lake notched a pair of victories, including a Rocky Mountain Cup triumph over the Colorado Rapids, to maintain its No. 1 standing, while Sporting KC kept pace thanks to a 1-0 win over the struggling MLS Cup champion Los Angeles Galaxy.
Which side truly deserves the top slot will now be decided on the field, when Salt Lake travels to Livestrong Sporting Park on Saturday for the only meeting between the two clubs this season.
Here are this week's SBI MLS Power Rankings (as voted on by SBI staff):
SBI MLS POWER RANKINGS (WEEK 5)
1. (Last week — 1) REAL SALT LAKE (5-1-0, 15 points)
Last week: Beat Montreal 1-0 on Wednesday, Beat Colorado 2-0 on Saturday
This week: At Kansas City, 8:30 p.m., Saturday
Outlook: Even with injury setbacks for Javier Morales and Ned Grabavoy, Salt Lake just keeps on rolling. Now that Nat Borchers and Jamison Olave are back together in central defense and Fabian Espindola and Alvaro Saborio are fit, healthy and scoring goals up top, Salt Lake will be tough to dethrone.
2. (2) SPORTING KANSAS CITY (5-0-0, 15 points)
Last week: Beat Los Angeles 1-0 on Saturday
This week: Vs. Salt Lake, 8:30 p.m., Saturday
Outlook: Losing Omar Bravo may have been a blessing in disguise for Kansas City, which has seen Bobby Convey's presence as a traditional left winger create more opportunities for Kei Kamara and C.J. Sapong to get into the box and connect with service. But the defense, which recorded another shutout against the Galaxy, has been stellar too.
3. (5) SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-1-0, 12 points)
Last week: Beat Vancouver 3-1 on Saturday
This week: At New York, 7 p.m., Saturday
Outlook: Chris Wondolowski's brace against previously undefeated (and unscored upon) Vancouver brought the striker to six goals in five games, continuing his miraculous clip. But with just two goals allowed, goalkeeper Jon Busch and the back line have been another driving force behind San Jose's red-hot start.
4. (3) SEATTLE SOUNDERS (2-1-1, 7 points)
Last week: Tied D.C. United 0-0 on Saturday
This week: Vs. Colorado, 4 p.m., Saturday
Outlook: Marc Burch nearly played hero for Seattle in D.C., hitting the crossbar against his former team deep into stoppage time. But the Sounders still earned a tough road draw, largely thanks to yet another controlling performance from holding midfielder Osvaldo Alonso. Eddie Johnson's 24-minute shift against United bodes well for Seattle's forward depth going forward.
T-5. (4) HOUSTON DYNAMO (2-1-0, 6 points)
Last week: Idle
This week: At Chicago, 7 p.m., Sunday, Galavision
Outlook: After back-to-back bye weeks, Houston finally returns to action Sunday with a trip to Chicago. It has been easy to forget about the Dynamo amid the team's hiatus, but let's take a moment to remember that Dominic Kinnear's club has already recorded two road victories — matching its total from all of last year.
T-5. (6) NEW YORK RED BULLS (3-2-0, 9 points)
Last week: Beat Columbus 4-1 on Saturday
This week: Vs. San Jose, 7 p.m., Saturday
Outlook: The year still is young, but New York acquiring Kenny Cooper from Portland for a first-round SuperDraft pick and allocation money is turning out to be quite the move for the Red Bulls. With six goals, Cooper is tied for second in the league, only trailing teammate Thierry Henry, whose seven tallies have helped the Frenchman become the first player to win three straight MLS Player of the Week awards.
7. (T-7) VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (2-1-2, 8 points)
Last week: Lost to San Jose 3-1 on Saturday
This week: Idle
Outlook: The good news was Sebastien Le Toux returned to the score sheet after looking a bit off his game in recent matches. But after starting the year with four straight shutouts, the Vancouver defense collapsed in an 11-minute second-half stretch that sealed the Whitecaps' fate against San Jose.
8. (T-7) COLORADO RAPIDS (3-2-0, 9 points)
Last week: Lost to Salt Lake 2-0 on Saturday
This week: At Seattle, 4 p.m., Saturday
Outlook: Well, it's safe to say Oscar Pareja won't be experimenting with Drew Moor in midfield again anytime soon. The tactical switch, which brought veteran Tyrone Marshall into the back line and relegated standout rookie Tony Cascio to the bench, seemed to throw off Colorado's rhythm against Salt Lake. It looks like the Rapids will have to find another way to fill Pablo Mastroeni's void.
9. (11) D.C. UNITED (1-2-2, 5 points)
Last week: Tied Seattle 0-0 on Saturday
This week: At New England, 4 p.m., Saturday
Outlook: A week after breaking out with four goals in a win over Dallas, United against Seattle returned to their tepid attacking tendencies of weeks prior, getting shut out for the third time in five games. Seeing how the attack was invigorated by second-half substitutes Chris Pontius and Branko Boskovic, it's hard to imagine Ben Olsen will keep them on the bench much longer.
10. (13) FC DALLAS (2-2-1, 7 points)
Last week: Beat New England 1-0 on Thursday
This week: Vs. Montreal, 8:30 p.m., Saturday
Outlook: Six days after falling apart in the second half of a 4-1 loss at D.C. United, Dallas bounced back against New England, using an Ugo Ihemelu strike five minutes into second-half stoppage time to down New England. It wasn't the most convincing performance, but it was three points in a match that marked the returns from injury of George John and Fabian Castillo.
11. (16) CHIVAS USA (2-3-0, 6 points)
Last week: Beat Portland 2-1 on Saturday
This week: At Toronto, 4:30 p.m., Saturday
Outlook: Maybe Chivas should just play of their games away from the Home Depot Center. Robin Fraser's squad is 0-3 with no goals scored at home but 2-0 on the road. If Chivas have the mettle to come from behind in environment such as Jeld-Wen Field, then perhaps this team can make some noise in the Western Conference.
12. (10) NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (2-3-0, 6 points)
Last week: Lost to Dallas 1-0 on Thursday
This week: Vs. D.C. United, 4 p.m., Saturday
Outlook: The Revolution were seconds away from going unbeaten on a tough two-game road swing to Los Angeles and Dallas before Ugo Ihemelu nabbed the result for Dallas. The centerback pairing of A.J. Soares and Stephen McCarthy continues to show promise, though, as does Clyde Simms' partnership with Shalrie Joseph.
13. (9) LOS ANGELES GALAXY (1-3-0, 3 points)
Last week: Lost to Kansas City 1-0 on Saturday
This week: Vs. Portland, 10:30 p.m., Saturday
Outlook: With David Beckham out of the lineup, the Galaxy once again lost the midfield battle against Kansas City. And Edson Buddle, who was yanked in favor of Chad Barrett in the 57th minute, continues to struggle to develop chemistry with Robbie Keane. Of course, an early-season schedule featuring matches against the likes of Salt Lake and Kansas City hasn't made matters any easier.
14. (15) CHICAGO FIRE (1-1-1, 4 points)
Last week: Idle
This week: Vs. Houston, 7 p.m., Sunday, Galavision
Outlook: Chicago had its second bye week of the young MLS season, so Frank Klopas' side will be well-rested for a home match against the Dynamo, who are coming off two weeks off themselves. The Fire will hope the time off has helped veteran right back Dan Gargan (toe sprain) return to health.
T-15. (12) COLUMBUS CREW (2-2-0, 6 points)
Last week: Lost to New York 4-1 on Saturday
This week: At Philadelphia, Saturday, 3:30 p.m., NBC Sports
Outlook: Columbus may have a respectable six points in four games, but with wins over lowly Toronto and Montreal offsetting ugly losses to Colorado and New York, it's hard to put much stock in that record. Defensively, this is a team that could sure use a healthy Julius James alongside Chad Marshall.
T-15. (14) PORTLAND TIMBERS (1-3-1, 4 points)
Last week: Lost to Chivas USA 2-1 on Saturday
This week: At Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m., Saturday
Outlook: Another week, another lead surrendered at home in a demoralizing loss. Defensively, the Timbers have some issues that need to be sorted out before making their trip to Los Angeles on Saturday. For as out of sorts as the Galaxy look, they still boast an imposing plethora of attacking talent.
17. (17) PHILADELPHIA UNION (0-3-1, 1 point)
Last week: Idle
This week: Vs. Columbus, Saturday, 3:30 p.m., NBC Sports
Outlook: Coming off a bye week with a full complement of players following Olympic qualifying, Philadelphia will be near full strength for this weekend's match against Columbus. It'll be intriguing to see how Peter Nowak incorporates playmaker Freddy Adu back into an attack that just hasn't clicked yet in 2012.
18. (19) MONTREAL IMPACT (1-4-1, 4 points)
Last week: Lost to Salt Lake 1-0 on Wednesday, Beat Toronto 2-1 on Saturday
This week: At Dallas, 8:30 p.m., Saturday
Outlook: The centerback pairing of Matteo Ferrari and Shavar Thomas has produced better results than the Ferrari-Tyson Wahl duo used in the season's opening weeks. And rookie Andrew Wenger's well-taken goal against Toronto was an exciting taste of the No. 1 overall pick's potential.
19. (18) TORONTO FC (0-4-0, 0 points)
Last week: Lost to Montreal 2-1 on Saturday
This week: Vs. Chivas USA, 4:30 p.m., Saturday
Outlook: After crashing out of the Champions League with a 6-2 midweek loss at Santos Laguna, Toronto reached a new low over the weekend, dropping to 0-4 while handing expansion Montreal the franchise's first MLS win. The feel-good vibes of that Champions League upset of Los Angeles are now long gone.