By IVES GALARCEP
The Los Angeles Galaxy looked poised for a long run atop the SBI MLS Power Rankings, but the Houston Dynamo stepped up to remind us that we can never take results for granted. Especially when we are talking about returning MLS Cup finalists.
The Dynamo recorded their first road win since last summer, and their first road win vs. the Galaxy in seven tries to boost themselves back up the rankings after a tough run of form in previous weeks. Now the Dynamo are in a tie for first place in the East, and enjoying their best start to the season in several years.
The previously red-hot Portland Timbers slipped a bit in the rankings, after their disappointing home draw vs. the New England Revolution. Caleb Porter’s side will have a great chance to climb right back up the list with a win against new No. 1, FC Dallas, on Wednesday night.
Here are the latest SBI MLS Power Rankings:
SBI MLS Power Rankings (Week Ten)
1. (Last week- 2) FC DALLAS (6-1-2)
LAST WEEK- Bye Week.
THIS WEEK- vs. Portland on Wednesday; vs. D.C. United on Saturday.
OUTLOOK- The week off should help Dallas deal with some nagging injury issues, including George John’s status. Portland will provide a very good test for the Dallas midfield, and Michel’s match-up with Diego Valeri will be an important one for the FCD defense to try and contain Portland’s high-octane attack.
2. (3) MONTREAL IMPACT (5-1-2)
LAST WEEK- beat Toronto FC, 6-0, last Wednesday (Canadian Championship); tied San Jose Earthquakes, 2-2, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK- at New York on Wednesday; vs. Real Salt Lake on Saturday.
OUTLOOK- Their mauling of TFC in the Canadian Championship was a milestone moment for the club, but they saw their old on first place in the East vanish after becoming the latest team to squander a late lead vs. San Jose. Their trip to New York will tell us quite a bit, particularly about their defense, which looks a little more vulnerable after blowing a two-goal lead to the Earthquakes.
3. (6) HOUSTON DYNAMO (5-2-2)
LAST WEEK- beat Los Angeles Galaxy, 1-0, last Sunday.
THIS WEEK- at D.C. United on Wednesday; vs. Sporting Kansas City on Sunday.
OUTLOOK- Snapped their recent funk with an inspired team effort in shutting down the Galaxy. Kofi Sarkodie’s growth as a player continues, while Andrew Driver made it clear he is ready for an important role with the Dynamo. Between Driver and Giles Barnes, Dom Kinnear will have some tough decisions to make in terms of settling on his Best XI when Brad Davis returns, and eventually when Omar Cummings is healthy.
4. (5) SPORTING KANSAS CITY (5-3-2)
LAST WEEK- beat Chivas USA, 4-0, last Sunday.
THIS WEEK- vs. Seattle on Wednesday; at Houston Dynamo on Sunday.
OUTLOOK- Graham Zusi put on a show and helped Sporting KC snap out of their mini-slump. As much as you can point to the fact that Chivas USA is in terrible form, the fact remains Sporting KC looked sharp. They will face some tough tests this week as the play host to a Seattle team growing increasingly desperate for points, and a Houston team that has been their kryptonite in recent years.
5. (1) LOS ANGELES GALAXY (4-2-2)
LAST WEEK- lost to Houston Dynamo, 1-0, last Sunday.
THIS WEEK- at Vancouver on Saturday.
OUTLOOK- Yes, you can make the point that Robbie Keane’s absence hurt their attack considerably, but the fact remains the Galaxy had more than enough firepower to find the net at least once at home, even against a tough Dynamo team. Landon Donovan isn’t likely to take penalties in the future, with Keane and Mike Magee viable options for spot-kick duty. LA should be able to regroup against a struggling Vancouver side.
6. (4) PORTLAND TIMBERS (3-1-5)
LAST WEEK- tied New England Revolution, 0-0, last Thursday.
THIS WEEK- at FC Dallas on Wednesday; vs. Chivas USA on Sunday.
OUTLOOK- Had to come away disappointed with last week’s draw, but you can’t argue the fact that the Timbers played well against New England. Sharpness in the final third remains a bit of an issue, but the bigger concern in Portland is the centerback situation. New signing Pa Modou Kah is likely to need some time to adapt, which could give young defender Andrew Jean-Baptiste a chance to stake his claim to a starting spot.
7. (7) NEW YORK RED BULLS (5-4-2)
LAST WEEK- beat Columbus Crew, 1-0, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK- at Montreal on Wednesday; at New England on Saturday.
OUTLOOK- Luis Robles turned in a strong performance to fend off calls for a goalkeeper change in New York. At least for the time being. Ryan Meara’s impending return will force Mike Petke to consider a change, though Robles probably bought himself some more time with his outing. With Roy Miller continuing to play well, how long before someone comes along with an offer for Heath Pearce?
8. (10) REAL SALT LAKE (4-4-2)
LAST WEEK- beat Vancouver Whitecaps, 2-0, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK- at New England on Wednesday; at Montreal on Saturday.
OUTLOOK- Joao Plata stepped with some key plays in RSL’s victory, and is making his new team look like thieves after landing him for peanuts in an off-season trade. An East Coast road trip awaits, and goals won’t come easy when they visit the Revs and Impact, especially if Saborio isn’t back yet.
9. (11) PHILADELPHIA UNION (3-3-3)
LAST WEEK- tied Seattle Sounders, 2-2, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK- at Chicago on Saturday.
OUTLOOK- Danny Cruz is a much-maligned figure in Philadelphia by fans who don’t get why he starts and Sebastien LeToux ride the pine, but Cruz helped put those questions to bed with his two-goal effort. Now the Union prepare for a match against the Fire that will serve as a showcase of sorts for centerback Bakary Soumare, who is set to start for his former team, and the team eager to trade for him, due to Jeff Parke being injured.
10. (8) COLUMBUS CREW (3-3-3)
LAST WEEK-lost to New York Red Bulls, 1-0, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK- vs. Colorado on Saturday.
OUTLOOK- The Crew will rue their missed chances, and the quality soccer they showed in their loss to the Red Bulls. They must now regroup and take on a surprisingly dangerous Colorado side that has been grinding out results despite a plethora of injuries. The match should be a good chance for Federico Higuain and Jairo Arrieta to get back to their scoring ways.
11. (13) COLORADO RAPIDS (3-4-2)
LAST WEEK- Beat Toronto FC, 1-0, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK- at Columbus on Saturday.
OUTLOOK- Another victory for a Rapids team that is just finding a way to secure points in the face of some serious adversity. Clint Irwin continues to be one of the stories of the season while Edson Buddle finding the net has to be a seriously encouraging sign for a team that will need Buddle to have a big year.
12. (12) SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (2-3-5)
LAST WEEK- tied Montreal Impact, 2-2, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK- vs. Toronto FC on Wednesday; at Seattle on Saturday.
OUTLOOK- Adam Jahn keeps on impressing and the Earthquakes rookie is making a very good case for remaining a starter even when Alan Gordon and Steven Lenhart return from their suspensions. As impressive as the comeback vs. Montreal was, the reality is the Earthquakes haven’t looked close their old dominant self yet, and they are continuing to drop points at home. They have a good chance to rack up the points with a home game vs. TFC and a trip to Seattle to face a Sounders side still trying to figure this season out.
13. (9) CHIVAS USA (3-4-2)
LAST WEEK- lost to Sporting Kansas City, 4-0, last Sunday.
THIS WEEK- at Portland on Sunday.
OUTLOOK- The wheels have fallen off the Chelis bandwagon, and Dan Kennedy’s red card means the Goats will head into a very tough match against the Timbers without their best player. It’s the kind of game they seem destined to lose, but as we have seen so many times in MLS, those sort of matches tend to not go the way we expect them to go.
14. (16) NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (2-3-3)
LAST WEEK- Tied Portland Timbers, 0-0, last Thursday.
THIS WEEK- vs. Real Salt Lake on Wednesday; vs. New York Red Bulls on Saturday.
OUTLOOK- A very impressive defensive effort by a patch-work back-line helped the Revs escape Portland with a well-earned point. That draw should give them some confidence heading into a home stand against two tough opponents. Getting A.J. Soares back would be big, but what Jay Heaps really needs is for Saer Sene to return to full health so we can see a Jerry Bengtson-Sene forward tandem.
15. (14) VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (2-4-3)
LAST WEEK- Lost to Real Salt Lake, 2-0, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK- vs. Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday.
OUTLOOK- The White caps have won three games in their past 20 MLS matches. THREE. At a certain point you wonder if Martin Rennie is on the hot seat, and whether the Whitecaps will give him a full season in charge if things don’t turn around soon.
16. (15) CHICAGO FIRE (2-5-1)
LAST WEEK- Bye Week.
THIS WEEK- vs. Philadelphia Union on Saturday.
OUTLOOK- A week off should help the Fire, but if it doesn’t bring Arne Friedrich any closer to seeing the field then you wonder just how much. Chicago will get an up-close look at a defender they are considering as a replacement for Friedrich in Bakary Soumare, in a match that should also give Sherjill MacDonald plenty of motivation as he tries to hold on to a starting job that should be slipping away.
17. (17) SEATTLE SOUNDERS (1-3-3)
LAST WEEK- tied Philadelphia Union, 2-2, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK- at Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday; vs. San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.
OUTLOOK- A road point without Osvaldo Alonso is big for the Sounders, even if they would have preferred three points, and even though it was an ugly game. The upcoming week will really tell us whether the Sounders can turn things around because a trip to Kansas City will be very tough, but a home game vs. San Jose is a golden chance for three points.
18. (18) TORONTO FC (1-4-4)
LAST WEEK- Lost to Montreal, 6-0, on Wednesday (Canadian Champion); lost to Colorado, 1-0, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK- at San Jose on Wednesday.
OUTLOOK- Talk about a forgettable week. An embarrassing Canadian Championship loss that set off an already angry fan base, followed by a forgettable showing against a short-handed Colorado side. Things appear to be going badly in a hurry, and it will be up to the TFC defense to tighten up, and Robert Earnshaw to recapture his scoring touch.
19. (19) D.C. UNITED (1-6-1)
LAST WEEK- Bye Week.
THIS WEEK- vs. Houston on Wednesday; at FC Dallas on Saturday.
OUTLOOK- The stars are aligned for a win on Wednesday. D.C. United is coming off a bye, and they’re facing a Dynamo team that played on Sunday night in LA before traveling cross-country. If they can’t snatch three points under those circumstances, it is difficult to see them going to Dallas and getting anything. A two-loss week would definitely have Ben Olsen’s seat feeling extremely warm.
What do you think of this week’s power rankings? Think anyone is rated too highly? See anyone being too low?
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