Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By IVES GALARCEP
Don’t look now, but the New York Red Bulls are on a roll and looking like a team to be taken seriously as a title contender in 2013.
The Red Bulls pushed their current hot streak to five wins in six unbeaten matches, with the Los Angeles Galaxy playing the role of the latest victim. Led by Jamison Olave’s dominating performance in central defense, the Red Bulls contained Landon Donovan and Co. just three days after the Galaxy thrashed Philadelphia for four goals.
New York isn’t the only team skyrocketing up the SBI MLS Power Rankings. The Seattle Sounders extended their own unbeaten streak to six matches after trashing a short-handed FC Dallas side at CenturyLink Field. Seattle didn’t have their full complement of attacking weapons either, with Mauro Rosales and Obafemi Martins out of the starting lineup, but they still generated a stunning display, with Eddie Johnson rounding into form just in time to join the U.S. Men’s National Team.
D.C. United is still at the bottom of the rankings, but did finally stop the bleeding courtesy of a blown offside call in their draw vs. Sporting KC. Ben Olsen’s side could soon start facing competition for the bottom spot in the rankings from Chivas USA, a team in free-fall mode after suffering their fifth loss in six matches.
Here are the latest SBI MLS Power Rankings:
SBI MLS Power Rankings (Week 12)
1. (Last Week- 6) NEW YORK RED BULLS (7-4-3)
LAST WEEK- Beat Los Angeles Galaxy, 1-0, last Sunday.
THIS WEEK- vs. Columbus on Sunday.
LAST FIVE - W-T-W-W-W
OUTLOOK- The Red Bulls catapult into the top spot after pushing their current unbeaten run to six matches. Tim Cahill’s winner was the difference, but Jamison Olave’s dominating defense was key to the victory. Luis Robles played well too, continuing his Jekyll and Hyde goalkeeping run going.
2. (1) FC DALLAS (7-2-3)
LAST WEEK- Lost to Seattle Sounders, 4-2, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK- vs. San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.
LAST FIVE- L-W-T-T-W
OUTLOOK- Asking rookie London Woodberry to try and deal with Eddie Johnson was a bridge too far, but also playing without David Ferreira and Andrew Jacobson made things difficult. That said, FC Dallas still scored goals and put chances on a stingy Seattle defense.
3. (2) PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-1-7)
LAST WEEK- Tied Vancouver Whitecaps, 2-2, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK- at D.C. United on Saturday.
LAST FIVE- T-W-T-T-W
OUTLOOK- Saw some bad look and good luck go their way vs. Vancouver. The red card on Mamadou Danso was highly questionable, but the referee also missed a handball call on Jose Valencia’s stunning equalizer. Caleb Porter won’t be happy with the defensive breakdowns, but yet another second-half rally shows us once again just how tough this Timbers team is.
4. (3) MONTREAL IMPACT (6-2-2)
LAST WEEK- Tied Vancouver Whitecaps, 0-0, last Wednesday (Canadian Championship).
THIS WEEK- vs. Philadelphia Union on Saturday.
LAST FIVE MATCHES- W-L-T-W-T
OUTLOOK- Some time off should help the Impact deal with some injuries, but the Union will present a tricky challenge.
5. (10) SEATTLE SOUNDERS (4-3-3)
LAST WEEK- Beat FC Dallas, 4-2, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK- at Los Angeles Galaxy on Sunday.
LAST FIVE MATCHES- W-W-W-T-W
OUTLOOK- No Mauro Rosales and lost Osvaldo Alonso early? No problem for these Sounders, who are flexing some pretty impressive depth these days. Shalrie Joseph provided quality off the bench vs. FC Dallas while Lamar Neagle continues to look like a steal of a re-acquisition.
6. (4) SPORTING KANSAS CITY (6-4-3)
LAST WEEK- Tied D.C. United, 1-1, last Sunday.
THIS WEEK- vs. Houston Dynamo on Sunday.
LAST FIVE MATCHES- T-W-L-W-L
OUTLOOK- Sporting KC welcomed back Matt Besler, and their defense did well with Ike Opara stepping in for Aurelien Collin, but the attack managed just one goal vs. a suspect D.C. United defense (two if you count the incorrectly disallowed goal). KC is a deep team but it will be interesting to see how they cope without Zusi while he is away on national team duty.
7.(7) LOS ANGELES GALAXY (5-4-2)
LAST WEEK- Beat Philadelphia Union, 4-1, last Wednesday; lost to New York Red Bulls, 1-0, last Sunday.
THIS WEEK- vs. Seattle Sounders on Saturday.
LAST FIVE MATCHES- L-W-L-L-W
OUTLOOK- Struggled with the three-game road swing, but their win in Philadelphia certainly showed some positive signs of Landon Donovan’s return to form. They didn’t play well vs. the New York Red Bulls, but a return home should do them some good as they face a red-hot Sounders squad.
8. (5) HOUSTON DYNAMO (6-4-2)
LAST WEEK- Lost to New England, 2-0, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK- at Sporting Kansas City on Sunday.
LAST FIVE MATCHES- L-L-W-W-T
OUTLOOK- Losing Jermaine Taylor to a shoulder injury was bad enough, but seeing Bobby Boswell sent off for a head butt had to have Dom Kinnear in fits. Now the Dynamo face rival Sporting KC without their two first-choice centerbacks, a position where Houston just doesn’t have much depth.
9. (11) REAL SALT LAKE (6-5-2)
LAST WEEK- Beat Chivas USA, 4-1, last Sunday.
THIS WEEK- vs. Chicago Fire on Saturday.
LAST FIVE MATCHES- W-L-W-W-L
OUTLOOK- RSL is starting to heat up, with the romp over the Goats serving as their third win in four matches. Ned Grabavoy was the star vs. Chivas USA, while the defense didn’t miss a beat with youngster Carlos Salcedo playing alongside Nat Borchers in central defense. Putting together their good run without Alvaro Saborio speaks volumes of the depth they still have despite several off-season departures.
10. (9) PHILADELPHIA UNION (5-3-3)
LAST WEEK- Lost to Los Angeles Galaxy, 4-1, last Wednesday; beat Chicago, 1-0, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK- at Montreal Impact on Saturday.
LAST FIVE MATCHES- W-L-W-T-L
OUTLOOK- A tale of two defensive performances saw the Union ripped apart on Wednesday before posting a shutout on Saturday. Bakary Soumare played well in his run as a starter, and he only helped boost his trade value, which should help a trade be made. Jack McInerney continues to find the net, but the Union need someone else to be a consistent threat. Kleberson earned his first two starts and showed some really good signs even if he isn’t quite 90-minutes fit yet.
11. (9) COLORADO RAPIDS (4-4-4)
LAST WEEK- Tied San Jose Earthquakes, 1-1, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK- vs. Chivas USA on Saturday.
LAST FIVE MATCHES- T-W-W-T-L
OUTLOOK- A four-match unbeaten streak has the Rapids looking solid despite all the injuries they have endured. The slow return of injured players has Colorado’s depth improving, but some things, like attacking consistency, are still an issue for Oscar Pareja’s side. A very winnable match vs. struggling Chivas USA should help them push further up the playoff ladder.
12. (13) COLUMBUS CREW (4-4-3)
LAST WEEK- Beat Toronto FC, 1-0, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK- at New York Red Bulls on Sunday.
LAST FIVE MATCHES- W-L-L-W-L
OUTLOOK- It wasn’t exactly an attacking outburst, but the Crew will take their three points vs. TFC even though questions remain about the consistency of the defense. Yes, they were missing Jairo Arrieta to suspension, but facing a shaky TFC defense should have presented the Crew with more opportunities.
13. (15) NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (3-4-4)
LAST WEEK- Beat Houston Dynam0, 2-0, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK- vs. Toronto FC on Saturday.
LAST FIVE MATCHES- W-T-L-T-W
OUTLOOK- The Revs are quietly putting together some good results, with just one loss in their past five matches. Juan Agudelo is showing good signs and if he can find his top form, the Revs could keep climbing up these standings. Centerback Jose Goncalves has been one of the best newcomers in MLS this season while Diego Fagundez continues to be a young talent U.S. fans wish were playing for an American youth national team.
14. (12) VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (3-4-4)
LAST WEEK- Tied Montreal Impact, 0-0, last Wednesday (Canadian Championship); tied Portland Timbers, 2-2, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK- Bye Week.
LAST FIVE MATCHES- T-W-L-T-L
OUTLOOK- The Whitecaps will feel like they let two points get away. Yes, you can point to the missed handball on the Valencia goal, but the Whitecaps needed to put that match away up a man and they didn’t. The attack is showing some good signs though, and a week off should help the Whitecaps recharge as they look to make a run at the West playoff spots.
15. (14) SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (3-4-6)
LAST WEEK- Tied Colorado Rapids, 1-1, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK- at FC Dallas on Saturday.
LAST FIVE MATCHES- T-L-W-T-T
OUTLOOK- The Earthquakes escaped with another draw courtesy of a second-half goal, and Marvin Chavez’s free kick was worthy of deciding any match. That said, San Jose’s attack still isn’t clicking and their defense should face a stiff test from FC Dallas on Saturday.
16. (17) CHICAGO FIRE (2-7-1)
LAST WEEK- lost to Philadelphia Union, 1-0, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK- at Real Salt Lake on Saturday.
LAST FIVE MATCHES- L-L-L-W-L
OUTLOOK- Having been beaten in four of their past five, the Fire are losing close matches, but not playing all that badly. It is clear they are in dire need of one or two players to push them over the top, but when will those players arrive (if at all)? Bakary Soumare helped shut them out in consecutive weekends, which should help the Fire figure out whether he’s a player they want to bring in. While Soumare could definitely help, what the Fire continue to need is a goal-scoring forward.
17. (16) CHIVAS USA (3-6-2)
LAST WEEK- Lost to Real Salt Lake, 4-1, last Sunday.
THIS WEEK- at Colorado Rapids on Saturday.
LAST FIVE MATCHES- L-L-L-T-L
OUTLOOK- Sale or no sale, Chivas USA are terrible and things seem to be getting worse by the week. If his players aren’t playing for him anymore, Jose Luis Sanchez Sola could be on the chopping block much sooner than many would have expected.
18. (18) TORONTO FC (1-6-4)
LAST WEEK- lost to Columbus Crew, 1-0, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK- at New England Revolution on Saturday.
LAST FIVE MATCHES- L-L-L-L-T
OUTLOOK- TFC added some players, but fell short yet again. Their attack continues to sputter, though the defense should be stronger after the team’s recent additions. Time is running out fast in 2013, and Ryan Nelsen may have no choice but to accept this is a rebuilding season and act accordingly.
19. (19) D.C. UNITED (1-8-2)
LAST WEEK- Tied Sporting Kansas City, 1-1, last Sunday.
THIS WEEK- vs. Portland Timbers on Saturday.
LAST FIVE MATCHES- T-L-L-L-L
OUTLOOK- Snapped their losing streak, but only with the help of a terrible offside call that cost Sporting KC a goal. Bill Hamid turned in a strong showing, and may have gleaned some motivation from his recent inclusion in the U.S. Men’s National Team summer plans. Having a healthy Nick DeLeon can only help matters, but D.C. continues to struggle to generate goals consistently.
What do you think of this week’s power rankings? Think anyone is rated too highly? See anyone being too low?
Share your thoughts below.