Photo by Kevin Kuo/USA Today Sports
By IVES GALARCEP
The Portland Timbers have not lost a match in more than three months.
Let that one sink in for a bit.
Over a stretch of 16 matches in all competitions, including 14 matches in MLS play, the Timbers have either won or tied, and while the results might not have impressed everybody given the number of draws among the results, Portland’s past week has helped silence any questions about their quality.
The Timbers defeated first-place FC Dallas, then traveled to the newly-named StubHub Center and held the LA Galaxy in a scoreless draw. The Timbers held the edge in possession and completed 25 percent more passes than the Galaxy to earn the precious road point and help them climb to the top of the latest SBI MLS Power Rankings.
Portland’s jump coincided with previous No. 1 Montreal’s surprising loss to Columbus last weekend. The Impact rebounded with a win vs. Houston, but have lost the top spot for now.
The Vancouver Whitecaps made the second-biggest jump of the week, climbing three spots on the strength of a pair of wins, including a wild 4-3 victory vs. New England.
The bottom spot in the rankings changed hands, but at this point it’s clear you can’t go wrong with either D.C. United or Chivas USA as the worst team in the league. We give the nod to D.C. this week based on their home loss to an almost equally unimpressive Toronto FC side.
Here are the SBI MLS Power Rankings for Week 16:
SBI MLS Power Rankings (Week 16)
1. (Last Week- 5) PORTLAND TIMBERS (6-1-9)
LAST WEEK- beat FC Dallas, 1-0, last Saturday; tied Los Angeles Galaxy, 0-0, last Wednesday.
THIS WEEK- vs. Colorado Rapids on Saturday.
LAST FIVE- T-W-T-W-T
OUTLOOK- The Timbers defense posted their sixth consecutive home shutout in beating FC Dallas, and kept their unbeaten road record intact with the draw vs. the Galaxy. At this point the only question is whether we will see the Timbers offense start scoring more frequently.
2. (1) MONTREAL IMPACT (9-3-2)
LAST WEEK- Lost to Columbus Crew, 2-0, last Saturday; beat Houston Dynamo, 2-0, last Wednesday.
THIS WEEK- Bye
LAST FIVE IN MLS- W-L-W-W-W
OUTLOOK- Responded to a surprise loss to Columbus with an impressive victory against the Dynamo as Marco DiVaio came through yet again. The Impact have yet another bye week before a tough match on June 29th vs. Colorado.
3. (2) FC DALLAS (8-3-4)
LAST WEEK- lost to Portland Timbers, 1-0, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK- vs. Sporting Kansas City on Saturday; vs. Portland Timbers on Wednesday (U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal)
LAST FIVE- L-T-W-L-W
OUTLOOK- Raul Fernandez was outstanding in goal vs. Portland, but the Dallas attack couldn’t get any shots past Donovan Ricketts. Schellas Hyndman’s squad is in the midst of a very busy month, and will follow up with what should be a very exciting match against Portland in their U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal next week.
4. (3) REAL SALT LAKE (8-5-3)
LAST WEEK- Bye
THIS WEEK- vs. Seattle Sounders on Saturday; vs. Carolina Railhawks on Wednesday (U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal).
LAST FIVE- W-W-T-W-L
OUTLOOK- A week off allowed Rio Tinto Stadium to host the U.S. Men’s National Team, but a reserve team game cost the team Kwame Watson-Siriboe, who is out for the season with a torn ACL. RSL is missing Luis Gil due to the Under-20 World Cup, but Ned Grabavoy and Joao Plata have picked up the slack, along with Colombian striker Olmes Garcia.
5. (4) SEATTLE SOUNDERS (6-4-3)
LAST WEEK- Bye
THIS WEEK- at Real Salt Lake on Saturday.
LAST FIVE- W-W-L-W-W
OUTLOOK- The Sounders are in the midst of a stretch where they will play just one match in three weeks, and that match will take them to Rio Tinto Stadium, where they enjoyed some success last year. The return of Eddie Johnson, Brad Evans and Mario Martinez should give Sigi Schmid some good options vs. RSL, though the team continus to miss injured star Osvaldo Alonso.
6. (6) NEW YORK RED BULLS (7-5-4)
LAST WEEK- Bye
THIS WEEK- at Philadelphia Union on Sunday.
LAST FIVE - L-T-W-T-W
OUTLOOK- After an extended break, the Red Bulls return to action against an equally-rested Philadelphia Union side. Can the Red Bulls continue their recent success against the Union? More importantly, how will Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill look coming off the break (it should be noted Cahill was busy leading Australia to World Cup qualification).
7. (9) SPORTING KANSAS CITY (6-5-4)
LAST WEEK- Bye
THIS WEEK- at FC Dallas on Saturday.
LAST FIVE- L-T-T-W-L
OUTLOOK- Graham Zusi and Matt Besler return from U.S. national team duty just in time for a vital match against a tough FC Dallas side in need of a win of their own.
8. (8) NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (5-5-5)
LAST WEEK-lost to Vancouver Whitecaps, 4-3, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK- at D.C. United on Wednesday (U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal).
LAST FIVE- L-T-W-W-W
OUTLOOK- The Revs will feel a bit cheated by the red card that eventually cost them in last week’s lost to Vancouver, but the focus is now on a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal they will be favored in despite being the road team.
9. (12) VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (6-5-4)
LAST WEEK- beat New England Revolution, 4-3, last Saturday; beat Chivas USA, 3-1, last Wednesday.
THIS WEEK- Bye.
LAST FIVE- W-W-L-W-T
OUTLOOK- Camilo Sanvezzo, Kenny Miller and Russell Teibert are playing as well as any attacking trio in MLS right now, so the Whitecaps probably hate facing a bye week right now. The break should help the team get healthier, and get back Gershon Koffie.
10. (10) LOS ANGELES GALAXY (6-6-3)
LAST WEEK- Tied Portland Timbers, 0-0, last Wednesday.
THIS WEEK- at Chivas USA on Sunday.
LAST FIVE- T-L-L-W-L
OUTLOOK- Didn’t look all that impressive in their draw vs. Portland, and as much as the post-game talk was about the Timbers playing for a point, Portland had the same number of shots, more passes and more possession than the Galaxy. Getting Omar Gonzalez should provide a big boost. As should playing Chivas USA this weekend.
11. (11) PHILADELPHIA UNION (6-5-4)
LAST WEEK- Bye
THIS WEEK- vs. New York Red Bulls on Sunday.
LAST FIVE- W-T-L-W-L
OUTLOOK- The signing of goalkeeper Oka Nikolov should provide Zac MacMath some competition, but it could take a while for him to win the starting job (assuming he ever does). The Union will be playing their first MLS match in 18 days, but any concerns about rust will be equally asked of their opponent, the Red Bulls.
12. (7) COLORADO RAPIDS (5-6-5)
LAST WEEK- lost to San Jose Earthquakes, 2-1, last Saturday; lost to Chicago Fire, 2-1, last Wednesday.
THIS WEEK- at Portland Timbers on Sunday.
LAST FIVE- L-L-T-W-T
OUTLOOK- Rough week and suddenly the Rapids are riding a three-match winless skid head into a very tough match vs. Portland. Losing Martin Rivero to injury again hurts, but the team’s faltering defense is more of a concern.
LAST WEEK- beat Colorado Rapids, 2-1, last Wednesday.
THIS WEEK- at Columbus Crew on Saturday; vs. Orlando City on Wednesday (U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals).
LAST FIVE- W-T-W-T-L
OUTLOOK- Big week for the Fire, who will look to push their MLS unbeaten run to five, and edge closer to the East playoff conversation. Mike Magee has scored in every game since joining the Fire, and he will be needed to help the Fire fend off a dangerous Orlando City side in the U.S. Open Cup quarters.
14. (14) COLUMBUS CREW (5-5-5)
LAST WEEK- beat Montreal Impact, 2-0, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK- vs. Chicago Fire on Saturday.
LAST FIVE- W-L-T-T-W
OUTLOOK- A real statement victory for the Crew last weekend to beat the Impact at home, but at some point losing players like Eddie Gaven and Glauber. Josh Williams showed well at centerback, and really can play well anywhere on the back-line, and he will need to help contain Mike Magee if the Crew are going to halt the streaking Fire.
15. (13) HOUSTON DYNAMO (6-5-4)
LAST WEEK- lost to Montreal Impact, 2-1, last Wednesday.
THIS WEEK- vs. Toronto FC on Saturday.
LAST FIVE- L-T-T-L-L
OUTLOOK- Five-match winless skid has us scratching our heads at what is going on with Houston, but a visit to BBVA Compass Stadium by Toronto FC could be just what the doctor ordered to help the Dynamo stop their skid.
16. (16) SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-6-6)
LAST WEEK- beat Colorado Rapids, 2-1, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK- at D.C. United on Saturday.
LAST FIVE- W-L-L-T-L
OUTLOOK- Earthquakes won in Mark Watson’s coaching debut, and now they face D.C. United with a chance to take another step away from the bottom of the West standings. Getting Victor Bernardez and Marvin Chavez back from national team duty is big, and we just might see a turnaround in San Jose.
17. (17) TORONTO FC (2-7-5)
LAST WEEK- beat D.C. United, 2-1, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK- at Houston Dynamo on Saturday.
LAST FIVE- W-T-L-L-L
OUTLOOK- Snapping their winless streak can’t hurt the team’s confidence, but getting a result in Houston would go much further toward helping Ryan Nelsen’s team turning around a rough season.
18. (19) CHIVAS USA (3-9-2)
LAST WEEK- Lost to Vancouver Whitecaps, 3-1, last Wednesday.
THIS WEEK- vs. Los Angeles Galaxy on Sunday.
LAST FIVE- L-L-L-L-L
OUTLOOK- The Goats held a brief lead against the Whitecaps, but reality quickly set back in for this nightmare season. Now they face the Galaxy, who they gave a tough game earlier in the year. So much has changed since then though, and it’s tough to see them avoiding a beating, even with the Galaxy struggling.
19. (18) D.C. UNITED (1-11-3)
LAST WEEK- Lost to Toronto FC, 2-1, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK- vs. San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday; vs. New England Revolution on Wednesday (U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal).
LAST FIVE- L-T-L-L-T
OUTLOOK- The regular season has become a lost cause, with their home loss to Toronto FC serving as rock bottom. The only consolation D.C. United has left is the U.S. Open Cup, with Wednesday’s quarterfinal basically all D.C. has left to really play for.
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.