Major League Power Rankings - Week 13

Well a lot of changes in the power rankings, the top remained fairly constant but beyond the top 5 there was some real changes in the rankings as the weekend was one where a lot of matches were decided late and some big surprises were in the results.

18. Toronto FC - same

A solid come from behind result on the road for TFC, the 2-2 draw against the LA Galaxy would normally move a team up, but there are only two teams without a win in their last 5 matches and TFC seems to have the least chance of getting their acts together long term.  Their -10 goal differential is the worst in MLS, but they play a team just above them on Wednesday at Gillette, and then host Seattle on Saturday.  They will need at least one win or they will stay at the bottom.

17. New England Revolution - down 2

Getting beat by New York isn't bad, Red Bull Arena is a tough place to play, but losing because your star can't convert a PK attempt is enough to drop you down my rankings, well that and 4 straight losses.  They get two chances at home to get things back on the right track as they host Toronto on Wednesday, and then Chicago comes to town on Saturday, both teams in the bottom 5 of my power rankings.

the rest of my rankings below the jump:

16. Sporting KC - up 1

Well after a draw at home on Thursday night against Chicago I have to admit I was very surprised that they play at FC Dallas with Teal Bunbury and Kei Karmara on the bench, and get a 4-1 win over a team poised to take the top spot in my power rankings.  Not sure what Graham Zusi had for lunch but damn he was on fire today, it was very impressive and had Lenhart not had a hat trick it would win him Player of the Week.  It should be interesting to see the lineup and how SKC do on Friday night as San Jose comes to town.

15. Chicago Fire - up 1

Going into Columbus and getting a win isn't easy, in fact Chicago is the first team to do it this year and the fact that they got the win in stoppage time shows that they at least now get that playing a full match is important.  The Crew did look a bit flat compared to their midweek match but Chicago played hard and got the win.  Next up is a Saturday trip to New England to face the Revolution.

14. Vancouver Whitecaps - same

The Whitecaps are the only team left in MLS with just a single win, but they have shown signs of life in recent weeks and when you can go into Seattle and protect a lead for 50 minutes only to see it slip away on two quick goals and then answer back to pull even, well that is fairly impressive.  Truth is Eric Hassli's 85th minute goal was simply amazing, and hopefully he will become known more for his goals than the red cards and suspensions.  I wonder if he hadn't already missed 4 matches if the Whitecaps might just have more than 1 win?  We will find out a lot about Vancouver as they will play host to the top team in the East the Philadelphia Union on Saturday, should be fun.

13. DC United - same

Man this team is a bear to try and figure out, they go to LA and fight to a 0-0 draw with the Galaxy, then at home get spanked 4-2 by San Jose.  They took more shots, had more possession, completed a ton more passes but their defense lets them down and they get beat.  I have to hope this team can get Dax McCarty and Charlie Davies back, for some stability, if not they will continue to be very hit and miss.  Their weekend isn't going to be easy as they will come to Salt Lake City for a Saturday match at Rio Tinto Stadium, upside for them is they can listen to OneRepublic perform after the match.

12. Portland Timbers - down 3

It was just 3 weeks ago that some people had them as a top 5-6 team in MLS, myself included, but I had a feeling that they would have a stretch like this.  The reality is that emotion only gets you so far, this is a good team with some decent players but they are still and expansion team, and as one they aren't used to the travel, the schedule and the constant pressure to perform.  They will get a chance this week to regroup, and on Sunday they will play host to the New York Red Bulls, it will be their chance to prove to everyone that they belong.

11. Chivas USA - down 3

Another team that is either very good, or very average. Their 2-1 loss in Houston have them on the outside of the playoff picture by a point, I expect that with 10 teams getting in that Robin will have his team fighting for one of the wildcard spots.  Their schedule doesn't get easier this week as they will play host to FC Dallas on Saturday, just a question of what team will show up.

10. Columbus Crew - up 2

A big win at home on Wednesday, followed by a heartbreaking loss on Sunday, it was an interesting week for the Crew as they came from behind to get at 2-1 win over RSL, but then looked rather lack luster on Sunday against the Chicago Fire.  It was a stoppage time goal that doomed the Crew on Sunday and left them wondering what happened.  I think the rebuilding effort is having an impact on consistency for a number of teams this year.  Next up is an interesting trip to Houston for a Saturday match with the Dynamo, the winner would claim 3rd place in the East.

9. Houston Dynamo - up 2

After a month without a win, Houston get a 2-1 win at home over an improving Chivas USA team.  Of course the win comes off an own goal by former FC Dallas player Heath Pearce who headed a Brad Davis free kick the wrong way. It was actually a fairly even match for them, with similar percentages of possession and passing accuracy, Houston should be able to build on that as they host the Columbus Crew on Saturday in an important Eastern Conference showdown.

8. Seattle Sounders - down 1

Well for all the hype around the Sounders and the Cascadia Cup, it came down to a great goal by Eric Hassli that left Seattle with draws at home against both of CC rivals and the two new expansion sides.  I thought it was an interesting match for the Sounders where they caught fire for 5 minutes and looked like a very impressive side but then a great individual effort by Hassli evened the match at 2-2.  The Sounders will have to expect that at least a point from their road trip to BMO Field on Saturday is the least they should expect.

7. San Jose Earthquakes - up 3

The hottest team in MLS continues to move up my rankings, despite their awful start to the year, they now have more wins in their last 5 matches than anyone else in MLS (4-0-1) and they are finding guys not named Wondolowski who can score for them.  Their 4-2 road win over DC United came due to the hat trick from Stephen Lenhart, and the Simon Dawkins goal that he had an assist on.  Yes Lenhart is my POTW for MLS, wonder if the Crew miss him yet? So San Jose will get a big match this week as they head to LIVESTRONG Sporting Park to face the other 4 goal team this weekend Sporting KC, it should make for a fun match to watch on Friday Night.

6. Colorado Rapids - same

Despite coming out on the short end of almost every stat in the match it was a stoppage time goal by Drew Moor that gave the Rapids their first win in over a month.  They became the second straight team to get a road win over the Portland Timbers, the 1-0 result was enough to end the Rapids 6 match streak of draws.  As they continue to get healthy will they be able to live up to the pressure of being the defending champions?  They face a huge test at home on Saturday as the LA Galaxy come to town.

5. New York Red Bulls - same

I almost moved the Red Bulls up, but their 2-1 win over New England was less than impressive and had it not been for a Greg Sutton save on Sharlie Joseph's PK shot, the match may not have ended so well for the Red Bulls.  I continue to be under impressed by the Red Bulls, who should be able to dominate matches like this but fail to do so.  It will be interesting to see what they can do next Sunday in Portland against the Timbers.

4. Real Salt Lake - same

Not many teams can play 35 minutes of awful soccer in a half and get away with giving up just one goal like RSL did, and huge credit goes to Nick Rimando who kept RSL in the match in the first half by making some great saves. His teammates responded and played a much better second half and were able to get a hard fought 1-1 draw at PPL park against a good Union team.  It may be this type of scrappy result that clears the recent funk that has surrounded RSL since their CCL finals loss.  Next up will be a home match against DC United on Saturday night, can RSL extend their home unbeaten steak to 2?

4. Philadelphia Union - down 1

The Union showed what they are capable of with a commanding first half against RSL, proof that they can be an elite team in MLS.  The only thing that kept them from getting a win was their inability to get additional goals when they had RSL on the ropes in the first half, it wasn't for a lack of trying.  The second half saw a more subdued Union side, battle for possession and defend well as RSL finally got going, in the end it was a 1-1 draw between two top teams.  The Union will make a trip to Vancouver to face the Whitecaps and see if they can keep Hassli in check and get Le Toux going, should be a fun match.

4. FC Dallas - down 2

All they had to do was beat Sporting KC, sound simple enough as SKC had just one win on the season, they were coming of an emotional Thursday match at their new stadium, yup sounds simple.  Then came the actual match, and the defend and counter style of FC Dallas was unable to defend well enough to launch their counter attacks and some great shots and goals by Sporting saw the home side lose 4-1in what had to be the upset of the year so far in MLS.  Even with a man advantage for 30 minutes it was too little and too late for FC Dallas and now they will have to try to regroup as they head to LA to face Chivas USA on Saturday.

4. LA Galaxy - down 3

Finishing matches, it was a couple years ago at Rio Tinto when there were 3 stoppage goals in a 2-2 draw between LA and RSL, in this match it was two stoppage time goals as LA thought they had won the match with a Juan Pablo Angel goal in the 91st minute, only to suffer the agony of a draw from a 94th minute goal by former Galaxy player Alan Gordon (who had both TFC goals).  You usually expect the best team in a conference to have little trouble at home against the bottom team in the other conference, but with LA you never know what to expect.  The Galaxy will get a shot to regain the top spot on Saturday when they head to Colorado for a match with the Rapids.

I have no number 1, 2, or 3 team this week as nobody did enough to warrant such an honor, it is clear that the top 4-5 teams seem to be a step better than most of the other teams, but we saw this weekend that you have to play as hard against the bottom teams as you do against the top teams.  We also saw that in MLS you never want to leave early as you simply don't know what you might miss.  Week 14 should offer some more excitement but it will be hard to match what we saw this weekend.

My player of the week is San Jose's Stephen Lenhart, my goal of the week is Eric Hassli's shot against the Sounders, my save of the week is Nick Rimando's first half against the Union (take your pick of great saves).

OFF MY SOAPBOX

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