OK, we saw two more playoff spots secured as the only spot left up for grabs is the one currently held by the Colorado Rapids, who simply need the KC Wizards to not win 3 matches in a row, to secure their spot. It is very unlikely to happen as KC's is in the midst of a 3 match losing streak and haven't won 3 straight all year, but this is MLS and you simply never know what can happen. I thought I would throw in a new twist on this weeks power rankings.
18. DC United - 6-19-3 21 points
Well DC United' chance at catching Houston and not having the worst record in MLS isn't going to happen. I doubt they will get past the 20 goals scored mark either. It is clear that there is a whole lot of rebuilding and work to be done in this organization and I am going to once again say it, this is well beyond who is the coach on the bench and until they realize that, I doubt we will see rapid improvement.
17. Houston Dynamo - 7-15-6 27 points
Losing at home to another bottom tier team simply indicates how deep the issues are for the Dynamo, and while they have been given the OK to go shopping for a big name DP, I think this team really needs to look at their lack of depth and some of their age issues. There is a lot of work to be done in Houston, but I look for them to make a huge number of moves as they start the rebuilding process, which will be complicated by two new teams joining the league next year.
more after the jump:
16. New England Revolution - 8-15-5 29 points
I should be nicer to the Rev's but right now their team is a bunch of people fighting for a job next year and that has led to some interesting results but as a team they simply aren't showing me enough to impress me into moving them higher.
15. Portland Timbers
Yes I have included the teams that will be joining MLS next season into my power rankings and I did so because they both have shown that they have spent a good portion of 2010 building their teams to get ready for 2011. Portland lost their playoff matchup with the other team joining MLS this year, the Vancouver Whitecaps. Portland put up a 13-7-10 record this year and had a +11 goal differential.
14. Philadelphia Union - 7-14-7 28 points
When you are an expansion team going head to head with the team with the best record in MLS, you expect to get beat and probably beat badly. However the Union have proven to be a bit better than a average expansion team, considering they had no USL team to build from, the end results is a quality side that should grow and progress in 2011.
13. Vancouver Whitecaps
You would have to compare Vancouver's season the FC Dallas of the USL/NASL, with a 10-5-15 record which was good enough for second place in their division, the Whitecaps had a +10 goal differential on the season and will now face off against Puerto Rico Islanders in the next round of the playoffs. The Whitecaps have 3 former RSL players on their current roster, Nelson Akwari, Willis Forko, and Jay Nolly
12. Chivas USA - 8-15-4 28 points
I am not sure if Chivas is getting the benefit of becoming a better team, or if it is individuals playing to secure their spot in 2011, or maybe that TFC has simply given up, but a 3-0 win show that there are players on the Chivas team that can find the back of the net. Even with 3 matches to go the rest of this season is about determining who is going to have a spot with the team in 2011, and this weeks match with Seattle should prove a great "gut check" for many on the Chivas roster.
11. Toronto FC - 8-12-7 31 points
BMO field was once a fortress for TFC, but as the season wained and their playoff dreams withered, BMO has lost a lot of it's prestige, but the Red's can do a lot to get it back if they can put away Columbus this weekend. This TFC side is a team in turmoil as they have a MVP type player who is wanting to get paid, they have several DP's who many believe are over paid and a team that has simply lacked direction or focus for the last two seasons. This one is going to be a big rebuilding project, but with the changes to the Canadian player rules might be quicker than some expect.
10. Chicago Fire - 8-11-8 32 points
I feel each time I watch a Fire match of the question "Will the Real Slim Shady, I mean Chicago Fire, please step up?" They look awful getting drubbed by FC Dallas and then look good against Columbus, anyone wanna guess what Fire team shows up on Tuesday against KC? This team really appears to be looking for a style of play, a core of players, and some on field leadership that actually stands for something. Should be interesting to see how many moves they make before 2011 kicks off.
9. Kansas City Wizards - 9-12-6 33 points
A month ago if you asked me what I thought of the Wizards, I would have told you they were the only team with a chance to upset the 6 team domination of the Western Conference in the playoffs this year. However heartbreaking losses have them needing a "Christmas Miracle" in October as they must be perfect to even have a chance. They could do it, with Chicago and New England both being teams that you never know what you are going to get when you face them. I just don't see it happening.
8. Colorado Rapids - 11-8-9 42 points
I know that the Rapids will take a playoff spot no matter how they get it, but you have to believe that they would rather win their way in with either a win against LA or RSL in their final two matches, versus getting in because KC loses. I think Colorado has the toughest final 3 matches in MLS this year and they got a point in Dallas with a 2-2 draw last weekend, now they head to LA to face the Galaxy. Can the team with the most lethal combo up top find a way to get hot heading into the post season?
7. San Jose Earthquakes - 12-8-7 43 points
It isn't a wonder that San Jose secured their playoff spot, it is Chris Wondolowski, he has been their offense this year and when he is hot, they are a tough team to beat. No other player on their roster has more than 3 goals, and Wondolowski's 8 game winning goals move him right into the MVP mix for me. When it comes to the playoffs one has to wonder who else will step up for San Jose? They have a chance to find out this weekend as they face Houston at home, a match where they should be able do dominate.
6. Columbus Crew - 13-8-7 46 points
I have heard a lot of people write the Crew off the last couple weeks, but I was writing them off earlier in the year but when it comes to the playoffs I think they are a team that still can make waves. It only takes a couple special plays from a player like GBS, or for a striker (Lenhart, Renteria, Mendoza) to get hot and anything can happen. I do believe they will need some momentum to get them ready for the playoffs and what better way than to face a troubled TFC side?
5. Seattle Sounders - 13-9-6 45 points
Well Sounders fans had two reasons to celebrate this past week, a win in the US Open Cup and their 2-1 win over KC secured their spot in the 2010 playoffs. This is a team that has been hot over the last couple months and could make some serious noise in the playoffs, the question is with 2 matches to go, where will they end up. They could be the 4th team in the West, or get moved to the East. So despite having a secure spot in the playoffs there is a lot at stake for the Sounders, who should be able to pick up a couple more wins this year. They have Chivas this week and Houston next week.
4. New York Red Bulls - 14-8-6 48 points
I think a lot of questions remain for the Red Bulls after their 0-0 draw with RSL, they proved they can play a physical defensive style against a top team, but in the playoffs you have to do better than that at home. It is clear that they lack the depth to play their more aggressive and attacking style, which makes me wonder why they would have traded Kandji for Medhi? Without Dane Richards they looked much slower and less dangerous, so where will they find the speed that opens up defenses for their power house forwards to do their damage? Maybe they will get some practice this weekend as they head to Philly to face the Union?
3. FC Dallas - 12-2 -14 50 points
The hardest team in MLS to beat, this is a team much like RSL that is made up of players who were overlooked or cast off and that have bought into a style and philosophy their coach says can make them winners, and so far with just two losses of the season they are impressive. I wonder how their PK taking is, with a team that has 14 draws on the season you might see them in a couple PK shoot outs as the playoffs hit. In a likely first round matchup, FCD will head to "El Castillo" to face Real Salt Lake in a battle of streaks. FC Dallas haven't lost in 19, while RSL is up to 24 MLS matches without a loss at home, this will be the match of the week.
2. Real Salt Lake - 14-4-10 52 points
A tough fought road draw against a top tier opponent, a good way to get ready for the playoffs. RSL has dealt with the insane schedule of CCL and MLS and come out with a quality performance in both, with just one CCL match left it is time for RSL to get their playoff game face on. In a probable preview of the first round, RSL will play host to FC Dallas on Saturday, it is likely that the winner will have the home field advantage in the second leg of the first round.
1. Los Angeles Galaxy - 17-6-5 56 points
After weeks of holding the Galaxy down for lack luster results they went out on the road and got a win on a weekend when the other top teams either lost or could only manage a draw. The Galaxy are not my favorite to win MLS Cup, but after 28 weeks of action they have put together the best body of work and 9 road wins this year are best in Major League Soccer.
OFF MY SOAPBOX