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MLS Power Rankings Week 19

Well the most hyped match in recent MLS history turned out to be a flop, as New York and Chicago ended in a 0-0 draw, the match was fairly entertaining but I am sure with the millions of dollars in DP's on the pitch that most fans were expecting at least a goal or two.  There were a number of entertaining matches, Philly went up on FC Dallas, but then went down a man and when Jeff Cunningham came on it was all over has get got the game winner in the second half and another for good measure.  Seattle continues their recent run over Western Conference foes, a 2-0 over Houston has the playoffs looking like a reality for the rave green.  Colorado was able to beat San Jose, who may fall like a rock with all the injuries they are suffering from.  New England took leg two of their season series against DC United, and Toronto FC continue to be good enough at home.

16. DC United (-)

Another match, another loss, it appears that even Ben Olsen can't save United.  Maybe a move to Baltimore would be a good thing for DC?  The shame is that there is talent on the team but I fear that most players have taken the dismissal of Curt in the middle of the season as a sign surrender.  Things are going to be tough as they face a very good FC Dallas team at RFK on Saturday, perhaps a rat will steal Cunningham's boots and he will be forced to play barefoot, which may be the only way United have a chance.

15. New England Revolution (-)

A 1-0 win at home over the worst team in MLS isn't very impressive, but 3 points is 3 points and while the Rev's wait for reinforcements or their injured to return any result is a good result.  They will face a slightly tougher test next weekend as they host the Houston Dynamo.  Aside from San Jose, the Rev's might be the most injured team in MLS.

more after the jump:

14. Philadelphia Union (-)

You would think after two losses in a week that I would drop the Union down further, but the reality is they played OK against Columbus despite the loss and an early mistake by Brad Knighton (Chris Seitz just got his job back) put his team in a hole for 70 minutes and in the end being down a man and 110+ temps on the pitch were too much and Dallas got two late goals to drop the Union to 4-10-3.  Now they have to fly back home and face Real Salt Lake on Wednesday night.  That is a rough week to play East leading Columbus at home, fly to Dallas to face the team with the longest unbeaten streak in MLS, and then back home to face the defending Champions who have lost just once in their last 12 matches.

13. Houston Dynamo (-)

The only upside for Houston is the return of Geoff Cameron, but everything else was bad in their 2-0 loss to Seattle. They looked like a shell of the team that won back to back MLS Cups a couple years ago, and almost nothing like the team that everyone expects to be a contender each year.  It will be interesting to see what the Dynamo can do against another team that is struggling as they head to New England for a weekend matchup.

12. Chivas USA (-1)

I have to say that despite their win a couple weeks ago over Columbus, a match in which they dominated the Crew that I expect the erratic results to continue for Chivas.  There are so many new faces on this team that learning how to play together as a team will take a bit of time.  So individual players can make a huge statement in matches and get them results, we know that long term it takes a very solid team effort to win on a regular basis in MLS.   Chivas get to play host to the red hot Sounders on Saturday in a key Western Conference matchup for both of them. 

11. KC Wizards (+1)

I give the Wiz credit, they came out and played like a team should at home.  They attacked and controlled possession, it is clear that they take full advantage of being familiar with their home pitch and its very unique configuration.  That is what a home field advantage is all about but now they have to head on the road to face the struggling San Jose Earthquakes, KC is just 6 points out of what would be the final playoff spot so they will need to starting getting results on the road but they are facing a San Jose side that is in a very similar boat.

10. San Jose Earthquakes (-2)

A tough 1-0 loss at Colorado, that saw their injury woes continue.  If any team is in need of fit bodies it is San Jose who are struggling to have 18 players in uniform for matches.  Two months ago everyone, myself included were impressed with how the Quakes were playing, but they have struggled since coming back from the World Cup break and find themselves needing some luck to get back into the playoff race.  They get to play host to the other team that plays in a stadium unfit for MLS, as the KC Wizards come to town, in a battle of teams trying to reclaim their seasons.

9. Colorado Rapids (+1)

The Rapids did exactly what they needed to do last weekend, they kept San Jose from getting any points and move themselves up to 27 (good enough for a playoff spot if they started today) by getting the 1-0 win.  Their first win in a couple months came without Conor Casey in the lineup, you have to wonder if they will leave him at home when they head out east to face off against the Philly Union?

8. Toronto FC (+1)

I have a feeling that Toronto is going to be one of the teams that break the hearts of their fans this year.  They are impressive at home but they really suck on the road.  They looked very solid against Chivas USA on their way to a 2-1 win, and you wonder how they can play that well after looking so bad a week before against Kansas City.  Well if they are going to make the playoffs they will need to find some form on the road and this week they not only get a short week, they get to be the first victims of the New York Red Bulls at home with their multiple DP's.  It is a Wednesday matchup so it is being ignored by ESPN who will cover Little League baseball or WNBA, but this match holds more appeal to me than the Fire vs Red Bull match up on Sunday.  Toronto may only have 2 DP's on paper but with De Ro, Mista, and deGuzman they have 3 DP's on the pitch and the question is can they put together a solid effort on the road?

7. Chicago Fire (-)

In the most hyped match of the season, the defense of the Chicago Fire, now lead by Sean Johnson in goal, appears to have finally found the form that has been its strong point in the past.  They withstood a 22 shot attack with 7 quality shots on goal, to keep the clean sheet and earn a 0-0 draw. You have to believe as they get Castillo and Ljungberg integrated with Pappa and the other players you could be looking at a team that could be making a big push.  They currently sit in 4th place in the East, and are 5 points out of a playoff spot and get the weekend off, their next match will be at home against the Revolution on 18th.

6.  Seattle Sounders (-)

I was tempted to move the Sounders up a bit more, it seems like there are a good number of people who think a couple wins in a row are enough to have arrived.  Listen the Sounders are a solid team and at the start of the year I thought they would make a solid run to the playoffs, but it will take some time to find out if the removal of Freddie and the arrival of their new stars is just a short term boost or if they are really going to be back to the solid form that got them to the playoffs last year.  Another big test for the Sounders as they will head down to the HDC to face off against Chivas USA, a match they should win but you never know when facing Chivas.

5. New York Red Bulls (-)

Oh the hype, oh the excitement, oh the reality of bunker ball.  While the Red Bulls were able to get their 2nd straight draw since TH14 joined the team, this time they faced off against a Chicago side that simply was going to play defense and counter, and the reality is that it worked.  Some huge saves were made against them in a match that they clearly dominated and the right before halftime injury to Henry was enough to deflate the whole 5 DP's on the pitch at once thing.  I thought Marquez looked OK, but for me the star of the team is still Juan Pablo Angel and for all hype the Red Bulls still sit in second place in the Eastern Conference and haven't overwhelmed anyone with their new talent yet.  They get another chance on Wednesday as they play host to Toronto FC, who are without a doubt woeful on the road, if you are going to see the NYRB put up a 5 or 6 goal performance it may be in this match.

4.  FC Dallas (-)

A win over a 10 man Philly team sounds impressive but for me the reality was that without the runs and goals of Jeff Cunningham this one would have ended 1-1 instead of 3-1.  FC Dallas is a good team but they still seem to lack something on the pitch, oh David Ferreira is good but I think a bit over-hyped (half his goals have come from the PK spot).  They just lacked the killer instinct that Cunningham brought to the match, they had a team a man down after the keeper got a red card, it was 110 plus on the pitch and they couldn't bury Philly until late in the match.  It will be interesting to see how the next couple weeks go for FC Dallas, they have themselves in a solid place in the standings but they will need to get more wins to really start convincing people they are a top tier team.  They should be able to get a win this weekend as they face DC United at RFK, and while the home fans may help energize United the reality is that FC Dallas is a better team.

3. Columbus Crew (-)

Something is going to give this weekend, Columbus are either going to prove to me that they are a solid team or that I have been right all season long in my thought that they are more lucky than good.  They got the midweek win last week against Philly , joining 10 other teams to beat the expansion side already this year.  But now the real test comes along and their can be no excuses, Columbus will face Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday, having not played a match in 10 days.  RSL will be playing their 3 match in 10 days and 2 of them on the road. Columbus doesn't have to worry about players going on National team duty before the match, Marshall wimped out, while RSL has lost Robbie Findley for Tuesday's USMNT match, and Alvaro Saborio for the Costa Rica match on Wednesday.  We will finally find out who the better team is.

3. Real Salt Lake (-)

I expected more against KC, not sure if it was the busy schedule (something they better get used to), the crappy pitch (just wait til they hit Central America), or just being flat (they better get over that in a hurry), but they came out with a draw in a match where the other team was the better team.  Now they have a week that can either make them the number one team in the power rankings or move them down.  First up a Wednesday match against the Philly Union, a tough team at home, but the reality is that RSL should be able to beat them (same was true of the Wiz) and now they need to just go out and get the 3 points, no excuses of who is missing for whatever reasons, just get the win.  Then on Saturday, they can extend their home unbeaten streak to 21 MLS matches by beating the Crew.  If they do both of those things, then they will clearly lay claim to the number on spot.

3. Los Angeles Galaxy (-)

The Galaxy have had a good time to think about their recent performance, oh sure they got the hype of playing Real Madrid, but the reality of not making it to the group stage of the CCL, their loss to Chicago in their last MLS match back on August 1st, and the reality that everyone now knows they can be beat.  So all of that adds pressure to the team, and then figure out how much more pressure will there be as they head to New York to face off against the Red Bulls, the team that has out DP'ed them.  Well if you want to regain sole possession of the top of the rankings, they all you have to do is win.