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Major League Soccer Power Rankings Week 18

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Well it was an interesting weekend in MLS as parity ruled and few top teams did much to impress, and I am going to go out on a huge limb at the top of the rankings.

16. DC United (-)

A 3-0 loss at Real Salt Lake keeps DC United at the bottom, but after watching the match first hand I have to say that if DC gets a couple breaks and some confidence they could surprise some teams who think they are pushovers.  They still need to find a consistent duo up top, but there have some new players in their lineup who could start to make a difference.  United will get a chance next weekend as they head to New England to face the Revolution.

15. New England Revolution (-)

A good result on the road against the Union, but in the end it is going to take some wins for the Rev's to move up in the rankings.  They have a couple players coming in who may offer up some help but this team continues to battle injuries and are clearly in the rebuilding mode.  SuperLiga appears to have given them some confidence, they will need it next weekend as they face off against Eastern Conference foes DC United.

more after the jump:

14. Philly Union (-3)

I know it seems a huge drop for a team that gets a draw, but a home match against a lower ranked team provided the perfect chance for Philly to get a win.  Next up for Philly is a midweek matchup against East leading Columbus, they are a young team with young players and they keep making mistakes that cost them points.  Gonna need to do a gut check but they are only halfway through the season.

13. Houston Dynamo (-)

They had their chances to get a win against the new darling team of MLS, but couldn't get it done.  In part to another red card that left them to have to face a team short handed, now I have watched several replays of the "foul" in question and one has to say that the Dynamo got jobbed.  The other issue was there the failure to convert a PK, that would have made their last minute short handed goal good for the win instead of a draw.  Houston will get to face another team with some new DP's as they head to the northwest to face off against Seattle on Sunday.

12. Kansas City Wizards (+1)

Hot off their win over Manchester United last weekend, the Wizards took advantage of another foreign opponent in the form of Toronto FC on Saturday and got a fortunate 1-0 win over a conference foe.   Their 19 points will put them in 5th place in the East but with just 13 matches left in their season getting they are 5 points out of the final playoff spot.  They get to stay at home and face off against Real Salt Lake on Saturday.

11. Chivas USA (+3)

Well it looks as the new look Chivas are finding their form, after the get a 1-1 draw against RSL last weekend, they simply outplayed the Crew on Saturday and got a 3-1 win.  It wasn't enough to move them out of the cellar of the Western Conference but things are looking up, next up is a big challenge as they will head to Toronto on Saturday to face a team that is undefeated at home.

10. Colorado Rapids (-1)

Teams have to win home matches against conference foes, and Colorado failed to do that and could only manage to get a 1-1 draw via a PK when they hosted FC Dallas on Saturday.  The Rapids haven't won a match since June 5th and have dropped to 5th place in the West.  They play host to another Western Conference foe in a big 6 point match as 6th place San Jose who is just a point behind them in the standings

9. Toronto FC (-2)

1-6-1 on the road, when you have that kind of road record and can't beat a team that has really struggled this season you have to figure you will drop in the power rankings. Toronto is one of two remaining MLS teams that are undefeated at home (5-0-4) and they will host Chivas USA on Saturday as they will look to keep that impressive home record unblemished.

8. San Jose Earthquakes (-3)

You have to get wins at home, especially when facing off against conference opponents.  The Quakes failed to do that when they hosted the Sounders on Saturday, and find themselves dropping down the power rankings and down the conference standings.  They get another chance on Saturday as they will head to the Dick's to face off against the Rapids.

7. Chicago Fire (+3)

When you knock off the top team in MLS and you do it on their pitch, good things will happen to you in the power rankings, and while the Fire still sit in 4th place in the East and out of a playoff spot you have to imagine with their two new DP's becoming a more regular part of their lineup that they might make some more headway in the rankings.  A big test will come as the 2 DP's of the Fire will head to New York to face off against Red Bulls, who will have at least 2 of their 3 DP's in their starting lineup.  Oh yeah ESPN is all over a match with 5 DP's

6. Seattle Sounders (+2)

This might be a reach for me to move the Sounders up this high, but if the playoffs started today, they would be in. They have back to back wins over conference opponents and have passed both of them in the standings and in my power rankings.  Their 1-0 win at San Jose was good enough, now they get to play host to the Dynamo on Sunday and if they win another one they may start to pull away from some of the other Western Conference teams fighting for a playoff spot.

5. New York Red Bulls (+1)

It was hard to move the Red Bulls up a spot, given all the hype lately but other teams fell and they moved up. Getting a road result in Houston is no easy task, but you have to wonder about their defense giving up two PK's, thankfully for them Davis sent one high over the cross bar.  I also am left scratching my head how they failed to get more goals against a 10 man team in the second half and how they gave up a late goal to settle for a draw instead of the 3 points?  They now trail Columbus by 7 in the East, but can close that gap as they host the Fire on Sunday night.

4. FC Dallas (-)

If you are watching FC Dallas at all you might be thinking that they don't look that good with just 6 wins, but they remind me a lot of the Galaxy early last year when they didn't win a lot but they sure did get a lot of draws.  A 1-1 result against Colorado takes the Dallas unbeaten streak to 8, their last loss was to LA back on May 20th, the draw was the 9th time they earned a draw including 6 at home.  With just two losses, no team has lost fewer matches this year than FC Dallas, Sunday they will play host to the Union and they should be able to extend that streak to 9 if they play their cards right.

3. Columbus Crew (-1)

The best team in the East had a chance to put some more room over New York and Toronto this weekend, but they simply got out played by Chivas USA and drop down to #3 and once again have me wondering if this team is more hype than hope.  Just when they look like the real thing they lay an egg like this one and confuse me to just how good they might really be and how they might handle the busy couple months ahead as they enter CCL play?  First up will be a Thursday match for them at PPL Park against the Union.

2. LA Galaxy (-2)

Well if you look at LA's record over the last month they are 2-1-2, not exactly overwhelming.  I am not even factoring in their awful 4-1 loss to the Islanders last week.  Teams have figured out that if you counter attack well against LA you can beat their defense, and if you can score on them, they are a beatable squad.  9 goals allowed in their 5 matches, means I no longer consider them the top of the class in MLS.  LA won't be back in MLS action until Aug. 14th when they head to New York to face the Red Bulls, but they have a big 2nd leg match against the Islanders on Wednesday and a friendly with Real Madrid this weekend.

2. Real Salt Lake (+1)

Of the teams that were in the Top 3 last week, only one got the win this weekend and while I am tempted to move RSL to a straight #1 this week, I don't want to seem like a total homer. The reality is that LA is just 6 points in front of RSL, who has a match in hand and RSL have just one loss in the last 3 months, while LA has two losses in their last 4 matches.  

The LA defense has allowed 9 goals in league play in their last 5 matches, after allowing only 4 in their first 14 matches.  Both teams are still offensive powers with LA having scored 31 goals, just one behind RSL's league best 32.  Oh how I wish we could get one more match between these two teams, before the playoffs.  That isn't going to happen but RSL will play two more MLS matches before LA returns to action, should they get two rare road wins, they would be even with the Galaxy going into week 20.

I consider the fact that RSL has lost just once since April to almost be enough to fully claim #1, one thing is sure if they get 4 points or even better 6 points in the next 10 days, they will clearly be top team in MLS

So there you have my power rankings, what do you think?

OFF MY SOAPBOX