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Major League Soccer Power Rankings - Week 9

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Well every team now has played at least 1/4 of their schedule and a few are over the 1/3 way mark, so the Power Rankings become a big more clear as the teams at the top try to distinguish themselves, the teams in the middle fight for the playoff spots, and the teams at the bottom look at what changes might be necessary.  So let's get started:

18. Sporting KC - even

Well you would think I would give some love to SKC who managed to find some defense for most of their match against the Sounders, but nope another match and another loss as the road trip made it's 8th stop.  June 9th simply can't get here soon enough for Sporting, but before then they get to at least play in Kansas in US Open Cup play against New England on Wednesday, if they win they are in.  Then another rough stop as they will head to the mile high city to face the Colorado Rapids on Saturday.

17. Vancouver Whitecaps- even

No MLS action for the Whitecaps last week so they stay as close to the bottom as you can get without being SKC, they did manage a 1-1 draw in the NCC (Nutralife Canadian Championship) with TFC and the return leg will see them travel to BMO Field for a Wednesday showdown.  Their biggest challenge will be Saturday when they host the New York Red Bulls.

the rest of the rankings after the jump

16. Chicago Fire - even

Oh so close, you play solid defense for most of the match, you give up a goal in the final 30 minutes but no problem you answer right back with one of your own, but then you get beat by Carlos Ruiz.  Man I should move you all down just for that fact alone.  One has to wonder when the ax might fall on coaches and staff in the Windy City?   Next up for them is San Jose, both in a Tuesday US Open Cup qualifier and then Saturday at Toyota Park.

15. Toronto FC - even

Going on the road and getting a 0-0 draw at Colorado was almost enough to move you up a spot, but damn that was one of the ugliest matches I have seen in a long time.  So you stay where you were. The Red's will play the 2nd leg of the Canadian Championship on Wednesday and then on Saturday they will host the Philadelphia Union.  TFC need to start changing draws to wins if they want to move up.

14. DC United - even

A week off of league play and hopefully some time to get healthy and work on some things as they must improve on just 1 win in their last 5 matches if they want to move up and get into playoff contention.  A huge barrier for them, can they be the first road team to get a result in Portland on Sunday?  Should be interesting.

13. New England Revolution - down 1

A tough 2-1 loss this weekend in San Jose as the Rev's fail to get their first road win of the season.  The upside is they kept their chins up and didn't quit when they went down a second goal, they got one back and battled hard.  I believe it is just a matter of time before they pick up some wins.  They will face a big challenge as they play host to the LA Galaxy on Saturday night, but they have to travel to Kansas for their US Open Cup qualifier against SKC, winner advances to the tournament proper.

12. San Jose Earthquakes - up 1

The Quakes needed a win at home and they got one as 67th minute sub Ellis McLoughlin got his first ever MLS goal within 5 minutes of coming in and then Bobby Convey opened up his 2011 MLS scoring account with a cracker of a goal.  They held on for the 2-1 win and will look to hold on to that momentum as they will face the Chicago Fire twice this week, first in US Open Cup qualifying action at home and then at Toyota Park in MLS action.  Winner of the Open Cup match will move on to the tournament proper.

11. Chivas USA - even

You know it was never going to live up to the hype of the fans or the league, the Super Classico never does.  So the 1-0 loss has to be downer for a Chivas side that had won 3 of their last 4 matches.  Now Robin Fraser and team will need to regroup quickly as they will head to the midwest for a showdown with the Columbus Crew on Saturday.

10. Columbus Crew - down 1

Well the Crew played another West coast match and ended up with another loss, now they have just one win in their last 5, no wins on the road as they dropped a 1-0 loss to the Portland Timbers.  They are averaging just 1.3 points per match, and if they were in the West they would be in 7th place, so can they find a way to turn it around and get a result at home against Chivas USA this weekend?

9. Houston Dynamo - up 1

Well no team has a rougher 4 match streak than does Houston who came to RSL and got a draw last weekend, then faced NYRB at home and got a draw (almost a win) and now they head to LA to face the Galaxy on Wednesday before playing host to FC Dallas.  Wow that is tough as hell.  I thought they played very well against New York and they did well against RSL, have to believe that this team is going to be that gets better this year as they bring in a couple players.

8. Seattle Sounders - down 1

Yup they won, and yup I moved them down a spot.  It was a great late goal, but they were playing a team that had allowed 17 goals, had 4 straight losses and the Sounders needed a late set piece goal to get the win.  Yes I give Jeff Parke credit, a great header for the goal but I really expected more from Seattle.  OK let me be clear, I expected more in the way of results, they took the shots, they possessed the ball but for me a 1-0 win over Sporting at home isn't hugely impressive.  Next up for the Sounders they get to face a very good FC Dallas team on Wednesday, and then a trip to Rio Tinto Stadium to face Real Salt Lake on Saturday night.

7. Colorado Rapids - down 1

Another team that got a result this weekend, but more was expected.  Getting a 0-0 draw at home with Toronto FC simply isn't very impressive.  The Rapids have no losses in their last 5 matches but just one win, hopefully the return of Conor Casey will help them out as they have a huge week ahead of them.  First a mid week trip to New York City to visit the Red Bulls and then home for a Saturday match against Sporting KC, they are gonna need to get a win or two or they may slip further down.

6. Portland Timbers - up 2

I put them here under protest, I still am not a believer.  Yes I get 5-0-0 at home, yes I get it, but with a 0-3-2 road record it will take more than another 1-0 win (and this one under some question) to impress me that you are more than what TFC was their first year in the league, great at home and very suspect on the road.  You don't make the playoffs without a couple road wins, and I doubt they will be able to keep grinding out things at home, each match has gotten tougher for them to win lately.  Next up should be an interesting one as they will play host on Sunday to DC United.

5. New York Red Bulls - down 2

So you want the MLS handed to you on a platter, well that doesn't usually work.  There is a ton of talent on this team, but I worried about too much offensive focus and some questions on defense and sure enough they have given up 5 goals in their last two matches and had it not been for a late goal by Medhi Ballouchy they would have had back to back losses.  This will be a step up week as the Red Bulls have two matches they should win, Wednesday at home against Colorado and Saturday at Vancouver.

4. FC Dallas - up 1

The long weather delay tactic that tripped up LA a couple weeks ago didn't work as FC Dallas had to settle for a 0-0 draw with Real Salt Lake.  They countered well but this team is going to have to figure out how to do more than just counter attack, with Dax gone and Ferreira out with injury, it may be time for FC Dallas to find a warm body for their midfield who can control the ball and matches for them.  Still this team is dangerous and have proven that they can play with anyone in MLS, now they have a huge week as they will head to Seattle for a Wednesday match against the Sounders, and then off to Houston to face the Dynamo.

3. Philadelphia Union - up 1

I hate to type this, Carlos Ruiz was the man this weekend.  Now if you asked the question a couple weeks ago of Brek Shea then you have to ask it again, was he trying to do that?  Either way it was a game winner for Ruiz and the Union got a 2-1 win over the Chicago Fire.  That puts them at the top of the Eastern Conference for now.  Saturday they will head to BMO Field to face Toronto FC, a win there would keep them at the top of the East.

2. Los Angeles Galaxy - even

Yeah, after watching the "Super Classico" there is no way I can make LA the number one team, yes they got the 1-0 win, yes they have 23 points (but they have played 13 matches = 1.77 points per match) but they don't look like the best team in MLS to me and that means they stay #2.  Now they have a busy week ahead of them as they will play host to Houston on Wednesday and then head to New England for a match on Saturday, if they get two wins then maybe I will move them up.

2. Real Salt Lake - down 1

Yeah I moved RSL down a spot, it was a hard thing to do but back to back 0-0 draws isn't exactly what I expect from the #1 team in MLS.  Yes they still are the only team that is averaging more than 2 points per match.  Yes they are the only team in the league with just 1 loss. Yes they have only allowed 2 goals (0.25 GAA).  However they need to find a way to rekindle their offense, and that task just got harder as Alvaro Saborio and Arturo Alvarez left for Gold Cup duty with their national teams.  Who will step up for RSL? Saturday they will host the Seattle Sounders and anything less than a win at home could see them drop down the rankings.

I have no number one team for the second time this year as simply nobody in my mind has set themselves above the rest, RSL is the only team with more than 2 points per game but they have just 1 goal in their last 5 matches.  LA looked good beating the worst team in MLS, but looked awful playing a sound Chivas side.  Nope no number one this week but with 12 MLS matches this week (3 on Wednesday, 8 on Saturday, 1 on Sunday) a couple teams could really send a message this week, none more than Houston who have back to back draws with top 5 teams and will face two other top 5 teams this week (@LA Galaxy on Wed, FC Dallas at home on Saturday)

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