If you had told me that only two of my top 5 teams would be winners in week 20, I would have thought you were nuts but that is exactly what has happened. We do get some changes all over the rankings as over half the teams find themselves in a new place on the rankings.
18. Vancouver Whitecaps - down 1
If you watched the first 60 minutes of the Whitecaps match against the LA Galaxy you probably wouldn't believe the final score but what was a 0-0 match after 60 would end in a 4-0 loss for the Whitecaps as they simply were unable to stop LA or get anything going of their own. Up next will be the Chicago Fire who will head to Empire Field for their first action in a couple weeks, whoever loses this one becomes the bottom team in my rankings.
17. Toronto FC - up 1
To go to Portland and be down 2-0, but battle your way back for a 2-2 draw, well that is enough to get you out of the bottom spot for me. While FC Dallas fans laughed at TFC for picking up Peri Marosevic he paid dividends in his first match with TFC and Danny Koevermans picked up his second MLS goal. I still don't believe TFC are a good team but if they can get solid individual efforts from their players they can pull off results like this one. They will have another chance at their first road win on Saturday as they take on DC United at RFK Stadium.
more after the jump:
16. Portland Timbers - down 1
You have to be able to protect a lead at home, even more when it is a 2-0 lead with under 20 minutes to go and you are facing one of the of the worst road teams in MLS, but the Timbers were unable to do so and that drops them a spot in my rankings. Now they get a make or break week, they have two big Western Conference matches as they will play host to the LA Galaxy on Wednesday and then head to San Jose on Saturday, if they can find a way to get 4 points they would keep their playoff hopes alive but anything less and they might not be able to get back into the hunt for the post season.
15. Chicago Fire - up 1
Out of action, but the Fire moved up a spot because of other teams moving down. This week they will either stand or fall on their own as they will be in action twice, first they will play host to the Philadelphia Union and then on Sunday they will head to Vancouver to face the Whitecaps. A bit week for the Fire after a mid-season break.
14. New England Revolution - even
Well the Revolution have 4 results in their last 5 matches but still find themselves in the bottom half of the Eastern Conference and in the bottom of my power rankings, in part because they have just one win. They still have less than 1 point per match played and they will need rapid improvement if they want to get into the playoff hunt, their first task it to get a win over Chivas USA when they come to Gillette Stadium.
13. San Jose Earthquakes - down 2
Back to Back losses for the Quakes as they fall 2-0 to DC United at home this weekend, and they now find themselves on the outside of the playoff picture. Can they bounce back, and back into the playoff picture with a win at home against expansion side Portland on Saturday?
12. Chivas USA - down 2
On Sunday Chivas USA were handed their first loss of July as they found themselves unable to overcome a jet lagged FC Dallas team. That loss keeps Chivas on the outside of the playoff hunt, but they are still close enough that a couple of wins could put them right back into the hunt, on Saturday they will be on the road against New England in a must win match for each team.
11. DC United - up 2
Every time I want to finally write off DC United they do the unexpected and get a big win and their 2-0 road win over San Jose was huge for DC who pick up their 4th road win of the year, only one team has more than that. The question is can they add to their measly 2 home wins on Saturday when they play host to Toronto FC?
10. Houston Dynamo - up 2
Like DC United each time I write off the Dynamo they pull off a big win and their 3-1 win over Seattle at home may be their biggest win of the season as it would put them into the playoffs if they started today. In what could be a huge 6 point match for them on Saturday the Dynamo will look for their first road win of the year as they head to PPL Park to take on the Philadelphia Union.
9. Sporting KC - even
Sporting has continued their climb in the Eastern Conference, in large part due to their extended home stand which will see them only leave the comforts of LIVESTRONG Sporting Park 3 more times this season. If they can find a way to start getting more wins than draws at home, they are currently 3-0-4. Their 1-1 draw with New England was the result of a last minute goal to earn the draw, and with two home matches this week (Wednesday vs. RSL and Saturday vs. Seattle) they will need be looking for wins.
8. New York Red Bulls - even
Not in action in MLS play but their trip to Europe was rewarded by claiming the Emirates Cup, the question will be can they convert that into results in MLS play? They are 1-2-2 in their last 5 league matches but they might have been inspired by the results they saw this weekend as their next league match will have them facing RSL at RIo Tinto Stadium on Saturday.
7. Philadelphia Union - down 2
Well it was step up time for the Union as they faced the defending MLS Cup champions on Friday night but they couldn't get it done and lost 2-1, and it also appears that Carlos Ruiz is no longer with the team. The Union get two chances to take back the top spot in the East as they will head to Chicago on Wednesday and then play host to Houston on Saturday.
6. Colorado Rapids - up 1
The Rapids have started showing signs of life recently as they moved from their old target driven offense with Conor Casey, to a new speed driven style. The results are 3 wins in their last 5 matches and steady progress up the Western Conference standings. Friday night they will play host to the Columbus Crew, in what should be an interesting matchup.
5. Real Salt Lake - down 3
Flat, when you come out flat and let an opponent score 2 goals in the first 10 minutes of the match it is hard to recover and that is exactly what happened to RSL. One has to wonder if it was the two changes to their back 4 (Beltan and Olave both out with injury) or something more? RSL will have two big chances to get back on the right path as they will be on the road on Wednesday against Sporting KC and then home on Saturday against the New York Red Bulls. Have to believe they need at least 4 points to stay in the top 5.
4. Columbus Crew - up 2
Only two teams have been able to secure road wins at RIo Tinto Stadium in the last two years and after several failed efforts the Crew got the full 3 points on Saturday with a 2-0 win over RSL. It was a quick start, taking advantage of opportunities and then very solid defense that worked in their favor as they took the top spot in the East with the win. They will get another chance for a big road win on Friday night as they head to the other side of the Rocky Mountains and will take on defending MLS Cup champs Colorado.
3. Seattle Sounders - down 1
A tough road loss for the Sounders as they lose 3-1 at Houston, after back to back wins you have to believe this is just a blip on the radar for the Sounders. On Saturday they will head back out on the road to take on Sporting KC where they will be looking for a better result.
2. FC Dallas - up 2
Well despite the struggles of Champions League travel, FC Dallas were able to arrive home on Saturday and dispatch Chivas USA 1-0 on Sunday. That is what a top team should be able to do, they will play their second leg of their CCL qualifier series with Alianza FC on Wednesday night, with a 1-0 lead from the first match in El Salvador. Then they will need to quickly shift their focus back to MLS matters as they will have a huge 6 point match with the LA Galaxy at the Home Depot. A win for FCD would tie them for the top spot in the league with LA.
1. Los Angeles Galaxy - even
A slow start, a slow middle, and a fast end. You know when your team can fight for 60 minutes without getting a goal on the road and then simply turn it up to another level to secure a 4-0 win that you are something special and even when you do it against an expansion team it still is impressive. They get another chance to impress on Wednesday as they will face the other expansion team Portland, then they will have to head home for the match of the year as they will play host to FC Dallas on Saturday.
Well there you go, with 14 weeks to go the changes are coming quick as teams start to position themselves for a shot at the playoffs.
OFF MY SOAPBOX