July 19, 2011

2011 MLS Power Rankings: Week 18

Last Week: 2
Result: W 4-3 vs. COL
Last Five: W-W-T-W-W
With the gritty and glossy efforts of Fredy Montero and Mauro Rosales, MLS and Sounders fans avoid the dreaded debate about the club having to play abruptly on a grass pitch. The upcoming friendly vs. Manchester United will be electric, but there’s no doubt the Sounders are focused on the incoming CONCACAF Champions League preliminary fixtures.
Last Week: 1
Result: BYE (L 1-4 vs. RM in World Football Challenge)
Last Five: T-W-T-T-W
If Los Angeles Galaxy wants to be the third straight club to win back-to-back Supporters Shield’s, they will need to figure out juggling through depth. Sure playing against a side like Real Madrid and losing is nothing to take discredit from, especially in a meaningless friendly, but for confidence, that might be problematic. This Galaxy side will have a messy schedule incoming once they begin Champions League in August.
Last Week: 3
Result: Match @ VAN ppd. due to rain
Last Five: T-T-W-T-W
Let’s face it. If Vancouver’s tentative grass field wasn’t “waterlogged” (likely resting for the ‘big game’ vs. Manchester City), I have little sense of doubt that they could have easily plucked apart the ‘Caps.
Last Week: 6
Result: W 3-0 @ NE
Last Five: W-T-T-W-W
Unbeaten in their last five, the Zolos are continuing their defensive domination, not conceding a goal in their past two road matches, and their last goal being Najar’s firecracker in their tie against D.C. United. Perhaps beating New England is not necessarily the toughest thing in the World, but good teams have had their share of troubles defeating the Revs in Gillette Stadium. Philadelphia is an exception.
Last Week: 4
Result: T 0-0 vs. DC (W 2-0 vs. RSL in the U.S. Open Cup)
Last Five: W-W-W-L-T
Marred by frustration shots that banged off the post, the Hoops are choosing the worst possible time to hit a rough patch in their red hot campaign. With Champions League on the horizon, the Hoops will have to forget these past two matches quick. But as we saw with Salt Lake in the U.S. Open Cup, the Hoops can rebound, and hopefully in their largest match in history, they can do so.
Last Week: 5
Result: T 0-0 vs. SJ
Last Five: W-W-L-W-T
Maybe it was an off evening for the Crew, but they seemed to fall flat offensively in front of (sadly) a good crowd against San Jose, primarily thanks to the honoring of Crew legend, Brian McBride.  Still, their form should not be hindered by one forgetting match. This rebuilt side looks poised to improve upon 2010.
Last Week: 8
Result: T 0-0 @ FCD
Last Five: T-T-T-W-T
Following an unexpected 2-4 home loss to San Jose, the Black-and-Red had one of the toughest stretches of the season. Marred by league heavyweights and playing in their home arenas (Salt Lake, New York, Dallas), United managed to not lose any matches and in fact, not allow New York nor Dallas to score on them. Entering an easier stretch, this club has raised expectations to grab a two or three wins in their next five.
Last Week: 7
Result: T 1-1 @ HOU (L 0-2 vs. RIC in the U.S. Open Cup)
Last Five: W-W-T-T-T
Really, if I could have Sporting and D.C. share a spot, I would do so. Their form has been relishing, and their road draws in the Lone Star state were quite impressive. However, the lone exception is Kansas City’s late chock against USL Pro side Richmond Kickers in the Open Cup semis.
Last Week: 9
Result: T 1-1 vs. KC
Last Five: L-T-T-W-T
Talley Hall is really showing the American soccer niche why he is an All-Star and the Orange Crush’s showing against Sporting further exposed the skill Hall exhibits. Now for him to show it on the national level the coming week in the All-Star Game.
Last Week: 12
Result: T 1-1 vs. NY
Last Five: L-T-W-T-T
Not often I rise a team up the ladder if they draw at home, but given their hardworking effort, against New York’s non-illustrious fiasco, they nab a few spots up on the rankings. When Moreno arrives back with the Goats, expect this side to earn more than scoreless draws against marquee clubs.
Last Week: 10
Result: T 0-0 @ CHV (L 0-4 @ CHI in the U.S. Open Cup)
Last Five: T-T-W-L-T
I’m with all of you. I still do not understand what MLSSoccer.com is doing having New York in the single digits of power ranking. If there was a chemistry ranking, it would be on Toronto FC par in skill power rankings. No offense, Red Patch Boys. Anyways, the morale of this note is that New York has no depth (not good for the Emirates Cup), and their basically putting the shell of an expensive car on a lemon. Hope you catch that metaphor. 
Last Week: 11
Result: T 0-0 @ CLB
Last Five: T-L-T-T-T
Two straight, listless scoreless draws. The quick spark has vanished entirely and there needs to be someone, anyone, to help this side bag some goals, and quick or else their postseason ambitions will fade like the hot spark they nabbed last month.
Last Week: 16
Result: W 1-0 @ CHI
Last Five: T-L-L-L-W
I wonder if Captain Jack is going to be the long-term nickname for Jack Jewsbury. The recently name MLS All-Star has given the Timbers a glimmer of light in their dank stretch of returning to the top-flight of American soccer.
Last Week: 13
Result: L 3-4 vs. SEA
Last Five: L-T-T-W-L
Lets face it. The moment Montero made the diving header to give Seattle the well fought led, the Rapids simply collapsed. The season-ending ACL injury of Conor Casey is making what should have been a celebratory year of being the so-called “defending MLS champions” a nightmare. Is it too soon to say their out of the postseason chase?
Last Week: 14
Result: L 0-1 vs. POR (W 4-0 vs. NY in the U.S. Open Cup)
Last Five: T-T-T-L-L
Tough to make of this. In the U.S. Open Cup, the Fire outright razed the Red Bulls’ “B” side, which frankly plays like a bunch of college kids with their eyes closed. Sure it was a top notch Fire squad, but this club exposed the true weaknesses of New York. Now, the loss to Portland is outright embarrassing, especially given the Timbers’ inability to win on the road. Well, so much for that.
Last Week: 17
Result: BYE
Last Five: L-L-W-L-L
The upgraded and face-lifted (yet again) Toronto side should be an improvement, but for the long term. I doubt it will be enough for a playoff push, but maybe it’s now time for the Canadian champions to work their way out of Group Stage in the CONCACAF Champions League. 
Last Week: 18
Result: Match vs. RSL ppd. (L 1-2 vs. MAN CTY in the World Football Challenge)
Last Five: T-W-L-L-L
Given the skepticism and anger following the postponed fixture against Salt Lake, many have a justified thought that the ‘Caps should have forfeited their match. But in terms of playing, they had a great outing against Manchester City. There was no sheer domination by City and the Caps generally dictated pace. Had a shot or two gone their way, could have been the Caps having a 3-0 advantage for City to climb out.
Last Week: 15
Result: L 0-3 vs. PHI (L 1-4 vs. MAN U in the World Football Challenge)
Last Five: L-L-T-L-L
One thing to lose by three goals to Manchester United in the World Football Challenge, which is all honesty, the least meaningful competition for MLS sides. But it’s another thing when a team lose by the same margin of goals to Philadelphia Union in a competitive league match. Chemistry? Nonexistent. Communication? Outright poor in the drubbing by the Union. Welcome back to the bottom, New England.

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Tyler Walter

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