July 25, 2011

2011 MLS Power Rankings: Week 19

It is that time of the year. That time where MLS clubs show their true depth, especially the stronger sides. Marred already with a chain of World Football Challenge friendlies, five MLS sides will begin their quest to North American glory, as the 2011–12 CONCACAF Champions League kicks off. Three MLS teams will still have the U.S. Open Cup in the back of their mind, and this is not even considering the race of the final spots in the MLS Cup Playoffs and the gasping drama for the MLS Supporters’ Shield.

For the first time this season, the top three spots remain the same, but a series of shocking upsets, perhaps some flukey ones, too; have caused some shuffling in the lower end of the rankings.


Last Week: 1
Result: BYE (L 0-7 vs. MAN U in World Football Challenge)
Last Five: W-W-T-W-W

While the Sounders First XI showed their character in the first half, the reserves were the gaffe the week against Manchester United in the second half. Granted, had Noonan’s shot been on frame, the Rave Green would have shifted momentum and I doubt the Red Devils would have opened the flood gates in the second half. Still, it’s solely a friendly and the focus has to be on tomorrow night’s CONCACAF Champions League fixture.


Last Week: 2
Result: W 1-0 vs. CLB (D 1-1 [6-7 pen.] vs. MAN C in World Football Challenge)
Last Five: W-T-T-W-W

In the wake of a demoralizing loss to Real Madrid in the WFC, the Galaxy did what was necessary, and win the meaningful match of the stretch. Thankfully, with a bye to the Champions League group stages, the Galaxy can have some rest prior to a top-heavy schedule.


Last Week: 3
Result: W 4-0 vs. SJ
Last Five: T-W-T-W-W

The diving verdict has dimmed on Charlie Davies and glared at Alvaro Saborio, causing an ejection, and a subsequent penalty, allow for the Royals to trounce the Earthquakes. RSL fans will likely have a hard time eating words about diving for the time being. Without the dive though, there still was a mighty good chance RSL could have walked away with the full three points. Focus now has to be on the Disciplinary Committee and see if Davies will not be held to a double standard.


Last Week: 5
Result: W 1-0 @ TOR, T 2-2 @ NY
Last Five: W-L-T-W-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: 4
Result: BYE (L 1-2 vs. RM in World Football Challenge)
Last Five: W-T-T-W-W

With no fixtures this week due to the WFC, the Union perhaps fared the strongest of all MLS sides in the friendly tournament, having a short stretch of poor defending, for the mishap to only be succumbed by a world class chip, courtesy of Michael Farfan.


Last Week: 6
Result: L 0-1 @ LA, W 1-0 vs. POR
Last Five: T-W-T-L-W

Grinding out the needed points at home, the 2011 Crew looks poised to, unexpectedly, be a stronger side than the 2010 Crew. Only thing prohibiting me from putting up comparisons to the heydays of 2008–09 has to be their longshot odds of nabbing the Shield.


Last Week: 8
Result: W 4-2 vs. TOR
Last Five: W-T-T-T-W

The blemish of the week, in the wake of their hard fought burning brawl against Toronto, was the sheer fact Sporting allowed the Reds to net twice in the match. Thankfully the likes of Kamara and Co. were there to negate it and send Toronto into further Dutch dissatisfaction. Win’s a win though, and Kansas City is in their best form since the 2000 MLS Cup and MLS Supporters Shield duel run.


Last Week: 10
Result: W 3-0 vs. HOU
Last Five: T-W-T-T-W

In his second hat trick of the season, we might begin to hear the chants of “Braunodinho” sooner than we think. Fraser eyes the playoffs, and if they can post results like that, and continuing their unbeaten streak, Chivas might have their strongest showing in three years.


Last Week: 7
Result: L 0-1 vs. NE
Last Five: T-T-W-T-L

Still with two matches on hand to a majority of their Eastern Conference counterparts, United showed some gleamer, especially Chris Pontius, in their friendly loss to Everton following a humbling home loss to New England. For now, I’m going with this loss against the Revs as the fluke of the week.


Last Week: 9
Result: L 0-3 @ CHV
Last Five: T-T-W-T-L

Hall met his match: Braun.


Last Week: 14
Result: W 4-1 vs. NY, T 2-2 vs. NE
Last Five: T-W-L-W-T

The Rapids brought renewed faith to the Mile High City after completely dismantling the Red Bulls and exposing their lack of depth. But, with all highs, comes reality checks, and that was a offsetting home draw against the lowly Revs, who themselves were riding well off a surreal road win.


Last Week: 11
Result: L 1-4 @ COL, T 2-2 vs. FCD
Last Five: W-L-T-L-T

This All-Star Game could simply not come at anymore of an awkward time. The Red Bulls, now losing league focus for the All-Star hosting, and the marquee skip across the pond? Well, it might be a good way to divert from an embarrassing loss to Colorado and a well fought, but subpar draw to Dallas. Standards are too high in the Big Apple to accept a draw at home to the Hoops as consolation.


Last Week: 12
Result: T 2-2 vs. VAN, L 0-4 @ RSL
Last Five: T-T-T-T-L

San Jose fans have the justified right to complain and storm the message boards and blogs like no other. First, relinquishing a lead at home, to Vancouver. Next, having a player rejected at the cost of a dive, resulting in an undeserved thrashing? The ‘Quakes will have some outright courage if they can brush it along and rebound from the, merely flustering, chain of events.


Last Week: 18
Result: W 1-0 @ DC, T 2-2 @ COL
Last Five: T-L-L-W-T

Does anyone remember the last time New England played two consecutive matches, and neither of them resulted in defeat? I sure has hell don’t, and speaking of which, I was definitely not expecting it to come at the hands of D.C. and Colorado, given D.C.’s solidified reconstruction and Colorado’s laughable regression. Much of the credit has to attribute to Matt Reis.


Last Week: 13
Result: L 0-1 @ CLB
Last Five: L-L-L-W-L

Given everything into account, the Timbers could have done far worse in their form against a retooled Columbus. Unfortunately, it’s dimming the Timbers once decent odds of nabbing a postseason berth.


Last Week: 17
Result: T 2-2 @ SJ
Last Five: W-L-L-L-T

While it was not as gorgeous as his wundervolley against the Sounders, Eric Hassli continues to come up huge and living up to his DP tag, as the ‘Caps earn easily their most impressive road draw since playing in the confines of the Link.


Last Week: 15
Result: BYE (L 1-3 vs. MAN U in World Football Challenge)
Last Five: T-T-T-L-L

Faring the best against Manchester United, the Fire were only 25 minutes away from pulling a Sporting K.C. on the Red Devils. Guess it has to do with the Midwestern heat. Well, it was fun for the Fire, but it’s reality check and to reorganize in league play.


Last Week: 16
Result: L 0-1 vs. FCD, L 2-4 @ SKC
Last Five: L-L-W-L-L

Today, the Canadian press calls for the extinction of the 4-3-3 system. Tomorrow, the Red Patch Boys will call for Winter’s head. At the end of the season, the franchise will call for the back line to pack their bags and sign with some USL Pro sides, where they might get some rest on the bench.

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Tyler Walter

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