September 11, 2011

MLS Power Rankings: Week 26

Since there was little MLS action over Labor Day Weekend, I decided to hold off on the Power Rankings for a week before churning out a new list. It in itself, felt like a miniature vacation from league action, but it’s nice to return what will be an extremely heated playoff race, as well as a neck-and-neck Supporters’ Shield race. 

Last Week: 1
Result: T 2-2 @ SKC, W 1-0 vs. COL
Last Five: L-W-W-T-W
With a month-and-a-half left to play, the defending regular season champions have already clinched a playoff spot. Seemingly fresh as ever, as well as the option to alternate Ricketts and Saunders, the Galaxy look in good posistion for winning the Shield with the largest point total ever, their Champions League group and the ever-illustrious MLS Cup.
Last Week: 5
Result: W 2-1 vs. PHI, W 2-1 @ SEA
Last Five: L-L-W-W-W
Starting with their road victory at Chivas, RSL seemingly have grabbed some lightning in a bottle, as they ascend in the Power Rankings, hot off a three-match winning streak. The club is playing their best since their invisibility during the Champions League last April. And no better time to. With no outside competition to focus upon, Real Salt Lake looks poised to either make the MLS Cup final or ruin the fun for the Galaxy and nab the Shield. Either or will gift the Royals with a Champions League berth, and bring more thrill, and even more hardware to the Crossroads of the West.
Last Week: 2
Result: L 1-2 vs. RSL
Last Five: W-T-W-W-L
After a red hot August, Mauro Rosales, unexpectedly, came up cold in his penalty kick, and consequently, mixed with an own goal from Kasey Keller, the Sounders blow a golden chance to cement themselves into a guaranteed Western Conference playoff berth, not to mention, a pothole in their race for the Shield. With Champions League action this week and the U.S. Open Cup final not too far away, this is not the time for the Sounders to hit a swoon.
Last Week: 3
Result: L 0-2 @ NE
Last Five: L-T-L-W-L
Ever since the Hoops started off hot in Champions League action, they have had polar play in MLS and USOC action, coming up dry to the Sounders in Open Cup play, and being blanked by...New England, of all teams, in league play. Maybe it’s a soccer conspiracy theory, but perhaps it’s in Dallas plan to finish as a top wildcard seed and waltz their way to the MLS Cup final through the relatively easy Eastern Conference bracket.
Last Week: 6
Result: L 0-1 @ LA
Last Five: W-W-T-L-L
Personally, I believe that their two-matching losing streak is rather deceiving and has some justified excuses. First, the two road matches: Colorado got the bad luck of the draw having to play Chicago when they did, and on a night Chicago decided not to draw. Also, LA. Those two lets speak for themselves. Credit to Matt Pickens though for making several massive saves. So, they move up a spot, because lets face it. Colorado is likely better than any Eastern Conference team right now, except maybe D.C.
Last Week: 9
Result: T 2-2 vs. LA, W 3-0 vs. HOU
Last Five: W-W-L-T-W
Teal Bunbury is putting a neon light about himself, making himself stand out to Jurgen Klinnsmen. The two-goaled effort, along with a consolation strike from C.J. Sapong has thwarted Sporting atop the Eastern Conference through the virtue of goal differential. While Columbus and D.C. have matches in hand, Columbus’ slump in form, and D.C. only being able to draw level in points has made it very probable that Sporting can seek out a guaranteed Eastern Conference berth.
Last Week: 10
Result: W 3-0 @ CHV
Last Five: T-W-T-L-W
Mind all the stories about the major upsets in the league and all related buzz. Charlie Davies has turned some heads like no other. Prying himself back into the Golden Boot race, Davies, along with the noted help of Chris Pontius, collectively thrashed the Goats in Los Angeles. The best part? Davies scored thrice...all in the run of play. Also, United was on the road, so naturally, a win or any amount of points is nearly a given.
Last Week: 4
Result: L 2-6 @ SEA
Last Five: W-L-W-W-L
Okay. It was one thing to get routed in Seattle, and lose 6-2. But another to finally, and unexpectedly lose 4-2 to your Trillium Cup rivals, Toronto FC. Some slip up room is allowed since they technically are tied for first in the East with Sporting, and have a match in hand. But this type of from that Columbus is in, well, makes me think otherwise about Eastern Conference contention.
Last Week: 7
Result: L 0-3 @ SKC
Last Five: W-T-W-L-L
The Orange Crush simply cannot do it. They lack a mindset to play in an away atmosphere. And the blank scoring on conceding of four goals during their two-match road swing prove it in its entirety. While they manage to be a point ahead of D.C., United have three matches in hand. They could easily slip away from the top three contention as soon as they hit the road again.
Last Week: 13
Result: Match @ DC ppd.
Last Five: L-L-W-W-T
In what was a rather forgettable match, this road win to Philadelphia may prove to be crucial for the Timbers if they want to replicate their little enemies up the I-5 corridor, and make the playoffs in their maiden MLS campaign. A two-match home stand against New England and San Jose, whom are rather beatable opponents, will need to be six points if they want to nab a wildcard berth.
Last Week: 8
Result: L 0-1 vs. RSL
Last Five: W-T-L-L-L
Again, and again, and again; Chivas USA is dropping games like flies at home, losing and being shutout in the past two outings. If the Goats end up hitting a hot streak at the end, but miss out on the playoffs, well, this three match slide is to blame. Had Angel scored on that wicked half-volley, I might be mindlessly ranting about that rather than this.
Last Week: 16
Result: W 4-2 @ CLB
Last Five: T-W-L-T-W
Aron Winter’s Dutch dreamland for the Reds: well, it has finally came in league play. For the first time in their existence, Toronto has defeated their Trillium Cup rivals, and taken the derby title for the first time ever. If such form can translate into Champions League action, Toronto might actually see themselves in the knockout round, and potentially turning some heads if they oust a side like UNAM from this momentum.
Last Week: 11
Result: T 4-4 vs. NE, T 0-0 vs. POR
Last Five: T-T-L-T-T
Maybe the barnstorming, 4-4 draw against New England took a lot of the U. A scoreless draw at home to Portland is not exactly the form they want to “improve” to, if they want to remain in the Eastern Conference’s top three. And with three conference matches on the docket, two at home, this draw at home, lose on the road form will need to vanish, or else their season-long playoff picture might collapse in tragic form.
Last Week: 15
Result: W 2-0 vs. FCD
Last Five: L-T-L-T-W
The Revs caught Dallas in a depleted mode and simply put it, they took every advantage of it. New York tying and Houston losing, have endured the Revs’ slim playoff hopes, but in all due respect, this win is nothing more than a moral builder, and a statement of proof that if the Revs can finish out games like this, 2012 could be a year they not only make the playoffs, but vie for the Eastern Conference crown.
Last Week: 12
Result: W 2-0 vs. COL
Last Five: T-T-W-W-L
Chicago had some unfortunate turn of events to lose this one to swooning San Jose. Sean Johnson, for all he could do, had a superb night, saving a penalty and limiting Chris Wondolowski’s shooting spell to only a goal, where Johnson was simply milliseconds shy of saving. If anything really halted Chicago’s chances of potentially considering the playoffs, it was this loss. Really now, their focus will evidently turn towards the Open Cup final in three weeks.
Last Week: 17
Result: W 2-0 vs. CHI
Last Five: T-L-L-T-W
This time three months ago was the last time San Jose posted a “W” in the result column. Following that, the ‘Quakes went on a sludgy, endless summer posting loses on the road and draws at home. And frankly, for any club, such form well cause you to collapse to the bottom of the table. Sadly, this win might have been too little too late for any postseason ambitions. 
Last Week: 18
Result: W 1-0 vs. HOU
Last Five: T-L-L-L-W
Still watching the replays to see Camillo’s apparent foul. I’ll let you know when I find it. Man, the ‘Caps were robbed of their first possible home win. Things would have gotten ugly in the RBNY front office if that happened. The hunger for a consecutive win will simply have to wait.
Last Week: 14
Result: T 2-2 @ NE
Last Five: L-T-L-T-T
I’m sorry, but when the league’s worst have all had impressive nights, defeating top heavy teams, and the original lone Eastern powerhouse, draws at home, by some range of sheer luck, to the weakest out West, and the whole league...well, you might just be the worst in the league. Worst because you stocked on talented players, but you’re depth is nonexistent and you’ve had a lone win in the past four months. How they still manage to be the playoff picture has stunned me. Also, who is willing to bet that will still have them ranked somewhere around eighth or ninth in their Power Rankings since it was a tie?

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Tyler Walter

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