MLS Power Rankings: Week 11

Black & Gold fall one spot in this weeks Power Rankings

You knew Real Salt Lake's first loss at Rio Tinto in what seems
like ages would hurt them in the rankings, but the committee seems to
think they've got bigger problems going forward. They're at their lowest
point this season, while FC Dallas and Philadelphia are on the move.
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All match times for this week's games are ET; only MLS regular-season games reflected on schedule.

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Is this Bruce Arena’s best-ever coaching performance? He has DPs
missing games for all sorts of reasons (moving into a new house,
weddings, friendlies, international call-ups, injuries), no forwards who
can score consistently and a packed schedule. But there’s LA at the top
of the standings, one of only three teams to have won more than half
their games.

  • Last Week: Beat Houston, 1-0 (RECAP/WATCH), Beat New England, 1-0 (RECAP/WATCH)
  • This Week: Friday vs. D.C. United (11 pm, Fox Soccer)
  • Last Five: TWWWW

 

 

 

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The shutout streak is over, but the undefeated streak thunders on.
FCD are the fastest, most athletic team in the league, and they play to
that strength by putting you on your heels at every opportunity. With
veteran leadership in Daniel Hernandez and Kevin Hartman, and guys in
the prime everywhere else, expect them to stay near the top of the
rankings throughout 2011.

 

 

 

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The Union, at 6-3-2, are one of the three teams in the league that
have won more than half their games. They started the season doing it
with defense, but have now hung eight goals on their last two opponents
as the offense has come alive. The next two weeks — at Colorado, then
hosting RSL — should paint a clearer picture for the rest of 2011.

  • Last Week: Beat Toronto, 6-2 (RECAP/WATCH)
  • This Week: Saturday at Colorado (9 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: LTLWW

 

 

 

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The Sounders have won two of their last three, have tightened up
their defense and are figuring out where to get goals in the absence of a
go-to striker (Fredy Montero no longer deserves that title, and hasn’t
since last September). There will be more speed bumps along the way, but
you can’t argue with results.

 

 

 

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At this point, it has to be asked whether the seven-goal haul
against San Jose and DC in April was an aberration, as both teams
immediately changed personnel and began playing better afterward. New
York, on the other hand, have won just once since then and are
struggling to create enough chances to put games away.

 

 

 

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RSL are miles from the juggernaut they were in March and April, and
it’s almost entirely due to their lack of production up top. They’ve
tallied just once in their last three matches — Nelson González’s late
consolation goal against Seattle — and haven’t scored multiple goals in a
single game since April 9. The defense is mostly holding firm, but for
how long?

  • Last Week: Lost to Seattle, 2-1 (RECAP/WATCH)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. Vancouver (9 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: LWTTL

 

 

 

 

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The good news is that Conor Casey is back, and that the Rapids
haven’t lost since the middle of April. The bad news is that they’ve
only won once since then and will be without Omar Cummings for another
few weeks. At times it looks like Gary Smith is holding things together
with duct tape, but Colorado are still in the hunt.

 

 

 

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The Dynamo put FCD’s shutout streak to a somewhat emphatic end with
two very, very nice goals this past weekend. The “Twin Towers” forward
combo of Cam Weaver and Will Bruin are developing a rapport, Colin Clark
is back and Brad Davis is the league MVP so far. There are still some
issues with speed in defense, but that could be answered if Geoff
Cameron shifts to the back line.

  • Last Week: Lost at LA, 1-0 (RECAP/WATCH), Tied FC Dallas, 2-2 (RECAP/WATCH)
  • This Week: Saturday at San Jose (10 pm, Galavisión)
  • Last Five: LTTLT

 

 

 

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Portland, like most teams that play without a pivot in front of the
defense, can be exposed when their central midfielders get drawn out of
position and the central defense isolated. It happened last Sunday, and
you can be sure the scouting report has made its way to desks all over
the league. Kenny Cooper’s scoring woes are another large concern.

  • Last Week: Lost to D.C. United, 3-2 (RECAP/WATCH)
  • This Week: Saturday at Chivas USA (10:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: WWTWL

 

 

 

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Has rookie Blake Brettschneider emerged as a true center forward
off of whom Charlie Davies and Josh Wolff can run? He looked the part
against a giant Portland back line, winning headers all over the park
and picking up two assists in the process. It’s a simple formula, but
for young teams, “simple” usually works best.

  • Last Week: Beat Portland, 3-2 (RECAP/WATCH)
  • This Week: Friday at LA (11 pm, Fox Soccer)
  • Last Five: LWTTW

 

 

 

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Moving Emmanuel Ekpo to defensive midfielder paid immediate
dividends in the goal-scoring department, as did the switch to a more
traditional 4-4-2. There will be defensive struggles to endure as the
team gets used to yet another tactical adjustment, but a three-goal
output will at least send the fans home happy.

  • Last Week: Tied Chivas USA, 3-3 (RECAP/WATCH)
  • This Week: Saturday at New York (7:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: WTLLT

 

 

 

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No team relies more on one player than San Jose do on Chris
Wondolowski, and he’ll be gone for most of June. How they adjust —
they’re starting to find other scoring options — could tell the story of
their season. The pressure’s on the vets, of course, but youngster
Ellis McLoughlin may be the one who picks up the slack.

  • Last Week: Tied Chicago, 2-2 (RECAP/WATCH)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. Houston (10 pm, Galavisión)
  • Last Five: LTWWT

 

 

 

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If the first part of May showed how far the Rojiblancos have come,
then Saturday’s 3-3 draw at Columbus showed how far they still have to
go. They gave up the lead three times, had mistakes from youngsters and
veterans both, and just weren’t able to get on the same page. A point on
the road is still a good result, and it’ll be a teachable moment for
Robin Fraser.

 

 

 

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They defended well throughout and only a perfectly placed Miguel
López header could beat Matt Reis. They also created a double-handful of
opportunities against one of the league’s best defenses, but “chances”
aren’t enough. New England can’t finish right now, and it may be time to
go to a two-forward set or risk plummeting down the standings.

  • Last Week: Lost to LA, 1-0 (RECAP/WATCH)
  • This Week: Saturday at FC Dallas (8:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: LTWLL

 

 

 

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Frank Klopas will get a chance to manage the talent he’s assembled
now that Carlos de los Cobos has been dismissed. And to Klopas’ credit,
there’s talent to spare all over the pitch. The key will be finding the
right blend and getting everyone on the same page, as well as rebuilding
the confidence of young ‘keeper Sean Johnson.

  • Last Week: Tied San Jose, 2-2 (RECAP/WATCH)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. Seattle (8:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: TTTLT

 

 

 

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A near-total inability to stay compact is the reason a date with the
Reds provides the cure to almost any team’s scoring woes. The rotation
policy at left back doesn’t help much, either (just start Danleigh
Borman, already). The good news is there are some talented attackers in
Toronto who could be used as trade bait for a central defender or
another d-mid.

  • Last Week: Lost to Philadelphia, 6-2 (RECAP/WATCH)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. Sporting (7 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: WLTTL

 

 

 

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The attack has been fractured since Atiba Harris was hurt, the
defense continues to give up untimely goals and Teitur Thordarson
refused to adjust his tactics. It wasn’t a good combo, and while firing
the coach may have been rash, it wasn’t entirely unwarranted. Expect
more of a 4-1-3-2 or even a diamond-four midfield in the coming weeks,
and maybe even some positive results.

 

 

 

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They thrashed New England 5-0 in their first “home” game of the
season midweek, then went on the road to get a point at Colorado — never
an easy task. If it wasn’t for a shocking Teal Bunbury miss, SKC would
have walked out of Dick’s with all three points. Too early to say
they’ll turn the season around completely, but this team is much better
than their record indicates.

  • Last Week: Tied Colorado, 1-1 (RECAP/WATCH)
  • This Week: Saturday at Toronto (7 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: LLLLT