MLS Power Rankings: Week 23

Crew slide up one spot in this week's rankings after huge win over Union

Andres Mendoza and Robbie Rogers

Photo Credit: 
Josh Couper / TheCrew.com

Forget the West Coast for a second, and set your watches to the
Central Time Zone. That's where all the action in this week's Power
Rankings is coming from, thanks to big jumps from Sporting Kansas City,
Houston and even Chicago. SKC, in fact, are on the move to No. 6, a far
cry from when they bottomed out in the cellar of the rankings in Week 9.

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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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1

 

The first half-hour of the Robbie Keane era was flawless, but the
next 45 minutes were a study in guys trying to figure out how to play
together. They picked it up again once up a man, but there will probably
be some growing pains as Bruce Arena gets his team all on the same
page. But none of it will knock LA off the top spot.

  • Last Week: Beat San Jose, 2-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Sunday at New York (7 pm, ESPN2/Deportes)
  • Last Five: WWLWW

 

 

 

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3

 

 

Message sent. The Sounders were just as dead-legged and jet-lagged
as FC Dallas, but they went down to The Oven and pulled out a freshly
cooked three points. It’s enough to give them even more momentum heading
into a season-defining stretch, including a rematch with FCD in the US
Open Cup semifinals.

  • Last Week: Beat FC Dallas, 1-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. Columbus (4 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: WLWTW

 

 

 

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2

 

 

Even with the loss to the Sounders, FCD still enjoyed a week to brag
within US soccer circles. Breaking the Mexico jinx was going to take a
special team, and there’s little question that’s exactly what Dallas
are. They’ll regroup just fine, and they're well aware there’s plenty
left to play for.

  • Last Week: Lost to Seattle, 1-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday at Sporting KC (8:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: TWLTL

 

 

 

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5

 

 

The Crew are officially approaching “scary” status. Andrés Mendoza
cares, Emilio Rentería is healthy and the midfield has enough depth and
talent to overcome any combination of injuries, judging by the last
month. They’re not getting much pub because the West is so strong, but
don’t sleep on the Crew.

  • Last Week: Beat Philadelphia, 2-1 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday at Seattle (4 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: WWLWW

 

 

 

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4

 

 

They were sorely disappointed in dropping points at home, especially
since they’re aiming for top-three in the West and the first-round
playoff bye that comes with it. They’ll want to bottle that feeling and
use it in the coming weeks as they try to resume their climb and
continue to show well in the Champions League.

  • Last Week: Tied Chivas USA, 2-2 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday at Chicago (8:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: TWWWT

 

 

 

6

 

 

 

 

 

 

9

 

 

Their climb up the standings continued with two more wins this week,
both convincing despite some poor finishing. Sporting have a ton of
good pieces, and quality coming back from injury in the form of Davy
Arnaud and Jéferson, but they don’t link together quite as smoothly up
top as they should.

 

 

 

 

7

 

 

 

 

 

 

7

 

 

Jason Kreis fired a shot across his players’ bow this week, saying
that offseason changes could be in store if RSL don’t pick it up. That’s
a long way from the “We Are Family” vibe the Claret-and-Cobalt started
the season with, and the strain is starting to show. Salt Lake need a
hero or they’ll be a Western Conference afterthought.

  • Last Week: Lost at Houston, 3-2 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday at Chivas USA (10:30 pm, Fox Soccer)
  • Last Five: LLWLL

 

 

 

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11

 

 

The Power Rankings Committee feels dubious about putting a team
that’s yet to win on the road in the top 10, but they dominate at home
and squeezed out a galvanizing win on Alex Dixon’s last-minute golazo last weekend. Will they be as good when the weather cools down, though?

 

 

 

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6

 

 

A young team that’s gotten a lesson in focus and composure over the
last month. That’s the story of the Union. The story of the next two
months has to be how they learned from their trials and came together as
a unit, or an early playoff exit is their likely destiny. Peter Nowak
has a lot of work ahead.

  • Last Week: Lost at Columbus, 2-1 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Sunday vs. New England (7 pm, Galavisión)
  • Last Five: LTTTL

 

 

 

10

 

 

 

 

 

 

10

 

 

Sure, they’re not losing. But their only two wins since April have
come at home against Toronto and New England, and without Teemu Tainio
this weekend they look like sitting ducks for LA. The body language is
bad as well, save for Dane Richards and Joel Lindpere. Could a bad loss
doom their season?

  • Last Week: Tied New England, 2-2 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Sunday vs. LA (7 pm, ESPN2/Deportes)
  • Last Five: LTLTT

 

 

 

11

 

 

 

 

 

 

12

 

 

Someone, somewhere should be writing an ode to that sweet
outside-of-the-foot through ball Nick LaBrocca put on a platter for Juan
Pablo Ángel. You build teams around guys with vision like that, which
is what Robin Fraser has done. Even better, the Goats are a hearty 1-1-2
through game four of their five-game road swing.

  • Last Week: Tied Colorado, 2-2 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Wednesday at Portland (11 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: WLWTT

 

 

 

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8

 

 

Have they run out of gas? At this point last week, DC were charging,
but they were listless for all but 20 minutes of their action this
week. It’s a real concern, but they get to return to some home cooking
this coming weekend. All those games they have in hand don’t mean much
if they’re not turned into wins, so expect United to shoot for all
three.

 

 

 

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13

 

 

They’re just three points out of a playoff spot with a game in hand
and a week that could see them leapfrog both DC and Chivas. They took
care of business nicely against the Whitecaps, and though the finishing
still needs work, well, whose doesn’t? They’re still trying to find the
right mix, but they’ve got guts.

 

 

 

14

 

 

 

 

 

 

17

 

 

Finally, a win. The Fire are still at risk of tying the league mark
for fewest wins in a season (four), which must be insanely frustrating
since they’re clearly way, way more talented than their record
indicates. Frank Klopas is right when he says they’re all playing for
their jobs from here on out — that and an Open Cup title, which would
salve some wounds.

 

 

 

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16

 

 

They didn’t have the defensive fortitude or the guts to hold onto
the well-deserved 2-0 lead they took against RBNY, and didn’t have the
inventiveness to find a winner in the second half. Brutal result for
them, but in Benny Feilhaber, Milton Caraglio and Diego Fagundez,
there’s hope for 2012.

  • Last Week: Tied Houston, 1-1 (HIGHLIGHTS), Tied New York, 2-2 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Sunday at Philadelphia (7 pm, Galavisión)
  • Last Five: TLLTT

 

 

 

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14

 

 

They’re bruised, battered and beaten, and with the loss to LA saw
their chances of finding a playoff berth drop to roughly nil. The rest
of the season is about finding out where Edmundo Zura fits and seeing if
anyone can step up to play as the fulcrum in front of the back line,
because the flat-four midfield simply doesn’t work.

 

 

 

17

 

 

 

 

 

 

15

 

 

The Reds looked a bit worn down against the Fire on Sunday, playing
catch-up-to-Oduro for most of the game. The good news is that the 3-4-3
looks like it’s provided them a bit more stability, Julian de Guzman
looks better than he has since 2007, and the new arrivals are all slowly
jelling. It’s a promising mix.

  • Last Week: Lost at Chicago, 2-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. San Jose (7 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: LTTWL

 

 

 

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Getting the attacking foursome of Eric Hassli, Mustapha Jarju,
Camilo and Davide Chiumiento all on the same page should be the priority
for the rest of the season, since at the very least that’ll give them a
foundation for 2012. They still need an answer at d-mid, and better
hope that Jay DeMerit can stay healthy next season.

  • Last Week: Lost at Portland, 2-1 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. Houston (7 pm, TSN2, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: TLWLL