MLS Power Rankings: Week 24

Crew remain in the 4th spot after tough loss in Seattle

Oh, how the tide has turned by the Bay. The Earthquakes' winless
stretch hit 13 games this weekend, and the Power Rankings Committee had
no choice but to drop San Jose to a new low this season. Real Salt Lake
and Portland, meanwhile, made some strides after big wins.

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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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They looked disjointed in the midfield against Alajuelense in
midweek Champions League play, and Juninho was a shadow before he got
his red card. The young Brazilian looked a bit out of gas, which is
probably why LA gave up so many shots from distance. The 10-day break is
just what they need to recharge their batteries.

  • Last Week: Match at New York postponed to Oct. 4
  • This Week: Monday at Sporting KC (5 pm, Fox Soccer)
  • Last Five: WWLWW

 

 

 

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Seattle have been torrid in the second half of August, and their
past week was as good as any team in league history: 1-0 at conference
rivals Dallas, 1-0 at CONCACAF champions Monterrey and, finally, the 6-2
humiliation of Eastern Conference leaders Columbus. The Open Cup
semifinal vs. Dallas should be epic.

  • Last Week: Beat Columbus, 6-2 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Bye
  • Last Five: LWTWW

 

 

 

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That 3-2 win they took out of Kansas City is one of the gutsiest
results any club has grabbed this year. Pulling that off in the midst of
the George John imbroglio and just days after the CONCACAF circus up in
Toronto says all you really need to know about FCD’s heart. Next up:
The Sounders again in the USOC semis.

  • Last Week: Beat Sporting KC, 3-2 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Bye
  • Last Five: WLTLW

 

 

 

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The Julius James suspension exposed a lack of depth in central
defense. Rich Balchan is a fantastic d-mid, a passable left back and an
out-of-his-depth central defender. If Robert Warzycha has to go beyond
his preferred pairing of James and Chad Marshall again, it might make
more sense to give Kevin Burns a look there and leave Balchan in
midfield.

  • Last Week: Lost at Seattle, 6-2 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Bye
  • Last Five: WLWWL

 

 

 

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They stopped two streaks this week: MLS’ winning streak in CONCACAF
play when they gave up a late equalizer at Real España, and their own
unbeaten streak when the Fire played them off the pitch this past
weekend. The break should do them good, provided Jeff Larentowicz
doesn’t come back from the US friendlies worn out from travel.

  • Last Week: Lost at Chicago, 2-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Bye
  • Last Five: WWWTL

 

 

 

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RSL needed Saturday’s win very, very badly to stay in the hunt for a
top-three spot in the West. It wasn’t pretty, but they capitalized on
their best chance and then held the fort. They’ll be short-handed for
the Philly game, but the good news is that Paulo Jr. should be ready. He
gives them a different dimension in attack.

  • Last Week: Beat Chivas USA, 1-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. Philadelphia (9 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: LWLLW

 

 

 

 

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The only good thing to come out of that 3-2 choke job against Dallas
was the tone in the locker room afterward. Sporting players didn’t
blame the refs or each other, they collectively took responsibility for
the loss and said, “We have to figure out how to fix this together.”
That attitude will serve them well down the stretch.

  • Last Week: Lost to FC Dallas, 3-2 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Monday vs. LA (5 pm, Fox Soccer)
  • Last Five: WLWWL

 

 

 

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Apparently all Philly have to do to move up the rankings is sit idle
while the rest of the Eastern Conference falls apart around them.
They’ve got plenty of games in hand and a chance to make a statement
this weekend at Real Salt Lake. A win puts them right back in the hunt
for the top spot in the East.

  • Last Week: Match vs. New England postponed to Sept. 7
  • This Week: Saturday at RSL (9 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: LTTTL

 

 

 

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The long layoff may benefit the Red Bulls more than any other side,
since it gives time to guys like Luke Rodgers, Frank Rost, Teemu Tainio,
Jan Gunnar Solli, Joel Lindpere and Thierry Henry to rest and recover
from injuries they’ve all been muddling through for months. If they’re
all healthy, they’re a good bet for a playoff spot. But things have a
way of not working out for RBNY...

  • Last Week: Match vs. LA postponed to Oct. 4
  • This Week: Bye
  • Last Five: LTLTT

 

 

 

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Dwayne De Rosario will probably play 180 minutes with Canada over
the upcoming FIFA break, which won’t do much good for this 33-year-old
legs. Aside from that, though, DC should be well-rested when they take
the field next Saturday at Chivas. Like Philly, they control their own
destiny thanks to having games in hand.

  • Last Week: Match vs. Portland postponed to Oct. 19
  • This Week: Bye
  • Last Five: WTWTL

 

 

 

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How high can the Timbers climb? They’re still a fundamentally flawed
team, but there have been plenty of MLS sides throughout history that
have gotten things done simply by playing tough at home and punishing
you on setpieces. With most of the other playoff contenders flailing,
Portland have a chance to call their own shot.

  • Last Week: Beat Chivas USA, 1-0 (HIGHLIGHTS), Match at D.C. United postponed to Oct. 19
  • This Week: Bye
  • Last Five: TLLWW

 

 

 

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It took a stellar performance from Joe Cannon to stop them, but stop
the Dynamo he did. Houston are still winless on the road, and with the
summer weather on its way out in Texas, their home field advantage isn’t
likely to be so pronounced. The combo makes it tough to believe the
Dynamo are serious contenders.

  • Last Week: Lost at Vancouver, 1-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Bye
  • Last Five: TWTWL

 

 

 

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The Cory Gibbs/Jalil Anibaba central-defensive pairing has been a
revelation, while the Pável Pardo/Sebastián Grazzini pairing has been as
good as advertised. Hard as it is to believe, this team is only five
points out of a playoff spot with 8 games to go. That’s entirely
manageable. Next up is Tuesday’s USOC semifinal against Richmond, which
is the ultimate “no excuses” game.

  • Last Week: Beat Colorado, 2-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Bye
  • Last Five: LTTWW

 

 

 

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It may be unfair to drop this team so far in the rankings at the end
of the grueling August that saw them play five of six on the road. But
they looked a mess on Saturday with Juan Pablo Ángel dropping deep
trying to find LaBrocca in the box (um, that’s backwards, guys), and a
comical defensive error. They squandered their chance to pull into a
playoff spot — maybe for good.

  • Last Week: Lost at Portland, 1-0 (HIGHLIGHTS), Lost to Real Salt Lake, 1-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Bye
  • Last Five: WTTLL

 

 

 

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A couple of weeks for forwards Milton Caraglio and Rajko Lekic to
rest their nagging injuries should do some good. The rest of 2011 should
be about getting those two, Benny Feilhaber, Monsef Zerka and Diego
Fagundez all on the same page. That’s a good attacking core to build
around in 2012.

  • Last Week: Match at Philadelphia postponed to Sept. 7
  • This Week: Bye
  • Last Five: TLLTT

 

 

 

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The good work they did against Dallas in CCL play last week, when
they hung tough in both the canceled game and the eventual replay, was
undone by coughing up a late lead to the Earthquakes in what was really a
painful draw for both sides. Sure, they got the short end of a bad
call, but good teams play through that and find a way.

  • Last Week: Tied San Jose, 1-1 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Bye
  • Last Five: TTWLT

 

 

 

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Turns out there may have been something to that Jay DeMerit/Alain
Rochat pairing. The rest of the ‘Caps chased the ball all over the park
for 90 minutes while the central defense — and ‘keeper Cannon, who had a
blinder — held firm. Something to build on for next year, at least.

  • Last Week: Beat Houston, 1-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Bye
  • Last Five: LWLLW

 

 

 

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Bailed out by a lineman’s flag and rescued from indignity by Chris
Wondolowski’s late goal — which is maybe their only highlight of the
last two months. A win could have pushed them to the fringe of playoff
contention, but the draw means it could be time to put a fork in ‘em.

  • Last Week: Tied Toronto, 1-1 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Bye
  • Last Five: LTLLT