MLS Power Rankings: Week 28

Crew slide down one spot after heartbreaker against LA

There's a new team atop the Eastern Conference, and the rumblings are felt on the Power Rankings, too. The Houston Dynamo surged this week after a gritty win in Dallas, all the way to a new season high at No. 4. The Portland Timbers, meanwhile, had a week they'd rather forget.

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All match times for this week's games are ET; only MLS regular-season games reflected on schedule.

Rank Trending Last Club Comment

1

1

They gutted out a 1-0 at Columbus despite playing largely a reserve squad. That signaled Bruce Arena’s comfort with their lead in the Supporters’ Shield race as well as his intent to go straight at Morelia this week in Champions League play. Anything short of a win, and the Galaxy won’t qualify for the knockout rounds.

  • Last Week: Beat Columbus, 1-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. Real Salt Lake (10:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: WTWWW
2

2

It seems that Fredy Montero saves his best for Cascadia rivals. His two-goal performance is exactly the type you want to see from your big-name players in rivalry games, and he delivered. Now comes the matter of seeing out the Champions League slate and getting into the quarterfinals.

  • Last Week: Beat Vancouver, 3-1 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday at New England (7:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: WWLWW

3

3

They get a mulligan for the DeRo Show on Saturday, which brought an end to their five-game winning streak. Their Shield hopes are pretty much over unless LA stumble badly, but with Javier Morales getting fit and no fixture congestion, there’s a good chance RSL are the team to beat come the playoffs.

4

8

Several weeks ago we said that if Geoff Cameron was moved to central defense, the Dynamo are serious contenders in the East. Dominic Kinnear must have been listening, because Cameron has been back there ever since and Houston have two wins and a draw in their last three, moving to the top of the conference.

  • Last Week: Beat FC Dallas, 1-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. Chicago (4 pm, TeleFutura)
  • Last Five: LLTWW

5

4

 

Schellas Hyndman came right out and said that the George John saga took a toll on his team. But while the defense has finally rebounded – John in particular was excellent against Houston, his first good game in quite some time – the offense is missing in action. They’ve got that and CCL fixture congestion to fight through. Not an easy stretch.

  • Last Week: Lost to Houston, 1-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday at Colorado (9 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: LWLLL

6

5

Sporting are making a bizarro playoff run, squandering their home-heavy schedule with just one win in their last five outings. A fully fit Aurélien Collin should help shore up the defense and add some potency on the end of set-pieces, but the offense is mostly sputtering. Someone has to step up and take charge.

 

7

6

The Union are still trying to find ways to generate offense, but the defense has come back to life in the wake of that four-goal first half by the Revs a few weeks back. They’re not going to win any beauty contests, but they’re locking teams down and getting timely goals from Sébastien Le Toux. That’s a good formula.

  • Last Week: Tied Sporting KC, 1-1 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Thursday vs. D.C. United (8 pm, ESPN2), Sunday at Chivas USA (8 pm ET, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: LTTWT

8

12

D.C. are in the catbird’s seat in the East, holding two games in hand and the league’s hottest player in Dwayne De Rosario. They get their chance to stamp their authority on the conference this week with games at Philly and Columbus. If they get four points out of those, they’re a good bet to make the postseason.

  • Last Week: Tied Chivas USA, 2-2 (HIGHLIGHTS), Beat Real Salt Lake, 4-1 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Thursday at Philadelphia (8 pm, ESPN2), Sunday at Columbus (4 pm ET, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: LWLTW

9

11

Was Rafa Márquez’s midweek evisceration just what the team needed? It seemed to give them something to rally around, and the numbers don’t lie: RBNY have four shutouts since May, and none have come with Rafa on the field. If he’s on the outs, and Luke Rodgers stays healthy, they have a good shot at sneaking into the playoffs.

  • Last Week: Lost to Real Salt Lake, 3-1 (HIGHLIGHTS), Beat Portland, 2-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday at Toronto (7:30 pm, Fox Soccer)
  • Last Five: TTWLW

10

9

They’re going through an ugly stretch, but the fact is the pieces are there to rebound over the last four games and pull into the playoff fight. If Emilio Rentería and Eddie Gaven get healthy, expect them to start putting up some numbers again. If not, they might be on the outside looking in come the postseason.

11

10

This is not the type of September that Gary Smith & Co. had in mind. The fact is that without Conor Casey up top and Anthony Wallace providing width on the left, the Rapids are hopelessly one-dimensional. The key will be recognizing as much and making every effort to spring Sanna Nyassi and Omar Cummings behind the defense. It’s their only hope.

  • Last Week:  Tied San Jose, 1-1 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. FC Dallas (9 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: TLLLT

12

7

That 2-0 loss at New York was a killer. That was their chance to take control of their own playoff destiny, and they came up short almost from the word “go.” They only have one home game left, which – barring a miracle turnaround of their road form – won’t be enough.

  • Last Week: Tied San Jose, 1-1 (HIGHLIGHTS), Lost at New York, 2-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Sunday at Vancouver (4:30 pm, TSN2)
  • Last Five: WTWTL

13

14

Their second-half push may have come too late to qualify for the postseason, but they sure are making a run. They have 12 points from their last five games, a mark bettered only by the Galaxy’s 13 in that stretch. They’ll be lucky to keep it going at RSL and Houston this week, but they're focused on taking the US Open Cup from Seattle next week.

  • Last Week: Beat New England, 3-2 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Wednesday at Real Salt Lake (9 pm, MatchDay Live), Saturday at Houston (4 pm, TeleFutura)
  • Last Five: WWLWW

14

 

 

16

The Goats sprung back to life this week with a point on the road and a dominant three-point performance at home. It’s probably too little, too late, but all three of their remaining games are at the Home Depot Center. If they win out, they’ll be on 44 points, and it’s a 50/50 proposition that that total will snag a wild card spot.

15

17

They’ve turned into a tough team to beat, having lost just once in their last five, but they’re still not winning, and saw any realistic chances at a wild card spot go up in flames at Colorado last weekend. The goal now should be working on that young defense and figuring out who the midfield leader is.

16

13

There’s no question that they’re better than they were earlier in the season, but there’s also little question that they’ve got to keep getting better on defense. The dislocation between the backline and midfield was their undoing aganist Chivas, and they need to make that priority No. 1 this offseason.

  • Last Week: Lost at Chivas USA, 3-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. New York (7:30 pm, Fox Soccer)
  • Last Five: LTWWL

17

 

 

15

The Revs are actually a lot of fun to watch, as their front six generated attack after attack after attack against Chicago. Milton Caraglio is a pure No. 9 who must be retained for 2012, Benny Feilhaber has been worth every penny and Diego Fagundez looks like a future star. The defense, on the other hand...

  • Last Week: Lost at Chicago, 3-2 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. Seattle (7:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: TTWLL

18

18

Mustapha Jarju must have left his finishing boots in Belgium. He’s been a disappointment thus far, but let’s remember that Thierry Henry only had two goals in his first 15 games in MLS. For a lot of guys, it just takes time. The good news is that they always generate chances, which gives them something to build on for 2012.

  • Last Week: Lost to Seattle, 3-1 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Sunday vs. Portland (4:30 pm, TSN2)
  • Last Five: LWTLL