MLS Power Rankings Week One: Seattle Sounders FC on the Rise

Joe GSenior Writer IMarch 23, 2009

SEATTLE - MARCH 19:  Seattle Sounders FC fans celebrate around Qwest Field shortly before the season opener and inaugural game on March 19, 2009 in Seattle, Washington.  Sounders FC faces last season's MLS runners-up, the New York Red Bulls.  (Photo by Robert Giroux/Getty Images)

Only one team, Real Salt Lake, was not in action this past weekend. The rest of the league gave the fans some pretty special moments during the opening weekend of the 2009 MLS season.

We saw an expansion club laying a huge beatdown on one of last season's MLS Cup finalists. We saw a goal from 60 yards out in a losing effort.

We saw last season's MLS MVP get off to a great start. And, perhaps most importantly, we saw plenty of offense.

Last week's rankings in parenthesis


1. Chicago Fire (2)

The Fire shrugged off an early stunner by FC Dallas' Kenny Cooper and ended up winning 3-1. Both Brian McBride and Cuauhtemoc Blanco found themselves on the scoresheet.


2. Columbus Crew (1)

It took a late goal from Guillermo Barros Schelotto to stave off defeat for the defending MLS Cup champions.

But, until they suffer a defeat, Columbus will likely remain near the very top of the power rankings. Their offense may have sputtered, but their defense was very effective in their season-opening draw.


3. Houston Dynamo (3)

Houston showed that they aren't missing Dwayne De Rosario that much in the early stages of 2009. They hung tough with the defending champs and managed a 1-1 draw thanks to a Brian Ching goal.


4. Toronto FC (5)

Amado Guevara came up huge for Toronto, netting a brace to lead TFC to a 3-2 victory over Kansas City. Dwayne De Rosario missed a chance to make the final scoreline 4-2, but Toronto proved that their offense is a force to be reckoned with.

If the club can keep defensive mistakes to a minimum, they should make their first-ever playoff appearance.


5. Chivas USA (7)

Chivas' fantastic midfield was responsible for victory in week one. Paulo Nagamura scored twice as Chivas beat Colorado 2-1. Granted, the competition may not have been among the MLS elite, but Chivas' effectiveness can't be denied.


6. DC United (6)

DC was unlucky not to get a victory against Los Angeles, as Landon Donovan managed two goals in the final 10 minutes against United. There was one very encouraging sign though: Christian Gomez finding the back of the net in his return to DC. If the former league MVP can get going, DC will have one of the most potent attacks in the league.


7. New York Red Bulls (4)

What a poor start to the season. New York surrendered three goals to a club playing its first-ever MLS game.

It's far too early to say whether or not last season's playoff run was a fluke, but expectations are high in New York. The fans won't stand for too many more performances like that.


8. New England Revolution (8)

While New England won their opener, it wasn't a terribly impressive victory. San Jose outshot the Revs and enjoyed an advantage in corner kicks.

The difference for New England was great goalkeeping from Matt Reis and their ability to capitalize on one of their few opportunities.


9. Seattle Sounders FC (14)

Seattle easily made the biggest statement of the first matchday, stunning New York by a score of 3-0. Freddie Montero scored two goals for MLS' newest club as they easily beat last year's losing Cup finalist.

Making this victory even more impressive was the absence of one of Seattle's most experienced weapons, Freddie Ljungberg. When the club is at full strength, they could slip into the playoffs.


10. Los Angeles Galaxy (12)

The leap up the rankings is more a reflection of Landon Donovan's talent than LA's quality as a whole. Donovan scored a late brace to salvage a draw with DC.


11. Real Salt Lake (13)

Despite not playing this week, Real Salt Lake moved up through the rankings thanks to some poor performances from other clubs. They open their season this coming week against Seattle.


12. FC Dallas (9)

Despite Kenny Cooper scoring an early candidate for Goal of the Year, FC Dallas was overwhelmed by a superior Chicago Fire squad. They need to shore up the back line if they hope to make it into the postseason.


13. San Jose Earthquakes (10)

The Quakes fell flat in their season debut. Despite the combo of Bobby Convey and Darren Huckerby, they couldn't capitalize on any of their chances against New England. They're a decent bet to turn things around, but their opener was discouraging.


14. Kansas City Wizards (11)

Davy Arnaud had a great start to the season. Unfortunately for KC, the same can't be said of their defense. They scored twice but conceded thrice. Not good, not good.


15. Colorado Rapids (15)

Offense, offense, offense. This club just doesn't have the firepower to be a player this season.


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