Week 10 of the 2009 MLS season was filled with contradictions: The Eastern Conference-leading Chicago Fire lost to one of the worst teams in the league, San Jose won for the first time in far too long, and New England tasted victory for the first time in their last seven matches.
So once again, we will have some serious upheaval in our power rankings. At this point, it's hard to tell whether that's due to the parity in the league, or wildly inconsistent play at both ends of the table.
Last week's rankings are in parentheses.
1. Chivas USA (1)
Chivas lost to Chicago this past week, but it was a tightly contested match. Chicago came back from a goal down in the dying minutes of the match to steal a 3-2 victory. Chivas doesn't move down in the rankings at all by virtue of the massive lead they had built up, but Houston is quickly gaining on them.
2. Houston Dynamo (4)
A 3-0 victory over Toronto FC will garner you major points. The Dynamo scored three goals between the 20th and 24th minutes in their rout of Toronto. That's now seven matches unbeaten for Houston, who has rocketed up to second place in the Western Conference.
3. Chicago Fire (2)
It was a week of mixed blessings for Chicago. They beat MLS' best team 3-2, and lost to one of the worst when Dallas shut them out 3-0. The positives? A win over Chivas always looks great, and Cuauhtemoc Blanco scored twice in the win. They've got a tough match with Houston on the horizon.
4. Seattle Sounders FC (4)
It was a 1-1 draw for Seattle and Columbus, but Seattle should have won. Instead, Freddie Ljungberg missed a penalty and Sigi Schmid was left to question his team's focus. Five straight draws have taken Seattle from tops in the West to third place.
5. DC United (3)
United had dominated New England earlier in the season, but succumbed to a controversial penalty this time around to lose 2-1. It's only their second loss on the season, so the smart money is on United to bounce back.
6. Colorado Rapids (8)
Conor Casey is making a serious run at the Golden Boot, scoring a brace on the weekend to bring his season total to eight goals. Colorado is certainly enjoying his presence, currently enjoying a streak of five matches without defeat.
7. Kansas City Wizards (7)
A draw on the road at Los Angeles is good enough to keep Kansas City in second place in the East. Their offense is going strong thanks to another goal from Davy Arnaud, giving him four on the season. The trio of Arnaud, Josh Wolff, and Claudio Lopez have been responsible for 14 of Kansas City's 16 goals this season.
8. Toronto FC (5)
One week after a great 3-1 victory over New England, Toronto's defense completely collapses and surrenders three goals in rapid succession. It's essentially a toss-up every time Toronto takes the pitch. No consistency at all this season.
9. New England Revolution (11)
Taylor Twellman finally returned to action, making his first appearance of 2009. He played a major role, drawing the penalty that gave New England its first win in seven matches. If Twellman can stay healthy the rest of the way, New England might rebound from a terrible start.
10. LA Galaxy (9)
Another match, another draw for Los Angeles. This has to be cause for concern for Bruce Arenas' squad. The match against Kansas City was their fifth straight draw and eighth of 2009. They need to figure out how to win some matches or else they'll miss out on the postseason again.
11. Columbus Crew (12)
Columbus played twice this week, and snagged four points thanks to a draw and their second win of the season. The win was against San Jose, but is this a sign of a turnaround in Columbus? Let's wait a few weeks before we pass judgment on that one.
12. FC Dallas (14)
Dallas probably had the most impressive win of the week thanks to a 3-0 trouncing of Chicago. Jeff Cunningham, Kenny Cooper, and a C.J. Brown own goal did the damage. Cooper still needs some help, though. He's providing nearly half of the club's offense this season.
13. San Jose Earthquakes (15)
San Jose's victory over Real Salt Lake was not enough to peel them out of the cellar in the West. Still, they're playing better right now than Salt Lake and New York.
14. New York Red Bulls (10)
New York returns to the familiar turf at the bottom of the table with yet another poor performance. New York's only victories this season? Over San Jose and Salt Lake. They won't be returning to the playoffs.
15. Real Salt Lake (13)
Salt Lake has officially hit rock bottom, losing to the previous worst team in the league. Salt Lake is winless in its last six, and has only won once in the last eight matches. They've shown occasional flashes of brilliance, but the poor form has been much more frequent. It's led me to believe that we're seeing the true Real Salt Lake team.