Week 19 in MLS was pretty straight forward. Of the six matches played this weekend, the team with the better record won four, Houston and Toronto drew 1-1 at BMO field, and the only "upset" was New England's 2-0 win over Chivas USA at Gillette Stadium.
I have upset in quotation marks, because as things currently stand, I'm pretty sure my Sunday pub team could give Preki and company a run for their money.
My Week 19 MLS Power Rankings are below, with last week's ranking in parentheses:
1. Houston Dynamo (1)
Houston is without a win in its last two games, but the MLS scheduling gods are more at fault for that than the team itself. The combined home records of the Seattle Sounders and TFC is 11-4-6, so I think Dominic Kinnear will be reasonably satisfied with the only point.
2. Columbus Crew (3)
The Crew are unbeaten in their last 18 home matches (12-0-6), and looked impressive in this weekend's 3-1 win over Real Salt Lake. The win is even more impressive when taking into consideration Columbus played without Guillermo Barros Schelotto (injured), Emmanuel Ekpo (suspended), Alejandro Moreno (injured), Chad Marshall, and Robbie Rogers (both on international duty).
3. Seattle Sounders (2)
Seattle didn't play an MLS match this weekend, as it hosted Chelsea FC in a high-profile friendly. The blues came out winners, but Seattle held their own. They face Houston in the U.S. Open Cup semifinal this Tuesday.
4. DC United (5)
DC United scored four goals in its 3-1 win over Colorado at RFK. Veteran defender Bryan Namoff scored an own-goal for the Rapids, but atoned for his sins by scoring the eventual match winner with a sensational diving header off of a Christian Gomez corner.
United is 7-1-2 in its last 10 matches, and will only get better with the acquisition of Danny Szetela.
5. Chicago Fire (6)
San Jose pushed Chicago to the limit this past Saturday. Chicago finally scored the match winner in the 82nd minute and then added an insurance goal in stoppage time.
Chicago is in first place in the Eastern Conference with a game in hand, but quite frankly don't look as sharp as Columbus or DC right now. They face a tough test next Saturday at Qwest Field against the Sounders.
6. Toronto FC (4)
You never want to drop points at home, but a 1-1 draw with Houston isn't a poor result by any means. The Reds are in fourth place in the East, but are still only two points back of leaders Chicago.
7. Los Angeles (8)
The Galaxy have won four MLS games in a row, and look even stronger with David Beckham back on the pitch. His first match back against New York on Thursday was merely average, but he registered two assists in their 2-2 draw with AC Milan Sunday night.
Enjoy him while you can MLS fans.
8. Colorado Rapids (7)
Colorado has only one win in its last five games, and was soundly beaten by DC United over the weekend.
The Rapids need to break out of this mid-season funk if they want to still be considered playoff contenders. Fortunately for them, New York Red Bulls come into town this Saturday for what should be an easy three points.
9. New England Revolution (12)
The Revs looked decent against a struggling Chivas USA squad last weekend. How they fare against Houston at Robertson Stadium next weekend will show if they are contenders or pretenders. New England have three games in hand on Columbus and DC, who are currently tied for second in the East on 26 points. The Revs currently sit on 20 points, so they are by no means out of this race.
10. Real Salt Lake (9)
The Lakers have only won twice in their last 12 MLS matches. At this point in the season it is looking like RSL is clearly just a mid-table side. Clearly better than the bottom teams, and clearly not as talented as the top sides. Losing Yura Movsisyan in the offseason is going to hurt.
11. FC Dallas (11)
The Hoops were off this weekend, but they acquired forward Atiba Harris in exchange for Marcelo Saragosa. Harris' pace should complement Kenny Cooper's abilities as a target man.
Dallas travels to Rio Tinto to take on Real Salt Lake in a game that could have playoff implications come November.
12. Kansas City Wizards (13)
Kansas City didn't play this weekend, so the Wizards will have a full two weeks of rest going into next weekend's clash with the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Despite a not so impressive record of 5-6-5, the Wizards boast one of the league's best defensive records, only conceding 18 goals in 16 games. Unfortunately, they have only managed to score 19.
13. Chivas USA (10)
Chivas has lost four MLS games in a row, and seven of its last eight in all competitions.
Preki might want to dust off his boots and step onto the pitch to try and spark their dismal offense. Chivas USA has scored only once in its last four MLS matches.
The team has the upcoming weekend off, so hopefully the break will give players time to regroup and focus and try to salvage what was once a very promising season.
14. San Jose Earthquakes (14)
The Quakes were eight minutes and stoppage time away from picking up a point in Chicago.
San Jose had more shots than Chicago, and dominated for stretches during the match, but came up short once again. On a positive note, they played much better than they did last week against Toronto.
15. New York Red Bulls (15)
The Red Bulls lost 3-1 to the Los Angeles Galaxy in David Beckham's homecoming. If Juan Pablo Angel had made that second penalty kick, the last few minutes would have been very exciting.
Of the 13 players who played in last year's MLS Cup Final, 10 are still on this roster. Expect changes before the transfer window closes.