2011 MLS Power Rankings: Week 26

Jo-Ryan SalazarSenior Analyst ISeptember 11, 2011

2011 MLS Power Rankings: Week 26

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    Real Salt Lake is at the top of this week's MLS Power Rankings with their 2-1 victory over the Seattle Sounders, while the Los Angeles Galaxy jump up to second with their victory over the Colorado Rapids and inch closer to another successful Supporters' Shield defense.

    Let's take a look at this week's MLS Power Rankings here on Bleacher Report.

18. Chivas USA

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    Robin Fraser's Chivas USA were run out of the Home Depot Center by D.C. United on Saturday to the tune of 3-0.

    The Goats are seeing their playoff dreams fade, and could be out of the playoff picture soon. In the meantime, they continue their season on the road against the Chicago Fire on Saturday, Sept. 17 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill.

    Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. PT/4 p.m. ET and will be televised by Telefutura.

17. Vancouver Whitecaps FC

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    Tom Soehn's Vancouver Whitecaps FC got a 23rd-minute goal from David Chiumiento, but could not hold on as they were consigned to a 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.

    "I was very pleased with the first half. I think that we established a game plan and the guys carried it out very well," said Whitecaps FC head coach Tom Soehn to whitecapsfc.com's Simon Fudge. "I thought the first 10 minutes of the second half went well, but it hurt when Davide went out because he was a big difference today."

    Chiumiento had to be subbed out for Mustapha Jarju in the 57th minute due to injury.

    There's no doubt, these Caps are simply playing for pride now. And they will continue their season against a very tough opponent, one that hung four goals on them at home earlier this year.

    That's right, Vancouver travels to the Home Depot Center in Carson, California to take on the high-flying Los Angeles Galaxy.

    Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by Rogers SportsNet Pacific.

16. Chicago Fire

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    It was a night to forget for the likes of Frank Klopas's Chicago Fire, who were torched 2-0 by the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday at Buck Shaw Stadium on the campus of Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, Calif.

    Chicago have a couple of matches with the Goats at Toyota Park to deal with.

    First, the Fire take on Chivas de Guadelajara in a friendly on Wednesday, Sept. 14. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. CT/9 p.m. CT.

    Chicago will then host Chivas USA for an important MLS encounter on Saturday, Sept. 17. Kickoff at Toyota Park is scheduled for 3 p.m. CT/4 p.m. ET and will be televised by Comcast SportsNet and Telefutura.

15. Portland Timbers

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    John Spencer's Portland Timbers fought the Philadelphia Union to a scoreless draw at PPL Park in Chester, Penn.

    ”A point on the road is always a good thing. You always want three points, but it doesn’t always happen that way," defender David Horst told reporters. "Philly is a really tough place to play. Not many teams have won here this year, but I felt like we were ready for the fight and we did a great job here tonight.”

    Portland are one point adrift of the final MLS Cup Playoffs spot, now occupied by D.C. United. A victory against the New England Revolution is of the utmost importance.

    Kickoff at Jeld-Wen Field is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 16 at 8 p.m. PT/11 p.m. ET and will be televised by Fox Soccer Channel.

14. San Jose Earthquakes

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    Frank Yallop's San Jose Earthquakes had never won a match at Buck Shaw Stadium since early June 2011, a 2-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo on June 4.

    That all changed Saturday. Goals from Chris Wondolowski in the 10th minute and Ramiro Corrales in the 69th minute gave San Jose another 2-0 victory, this time over the Chicago Fire.

    In a twist of irony, the Quakes' next opponent is... the Dynamo. Kickoff at Robertson Stadium in Houston, Texas is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 17 at 5:30 p.m. PT/8:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by Comcast SportsNet.

13. Philadelphia Union

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    Peter Nowak's Philadelphia Union check in at No. 13 in our Power Rankings after a couple of draws of production and non production.

    The production came on Wednesday, when they were engaged in a wild 4-4 draw with the New England Revolution at PPL Park.

    Down 3-0 after just 25 minutes, Roger Torres pulled one back in the 28th minute of play. 

    The Union overturned a 4-1 halftime deficit thanks to Freddy Adu opening his scoring account in the 54th minute followed by a brace from Sebastien Le Toux in the 79th minute and the second minute of second half stoppage time.

    On Saturday, the Union could only manage a scoreless draw with the Portland Timbers.

    “Overall, the game, we deserved it,” Nowak told philadelphiaunion.com's Kevin Kinkead. “I applaud the effort from the guys, because after the tough game on Wednesday, you could see some of them get tired. That’s why we made the substitutions. I think it was a tough stretch for us with three games in one week, but we’ve got to move forward.”

    Up next for Philadelphia is a match with the Columbus Crew on Saturday, Sept. 17 at PPL Park. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by Comcast SportsNet.

12. Toronto FC

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    Aron Winter's Toronto FC pulled off a shock result on Saturday, winning the Trillium Cup 5-3 on aggregate with a 4-2 victory over the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.

    Nick Soolsma opened the scoring in the 21st minute, while Ryan Johnson made it 2-0 in the 42nd minute of play. 

    After the Crew pulled one back, Julian de Guzman restored the two-goal lead in the 83rd minute before Danny Koevermans put the game out of reach in the second minute of second-half stoppage time.

    “We said straight away if we score a goal then we push and then we get another,” defender Richard Eckersley told MLSSoccer.com's Larry Millson. “We’re a good team. I don’t see why we can’t do that all the time and keep pressing them and keep them under pressure. Otherwise, if we just sit back, they’re going to overload us and they’re going to get a lucky goal at some point.”

    Up next for Toronto FC is a combination on CONCACAF and league work. First item of business: a Champions League tie with Pumas UNAM in Mexico City, Mex. Kickoff is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 8 p.m. ET and will be televised by GOLTV Canada.

    On Saturday, Sept. 17, the Reds grace the Colorado Rapids at BMO Field in Toronto, Ontario. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by TSN.

11. Red Bull New York

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    Hans Backe's New York Red Bulls may have had the 9/11 tragedy on their minds a little bit longer than they would have wanted to.

    Juan Agudelo scored in the 68th minute for his sixth goal of the season, but the Red Bulls were consigned to a 1-1 draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps at Red Bull Arena.

    With the result, the Red Bulls are one point adrift of the final playoff spot, now occupied by D.C. United.

    It will be a battle of the cattle when the Red Bulls take on FC Dallas at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas. Kickoff is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 17 at 8:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by MSG.

10. Columbus Crew

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    Robert Warzycha's Columbus Crew have taken a tumble in the Power Rankings after falling to Toronto FC 4-2 on Saturday at Crew Stadium.

    Tommy Heinemann pulled one back for the home side in the 67th minute while Andres Mendoza recorded his ninth goal of the season in the 87th minute of play.

    Columbus have a couple of matches this week. On Wednesday, Sept. 14, they host the Houston Dynamo. Kickoff at Crew Stadium is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by ONN-TV.

    On Saturday, Sept. 17, the Crew face off against the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by ONN-TV.

9. FC Dallas

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    Schellas Hyndman's FC Dallas were upended by the New England Revolution 2-0 on Saturday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

    A result would have helped the Hoops fend off resurging Real Salt Lake and catch up to the Seattle Sounders and Los Angeles Galaxy.

    “Obviously we are upset at the fact. We have high expectations of ourselves and to come in and to play against New England,” FC Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman told FCDallas.com's Robert Casner. “[The loss is] something we are going to have to come back from as quickly as possible. We’ve had as big of a break as we’ve had in a really long time in the past week-and-a-half and it’s something we are going to work our way back into it.”

    Even worse, the loss could deflate the team of some much-needed momentum as they resume CONCACAF Champions League play against Tauro FC of Panama City, Panama at Pizza Hut Park. Kickoff at The Oven is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. CT/8 p.m. ET and will be televised by Fox Soccer Channel.

    FC Dallas return to league play on Saturday, Sept. 17 when they host the New York Red Bulls. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CT/8:30 p.m. ET.

8. Colorado Rapids

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    Gary Smith's Colorado Rapids could have an uphill battle trying to defend their MLS Cup. On Saturday, defending Supporters Shield winners Los Angeles Galaxy pressed the issue as the Rapids suffered a 1-0 defeat at the Home Depot Center.

    “I thought it might have been our blessing that it was just one at halftime," Smith told reporters after the match "I think we were able to disrupt some of the possession that the Galaxy had in the first half. They certainly had better territorial advantage in the first half. This has proved to me [that we lost to] a really resourceful and resilient Galaxy team.”

    Shaking the effects of an LA sweep, Colorado will need to pick themselves up and get ready for CONCACAF Champions League action against Santos Laguna.

    Kickoff at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado is scheduled for 8 p.m. MT/10 p.m. ET and will be televised by Fox Soccer Channel.

    On Saturday, Sept. 17, Colorado travel to BMO Field to take on Toronto FC. Kickoff is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. MT/1:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by Altitude and TSN.

7. Houston Dynamo

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    Dominic Kinnear's Houston Dynamo unraveled in more ways than one in their 3-0 defeat to Sporting Kansas City at Livestrong Spoting Park in Kansas City, Kansas.

    Up next for the Dynamo are a couple of big league games. On Wednesday, Sept. 14, the Dynamo travel to Crew Stadium to take on the Columbus Crew. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT/7:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by KHOU 11.2 and Fox Sports Houston Plus.

    On Saturday, Sept. 17, the Dynamo return home to host the San Jose Earthquakes. Kickoff at Robertson Stadium is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CT/8:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by KHOU 11.2 and TV Azteca 51 on tape delay Sunday, Sept. 18 at 8:30 a.m. CT/9:30 a.m. ET.

6. New England Revolution

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    Steve Nicol's New England Revolution had a solid week of results.

    On Wednesday, they stood tall in a 4-4 goal festival draw with the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park. The Revs started fast, with goals from A.J. Soares in the ninth minute, Rajko Lekic in the 21st minute and Moncef Zerka in the 25th minute. Benny Feilhaber also scored in the 33rd minute of play.

    Ultimately, the inability of the defense to hold on to a 4-1 halftime lead forced the draw on the heels of a successful comeback rally from the Union.

    Saturday was a bit more friendlied for the Revolution, who scored a 2-0 victory over FC Dallas. Shalrie Joseph scored his eighth goal of the season in the 14th minute, while Lekic recorded his sixth of the year in the 84th minute of play.

    "You kind of know when it’s your night," a relieved Nicol told reporters. "And to be honest, I sat there and felt as though we were going to get another goal. We certainly made enough chances to suggest that we’d make more chances. The key was obviously not giving one up. And as I said, I just had that feeling we weren’t going to make any mistakes and let them in. And we didn’t."

    Up next for the Revolution is a match with the Portland Timbers on Friday night at Jeld-Wen Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 11 p.m. ET and will be televised by Fox Soccer Channel.

5. Seattle Sounders FC

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    It was going to come: a piece of humble pie sent via FedEx to manager Sigi Schmid and the Seattle Sounders Football Club.

    The senders: Real Salt Lake, who came to CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington, and came away with a 2-1 victory over the Sounders.

    A calamitous own goal by Kasey Keller in the 13th minute did not help matters for the Sounders, even though Fredy Montero recorded his seventh goal of the season in the second minute of first-half stoppage time.

    To add insult to injury, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado was given his marching orders in the 39th minute, forcing the home side to play down to 10 men for most of the contest.

    “Well, it happens.  It happens to all teams.  We give up goals we don’t normally give up.  We miss chances we don’t normally miss,” Keller told SoundersFC.com's Matt Gaschk.  “That kind of stuff happens.  You have those days.”

    Seattle will hope that those days Keller was alluding to become harder to come by when the Sounders resume CONCACAF Champions League action. Their next opponent: C.S. Herediano of Heredia, Costa Rica. 

    Kickoff at the Estadio Eladio Rosabal Cordero in Heredia is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET and will be televised by Fox Soccer Channel.

    Seattle will return home to CenturyLink Field for a league match against D.C. United on Saturday, Sept. 17. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET and will be televised by KONG 6/16.

4. D.C. United

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    Ben Olsen's D.C. United were flexing their muscles on Chivas USA in a 3-0 blowout victory at the Home Depot Center on Saturday.

    Charlie Davies scored a hat trick with goals in the 11th, 14th, and 66th minute. Swingman Chris Pontius had a hand in those Davies goals to earn his own hat trick of assists.

    D.C. benefitted from going up a man in the 69th minute due to David Lopes earning his marching orders for Chivas, but by then, the outcome was no longer in doubt.

    Unfortunately for D.C., they could soon find out that Seattle are no Chivas. And a very angry Seattle side, at that.

    Kickoff between D.C. United and the Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 17 at 9 p.m. ET and will be televised by Comcast SportsNet.

3. Sporting Kansas City

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    Peter Vermes's Sporting Kansas City had a great week, highlighted by the luck of the armball and a big orange barbecue at Livestrong Sporting Park.

    On Wednesday, Sporting benefited from an armball by the LA Galaxy's Frankie Hejduk to allow Omar Bravo to secure a 2-2 draw in second half stoppage time. Julio Cesar also scored for Sporting in the 72nd minute of play.

    That set the stage for an even better effort from Sporting on Saturday against the Houston Dynamo. A brace from Teal Bunbury in the ninth and 73rd minutes to go with an insurance goal from C.J. Sapong in the 79th minute of play propelled Sporting Kansas City to a 3-0 shutout victory.

    “When [Teal] is as physical as he was and finds himself teetering on that last line, he puts a lot of fear in a lot of teams,” Vermes told SportingKC.com's Andrew Wiebe. “He’s very direct, can go to goal and really has breakaway speed. When he gets around the goal, I think he can be deadly.

    “I don’t think we’ve seen his best yet. I really don’t.”

    Expect more from Bunbury when Sporting, the new MLS Eastern Conference leaders, take on Real Salt Lake on Saturday, Sept. 17, at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. CT/9 p.m. ET and will be televised by KSMO-TV.

2. Los Angeles Galaxy

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    Bruce Arena's Los Angeles Galaxy could have come away with a full six points instead of just four. Blame it on Frankie Hejduk for ruining the plans to clinch a playoff berth on Tuesday, delaying the inevitable to Friday.

    An armball from Hejduk late in the second half wasted a brace from Sean Franklin in the 25th and 74th minutes, consigning the Galaxy to a 2-2 draw at Livestrong Sporting Park.

    Fortunes would change for the Galaxy on Saturday against the Colorado Rapids at the Home Depot Center. A 36th minute strike from Landon Donovan gave the Galaxy a 1-0 win and a spot in the postseason with six league games to go.

    “I think that was a foregone conclusion at this point,” defender Todd Dunivant told MLSSoccer.com's Luis Bueno. “We’re looking to the Supporters’ Shield. [Clinching a playoff spot] is not our focus. That wasn’t our main goal this year. That’s obviously something we wanted to do. I think everyone knew we were on our way anyway.”

    But before they go back to the campaign trail to defend the plate on a pedestal, there's a little matter of a road trip to Morelia.

    The LA Galaxy take on Monarcas Morelia at the Estadio Morelos in Morelia, Mexico in CONCACAF Champions League action. Kickoff is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET and will be televised by Fox Soccer Channel.

    Los Angeles return to league play on Saturday, Sept. 17 when they host the Vancouver Whitecaps at Victoria Street. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by Fox Sports West on tape delay at 10:30 p.m. PT/1:30 a.m. ET.

1. Real Salt Lake

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    Jason Kreis's Real Salt Lake return to the top of the power rankings this week after scoring a 2-1 statement victory over the Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field.

    Real Salt Lake took the lead on an own goal in the 13th minute, but the real hero for RSL was Alvaro Saborio, who recorded his eighth goal of the season in the 56th minute of play.

    "It feels really, really good and I told our guys I'm really proud of all the hard work they put in," Kreis told reporters following the game. "The fact that they stuck together and kept working hard and stayed discipline through some pretty interesting decisions in the first half. 

    "There were some pretty dire circumstances and I was proud of our guys for getting another hard fought win."

    On Saturday, Sept. 17, Real Salt Lake are taking on Sporting Kansas City in another mouthwatering contest at Rio Tinto Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. MT/9 p.m. ET and will be broadcast by ESPN 700, ESPN Deportes 1600 AM and Juan 106.1 FM.