New England Soccer Today

MLS Rankings: Week 23

Every week the New England Soccer Today crew will look beyond the standings to rank each of the 19 Major League Soccer (MLS) teams. This week Sean Donahue and Ryan Lanigan contributed rankings. Comments are followed by the ranker’s name and the rank they gave that team.

1. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (14-5-5, 47 points)
Huge last second win over Seattle as San Jose improves to 6-2-2 in their last ten, best in the West and tied top overall.  The ‘Quakes just keep finding ways to win – and to make it exciting. (Sean – 1) … It’s unbelievable what this team has done in stoppage time this season. They’ve broken the record for extra time goals and consistently finding ways to win. (Ryan – 1)

2. HOUSTON DYNAMO (11-6-7, 40 points)
They lost to the Red Bulls in the reverse of last weekend’s score, but still have the best record in the East over the last ten (6-2-2), tied with Chicago. Until proven otherwise, count this as a minor bump on the road of a contender. (Sean – 2) … Despite the 2-0 loss to New York on Friday, this is a very dangerous things that can go deep in the playoffs. (Ryan – 3)

3. (+3) SPORTING KANSAS CITY (13-7-4, 43 points)
Follow up the Open Cup win with an important win over D.C. Has KC turned the corner? Still just .500 in their last 10. (Sean – 4) … There was no U.S. Open Cup hangover with their big win over D.C. United. (Ryan – 2)

4. (+2) NEW YORK RED BULLS (12-7-5, 41 points)
Big win over the Dynamo and good news for the Red Bulls to have Cahill fitting in and playing well. Still though, will they build off it or continue their recent inconsistency? (Sean – 3) … It was a huge win for the Red Bulls after just falling to the Dynamo recently. Even better was Tim Cahill’s header to set up a easy goal.  (Ryan – 4)

5. (-2) REAL SALT LAKE (13-9-3, 42 points)
Second disappointing loss in a row to a conference foe, this time the Whitecaps. This team is way too talented and well coached to be slumping down the stretch, so expect a turnaround soon. (Sean – 5) …  When this team is on, they are great. But they haven’t been on for a consistent period this season. (Ryan – 5)

6. (+2) CHICAGO FIRE (11-7-5, 38 points)
3-1 win over Philly keeps the Fire rolling with the best record in MLS over the past ten along with Houston and the Quakes. If the attack keeps going like it did against the Union, the sky’s the limit. (Sean – 6) … They are clicking on the majority of their cylinders right now. The bad news is that Marco Pappa is moving on, but the good news is that he will be here the rest of this season. (Ryan – 6)

7. (+2) LOS ANGELES GALAXY (11-11-3, 36 points)
Recovered from their disaster in Seattle with a 4-0 thrashing of Chivas USA that gives them some safety in the playoff hunt. Can the Galaxy prove the Seattle drubbing was a fluke and keep rolling? (Sean – 8) … A huge rout of Chivas was a huge result. Sometimes, the Galaxy look like they could be really good….sometimes not. (Ryan – 7)

8. (-3) SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (10-6-7, 37 points)
Seattle’s great run came to a crashing halt with a heartbreaking US Open Cup loss, followed by a last second disappointment in San Jose. Will their confidence have taken a beating? (Sean – 7) … A tough loss followed by another tough loss. It’s not every week you’ll have to play SKC and San Jose, two of the top teams. (Ryan – 9)

9. (-5) D.C. UNITED (11-8-3, 36 points)
The slide continues as D.C. drops their third in four games and slips to fifth in the conference. Playoffs still look secure, but they need to re-find their impressive offensive form of late Spring if they hope to make any noise in the postseason. (Sean – 10) …  A tough loss against SKC, but Nick DeLeon is a strong candidate for MLS Rookie of the Year. (Ryan – 8)

10. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (10-7-7, 37 points)
Huge win over the Whitecaps. If it’s any indication, their midseason reshuffling might just work out for the ‘Caps after all as they head into the home stretch. (Sean – 9) … A very big win over Real Salt Lake, and their veterans are playing the right role for them. Great finish from Dane Richards, too. (Ryan – 10)

11. COLUMBUS CREW (8-8-4, 28 points)
Got the week off to honor Kirk Urso (R.I.P.), but they’ll have to quickly get back into things with two huge games against the Galaxy and Houston as they hope to make a push for the fifth spot in the East with their games in hand. (Sean – 11) … A very tough stretch here for the Crew, more so off the field. Hopefully these players and staff can find peace when they get back on the field. (Ryan – 11)

12. MONTREAL IMPACT (10-13-3, 36 points)
Beat the listless Revolution, but in the post-Shalrie era, it’s not much of an accomplishment. Still, their slim playoff hopes remain alive. (Sean – 12) … A big (?) win over the Revolution. At this point, a win over the Revolution seems like a given, but they still had to play the game. (Ryan – 12)

13. (+4) FC DALLAS (6-11-8, 26 points)
Sure, it was against the Rapids, but the offense sparking to life is a great sign for Dallas. Unfortunately, it’s likely too little, too late. (Sean – 13) … A win’s a win, even if it is over the Rapids. They still have a chance at the playoffs, but it isn’t likely in the West. (Ryan – 13)

14. (-1) CHIVAS USA (7-9-5, 26 points)
Huge, disappointing loss to the Galaxy in Shalrie Joseph’s first game, but the four games in hand means Chivas still can’t be counted out. (Sean – 14) … The acquisition of Sharlie Joseph wasn’t enough for their showdown with the Galaxy, as they suffered a tough 4-0 loss. (Ryan – 14)

15. PHILADELPHIA UNION (7-12-2, 23 points)
Back-to-back losses for the Union means the post-Nowak run is officially over. Still, a loss to the Fire is understandable and the Union are building towards 2013. (Sean – 16) … A 3-1 loss at home to the streaking Chicago Fire is more acceptable than a 1-0 loss at home to a beatable side. (Ryan – 15)

16. (-2) COLORADO RAPIDS (8-15-1, 25 points)
After finally getting a win last week, the Rapids were back to their losing ways again at Dallas. Time’s up if the Rapids were hoping to make a run. (Sean – 15) … A tough loss to Dallas and now they have some soul searching to do. (Ryan – 17)

17. (-2) NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (6-12-5, 23 points)
If the Revs feel calls are going against them, they could use it to rally together and as motivation. Instead they’re using it as an excuse for losses as they quickly enter the hunt for the wooden spoon and number 1 draft pick. Not making the postseason was OK for the 2012 Revs, progressively getting worse as the season went on? Not so much. (Sean – 17) … All hope is quickly going down the drain. This team has 11 left and most people are predicting they won’t win half of them. (Ryan – 16)

18. TORONTO FC (5-13-4, 19 points)
Got the week off before a busy stretch, but missing a ton of stars for the international fixture date should make for an last-place matchup with Portland. (Sean – 18) … A battle of the bottom of the barrel awaits as the host Portland. (Ryan – 18)

19. PORTLAND TIMBERS (5-12-5, 20 points)
Bye week and now the Timbers face a very winnable match-up with a depleted Toronto. Still, who is confident of them getting the result? (Sean – 19) … A chance to climb out of the last spot awaits with their date with Toronto. (Ryan – 19)

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