MLS Rankings: Week 22

Every week the New England Soccer Today crew will look beyond the standings to rank each of the 18 Major League Soccer (MLS) teams. This week Brian O’Connell and Sean Donahue contributed rankings. Comments are followed by the ranker’s name and the rank they gave that team.

1. LOS ANGELES GALAXY (13-3-9, 48 points)
Although they were off last weekend, the Galaxy made a huge splash in the transfer market by signing Robbie Keane. As Stevie Nicol said during his PressPass interview, “the strong get stronger.” (Brian – 1) … Off from league action, but add Robbie Keane and win their CCL opener. (Sean – 1)

2. FC DALLAS (12-6-7, 43 points)
Conceded a pair of penalties against Philly in their 2-2 draw, but their historic 1-0 win over Pumas  – the first time an American club won in 25 tries down in Mexico – may give them some considerable momentum down the stretch. (Brian – 2) … Gave away two points in Philly, but pick up a historic win in Mexico. Have I mentioned MLS MVP David Ferreira is likely to return before the playoffs? (Sean – 2)

3. (-1) SEATTLE SOUNDERS (11-5-9, 42 points)
Followed up a disappointing scoreless draw to Chivas USA with a 4-1 throttling of Comunicaciones in CCL play. They’ll need a similar performance against Dallas this weekend. (Brian – 3) … Unlucky not to find the back of the net against Chivas with numerous opportunities including a missed PK. Impressive CCL debut despite an early red card. (Sean – 3)

4. COLORADO RAPIDS (10-6-10, 40 points)
Winners of four of their last five, the Rapids are building a formidable run in the final third of the season. Their 3-2 win over Metapan will only bolster their confidence against Chivas USA. (Brian – 4) … The Rapids can count themselves lucky in their win over San Jose, but the defending Champs keep rolling with an impressive win in their midweek CCL opener. (Sean – 4)

5. (+1) COLUMBUS CREW (10-7-7, 37 points)
Get three unanswered goals against the hapless Revs as the Crew pad their point lead over Philly – who they’ll be playing this week in a titanic Eastern Conference showdown. (Brian – 5) … Overpowered the Revs in a quick recovery from their loss to the Rapids. (Sean – 5)

6. (+2) PHILADELPHIA UNION (8-5-10, 34 points)
They may have been lucky to get not one, but two, penalties against Dallas, but either way, they’ll be playing for the top of the standings this week against Columbus. (Brian – 6) … Sure they tied Dallas at home… thanks to two penalties… but Philadelphia is now winless in four. (Sean – 7)

7. (+1) SPORTING KANSAS CITY (8-7-9, 33 points)
Off last weekend, but came back to claim a 3-1 win over Portland. Will Graham Zusi’s form steer Sporting to one of the three Eastern Conference playoff spots? (Brian – 8 ) … Recovered from their first loss in 14 games to trounce Portland 3-1. Kansas City may still challenge for tops in the East. (Sean – 6)

8. (-3) REAL SALT LAKE (10-6-6, 36 points)
Stunning 1-0 loss to Toronto leads me to believe that Salt Lake may not be as primed for a deep playoff run this season. (Brian – 7)  … Sorry Salt Lake, but losing to Toronto is inexcusable. (Sean – 8 )

9. (+1) D.C UNITED (7-6-9, 30 points)
Pummeled Vancouver with a 4-0 win in which four different DC goalscorers emerged. But again, until they can put together some consistency, it’s hard to believe they’ll make an impact in November. (Brian – 10) … De Rosario means D.C. can now never be counted out. (Sean – 9)

10. (-3) CHIVAS USA (7-8-9, 30 points)
Two weeks ago, it was Chivas offense that led the way to points. Last weekend, it was their stifling D that kept them level with Seattle in their 0-0 draw. (Brian – 9) … Very lucky for Seattle’s wastefulness in their scoreless draw. Still not sold on this team. (Sean – 11)

11. HOUSTON DYNAMO (7-7-11, 32 points)
2-1 victory over Portland nudged the Dynamo up the standings, but they’re lethargic strike rate is holding them back from advancing further. (Brian – 11) … Grabbed a dramatic equalizer against New England, but with better finishing they could’ve won in a blowout. Can Houston get their offense on track? (Sean – 10)

12. (-1) NEW YORK RED BULLS (6-6-13, 31 points)
Another game, another draw for the underachieving Red Bulls. Don’t look now, but with K.C., Philly, and Columbus all improving, the Red Bulls are in sudden danger of hitting the links early this fall. (Brian – 12) … Way too talented to be playing as bad as they are right now. Was Emirates Cup win just a fluke? (Sean – 12)

13. PORTLAND TIMBERS (7-12-5, 26 points)
Lost a pair of games to Houston and K.C. and suddenly, the playoffs are becoming a mirage for the expansion side. (Brian – 13) … Tough road trip for the Timbers and I think they left their playoff hopes at Livestrong Sporting Park. (Sean – 13)

14. (+2) TORONTO FC (4-11-11, 23 points)
Punk’d Salt Lake with an astonishing 1-0 win, but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves: Toronto’s going nowhere in the league. (Brian – 14) … Shocking win for Toronto, but can they build on it? My initial reaction is ‘no’. (Sean – 14)

15. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (5-9-10, 25 points)
Squander the lead late to a resurgent Rapids side and all but watch their playoff dreams disappear in the process. (Brian – 15) … Will feel hard done by the calls that went against them, but unfortunately San Jose have put themselves in a position where they need results, not excuses. (Sean – 15)

16. (-2) NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (4-11-10, 22 points)
If there was any doubt that the Revs aren’t built for the playoffs, I introduce to you the second half of the Revs 3-1 loss to Columbus. (Brian – 16) … Two lucky first half leads followed by two epic second half collapses. Better luck in 2012. (Sean – 16)

17. (+1) CHICAGO FIRE (2-7-14, 20 points)
It’s only fitting that the two teams with the highest draw totals battle to a 2-2 tie last weekend. At least it was an exciting tie. (Brian – 17) … A road draw in New York would’ve been impressive four months ago, now it’s just comical the new ways the Fire find to get ties. (Sean – 17)

18. (-2) VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (3-12-9, 18 points)
The end of the season can’t come soon enough, as the ‘Caps get torched for four goals against D.C. Best they can hope for at this point is to finish above Toronto for bragging rights up north. Hey, it’s something, right? (Brian – 18) … Remembered to cover De Rosario, forgot about the other nine players. Another bad night for Vancouver. (Sean – 18)

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About Sean Donahue and Brian O'Connell

Sean Donahue has been covering the New England Revolution since 2002 for various publications. He hosted Revolution Recap, a weekly radio program covering the New England Revolution and U.S. Men's National Team from 2005-2008. He is a member of the North American Soccer Reporters, and can be reached via e-mail at nesoccertoday@gmail.com. Brian O'Connell has covered the New England Revolution since 2006, and has written extensively for the Associated Press, Revsnet.com, and New England Soccer News. He is a member of the North American Soccer Reporters, and can be easily reached at BOConnell21@aol.com.