MLS Rankings: Week 23

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 (14-3-9, 51 points)

Robbie Keane makes an unforgettable first impression, scoring in his debut as the Galaxy beat San Jose and show no signs of slowing down as the postseason approaches. (Brian – 1) … Keane makes an already strong Galaxy team clear favorites to win the Cup. (Sean – 1)

2. (+1) SEATTLE SOUNDERS (12-5-9, 45 points)

CCL win over Comunicaciones along with a 1-0 win over Dallas has the Sounders streaking down the homestretch. If they keep it up, they may provide the Galaxy a formidable challenge should they meet in the postseason. (Brian – 2) … 1-0 road win over Dallas and cruising in CCL play makes the Sounders an easy choice at #2. (Seam – 2)

3. (-1) FC DALLAS (12-7-7, 43 points)

One win in their last five, Dallas has to find a way to reclaim their earlier season form if they don’t want to burn out down the stretch. (Brian – 3) … Loss to Seattle hurts, but CCL results show Dallas is still on the right track. (Sean – 3)

4. COLORADO RAPIDS (10-6-11, 41 points)

Discouraging 2-2 draw to Chivas deflates some of the momentum the Rapids recently picked up. Luckily, they have an easy match against Chicago on tap to help them get back on track. (Brian – 4) … Disappointing tie at home vs. Chivas followed by a disappointing road draw at Real España in Honduras after giving up a late equalizer means the Rapids could really use a big win over a struggling Chicago this weekend. (Sean – 4)

5. COLUMBUS CREW (11-7-7, 40 points)

Beat Philly 2-1 to finally show that there’s life in the Eastern Conference. Unless Philly or K.C. go on a late run, it’s the Crew’s conference to lose. (Brian – 5) … The Crew made the East firmly theirs with a win over Philly, but they can’t rest on their laurels because of the great form of…

6. (+1) SPORTING KANSAS CITY (9-7-9, 36 points)

Edged DC 1-0 thanks to Kei Kamara’s bullet from outside of the box. Let’s see if they can keep winning against Dallas. (Brian – 6) … Already looking like a potential dark horse going into the playoffs, KC is hot and could still catch the Crew. (Sean – 6)

7. (+1) REAL SALT LAKE (10-7-6, 36 points)

Last minute 3-2 loss to Houston makes it official: Salt Lake is slumping. With a road game at Chivas this weekend, it’ll take a renewed effort to get back in the win column. (Brian – 7) … Coach Kreis is starting to call out his team for their recent poor performances. Will it have an effect? (Sean – 7)

8. (+3) HOUSTON DYNAMO (8-6-10, 34 points)

Rally back to beat Salt Lake 3-2 and get some measure of success in the waning weeks of the regular season. With the Whitecaps up next, Houston’s march to the playoffs should continue. (Brian – 8 ) … Excellent 8-3-3 home record is carrying the team, but being winless on the road doesn’t give much hope for the playoffs. (Sean – 8 )

T9. (+1) CHIVAS USA (7-9-10, 31 points)– Go punch for punch with Colorado and get an impressive draw, but fall 1-0 to Portland to end their five-game road trip (Really, MLS schedule makers? Really?) (Brian – 9) … Home draw with the Rapids was nice, but if they are going to go anywhere, they need to be able to beat expansion teams like Portland on the road. (Sean – 10)

T9. (-3) PHILADELPHIA UNION (8-6-10, 34 points) – Slumping down the stretch, Philly needs to resuscitate its playoff hopes as they’re form has slipped since their 3-0 over New England on July 17. Luckily, they’ll face New England again this weekend. (editor’s note: game has been postponed to Sept. 7th) (Brian – 10) … Cold as ice, but with a game in hand on the Crew, the East hasn’t fallen out of reach quite yet. (Sean – 9)

11. (-2) D.C.UNITED (7-7-10, 31 points)

Drop a disheartening 1-0 loss to K.C. and are on the outside looking in at the playoff picture. It’s going to take some much needed consistency to pull themselves back in. (Brian – 11) … Bizarrely rested some players in K.C. and paid for it. Hard to justify resting players regardless of the schedule when points are at such a premium. (Sean – 11)

12. (+1) PORTLAND TIMBERS (9-12-5, 32 points)

Get the expected three points from Vancouver, but their loss to K.C. only goes to show that although they’re right on the cusp of a playoff berth, they may not be a legitimate postseason club. (Brian – 12) … Good home form can only get you so far. Portland still needs to find a way to get results on the road or it will be a tough path to the playoffs. (Sean – 12)

13. (-1) NEW YORK RED BULLS (6-6-14, 32 points)

Came back from a 2-goal deficit to earn another draw, this time against the Revs. Even so, New York cannot keep picking up a point here and a point there to stay in the playoff hunt. (Brian – 13) … They talked about needing three points from New England in the lead up to the match, but they didn’t get them. Can’t afford to keep dropping points. (Sean – 13)

T14. (+3) CHICAGO FIRE (3-7-15, 24 points)

In a battle of two of the worst sides in the league, Chicago gets a 2-0 win over Toronto and escape the Eastern Conference basement with the Revs’ 2-2 draw. (Brian – 14) … Finally a victory, but even a dying ember flickers every once in a while. (Sean – 15)

T14. (+2) NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (4-11-11, 23 points)

Even with a 2-goal lead, the Revs can’t close it out, as they draw 2-2 to New York. With the playoffs all but out of the picture, the Revs need to focus on improving their form and, perhaps, playing spoiler against a few contenders. (Brian – 15) … Head coach Steve Nicol didn’t think a sub would’ve helped late in the game when the team was clearly gassed. If that’s a statement on the depth of the team, it’s going to take one hell of a rebuilding process to get this team to the playoffs next season. (Sean – 14)

T16. (-1) SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (5-10-10, 25 points)

2-0 loss to L.A. extends their free fall to 12-straight without a win. Think Frank Yallop’s on the hot seat? (Brian – 17) … Time to call it on their playoff hopes. What happened? (Sean -16)

T16. (-2) TORONTO FC (4-12-11, 23 points)

If only Toronto could convert its CCL form to league play. Fall 2-0 to the hapless Fire, and all but roll over into last place as a result. (Brian – 16) … New additions looked good on paper, but Toronto still can’t get its act together. (Sean – 17)

18.  VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (3-13-9, 18 points)

2-1 loss to rival Portland, along with Eric Hassli’s antics, just goes to show that the front office has a lot of work to do this winter. (Brian – 18) … Shame Hassli’s talent gets overshadowed by his attitude at times. Expect more from a DP. Disappointing game 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.