Oh, the challenges that await a man altering another man’s power rankings.
Fortunately, we have PST’s underlying methodology to work with, which essentially says if two teams, given recent form, were to face off at this very moment, who would win (among other qualifications, but we digress)
But outside of that comes more questions: how differently have one team’s fortunes been viewed by separate sets of eyeballs? Will it be doubled-vision or double vision (Not the song, though we hope it fails to get the best of us).
It was a fun week for Major League Soccer, in any event, with Chicago and DC United playing a thrilling 3-3 tie and Bradley Wright-Phillips getting all sorts of nasty for a New York team that is looking pretty much for real. Columbus and New England engaged in a “Who’s for real?” battle that left us thinking they both might be, while Real Salt Lake went nuts on the floundering Rapids.
Where does that leave us? Here:
LA Galaxy: Perhaps the Galaxy opened the door for a team to make a claim for the top spot, but the fact of the matter is that no one’s walked in. The Galaxy’s 2-1 win over FC Dallas was perfectly fine after draws against San Jose and Montreal provided a bit of “meh”. L.A. hasn’t lost since Aug. 16, and hasn’t dropped consecutive games all season (15-5-9)
Real Salt Lake: Responded to their 3-2 loss to Seattle by absolutely destroying Colorado at Rio Tinto on Friday night. The 5-1 win was emblematic of what RSL can be when humming, dangerous from every location and position. A trip to angry Vancouver is a decent test on Saturday (13-6-10)
Philadelphia Union: Surely some will question Philly being higher than KC and DC, but the Union sandwiched draws around their US Open Cup loss vs Seattle to prove depth. They’ll have every chance to back it up Saturday against DC, so ask yourself: would you want to play Philadelphia right now? (9-9-11)
New York Red Bulls: This is a big jump if only based on a 4-1 thumping of a tired, Open Cup-weary Seattle squad which had traversed the country, but not when you consider New York is unbeaten in four. Those matches include wins over KC, DC and the Sounders, plus a draw against Philly. And… BWP!(10-8-11)
Seattle Sounders: The now four-time Open Cup champions were soundly defeated by New York on the weekend, but that doesn’t negate the now-snapped four-game MLS win streak and USOC win. A real chance to regress comes Wednesday against Dallas. (17-8-3)
DC United: Now winless in three, DC threw away a 3-2 lead against Chicago. With Philly and KC on the horizon, Ben Olsen and his new contract have some work to do to stay on top. (14-9-6)
Portland Timbers: Caleb Porter’s club promises to infuriate this rankings for the next few weeks. The Timbers are a solid win over a decent opponent away from being one of the scariest teams going, but since June have beaten only Montreal, Vancouver, Colorado and Chivas USA. They face San Jose twice and Toronto before that big chance against Real Salt Lake in the season’s penultimate fixture. (9-8-12)
Columbus Crew: Gregg Berhalter’s team ended New England’s five-match winning streak, in turn moving their record to 4W-1L-1T over its last six. That includes the Revs win and a victory over the Galaxy. Not bad if you want to move towards belief in the club. How about a high-five for Tony Tchani as an unsung player? (10-9-10)
New England Revolution: A three-slot drop is more indicative of the muddled picture of quality from slots 6-11 than anything else, as the Revs just saw a five-match win streak halted this weekend. With Sporting and Columbus on the horizon, a rise is quite possible. (13-13-3)
FC Dallas: Oscar Pareja is a solid coach, no doubt, but one win from four and that win coming against a Vancouver team desperately seeking answers? Perhaps we allotted too much credit to past results. A mid-week win against Seattle could make us blush a bit. (13-10-6)
Sporting KC: They didn’t play this week, and move up? Yeah. Power rankings, everybody!! Sporting will look to build off their destruction of Chivas USA by taking care of New England this week, a task more difficult than it would’ve seemed weeks ago (13-10-6)
Houston Dynamo: There’s an argument to be made for the Dynamo, unbeaten in four against some decent opposition. Their eight-game winless streak from earlier this year might be dancing a bit too actively in our memories. (9-13-6)
Montréal Impact: The Impact have become almost the soccer equivalent of baseball’s Mendoza Line. They hold a 3W-3L-1T record since their massive losing streak ended, and have been about as average as you can get. Their awful six win season says they should be lower, but they aren’t an auto-win. (6-17-6)
Vancouver Whitecaps: What is happening here? Such a promising squad has just one win since topping KC on Aug. 10 and has dropped out of a playoff spot following a 3-0 loss to Portland that was a dismal performance in a critical, crucial, close-to-must-have situation (8-8-13)
Chicago Fire: Credit for coming back from a 3-1 deficit to DC is due, but the team of many draws isn’t inspiring enough confidence to think it could raise its level above the 15 slot. (5-7-16)
San Jose Earthquakes: The brief resurgence that came just after Chris Wondolowski returned from the World Cup feels like ancient history for San Jose, which hasn’t won in nine outings and didn’t inspire much confidence in a 2-0 loss to Montreal on the weekend. (6-12-10)
Toronto FC: A win is a win is a win, even when it’s over Chivas USA. It’s very easy to forget that TFC’s season is still very rescuable; A win in their match-in-hand draws the club level with Columbus for the final spot. A visit from Portland this weekend will be well worth monitoring. How bout it, Michael Bradley? (10-11-7)
Colorado Rapids: Colorado’s only win since the calendar turned to July is over Chivas USA. July. Chivas USA. (8-14-7)
Chivas USA: It’s just starting to feel mean. Bring on the rebrand. (6-17-6)