PST’s Major League Soccer power rankings: West battles at top, bottom

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There’s plenty of stagnation in this week’s power rankings, but up the Goats!

Chivas USA picked up a big win this weekend and, coupled with the struggles of San Jose and Colorado, we’ve found a new team at the bottom of the power rankings.

In fact, at some point we’re going to have the “chicken or egg” discussion regarding the Western and Eastern Conferences. It’s been a point of fact in the media that the West is this constant slugfest, but it’s the East that seems to have the real battles going on right now.

In fact, it feels more like the West has the two best overall teams in MLS before the East slides in for a few slots. Los Angeles and Seattle are the electric attacks you can’t help but admire, but after that the third-best team is up for discussion.

[ MORE: Last week’s rankings | Methodology ]

Here’s where it all shakes out for us:

RANKING Up/Down
source:  1 LA Galaxy: Wow. (17-5-9)
source:  2 UP 2 Seattle Sounders: Who needs to defend when Obafemi Martins, Clint Dempsey, Marco Pappa and company are burying bullets in the back of the net? Seattle looks super dangerous, but it’s worth noting they’ve blasted Colorado and Chivas USA. (19-8-3)
source:  3 DOWN 1 DC United: Consistent goal production is the biggest concern here, though a lot of their failures in a 0-0 draw against Sporting KC had to do with Andy Gruenebaum’s strong goalkeeping. Can defend with anyone, but will that be enough against Henry/BWP or Jones/Nguyen when it all shakes out in the playoffs? (15-9-7)
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4 UP 1 New England Revolution: With respect to DC, it’s starting to feel like Jay Heaps’ squad is the team to beat in the East. Jermaine Jones has found his seacoast legs, and goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth is in form as well. (15-13-3)
source:  5 UP 1 New York Red Bulls: Rebounded from their mugging in L.A. to beat a desperate Houston team. Bradley Wright-Phillips let fly with an arsenal of shots, but Titi reminded everyone that the real NY MVP is from south of the channel.  (11-9-11)

6 DOWN 3 Real Salt Lake: The Vancouver loss is the straw that breaks our power-ranking camel’s back. We wanted to believe in RSL as a club with Seattle and Los Angeles as above the fray but it’s harder and harder to make the argument with anything other than cries of “History!” (13-8-10)
source:  7 Columbus Crew: There is zero shame in losing to New England right now, and Revs keeper Bobby Shuttleworth was fantastic in the 2-1 win in Foxboro. Two of three remaining matches are against suddenly-struggling Philadelphia.  (11-10-10)
source:  8 FC Dallas: Just six of their last 18 available points have been claimed by FCD. The Galaxy, Rapids and Timbers remain, and the number in the win column may end up being their biggest ally. (14-11-6)
source:  9 UP 4 Vancouver Whitecaps: This is what Carl Robinson was hoping to find from back-to-back home games against Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas. They were wins with both grit and creativity. Taking points from Seattle this week would set the stage for the postseason; Only Colorado and San Jose remain after the Sounders tilt. (10-8-13)
source:  10 Portland Timbers: Full marks for rebounding from the heartbreaking loss to Toronto FC with a win at San Jose. With the same opponents this week, it feels a bit symbolic to watch a team that’s been inconsistent try to do it once more…with feeling. (10-9-12)
source:  11 Houston Dynamo: They gave it an honest try, and nearly made it. (10-14-6)
source:  12 DOWN 3 Philadelphia Union: Those of us who were believers are feeling pretty spurned by recent events, but watching Rais M’Bohli’s stoppage time error cancel out Amobi Okugo’s potentially-legend making late winner was hard to watch. Amobi deserved that thing. (9-10-12)
source:  13 DOWN 1 Toronto FC: Yes, it’s what happens when you play the Galaxy, but you’d still like to see something more from the playoff-battling club. The playoffs can’t be made this week, but they can absolutely be lost in a two-match stretch(11-12-7)
source:  14 Sporting KC: Without Andy Gruenebaum’s seven saves on Friday, who knows where the good ship Reigning Champs would be headed? (13-11-7)
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15 Montréal Impact: Marco Di Vaio is retiring, and the Impact will need to do something special to send him out with a decent ending; Montreal finishes with New England, Toronto and DC. If Jack McInerney’s bicycle kick goal wasn’t ruled offsides, they beat Chicago. (6-18-7)
source:  16 Chicago Fire: The Fire cannot stop tying games, making the 2013 Timbers look like amateurs in the realm of splitting points. Chicago’s going to look much different next season without Logan Pause, but how much better would they be with Jermaine Jones? (5-8-17)
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17 San Jose Earthquakes: Hasn’t won since Oct. 2. Will they pick up a W before the end of the season? With Portland, RSL, Vancouver and Chivas USA left, it could come down to the final week. (6-13-11)
source:  18 UP 1 Chivas USA: Still not positive this is the right play, but the Goats have been angling for a way out of the basement for a while. The win over a Real Salt Lake that needed a point was impressive on the heels of challenging Seattle the previous week. Enjoy a week up here. (7-18-6)
source:  19 DOWN 1 Colorado Rapids: Last year seems so long ago, but so does the Rapids last win. It came July 25, 3-0 over Chivas USA, and they’ll need to beat the Goats this week if they want out of the basement.  (8-15-8)