PST’s Major League Soccer power rankings: Pre-playoff edition sees new boss, different from old boss

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The season’s final power rankings feature changes at the top and bottom of the Top 10 thanks to a colossal win and the impending playoffs, while a top-heavy Bottom 10 sees a fair bit of fluctuation as well.

Yes, these are our final power rankings until after MLS Cup, when we can assess who did what, disappointed whom and left us clamoring for more. Seattle dismissed L.A. over two matches to kick the Galaxy out of the top spot and give the Eastern Conference plenty of hope for the playoffs.

[ MORE: An recently uncapped MLS XI for Klinsmann’s perusal ]

What happened to this powerful unit in Los Angeles? Actually, it’s simple: if Robbie Keane can’t go, they are merely a great team instead of one possessing the potential for all-time greatness. Without Keane and Omar Gonzalez, as we saw last week, they are just a contender.

[ MORE: Last week’s rankings | Methodology ]

Fortunately for Galaxy fans, both of those players will be back for the matches that matter, but Seattle did enough to claim what some consider to be the season’s ultimate prize.

Here’s where it all shakes out for us:

RANKING Up/Down
source:  1 UP 1 Seattle Sounders: I’m not sure he loves it when you call him ‘Big Pappa’, but Marco straight-up punked the Galaxy to close out the Supporters Shield match. Obafemi Martins continues to look like a maestro who happens to play striker, and Clint Dempsey is playing so ornery that Sam Elliott is going to call him and tell him the sun will come up tomorrow. While that version of Dempsey could also come back to haunt the Sounders, they look great. Sigi Schmid’s a good manager, and could pull down the MLS treble (or as a bunch of inferiority-complex driven folks are bound to chime in with, “The Triple”, which sounds unfortunate). (20-10-4)
source:  2 DOWN 1 LA Galaxy: There isn’t much reason for Galaxy fans to panic. Surely Landon Donovan has a lot left in the tank for his final few games of club ball, and Gonzalez and Keane shall return. Really, this whole postseason is about Bruce Arena reminding them that they barely lost the Shield despite plenty of factors not in their favor. One good win and they could become the favorites again. (17-7-10)
source:  3 DC United: Ben Olsen’s boys just keep doing it, week-in and week-out (for the most part). The Luis Silva injury hurts a ton but the Black and Red have defied expectations all year. Why should that stop now? (17-9-8)
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4 New England Revolution: No one wants to see the Revs on their schedule right about now, regardless of the opposition’s form. Lee Nguyen and Jermaine Jones are making everyone around them better and Bobby Shuttleworth is making some big saves. If Jose Goncalves and Andrew Farrell bring their best, it could be curtains for the East. (17-13-4)
source:  5 Columbus Crew: Not trying to foreshadow anything here, but it’s hard to believe anyone’s done a better job than Gregg Berhalter (though the man below him in the rankings has an argument). (14-10-10)
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6 FC Dallas: Losing to a desperate Portland team is no big worry, but Dallas is barely holding this spot above Real Salt Lake. This week is a real test for Oscar Pareja, the manager who has pushed all the right buttons this season despite some tough obstacles to overcome. (16-12-6)
7 Real Salt Lake: RSL looks fine, and beating Chivas USA and having the bye isn’t quite enough to leapfrog FC Dallas. (15-8-11)
source:  8 Vancouver Whitecaps: There may not be a better pick-up in MLS than Kendall Waston, the stalwart defender who just added the most important goal in Whitecaps MLS history to his resume. Not too shabby. (12-8-14)
source:  9 New York Red Bulls: The winners of three of four have also been trounced by Columbus and L.A. in their last two losses. Lots of questions here, as they could go boom or bust. They did, however, have the touching story of the week(13-10-11)
source:  10 UP 2 Sporting KC: They are the champs, are rise to 10th based on that and the fact that no one below them is still playing. There’s a boat load of questions regarding Sporting, and Peter Vermes needs to do some bailing out. Bad news for the rest of the East; It’s a new season, and KC’s been battle-tested. (14-13-7)
source:  11 DOWN 1 Portland Timbers: Caleb Porter and company have to answer some big questions this offseason, but the biggest one might be: What if they didn’t lose their minds against what turned out to be a nothing Toronto FC team in the 3-2 come-from-ahead loss? Their 2-0 win showed they had the guts to go out hard, but did they overachieve last year or underachieve this year? (12-9-13)
source:  12 DOWN 1 Philadelphia Union: Things are looking up here. John Hackworth should be sticking around, Maurice Edu, Amobi Okugo and Andrew Wenger look ready to stay atop their games and Philly has an offseason to adjust their roster for a better run in a tougher than most think East. (10-12-12)
source:  13 UP 1 Montréal Impact: This six-win team should theoretically be much lower, but they’d be even money or favored if they played any bottom 10 team tomorrow and are still alive in the CONCACAF Champions League. Now how to do they replace Marco Di Vaio? (6-18-10)
source:  14 DOWN 1 Houston Dynamo: Dominic Kinnear’s move to San Jose ushers in an era of uncertainty. (11-17-6)
source:  15 Chicago Fire: Felt really good to watch Logan Pause go off into the sunset with a dramatic, fun win. Are they getting a Spurs man in the fold? (6-10-17)
source:  16 UP 1 Chivas USA: The last time we see the Goats on this list coming off a game week, Chivas USA can be proud of the way Wilmer Cabrera’s team battled down the stretch. Cheers to those who faithfully supported the team. What does their exit mean? (9-18-6)
source:  17 DOWN 1 Toronto FC: “monumental disappointment” can be considered an understatement: Now TFC’s star Premier League import is making sure his slighted by MLS voice is heard (11-15-8)
source:  T-18 San Jose Earthquakes: They’ve been very poor… (6-15-12)
source:  T-18 Colorado Rapids: … but then again, so have they. (8-18-8)