MLS Power Rankings, Week 4

MLS Power Rankings, Week 4

Published Apr. 12, 2011 1:00 a.m. ET

Editor's note: After each weekend's action, senior staff writer Ives Galarcep ranks Major League Soccer's 18 teams in FOX Soccer's Major League Soccer Power Rankings. Here is Ives's order after the fourth weekend of the 2011 Major League Soccer season:

Rank Team Record (W-L-D)
1. Real Salt Lake 3-0-0

Last Week: Lost to Deportivo Saprissa, 2-1, last Tuesday in CONCACAF Champions League but advanced to final, 3-2 on aggregate. Defeated New England, 2-0, last Saturday.

This Week: vs. Colorado Rapids on Wednesday;

Outlook: RSL’s reserves delivered an impressive road win against New England, but the toughest league test to date awaits on Wednesday against Colorado.

2. LA Galaxy 2-1-1

Last Week: Tied D.C. United, 1-1, last Saturday.

This Week: at Toronto FC on Wednesday, at Chicago Fire on Sunday.

Outlook: The Galaxy should be heading into this busy week with a 3-1-1 record, but not for a phantom penalty call against D.C. United. Put in a solid performance without Landon Donovan, but a rough road swing this week will provide an even tougher test.

3. Philadelphia Union 3-1-0

Last Week: Defeated New York Red Bulls, 1-0, last Saturday.

This Week: vs. Seattle Sounders

Outlook: Philadelphia rebounded from a slow start to beat the Red Bulls and post its third shutout in four matches. The Seattle Sounders should provide a tough test for the stingy Union defense, while we continue to wait for Sebastien LeToux and Danny Mwanga to find their 2010 form.

4. Colorado Rapids 3-1-0

Last Week: Lost to FC Dallas, 3-0, last Friday.

This Week: at Real Salt Lake on Wednesday.

Outlook: The Rapids came out flat and were punished severely by a desperate and talented FC Dallas squad. Colorado won’t have much time to recover as a trip to Rio Tinto Stadium awaits.

5. FC Dallas 1-2-1

Last Week: Defeated Colorado Rapids, 3-0, last Friday.

This Week: vs. Portland on Sunday

Outlook: After suffering two straight losses in games where players were issued red cards, Dallas looked every bit like the team that reached last year’s MLS Cup Final. With Fabian Castillo looking dangerous, and Brek Shea looking good at left back, FC Dallas may be ready to go on a roll.

6. New York Red Bulls 1-1-2

Last Week: Lost to Philadelphia Union, 1-0, last Saturday

This Week: vs. San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.

Outlook: Finishing continues to be a problem for the Red Bulls, who dominated possession against Philadelphia but had nothing to show for it. Now comes San Jose, an improved team that happens to be the same team that eliminated New York from last year’s playoffs.

7. San Jose Earthquakes 1-1-2

Last Week: Tied Toronto FC, 1-1, last Saturday

This Week: at New York Red Bulls on Saturday

Outlook: Fell behind early but rallied for a tie agains Toronto in a match the Earthquakes needed to win at home. San Jose will face a Red Bulls team desperate for three points, and desperate for some revenge after last year’s playoff series.

8. Seattle Sounders 1-2-2

Last Week: Defeated Chicago Fire, 2-1, last Saturday.

This Week: vs. Philadelphia Union on Saturday

Outlook: The Sounders offense enjoyed arguably its best game of the season, and without Fredy Montero, in beating Chicago as Steve Zakuani, Mauro Rosales and O’Brian White formed a dangerous trio. Scoring chances will be tougher to come by against Union defense that has allowed one goal in four games this season.

9. Houston Dynamo 1-1-2

Last Week: Defeated Vancouver Whitecaps, 3-1, last Sunday.

This Week: vs. New England Revolution on Sunday

Outlook: Dynamo dismantled Vancouver’s weak defense on the strength of Brad Davis’ creativity. New England should provide tougher test, but Houston is looking good despite the absence of injured star Brian Ching.

10. Chicago Fire 1-1-1

Last Week: Lost to Seattle Sounders, 2-1, last Saturday.

This Week: at Portland Timbers on Thursday, vs. Los Angeles Galaxy on Sunday.

Outlook: Diego Chaves continues to look like the real deal, but the Fire defense was exposed by Seattle’s speed. A trip to Portland’s inaugural home match will be a stiff test, as will a visit from the Galaxy. We’ll know a lot more about this Fire team after this week.

11. Sporting KC 1-1-1

Last Week: Bye

This Week: at Columbus Crew

Outlook: Having a week off to think about blowing a three-goal lead could either be great timing, or bad timing. Sporting defense will now face a Columbus attack that isn’t exactly imposing, while Teal Bunbury looks to keep his hot streak going.

12. Vancouver Whitecaps 1-2-2

Last Week: Tied New England, 1-1, last Wednesday; Lost to Houston Dynamo, 3-1, last Sunday.

This Week: vs. Chivas USA on Saturday.

Outlook: Whether it was fatigue of playing twice in four days, or just lack of quality, the Whitecaps defense looked an absolute mess against Houston. Jay DeMerit’s groin injury is a concern, though facing a toothless Chivas USA attack should help Vancouver defense recover.

13. New England Revolution 1-1-3

Last Week: Tied Vancouver, 1-1, last Wednesday; lost to Real Salt Lake, 2-0 last Saturday.

This Week: at Houston Dynamo on Sunday.

Outlook: The Revs offense continues to sputter, and losing at home to an RSL reserve team had to strike a blow to New England’s confidence. The arrival of Danish forward Rajko Lekic will have to wait another week, meaning forward Zack Schilawski will have another chance to show he should keep playing.

14. DC United 1-2-1

Last Week: Tied Los Angeles Galaxy, 1-1, last Saturday

This Week: at Toronto FC on Saturday

Outlook: Offense continues to struggle though the group showed some glimpses. Charlie Davies’ dive will live in infamy, but D.C. will gladly take the point it earned. Road trip to Toronto FC is a vital match, but one that could prove to be much tougher than expected.

15. Columbus Crew 1-1-2

Last Week: Tied Chivas USA, 0-0, last Saturday

This Week: vs. Sporting Kansas City on Saturday

Outlook: After looking so good against a 10-man FC Dallas, the Crew offense reverted to its hapless ways, struggling against a usually vulnerable Chivas USA defense. Sporting KC’s defense isn’t exactly stingy either, so Eddie Gaven and Co. will have no excuses not to find the net.

16. Toronto FC 1-1-2

Last Week: Tied San Jose, 1-1, last Saturday

This Week: vs. Los Angeles on Wednesday; vs. D.C. United on Saturday.

Outlook: One of the more underrated results of the past week, TFC gaining a point in San Jose is impressive, though the Earthquakes had more of the ball and more chances. The return of Julian DeGuzman should help as TFC hits an important week with two home games.

17. Chivas USA 0-2-2

Last Week: Tied Columbus Crew, 0-0, last Saturday

This Week: at Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday

Outlook: Offense continues to struggle, but a makeshift centerback tandem of Heath Pearce and Zarek Valentin didn’t do too badly. Pearce looked good in the middle, though he’s likely to return to fullback when Jimmy Conrad returns. Chivas USA’s defense had better be ready because Vancouver’s attack is dangerous.

18. Portland Timbers 0-2-1

Last Week: Bye

This Week: vs. Chicago Fire on Thursday; vs. FC Dallas on Sunday

Outlook: The first home game in team MLS history should give the expansion side some motivation, with the bye week giving John Spencer time to fashion a plan of attack against a fiesty Fire side. Dallas should provide a much stiffer test this weekend.

Ives Galarcep is a senior writer for covering Major League Soccer and the U.S. national team.