MLS Power Rankings, Week 5

BY foxsports • April 20, 2011

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 fifth weekend of the 2011 Major League Soccer season:

Rank (LW)   Team Record (W-L-D)
1 (1). Real Salt Lake 4-0-0

Last Week: Beat Colorado Rapids, 1-0, last Wednesday

This Week: at Monterrey, CONCACAF Champions League Final, on Wednesday

Outlook: RSL won a thriller against the Rapids, but the more important work comes in Mexico, where Jason Kreis’ team will look to earn a good result to set up a favorable task in game two of the Champions League Final in Utah.

2 (2). LA Galaxy 3-1-3

Last Week: Tied Toronto FC, 0-0, last Wednesday, beat Chicago, 2-1, last Sunday.

This Week: vs. Portland on Saturday.

Outlook: Winning and playing very well without Landon Donovan, David Beckham and Juninho has to boost the confidence of a bench that is better than people realize. The real questions still linger. How long will Donovan be sidelined and when will Juan Pablo Angel get going?

3 (4). Colorado Rapids 3-2-0

Last Week: Lost to Real Salt Lake, 1-0, last Wednesday

This Week: vs. Seattle Sounders on Friday.

Outlook: The Rapids gave RSL a tough test, but lost on a controversial last-minute goal. The two-game losing skid shouldn’t be too much of a cause for concern. The Rapids can get right back on track with a home win against the Sounders.

4 (3). Philadelphia Union 3-1-1

Last Week: Tied Seattle Sounders, 1-1, last Saturday.

This Week: Bye

Outlook: Defense was stingy yet again, but last-minute equalizer by Seattle’s Alvaro Fernandez had to sting. As good as Union’s defense is playing, having its match against Real Salt Lake rescheduled isn’t a bad thing for Philly.

5 (6). New York Red Bulls 2-1-2

Last Week: Beat San Jose Earthquakes, 3-0, last Saturday.

This Week: at D.C. United on Thursday

Outlook: Thierry Henry broke loose and Luke Rodgers looked very dangerous. Will Hans Backe keep Juan Agudelo on the bench now? We’ll find out against a tough D.C. team at RFK Stadium, which has been a traditional house of horrors for the Red Bulls.

6 (8).   Seattle Sounders 1-2-3

Last Week: Tied Philadelphia Union, 1-1, last Saturday

This Week: at Colorado Rapids, on Friday.

Outlook: Precious road point vs. Philly was great, but having Alvaro Fernandez contribute just as important. Will the disappointing DP get rolling now? Sounders will face a second straight tough defense on the road in Rapids side looking to snap losing streak.

7 (9). Houston Dynamo 2-1-1

Last Week: Beat New England Revolution, 1-0, last Sunday.

This Week: at Chicago Fire on Saturday.

Outlook: Dynamo offense is creating chances, but finishing made Revs game closer than it should have been. Just as key was recording a shutout for a defense that has had its shaky moments early in the season. Houston's aggressive pursuit of Benny Feilhaber makes you wonder if Dom Kinnear isn't considering moving Geoff Cameron back to central defense.

8 (14). DC United 2-2-1

Last Week: Beat Toronto FC, 3-0, last Saturday.

This Week: vs. New York Red Bulls on Thursday.

Outlook: Charlie Davies is looking like the old Davies, which bodes well for D.C. attack, and Chris Pontius is rounding into the attacking force he showed signs of becoming as a rookie. They’ll face a much tougher test against New York defense, but their speed could present problems for Red Bulls.

9 (15). Columbus Crew 2-1-1

Last Week: Beat Sporting Kansas City, 1-0, last Saturday.

This Week: at Toronto FC on Saturday.

Outlook: Columbus may still lack some offensive punch, but the Chad Marshall-led defense has rounded into a formidable bunch. Crew should have success containing TFC attack, but can the struggling Columbus offense get rolling against a suspect Toronto back-line?

10 (18). Portland Timbers 2-2-1

Last Week: Beat Chicago Fire, 4-2, last Thursday; beat FC Dallas, 3-2, last Sunday.

This Week: at Los Angeles on Saturday.

Outlook: What a difference a week makes. Timbers offense was supposed to be dangerous and finally showed it can be with two quality performances. Khalif Alhassan makes things go, while Jorge Perlaza looks primed for a big season. LA Galaxy should offer a stiff test to show us how legitimate Timbers really are.

11 (5). FC Dallas 1-3-1

Last Week: Lost to Portland, 3-2, last Sunday.

This Week: at Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday.

Outlook: Normally-stingy Dallas defense couldn’t cope with Portland’s midfield, something you didn’t hear happen to Dallas in 2010. Schellas Hyndman’s team was a model of consistency last season, but has struggled to find it this season. Trip to Vancouver is a tricky test.

12 (6). San Jose Earthquakes 1-2-2

Last Week: Lost, 3-0, to the New York Red Bulls last Saturday.

This Week: vs. Chivas USA. on Saturday.

Outlook: Embarrassing loss to New York raises questions about Earthquakes defense and just which two centerbacks should be playing between Brandon McDonald, Jason Hernandez and Ike Opara. Perfect cure for a struggling defense, Chivas USA, comes calling next.

13 (13). New England Revolution 1-2-3

Last Week: Lost to Houston Dynamo, 1-0, last Saturday.

This Week: vs. Sporting Kansas City on Saturday.

Outlook: Another loss for the Revs, but the good news came during the week with the acquisition of Benny Feilhaber. Sporting KC is a struggling opponent which the Revs should be able beat at home, especially with an improving defense looking like its coming together.

14 (10). Chicago Fire 1-3-1

Last Week: Lost to Portland Timbers, 4-2, last Thursday; lost to Los Angeles Galaxy, 2-1, last Sunday.

This Week: vs. Houston Dynamo on Saturday.

Outlook: What began as a promising start has suddenly turned into a worrisome three-match losing streak for the Fire, and having standout young goalkeeper Sean Johnson benched feels like a forced move.

15 (11). Sporting KC 1-2-1

Last Week: Lost to Columbus Crew, 1-0, last Saturday

This Week: at New England Revolution on Saturday.

Outlook: Officiating was certainly harsh on Kansas City, but Columbus defense shut down normally potent Sporting attack. Peter Vermes’ side has gone winless in three since opening with a win against Chivas USA, making its match at fellow strugglers New England so important.

16 (12). Vancouver Whitecaps 1-3-2

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

This Week: vs. FC Dallas on Saturday.

Outlook: Whitecaps another team that started strongly, but has faltered badly of late. The defense is a mess without a healthy Jay DeMerit, and upcoming opponent FC Dallas has the weapons to really punish Vancouver.

17 (16). Toronto FC 1-2-3

Last Week: Tied Los Angeles Galaxy, 0-0, last Wednesday; lost to D.C. United, 3-0, last Saturday.

This Week: vs. Columbus Crew on Saturday.

Outlook: TFC actually showed some promise in recent draws against San Jose and Los Angeles, but dismantling against D.C. United exposed just how much further Aron Winter’s rebuilding project has to go.

18 (17). Chivas USA 0-2-3

Last Week: Tied Vancouver Whitecaps, 0-0, last Saturday.

This Week: vs. San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.

Outlook: The defense is looking like a reasonable group, with recent move of Heath Pearce to centerback looking very good, but the offense continues to struggle to find the net. Some chances are created, but not nearly enough. Rojiblancos need strikers and a playmaker ASAP. Someone like, say, Benny Feilhaber.

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

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