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Wednesday, May 25, 2011
MLS Power Rankings: Galaxy on top

By Scott French

Real Salt Lake, step down. There's a new No. 1 in our power rankings, and the last time it visited Utah, it took a 4-1 spanking.

Since then, and really in the past month, the Galaxy is Major League Soccer's best club, both in the standings -- 6-2-5, with 23 points, five more than anyone else -- and on the field. For that, thanks go to Landon Donovan, in his best form since 2009; to David Beckham, the best passer in MLS; to a shut-down defense that has prospered even when mistakes are made; and to a blend of the old kill-the-game approach with a new possession style of play.

Once L.A. gets the hang of holding onto the ball, watch out, MLS, indeed.

L.A. ought to be 8-2-3, at least: Lose the phantom penalty in D.C. and ditch Sean Franklin's giveaway in Philly, and the Galaxy is on its way to another Supporters' Shield. As it stands, the big three -- L.A., RSL and the New York Red Bulls -- tower over the rest of the league, and who's really No. 1 shifts from game to game.

This week's rankings:




1. GALAXY (6-2-5, 23 points), Last week: 2
Week 10: Chad Barrett
flicks home Beckham's free kick in a 1-0 SuperClasico triumph
Remark: Beckham's trek to Old Trafford? Well, OK. But 90 minutes was unthinkable
Every minute, every game: Left back Todd Dunivant has gone 1170 minutes already
Next: Wednesday vs. Houston at Home Depot Center (Carson), 7:30 p.m. (Prime Ticket); Saturday at New England, 5 p.m. (Fox Sports West and Galavision)

2. REAL SALT LAKE (5-1-2, 17 points), Last week: 1
Week 10:
Survives 1-hour, 52-minute rain delay in Dallas, unlike Galaxy doesn't concede at the end in 0-0 draw
Remark: Injuries and Gold Cup sacrifices has Jason Kreis quipping about returning to the field. The man did score 108 MLS goals
Every minute, every game: Nobody, but RSL's depth is pretty good (and its injury troubles debilitating)
Next: Saturday vs. Seattle, 6 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

3. NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-2-4, 16 points), Last week: 3
Week 10: Mehdi Ballouchy
's stoppage-time header delivers 2-2 draw in Houston
Remark: Ailing Thierry Henry will play against defending champs because, with Gold Cup departures coming, Bulls “have to make sure we win no matter how.”
Every minute, every game: Right back Jan Gunnar Solli is the only Bull with 900 minutes
Next: Wednesday vs. Colorado, 5 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick); Saturday at Vancouver, 2:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)
4. FC DALLAS (5-3-3, 18 points), Last week: 4
Week 10:
No Brek Shea magic this time -- Hoops settle for 0-0 with RSL
Remark: “Superficial” Dallas: “All hat, no cap”? Dynamo ads for Texas tussle takes a poke at “the biggest city in Oklahoma”
Every minute, every game: Defensive spine, from goalkeeper Kevin Hartman to center back George John to central midfielder Daniel Hernandez, have played 990 minutes
Next: Wednesday at Seattle, 7 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick); Saturday at Houston, 5:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

5. SEATTLE SOUNDERS (4-3-5, 17 points), Last week: 5
Week 10:
Player of the Week Jeff Parke's header deep into stoppage beats Sporting Kansas City, 1-0
Remark: Mauro Rosales' return a plus for back-to-back showdowns with Hoops, RSL
Every minute, every game: The leader in the back (goalkeeper Kasey Keller) and in the middle (holding midfielder Osvaldo Alonso) have posted 1080s
Next: Wednesday vs. FC Dallas, 7 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick); Saturday at Real Salt Lake, 6 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

6. HOUSTON DYNAMO (3-3-5, 14 points), Last week: 6
Week 10: Koke
's would-be winner spoiled by Mehdi Ballouchy in 2-2 draw with New York
Remark: Four games without a win? “I think we’re playing well,” Dominic Kinnear says. “I’m not trying to make the sun shine, but I told the guys, ‘Be disappointed; I am.’ … All in all, I really like what I’m seeing from the team.”
Every minute, every game: Goalkeeper Tally Hall, defender Andre Hainault and midfielder Lovel Palmer have played the full 990
Next: Wednesday at Galaxy, 7:30 p.m. (Prime Ticket); Saturday vs. FC Dallas, 5:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

7. COLORADO RAPIDS (4-3-4, 16 points), Last week: 7
Week 10:
Attack is absent in 0-0 draw with Toronto FC
Remark: Gary Smith says he needs to “bring in a witch doctor” to fins some offense
Every minute, every game: It's a team full of iron men -- goalkeeper Matt Pickens, defenders Drew Moor and Kosuke Kimura, and midfielder Jeff Larentowicz are up to 990
Next: Wednesday at New York, 5 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick); Saturday vs. Sporting Kansas City, 6 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

8. PHILADELPHIA UNION (5-3-2, 17 points), Last week: 9
Week 10: Carlos Ruiz
's wonder goal beats Chicago, 2-1
Remark: Goal of the year? Might be, and it sent Union atop the East
Every minute, every game: Goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon, defender Carlos Valdes and forward Sebastien Le Toux are Philly's 900-minute club
Next: Saturday at Toronto FC, 9:30 a.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

9. PORTLAND TIMBERS (5-3-2, 17 points), Last week: 10
Week 10: Eric Brunner
's header beats his old team, crushes Crew, 1-0
Remark: Captain Jack Jewsbury started life in Joplin, Mo., still has relatives there who dodged the tornado destruction. Timbers take on relief efforts
Every minute, every game: Brunner and Jewsbury are at 900 and counting
Next: Wednesday in friendly vs. Ajax Amsterdam (Netherlands), 7 p.m.; Sunday vs. D.C. United, 2 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)




10. CHIVAS USA (3-4-3, 12 points), Last week: 8
Week 10:
Goats can't match their archrivals, lose fifth straight time in SuperClasico
Remark: Galaxy defeat brings Goats back to earth, but second half suggests what could be
Every minute, every game: Versatile backliner Heath Pearce has gone the full 900
Next: Saturday at Columbus, 4:30 p.m. (Prime Ticket)

11. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (3-4-3, 12 points), Last week: 11
Week 10: Ellis McLoughlin
, Bobby Convey score second-half goals in 2-1 victory over New England; loss from the spot vs. Chicago ends U.S. Open Cup qualifying hopes
Remark: Chris Wondolowski's desered Gold Cup call-up pulls teeth from Quakes' attack
Every minute, every game: Only goalkeeper Jon Busch, at 900
Next: Saturday at Chicago, 5:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

12. COLUMBUS CREW (3-3-4, 13 points), Last week: 12
Week 10:
Crew are latest loser in Portland, fall to Timbers, 1-0
Remark: Ex-Crewer Brunner clearly offside on goal to beat his former side
Every minute, every game: Riverside's Chad Marshall and center-back partner Julius James have played 900 minutes
Next: Saturday vs. Chivas USA, 4:30 p.m. (Prime Ticket)

13. D.C. UNITED (3-4-3, 12 points), Last week: 13
Week 10:
Idle in league play, lost in friendly to Dutch champ Ajax Amsterdam, 2-1
Remark: Charlie Davies aims for June 3 return in L.A., and he'll be wearing red
Every minute, every game: Not a soul
Next: Sunday at Portland, 2 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

14. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (3-4-4, 13 points), Last week: 14
Week 10: Chris Tierney
's goal too little, too late in 2-1 loss at San Jose
Remark: Irvine's Benny Feilhaber makes the cover of The Improper Bostonian, admits U.S. chances of winning the World Cup are “small”
Every minute, every game: Nobody's even played in all 11 games
Next: Wednesday in U.S. Open Cup qualifier vs. Sporting Kansas City in Overland Park, Kan., 5:30 p.m.; Saturday vs. Galaxy, 5 p.m. (Fox Sports West and Galavision)

15. SPORTING KANSAS CITY (1-6-1, 4 points), Last week: 15
Week 10:
Rare away point stolen at the finish in 1-0 loss at Seattle
Remark: Teal Bunbury is Gold Cup-bound, his coach says -- but slow start to season keeps him off Bob Bradley's list
Every minute, every game: Nope. But they've been on the road all season
Next: Wednesday in U.S. Open Cup qualifier vs. New England in Overland Park, Kan., 5:30 p.m.; Saturday at Colorado, 6 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

16. TORONTO FC (2-4-6, 12 points), Last week: 17
Week 10: Maicon Santos
provides 1-1 draw at Vancouver in first leg of Canadian Championship final; scoreless draw at MLS Cup champ Colorado a big plus
Remark: Canadian national team spares Reds heavy damage in Gold Cup call-ups
Every minute, every game: Only goalkeeper Stefan Frei is at 1080
Next: Wednesday in Canadian Championship final second leg vs. Vancouver, 5 p.m.; Saturday vs. Philadelphia, 9:30 a.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

17. CHICAGO FIRE (1-4-5, 8 points), Last week: 16
Week 10: Dominic Oduro
quickly answers Philly's first, has no answer for Ruiz in 2-1 loss; triumph on PKs at San Jose sends Fire into U.S. Open Cup proper
Remark: Winless since March 26, except in the Open Cup
Every minute, every game: Guatemalan midfielder Marco Pappa's streak (900 minutes) will end with the Gold Cup
Next: Saturday vs. San Jose, 5:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

18. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (1-5-5, 8 points), Last week: 18
Week 10: Eric Hassli
's goal worth only a 1-1 draw at home vs. Toronto FC in first leg of Canadian Championship final
Remark: A win in Toronto -- the week's rest will have helped -- and the Whitecaps are in the CONCACAF Champions League. Alongside good teams
Every minute, every game: Nobody's played in all 11 games here, either
Next: Wednesday in Canadian Championship final second leg at Toronto FC, 5 p.m.; Saturday vs. New York, 2:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

All times Pacific