Jan. 25, 2013; Casa Grande, AZ, USA: Detailed view of the MLS logo on a soccer ball prior to the preseason game between the New England Revolution against the Sporting KC at Grande Sports World. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

MLS Power Rankings: Week 26

With 26 weeks now wrapped up in the Major League Soccer season, this is how the league stacks up. Week 26 saw a few close decisions as well as a few teams falling victim to blow-outs. The Philadelphia Union and Columbus Crew are among our victims in this week’s power rankings, while teams such as the Los Angeles Galaxy helped themselves out.

1. Real Salt Lake

RSL has established themselves at the very worst as a top-two team in Major League Soccer. After a 3-3 draw with the Portland Timbers, second on this list, they managed a dominant 4-0 win over the Columbus Crew.

In their match against Portland, Nat Borchers (38′) and Javier Morales (43′) netted first half goals. After letting up a goal in the 86th minute to fall behind 3-2, Cole Grossman deposited the equalizer in the 3rd minute of added time just before the final whistle.

Team captain Kyle Beckerman notched two of his own goals in the decisive 4-0 win on Saturday. Devon Sandoval and Luis Gil were the other goal scorers.

Overall, Jason Kreis has to be confident about his squad going forward. RSL and Portland will face-off again on Friday night, a game that could distinguish who is the class of MSL.

2. Portland Timbers

Caleb Porter’s Timbers likely would have been at the top of this list if it weren’t for their collapse in added time to allow an equalizer. Instead of taking the match against Real Salt Lake 3-2, RSL was able to muster a draw. While points are points, Portland had three points slip right through their fingertips.

Rodney Wallace (24′) and Diego Valeri (57′) added goals before Kalif Alhassan deposited the go-ahead goal that lasted briefly in the 86th minute.

The Seattle Sounders hosted the Timbers on Sunday in Clint Dempsey’s home debut. On an emotional night for Seattle, Eddie Johnson directed a header into the net in the 60th minute in what turned out to be the only goal.

Despite a draw and a loss this week, Portland still remains near the top of the power rankings. Porter’s side will have a shot at redemption when they match-up against RSL once again on Friday night.

3. Los Angeles Galaxy

Los Angeles got results in both matches this week. On Tuesday, Robbie Keane’s two goals gave L.A. a 2-0 win over Club Sport Cartagines in CONCACAF Champions League play.

In an MLS showdown on Saturday, Bruce Arena’s side outlasted the Vancouver Whitecaps in a 1-0 victory. Landon Donovan scored the lone goal in just the 3rd minute, but that was not the only highlight of the match. Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo showed a flash of brilliance between the pipes on a clutch save in the 81st minute.

Donovan, Keane, and company travel to California to play the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.

4. Seattle Sounders

A win against the Portland Timbers was a huge result for Seattle. Eddie Johnson was able to head home the winning goal on a set piece in the 60th minute. In Clint Dempsey’s MLS home debut, the United States national team captain showed everyone that he was inching closer to full form. With tremendous creativity and awareness, Sounders’ fans have a lot to be excited about. Dempsey has been the biggest topic surrounding MLS since he signed with Seattle, but for good reason. Dempsey puts his side right in the thick of contention.

Sigi Schmid’s side travels to Columbus to take on the Crew on Saturday. Columbus lost 4-0 this week to Real Salt Lake, but Seattle can not afford to come out complacent.

5. Colorado Rapids

Colorado was off this week and got some well-deserved rest. Coming off a 2-0 win over Vancouver last week, the Rapids head to Kansas to take on a struggling but tough Sporting K.C. squad.

6. Montreal Impact

Despite hobbling out of the gate this week, the Impact bounced back strong. Despite a bad 1-0 loss in CONCACAF Champions League play to Heredia, they went on to rout the Houston Dynamo 5-0. Marco Di Vaio netted two goals in the victory while Felipe Martins, Jeb Brovski, and Andrea Pisanu.

Montreal will be on the road this week, headed to Chester to take on the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park on Saturday night.

7. New  York Red Bulls

Despite a loss to last-place Chivas USA, it would not be fair for the Red Bulls to fall out of the top-eight. So here they are at No. 7. New York did manage to lose on the road again, and to the Goats nevertheless. Tim Cahill (31′) and Dax McCarthy (86′) scored in the losing effort. Luckily for Mike Petke’s side, they take on D.C. United this week. Unfortunately, it is away from home where they are a mere .500 club.

8. Sporting Kansas City

Sporting K.C. had it taken to them by the Chicago Fire this week and lost 1-0 in their only match. This comes after they lost to the San Jose Earthquakes a week ago. Sporting has two matches this week, including one against the Colorado Rapids. Peter Vermes needs to find a way to put an end to his side’s mini-losing skid.

9. New England Revolution

A week removed from a 2-0 victory over Chicago, the Revs continued their momentum and got a 5-1 result over the Philadelphia Union. Despite two disallowed goals for Philadelphia that could have been game-changers, one by Sebastian Le Toux and one by Conor Casey, New England stayed the course and went on to score four unanswered goals after Danny Cruz found an equalizer early in the second half.

Kelyn Rowe was in top form this week, scoring two beautiful goals from distance. Juan Agudelo and Diego Fagundez were the other goal scorers for the Revs, with the help of an Amobi Okugo own goal.

Jay Heaps’ Revs will hit the road to take on Toronto FC this Friday, looking to make it three consecutive decisive wins.

10. Philadelphia Union

Despite a 5-1 loss to the team listed just one above them on this list, the final score did not tell the entire story of their match-up with the Revs. While the Union did start off slow and struggle to muster up anything that resembled a threatening attack, Danny Cruz found the back of the net to begin the second half to tie the game at one.

The following five minutes were game-changing. Sebastian Le Toux and Conor Casey appeared to have deposited back-to-back goals only for both to be disallowed. Le Toux seemed to be offside, and the official ruled that Revs’ goalkeeper Matt Reis maintained possession on a low cross. However, replay did show that Casey maybe should have been awarded with the goal.

Following all of the chaos, Philadelphia appeared to be demoralized. New England went on to score four unanswered goals, including an own goal by Amobi Okugo. Regardless, the Union are still in the thick of the playoff race and are a competitive team that will not be on that side of a scoring line very often.





Tags: Colorado Rapids Los Angeles Galaxy MLS Montreal Impact New England Revolution New York Red Bulls Philadelphia Union Portland Timbers Real Salt Lake City Seattle Sounders Sporting Kansas City

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