Week 26 rankings: Another Galaxy
Let the events of Friday night in Carson be a lesson to the rest of MLS: You don't want to spot the Galaxy a man advantage in the first five minutes of a game. If you do, your reward could be a 6-0 shellacking of the type the Rapids received at the hands of LA, who didn't even have Robbie Keane.
Then again, the way the Galaxy are playing, teams could be in line for a rout even without a red card. With Seattle off this weekend following a midweek win against Chivas USA, things are getting tight at the top of the Western Conference. Not tight? The distance between the Galaxy and everyone else in this week's rankings.
1. LA Galaxy (No change)
Frankly, the nosediving Rapids never stood a chance in LA with all of the emotion surrounding the team after the death of A.J. De La Garza's newborn son, and that was before Joe Nasco was sent off for a tackle of Alan Gordon early in Friday's contest.
From there it wasn't a matter of whether the Galaxy would win, but by how many. Landon Donovan continued his recent stellar play, and Galaxy remain the best team in the league.
2. Seattle Sounders (plus-1)
When looking for a bit of attacking confidence, there's nothing quite like a trip to Chivas USA to help the psyche. The Sounders dropped four on the Goats with relative ease, thanks to the easy combinations the home side allowed the Western Conference leaders. With LA nipping their heels, the win was crucial for Seattle's hopes to life the Supporters Shield.
3. FC Dallas (minus-1)
FC Dallas dropped a tough 2-1 decision on the road in Utah, where their previously deadly counterattack again deserted them.
After reeling off four straight wins, Oscar Pareja's team has now lost two games in a row, both on the road. It doesn't get any easier from here, either, with a home date against the Whitecaps followed by a date in LA against the Galaxy and a home clash with Sounders in September.
4. D.C. United (No change)
On the road on the West Coast, United picked up a point against the Whitecaps in a goalless draw. It's not the type of result that will do much to improve belief that the team is a true MLS Cup contender, but considering the circumstances, it's a point they'll undoubtedly take.
The loss of Chris Rolfe to a broken arm could loom large for Ben Olsen's team down the stretch.
5. Real Salt Lake (No change)
As big as RSL's 2-1 win over FC Dallas was -- it avenged a loss to the same team two weeks ago -- the takeaway from the game was undoubtedly the triumphant return of striker Alvaro Saborio after a long absence due to injury.
Saborio scored on his very first touch, a header that proved to be the game-winner. RSL got by without him, but a healthy Saborio makes them a much more dangerous side out West.
6. Philadelphia Union (plus-1)
All the Union did this week was grab six crucial points for their Eastern Conference playoff effort against rivals Toronto FC.
Credit for Philadelphia's revival must go to interim head coach Jim Curtin, who is making a strong push to be John Hackworth's permanent replacement.
7. New England Revolution (plus-1)
The Revs are back to winning, and they have new signing Jermaine Jones to thanks for their latest three-point effort.
The U.S. international played a fantastic pass -- after fighting off a double-team in midfield -- to a streaking Charlie Davies to lift the Revs over Chicago on Sunday.
8. Sporting Kansas City (plus-1)
Four losses in a row for the defending champs has put a serious dent in their Supporters Shield hopes. At this point, simply righting the ship ahead of the playoffs is of much greater concern than chasing down the top seed.
9. Portland Timbers (No change)
The Timbers are still in the playoff places at the conclusion of the weekend, but Caleb Porter and company can't be happy with a home draw against the lowly Earthquakes.
The Timbers defensive issues popped up again, as they conceded three goals to a team that hadn't scored three in a game since late May.
10. New York Red Bulls (No change)
It would be difficult to overstate just how important the Red Bulls' 2-1 win over Sporting on Saturday could be to their playoff chances as a difficult month gets underway. Thierry Henry continues to amaze in what might his final season.
11. Columbus Crew (No change)
The Crew are the latest team to benefit from the bump that comes from playing bottom-feeders Chivas USA. Justin Meram starred with two second-half goals to lift Columbus to a win, continuing a strong second half for the winger.
The Crew jumped into a playoff spot with the victory.
12. Houston Dynamo (No change)
The Dynamo did what they had to do this weekend, securing three crucial points at home against the worst team in the Eastern Conference. Two wins in a row, and three wins in the past four, keeps Houston's slim playoff hopes alive.
MLS Power Rankings
- October 27: Seattle at the Double
- October 20: Sounders surging ahead
- October 13: Down to the wire
- October 6: Revs rise up the charts
- September 29: Donovan is the man
- September 22: Galaxy are on target
- September 15: Rose-tinted Sounders win
- September 8: LA in another Galaxy
- September 1: Runaway train
13. Vancouver Whitecaps (plus-1)
It wasn't pretty, but the Whitecaps stayed close to Portland in the race for the last playoff spot in the West thanks to a goalless draw against visiting D.C. United. Unfortunately, it was also Vancouver's fourth game without scoring.
14. Toronto FC (minus-1)
Down, down, down, goes TFC. Two losses to Philadelphia this week have dropped Toronto all the way down to seventh place in the East, and while they are still just three points back of a playoff spot, a tumultuous period off the field -- and the struggles of Michael Bradley on it -- are threatening to submarine the season.
15. Chicago Fire (No change)
A trip to New England saw the Fire fall by a 2-1 scoreline. The loss just adds insult to the injury of losing out on Jermaine Jones to the Revs, especially as the midfield sprung Charlie Davies for the game-winning goal.
16. San Jose Earthquakes (No change)
Give the Quakes credit for the fight, even if a single point in Portland does them little good in the Western Conference standings.
Shea Salinas, Chris Wondolowski, and Cordell Cato scored in a spirited effort undone by an inability to hold on to two different leads.
17. Montreal Impact (No change)
Ignacio Piatti has brought new life to a bad season for Montreal, but even his quality isn't enough to overcome the Impact's deficiencies. The Impact fell 3-2 in Houston, largely thanks to failures on set piece defending.
18. Colorado Rapids (No change)
Pity the Rapids, who played sacrificial lamb to an emotional LA Galaxy on Friday night. Joe Nasco's early red card only served to heighten the brutality with which the Galaxy punished the Rapids. A once-promising season hangs by a thread in Denver.
19. Chivas USA (No change)
It's just plain bad for Chivas, with head coach Wilmer Cabrera having to grasp at a "decent first half" as a silver lining in a 3-0 loss to Columbus.
Jason Davis covers Major League Soccer and the United States national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @davisjsn.