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Week 28 rankings: Galaxy on target

Since returning to the L.A. Galaxy in a trade last month, target forward Alan Gordon has provided a monumental boost to the club. His game winner against Dallas enabled his side to pull level on points with Seattle, and move into the No. 1 spot in this week's Power Rankings:

1. L.A. Galaxy (+1)

The third time has proved to be the charm for Bruce Arena and target forwards. Samuel didn't work out, and neither has Rob Friend. But the recent trade that brought Alan Gordon to L.A. has been a boon. His fourth goal since being acquired proved to be the game winner in a 2-1 win over F.C. Dallas.

2. Seattle Sounders (-1)

With Tuesday's U.S. Open Cup final triumph going to extra time, and a match upcoming against Dallas on Wednesday, manager Sigi Schmid had little choice but to trot out a reserve-laden lineup against New York. In the short term it didn't pay off in a 4-1 loss, as the back line reserves failed to step up.

3. Real Salt Lake (+2)

When opponents are dealing out gifts, a team has to take advantage, and that's what RSL did in its 5-1 demolition of rival Colorado. That said, there was nothing cheap about Joao Plata's opener, as he buried a shot into the top corner for his 13th goal of the season.

4. FC Dallas (-1)

Dallas' patchwork defense has held up well in recent weeks, but with Matt Hedges given the night off, Saturday's match against L.A. was too big an ask. The continued injury woes of Mauro Diaz are the last thing FCD needs ahead of Wednesday's match against Seattle.

5. D.C. United (-1)

So was United's draw with Chicago a case of two points dropped or one gained? Given that DCU was two goals down at one point, a draw isn't bad, but coughing up a late lead is never a good thing. What isn't in dispute is the phenomenal campaign Luis Silva is having. He now has 10 goals for the season.

6. New England Revolution (no change)

Jermaine Jones hasn't been in New England long, but it's already evident what he means to the Revs. His halftime introduction sparked an improved second half, though it wasn't enough to prevent a loss to Columbus.

7. Philadelphia Union (no change)

The late non-penalty call that went against Philadelphia wouldn't have mattered had the Union taken its chances in a 0-0 draw with Houston. As wonderful as the U.S. Open Cup run was, one is left to wonder whether the more congested schedule took a toll on Philly's playoff chances.

8. Sporting Kansas City (no change)

Unencumbered by league entanglements, SKC was able to focus on the CONCACAF Champions League, and came away with a vital 3-1 win over Saprissa. Another CCL match beckons this week against Real Esteli before returning to league action against New England.

9. New York Red Bulls (no change)

Bradley Wright-Phillips is back from injury, and the single-season goal-scoring record is in peril as his hat trick against Seattle took his season tally to 24. More importantly, the Red Bulls took another step toward a playoff spot, though next week's match at L.A. following a CCL game at FAS is a mighty challenge indeed.

10. Portland Timbers (no change)

Diego Valeri and Fanendo Adi helped Portland take apart Vancouver for the second time in three weeks, and the Timbers' back line looked sound. But to secure a playoff spot, Portland will need to show it can turn in solid defensive performances against teams other than Vancouver and Chivas USA.

11. Columbus Crew (no change)

Evidently, Federico Higuain is more dangerous from free kicks than he is from penalty kicks. Despite missing his third spot kick of the season, his sublime free kick was enough to give Columbus a 1-0 win over New England. Steve Clark's late save against Charlie Davies was outstanding as well.

12. Houston Dynamo (no change)

A road point and a clean sheet against Philadelphia will normally leave a club feeling upbeat, but with Houston seven points out of the last playoff spot with a game in hand, time isn't the Dynamo's friend at this point. The only positive is that their remaining six games are all against Eastern Conference opponents.

13. Vancouver Whitecaps (no change)

On a day when the Whitecaps badly missed Gershon Koffie in midfield, Vancouver fell short in all phases. At this point, it's tough to see how the Caps can muster enough offense to make the postseason, especially with tough games against RSL and Dallas coming up.

14. Toronto FC (no change)

TFC avoided stepping on the banana peel that is Chivas USA, prevailing 3-0. But then Jackson had to take some shine off what was an otherwise confidence-boosting day by getting sent off for a bad tackle plus a retaliatory shove. It was an utterly brain-dead move at a time of year when everyone is needed.

15. Chicago Fire (no change)

So the Fire tied. Of course they did, tying a league record with their 16th draw of the season. Manager Frank Yallop has talked about something missing within the team. With Mike Magee injured, the number of game-changers is lacking.

17. Montreal Impact (no change)

Some players seem to raise their game under certain managers, and that seems to be the case with Dilly Duka under Frank Klopas. Duka has three goals and two assists since arriving in Montreal, and his latest tally sealed a 2-0 win over San Jose.

16. San Jose Earthquakes (no change)

The loss to Montreal ticked all the wrong boxes for San Jose. Blown scoring opportunities and slack defending in critical moments meant the team's winless streak reached nine games. Something will have to give next weekend when it travels to fellow strugglers Colorado.

18. Colorado Rapids (no change)

Joe Nasco's nightmare continues. Two weeks after getting sent off in the first minute, he gifted RSL four goals with a combination of poor handling and suspect positioning, as well as an own goal. Colorado has conceded three goals or more in five of its last seven matches.

19. Chivas USA (no change)

The Goats are clearly playing out the string after their latest capitulation, this time in Toronto. All of the numbers are grim; winless in 11, just two goals in the last 10 games. About the only number that is encouraging: just five games left in the season.

Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreyCarlisle.

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