MLS Power Rankings, Week 30: East remains quite intriguing

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The Supporters' Shield is all but locked up and the Western playoff teams are pretty set, but in the East it's a whole other story.

The Supporters' Shield is all but locked up. The Earthquakes need just a single tie in their final two games or for Sporting KC not to win out and home-field advantage. There remains some intrigue elsewhere, though, as the East remains relatively wide open with only two teams having clinched spots and the regular-season crown still up for grabs.

This week's rankings are themed by Jamiroquai.

All Good in the Hood

1. San Jose Earthquakes (This week's average ranking: 1.0; Last week's average: 1.0): A 4-1 thrashing of Colorado on Saturday, fueled by a Chris Wondolowski hat-trick, secured a top-two finish in the MLS Supporters' Shield race and a berth in the next edition of the CONCACAF Champions League for San Jose. With one point in their last two games, the Earthquakes would secure the Shield and lock up home field advantage throughout the MLS Cup playoffs. - Quake, Rattle and Goal

2. Sporting Kansas City (2.09; 2.0): Probably missed whatever chance they had of catching the Earthquakes when they settled for a tie against the Crew. Truth be told, the Supporters' Shield is even less important to them than most teams as they already have a CONCACAF Champions League spot locked up. Now need to be more focused on just holding onto the top spot in the East. Will be interesting to see if Roger Espinoza actually misses any time. - SB Nation Soccer

Stop Don't Panic

3. Real Salt Lake (4.09; 4.91): RSL has put together a late-season run with a tightened defense and more focused offense. With seeding on the line and form always important moving into the playoffs, the improvement couldn't come at a better time. - RSL Soapbox

3. Seattle Sounders (4.09; 5.0): How high can you bump a team for getting a home win over Portland? I don't care. Because: beating Portland. - Sounder at Heart

5. Chicago Fire (4.55; 4.82): Took care of business by beating the Red Bulls at home behind a pair of goals from Sherjill MacDonald, who is quietly making a case for himself as the best midseason pickup. Also picked up ground on Sporting KC, who could be vulnerable. - SB Nation Soccer

6. LA Galaxy (6.36; 5.36): Their defense was exposed again and they are now 1-6-0 against the other top three teams in the West. They were missing AJ DeLaGarza and Todd Dunivant, which forced them to use the regrettable backline of Bryan Gaul and Tommy Meyer. But those are problems that might not go away soon. - SB Nation Soccer

7. New York Red Bulls (6.55; 5.36): Hans Backe is going to earn his paycheck for these last few games. One imagines he's already on thin ice under new management and there's big pressure for him to succeed. Unfortunately, it seems just as likely that they'll miss the playoffs as they are to make the MLS Cup finals. - SB Nation Soccer

Smoke And Mirrors

8. D.C. United (8.27; 9.0): It hasn't been pretty, but did you really expect Ben Olsen to care about being pretty? D.C. United has now collected 13 of 15 possible points since the injury to Dwayne De Rosario and is now just one point shy of clinching a spot in the playoffs for the first time since 2007. - Black and Red United

9. Houston Dynamo (8.45; 8.36): One week ago, the Dynamo returned to the 4-4-2 and notched a win as a result. One week later, the Dynamo reverted to their 4-3-3 and only managed a draw against Montreal Impact, and are barely clinging to a single point lead over Columbus Crew for the fifth and final playoff spot. - Dynamo Theory

10. Columbus Crew (9.36; 9.55): Still very much in the hunt for that final playoff spot after pulling out a tie with Sporting KC over the weekend. Haven't been able to maintain the momentum that Federico Higuain kickstarted, but they are in great position to grab one of those two spot. - SB Nation Soccer

Where Do We Go From Here?

11. Vancouver Whitecaps (11.64; 12.27): A convincing win over a hapless opponent? The Caps will take it and be happy, knowing that a win against Portland secures them a playoff spot, the first by any Canadian team. Of course, they still haven't beaten a Cascadia rival in the MLS era ... - 86 Forever

12. FC Dallas (12.18; 11.27): Needing a win to keep pace with the Whitecaps, they instead turned in one of their worse performances of the last few months. After a grabbing a lead against Chivas USA, they were outplayed and probably lucky to get out of their with a point. They must win their final two to have any chance. - SB Nation Soccer

13. Montreal Impact (12.55; 12.36): A 1-1 draw with a crazy last 20 minutes was a good performance for the Montreal Impact at BBVA Compass Stadium. Unfortunately, the Impact are in limbo no more and are officially eliminated from the 2012 MLS Playoffs race. Many fans shares their pride in their team's attitude and character throughout the season. - Mount Royal Soccer

Scam

14. Philadelphia Union (14.27; 14.45): Had the honor of playing in the first truly meaningless game of the year when they played the Revolution. They won. No one cared. - SB Nation Soccer

15. Colorado Rapids (15.45; 15.0): Just when they were starting to show a little spunk they turn in an effort like they did against the Earthquakes and basically allow Chris Wondolowski to have his way with them. At least they can know they played their part in history. - SB Nation Soccer

16. New England Revolution (15.64; 16.0): I'm sure Jay Heaps is looking for any grain of hope in these results. He won't find much. On the plus side, there seems to be actual positive movement in terms of finding a new stadium. - SB Nation Soccer

17. Portland Timbers (16.73; 16.64): All week they had talked about how the Cascadia Cup showdown with the Sounders was their MLS Cup. So what do they do? They insert a mostly new backline and get played off the field. Caleb Porter has his work cut out for him. - SB Nation Soccer

18. Chivas USA (17.64; 17.82): Chivas USA had two matches this week, and came away with a single point. On the bright side, they saved the best performance for last, and their comeback draw Sunday against FC Dallas gives fans at least a sliver of hope heading into the final matches of the season. - The Goat Parade

19. Toronto FC (18.82; 18.82): An improved performance means at least this week TFC can say it was an undeserved defeat. Another defeat all the same though, the 20th of the season. Just 2 more games left, 2 more games and it's all over. - Waking the Red

How the poll works: Each voter ranks the teams from 1-19. The teams are then ordered by average, with the lowest average going first and so on. The editor then splits the rankings into five tiers, looking for natural breaks in the averages. We then pick some kind of group of songs to theme them to.

Who participated: Jeremiah Oshan (SB Nation, soccer); Aaron Campeau (SB Nation, soccer); Ryan Rosenblatt (SB Nation, soccer); Drew Epperley (SB Nation, soccer); Jason Anderson (SB Nation, soccer); Phillip Quin (SB Nation, soccer); Martin Shatzer (Black and Red United); Scott Kessler (Brotherly Game); Matt Montgomery (RSL Soapbox); Robert Jonas (Quake, Rattle and Goal); Daniel Robertson (Big D Soccer); Sean Ringrose and Zach Woosley (Dynamo Theory); Dave Clark and Josh Yockey (Sounder at Heart); Duncan Fletcher (Waking the Red), Steve Stoehr (The Bent Musket); Ben Schneider (Once a Metro); Alicia Ratterree (The Goat Parade); Brenton Walters (The Vancouver Whitecaps Offside); Geoff Gibson (Stumptown Footy); Sofiane Benzaza (Mount Royal Soccer); Alex Englen (The Daily Wiz); Rudy Gomez and Ryan Sealock (Hot Time In Old Town).

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