Major League Soccer Power Rankings, Week 31: LA Galaxy The Clear No. 1

CARSON, CA - MAY 21: David Beckham #23 of the Los Angeles Galaxy gives a thumbsd up to fans as he leaves the field after the game with Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center on May 21, 2011 in Carson, California. The Galaxy won 1-0. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

The Sounders are a nearly unanimous No. 2, but there's much debate about the other 16 teams.

There's no dispute: The Los Angeles Galaxy are the unanimous top pick by the SB Nation Soccer editors in our Week 31 Power Rankings. It's hard to argue with that thinking. The Galaxy have a chance to set the MLS record for most points in a season and could tie the post-shootout era record for best points per match with at least a tie.

The Seattle Sounders are only one vote shy of a unanimous pick for No. 2, but it gets far less clear after that. No other team is particularly close to a unanimous pick at their spot after them. 

Note: Unless otherwise noted, all explanations by Jeremiah Oshan

1. Galaxy: Something strange is happening in American soccer. A team in the #2 media market has completely dominated the regular season, yet is somehow just an after thought. Even with as good as Seattle has been, LA has been better. The Beckham experiment may just work out in the end. - Dave Clark, Sounder at Heart

2. Sounders: There's only one thing that matters for the Seattle Sounders now - Playoff wins. Get enough of them (how 'bout three?) and they will have had a season for the ages. At this time they could just wind up going down as a footnote to the Galaxy's historic run. - Clark

3. Real Salt Lake: Well for the first time in their last 5 RSL didn't lose and didn't give up multiple goals as they fought to a 0-0 draw with their Rocky Mountain Cup rivals the Colorado Rapids. The team continues to deal with injuries and suspensions but hopefully this match marks a turning point to a more positive direction heading into their final regular season match and the upcoming playoffs. - Denzel Eslinger, RSL Soapbox

4. Sporting Kansas City:  Sporting Kansas City's personnel decisions throughout the season have been curious, but if recent results are any indication, Peter Vermes might know what he's doing. If Omar Bravo, CJ Sapong and Teal Bunbury all stay healthy throughout the playoffs, SKC has the potential to score on anyone and perhaps make an upset run to the MLS Cup Final. - Kevin McCauley, SB Nation

5. FC Dallas: Disaster has been averted after two straight victories, but they are still just 3-6-1 since the end of July. They could still pick up a first-round bye, though, and have to be considered dangerous.

6. Union:  Just in time for the playoffs, the Union have re-found their early season form, en route to an eight-game undefeated streak (3-0-5), despite nearly every one of those games being played with rookie goalkeeper Zac MacMath in net. Sebastien Le Toux has scored his way into this season's MVP discussion along the way, with 11 goals and 9 assists after a 14 goal and 10 assists season last year. Philadelphia clinched the team's first ever playoff berth through a 1-1 draw with Toronto FC last Saturday and have a chance to possibly clinch first and/or eliminate rivals the New York Red Bulls from the playoffs on Thursday night

7. Rapids: The team every fan of MLS seems to love to hate has once again found its way into the playoffs. A MLS Cup run seems unlikely, especially since they could open on the road, but a similar run seemed unlikely last year as well.

8. Crew: The other team most fans of MLS would probably like to write off, an argument could be made that if the playoffs started today they are the worst team of the bunch. It would be kinda fitting if they managed to win the top spot in the East.

9. Dynamo: Despite some awful struggles on the road, the Dynamo remain a somewhat dangerous team. Brad Davis is quickly becoming an assassin on set pieces.

10. Fire:  The Fire's good run of form to finish the season proved to be too late as they are almost assured of watching the postseason from their couches, but did you see that comeback against DC on Saturday? They may not get points for being good, but they get infinity cool points for that comeback. - Ryan Rosenblatt, SB Nation

11. Red Bulls: What to make of this team? They are playoff bound with a win and could even host a first-round game. They have the talent to win it all, but do they have the mental make up?

12. DC United:  DC has more or less found every single imaginable way to lose in particularly upsetting fashion (Waste a 2-goal comeback? Lose a 1-0 lead over an offensive-challenged opponent? Lose to the team in last place? Concede twice in stoppage time to lose 2-1? Check, check, check, check.), and has done so in 4 straight crucial games. If you'll excuse me, I'm going to drink this pain away. - Jason Anderson, Black and Red United

13. Portland Timbers: They seem to lose every game that is considered a must win, but are somehow still in position to possibly make the playoffs. Once there, they could be dangerous, but they'll have to improve what has so far been a pretty awful defense.

14. Chivas USA: This has to be considered a positive step forward for them, but Robin Fraser still has work to do. Job No. 1 in the offseason might just be convincing Juan Pablo Angel to stick around.

15. Toronto FC: Their MLS season was not quite as disastrous as it once seemed to be and a win in their final CCL game could put them through the quarterfinals. Maybe Aron Winter knows what he's doing after all.

16. San Jose Earthquakes:  After seemingly using a different starting line-up for the first three-quarters of the season, head coach Frank Yallop has settled on a core starting group for the past couple months. Results are mixed but promising, and the Earthquakes will need to bolster their roster with additional goal scoring threats if they want to improve in 2012. All that's left to watch for this season is whether Chris Wondolowski can surpass DC United's Dwayne De Rosario on the league scoring chart and earn his second consecutive MLS Golden Boot award. - Robert Jonas, Quake, Rattle and Goal

17. Vancouver Whitecaps We're not the worst! With two home wins in a row before our away loss to Dallas, Vancouver have finally moved out of last place, above New England by a single point. Whitecaps fans have little to hope for, but escaping from the basement is one thing we've been dreaming of for months. We're home for our final game against Colorado, while New England face Toronto away. Fingers crossed, fans in full voice, and a bit of luck, and we'll hopefully avoid the shame of last place. - Brenton Walters, Vancouver Offside

18. New England Revolution: It's been a disaster in New England almost everywhere you look. Unrest in the stands, poor play on the field and no direction clearly charted in the front office. You have to imagine Steve Nicol could be on his way out, but this team is impossible to predict.


How It Works: Each of the 22 participants ranks Major League Soccer's clubs 1-18. The order is based on the average of those rankings.

Who participated: Jeremiah Oshan (SB Nation, soccer); Kevin McCauley (SB Nation, soccer); Aaron Campeau (SB Nation, soccer); Ryan Rosenblatt (SB Nation, soccer); Drew Epperley (SB Nation, soccer); Phillip Quinn (SB Nation, soccer); Steve Davis (Daily Soccer Fix); Martin Shatzer (Black and Red United); Scott Kessler (Brotherly Game); Zach Woosley (Dynamo Theory); Denzel Eslinger (RSL Soapbox); Robert Jonas (Quake, Rattle and Goal); Daniel Robertson (Big D Soccer); Dave Clark (Sounder at Heart); Duncan Fletcher (Waking the Red), Steve Stoehr (The Bent Musket); Tweed Thornton (Hot Time in Old Town), Ben Schneider (Once a Metro); Josie Bekcer (LAG Confidential);  Alicia Ratterree (The Goat Parade); Brenton Walters (The Vancouver Whitecaps Offside).

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