SB Nation MLS Power Rankings, Week 7: New York Red Bulls Nearly Catch Real Salt Lake

HARRISON, NJ - APRIL 30: Thierry Henry #14 of the Red Bulls is pursued by Aurelien Collin #78 of the Sporting Kansas City at Red Bull Arena on April 30, 2011 in Harrison, New Jersey. The Red Bulls defeated Sporting KC 1-0. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

Home teams were absolutely dominant this week, treating us to a week in which there was just one tie and no home team lost. That seems to help facilitate a fair amount of movement within our rankings, as two additional teams (the Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas) joined Tier 2, Chivas USA joined Tier 3 and the Vancouver Whitecaps dropped into Tier 4. The big mover of the week, though, was the New York Red Bulls who are now just one top tier vote away from being our second unanimous team.

The Red Bulls have now won three straight by a cumulative score of 8-0 with their latest win coming against Sporting Kansas City, a team that's finding out just how rough life on the road can be for a MLS team. After a reasonably solid start, they have gone five straight without a victory and have lost three straight.

Although they've moved up steadily, our voters are still rather unimpressed by the Columbus Crew, who remain in Tier 3 despite going unbeaten in their last six, which equals the Seattle Sounders and Dynamo for the longest active streak in MLS. Three of our voters still have the Crew in our bottom tier.

As has become the custom here, I've turned over further explanation to our various SB Nation soccer editors:

Playing For The Shield

Real Salt Lake

100% (66 out of 66 points)

New York Red Bulls

98% (65 out of 66 points)

Los Angeles Galaxy

86% (57 out of 66 points)

Despite not amazing anyone over the weekend with another onslaught of goals against Sporting Kansas City, the New York Red Bulls still got a win and more importantly, it was a clean sheet. For me, that entrenches New York firmly in the top tier of the power rankings. We've seen what their offense can do and on Saturday they showed us they can win a different way, with a solid defensive performance. Yes, Sporting KC isn't that good at the moment, but a clean sheet, even against a weaker opponent, is still a nice accomplishment. With RSL clearly punch drunk from their Champions League defeat, I think it's fair to say that the Red Bulls might be the best team in MLS right now and while it's really no fun having to type that sentence, I can't deny the truth.

- Zach Woosley, Dynamo Theory

Enjoy The Playoffs

Philadelphia Union

75% (50 out of 66 points)

Colorado Rapids

68% (45 out of 66 points)

Seattle Sounders

66% (44 out of 66 points)

Houston Dynamo

58% (39 out of 66 points)

FC Dallas

57% (38 out of 66 points)

My biggest move of the weekend was putting Houston into Tier 2. They may be beating up on the bottom feeders of the league right now, but you can only defeat what’s put in front of you. Perhaps the best thing about Houston right now is they have yet to give up more than one goal in a game this season. We’re going to learn a lot more about the Dynamo in May with games against Colorado, RSL, New York, LA and Dallas.

- Daniel Robertson, Big D Soccer

Still Something To Prove

Columbus Crew

42% (28 out of 66 points)

Portland Timbers

36% (24 out of 66 points)

DC United

24% (16 out of 66 points)

New England Revolution

25% (17 out of 66 points)

San Jose Earthquakes

22% (15 out of 66 points)

Chicago Fire

22% (15 out of 66 points)

Sporting Kansas City

18% (12 out of 66 points)

Chivas USA

18% (12 out of 66 points)

It may be premature, but the Columbus Crew for me have pulled themselves out of the quagmire at the bottom of the rankings to become a team on the fringe of playoff contention. The Eastern Conference will probably be a rollercoaster dominated by New York (and maybe Philly or Houston), meaning that places 4-9 are going to be totally up for grabs. Despite playing with a roster of relative unknowns and missing Andres Mendoza, they managed a spirited win over a decent Vancouver team, and they are beating the teams they will need to beat to stay out of the basement. If they can string together a few more decent results they'll be in with a shout for the last playoff spots.

- Steve Stoehr, The Bent Musket

At Least There's No Relegation

Vancouver Whitecaps

15% (10 out of 66 points)

Toronto FC

3% (2 out of 66 points)

With each passing year I continue to feel more sorry for Toronto FC keeper Stefan Frei. The kid is golden between the pipes but until he has a defense in front of him that actually knows how to defend, we'll never know exactly how good he truly can be. Against the Seattle Sounders he was left to do all the dirty work and a quality team like Seattle will make the most of their chances like they did. But not all the blame should be on the defense, the Reds offense was woefully bad on Saturday. Six shots total on the day, only two on frame. Aron Winter's club has a long month ahead of them here with the Nutrilite Canadian Championship going on, so far it doesn't look like they are even close to getting out of this current funk that they are in.

- Drew Epperley, SB Nation soccer

How It Works: Each of the 22 participants puts Major League Soccer's clubs into one of the four tiers. Teams in the top tier get three points. Next tier, two points, then one, then zero. Voters can put as many teams into each tier as they see fit. Though the vote total orders the teams, the clubs are intended to be grouped, not sorted. Although some of the names may indicate otherwise, the point of this is to assess current form and our voters are instructed to place teams in tiers based how those teams will fair in coming weeks.

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); Chris "UZ" White (Burgundy Wave); Zach Woosley (Dynamo Theory); Denzel Eslinger (RSL Soapbox); Robert Jonas (Quake, Rattle and Goal); Daniel Robertson (Big D Soccer); Dave Clark (Sounder at Heart); Andy Edwards (The Daily Wiz); Geoff Gibson (Stumptown Footy), Duncan Fletcher (Waking the Red), Steve Stoehr (The Bent Musket); Tweed Thornton (Hot Time in Old Town), Ben Schneider (Once a Metro); Jeff King (The Goat Parade).

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