SB Nation MLS Power Rankings, Week 19: Uniformity Grows

CARSON, CA - JULY 20: David Beckham #23 of the Los Angeles Galaxy embraces Sean Franklin #5 after Franklin scored the only goal of the game with the Columbus Crew at The Home Depot Center on July 20, 2011 in Carson, California. The Galaxy won 1-0. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Each of our four tiers now have clear gaps between them as the league at least appears to be falling into a little more predictability.

With the MLS season now moving securely into the second half of its season, maybe it should make sense that the lines of delineation have never been more clear. At least 10 points separate each tier from the next as the league seems to slowly be shaping into easily identifiable groups.

Just take the top tier as an example. The Los Angeles Galaxy and FC Dallas are both unanimously considered in that group. Real Salt Lake and the Seattle Sounders are just one vote shy of unanimity. After that, though, there's a significant drop off as just eight of our 19 voters think the Philadelphia Union are in that top group. The trend then holds all the way to the bottom.

That said, our voters seems pretty well split on who could take the final playoff spot. The four teams in the third tier are all within a couple of votes of one another, suggesting there's at least one spot very much up for grabs.

Playing For The Shield

Los Angeles Galaxy


100% (57 out of 57 points)

FC Dallas


100% (57 out of 57 points)

Seattle Sounders


98% (56 out of 57 points)

Real Salt Lake


98% (56 out of 57 points)

Showing just how strongly our voters feel about this group, none of these teams really had spectacular weeks. Sure, none of them lost, but the only convincing win was from RSL and that was aided in large part by a highly questionable red card and penalty that turned a 0-0 game into a 4-0 blowout. At this point in the season, any one of these teams could win the Supporters' Shield and almost no one should be surprised.

Enjoy The Playoffs

Philadelphia Union


80% (46 out of 57 points)

Columbus Crew


66% (38 out of 57 points)

New York Red Bulls


63% (36 out of 57 points)

Sporting Kansas City


61% (35 out of 57 points)

Colorado Rapids


59% (34 out of 57 points)

It's a little surprising that the Rapids didn't move farther up the list after demolishing the Red Bulls, but they did also tie the Revolution, a team no one is convinced can make a run at the playoffs. Sporting Kansas City appears to have settled in, although their 12-game unbeaten streak does include seven ties. Hard to say what a blowout of Toronto FC even means these days.

Still Something To Prove

DC United


35% (20 out of 57 points)

San Jose Earthquakes


35% (20 out of 57 points)

Chivas USA


33% (19 out of 57 points)

Houston Dynamo


29% (17 out of 57 points)

This is a rather impressive confluence of opinion to find at this point in our poll. Our voters are almost unanimous in their belief that all of these teams "still have something to prove." Of this group, Chivas USA, surprisingly enough, is on the best form and is the team that is closest to really defining their identity. If they can get a few more performances from Justin Braun like Saturday's hat-trick, watch out.

At Least There's No Relegation

Portland Timbers


12% (7 out of 57 points)

Chicago Fire


5% (3 out of 57 points)

Toronto FC


1% (1 out of 57 points)

New England Revolution


0% (0 out of 57 points)

Vancouver Whitecaps


0% (0 out of 57 points)

 

Our lowest tier got a new member this week as the Portland Timbers joined our collection of the hapless. There's just no getting around the fact that this team has hit a pretty significant lull. Of course, there is still plenty of time and seven of our voters haven't quite given up hope, but they are going to need to reverse course soon.

 

How It Works: Each of the 19 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); Zach Woosley (Dynamo Theory); Denzel Eslinger (RSL Soapbox); Robert Jonas (Quake, Rattle and Goal); Daniel Robertson (Big D Soccer); Dave Clark (Sounder at Heart); Sidereal ( 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).

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