Major League Soccer Power Rankings, Week 16: Seattle Sounders Back In Top Tier

CARSON, CA - JULY 04: Mauro Rosales #10 of Seattle Sounders FC vies for the ball with Juan Pablo Angel #9 of the Los Angeles Galaxy in the first half during their MLS match at The Home Depot Center on July 4, 2011 in Carson, California. Sounders FC and the Galaxy played to a 0-0 draw. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)

Since being banished from the Tier 1 during the first week of the regular season, our editors once again consider the Sounders among the league's elite.

It's been quite a while since SB Nation's editors considered the Seattle Sounders a Tier 1 team in our MLS power rankings. In fact, ever since losing twice during Week 1, they have been teetering between Tiers 2 and 3. With seven straight matches without a loss, including a road tie against he top-ranked Los Angeles Galaxy, the Sounders are back among the elite.

The only other team to make any kind of significant movement was Sporting Kansas City, who is quickly making a move toward Tier 2, but is remains in Tier 3 for at least another week. Aside from that, though, this was a pretty stable week in our rankings. In a week that featured 60 percent of the matches ending in ties, though, maybe that's to be expected.

Playing For The Shield

Los Angeles Galaxy

100% (66 out of 66 points)

FC Dallas

92% (61 out of 66 points)

Real Salt Lake

89% (59 out of 66 points)

Seattle Sounders

86% (57 out of 66 points)

Over the last few weeks, there has been a significant movement of more voters putting more teams in their top tier. Some voters have as many as six teams in their top tier, and we're not that far away from having five teams residing there. What that seems to indicate is that while the Galaxy are the only unanimous selection, there's a general belief that the race is still pretty wide open for the Supporters' Shield. Would anyone really be surprised if any one of these four teams ended the season with the best record?

Enjoy The Playoffs

Philadelphia Union

81% (54 out of 66 points)

New York Red Bulls

72% (48 out of 66 points)

Colorado Rapids

59% (39 out of 66 points)

Columbus Crew

56% (37 out of 66 points)

At various times this season, the New York Red Bulls, Philadelphia Union and Colorado Rapids have all made appearances in our top tier. With a few wins, they could all end up back there pretty easily. The Columbus Crew remain a bit of a hard nut to crack, as our voters are pretty evenly split about whether or not they are a clear playoff team. Their inability to put together more than a couple weeks of consistency speaks to that.

Still Something To Prove

San Jose Earthquakes

46% (31 out of 66 points)

Sporting Kansas City

42% (28 out of 66 points)

DC United

37% (25 out of 66 points)

Houston Dynamo

36% (24 out of 66 points)

Portland Timbers

25% (17 out of 66 points)

Chivas USA

25% (17 out of 66 points)

Chicago Fire

18% (12 out of 66 points)

Watch out for Sporting KC. About a month ago, they were one of the team's our voters expected to see fighting for the second pick in the 2012 SuperDraft. Now, they are in playoff position and are a team quickly on the rise. That said, they are the only team in our poll that has at least one vote in every tier. A few more weeks with results like these, though, and I expect them to be solidly in Tier 2.

At Least There's No Relegation

New England Revolution

7% (5 out of 66 points)

Toronto FC

3% (2 out of 66 points)

Vancouver Whitecaps

1% (1 out of 66 points)

There are just only so many ways to talk about this group. The Revolution failed to hold a two-goal lead while up a man this week, while the Whitecaps and Toronto FC have combined for only three wins against non-Canadian competition. None of these teams seem poised to be making a move anytime soon. 

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); Josie Bekcer (LAG Confidential) Alicia Ratterree (The Goat Parade).

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