MLS Power Rankings, Week 2: Real Salt Lake Bolsters No. 1 Ranking

March 17, 2012; Sandy, UT, USA; Real Salt Lake midfielder Luis Gil (right) celebrates his goal with teammate Paulo Junior. Mandatory Credit: Douglas C. Pizac-US PRESSWIRE

RSL easily handled the Red Bulls and solidified their spot atop SB Nation's MLS Power Rankings.

Two weeks into the season, it should be no surprise that Real Salt Lake is our No. 1 team. A week after surging into the top spot, they actually strengthened their position. They are now the No. 1 team in the eyes of 17 of 26 voters. The holdouts seem to mostly belong to the voters who are reluctant to make many changes this early in the season and are largely sticking by their guns of preseason rankings.

The Sounders, who were curiously moved down a week after beating Santos Laguna, did move back up to No. 2 the week after getting thumped by Santos Laguna. It would appear our voters are paying much more attention to MLS play than outside play.

Otherwise, it was a very quiet week in our rankings. A few teams moved up a spot, a couple more moved down.

This week's tiers are brought themed by Flogging Molly. Enjoy.

Swagger

1. Real Salt Lake (Average: 1.23; Last week: 1): In two weeks, they've taken care of the two highest paid teams in MLS. Despite some questions about health, they are standing up just fine.

2. Seattle Sounders (2.42, 3): Coming off a resounding loss to Santos Laguna in midweek, they took care of business with a win over Toronto FC. The stars of the game were undeniably David Estrada (three goals) and Alvaro Fernandez (two assists and set up another). If they get going, this could be a very exciting season.

3. LA Galaxy (2.62, 2): They beat D.C. United 3-1, but didn't exactly look great doing it. There are still very real questions about their defense, although their offense is coming around nicely.

Devil's Dance Floor

4. Sporting Kansas City (4.27, 5): Absolutely demolished the Revolution 3-0. It would seem our voters are waiting to see them play someone outside the Eastern Conference. They'll get their chance on Sunday when Sporting KC hosts FC Dallas.

5. FC Dallas (4.88, 4): A tie at home against the Timbers is hardly disastrous, but it's not indicative of an elite team, either. Blaz Perez definitely looks like the real deal and Sunday should post a quality test.

6. Houston Dynamo (5.92, 6): They are the only Eastern Conference team to beat a Western Conference opponent and they've done now done it twice on the road. The win over the Earthquakes wasn't pretty, but there are no style points at the end of the year.

If I ever leave this world alive

7. Colorado Rapids (6.62, 7): Another solid win, but another solid win over a pretty bad opponent. The Rapids definitely deserve credit for overcoming Jeff Larentowicz's red card, but they haven't done much to really impress either.

8. Portland Timbers (7.85, 8): The tie with FC Dallas on the road was a sign that this team has matured. They scored a late equalizer on the road, something they seemed incapable of a year go. Results like this are how you make the playoffs.

9. Chicago Fire (9.5, 9): They played this week, which was good. They also tied the Montreal Impact, which isn't so great. Actually a little surprising they weren't punished for it.

10. Vancouver Whitecaps (10.42, 12): Just two games into the 2012 season, they've already won more road games than they did all of last year. Slowly but surely moving up the charts. They should get a little more of a test this week against United.

Within a mile of home

11. New York Red Bulls (11.38, 10): Our voters are quickly losing faith in the Red Bulls, who are now 0-2-0. Good thing they play in the Eastern Conference where winless is still good for third place.

12. Toronto FC (11.46, 11): Crazy, crazy week. On Wednesday, they qualified for the CCL semifinals by beating the Galaxy on the road. They followed that up with a loss to the Sounders and, even worse, will now be without Torsten Frings for 4-6 week. It's not looking so good.

13. Columbus Crew (12.46, 13): They took the week off, which in the Eastern Conference means it was a chance to move up in the standings.

14. D.C. United (13.08, 14): They sure look improved on paper, but they haven't shown much improvement on the field. Admittedly, opening against Sporting KC and the Galaxy would be tough for anyone. They'll have a chance to show how far they've really come against the Whitecaps.

15. San Jose Earthquakes (13.73, 16): A loss at home to the Dynamo where the only goal is a penalty isn't the end of the world. Of course, it's not exactly something to hang your hat on either.

16. Philadelphia Union (13.92, 15): Every week, it looks more and more like Peter Nowak's offseason tinkering has sabotaged this team, at least in the short term. This week he benched captain Danny Califf. This could get ugly.

Us of a lesser god

17. Chivas USA (16.15, 17): Less than 8,000 people showed up to their second game of the season. They didn't look awful in their loss to the Whitecaps, but they certainly don't inspire confidence either.

18. Montreal Impact (17.04, 19): A tie at home sent home the more than 58,000 people in attendance at Olympic Stadium at least somewhat happy. That should probably tell you something.

19. New England Revolution (17.54, 18): They were outmanned and outgunned on the road against Sporting KC in a game that could have easily been 5-0.

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.

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); Martin Shatzer (Black and Red United); Scott Kessler (Brotherly Game); 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); 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); Alen Englen (The Daily Wiz).

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