MLS Power Rankings, Week 3: Sounders Move Within Rounding Error Of No. 1

Mar 23, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Alvaro Fernandez (15) exchanges words with Houston Dynamo midfielder Brad Davis (11) after a free kick call during the 2nd half at CenturyLink Field. Seattle defeated Houston 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-US PRESSWIRE

Real Salt Lake may have lost at home to Chivas USA, but many of our voters still consider them the best team in the league.

If you are a follower of SB Nation's MLS Power Rankings, you're probably aware that movement is often times rather glacial. With so many voters, there has to be some kind of massive occurrence for a team to move very far from one week to the next. As a result, we have weeks like this one in which there's almost no notable movement.

The Earthquakes were the team to make the biggest leap forward, going from No. 15 to No. 12, which is hardly the thing of headlines. If you look a little closer, though, you'll see that there are some gaps starting to form. Perhaps the most notable is that the Galaxy are slipping, while the Sounders and RSL are coming together rather quickly. It's now at the point where the Sounders and RSL are essentially separated by the difference of one spot in one voter's ranking.

To celebrate (?) this occasion, we decided to dedicate this week's rankings to ... The Backstreet Boys. You'd be rather amazed (ashamed?) at how quickly our editors were able to come up with this quintet of songs:

Larger Than Life

1. Real Salt Lake (Average rank: 1.88; Last week's ranking: 1): Losing to Chivas USA is probably just a blip, but it certainly didn't help them in the rankings. Another bad loss like that could prove costly, but this one didn't seem so bad.

2. Seattle Sounders (1.92; 2): Not exactly the most resounding win over the Dynamo, but they did it without Mauro Rosales or starting right back Adam Johansson. Give them credit for overcoming that, at least.

3. LA Galaxy (3.27; 3): They didn't play this week, but they haven't really been inspiring confidence when they do play.

4. Sporting Kansas City (3.38; 4): There's just no way to deny that Sporting is the class of the Eastern Conference at this point. As such, you have to consider them Supporters' Shield contenders.

More Than That

5. FC Dallas (5.77; 5): They nearly pulled out a point on the road against a very good Sporting team, which helps explain why they didn't take much of a hit in the rankings. Still a very good team and the return of George John to the starting lineup has to be good.

6. Houston Dynamo (5.81; 6): In many ways were at least equal to the Sounders in their 2-0 loss. But some costly mistakes were punished. Will need to keep that loss from spiraling with four more games left on their season-opening road trip.

Quit Playin' Games With My Heart

7. Colorado Rapids (7.62; 7): They were trounced by the Red Bulls, but have some ready-made excuses. Playing without Jeff Larentowicz and Pablo Mastroeni is clearly not something the Rapids are going to want to see much of this year.

8. Chicago Fire (8.92; 9): The team no one seems quite sure what to make of didn't look great in beating the Union, but Dominic Oduro's goal and Marco Pappa's assist were certainly pretty.

9. Portland Timbers (9.00; 8): John Spencer doesn't think it's an issue worth discussing, but the Timbers are going to have to figure out how to win points on the road if they are going to make the playoffs. Losing to an awful Revolution side is not a good way to start.

10. Vancouver Whitecaps (9.04; 10): Tying a desperate United team at home was not an ideal result, but shutting them out is a sign that the Whitecaps' defense might not be as bad as many of assumed it would be.

As Long As You Love Me

11. New York Red Bulls (10.54; 11): A resounding win over the Rapids is a nice start. They have a game they really should win this week when they host the Impact. Another convincing win is a virtual must.

12. San Jose Earthquakes (11.23; 15): This was our big mover of the week. Going to Toronto is not easy and the Earthquakes really handled the Reds. Maybe this team is better than we're giving them credit for.

13. Columbus Crew (12.27; 13): They beat the Impact. What do you want?

14. D.C. United (13.38; 13): Well, they did keep an explosive Whitecaps team off the scoreboard. Of course, they also failed to score and have still not led for a single minute this season.

15. Toronto FC (13.85; 12): Losing Torsten Frings hurts. But this team just beat the Galaxy 4-3 on aggregate. Did Frings really make that big of a difference? Apparently.

Drowning

16. Philadelphia Union (15.15; 16): They've been Nowak-ed.

17. Chivas USA (15.38; 17): You'd think that beating our No. 1 team, on the road no less, would get you some more respect. You'd be wrong.

18. New England Revolution (16.81; 19): Poor opinions die hard. Just ask the Revs.

19. Montreal Impact (17.31; 18): This is a really bad team. They are going to give up close to 70 goals. Just you watch.

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 and Josh Yockey (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); Alex Englen (The Daily Wiz); Tweed Thornton and Ryan Sealock (Hot Time In Old Town).

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