MLS Power Rankings, Week 24: The Cream Kinda Rises

CARSON, CA - AUGUST 25: Fredy Montero #17 of Seattle Sounders FC celebrates his second half goal with Adam Johansson #5 during the MLS match against Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center on August 25, 2012 in Carson, California. The Seattle Sounders won 6-2. (Photo by Ric Tapia/Getty Images)

The Earthquakes and Sounders both solidified their rankings by destroying teams at the opposite ends of the spectrum.

A very exciting week, at least in terms of the number of goals scored, resulted in some lop-sided scores that show just how much separation exists between the top and bottom teams. The Earthquakes and Sounders, for instance, won by a combined score of 10-3 over the Rapids and Chivas, respectively. Sure, there were some other results that didn't quite fit into this little narrative (like the Dynamo settling for a tie at home against TFC), but let's ignore that for now.

This week's rankings are themed by Tribe Called Quest.

Award Tour

1. San Jose Earthquakes (Average ranking: 1.07; Last week's average: 1.15): Just when you think they might be settling down, they do something like blow up the hapless Rapids. That 4-1 win was just the latest example of how explosive this team is.

2. Sporting Kansas City (2.47; 2.92): Not the most impressive result against the Red Bulls, but the 1-1 tie doesn't hurt their chances much as no one else at the top of the East won, either.

3. Seattle Sounders (2.93; 4.62): Remember the concerns over the offense? With 13 goals in their past four games those are safely in the past.

Keep It Rollin

4. New York Red Bulls (4.4; 4.38): Hans Backe got away with one on Sunday, starting a head-scratching lineup that featured Tim Cahill as a CAM and a backline that made no sense.

5. Houston Dynamo (4.73; 4.69): Clearly capable of making a run at the East, dropping a couple points to TFC was not something they wanted. Only have themselves to blame, though, as they failed to take control of the match early.

The Pressure

6. Real Salt Lake (6.47; 5.00): A tie on the road against a decent Union team is not the worst result, but it is a continuation of a frustrating run in which they've claimed just one point in their last four league games.

7. Chicago Fire (7.00; 7.15): Got thumped in midweek, but maybe they deserved to move up anyway since their ranking as seemed artificially low up until now.

8. LA Galaxy (7.67; 9.08): Took care of business against suddenly resurgent Dallas and are very much in the running for a top 2 spot in the West.

9. D.C. United (9.4; 8.46): Took care of the Fire midweek, but then used a second-choice lineup against the Impact and paid dearly. There are clearly problems here, especially on the road.

Buggin Out

10. Columbus Crew (10.53; 11.15): Still on the outside of the playoff picture, but the additions of Jairo Arrieta and Frederico Higuain have brought a swagger that has been absent since the heyday of Guillermo Barros Schelotto.

11. Vancouver Whitecaps (10.6; 8.92): There's something to be said for always trying to improve, but Martin Rennie's decision to make over his team midseason looks worse with each passing week.

12. Montreal Impact (11.33; 11.69): Winners of five straight, it's tempting to pick them for a playoff side. But with so many extra games played, that's going to be tough. Still, the progress is undeniable.

13. FC Dallas (12.53; 13.38): The loss to the Galaxy really set them back. They are now in a virtual must-win against the Sounders if they are to hold out hope for the playoffs.

Description of a Fool

14. Chivas USA (15.47; 14.92): Just in case you thought they had a chance at making the playoffs, two straight losses by a combined score of 10-2 should pretty much end that.

14. Philadelphia Union (15.47; 16.08): Tying RSL at home is a perfectly fine result, but we can stop thinking about playoffs now.

16. New England Revolution (15.8; 13.46): It's tempting to say they've progressed under new coach Jay Heaps, but the results suggest this is the same old team, even if they are doing it in more attractive ways.

17. Colorado Rapids (15.87; 15.54): Oscar Pareja appears to have a pretty long leash, but as these results keep piling up you need to wonder if there isn't a limit to the patience.

18. Toronto FC (18.13; 17.85): Nothing wrong with a tie on the road against the Dynamo, but they aren't spending gobs of money just to rack up consolation prizes.

19. Portland Timbers (18.2; 18.69): A win, a win! Does it materially change anything? No, but at least the Cascadia Cup seems like a realistic goal.

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. We then pick some kind of group of songs to theme them to.

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); Phillip Quin (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); Rudy Gomez and Ryan Sealock (Hot Time In Old Town).

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