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MLS Power Rankings, Week 9: Portland Timbers Continue To Climb

The Timbers' 1-1 tie with the Seattle Sounders was apparently enough proof for our editors to push them into the second tier.

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Not a whole lot of movement in SB Nation Soccer's MLS Power Rankings in Week 9, the Portland Timbers got themselves back into Tier 2 after gutting out a tie with the Seattle Sounders on Saturday. The big knock against the Timbers has been an inability to get road results, and while they still don't have a win away from Jeld-Wen Field, they at least showed they aren't pushovers. 

The other move worth really keeping an eye on is FC Dallas, who after beating the Philadelphia Union 2-0 are the hottest team in MLS. They have now claimed 13 points in their last five matches and have not lost since David Ferreira went down with his injury. Another good week is likely to put them in the top tier.  

I've turned over the explanations for the rankings back to our various editors:

Playing For The Shield

Real Salt Lake

100% (66 out of 66 points)

New York Red Bulls

98% (65 out of 66 points)

Los Angeles Galaxy

95% (63 out of 66 points)

Don't look now but Landon Donovan now sits atop the Golden Boot standings with his seven goals. With Donovan on this current hot streak, the LA Galaxy continue to set the pace in the standings. While every clubs in MLS has games-in-hand against the Galaxy, Bruce Arena's club is starting to slowly break away from the pack. I think after their dismantling of Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, they're getting awfully close to the kind of form that got them the Supporter's Shield trophy last season.

- Drew Epperley,  Big D Soccer/SB Nation Soccer

Enjoy The Playoffs

FC Dallas

74% (49 out of 66 points)

Colorado Rapids

68% (45 out of 66 points)

Philadelphia Union

63% (42 out of 66 points)

Seattle Sounders

62% (41 out of 66 points)

Portland Timbers

54% (36 out of 66 points)

Nobody doubts the Portland Timbers ability to win at home, but their road performances were clearly the element of their game holding them back. Saturday night's draw at Seattle proved they can get a result away for Jeld-Wen Field, but I suppose given it's a derby match, you have to take it with a grain of salt. That said, they are improving defensively each match and if they can continue to get results on the road, they will have to be taken seriously as a possible playoff team. If Rio Tinto is a fortress, Jeld-Wen is turning in to Fort Knox on steroids. Moving up to their second tier of the power rankings is a clear indicator that people are starting to believe in John Spencer's men from the Rose City.

- Zach Woosley,  Dynamo Theory/SB Nation Soccer

Still Something To Prove

Houston Dynamo

48% (32 out of 66 points)

Columbus Crew

39% (26 out of 66 points)

Chivas USA

33% (22 out of 66 points)

DC United

31% (21 out of 66 points)

New England Revolution

30% (20 out of 66 points)

San Jose Earthquakes

18% (12 out of 66 points)

Chivas USA is truly an enigma. At 3-3-3 (9 points), Chivas sits in seventh place in the Western Conference, but has been all over the place in term of results during the 2011 season. Chivas started the season with three straight losses, two in MLS play, and then followed them up with three straight draws. After passing on taking USMNT midfielder, and Californian, Benny Feilhaber, Chivas crushed the New England Revolution 3-0, only lost to MLS Cup favorites Real Salt Lake 1-0 and then beat Eastern Conference leaders New York Red Bulls 3-2. The question is, what part of this young season represents the real Chivas?

- Scott Kessler, Brotherly Game

At Least There's No Relegation

Chicago Fire

13% (9 out of 66 points)

Toronto FC

6% (4 out of 66 points)

Vancouver Whitecaps

3% (2 out of 66 points)

Sporting Kansas City

1% (1 out of 66 points)

Sporting Kansas City are completely in disarray at present moment. Not only are the results terrible (1-5-1, including four straight losses, 18th in MLS), but there looks to be no relief in sight, there seems to be mass confusion among the players regarding what tactics head coach Peter Vermes is currently trying to employ, and player morale is nearing an all-time low. For a team that received so much hype before and early on in the season, the wheels really have come off quickly. Upcoming away games against Seattle and Colorado only look to continue Sporting's current form. All these factors go into helping Sporting KC reach the previously unattainable - SB Nation's ever-elusive power ranking 12th tier.

- Andy Edwards, The Daily Wiz

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); Jeff King (The Goat Parade).