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MLS Power Rankings, Week 23: Columbus Crew Make Top Tier Debut

Eastern Conference leaders replace Real Salt Lake in our top tier.

Emilio Renteria has helped lead the Columbus Crew into the top tier of SB Nation's MLS Power Rankings in Week 23. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Emilio Renteria has helped lead the Columbus Crew into the top tier of SB Nation's MLS Power Rankings in Week 23. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
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This feels like it has been a long time in the making, but the Columbus Crew not only lead the Eastern Conference, but more importantly have cracked the top tier of SB Nation's MLS Power Rankings. Granted, they received the minimum number (10) of the top-tier votes, but for a team that was receiving significant numbers of third tier votes just a few weeks ago, that's no small feat.

What got them over the hump, it appears, was their victory over the Philadelphia Union, a team many of our voters don't quite know what to make of. They've been knocking on the door of the top tier for seemingly ever, but are quickly sliding down our poll.

Playing For The Shield

Los Angeles Galaxy

100% (60 out of 60 points)

Seattle Sounders

100% (60 out of 60 points)

FC Dallas

98% (59 out of 60 points)

Columbus Crew

83% (50 out of 60 points)

With their win over FC Dallas, the Seattle Sounders seem to be establishing themselves as the team most likely to give the Los Angeles Galaxy a run for the Supporters' Shield. The Galaxy actually pushed their lead to six points, and it will be interesting to see how this plays out as all three of those teams have eight games left to play this season, while also competing in CONCACAF Champions League.

Enjoy The Playoffs

Colorado Rapids

78% (47 out of 60 points)

Real Salt Lake

70% (42 out of 60 points)

Sporting Kansas City

65% (39 out of 60 points)

Philadelphia Union

61% (37 out of 60 points)

Houston Dynamo

51% (31 out of 60 points)

Real Salt Lake has completes its downward fall, finally dropping into the second tier. It's hard to blame our voters, none of whom still consider them top tier right now, as RSL has failed to put any kind of consistent run together. The Houston Dynamo also entered our second tier, signaling that our voters now see them as a likely playoff team.

Still Something To Prove

DC United

36% (22 out of 60 points)

New York Red Bulls

35% (21 out of 60 points)

Chivas USA

33% (20 out of 60 points)

Portland Timbers

21% (13 out of 60 points)

DC United seemed to be the team most likely to breakthrough from this group, but after losing to Sporting Kansas City on Sunday, only three of our voters still consider them second tier. The Portland Timbers continue to yo-yo back and forth between our bottom two tiers.

At Least There's No Relegation

San Jose Earthquakes

5% (3 out of 60 points)

Toronto FC

3% (2 out of 60 points)

Chicago Fire

3% (2 out of 60 points)

New England Revolution

0% (0 out of 60 points)

Vancouver Whitecaps

0% (0 out of 60 points)

These teams are looking increasingly similar, as none of them seem poised to go on any sort of run that could result in them making the playoffs.

How It Works: Each of the 20 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); Zach Woosley (Dynamo Theory); 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); Tweed Thornton (Hot Time in Old Town), Ben Schneider (Once a Metro); Josie Bekcer (LAG Confidential); Alicia Ratterree (The Goat Parade); Brenton Walters (The Vancouver Whitecaps Offside).