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MLS Power Rankings, Week 21: The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

Unlike the stock market, our voters refuse to have knee-jerk reactions to limited information.

CARSON, CA - AUGUST 06:  Juninho #19 of the Los Angeles Galaxy celebrates his goal against FC Dallas at The Home Depot Center on August 6, 2011 in Carson, California.  (Photo by Jeff Golden/Getty Images)
CARSON, CA - AUGUST 06: Juninho #19 of the Los Angeles Galaxy celebrates his goal against FC Dallas at The Home Depot Center on August 6, 2011 in Carson, California. (Photo by Jeff Golden/Getty Images)
Getty Images

If it seems like SB Nation's MLS Power Rankings have turned into a bit of a broken record, well, that's because they have, at least at the top. For the sixth straight week, the same four teams occupy the top tier of our rankings, with the Los Angeles Galaxy remaining atop them despite a midweek loss to the Portland Timbers.

The only notable moves came from the bottom end of our rankings where the Portland Timbers were moved back to the third tier and the San Jose Earthquakes dropped into the fourth tier. I suppose it's not entirely surprising, except for the fact that the Earthquakes and Timbers tied on Saturday.

Playing For The Shield

Los Angeles Galaxy

100% (54 out of 54 points)

FC Dallas

100% (54 out of 54 points)

Real Salt Lake

98% (53 out of 54 points)

Seattle Sounders

94% (51 out of 54 points)

It's hard to say what might have happened if Real Salt Lake had followed up their midweek loss to Sporting Kansas City with another stinker on Saturday, but that resounding 3-0 win over the New York Red Bulls appears to have satiated our voters. It is interesting that FC Dallas did not get downgraded by a single voter despite a 3-1 thrashing at the hands of the Galaxy. Oddly enough, none of these teams looked exceptionally strong this week as only the Sounders didn't lose, but even they needed a pair of very late goals to win on Saturday.

Enjoy The Playoffs

Philadelphia Union

68% (37 out of 54 points)

Columbus Crew

68% (37 out of 54 points)

Colorado Rapids

66% (36 out of 54 points)

Sporting Kansas City

61% (33 out of 54 points)

New York Red Bulls

50% (27 out of 54 points)

The Union did not exactly embarrass themselves this week, but it's understandable that they've now lost almost all of their first-tier support. Despite playing two home games against the Fire and Dynamo, they settled for just two points and failed to catch the Crew, who lost their only game of the week. The Red Bulls, who as recently as Week 16 were still getting significant first-tier support are suddenly fighting for their playoff lives.

Still Something To Prove

Houston Dynamo

37% (20 out of 54 points)

DC United

37% (20 out of 54 points)

Chivas USA

37% (20 out of 54 points)

Portland Timbers

20% (11 out of 54 points)

A week after bottoming out, the Timbers are back in the third tier thanks to their decisive win over the Galaxy on Wednesday. That should serve as just another reminder that there are no gimme games in MLS. Anyone of these teams could easily make the playoffs, but none of them would be good even-money bets to do so.

At Least There's No Relegation

San Jose Earthquakes

14% (8 out of 54 points)

Toronto FC

1% (1 out of 54 points)

New England Revolution

1% (1 out of 54 points)

Chicago Fire

0% (0 out of 54 points)

Vancouver Whitecaps

0% (0 out of 54 points)

Because of our accounting system, the Earthquakes qualify as a Tier 4 team, but clearly our voters think of them in different terms than the rest of this bunch. The Whitecaps finally broke their winless streak, but it comes with an asterisk because it was against a Fire team that has quietly been almost as bad.

How It Works: Each of the 18 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); 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); Tweed Thornton (Hot Time in Old Town), Ben Schneider (Once a Metro); Josie Bekcer (LAG Confidential) Alicia Ratterree (The Goat Parade); Sidereal (Sounder at Heart).