By Avi Creditor
August 26, 2013
Seattle's Mauro Rosales has scored three goals and recorded six assists this season.
Week 25 MLS Power Rankings
New Rank Old Rank Team
1 2 Real Salt Lake (13-8-6)
RSL could not have asked for more in its two-game stretch this week. Playing without Kyle Beckerman, Alvaro Saborio and Nick Rimando, RSL battled back in one of the toughest places to play to earn a 3-3 road draw with Portland. Then, with all but Saborio back in the lineup, RSL overwhelmed Columbus 4-0 as Beckerman struck for a rare brace to help the club open up a five-point gap atop the Western Conference.
2 1 Portland Timbers (9-4-12)
The Timbers have had better weeks. Portland let three points slip away with stoppage-time concession to RSL before dropping a Cascadia Cup bout with Seattle Sunday night. The caveat is that both results happened sans captain Will Johnson, whose return will be paramount to ensuring that the Timbers don't fall any further in the tightly contested Western Conference table.
3 4 Colorado Rapids (10-7-9)
The Rapids carried their nine-game unbeaten streak through a bye week and will put it on the line at Sporting Park against an increasingly more desperate Sporting KC side for their only meeting of the season. The bye week undoubtedly gave new forward signings Vicente Sanchez and Gabriel Torres more time to get acclimated in non-game situations, and the two will provide quality depth up top for the stretch run.
4 5 Los Angeles Galaxy (12-9-4)
Quietly, the Galaxy are on the move again. Going from the outside of the playoff places to second place in a short time, Landon Donovan-led L.A. controls its own destiny in the West, as it trails first-place RSL by five points but has two games in hand. The club's 1-0 win over Vancouver also cemented Jaime Penedo's place in goal for LA, with his outstanding save of Jordan Harvey's would-be equalizer sealing the three-point haul.
5 10 Montreal Impact(12-7-5)
The Impact turned in the classiest performance of the week, absolutely mauling Houston 5-0 to reclaim sole possession of first place in the ever-changing Eastern Conference. Marco Di Vaio sits atop the Golden Boot standings after his two-goal showing gave him 15 for the season, and when all of Montreal's attacking components are working in unison it makes for some of the most attractive soccer MLS has to offer.
6 9 Seattle Sounders (11-8-4)
Seattle held serve at home in its Cascadia clash with Portland, as Eddie Johnson scored the lone goal in the 1-0 victory that doubled as Clint Dempsey's home debut. Only RSL has a higher points-per-game total in the West, and with as many as four games in hand on their competitors as they hit a favorable part of the schedule, the Sounders' fifth-place standing is a bit deceiving.
7 6 Sporting Kansas City (11-9-6)
Sporting KC has left plenty to be desired over the last month, losing four of its last five games and running in quicksand in the muddled mess that is the Eastern Conference standings. The good news for Sporting KC is that Graham Zusi returned from a three-game absence after being injured in the first half of the MLS All-Star Game, and he emerged from a 90-minute shift unscathed.
8 3 New York Red Bulls (11-9-6)
The road Red Bulls reared their ugly head in a forgettable showing against Chivas USA, a team that for whatever reason has managed to have a hex over big-spending New York. The Red Bulls have answered arguably their two most impressive wins -- over RSL and SKC -- with a three-game winless streak and will have to regroup ahead of a rivalry match against D.C. Saturday night.
9 7 Philadelphia Union (10-8-8)
Things escalated in a bunch against the Union, who unraveled in New England to the tune of a 5-1 rout. Perhaps the evening would have unfolded differently had Conor Casey's goal with the game knotted at 1-1 been allowed to stand, but, defensively, Philadelphia never looked right, and now the club will be forced to play its next two games without the suspended Amobi Okugo.
10 8 Houston Dynamo (10-8-6)
Something about a Dom Kinnear-coached team laying a 5-0 egg, especially as the schedule turns to the home stretch, just doesn't seem right. The Dynamo never looked like they got off the bus after getting torched by the Impact at Stade Saputo, and it is a result that can serve one of two purposes: Either light a fire under a team that has become accustomed to excelling with the cards on the table or debilitate a side locked in a battle for its postseason life.
11 11 Vancouver Whitecaps (10-9-6)
Jordan Harvey had to have thought he had equalized for the Camilo-less Whitecaps against the Galaxy, but he was robbed by a Save of the Year contender, and the Whitecaps succumbed to LA 1-0 to end the season series at 1-1-1. Welcoming Andy O'Brien back into defense from the injured ranks is an important development, though, and Vancouver could add even more depth in the back with captain Jay DeMerit close to his return as well.
12 13 New England Revolution (10-9-6)
The Revolution turned in a five-goal masterpiece against the Union to climb into the playoff places after lingering on the outside for a while. Kelyn Rowe's long-range shooting coupled with Juan Agudelo and Diego Fagundez creating all sorts of problems for the opposition had the Revs celebrating repeatedly for its second straight win against a fellow Eastern Conference playoff contender.
13 14 Chicago Fire (10-10-4)
The Fire turned to an unlikely source to snag an important victory, with defender Hunter Jumper, only in the lineup because of a red card suspension to Bakary Soumare, putting in a sound shift while also scoring the only goal -- the first of his career -- in the 1-0 triumph over Sporting KC. With Chicago lingering in seventh place, there is plenty on the line, and a potential six-point swing, in this weekend's crunch clash against Houston.
14 12 San Jose Earthquakes (9-10-7)
San Jose blew a 2-0 lead in Dallas and missed an opportunity to make headway in its quest to return to the playoffs. The Quakes also lost defenders Victor Bernardez and Justin Morrow to red cards, which will make Saturday's California Clasico against the Galaxy all the more challenging. With the blood boiling between SJ and FCD and the two on the edge of the playoff picture, their meeting on the final weekend of the season could turn into quite the spectacle.
15 16 FC Dallas (9-7-10)
FCD's 11-game winless streak went by the wayside Wednesday night, with David Ferreira and Ramon Nunez providing a spark off the bench to lift the club to a win over Chivas USA. That momentum did not immediately carry over into Saturday's clash with San Jose, as the club went two goals down early, but a spirited comeback -- along with some controversy -- helped FCD salvage a 2-2 draw and remain relevant in the West.
16 15 Columbus Crew (8-12-5)
Columbus might have seen its peripheral playoff hopes go down the drain this weekend. Not only was the 4-0 loss to Real Salt Lake a debilitating result, but Federico Higuain's late red card will have him miss the next two matches, which come against Seattle and Houston, albeit at home. It is no secret how important Higuain is to the Crew's fortunes, and staying in the race without him won't be an easy task.
17 19 Chivas USA (5-14-6)
Give the Goats credit: They're at least playing out the string with dedication. Following a mid-week loss to FC Dallas that got away in the late stages, Chivas made for a pesky opponent against the Red Bulls, with Mexican forward Erick Torres tallying a brace to lift the club to a 3-2 shocker at the StubHub Center. Goalkeeper Dan Kennedy also did his usual, coming up with big saves to help spearhead the upset.
18 17 Toronto FC (4-12-9)
The Reds battled from a goal down on the road to take a 1-1 draw in D.C., with veteran Bobby Convey scoring the equalizer against his former side. The club's depth took a hit this week, though, as forward Jeremy Brockie's loan expired and DP midfielder Matias Laba suffered a broken toe, ruling him out for the majority of what is left in the season.
19 18 D.C. United (3-17-5)
Dwayne De Rosario delivered a reminder that he still has something special left in his tank with his long-range bomb to open the scoring against former club TFC, but as has been the case on multiple occasions this season, a defensive calamity allowed the opponent to strike, and D.C. settled for a 1-1 draw.

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