Each week, Ives Galarcep takes inventory of the contenders and pretenders in Major League Soccer. This week, there's a new club at the top of his MLS Power Rankings.
Rank Team Record (W-L-D) 1. FC Dallas 10-4-4 Playing some of the best soccer in MLS, Dallas easily disposed of a Columbus squad that came into the match on a good run of its own. Dallas became the first MLS team to reach 10 wins, a feat made all the more impressive by the fact the team has done it without injured MLS MVP David Ferreira. 2. Los Angeles Galaxy 9-2-9 With Donovan Ricketts sidelined by a broken arm, David Beckham nursing a back injury, Landon Donovan still not looking like his pre-Gold Cup-version and Juan Pablo Angel still not firing, the Galaxy is forced to battle for results, as evidenced by a scoreless draw at home against a Seattle team LA normally beats. All that said, Bruce Arena's side is still unbeaten in eleven. 3. Seattle Sounders 8-4-8 It wasn't an exciting game, but the Sounders will gladly take a road point against the Galaxy. Of greater concern is the continued struggles of Fredy Montero, who missed a penalty and was otherwise ineffective. A trip to struggling Portland is up next, a match with some special meaning as the Sounders roll in unbeaten in seven. 4. Real Salt Lake 7-3-6 Poor officiating doomed RSL to a draw in a game against New England they were heavily favored to win. Despite the dropped home points, Real Salt Lake showed incredible strength and character in battling from two goals down amidst an awful referee performance. 5. New York Red Bulls 6-3-10 Wednesday's breakout performance showed what the Red Bulls can do with a healthy attack, and when their goalkeeper isn't committing blunders. As good as Thierry Henry and Luke Rodgers looked, the real story was the partnership of Teemu Tainio and Dax McCarty, which gives the team some real stability in central midfield. We will see how the Red Bulls do without Tainio on Saturday against DC United. 6. Philadelphia Union 7-4-6 Union didn't play particularly well, but did show some mettle in fighting back from 2-1 down to tie DC United on the road. The offense once again struggled coming out of the blocks but did enough late to earn a point. With a stretch of road games coming up, Philly will need to kick it up a notch offensively to stay atop the Eastern Conference. 7. Columbus Crew 7-5-6 The overachieving Crew ran into a strong Dallas side that was just too good for Columbus, particularly defensively. The Crew rebounded nicely though, disposing of a struggling Vancouver side, as Jeff Cunningham tied the MLS career goals record. 8. Sporting Kansas City 5-6-6 The hottest team in MLS made it nine straight without a loss and after tying Colorado on Wednesday. C.J. Sapong continues boosting his Rookie of the Year candidacy while the once-struggling Sporting KC defense turned in another steady performance. A win against Chivas USA on Saturday would tighten KC's grip on a playoff spot. 9. Colorado Rapids 5-5-9 Playing without suspended striker Conor Casey last Saturday, the Rapids struggled to put a goal up in their 0-0 tie against Houston, but more troubling is Colorado's recent home winless streak (seven games, 0-2-5). On Wednesday, Casey returned to score a goal and help the Rapids salvage a 1-1 tie against Sporting KC. With Casey and Omar Cummings finally starting games together, the Rapids will have no excuses for getting their struggling offense going. 10. San Jose Earthquakes 5-6-5 Steven Lenhart continues to score, but the Earthquakes defense let them down in a home game they could have easy w0n against New York. Last night, Lenhart was rendered ineffective by Chivas USA. Short-handed in central defense against the Goats, San Jose will welcome back Bobby Burling on Saturday against Philadelphia. 11. Houston Dynamo 4-6-8 Tally Hall stepped up with a strong outing against Colorado, but the Dynamo attack was once again left struggling for chances. It's no secret Houston is on the hunt for offensive additions to the roster, and we saw pretty clearly why. 12. DC United 4-5-7 Dwayne DeRosario made an impressive debut, but DC's defense faltered late in a match yet again. The addition of Brandon McDonald should help the defense mature, but it's clear the unit still has some issues. Luckily for United, it looks as though the offense will be good enough to carry the team in some matches. It will likely have to when DC travels to New York on Saturday. 13. Chivas USA 5-7-6 The Goats scored a sorely-needed victory against San Jose on Wednesday night, with second-year midfielder Ben Zemanski turning in a strong performance. The shutout should provide a big boost to a defense that had posted only one shutout in its previous 10 matches. 14. Chicago Fire 2-4-12 The Fire defense continued to impress, making it seven straight matches without allowing multiple goals. Unfortunately for Chicago, the offense continues to struggle, having gone seven straight without scoring more than one. What matters is Chicago is unbeaten during those seven matches, though Frank Klopas's side needs to start turning some of those ties into wins before it falls out of the playoff race. 15. Portland Timbers 5-8-3 Giving up early goals and struggling to create chances is dooming a Timbers side that has suddenly forgotten how to win at home. Benching Kenny Cooper didn't exactly revive the attack, and the defense continues to show signs of being vulnerable. It is becoming clear that John Spencer is going to have to go out and strengthen the defense. The offense is struggling, but there is too much attacking talent on the roster for that to continue. 16. Toronto FC 3-8-9 Talk about a roller coaster week. Last week, TFC was riding high after back-to-back wins against Vancouver, including a victory in the Canadian Championship Final, but Wednesday night's 5-0 loss to New York provided a sobering reminder of how much work TFC still has to do. Aron Winter needs defenders badly. 17. New England Revolution 3-7-8 Even with a referee giving them a gift penalty and red card against Real Salt Lake, the Revs still couldn't take advantage of it and wound up settling for a draw. Some set pieces worked, but New England continues to struggle doing much in the run of play. With so many other teams making improvements recently, if the Revs don't add some impact players soon, it will quickly be another lost season. 18. Vancouver Whitecaps 2-9-8 Losing both an MLS regular season game and the Canadian Championship to Toronto FC in the same week was rock bottom for the Whitecaps, and Wednesday night's home loss to Columbus served as another reminder that the Whitecaps might want to start focusing on 2012.