MLS Week 26 Power Rankings: Experiencing Theoretical Difficulties

Now that most teams have only three games remaining, it occurs to me that my theoretical approach to these power rankings hasn’t been consistent from the beginning of the season. For a time, teams were ranked based on relative power at that point in time – e.g. if a team sat higher in the standings than another, that amounted to an opinion that the higher team would beat the lower more often than not. Since then, the rankings followed a different standard: whether or not a given team seemed likely to make the post-season.

I bring this up now courtesy of an urge to rank Real Salt Lake (RSL) higher than a few playoff-bound teams. RSL punches toe-to-toe with the bottom half of the playoff bracket these days and that’s not quite showing up. To give an example, I’d wager they can have their way with FC Dallas right now, point differential notwithstanding.

Well…I screwed up. What can I say? So, with that in mind, expect the same half-thought, random mash. As always, last week’s ranking appears in parentheses after this week’s ranking and, in a new(-ish) twist, current points (drawn from the ever-helpful standings) and each team’s upcoming game(s) are listed as well.

1. (1) DC United (53 points)
It’s one thing to beat the teams you should; it’s another to annihilate those you should annihilate. Call DC #1 with a bullet.
In Week 26: @ Kansas City Wizards, 10/5

2. (4) Houston Dynamo (48 pts.)
With the other contenders wheezing, it’s possible Houston’s break came just in time for a late-season surge. Shockingly, LA will provide a better test at this point than a panicked Dallas team…not that the rankings show that (next year, my friends).
In Week 26: Los Angeles Galaxy, 10/7

3. (3) New England Revolution (49 pts.)
Week 26’s squeaker over the Rapids either proved Twellman is more necessary than vital to the Revs offense, or this team will rely on pulling a series of rabbits out of their butts for the rest of the year. And I don’t like those odds.
In Week 26: @ Chicago Fire, 10/6

4. (2) Chivas USA (48 pts.)
Having watched this team falter for a second straight week, they look likely candidates for premature “peaking.” The game against RSL won’t be the gift it once was, either.
In Week 26: @ Real Salt Lake, 10/6

5. (8) Chicago Fire (33 pts.)
So, they’re racking up ties like it’s the object of the game, but they’re doing it against good teams and on the road. It bears remembering that a draw on the road plus a narrow win at home equals victory come playoff time.
In Week 26: New England Revolution, 10/6

6. (5) Red Bull New York (39 pts.)
The shine comes off a fighting performance due to the fact they could only manage a draw at home – and against RSL – when more was needed. 2007 looks to be a rebuilding season and that’s not the worst thing.
In Week 26: @ Toronto FC, 10/4

7. (7) Kansas City Wizards (36 pts.)
Defense killed the Wizards this year, but some shocking indiscipline, and the suspensions that followed, might yet finish the job. The Copa Sudamericana, and the fatigue that may follow, is their best friend this weekend. For all that, only a choke of FC Dallas proportions keeps these guys out of the playoffs…where they’ll quickly exit.
In Week 26: DC United, 10/5

8. (6) FC Dallas (40 pts.)
Some teams lose in the post-season. The way things are going, Dallas might actually expire – i.e. die. Watching this team implode kinda hurts.
In Week 26: @ Columbus Crew, 10/6

9. (11) Real Salt Lake (24 pts.)
There’s so much fight in this team, I’m moving them up to the best of the worst. And, yeah, I think I’ve been pining to do this for a while.
In Week 26: Chivas USA, 10/6

10. (12) Los Angeles Galaxy (27 pts.)
Three straight wins have the Galaxy looking the most likely to leave the basement, but I think that ends this weekend. If it doesn’t, though, the opposition for LA’s next two are entirely beatable. If Chicago keeps on tying, the Chicago/LA game on October 21st could be the first playoff game of the year.
In Week 26: @ Houston Dynamo, 10/7

11. (9) Columbus Crew (31 pts.)
In spite of the math – e.g. the Crew sits just two points behind tie-happy Chicago – it’s very, very hard to keep faith with this team. This weekend looked like such an opportunity and they blew it. Why expect a change? Ah, here comes Dallas…
In Week 26: FC Dallas, 10/6

12. (10) Colorado Rapids (29 pts.)
This is just a bad team. So bad, I would have picked Toronto to win if they played this one at home. Fortunately – and this for the world and long-suffering Rapids fans – 32 (or even 30) points won’t get the Rapids into the playoffs; Clavijo will get canned – or really, really should, but that that hasn’t happened yet makes a body wonder – and 2008 will feel like a whole new life! (Ooh…I’m gonna hear it on this one.)
In Week 26: Toronto FC, 10/7

13. (13) Toronto FC (21 pts.)

They suck. Really, really badly. But this is the rule for expansion teams.
In Week 26: Red Bull New York, 10/4; @ Colorado Rapids, 10/7

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3 Responses

  1. Your points for LA should be 27.

  2. Nice catch, Tim. The document has been corrected.

  3. […] Center Holds It (Me) MLS Underground/American Soccer Daily My Soccer Blog WVHooligan Sideline Views (Luis Bueno) Fox Soccer (Keith Costigan) ESPN (another collective) Fullback Files Tim (the Enchanter) […]

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