How do you make the hottest team in MLS even stronger? You bring back the leagues most valuable player.
Thats exactly what will happen today when the streaking Columbus Crew welcome back MVP Guillermo Barros Schelotto from a four-game injury absence, a stretch that saw the Crew win four straight.
Does that mean the Crew should roll tonight? Not necessarily, not when FC Dallas and sizzling striker Jeff Cunningham come to town. Cunningham has scored five goals in two games and always likes returning to his old stomping grounds in Columbus.
As we get ready for the weekends match-ups, here is a look at the SBI MLS Power Rankings, which were pushed back due to some game in Mexico this week:
SBI MLS Power Rankings (Week 21)1 (Last Week-1). Columbus Crew (9-3-9)
Last week-BeatSan Jose Earthquakes,3-0,last Saturday.
This week- vs. FC Dallas tonight.
Last Five (in MLS)-4-0-1 in last five (W-W-W-W-T), unbeaten in last seven.
Outlook – Robbie Rogers with a great game and perhaps a message to Bob Bradley that he should be strongly considered for the next World Cup qualifier. Oh, did we mention the Crew win AGAIN without Guillermo Barros Schelotto. Scary to think what a rested Schelotto will do when he returns.
2(3). Houston Dynamo (11-6-5)
Last week-Lost toFC Dallas, 1-0,on Thursday, beat Chicago Fire, 3-2,last Sunday.
This week-at Real Salt Lake tonight.
Last Five – 2-2-1 (W-LW-L-T)
Outlook – Rebounded well from tough loss to FC Dallas by putting together a quality offensive performance against Chicago in winning, 3-2. Ricardo Clark doesnt score many, but his finish on Sunday was quality. Geoff Cameron adds right back to positions he can play well.
3(4). Los Angeles Galaxy (7-3-10)
Last week-Beat New England Revolution, 2-1,last Saturday.
This week-vs. Seattle Sounders tonight.
Last Five – 4-0-1 (W-T-W-W-W), unbeaten in six.
Outlook – Landon Donovans great goal was the highlight of another solid team performance for a Galaxy squad that is looking very dangerous as we move toward the end of the regular season. Donovan Ricketts returning is a big boost, but Donovans swine flu diagnosis is a cause for concern.
4(2). Chicago Fire (8-4-8)
Last week- Lost to Tigres in penalty kicks onAug.5(SuperLiga final); lost to Houston, 3-2,last Sunday.
This week-at Kansas City Wizards on Sunday.
Last Five – 3-1-1 (L-W-T-W-W).
Outlook – Tough week for the Fire, losing two games they played well enough to get better results in. Chicago desperately needs Wilman Conde back in order to help the defense get back to its stingy ways. The game this weekend looks easy, but KC will be playing for new coach Peter Vermes so the Fire wont have an easy time.
5(7). Colorado Rapids (8-6-6)
Last week- Beat Chivas USA, 4-0,on Saturday.
This week- Bye week
Last Five -3-2 (W-L-W-L-W)
Outlook – Big win vs. Chivas USA was good news, losing Colin Clark for the season is awful news. A bye week comes at the perfect time and you wonder whether the Rapids might call Terry Cooke and ask him to come back.
6 (6).DC United (6-4-10)
Last week-Beat Luis Angel Firpo in penalty kicks on Aug. 4 (CONCACAF Champions League); Lost to Real Madrid, 3-0,last Sunday (friendly).
This week-at Toronto FC on Saturday.
Last Five – 1-2-2 (L-T-W-T-L)
Outlook – D.C. United qualified for the group stage of the CONCACAF Champions League, whichwas a good accomplishment, but one that willtest the teamsdepth. D.C.has added some new pieces and will need them all as it begins a brutal stretch of matches beginning withtodays visitto Canada.
7 (5). Seattle Sounders (7-5-8)
Last week-Lost toFC Barcelona,4-0, last Wednesday(friendly);lost to Real Salt Lake, 1-0,on Saturday.
This week-at Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday.
Last Five – 2-2-1 (L-L-T-W-W), winless in eight straight on the road (0-4-4).
Outlook – Things arent looking good for the Sounders, who should count themselves lucky that they may not face Landon Donovan tonight. Can the offense shake out of the funk its in? Can the defense hold up without the suspended Jhon Kennedy Hurtado? A loss tonight could drop Seattle as far as sixth place in the West.
8(9). Real Salt Lake (7-8-5)
Last week-beat Seattle Sounders, 1-0, last Saturday.
This week-vs. Houston Dynamo tonight.
Last Five – 2-2-1 (W-L-W-L-T), unbeaten in past five at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Outlook – Can RSL keep up its solid form at home against a Dynamo team looking to rebound from a tough loss to FC Dallas? Will the attack generate chances without Yura Movsisyan, who is doubtful for the match?
9(10). New England Revolution (6-6-6)
Last week- Lost to Los Angeles Galaxy, 2-1, lastSaturday.
This week-Bye week.
Last Five – 2-1-2 in last five (L-T-W-W-T)
Outlook – Revs continue to find free time on the schedule, which doesnt hurt a team that could use time to get healthy.
10 (12). FC Dallas (6-9-5)
Last week-Beat Houston Dynamo,1-0,last Thursday.
This week-at Columbus Crew tonight.
Last Five -3-2 (W-W-L-L-W)
Outlook – Consecutive wins and a five-goal haul for Jeff Cunningham has FC Dallas rolling, but a stiff test awaits against the leagues best team. Can Cunningham work his magic against his old club?
11(8). Chivas USA (8-7-3)
Last week-Lost toColorado Rapids,4-0, last Saturday.
This week-at New York Red Bulls tonight.
Last Five -0-5 (L-L-L-L-L), lost six in a row.
Outlook -Dropping a sixth straight loss is one thing, being smoked by four goals after having a bye week is downright ugly. If Prekis men cant win against the lowly Red Bulls then the Goats playoff chances could be officially flat-lining.
12 (11). Toronto FC (7-7-6)
Last week- Tied Puerto Rico Islanders, 0-0,on Aug.4(CONCACAF Champions League);lost toReal Madrid, 1-0,onAug. 7 (friendly).
This week-vs. D.C. United today.
Last Five – 1-2-2 (T-L-T-W-L)
Outlook – TFC has a vital Eastern Conference clash with D.C. today that will either revive Torontos faltering playoff hopes, or officially drop TFC behind the pack in the chase for a first post-season berth. Will Lesley Fellinga help? Will Ali Gerba settle in and start to score some goals?
13 (13). Kansas City Wizards (5-7-6)
This week-vs. Chicago Fire on Sunday.
Last Five – 1-2-2 (L-T-T-L-W)
Outlook – Four-match winless streak helped seal the fate of former head coach Curt Onalfo. Now interim head coach Peter Vermes gets his chance to show why so many teams rated him as a top coaching candidate.
14 (14). San Jose Earthquakes (4-11-5)
Last week- Lost to Columbus Crew, 3-0, lastSaturday.
This week-Bye week.
Last Five – 1-3-1 (L-W-T-L-L)
Outlook – So what direction are the Earthquakes headed? After giving away Ryan Cochrane to the Houston Dynamo, you have to wonder just what is next for this faltering club.
15 (15). New York Red Bulls (2-15-4)
Last week-Lost toW Connection, 1-0,on August 5th(CONCACAF Champions League).
This week-vs. Chivas USA tonight.
Last Five – 0-5 (L-L-L-L-L), winless in 12 straight.
Outlook – Red Bulls have nothing to play for but pride and avoiding the record books for futility. They catch a break this week in face the one team in MLS playing as badly as they have in recent weeks.
What do you think of this weeks rankings? Think FC Dallas can stop the Crew? Will Seattles road woes continue?