Week 26 MLS Mathematical Power Rankings: Stratified

Goldenballs, Landycakes & the Galaxy are waltzing their way to another Supporters' Shield. Left-2-3, Right-2-3...

Major League Soccer resumed its schedule last weekend after what must have been a 9 month layoff for earthquakes, hurricanes, FIFA international dates, locusts, and the GOP presidential debates. To celebrate the Return of Soccer, I spent a day losing an argument with Air Tran in the Minneapolis airport. (I thought that because my ticket said I'd arrive in DC on Sunday, I shouldn't have to arrive in Baltimore on Monday, but alas, Air Tran won the day. But, I'm totally Zen about the ordeal now that I've had a couple days to cool off.)

So, it's been a couple weeks since we last did this, and despite some big jumps by a few teams, nobody crossed the mystical line of demarcation between the ninth and tenth spots, so we're left with a couple tiers to look through. Let's get to it.

Full Table

 

GP

 

Pts

 

PPG

 

L5

 

Pwr

Last Wk

 thru Sep 11

Pwr

Pos

1

Los Angeles Galaxy

28

55

1.96

2.00

.658

(.690)

(1)

2

Seattle Sounders F.C.

28

48

1.71

2.00

.595

(.611)

(2)

3

Real Salt Late

26

45

1.73

1.80

.583

(.506)

(6)

4

Sporting Kansas City

28

40

1.43

2.00

.524

(.496)

(7)

5

F.C. Dallas

28

46

1.64

0.80

.477

(.543)

(3)

6

D.C. United

25

34

1.36

1.60

.473

(.456)

(9)

7

Columbus Crew

27

40

1.48

1.20

.470

(.535)

(4)

8

Colorado Rapids

29

41

1.41

1.40

.470

(.533)

(5)

9

Houston Dynamo

28

35

1.25

1.40

.429

(.457)

(8)

10

Portland Timbers

27

33

1.22

1.40

.422

(.424)

(10)

11

Philadelphia Union

27

36

1.33

0.60

.383

(.404)

(11)

12

Chicago Fire

27

27

1.00

1.60

.383

(.393)

(12)

13

Red Bull New York

27

33

1.22

0.80

.372

(.358)

(14)

14

Toronto F.C.

29

27

0.93

1.60

.366

(.314)

(15)

15

San Jose Earthquakes

27

29

1.07

1.00

.352

(.283)

(17)

16

N.E. Revolution

28

27

0.96

1.20

.341

(.271)

(18)

17

Vancouver Whitecaps

27

22

0.81

1.40

.320

(.302)

(16)

18

Chivas USA

28

31

1.11

0.40

.310

(.370)

(13)

So what do we think?

  • Top: At this point, I think it's a much more interesting question to ask whether the Galaxy will finish the season above 2 point per game (flirting with it now at 1.96) than it is to ask whether they'll win the Supporters' Shield.
  • Bottom: It's been a tough few weeks for the Goats, who now find themselves now only losing ground in the playoff race, but falling all the way to the cellar in our power rankings. That said, there's not a whole heck of a lot separating the bottom few teams, so any one of several teams could find their way to the bottom of the pile if Chivas USA can manage a win (or even a draw) in Chicago this week.
  • Where's United?: The Black-and-Red are currently 6th in the rankings, up from 9th last time around. DC are actually in the middle of a tightly packed cluster including FC Dallas, the Crew, and the Rapids. In fact, of the four teams, DC has the worst PPG on the season but the best current form. I think I can live with that for the moment.
  • Best Team Ever Assembled (On Paper) Update: Winning in New Jersey has always been part of the DC United Way. Apparently Tommy Soehn took a little bit of that mojo (duly diluted with that crisp, clean British Columbia stream water) with him to Vancouver: the Whitecaps managed to outplay the Red Bulls and take a road point back to the West Coast. Nevertheless, Chivas' fall to the cellar made room for the Red Bulls to move up a spot, tying their best mark since these rankings began: lucky 13th.
  • Ladders: Some big gainers in the top half of the power table this week, with RSL, Sporting KC and DC United each jumping three spots.
  • Chutes: Poor, poor Chivas USA, dropping from 13th to 18th. At least they've managed to take attention away from the ground that Columbus and Colorado are losing to everybody else in the playoff positions.
  • The League's Hottest Team This Week: It's gotta be the Galaxy, who not only continue to extend their lead atop the table, but also managed to clinch a playoff berth with more than a month left in the season. Special mention to the Sporks, who managed to take a point off the soon-to-be Supporters' Shield repeat winners this week, in addition to running Houston out of their shiny new building.
  • Playoff Prognosticating: Barring some ridiculous run of form, which doesn't appear to be in the offing for any of these teams, I'd be shocked if somebody from outside the top 13 spots makes a run to the playoffs. Hell, I'd be a bit surprised if the Red Bulls turned it around and made the show. Other than that, just about all we can be sure of is the top four teams from the West (LA, followed by Seattle, Dallas and RSL, in some order or other) will make it. 
Let us know in the comments what catches your eye in this week's rankings.
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