Goal.com MLS Power Rankings: Week 23

Alan Gordon and Simon Dawkins scored twice to fire San Jose to a 4-1 win over Colorado and prolong the Earthquakes' stay atop the Rankings.
1. San Jose – Pencil the Earthquakes into the Western Conference bracket as the one seed right now. Why? San Jose plays six of its final eight games against Colorado (away), Chivas USA (home and home), FC Dallas (home) and Portland (home and home). It is difficult to imagine Frank Yallop's side squandering a seven-point cushion with that sort of slate ahead. (1)

2. Sporting Kansas City – Sporting will miss Teal Bunbury as the season winds to a close. He isn't a prolific goalscorer, but he did lead the line well enough over the past month or so. C.J. Sapong must pick up the slack and stay healthy for Peter Vermes' side to muddle through. Expect the search to add a viable center forward prior to the Sept. 15 roster deadline to start immediately. (2)

3. New York – The decision to keep Heath Pearce in central defense and try Wilman Conde at left back instead provided telling insight into Hans Backe's current assessment of his defensive options at the moment. (3)

4. Seattle – Not sure any Western Conference foe wants to see Sounders FC in the postseason. Too many goals, too many weapons. (6)

5. Houston – The best part of the CONCACAF Champions League reunion between Oscar Boniek Garcia and Olimpia? The Dynamo can name the electric Honduran midfielder in its squad. (4)

6. Chicago – With a victory over Houston on Sunday night, the Fire would leapfrog the Dynamo in the Eastern Conference pecking order. (5)

7. Real Salt Lake – Not a bad time to host a presumably knackered D.C. United side at altitude. Jason Kreis' side must take full advantage of the situation on Saturday night. (7)

8. Los Angeles – How will Bruce Arena treat Wednesday's CONCACAF Champions League affair against Puerto Rico? It is a tricky fixture, but he needs to get his stars some rest ahead of Vancouver's visit on Saturday. (8)

9. D.C. United – Ben Olsen made the right decision to rest his stars at Stade Saputo over the weekend. Now United must validate Olsen's decision by claiming three points at home against New York on Wednesday. (9)

10. Vancouver – Saturday's trip to fatigued Los Angeles assumes a rather dramatic importance in light of the Whitecaps' recent stumbles. (10)

11. Montréal – It must be nice to name Matteo Ferrari and Alessandro Nesta in the heart of defense even with two potential central defensive options suspended. On a quasi-related note, the Impact picked up a fifth straight victory over the weekend. (11)

12. Columbus – If Federico Higuaín manages to maintain his early form, then the Crew faithful may just start to utter his name in the same breath as Guillermo Barros Schelotto. (12)

13. FC Dallas – At what point will Schellas Hyndman decide that the versatile Jackson just isn't a good fit to lead the line? Desperate times call for desperate measures, but there must be another way to solve the issue if Blas Pérez isn't fit to feature for 90 minutes yet. (13)

14. Philadelphia – Freddy Adu likely did not impress Union boss John Hackworth with the responses he offered to his recent benching and the recent public criticism lodged by ESPN's Alexi Lalas.  (14)

15. Toronto FC – Other teams cower at the prospect of traveling to Houston. TFC just finds a way to churn out points on their visits to that part of Texas. If only the Reds could play all of their away matches at BBVA Compass Stadium. (16)

16. Chivas USA – Maybe it is time to start planning for next year. First step: sort out that complex situation in central defense. (15)

17. Portland – Caleb Porter to Portland, eh? Porter stands out as one of the brightest coaching prospects in the country even in the wake of his Olympic disappointment. If Portland can persuade Porter to leave Akron and take over at JELD-WEN Field, then the Timbers will have made a reasonable appointment. He could and likely will work with a few of the younger players already at the club, but he will require an extensive overhaul of the current roster to implement his aesthetically pleasing system if he decides to take the job. (19)

18. Colorado – Get fit quickly, Hendry Thomas. Your services are needed. (17)

19. New England – Number of the points secured by the Revs since Shalrie Joseph left for Chivas USA on Aug. 1: zero. The deal didn't prompt the poor run, but Joseph's return to Gillette Stadium on Wednesday won't help matters much. (18)

Kyle McCarthy writes the Monday MLS Breakdown and frequently writes opinion pieces during the week for Goal.com. He also covers the New England Revolution for the Boston Herald and MLSsoccer.com. Contact him with your questions or comments at kyle.mccarthy@goal.com and follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

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