MLS Power Rankings - Week 5

1. Red Bull NY - Up until RSL's final flurry, things looked like business as usual. Is this a sign of things to come or a fluke one-off against a team in transition? While a draw against one of the bottom sides in MLS takes some of the luster off of their spectacular start to the season, Red Bull are still undefeated.

2. Houston Dynamo - They looked shaky early, but Kinnear's team fought back and DeRo looks like he's out to prove something with a passionate two-goal outing. The only negative is that they don't have a game next week to continue to build momentum.

3. NE Revolution (+1) - A hard fought draw against DC United (and Terry Vaughn) followed by a strong win against rivals Chicago boost the Revs over the Fire in the rankings. Playing without one of their most influential players in Shalrie Joseph, Nicol's side are proving that they still have the quality to be a top team in this league.

4. Chicago Fire (-1) - Despite going toe-to-toe with the Revs for much of the game, two late goals sunk the Fire. Next week they'll have a chance to recover against cellar-dwellers Toronto, though TFC looks to be much stronger at home than they were away in the first few weeks of the season.

5. Kansas City Wizards (+1) - They left it late, but Burciaga's excellent winner handed the Crew their first loss of the season and boosted the Wizards in the rankings. As I predicted early in the season, they're not spectacular, but they're solid all the way through the team.

6. Chivas USA (-1) - A tough loss away to a recovering DC. Despite a midfield decimated by suspensions and departures, Chivas continued to create chances. They outshot DC in RFK, and were it not for some great saves by Perkins, they may very well have gotten something from this game. If they can address the issues with their backline, they have the potential to be one of the top teams in the league.

7. LA Galaxy - A week off doesn't have any effect on the Galaxy's position. They'll have a tough test up next as they host the in-form Revolution.

8. Colorado Rapids - They started strong, but were gradually overwhelmed by DeRo and the Dynamos. Not having Cannon to save their bacon is going to hurt an otherwise improved Colorado side this year.

9. Columbus Crew - If not for a late goal, the draw specialists would have notched another point. The Crew are a solid defensive unit, and should improve offensively with the addition of Schelotto and HerrĂ³n's impending return from suspension.

10. DC United (+1) - Though they dominated long stretches against the bunkered Revs, they were really gifted a draw by Terry Vaughn. A decent performance against Chivas and the return of goalkeeper Perkins' confidence boost them above the inactive FC Dallas. Despite the win, DC were outshot by Chivas at home, and still didn't look particularly convincing.

11. FC Dallas (-1) - Though not in action, DC's victory boosts them over the Hoops. A tough away match against the resurgent Wizards will be an interesting test for Dallas this week.

12. Real Salt Lake - A draw against the undefeated Red Bulls is impressive, but RSL required two late goals to salvage a point at home. After the chaos of the previous week, it was still a great result. Can Kreis successfully transition to the coaching role? The Thursday night game at Colorado in a Rocky Mountain grudge match will give us a clue.

13. Toronto FC - They've got nowhere to go but up, but not having a game doesn't help. TFC looked much better at home than they had away. Will that continue against the Fire?

So, the Empire(s) Struck Back as pre-season darlings Houston and DC both began to turn around early-season slumps. The teams at the top continue to look good and while others had a bit more of a struggle, but the parity of the league is such that anything can happen on any given week. What surprises will the week ahead bring us?

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