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Goal.com MLS Power Rankings: Week 9

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MLS announces finalists for 2013 year-end awards
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MLS announces finalists for 2013 year-end awards

1. Los Angeles – The victory at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday underscored one of the underrated aspects of Bruce Arena's tenure: he always builds a squad, not just a starting XI. (2)

2. FC Dallas Those flashes of iffy temperament revealed in Vancouver? They provide one of the flaws that could ultimately bring this side tumbling down. Injuries to steady figures Andrew Jacobson and George John don't help the cause, either. (1)

3. Montréal – Credit the Impact for figuring how to work the MLS system (lots and lots of loan deals) and strengthen the team gradually during the course of the campaign. This side looks poised to make a playoff push based on the current evidence. (3)

4. Houston – The pursuit of a signature road result continues in Carson, Calif. this weekend. (4)

5. Portland – Caleb Porter's side is in the middle of a fairly quiet six-match unbeaten run. The mark should hit seven when New England visits JELD-WEN Field on Thursday night. (7)

6. Sporting Kansas City The past two games should represent a hiccup along the way. A third straight defeat against Chivas USA might create more lingering concerns. (5)

7. Columbus – Forget about the fire in the scoreboard. What about the Crew's three-goal surge in the first half to brush aside reeling D.C. United? (10)

8. Real Salt Lake The team is the star. But Álvaro Saborío is also the star. And the team doesn't shine quite as brightly without him. (6)

9. Chivas USA – “These players have made me better,” Red-and-White boss José Luis Sánchez Solá told reporters after Saturday's 2-2 draw with San Jose. “They’ve made me analyze things that I didn’t see before. I am better than when I arrived on January 6. I’m a better coach and, really, a better human being. I’m happy with myself and with this group. I’m very, very happy. I have options to do other things, but I’m happy here.” (9)

10. New York – Two wins from two matches against Toronto FC and New England are not enough to offer firm evidence of the Red Bulls' uptick in form. Mike Petke's side must continue to perform consistently. A few more goals from Tim Cahill would certainly help the cause. (12)

11. Philadelphia – Chalk up the defeat at New England to a bad day at the office after three positive results. Now the Union must respond against Seattle at home on Saturday. (8)

12. San Jose – The excuses are starting to dwindle for the Earthquakes. Time to lift the performances and the results accordingly. (11)

13. Vancouver – Darren Mattocks will score goals if he keeps finding space behind opposing back fours. But he probably needs to start polishing off those opportunities sooner rather than later to relieve the increasing pressure on the Whitecaps. (13)

14. Colorado – Can the return of Martin Rívero compensate for the Rapids' continued injury woes? His presence will force Oscar Pareja to alter the currently successful calculus a bit, though. (14)

15. Seattle – The only silver lining to Sounders FC's indifferent start: it has played at least one fewer game than every other MLS side. (17)

16. New England – The combination of creativity and width sparked the Revolution's attack. One snapshot of the club's offensive woes this season: the two-goal output against Philadelphia on Saturday matched the club's total production through its first six matches. (18)

17. Chicago – No surprise to see the Fire appeal Jeff Larentowicz's dismissal for denying a goalscoring opportunity over the weekend. Replays showed Andrea Pisanu appeared to trip over his own feet. (15)

18. Toronto FC – A run of four straight draws came to a screeching halt thanks to Tim Cahill and the Red Bulls. Ryan Nelsen will find himself more troubled by the performance than the final result, though. (16)

19. D.C. United – One point worth noting as United continues to struggle: the current investor/operators did not hire either coach Ben Olsen or general manager Dave Kasper. (18)

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