The biggest story in the United States at the start of the week is Hurricane Sandy, a storm that didn't cause the cancellation of any Major League Soccer contests during the final weekend of the 2012 regular season. New York Red Bulls were arguably the most impressive side of the final two days of the campaign, notching a 3-0 win over conference rivals Philadelphia Union. It's easy to guess which team enters the postseason as the kings of MLS power rankings. A hint, if it's possible that you actually don't know, is that the team features this guy.
2012 End of regular season MLS power rankings
See ya in 2013
19. Toronto FC (5-21-8): Once described as the "worst team in the world" by one of their own, TFC finish the season as the worst team in the league. Things can only get better; I hope.
18. Chivas USA (7-18-9): Sure, now you decide to start scoring goals. Probably should have thought about that several months ago, Chivas.
17. New England Revolution (9-17-8): Ended the season by ruining Montreal's first "Supporters Day" in that franchise's brief MLS history.
16. Philadelphia Union (10-18-6): The final memory from Philly's 2012 campaign? Getting shushed by Thierry Henry. Ouch.
15. Portland Timbers (8-16-10): Closed out 2012 by winning the Cascadia Cup and holding the league's best side to a 1-1 draw. Now starts the countdown to 2013.
14. FC Dallas (9-13-12): It's only fitting that Dallas would end the season by choking away a chance for a win. That sums up their fall quite nicely.
13. Montreal Impact (12-16-6): Congrats to the Impact for a solid expansion campaign, but I'll also come out and state the obvious: Getting a bit younger probably wouldn't kill ya', Montreal.
12. Colorado Rapids (11-19-4): I don't care if Houston had zilch to play for last weekend. A 2-0 win over the Dynamo is a solid result.
11. Columbus Crew (15-12-7): Columbus finished the season nine points ahead of Vancouver in the overall league standings. Life's not fair, kids.
Still in it
10. Vancouver Whitecaps (11-13-10): Not a part of me believes Vancouver will beat LA later this week. Prove me wrong, Whitecaps. Prove me wrong.
9. Houston Dynamo (14-9-11): Houston would be a great sleeper pick if they were hosting their Wild Card contest against Chicago. They aren't, and thus my faith in their ability to advance is low.
8. Seattle Sounders (15-8-11): Every time I want to go all-in on Seattle, something happens to make me take a step back. I don't like how they match-up against RSL (if Salt Lake are in form) one bit.
7. LA Galaxy (16-12-6): If LA manage to advance past this Thursday's contest, they could be the favorites to win it all. They're undoubtedly one of the scariest teams that are still playing.
6. Chicago Fire (17-11-6): Chicago could be another team that catches some by surprise. They're good enough at home to sneak past "better" teams and advance all the way to the Cup Final.
5. Real Salt Lake (17-11-6): Make no mistake about the fact that RSL have the goods to win this whole tournament. As long as they avoid being their worst enemy, Salt Lake can beat any opponent that remains.
4. New York Red Bulls (16-9-9): The RBNY team that slapped Philly around last Saturday can absolutely beat DC. Now we just have to see if that Red Bulls team actually makes an appearance in November.
3. DC United (17-10-7): You wanted the Red Bulls, Mr. Pontius? You've got 'em.
2. Sporting KC (18-7-9): Some MLS analysts/journalists I know claim that KC and not SJ are the best team in the league. Kansas City will be tested in a big way if they have to travel to Houston this coming weekend.
1. San Jose Earthquakes (19-6-9): Kings of all MLS power rankings and, at least on paper, the favorites to lift the MLS Cup in December. In Wondo they trust.