Remember when the Major League Soccer West was far and away the better of the league's two conferences? Those days may be coming to an end, as several Western Conference sides are stumbling into the early stages of summer. The New York Red Bulls and DC United both did well to pick up points against Canadian opponents this past weekend, and the two teams remain at the top of the Eastern Conference standings. One thing that hasn't changed, however, is the fact that the best team in all of MLS is once again one that calls California home.
2012 Week 18 MLS power rankings
19. FC Dallas (3-9-5): Didn't lose this past week (didn't play) and also have a long-term shirt sponsor. Things are starting to look up, right?
18. Portland Timbers (4-7-4): Portland may have more points than do some of the teams listed higher in my MLS power rankings, but they are an absolute mess right now. I honestly believe both Toronto and Philly could earn points against the Timbers. Speaking of...
17. Philadelphia Union (3-9-2): OK, so a new coach alone was never going to fix Philly. Failing to produce quality in the attacking third continues to be a problem for the Union, who look to be in for a long and unpleasant summer.
16. Toronto FC (2-10-3): The Canadian Champs continue to earn points, and they are flirting with making an exit from the basement of the MLS Eastern Conference standings. The team's back line is coming together nicely, and it's safe to say that Danny Koevermans has finally found his form.
15. New England Revolution (5-7-4): Somebody please get this team some consistent defending. Without it, the Revs aren't catching up to the likes of Columbus or Houston in the standings.
14. Montreal Impact (5-10-3): Montreal slide back down in MLS power rankings after being thoroughly dismantled by DC United. Somehow, I don't see Alessandro Nesta as being the Impact's savior.
13. Chivas USA (5-7-4): My pick to win the 2012 US Open Cup are just two wins away from turning that dream into a reality. Don't count Chivas out against Seattle.
12. LA Galaxy (6-9-2): Squandered a two goal lead against San Jose. David Beckham is way more interested in carrying the Olympic torch than he is in winning MLS games. Yeah, good luck with all that.
11. Colorado Rapids (7-8-1): I'd like to give Colorado a "that's more like it" after a convincing 3-0 win over Portland, but I've been burned by the up-and-down Rapids before. One can only take so much.
10. Seattle Sounders (7-5-5): It's safe to assume Seattle have forgotten how to win MLS games, yes? Perhaps a trip to RSL, another struggling side, will be just what the Sounders need.
9. Columbus Crew (6-5-4): The Crew continue to claw their way up MLS power rankings. Maybe Columbus really are closer to being a playoff team than I thought just one month ago.
8. Houston Dynamo (6-5-5): Defeated lowly Philly in unconvincing fashion at home. Color me unimpressed.
7. Vancouver Whitecaps (7-4-5): Mini-vacay comes to an end for Vancouver on July 4 when they travel to Colorado.
6. Sporting KC (9-5-2): Proof that having a boatload of points doesn't guarantee a top-five spot in MLS power rankings. 2-5-2 in their last nine has me wondering if we've already witnessed the best from Kansas City this season.
5. Chicago Fire (8-5-3): Somebody break up...er...put out the Fire. Three straight victories, the last of which came at KC on Friday, has Chicago within two points of third place in the MLS East.
4. Real Salt Lake (10-6-2): Oy. Once the team to beat and kings of all MLS power rankings, Real Salt Lake are now in the middle of their longest losing streak in roughly five years.
3. New York Red Bulls (9-4-4): Stop me if you've heard this one before in 2012. A banged up NY Red Bulls squad earned a point on the road, and the team continues to wait for good news regarding the visa status of Luke Rodgers.
2. DC United (10-5-3): Leapfrogged ahead of New York in both the standings and MLS power rankings. Slapping around lowly Montreal isn't something that should get fans overly excited, though.
1. San Jose Earthquakes (11-3-3): Chris Wondolowski: Pretty decent footballer. His third game-winning goal of the campaign propelled San Jose to a dramatic 4-3 comeback against LA, a win that keeps the Earthquakes as kings of all MLS power rankings for at least one more week.