MLS Power Rankings, Week 10: Big 3 in showdowns

Landon Donovan has been on a roll of late. Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Real Salt Lake has been atop our Power Rankings all season, with reason, even after losing in Portland (heck, everyone loses in Portland) and last weekend's draw with Houston.

The Galaxy and New York Red Bulls have been back and forth at Nos. 2 and 3 all year.

These are clearly the three best teams in Major League Soccer, and each gets a genuine test this week:

  • Top-ranked RSL plays Sunday at FC Dallas, which has turned things around with a 4-1-1 mark in their last six games -- the loss at Portland -- and might have found a reasonable replacement for injured MLS MVP David Ferreira in Colombian teen Fabian Castillo.

  • The Galaxy, back at No. 2 after a comprehensive victory over Sporting Kansas City, takes on rising Chivas USA in a most interesting SuperClasico on Saturday night at Home Depot Center. Landon Donovan and L.A. are playing their best soccer since early last year, but the Goats' upset hopes don't appear far-fetched.

  • The Red Bulls were outfought and outthought by Chivas in last week's loss, and now they'll head to Houston for Saturday's meeting with a Dynamo side that, one bad week aside, has been as good as nearly anyone in MLS.

This week's rankings:

1. REAL SALT LAKE (5-1-1, 16 points), Last week: 1

Week 9: Extends home MLS unbeaten streak to 29 games in thrilling scoreless draw with Houston

Remark: Jason Kreis acknowledges the obvious: It will take time to learn to play without Javier Morales

Best bargain: Paulo Jr. makes just $42,000 base salary ($53,250 guaranteed compensation)

Next: Sunday at FC Dallas, 1 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

2. GALAXY (5-2-5, 20 points), Last week: 3

Week 9: Donovan scores in 1-1 draw at Philly, then scores two more to match 2010 total with seven goals as L.A. romps, 4-1, over Sporting Kansas City

Remark: L.A. starting to gain steam, so rest of MLS best beware

Best bargain: Defender A.J. DeLaGarza is underpaid at $55,110

Next: Saturday at Chivas USA, at Home Depot Center (Carson), 7 p.m. (ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes)

3. NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-2-3, 15 points), Last week: 2

Week 9: Midweek friendly is a 1-0 loss at future MLS club Montreal Impact; Thierry Henry nets his fifth, Dwayne De Rosario his first, but Bulls can't hold off Chivas USA in 3-2 loss

Remark: Red Bulls blame loss to Chivas on that friendly in Montreal. Yeah, OK, but don't diminish Goats' performance

Best bargain: Teen Juan Agudelo won't be making only $55K ($85K) for long

Next: Saturday at Houston, 5:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

4. FC DALLAS (5-3-2, 17 points), Last week: 5

Week 9: Daniel Hernandez's penalty kick beats Toronto FC, 1-0; Castillo scores and assists first half goals in 2-0 win over Philadelphia

Remark: Hoops relying on defense, haven't conceded in 309 minutes

Best bargain: Sparkplug Honduran winger Marvin Chavez makes only $50K

Next: Sunday vs. Real Salt Lake, 4 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

5. SEATTLE SOUNDERS (3-3-5, 14 points), Last week: 6

Week 9: Alvaro Fernandez gives Sounders a lead in 1-1 draw with Portland

Remark: Injury list grows with Erik Friberg and UC Irvine alum Brad Evans

Best bargain: Steve Zakuani probably won't play again this year, but he's still worth much more than $90K ($188K)

Next: Saturday vs. Sporting Kansas City, 7 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

6. HOUSTON DYNAMO (3-3-4, 13 points), Last week: 8

Week 9: Dynamo back on positive ground with scoreless draw at Real Salt Lake

Remark: De Rosario, hero of Dynamo's 2006, 2007 MLS Cup title runs, returns with the Red Bulls

Best bargain: Midfielder Michael Chabala more than earns his $67.5K ($75,833.33)

Next: Saturday vs. New York, 5:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

7. COLORADO RAPIDS (4-3-3, 15 points), Last week: 7

Week 9: Drew Moor's early goal won't stand up in 1-1 draw at D.C. United

Remark: Conor Casey could be back in the starting XI, but Omar Cummings and Caleb Folan need more time to heal

Best bargain: Cummings deserves far more than $80,438 ($89,188)

Next: Sunday vs. Toronto FC, 4 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

8. CHIVAS USA (3-3-3, 12 points), Last week: 10

Week 9: MLS Player of the Week Justin Braun scores first hat trick in Goats history to beat New York, 3-2

Remark: Goats looking more and more like RSL: Great defensive pressure all over the field, possession-heavy attack, and goals starting to come

Best bargain: A healthy Blair Gavin would pay big dividends on $55K ($74K)

Next: Saturday vs. Galaxy at Home Depot Center (Carson), 7 p.m. (ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes)

9. PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-3-2, 14 points), Last week: 4

Week 9: Danny Mwanga cleans up Sean Franklin's error for a 1-1 draw with the Galaxy, but Philly isn't so fortunate in 2-0 loss at FC Dallas

Remark: Union couldn't stick with the big boys, although they stole a point from L.A.

Best bargain: Palos Verdes Estates' Kyle Nakazawa's influence in midfield is worth more than $44,000

Next: Saturday vs. Chicago, 5 p.m. (Galavision)

10. PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-3-2, 14 points), Last week: 12

Week 9: Futty Danso strikes again, nodding home equalizer in 1-1 draw at Cascadia Cup rival Seattle

Remark: Sounders' complaint that rain favored Timbers draws John Spencer retort: “Next time we go up there, we’re going to take plenty of towels so we can dry the field off for them before the game. And take plenty of tissue paper so they can dry their eyes after the game.”

Best bargain: Danso, at $75,000

Next: Saturday vs. Columbus, 8 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

11. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (2-4-3, 9 points), Last week: 13

Week 9: Yorba Linda's Steven Lenhart scores against his former club in 3-0 romp over Columbus, but check of the tape takes goal away Monday

Remark: Lenhart is the catalyst, Chris Wondolowski the finisher; explosion vs. Crew is a step away from the brink

Best bargain: Lenhart is undervalued at $45K ($47,333.34)

Next: Saturday vs. New England, 7:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick); Tuesday in U.S. Open Cup qualifying final vs. Chicago, 7 p.m.

12. COLUMBUS CREW (3-2-4, 13 points), Last week: 9

Week 9: 3-0 debacle at San Jose ends seven-game unbeaten tear

Remark: Crew's ironclad defense breaks down over 13 minutes in NorCal

Best bargain: Outside back Shaun Francis has great upside at only $42,000

Next: Saturday at Portland, 8 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

13. D.C. UNITED (3-4-3, 12 points), Last week: 14

Week 9: Yorba Linda's Chris Pontius wins and then converts penalty kick to provide 1-1 draw vs. Colorado

Remark: Frontline partners Charlie Davies (hamstring), Josh Wolff (groin) go down with injuries

Best bargain: If Davies keeps producing, he's worth more than $184,620 ($244,870)

Next: Sunday in a friendly vs. Ajax Amsterdam (Netherlands), 2 p.m.

14. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (3-3-4, 13 points), Last week: 16

Week 9: Irvine's Benny Feilhaber wins winning PK, scores goal unfairly waved off for offside in 1-0 win over Vancouver

Remark: Feilhaber, Sharlie Joseph could develop into MLS's deadliest midfield combo

Best bargain: Zach Schilawski's production deserves more than $49,875 ($59,875)

Next: Saturday at San Jose, 7:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

15. SPORTING KANSAS CITY (1-5-1, 4 points), Last week: 11

Week 9: Own goal provides a lead, then it's all Galaxy in 4-1 defeat

Remark: Mistakes continue to cost Sporting, but didn't K.C. seem more dangerous with Davy Arnaud higher?

Best bargain: Winger Graham Zusi, at $42K

Next: Saturday at Seattle, 7 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

16. CHICAGO FIRE (1-3-5, 8 points), Last week: 15

Week 9: Woodland Hills' Orr Barrouch scores first MLS goal to deliver 2-2 draw at Toronto FC

Remark: Fire make it official, decline option on failed Mexican Nery Castillo

Best bargain: Guatemalan midfielder Marco Pappa is worth a lot more than $120K ($125K)

Next: Saturday at Philadelphia, 5 p.m. (Galavision); Tuesday in U.S. Open Cup qualifying final at San Jose, 7 p.m.

17. TORONTO FC (2-4-5, 11 points), Last week: 17

Week 9: Controversial penalty costs Reds in 1-0 loss at FC Dallas; Joao Plata scores, assists, but TFC squanders two-goal lead in 2-2 draw with Chicago

Remark: TFC turns “lazy,” “didn't want to play anymore” when up, 2-0. More like didn't know what to do, so rare are Reds up, 2-0

Best bargain: Rising rookie Plata makes just $42K

Next: Wednesday in Canadian Championship final first leg at Vancouver, 7 p.m.; Sunday at Colorado, 4 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

18. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (1-5-4, 7 points), Last week: 18

Week 9: David Chiumiento's stoppage-time cross/shot gives 'Caps 1-1 draw vs. San Jose; penalty kick decisive in 1-0 loss at New England

Remark: No wins in 10 games since beating Toronto in the league opener

Best bargain: Big, speedy Atiba Harris a good buy at $77.590 ($80,590)

Next: Wednesday in Canadian Championship final first leg vs. Toronto FC, 7 p.m.

All times Pacific