One of the more curious of occurrences that emanate from the soccer reporting denizens is the weekly slew of power rankings that profess to provide some insight into how any given team stacks up in its league. If that league, like most around the world, has teams that compete in a single table, then the exercise to rank them seems downright superfluous to that very table that already has them in league order.
However, in the enclave of the soccer universe that is Major League Soccer, that built-in single table rankings template does not exist. While not a system unique to MLS, breaking the table down into conferences is an age-old American tradition, also shared by northern neighbor Canada, which represents the geographical expanse that is North America. And frankly, there is nothing wrong with that system at all.
In fact, because of the MLS conference set-up, the multitude of power rankings somehow makes sense, and numerous sports reporting outlets rush to publish their numerical assessments at the start of each week in the still roiling wake of the previous weekend’s round of games. Without a single table to use as reference, these rankings make a pretty good substitute for highlighting how teams across the two conferences compare.
And why do they seem to profligate like kudzu through a rural Southern county or starthistle through the golden coastal foothills of California? Because as do bears to honey, avid MLS fans can’t help themselves but find themselves attracted to their seductive persuasions. Which team moved up? Which team moved down? Which team is so bad that they anchor the rakings cellar? And most importantly, for anyone looking for the support he needs to sustain his next sports bar "Best Team in MLS" argument with friends, which team sits atop the rankings pinnacle.
So, right on cue, the soccer writers at SB Nation combined their collective wisdom to deliver this week’s MLS Power Rankings. And, for what seems like the 37th straight time in a row, the San Jose Earthquakes sit proudly at the top. Keep that string alive, and the MLS Power Rankings Supporters’ Shield — it’s the same as they award the championship trophy in college football, right? — will be gracing the trophy case of Buck Shaw Stadium before season’s end.
You want more rankings from around the Internet? Of course you do, so keep reading after the jump to get your Power Rankings fix!FoxSoccer.com's Ives Galarcep says that the Quakes are surging. That's another vote for the trophy coming to San Jose.
ESPN.com's rankings, no doubt spearheaded by the incomparable Jeff Carlisle, rightly return the Earthquakes to the top spot this week after drinking the Houston Dynamo Kool-Aid last week. That Kool-Aid is orange flavored, right?
SI.com's Avi Creditor, who knows a thing or two about ranking 'em up, stands (maybe sits) with mouth agape at the Quakes continued comebacks, but that doesn't stop him from filling out his card with San Jose #1.
Goal.com featured columnist asks whether the Earthquakes are a team of destiny. Hard to argue with a man that has first hand knowledge of what a density looks like — the 2005-07 New England Revolution.
The MLS mothership also gets into the action — isn't that some kind of conflict of interest? — and keeps San Jose back to #1 despite the Los Angeles Galaxy and New York Red Bulls also winning this week (kidding MLS, we love you here at QRG, and know that the tie-breaker change to Goals Scored that was in no doubt instituted to help LA and NY will not be enough to topple the Quakes).
Upset alert! Cover your eyes if you don't want to see this, but our local newspaper the San Jose Mercury News has the Earthquakes in the second spot in their latest rankings! Wait, those were published back in Week #12... Oh, well, never mind. Hey, uh, Elliott and Matt, give me a ring if you want any help getting those updated (hint: put Quakes #1).