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SB Nation MLS Power Rankings: Red Bulls No. 1

It seems like a strange thing coming off Saturday's uninspired 2-1 loss to an inferior Philadelphia Union team, but the New York Red Bulls have ascended to No. 1 in the weekly MLS Power Rankings.

The ranking is a subjective one, rather than a poll. It is based on the belief not that the Red Bulls are playing the best soccer as the MLS playoffs approach, but rather that they have the easiest path to the MLS Cup.

The New York Red Bulls, even if they don't hold onto the top spot in the East, would seem to have a much easier path to the MLS Cup. They are likely to face either the San Jose Earthquakes or the Colorado Rapids in the first round and probably won't have to go through any of the top four teams in the conference finals. It's hard not to consider them the most likely team to reach the MLS Cup.

Not only will they likely have the easiest path to the MLS Cup of any of the top teams, but they should also be the least bloodied once they get there. Not to totally discount the loss to the Union, but it came in the absence of Thierry Henry against a team that seemed to be more motivated. If Hans Backe can convince Juan Pablo Angel that leaving New York on top is the bet for all parties, watch out.

The Red Bulls were No. 3 a week ago. With them at No. 1 this week, Real Salt Lake is No. 2 and the Seattle Sounders No. 3.