[MLS POWER RANKINGS] A 4-1 hammering of the Galaxy confirmed Real Salt Lake’s place atop the rankings, Philly won again to match its shutout total of last season, and failure to win at home dropped FC Dallas and Columbus down the ladder in Week 2 of the 2011 MLS season.
1. REAL SALT LAKE. A week after downing San Jose on the road in a monsoon, RSL came home and thrashed the Galaxy, 4-1, to run its unbeaten mark at Rio Tinto to 36 consecutive games. In the absence of regular starter Alvaro Saborio, Fabian Espindola and Paulo Junior dismanted L.A. numerous times. Class of the league? Right now, absolutely. Last week: 1.
2. COLORADO. Missing both members of its potent Conor Casey-Omar Cummings front pair in the starting lineup, the Rapids instead got a goal from Quincy Amarikwa to post a 1-0 victory over Chivas USA on the road. So far, so good for the defending champs heading into a home game with D.C. United this weekend. Last week: 2.
3. SAN JOSE. Yes, Chris Wondolowski atoned for misses in the 1-0 loss to RSL to open the season, but along with his two goals, the Quakes blanked FC Dallas on the road. With the next two games at home they could get off to their best start since being revived in 2008. Last week: 7.
4. NEW YORK. The Red Bulls, missing numerous regulars because of injuries or international duty, came away from Columbus Crew Stadium with 0-0 a tie to remain unbeaten. Emergency signing Alex Horwath got the shutout, Luke Rodgers made his MLS debut, and left back Roy Miller played an inspired game as Stephen Keel and Carlos Mendes anchored the central defense with solid efforts. Last week: 5.
5. PHILADELPHIA. How long it can last, nobody knows, but a second straight 1-0 win moved Philly atop the East. Carlos Ruiz scored to down Vancouver about 20 minutes after the ‘Caps went down to 10 men with the ejection of Eric Hassli. The Union has already matched its total of two shutouts from 2010. Last week: 11.
6. NEW ENGLAND. French left back Didier Domi debuted in a 2-1 triumph over D.C. United and spiced up the Revs’ attack with his runs up the flank. Shalrie Joseph set up the first goal by Zack Schilawski and converted the second from the penalty spot; United objected to refereeing decisions on both goals and didn’t score until Charlie Davies delivered a PK in stoppage time. Last Week: 10.
7. CHICAGO. The Fire took advantage of Omar Bravo’s red card to score three goals yet also conceded a pair to win its home opener, 3-2, over Sporting Kansas City in freezing conditions. Only 12,157 fans were on hand to see Marco Pappa slalom past four opponents to poke home the winning goal. Last week: 11.
8. SPORTING KANSAS CITY. Down to 10 men after the 34th minute, SKC fell behind by two goals yet kept battling before losing, 3-2. Matt Besler and Teal Bunbury punished defensive miscues to get SKC the goals as it slogs through a 10-match road swing to open the season. Last week: 4.
9. LOS ANGELES. Juan Pablo Angel scored his first goal for LA against RSL at Rio Tinto Stadium. As for the rest of the Galaxy’s performance without the two Donovans, Landon and Ricketts, suffice to say the scoreboard (4-1) didn’t lie. Last week: 3.
10. SEATTLE. The Sounders got their first point after opening with two defeats, yet needed to rally with an 80th-minute goal by Steve Zakuani to tie Houston, 1-1. Sharper midfield play offers those rabid fans some reason for optimism yet delirium is giving way to disgruntlement. Last week: 13.
11. D.C. UNITED. A controversy-filled match went against United at Gillette Stadium, with an apparent handball tainting the first Revs’ goal and a penalty awarded when Dax McCarty’s follow-through on a clearance connected with Pat Phelan. Yet a Stephen McCarthy kick might also have been whistled for a PK. After a late Charlie Davies PK, Dejan Jakovic took a 93rd-minute red card in a stunning display of stupidity. Last week: 7.
12. VANCOUVER. A home win followed by a 1-0 road defeat to Philadelphia in which it played a man down for more than half an hour is a creditable start for a new team. Left back Alain Rochat slid inside to replace Jay DeMerit to good effect, and Russell Teibert looks like he’s going to cause opponents problems this year. Last week: 12.
13. HOUSTON. There are issues to be resolved in several positions, but the Dynamo rebounded from a 1-0 home loss in its opener to scrape out a 1-1 tie in Seattle. Geoff Cameron’s goal caromed off two opponents on its way into the net to give the visitor some reward and Brian Ching nearly scored after coming on as a sub. Last week: 17.
14. FC DALLAS. Stunned at home by two Wondolowski goals and trailing 2-0 midway through the first half, FCD launched 19 shots to no avail. Two uncontested crosses set up the goals for Wondo and the shots gave keeper Kevin Hartman no chance. Teenage Designated Player Fabian Castillo debuted in the 57th minute. Last week: 6.
15. TORONTO FC. Newcomer Javier Martina scored both goals as TFC expectedly dispatched expansion Portland, 2-0, in the BMO opener. The defense struggled to contain Kenny Cooper and Co. and left back Mikael Yourassowsky took a second caution in the 84th minute, so plenty of work remains to be done. Maicon Santos again looked lively. Last week: 18.
16. COLUMBUS. In its home opener the Crew couldn’t put away a severely depleted Red Bulls team and tied, 0-0. Coach Robert Warzycha switched his outside backs and returned Robbie Rogers to the starting lineup, but the Crew was only marginally superior and needed a sharp save from Will Hesmer on Joel Lindpere's late attempt to get a point. Last week: 14.
17. PORTLAND. Many teams have faltered at BMO Field since TFC joined the league in 2007, so the Timbers’ 2-0 defeat isn’t a big deal. Kenny Cooper and Jorge Perlaza led some promising attacks and one of TFC’s goals came on a spectacular lob of backup keeper Jake Gleeson, who had replaced an injured Adin Brown. Last week: 15.
18. CHIVAS USA. A second straight home loss – by defending champion Colorado, 1-0 – to open the season is discouraging but not all that surprising. Coach Robin Fraser needed to move bodies around to compensate for injuries and international call-ups. Aside from a deflected Justin Braun shot that came back off the crossbar, though, the attack didn’t do much. Last week: 16.