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Galaxy, Red Bulls impress; Chivas USA on rise
by Ridge Mahoney, April 26th, 2011 1:27AM

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[MLS POWER RANKINGS] New York and Los Angeles rolled up the scores in impressive wins, both expansion teams lost, and Chivas USA posted its first victory. The top four held their places but further down the ladder a few teams moved sharply.

1. REAL SALT LAKE (4-0-0).
Its league match with Philly was postponed until September to help the team prepare for its Concacaf Champions League finals second leg against Monterrey, so it holds the top spot. RSL plays at Portland Saturday. Last week: 1.

2. LOS ANGELES (4-1-3).
Speaking of the Timbers, they felt the wrath of a fit Landon Donovan, who scored two goals and assisted on a third as the Galaxy romped, 3-0. Yet if not for a few sparkling saves by Donovan Ricketts, the scoreline would have been a lot tighter. Last week: 2.

3. PHILADELPHIA (3-1-1).
No change for the Union, which has scored just four goals and conceded only two in its five matches heading into a very winnable home game this weekend against sputtering San Jose. It stays one place ahead of New York by virtue of its 1-0 defeat of the Red Bulls a few weeks ago but that is a most tenuous situation. Last week: 3.

4. NEW YORK (3-1-2).
The Red Bulls romped for the second straight week, hammering four – including two by Thierry Henry -- into the D.C. United net at RFK without reply. Juan Agudelo rounded off the rout with another golazo. Right back Jan Gunnar Solli set up three goals with determined dribbles and service as New York simply dominated play in the decisive moments. Last week: 4.

5. SEATTLE (2-2-3).
A frightening injury suffered by Steve Zakuani left him with a fractured tibia and fibula, and his season perhaps over. Fredy Montero ended a long goalless streak to beat the defending champion, 1-0, on the road as the Sounders’ defense posted its first shutout of the season. Coach Sigi Schmid has many options in lieu of Zakuani but no one from the same mold. Last week: 6.

6. COLORADO (3-3-0). By crunching Zakuani with a terrible tackle, Brian Mullan also drew a red card that left the Rapids a man down for nearly the entire match. They managed to stay within a goal and nearly tied it up in the final minutes with two shots that were blocked, yet fell to a third straight defeat. Last week: 5.

7. COLUMBUS (2-1-3).
After rallying from a 1-0 deficit at Toronto with a goal early in the second half by Emilio Renteria, his first of the season, the Crew squandered several chances to claim a win against 10 men. It is still one of the lower scoring teams in MLS with just five goals in six games, and top scorer Robbie Rogers (two) was among those to misfire against TFC. Last week: 8.

8. HOUSTON (2-1-3).
The Dynamo snagged another point on the road with a late goal; this time, Bobby Boswell’s header from a Brad Davis corner kick did the business against the Fire at Toyota Park for a 1-1 tie. Jamaican midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson debuted as a late sub. Last week: 12.

9. NEW ENGLAND (2-2-3).
Benny Feilhaber kicked off his New England tenure by sparking the Revs’ attack in a 3-2 defeat of Sporting Kansas City that ended a four-game winless streak. Feilhaber, deployed in front of goalscorer Shalrie Joseph, set up Marko Perovic for the first goal and played the full 90 minutes. Another newcomer from Denmark, Rajko Lekic, hit what proved to be the winner in the 83rd minute, thanks to a last-second save by Matt Reis. Last week: 12.

10. PORTLAND (3-3-0).
The Timbers were outscored but not outclassed despite falling to the Galaxy, 3-0, at HDC. Two goals came in the late stages and Mamadou Danso, Kenny Cooper, and Jorge Perlaza all hit good strikes on target that were repelled. But a defensive miscue and penalty-kick foul dropped them two goals down in the first seven minutes, so those issues persist. Last week: 7.

11. FC DALLAS (2-3-1).
Eric Avila came off the bench when a bad tackle sidelined David Ferreira to score the goal by which FCD downed Vancouver, 2-1, at Empire Field after it trailed, 1-0. George John got the equalizer when Marvin Chavez replaced Ferreira to take a corner kick that Jackson Goncalves knocked into John’s vicinity. How FCD goes forward without Ferreira will be one of the season’s major stories. Last week: 15.

12. D.C. UNITED (2-3-1).
Smacked around, 4-0, at home by the Red Bulls, United can’t point to much other than Designated Player Branko Boskovic twice hitting the woodwork. The sight of Marc Burch being overpowered in the lead-up to New York’s second goal exemplified the difference not only in class but in confidence between the teams. Last week: 9.

13. VANCOUVER (1-3-3).
Of all the problems coach Teitur Thordarson figured to trouble him in the move from the second division to MLS, keeping a Designated Player eligible probably wasn’t high on his list. Yet while the ‘Caps were blowing a 1-0 lead and losing at home to FCD, 2-1, Eric Hassli – who has sat out two games due to red cards – picked up his fifth caution, so he’ll be benched again. On the very bright side, Davide Chiumiento earned his fifth assist to take over the league lead. Last week: 13.

14. CHIVAS USA (1-3-2).
This is a significant jump for the previous bottom-feeder yet wins on the road – in this case, 2-1, at San Jose – are not to be disregarded. Chivas USA surrendered a goal in the 16th minute but came back to tie in first-half stoppage time (Alejandro Moreno), then struck late (Mariano Trujillo) after threatening several times. That’s five points in the last four games, none of them losses. Last week: 18.

15. SAN JOSE (1-3-2).
How to throw away a 1-0 win at home to a team that hasn’t won a game: 1) Commit a foul in first-half stoppage time to give away a free kick that produces a goal; 2) Mess up a double-team on a player whose shot yields a rebound that is banged home for the winner, and 3) under-perform all over the field. The Quakes, who held a players-only meeting Monday morning, are dazed and confused. Last week: 11.

16. SPORTING KANSAS CITY (1-3-1).
Another high-scoring loss – 3-2 at New England – featured yet another MLS refereeing faux pas, the dismissal of debutant Aurelien Collin for a push that replays seemed to indicate had been committed by Birahim Diop. Down to 10 men, SKC conceded the goal that surpassed two scored by Kei Kamara after it had allowed an equalizer with the teams even. Last week: 14.

17. TORONTO FC (1-2-4).
A second caution to Tony Tchani for excessive celebration after he’d scored late in the first half left TFC with 10 players, and after conceding an equalizer shortly after halftime they held out for a 1-1 tie with Columbus. The record is worse than it looks because of the home record (1-1-3), and so far, the team doesn’t look much better than it did for much of last year. Last week: 17.

18. CHICAGO (1-3-2).
Diego Chaves continues to verify his class; his fourth goal of the season provided a 1-0 lead against Houston. The Fire couldn’t score again and its patchy defending coughed up a tying goal in the 83rd minute. Without a win in four games, Chicago has yet to put together a performance that stamps it as a legitimate playoff contender. Last week: 16.



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