[MLS POWER RANKINGS] The Union may not be dazzling anyone, but its fourth 1-0 win of the season – one of which is also the Red Bulls’ only loss – pushed it atop the power rankings. Chivas USA took another jump by winning its second straight game, and San Jose is one of several times sliding in the other direction.
1. PHILADELPHIA (4-1-1). The Union went a man down late in the first half and refused to yield. It knocked off San Jose, 1-0, at PPL Park with a penalty kick put away by Sebastien Le Toux for his first goal of 2011. Both the red card to Jordan Harvey and PK call were questionable, but scoring and posting a shutout 10 vs. 11 is good stuff. Last week: 3.
2. NEW YORK (4-1-2). A third straight shutout is proof that the Red Bulls are resilient as well as potent. Luke Rodgers swept home a centering pass from Dwayne De Rosario to down Sporting Kansas City, 1-0, and only some SKC goalkeeping heroics kept the game close. Last week: 4.
3. REAL SALT LAKE (4-1-0). After the 1-0 loss to Monterrey in the Concacaf Champions League finals second leg, RSL fielded a few backups and lost at Portland by the same score Saturday. Still, it also sent out captain Kyle Beckerman and many starters to no avail against an expansion team -- albeit one that is very good at home -- so it drops two spots. Last week: 1.
4. LOS ANGELES (4-2-3). A driving rainstorm and lightning delay of more than an hour tested the Galaxy at Pizza Hut Park, and a looping shot that might have been a cross ended up as the winner for FC Dallas in a 2-1 defeat. Landon Donovan equalized four minutes after the Galaxy fell behind and nearly scored again, but the attack didn’t produce much else and eventually LA paid the price. Last week: 2.
5. SEATTLE (3-2-3). The Sounders took advantage of tortured Toronto FC to pound out a 3-0 home win without the injured Steve Zakuani and O’Brian White. Alvaro Fernandez headed in his first goal of the season; marauding midfielder Brad Evans banged home the other two, including a penalty kick. Seattle is unbeaten in its last six games. Last week: 5.
6. COLUMBUS (3-1-3). Emilio Renteria upped his tally to three goals in the last two games by netting both for the Crew in a 2-1 defeat of Vancouver. The goal conceded is the only one to enter the Crew net in four home matches this season. This week, it visits the home of former head coach Sigi Schmid and Evans, two mainstays of the 2008 title team. Last week: 7.
7. COLORADO (3-3-1). The Rapids, missing Conor Casey, Caleb Folan and Marvell Wynne (all injured) and Brian Mullan (suspended), broke a three-game losing streak by tying the Fire, 1-1. Andre Akpan, a 2010 SuperDraft pick, scored in the 50th minute to punctuate his first MLS start, and he’ll be needed as Colorado preps for three straight on the road. Last week: 6.
8. HOUSTON (3-1-3). Will Bruin rang up a hat trick to enter league lore as only the fourth MLS rookie to accomplish the feat, and a fluid Dynamo midfield fueled by Brad Davis and Geoff Cameron cut apart D.C. United, 4-1. Veteran Brian Ching, who had been sidelined with a rib injury, and newcomer Koke played the final few minutes. Houston has outscored the opposition, 9-3, in its last four games. Last week: 8.
9. PORTLAND (3-3-1). The Timbers preserved their perfect (3-0-0) mark at home and more importantly, shut out RSL (1-0) after allowing 13 goals in the first six games. The visitors might have been fatigued and dispirited yet goalscorer Kenny Cooper and Co. took advantage of the situation in front of another rowdy crowd, and the midfield is finding its feet. Last week: 10.
10. FC DALLAS (3-3-1). A week after losing David Ferreira yet winning anyway, 2-1, FCD did the same thing against LA in the wake of a knee injury suffered by Jair Benitez. Brek Shea got a winner in the final minutes following a long storm delay, and the first MLS goal by teenage DP Fabian Castillo offers encouragement in the wake of Ferreira’s absence, pegged at about three months. Last week: 11.
11. CHIVAS USA (2-2-3). After losing its first two and tying the next three, Chivas USA won its second straight game by drilling the Revs, 3-0, at Home Depot Center. The much-traveled Alejandro Moreno, who rounded off the rout with his third goal and assisted on the first two, seems to be the ideal complement for newcomer Marcos Mondaini and the eclectic lineup assembled by head coach Robin Fraser. Last week: 14.
12. NEW ENGLAND (2-3-3). A miserable 3-0 loss can be encapsulated by an inexplicable back pass by Shalrie Joseph to Didier Domi that bounced free for Moreno to knock home a ridiculously easy third goal. By halftime, the Revs were down, 2-0, and Franco Coria and Joseph had been cautioned. This work-in-progress still needs a lot of work. Last week: 9.
13. D.C. UNITED (2-4-1). Chaos in midfield and a knee injury to DP Branko Boskovic rendered a 4-1 defeat in Houston even worse than the scoreline, if that’s possible. Poor showings by midfielder Clyde Simms and defender Perry Kitchen weakened United’s spine and Houston took full advantage. United leads the league in goals conceded (16). Last week: 12.
14. CHICAGO (1-3-3). The Fire takes this spot more by default than a creditable 1-1 tie in Colorado, as other teams did a lot worse. A nice goal by Marco Pappa and solid performance in the absence of captain Logan Pause lend hope that it can contend for a wild-card spot. An injury forced central defender Josip Mikulic out of action late in the first half but the Fire held on for a point. Last week: 18.
15. VANCOUVER (1-4-3). The ‘Caps lost, 2-1, at Columbus and have yet to find stability in the back without defender Jay DeMerit. A change in goalkeepers might be in order, as Jay Nolly is a good shot-stopper whose positioning and leadership sometimes fail him. A first MLS goal for teenager Omar Salgado, wonderful as it is, merely underlines this team’s dearth of attacking options beyond Davide Chiumiento and the frequently absent Eric Hassli. Last week: 15.
16. SPORTING KC (1-4-1). A 1-0 loss to New York would have been a lot uglier if not for keeper Jimmy Nielsen, who stoned the Red Bulls at least three times when a goal seemed certain. Four more road games to go before SKC plays in its new home and June 9 can’t come soon enough. Getting back Omar Bravo from sports hernia surgery would help, too. Last week: 16.
17. SAN JOSE (1-4-2). Each week it seems, the Quakes find new ways to disappoint. In Philadelphia, granted a man advantage for the second half, they struggled to score before and after conceding a penalty kick on a harsh handball call and lost, 1-0. Head coach Frank Yallop benched about half of his starters and got a better effort but not all that much quality. Now what? Last week: 15.
18. TORONTO FC (1-3-4). Qwest Field can be a tough place to play, and so a 3-0 loss to the Sounders might not be so worrying except for TFC’s lethargic, confused transition play, especially when Seattle gained possession. Outshot, 18-6, TFC offered little other than the energy of Javier Martina and the brave goalkeeping of Stefan Frei. It has scored only three goals in the last six games. Last week: 17.