[MLS POWER RANKINGS] A road point and 4-1 thrashing of Sporting Kansas City moved Los Angeles back on top, and a two-win week for FC Dallas pushed it into the top third. San Jose's big win over the Crew moved it off the bottom and Chivas USA took another jump by beating New York at Red Bull Arena. Here's how MLS's 18 teams rank from top to bottom ...
1. LOS ANGELES (5-2-5). The Galaxy fought through the inevitable letdown following its 1-1 home tie with New York May 7 by garnering a 1-1 tie in Philadelphia and blasting Sporting Kansas City, 4-1, at home. Landon Donovan ran his consecutive run of Galaxy goals to seven before Juan Pablo Angel and David Beckham each netted their first goals of 2011 against SKC, and Chad Barrett contributed nice assists on the second and third goals. Last week: 3.
2. REAL SALT LAKE (5-1-1). The loss of Javier Morales has surely affected the attack, and a total of two goals scored in the past four games is cause for concern following a 0-0 home tie with Houston. Collen Warner started in place of Morales, Andy Williams replaced him in the 60th minute and shot just wide in stoppage time. The defense continues its incredible work: a microscopic two goals allowed in league play. Last week: 2.
3. NEW YORK (4-2-3). Whether or not they were drained by a midweek friendly against Montreal, the Red Bulls were second-best much of the night and deservedly lost at home, 3-2, to Chivas USA. Coach Hans Backe blamed poor defending on set plays, during which they conceded two goals, but they weren’t all that tough during the run of play, either. They still lead the East, which isn’t saying much, since they’d be tied for fourth in the West. Last week: 1.
4. COLORADO (4-3-3). By tying D.C. United, 1-1, at RFK, the Rapids came through a three-game road swing with five points. Drew Moor scored during a scramble midway through the first half, but a penalty kick called for foul by Kosuke Kimura provided D.C. with an equalizer. Conor Casey came on as a sub midway through the second half after missing a few games through injury, and with him in the lineup and three of the next four at home, Colorado may be primed to move up the ladder. Last week: 5.
5. PORTLAND (4-3-2). The Timbers thrive in rowdy, rainy conditions, and last week outplayed Seattle at Qwest Field for significant stretches before and after Mamadou Danso’s headed equalizer provided them with a 1-1 tie. The midfield and attack are still being sorted out but there’s no questioning the intensity this team brings to the field in every game, and the confidence is growing. Last week: 8.
6. FC DALLAS (5-3-2). Back-to-back shutout wins at home propelled FCD into second place in the West. Daniel Hernandez converted a PK to down TFC, 1-0, on Wednesday, and teenage DP Fabian Castillo set up a goal for Brek Shea and scored one himself in a 2-0 defeat of Philly Saturday. That’s five games unbeaten, during which FCD has allowed only two goals. A big test comes Sunday: at home against RSL. Last week: 9.
7. SEATTLE (3-3-5). The Sounders played well in patches against Northwest rival Seattle but seldom regulated the tempo in rain-sodden conditions. Another injury, that to Brad Evans (groin strain) and the absences of Erik Friberg (sprained ankle) and Mauro Rosales (strained hamstring) left an already depleted roster a bit thinner, though Alvaro Fernandez netted his first MLS goal with a crisp finish. Last week: 7.
8. PHILADELPHIA (4-3-2). For only the third time this season, a Union game featured as many as two goals, and it didn’t get either of them during a 2-0 loss in Dallas. Sebastien Le Toux and Danny Mwanga started up top, and Carlos Ruiz came on at halftime, but despite creating some good chances the Union failed to score for the third straight road match. Last week: 4.
9. COLUMBUS (3-2-4). Riding a seven-game unbeaten streak, a letdown seemed imminent, yet still a 3-0 thumping at San Jose had to be a shock. A scoreless first half offered the prospect of a result but a barrage of three goals in 12 minutes, during which rookie outside back Rich Balchan saw the grim side of the pro game, knocked the Crew back to reality. With just eight goals in nine games the problem area is clear. Last week: 6.
10. CHIVAS USA (3-3-3). Justin Braun, relegated to the bench for much of the season, got a start and hit a hat trick that proved to be just enough to overcome some soft central defending in a 3-2 defeat of New York. Braun scored in the sixth minute and tacked on two goals from set plays; Center back Zarek Valentine had a tough time controlling the middle and Heath Pearce gave away a penalty kick, yet Chivas USA held a one-goal lead for nearly half an hour to claim a huge road victory. Last week: 12.
11. HOUSTON (3-3-4). A resilient effort at Rio Tinto Stadium brought the Dynamo a 0-0 tie and just its second shutout of the season. RSL managed just one shot on goal, and only some solid defensive work by the home team denied Houston, which threatened through Will Bruin and Brad Davis on several occasions. Last week: 10.
12. D.C. UNITED (3-4-3). Injuries to Charlie Davies and Josh Wolff necessitated the substitutions of Santino Quaranta and Joseph Ngwenya, respectively, against Colorado, and the latter unhinged the Rapids defense with his strong runs and dribbles. Chris Pontius won and converted the penalty kick by which D.C, gained a 1-1 tie; in three straight home games, United obtained three points. Last week: 11.
13. NEW ENGLAND (3-3-4). An adductor strain sidelined Ousmane Dabo, so Coach Steve Nicol revamped his lineup yet again to face Vancouver, which the Revs beat, 1-0, with a the 10th successful penalty kick of Shalrie Joseph’s career, a team record. Benny Feilhaber absorbed the foul that produced the PK, and he also ran onto a through ball to score but was judged offside. Matt Reis made six saves to post his second straight shutout. Last week: 13.
14. CHICAGO (1-3-5). Orr Barouch came off the bench to spark a comeback that earned the Fire a 2-2 tie in Toronto. He won a free kick Marco Pappa drilled into the net, and converted a Corben Bone cross for the equalizer. Keeper Jon Conway let a shot from distance slip through his legs for the second TFC goal and though it rallied, a fourth straight tie drops Chicago further down the standings. Last week: 14.
15. SAN JOSE (2-4-3). Steven Lenhart sparked the Quakes against his former team with a bustling, spirited effort in a 3-0 thrashing of the Crew. A header that bounced into the net off a teammate was ruled a goal for Brandon McDonald and not him, yet his spearheading of the attack also helped produce goals for Chris Wondolowski and Khari Stephenson. The win capped a four-point week for the Quakes, which came home from Vancouver with a 1-1 tie. Last week: 18.
16. TORONTO (2-4-5). Joao Plata did the business again with a goal and an assist, and threatened on several other occasions, but TFC couldn’t hold a 2-0 lead and settled for a 2-2 tie with Chicago. It needed some sharp saves by Stefan Frei, including a spectacular swipe of an attempted lob in the 83rd minute, to get that point. Plata scored in the ninth minute with a veering run from the left flank and precise shot of excellent class. Last week: 16.
17. VANCOUVER (1-5-5). After Davide Chiumiento’s curling free kick snuck into the San Jose net in stoppage time to give the ‘Caps a 1-1 tie at home last Wednesday, they headed to New England with some optimism. Despite another good defensive effort they lost, 1-0, to a penalty kick whistled for a foul on Wes Knight. Long Tan got his first start at forward and captain Jay DeMerit got his first start in more than a month. There’s still a lot of tweaking going on as Coach Teitur Thordarson finds out more about his players. Last week: 15.
18. SPORTING KANSAS CITY (1-5-1). An own goal provided a 1-0 lead against the Galaxy at Home Depot Center, but the rest of the night belonged to Landon Donovan and Co. in a 4-1 romp. A foul called against Roger Espinoza when he tackled David Beckham yielded the PK that kick-started the Galaxy rally late in the first half. SKC has three more away games left before its home opener and the road grind is showing its dire effects. Last week: 17.