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Top teams keep their places, San Jose moves up again
by Ridge Mahoney, May 23rd, 2011 10:12PM

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[MLS POWER RANKINGS] The top eight teams from last week either won or tied, so there wasn’t much movement in the top half of the rankings, where Western Conference teams dominate. Columbus, a 3-0 loser at San Jose a week ago, fell again to Western opposition when it became the fifth straight foe to fall in Portland.

1. LOS ANGELES (6-2-5). Chad Barrett’s third goal and David Beckham’s sixth assist were enough to beat Chivas USA, 1-0, in the HDC derby. The result was somewhat expected even in light of Chivas USA’s recent good form, but the Galaxy impressed with the ease by which it squelched nearly every attack  Last week: 1.

2. REAL SALT LAKE (5-1-2). Alvaro Saborio’s disallowed goal for offside in a 0-0 tie at Dallas epitomized RSL’s hangover from the Concacaf Champions League run and serious injury to Javi Morales. Keeper Nick Rimando sharply turned away a few shots to keep RSL’s unbelievable goals-allowed total this season at two, but four likely absences – including Saborio – for the Gold Cup are disquieting. Last week: 2.

3. NEW YORK (4-2-4). By scoring in the first minute and the last – Dane Richards and Mehdi Ballouchy, respectively – the Red Bulls not only extracted a road point out of Houston, 2-2, they also reminded the league of just how many ways they can get at opponents. But the defense, in the wake of a 3-2 loss to Chivas USA a week ago, gave away a PK and conceded a rebound goal from a corner kick. Last week: 3.

4. PORTLAND (5-3-2). The Timbers beat an Eastern Conference foe – Columbus – at home and the Rapids didn’t, so they flip spots. Their sixth goal off a set play this season linked Jack Jewsbury’s free kick to Eric Brunner’s head via Kalif Alhassan, and another stubborn defensive display highlighted by a critical Troy Perkins save on Tommy Heinemann’s fierce header did the rest. Last week: 5.

5. COLORADO (4-3-4). Of the two keepers in the nets at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park as TFC and Colorado tied, 0-0, the Rapids’ Matt Pickens had to be sharper. He saved a point-blank blast from Nick Soolsma in the final minute of the first half and rescued his team on several occasions with collections and blocks. Conor Casey’s return to the starting lineup for the first time in a month since suffering a hamstring injury didn’t go well; Andre Akpan replaced him in the 61st minute. Last week: 4.

6. FC DALLAS (5-3-3). FCD ran its unbeaten streak to six by tying RSL, 0-0. It generated few chances at home but extended its shutout run to 393 minutes, which is how the game is played until FCD recovers from the loss of David Ferreira. Marvin Chavez has turned down a callup from Honduras for the Gold Cup, and with Kevin Hartman’s sharpness in goal, FCD can still get points in the standings if not so much for style. Last week: 6.

7. SEATTLE (4-3-5). The Sounders were within seconds of another frustrating home tie when Jeff Parke headed home a corner kick for his first goal in nearly seven years to beat Sporting Kansas City, 1-0. Coach Sigi Schmid used Roger Levesque up top with Fredy Montero and brought Nate Jaqua off the bench to charge up an attack that continues to look listless without Steve Zakuani, who attended a game for the first time since his injury more than a month ago. Last week: 7.

8. PHILADELPHIA (5-3-2). No cranes or hard hats have been needed for the Union to renovate PPL Park into a fortress; Philly ran its home mark to 4-0-2 with a goal by Michael Farfan (his first as a pro) and a spectacular, dipping shot from more than 30 yards by Carlos Ruiz (his third of the season and 85th of his MLS career) to beat Chicago, 2-1. Keeper Faryd Mondragon let a shot slip between him and the near post to tie the game but Ruiz rescued the victory. Last week: 8.

9. COLUMBUS (3-3-4). Nobody has extracted so much as a point out of Jeld-Wen Field, yet watching Brunner, an ex-Crew defender, head home the only goal of a 1-0 loss surely increased the pain. The Crew was also shut out for the second game in a row (3-0 at San Jose the week before) and forward Andres Mendoza is doing very little to justify his DP status. A home game against Chivas USA precedes a June 4 date at Red Bull Arena. Last week: 9.

10.  HOUSTON (3-3-5). The Dynamo rebounded from conceding a goal to New York in the first minute when Brad Davis converted a penalty kick, and Spaniard Koke’s first MLS goal built a 2-1 lead that evaporated when New York scored on a corner kick in stoppage time.. Despite the high caliber of opposition, at home that’s two points squandered. Last week: 11.

11.  CHIVAS USA (3-4-3). Worse than losing to the Galaxy, 1-0, was how overmatched Chivas USA looked for much of the game. Aside from Ben Zemanski’s shot off the post, the attack sputtered. Alejandro Moreno and Justin Braun were stifled, and keeper Dan Kennedy had to be on his game to keep the deficit at one. Last week: 10.

12.  D.C. UNITED (3-4-3). Took the week off from league play to play Dutch club Ajax in a friendly, and lost, 2-1. United gets a chance Sunday to take the first point(s) out of Portland. Last week: 12.

13.  SAN JOSE (3-4-3). For the second straight week, the Quakes erupted in the second half to defeat Eastern Conference opposition, in this case New England by a 2-1 score. Ellis McLoughlin scored his first MLS goal four minutes after coming on as a sub and Bobby Convey, playing left back, curled a free kick into the top corner. After failing to win any of their first four home games the Quakes have won two straight and this week head to Chicago, where they won last year. Last week: 15.

14.  TORONTO (2-4-6). Midfielder Mikael Yourassowsky nearly made the most of a rare start with several regulars injured, but his right-footed blast from close range came back off the crossbar in a 0-0 tie at Colorado. Facing the second leg of the Canadian club championship Wednesday, TFC could have gone into lockdown, but instead it attacked effectively while limiting the Rapids to two shots on goal. Last week: 16.

15.  NEW ENGLAND ((3-4-4). The Revs seemed to be en route to at least a point in San Jose for the first 70 scoreless minutes but fell behind to a goal by a seldom-used sub and a free kick that bamboozled keeper Matt Reis in a 2-1 loss. They seldom set up striker Rajko Lekic in a threatening spot, and despite looking good on the ball Benny Feilhaber rarely opened up the opposition. Chris Tierney, who had earlier been taken down in the box without a penalty being called, scored a late goal. Last week: 13.

16.  CHICAGO (1-4-5). A deflected shot and Ruiz’s golazo sent the Fire to a 2-1 defeat in Philly it probably didn’t deserve. Dominic Oduro scored a nice equalizer and the attack conjured up some incisive stuff. Midfielder and captain Logan Pause came on as a sub after missing more than a month with a hamstring injury, yet even with him in the lineup there are costly breakdowns and lapses that keep recurring. Last week: 14.

17.  VANCOUVER (1-5-5). The Whitecaps sat out the weekend, then traveled to Toronto for the second leg of the Canadian finals. They fly back home to host Philadelphia on Saturday and at this point look miles behind their conference rival. Last week: 17.

18.  SPORTING KANSAS CITY (1-6-1). At Seattle, Coach Peter Vermes sent out an attacking lineup, including Mexican attacker Omar Bravo in his first appearance since being sidelined with a sports hernia and Ryan Smith getting his first start of the season. The attack had some good moments, and SKC quelled the Sounders for much of the game, but on a corner kick in stoppage time left Parke unmarked. The road woes continue for two more weeks. Last week: 18.



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