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Sounders and Salt Lake surge
by Ridge Mahoney, June 28th, 2011 1:27AM

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[MLS POWER RANKINGS WEEK 15] Six teams played twice last week, and the only team to win both games, Seattle, moved further into the top tier. The Sounders join LA and FC Dallas in the top three and another Western Conference team, Real Salt Lake, grabbed four points to take over fifth place.

1. LOS ANGELES (9-2-8). Down went Donovan Ricketts to an arm injury suffered in a collision, in came backup Josh Saunders. Off went Saunders, dismissed for throwing an elbow into the face of San Jose’s Steven Lenhart, and into the nets stepped forward/midfielder Mike Magee. Four saves, a few other touches, and about 50 minutes later, the 10-man, goalie-less Galaxy left Buck Shaw Stadium with a 0-0 tie. The unbeaten streak stands at 10 games, the last few without Landon Donovan and David Beckham. Last week: 1.

2. FC DALLAS (9-4-4). FCD atoned for a 3-2 loss in Portland two months ago by toppling the Timbers, 4-0, with goals by four different players – including team leader Brek Shea’s seventh of the season -- and Kevin Hartman’s eighth shutout. With three wins and 10 points in the last five games, FCD trails only the Galaxy (1.84) with 1.83 points per game. Oklahoma native Zach Loyd scored his first MLS goal with friends and family in attendance. Last week: 2.

3. FC SEATTLE (8-4-7). As the only team to come out of last week’s double-dips with a double-win, Seattle rallied to beat the Revs, 2-1, three days after taming the Red Bulls, 4-2. Defender Tyson Wahl started the comeback against New England by curling his first league goal into the top corner off a free kick; substitute Roger Levesque punched out the New York with a pair of goals after Seattle had squandered a 2-0 lead. That’s three wins in a row and no losses in the past six games, as well as nine goals from free kicks and corner kicks. Last week: 5.

4. PHILADELPHIA (7-4-5). After sitting out a midweek 0-0 tie with Chicago, Danny Mwanga scored what proved to be the winner in a 3-2 Union defeat of Chivas USA as Philly racked up four points from its two home games. Veljko Paunovi broke a 294-minute Union goalless streak with his first MLS tally, and Gold Cup returnee Carlos Ruiz scored a second goal before Mwanga broke open a 2-2 tie with a low blast from outside the penalty area. The victory snapped a four-game winless streak and moved Philly past floundering New York atop the Eastern Conference. Last week: 3.

5. REAL SALT LAKE (7-3-5). Teenager Luis Gil replaced Fabian Espindola in the seventh minute of a 0-0 tie at Chicago, and got just his second MLS start four days later as RSL drilled Toronto FC, 3-1. Maybe his presence was just what struggling striker Alvaro Saborio needed; a few days after failing to convert two penalty kicks in Costa Rica’s quarterfinal loss to Honduras, Saborio scored his first two goals of the season against TFC. Last week: 7.

6. NEW YORK (5-3-9). The good, bad and ugly of Bouna Coundoul returned in a 1-1 tie at Chicago that followed a 4-2 drubbing in Seattle. He flubbed a long, bouncing shot from Marco Pappa to cancel out Joel Lindpere’s goal, then preserved the tie with a good save on a Diego Chaves and nimble parry of Dominic Oduro’s cross. In front of Seattle’s all-time MLS record crowd of 46,055, a Dane Richards’ strike plus an own goal tied the game, 2-2, before the back line crumbled. Last week: 4.

7. COLUMBUS (6-4-6). Andres Mendoza upped his goal tally to six in the past seven games by netting a pair as the Crew humilated Colorado, 4-1. Eddie Gaven and Tommy Heinemann also scored as the Crew hit four goals in a league game for the first time since 2008. Keeper Will Hesmer shook off a shot to the face from Conor Casey to finish the match. The Crew has won three of its last four and is tied with New York for second place in the Eastern Conference. Last week: 11.

8. SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-6-5). Keeper Jimmy Nielsen turned in another stellar performance as SKC came away from PPL Park with a 0-0 tie, and SKC rode that momentum back home to beat Vancouver, 2-1. Omar Bravo equalized with a penalty kick after Jay DeMerit fouled him, and he then headed a corner kick for Júlio César to nail home the winner. Only Seattle can match SKC’s mark of 11 points from the last five games. Last week: 9.

9. COLORADO (5-5-7). There’s not much to say about a 4-1 pummeling in Columbus other than it was fully deserved. After scoring his fourth goal of the season, Conor Casey added a dose of infamy to his resume by piling into keeper Will Hesmer with a clumsy challenge that produced a red card. Already down 2-1 in the opening half an hour, the Rapids didn’t put up much resistance the rest of the way and are barely clinging to a playoff slot. Last week: 6.

10. SAN JOSE (5-5-5). The Quakes endured one of the most frustrating games in their four-year history by tying the Galaxy, 0-0, despite a man advantage for the entire second half, during which stand-in keeper Mike Magee and his defenders stymied them on a half-dozen occasions. They hit the post twice, true, but also struggled to get the ball for long periods in the second half. Last week: 8.

11. D.C. UNITED (4-5-6). United led twice but couldn’t hold off Houston in a 2-2 tie at RFK that ran its winless streak to four games. A great strike from Chris Pontius and opportunistic goal by Charlie Davies (tied for the league lead with eight) were wasted when Brian Ching got free to head home a cross in the 89th minute. Last week: 12.

12. CHIVAS USA (4-7-5). In Philadelphia, after Chivas USA scored early to take a lead it squandered, Justin Braun ran onto a great through ball from Jorge Flores to re-tie the game, 2-2, in the 77th minute. Five minutes later, Philly scored again, and this time Chivas USA couldn’t respond. It has lost three in a row and only the expansion Whitecaps are keeping it out of last place in the Western Conference. Last week: 10.

13. HOUSTON (4-6-7). The Dynamo shook out of a funk induced by last week’s 2-0 home loss to Columbus to snag a point with a pair of equalizers against United at RFK. Brad Davis converted a penalty kick to tie the game, 1-1, and in the final minutes Brian Ching got to a cross lofted by Colin Clark, who had replaced Davis at halftime, and headed in his third goal of the season. The point kept fourth-place Houston a point in front of United. Last week: 11.

14. PORTLAND (5-7-3). Expansion teams must expect to endure rough outings and the Timbers took their lumps as FC Dallas romped, 4-0. More sobering is they’ve lost four of their last five and have been blanked in three of those games. The return of center back Mamadou Danso after he missed one game with an injury didn’t impede the FCD attack. Last week: 13.

15. CHICAGO (2-4-11). Coming away from two home games with just two points and one goal bloats the Fire’s absurd total of ties to unprecedented heights (11). The only goal came on a long Marco Pappa shot that the keeper completely botched in a 1-1 tie with New York; the Fire has set a league record with six straight ties at home. Last week: 15.

16. VANCOUVER (2-7-8). The good numbers -- Camilo’s fifth goal from David Chiumiento’s seventh assist in the 15th minute for a 1-0 lead in Kansas City -- gave way to the bad as Vancouver dropped a 2-1 decision. Replacement head coach Tom Soehn has ramped up the ‘Caps intensity and shored up a few spots, yet still they are winless (0-6-3) on the road. Last week: 16.

17. NEW ENGLAND (3-8-6). The Revs let an early lead in Seattle slip away as they failed to win for the seventh game in a row. Sainey Nyassi’s low roller from Benny Feilhaber’s corner kick eluded Kasey Keller in the third minute; six minutes after the Sounders’ equalized, keeper Matt Reis got his hand to Alvaro Fernandez’s shot but it still snuck inside the post. Last week: 17.

18. TORONTO FC (2-7-9). A sixth goal of the season for Maicon Santos – with TFC already down, 3-0 -- wasn’t nearly enough as its winless streak ran to 11 games with a 3-1 loss at Real Salt Lake. Coach Aron Winter reiterated he’ll be adding new players when the transfer window opens next month. Seeing as how his selections have fared so far this season, that may or may not be a good thing. Last week: 18.



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