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Western Conference keeps hold of top three spots
by Ridge Mahoney, July 6th, 2011 1:36AM
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[MLS POWER RANKINGS]In another week heavily laden with ties – six of the nine games ended even – there wasn’t much movement among the teams as the top half-dozen teams held their places. Toronto got off the bottom by beating Vancouver, Sporting Kansas City inched up another spot by extending Portland's new-found misery at Jeld-Wen Field.

1.   LOS ANGELES (9-2-9).Pressed into emergency service by an injury to Donovan Ricketts and red card to Josh Saunders in a 0-0 tie at San Jose the week before, keeperBrian Perk batted away a Fredy Montero penalty kick to highlight a shutout in his MLS debut as a starter, a 0-0 tie at home against the Sounders. The Galaxy has gone a bit flat with four ties and a win in the last five games; its lead atop the West is down to two points. Last week: 1.

2. FC DALLAS (10-4-4).Brek Shea moved into a tie for the league lead with his eighth goal of the season as FCD outclassed Columbus, 2-0. He punched home the rebound of a saved Marvin Chavezshot to break open a goalless game just before the hour mark, and Jacksonsealed victory by polishing of another fine feed from Andrew Jacobson. FCD has won three in a row and trails LA by just two points with two fewer games played. Last week: 2.

3. SEATTLE (8-4-8). The Sounders’ revival snagged at Home Depot Center, where they were stymied by a novice Galaxy goalkeeper in a 0-0 tie. A fine save by Kasey Keller on a Juan Pablo Angel blast enabled Seattle to extend its unbeaten streak to seven games and also ended a run of five straight losses to the Galaxy, which it trails by four points in the standings. Last week: 3.

4. PHILADELPHIA (7-4-6). Carlos Ruiz cashed in a low cross from Sheanon Williams in the final minutes to earn the Union a 2-2 tie against D.C. United at RFK Stadium. Sebastien Le Toux again struggled to score but his diagonal ball to Williams opened up United’s back line to set up the chance for Ruiz, who is tied with Danny Mwanga for the team lead with five goals apiece. Last week: 4.

5.   REAL SALT LAKE (7-3-6). RSL scored twice playing 10-v-11 and once again in the final minutes 10-v-10 to tie New England, 3-3, amid controversy at Rio Tinto Stadium. A red card to defender Nat Borchers on a seemingly clean tackle in the penalty area left RSL with 10 men in the fourth minute. Goals by Will Johnsonand Alvaro Saborioerased a 2-0 deficit, and after RSL conceded again, Saborio’s deft through ball set up Fabian Espindola to fire home the final goal. RSL has tied four of its last five games.Last week: 5.

6.  NEW YORK (5-3-10).Joel Lindpere’s second goal of the game -- which took a deflection off Quakes defenderBobby Burling on its way into the net -- earned him MLS Player of the Week honors and the Red Bulls a 2-2 tie at San Jose, which is the seventh time they’ve ended even in 10 road matches. Another gruesome mistake by Bouna Coundoulpresented the Quakes with their first goal but club management insists it is fine in the nets. Yeah, right. Last week: 6.

7. SPORTING KANSAS CITY (5-6-5). In the space of four minutes, CJ Sapong latched onto an Omar Bravo feed to score his third goal of the season and flicked on a throw-in that Aurelien Collin smacked into the net as SKC won, 2-1, in Portland. With 13 points in its last five games, SKC is the hottest team in the league and this week has home dates with Colorado (Wednesday) and Chivas USA (Saturday). Last week: 8.

8.   COLUMBUS (6-5-6).After squandering a couple of early half-chances, the Crew couldn’t match strides with Dallas and lost, 2-0. The defeat dropped its road record to 1-4-3 and said record might get worse before it gets better; Andy Iro, dismissed with a second caution late in the match, can’t play Wednesday in Vancouver, which is desperate for a win. Last week: 7.

9. SAN JOSE (5-5-6).Goals by Khari Stephenson and Steven Lenhartbrought the Quakes back from a 1-0 deficit to take a 2-1 lead against New York as 41,028 fans celebrated at Stanford Stadium, but San Jose conceded a late equalizer to end up tied, 2-2. Lenhart’s goal gives him five on the season, one fewer than team leaderChris Wondolowski.After winning three straight at home the Quakes have tied their last two. Last week: 10.

10. COLORADO (5-5-8).The Rapids piled pressure on the Houston goal and ended up with a 14-3 edge in shots yet not much else. The 0-0 tie that leaves the defending champions with just five points in their last five games. Striker Caleb Folan struggled through another prickly performance and after livening up the match as a late sub Quincy Amarikwawas sent off for dissent. He will miss Wednesday’s game at Sporting Kansas City by which SKC could match Colorado’s 23 points. Last week: 9.

11. D.C. UNITED (4-5-7).Dwayne DeRosario marked his D.C. debut with an assist (on a Josh Wolff goal) and fellow newcomer Brandon McDonald went the full 90 at centerback in a 2-2 tie with Philadelphia that featured a long-range screamer by Andy Najar. United also overcame a Perry Kitchenown goal while tying its fifth of nine home games (2-2-5). Last week: 11.

12. HOUSTON (4-6-8).Some sparkling saves by Tally Hallhelped earn the Dynamo a 0-0 tie at Colorado that leaves it winless (0-3-6) on the road this season. Brian Chingmade just his third start of 2011; he failed to score with a prime chance for a header and was judged offside on a shot he buried. Hall’s shutout was his third of 2011 and first in nearly two months. Last week: 13.

13. CHIVAS USA (4-7-6). Nick LaBrocca added another entry to his valuable contributions this season by scoring the tying goal in a 1-1 deadlock with Colorado. Keeper Dan Kennedy stoned Dominic Oduro twice in the opening minutes before Oduro broke through to net a goal LaBrocca matched with his fourth of the season. With only six points in the last eight games, playoff hopes are slipping away. Three of the next four games are at home and all of them are critical. Last week: 12.

14. CHICAGO (2-4-12). The absurdity continues with a 1-1 tie with Chivas USA at Home Depot Center. Dominic Oduro’s fifth goal of 2011 provided a lead the Fire couldn’t hold and the deadlock nicely balances out the team’s record: six ties at home, six on the road.  Last week: 15.

15. PORTLAND (5-8-3). Rookie Darlington Nagbe scored one of the goals of the season by juggling the ball twice and then volleying it viciously into the top far corner, yet still the Timbers lost at home to Sporting Kansas City, 2-1, and are winless in their last six games. Kenny Cooperand Jeremy Hall started on the bench; Eddie Johnson, in Cooper’s spot, was replaced by him in the 67th minute after making little impact.  Last week: 14.

16. TORONTO FC (3-7-9).Nick Soolsma’s penalty kick was all TFC needed to end its nine-game league winless streak and down rival Vancouver, 1-0, to avenge a 4-2 loss on the opening weekend of the season.Stefan Freitops all MLS keepers in saves with 70; still TFC is tied for the most goals allowed with 29, but Richard Eckersley may be able to replace the injured Adrian Cann at centerback. Last week: 18.

17. NEW ENGLAND (3-8-7).Handed a man advantage in the third minute, the Revs scored three goals for the second time this season. They also conceded three, victimized by a doubtful handball on Kevin Alston that provided Real Salt Lake with a penalty kick, in a 3-3 tie at Rio Tinto Stadium. Two of their goals came on free kicks: a Chris Tierneyblast into the net and a Benny Feilhabercurler that Shalrie Josephheaded home. During the week, New England released Marko Perovic and Ilija Stolica. Last week: 17.

18. VANCOUVER (2-8-8).Head coachTom Soehnrested a few of his regulars in the midweek league match at Toronto to save them for the Nutrilite Canadian Championship second leg, and the Whitecaps lost both games. KeeperJay Nolly returned in goal for the first time in a month for the league match and stopped everything but the penalty kick by which Vancouver lost, 1-0. The Caps had nine shots but put none on goal. Last week: 16.



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