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MLS Power Rankings: RSL clings to top spot
by Ridge Mahoney, May 29th, 2012 3:24AM

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After a heavy diet of games in May, MLS teams can reassess themselves in training sessions and limited match competition over the next two weeks.

Only one league game is scheduled for next weekend, which teams like Vancouver – which played eight games in May -- will surely welcome. On the other hand, teams on hot streaks -- D.C. United, New York, Real Salt Lake, Columbus – must use non-league games and other means to maintain their form when regular-league play resumes June 16.

1.   REAL SALT LAKE (9-2-3). Twice responding to equalizers by scoring goals of its own earned RSL a dramatic 3-2 triumph over FC Dallas, yet backup keeper Kyle Reynish’s miscue on FCD’s second goal is not the proper response to starting in place of Nick Rimando (U.S. national team). Defender Nat Borchers rescued the win and ran RSL’s unbeaten streak to six games by scoring his first goal of the season three minutes into stoppage time, following Alvaro Saborio goals that provided 1-0 and 2-1 leads.  Last week: 1.

2.   NEW YORK (8-2-3). The Red Bulls took the weekend off after tying Chivas USA, 1-1, on Wednesday and bask in the glow as the hottest team in the Eastern Conference  heading into a break from league play until June 16. Kenny Cooper scored his 11th goal to tie the Quakes' Chris Wondolowski for the league lead. Another connection:  New York and San Jose are the only teams to win at least four games at home and away. Last week: 3.

3.   SAN JOSE (8-3-3). A very tough midweek/weekend road trip produced a memorable last-second stunner over the Galaxy, 3-2, and a courageous 2-1 defeat in Kansas City. Alan Gordon’s flicked header in stoppage time – extending to three his run of late-game goals -- completed a comeback from 2-0 down at Home Depot Center, and the Quakes nearly came back from the same deficit against SKC but fell a goal short despite a strike from Simon DawkinsLast week: 4.

4.   D.C UNITED (8-4-3). United beat New England, 3-2, after it let slip a 2-0 lead provided with goals by defenders Brandon McDonald and Dejan Jakovic. It gave up two goals three minutes apart early in the second half and needed a winner from substitute Maicon Santos, his seventh goal of the season, and a last-minute fingertip save by Bill Hamid to hold off the Revs. Last week: 5.

5.   SPORTING KC (8-3-1). SKC came off its bye week and ended a four-game winless run by outlasting San Jose, 2-1, but had to hang on after taking an early 2-0 lead. Kei Kamara scored his fifth goal after setting up C.J. Sapong’s early strike as SKC outshot San Jose, 20-7, and improved its record against Western Conference teams to 6-1-1. Sapong’s goal ended a personal scoring drought of nearly two months. Last week: 6.

6.   SEATTLE (7-3-3). The Sounders are winless in their last four after a 2-0 home loss to Columbus, their third defeat at CenturyLink Field in eight matches, and a 1-1 tie at Chivas USA. Alex Caskey came off the bench to set up David Estrada's fourth league goal of the season – and first in two months -- for Seattle at Home Depot Center. The tie maintains the Sounders’ unbeaten record away from home (2-0-3 this season, 10 consecutive games overall), but they have now lost at home to San Jose, RSL, and Columbus. Last week: 2.

7.   COLUMBUS (5-4-3). A six-point week for the Crew ran its unbeaten streak to five matches as Emilio Renteria scored a goal in each game. Columbus defeated former Crew coach Sigi Schmid for the first time by beating the Sounders, 2-0, at CenturyLink Field with goals by Justin Meram and Renteria, who also netted three days later, as did Eddie Gaven, in a 2-1 defeat of the Fire that knotted up conference rivals in fourth place. Last week: 10.

8.   CHICAGO (5-4-3).  The Fire split a pair of 2-1 decisions. It downed FC Dallas with a Sebastian Grazzini blast and Marco Pappa follow-up of a saved Grazzini penalty as well as a PK save by Sean Johnson, then fell at Columbus. Pappa’s blatantly early encroachment wasn’t spotted by referee Hilario Grejada, who also didn’t notice Johnson’s quick step off the goal line before the kick was taken. Johnson has saved four of the 11 penalties taken against him during his MLS career. Last week: 7.

9.   HOUSTON (4-3-4). Andre Hainault celebrated his 100th MLS start by heading home the winning goal from a Brad Davis serve in a 2-1 comeback defeat of the Galaxy at BBVA Compass Stadium.  The Dynamo, unbeaten in its last four games, tied the game when a fierce Brian Ching shot ricocheted off the crossbar and bounced off a Galaxy player into the net. Davis’ assist was just his second of the season; he recorded 16 in 2011. Last week: 9.

10. VANCOUVER (5-3-4). A 1-1 tie in Portland left the ‘Caps with a 2-2-2 road record but without a win in their last three matches. Darren Mattocks, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 SuperDraft, scored his first MLS goal in the 84th minute following a delayed start to the second half necessitated by lightning in the area. The ‘Caps withstood a downpour and replied after falling behind when Eric Hassli’s flick of a Martin Bonjour free kick provided Mattocks with his chance. Last week: 8.

11. COLORADO (6-6-1). The Rapids overcame a one-man disadvantage to score the winner in the 83rd minute and beat Montreal, 3-2. Martin Rivero sparked all three scoring plays: his through ball to Wells Thompson resulted in a foul and Jeff Larentowicz converted the PK; Drew Moor headed home his free kick; and the rebound of Scott Palguta’s header from another free kick dropped for Jaime Castrillon to nod in the winner. Tyrone Marshall’s second caution had left the Rapids a man short in the 61st minute. Last week: 12.

12. NEW ENGLAND (4-7-1). Despite their rally from a 2-0 deficit with goals by Saer Sene and A.J. Soares two minutes apart, the Revs fell at D.C. United, 3-2, dropping their road record to 1-6-0. The first two conceded goals came off set plays as head coach Jay Heaps started the same 11 for the second consecutive week for the first time this season, but Ryan Guy left the game in the 28th minute with a right calf strain, the same injury that sidelined him for four games a month ago. Last week: 11.

13. PORTLAND (3-5-4). The much-maligned Kris Boyd scored his first goal in a month and a half but the Timbers were unable to survive the last 23 minutes unscathed and ended up tied, 1-1, with Vancouver in a match lashed by rain and delayed by lightning strikes. Boyd’s goal midway through the second half was his fourth of the season. Last week: 14.

14. MONTREAL (3-7-3). The Impact lost their second game in a row, 3-2, at Colorado. Patrice Bernier’s goal gave it a 1-0 lead and No. 1 SuperDraft pick Andrew Wenger’s goal tied the match, 2-2, but despite playing with a man advantage, Montreal conceded the decisive final goal. On Monday, Marco Di Vaio was officially introduced as the team’s first Designated Player. Last week: 13.

15. CHIVAS USA (4-6-3). Juan Agudelo scored the first goal for his new team as Chivas USA tied for the third time in its last four games, 1-1, at home with Seattle. Ex-Sounder James Riley served up the ball that Agudelo, who returned to the team after a brief visit to the U.S. training camp, headed home. The equalizer stemmed from a bad whiff by John Alexander Valencia, who was quickly pulled from the match by head coach Robin Fraser. Chivas USA also tied New York, 1-1, on Wednesday with a goal by ex-Red Bull Juan Pablo Angel. Last week: 15.

16.  FC DALLAS (3-8-4).  FCD came back twice with goals by Matt Hedges and Blas Perez to stay even with RSL, but then failed ball in stoppage time and conceded the goal that beat it, 3-2. Hedges had already scored in midweek for a 1-0 lead at Chicago, but Perez failed to convert a PK and FCD once again let a lead slip away to lose for the fourth time in its last five games. Last week: 17.

17.  LOS ANGELES (3-8-2). The Galaxy suffered through perhaps its worst week of a disastrous season. On Wednesday blew a 2-0 lead at home against San Jose to lose, 3-2, when former Galaxy striker Alan Gordon nodded the winner in stoppage time. Goals by Mike Magee and Hector Jimenez had provided the league but a Jimenez red card paved the way to defeat. On Saturday it took a 1-0 lead in Houston with a goal by Edson Buddle only to equalize against itself with a Magee own goal en route to a 2-1 defeat. Last week: 16.

18. TORONTO (1-9-0). Danny Koevermans nudged the rebound of his own shot over the goal line to nudge TFC past Philadelphia, 1-0, in a matchup of the league’s worst teams. The All-Canadian champion can now start rebuilding its season in North America’s soccer league. Last week: 19.

19. PHILADELPHIA (2-7-2). The Union lost to Toronto, its fourth defeat in the last five matches. ‘Nuff said. Last week: 18.



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