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MLS Power Rankings: Top teams hold their spots
by Ridge Mahoney, July 3rd, 2012 2:37AM
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A busy week of 16 games spread over four days (Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday) means double-duty for many MLS teams this week.

As such, the rankings could look very different by Monday, but last weekend the top three teams held their places and Chicago moved into fourth place with a gritty 1-0 victory in Kansas City that was its third consecutive victory. Top dog San Jose also won a third straight game by coming back from two goals down to stun Los Angeles, 4-3.

1.    SAN JOSE (11-3-3).The Comeback Kings did it again, knocking off California rival Los Angeles, 4-3, after falling behind, 3-1, and losing starting keeper Jon Busch to an eye injury. Defender Victor Bernardez’s superb volley off a corner kick started the rally late in the first half; Sam Cronin equalized right after the break and Chris Wondolowski’s precise re-direct, his league-high 14th goal of the year, was the game-winner. Replacement keeper David Bingham’s saves preserved a victory that drew a sellout crowd of 50,391 fans to Stanford Stadium. Last week: 1.

2.    D.C. UNITED (10-5-3). The largest home crowd of the season (18,302) came out to see United win its fifth straight home game and take over top spot in the Eastern Conference with a 3-0 thrashing of Montreal. Chris Pontiusopened the scoring in first-half stoppage time and Robbie Russelland Hamdi Salihi also tallied. Bill Hamidmade just one save as United piled up an 18-4 edge in shots. Somehow, there’s no game for D.C. this week. Last week: 2.

3.    NEW YORK (9-4-4).Jan Gunnar Solli, goalless in his first 42 games for the Red Bulls, scored in the second straight match as they extracted a 1-1 tie with TFC at BMO Field. Brandon Barklage’s cross set up Solli to volley home from close range in the fourth minute. The tie, their third in the last five games, did not feature Rafael Marquez, who stayed behind after injuring his calf last week against D.C. United. Coach Hans Backesaid the uncertainty as to whether Luke Rodgers will rejoin the team should be resolved this week. Last week: 3.

4.    CHICAGO (8-5-3). The Fire won, 1-0, in Kansas City to post its third consecutive win and third away victory of the season. Chris Rolfecut a ball back from the byline that Marco Pappa slammed into the net, and some stellar work by Sean Johnson nailed down the three points. Recent form counts for a lot in the power rankings, and the Quakes and Fire are the only teams to win their last three games. Last week: 6.

5.    REAL SALT LAKE (10-6-2).The skid persists. A storm-delayed 2-0 loss in Columbus ran RSL’s losing streak to three in a row, the longest such skein since Jason Kreis’ debut season as head coach in 2007. A power outage at their hotel left the travelers without electricity for nearly 24 hours and when the game did get underway an hour late, RSL couldn’t overcome the absences of Kyle Beckerman (suspended) and Jamison Olave and Ned Grabavoy (injured). RSL plays two-thirds of the Northwest Bloc, Seattle and Portland, this week.  Last week: 4.

6.    SPORTING KC (9-5-2).Not for the first time this season SKC controlled more of the play without scoring. Chicago took a 1-0 win from Livestrong Sporting Park despite 27 shots launched by the home team. SKC hasn’t scored in 262 minutes of league play -- since a 1-1 tie with Seattle June 20. Five Johnson saves and several near-misses left SKC frustrated heading into a pair of conference games Wednesday at Montreal, and Saturday at home against Houston. Last week: 5.

7.    COLUMBUS (6-5-4). The Crew scored early and late in the first half to down RSL, 2-0, and win for the third time in the last five games. Tony Tchaniconverted a cutback pass from Emilio Renteria for a 1-0 lead, and Eddie Gaven blasted a shot into the roof of the net just before halftime. The kickoff at Crew Stadium was delayed for an hour due to a storm-caused power outage that held the match in doubt until late afternoon. Defender Chad Marshall, sidelined by a concussion since May 4, played a reserve game Monday and could return Sunday against Montreal. Last week: 7.

8.   VANCOUVER (7-4-5).The ‘Caps took a break from league play to break in Designated PlayerBarry Robson, who began training last week and has watched the team play twice in a 1-1 tie with New York and a 3-0 loss to Los Angeles. He is eligible to play Wednesday at Colorado, a match for whichJun Marques Davidson is ineligible due to suspension, and John Thorrington may miss because of a quad strain, but lack of fitness may keep him out. The ‘Caps road trip continues Saturday against Chivas USA. Last week: 8.  

9.    HOUSTON (6-5-5).Brian Chingconverted a penalty kick in the final minutes to give the Dynamo its fourth win in six games at BBVA Compass Stadium. Designated player and MLS debutant Oscar Boniek Garciaearned an assist when his pass to Macumba Kandjiwas relayed to Brad Davis to score the opening goal. Garcia’s lively work on the right flank could be the ideal complement to Davis’s left-sided mastery and another experienced player will come in handy against Chicago and SKC this week. Last week: 10.

10.  LOS ANGELES (6-9-2).All the good defensive work of a three-game winning streak blew up in a 4-3 loss to the Quakes. The Galaxy led, 3-1, late in the first half after a great David Beckham free kick, an own goal and Landon Donovan’s crisp finish. The lead evaporated when defender volleyed home a corner kick, a midfielder equalized with his second goal in 91 MLS games, and another corner provided the league’s top scorer with a close-range chance. With 27 goals conceded the Galaxy is already within one of last year’s total. Last week: 9.

11.  SEATTLE (7-5-5).Eddie Johnson scored twice but so did the Revs, and by conceding an equalizer in the fourth minute of stoppage time the Sounders extended their winless streak in league play to eight games. The Sounders did rally from a 1-0 deficit to take the lead but for the second straight week conceded a last-ditch headed equalizer. Next up is a Saturday date against equally desperate RSL at Rio Tinto Stadium. Last week: 12.

12.  NEW ENGLAND (5-7-4).Substitutes Diego Fagundez and Fernando Cardenas teamed up to score the stoppage-time equalizer that earned the Revs a 2-2 tie with Seattle. They fell behind after Saer Sene’s early goal but rallied to extend a modest unbeaten streak (one win, three ties) to four games. The Revs get another test of where they are under first-year coach Jay Heaps when they host New York on Sunday. Last week: 11.

13.  COLORADO (7-8-1). The on-field reunion of Conor Casey and Omar Cummings, who hadn’t played together for nearly a year, helped generate a 3-0 defeat of Portland. Casey scored his first goal of the season midway through the first half, about five minutes after Jamie Castrillon’s opener. Jamie Smithcelebrated his return from an ACL injury suffered in 2011 by rounding out the scoring in the 89th minute. Last week: 15.

14.  PORTLAND (4-7-4).After a pulsating 2-1 defeat of rival Seattle a week ago, the Timbers toppled back to earth with a 3-0 loss to Colorado while managing just two shots on goal. They conceded two goals four minutes apart midway through the first half and didn’t ever look capable of getting back into the match. The road record dropped to 0-5-2 and though they come back quickly Tuesday with a home game, it’s against overall points leader San Jose. Last week: 14.

15.  MONTREAL (5-10-3).Back-to-back 3-0 thumpings made for a very rough week despite word that former Italian international defender Alessandro Nesta was pondering an offer to join compatriot Marco di Vaio in Montreal. Di Vaio debuted in a dismal loss at Toronto Wednesday with Nesta – also being wooed by TFC – in attendance. A loss to D.C. United Saturday –- while being outshot, 18-4 -- provided very little recruiting fodder as the Impact looks for solutions. Last week: 13.

16.  CHIVAS USA (5-7-4).After beating Charlotte, 2-1, in the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals Tuesday, Chivas USA took the weekend off from league play. If its  playoff prospects are to be improved, it can start Sunday at home against Vancouver, the second of eight straight matches against Western Conference opposition. The ‘Caps match starts also starts a run of four games in 11 days, including an Open Cup semifinal against Seattle Tuesday. Last week: 16.

17.  FC DALLAS (3-9-5).No action last week for FCD, which gets two chances at home this week to get out of a winless skid of 11 games. Playmaker David Ferreira, out since suffering a broken leg in April of last year, has resumed full training and is a possibility against Toronto FC Wednesday and/or San Jose Saturday. Last week: 17.

18.  PHILADELPHIA (3-9-2).Trailing in Houston at halftime, 1-0, the Union scored within seconds of  the restart when Keon Danielblasted a goal from 20 yards. A foul by Gabriel Farfan gave the Dynamo a penalty kick by which it prevailed, 2-1. More changes came in the front office: interim head coach John Hackworth, who replaced Peter Nowaktwo weeks ago, announced the dismissals of scouting director Diego Gutierrezand youth director Alecko Eskandarian. Former Fire defender Bakary Soumare, acquired by Philly via the allocation process and a trade with Vancouver, is preparing for a Union debut this week against either Los Angeles (Wednesday) or Toronto (Sunday). Last week: 18.

19.  TORONTO FC (2-10-3). Danny Koevermans scored in both games to earn MLS Player of the Week honors as TFC drilled rival Montreal, 3-0, on the road in midweek and picked up another point in a 1-1 tie with New York at BMO Field. Koevermans’ header from a Torsten Frings corner kick against the Red Bulls extended his personal scoring streak to four games. Off the field, Joao Plataroiled the already turbulent franchise near Lake Ontario by saying he’s headed back to his native Ecuador, a decree questioned by head coach Paul Mariner. Last week: 19.



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