Another heavy dose of Wednesday-weekend games provided many MLS teams with opportunities to take six points, and both New York and Houston did just that to move up the rankings.
New York’s shutout wins over Philadelphia and Chicago propelled it to the top of the Eastern Conference and in second place behind rankings leader San Jose, which stumbled to a loss in Vancouver after surviving a desperate FC Dallas rally to record a 2-1 win. Houston swept past Kansas City and Montreal to take over third place in the East.
The Galaxy earned four points by rallying for a 2-2 tie in Vancouver and thumping Chivas USA, 3-1, to solidify its grip on fifth place.
League play resumes Friday with an RSL-Vancouver match and there are seven more games Saturday in addition to Chelsea-AC Milan and D.C. United-Paris St. Germain friendlies. Philly hosts New England Sunday.
1. SAN JOSE (13-5-4). The Quakes needed an FC Dallas penalty-kick miss in stoppage time to win, 2-1, at home Wednesday, then fell in Vancouver by the same scoreline Sunday. In those two games Alan Gordon netted his eighth and ninth goals of the season; Marvin Chavez got the other goal as well an assist in the ‘Caps game to provide further proof this team is not all about Chris Wondolowski, whose penalty kick against FCD was saved on a re-kick ordered because of encroachment. They lead the Western Conference by four points, the league in goal differential at plus-17 (a mark nine goals superior to any other team), and are unbeaten in their last 11 at home. Last week: 1.
2. NEW YORK (11-5-5). Shutout victories against Chicago (1-0) and Philadelphia (2-0) pushed the Red Bulls atop the Eastern Conference. Thierry Henry scored his first goal since April 28 to douse the Fire. Against the Union, Kenny Cooper – goalless since May 23 -- tallied his 12th and 13th goals with assists from Henry and Connor Lade, who could be the man bumped from the starting lineup pending the arrival of Australian international Tim Cahill, whose acquisition was announced Monday. The back-to-back blankings ended a run of nine league matches conceding at least one goal. Last week: 6.
3. REAL SALT LAKE (12-7-3). RSL bounced back from its 5-0 thumping by San Jose a week ago to beat Rocky Mountain rival Colorado, 2-0, with a winning goal by Alvaro Saborio and a late clincher off the foot of Will Johnson. Saborio’s 11th goal of the season matches his total all of last year and is within one of his career high set in 2010. This week RSL stays at home, where it is 8-3-1, to host Vancouver. Last week: 4.
4. HOUSTON (9-5-7). Just as it did last year when it reached MLS Cup, Houston is gaining momentum in the second half of the season. It topped SKC, 2-1, with a pair of goals by the speedy Calen Carr, though the winner bounced into the net off his foot as he stumbled into the goal area. Macoumba Kandji duplicated the dual output in a 3-0 dismantling of Montreal and Bobby Boswell also scored as Houston won its third straight and extended an unbeaten streak to six games. Last week: 7.
5. SPORTING KANSAS CITY (11-6-4). SKC managed only one goal and one point by losing, 2-1, in Houston and tying New England, 0-0, at home, as it surrendered the Eastern Conference lead to New York. The loss to the Dynamo ended a five-match unbeaten streak, yet it is the only team in the league to have conceded less than a goal per game (19 goals in 21 matches). The Revs shutout was SKC’s league-leading ninth of the season and it got a scare when keeper Jimmy Nielsen needed several minutes to recover from a collision with teammate Kei Kamara. Last week: 2.
6. D.C. UNITED (10-7-3). A second straight defeat – in Columbus, 1-0 – dropped United into fourth place among Eastern teams though it still has an eight-point cushion between it and the sixth-place Crew in the race for five playoff spots. Substitute Long Tan got off three shots in the last 18 minutes and Chris Korb hit the post with a shot during a late flurry after an apparent equalizer by Dwayne De Rosario was annulled because of offside. United takes a week off from league play to meet PSG Saturday, then faces the Crew again in a rematch Aug 4. Last week: 3.
7. LOS ANGELES (9-10-3). Though its defending isn’t sharp, the Galaxy’s attack is in prolific mood as its Designated Players show the way. David Beckham’s goal started a comeback in Vancouver that earned a 2-2 tie when Jose Villarreal equalized with a superb strike. In a 3-1 rout of local rival Chivas USA Landon Donovan scored twice, Robbie Keane scored his fifth goal in the last four games, and Beckham earned two assists as the Galaxy won for the sixth time in the last nine games. Last week: 8.
8. CHICAGO (9-7-4). The Fire sat out the weekend’s league action – it lost a friendly to Aston Villa, 1-0, on Saturday -- following its 1-0 Wednesday matinee loss in New York played in record 106-degree heat. Substitute Rafael Robayo’s late attempt at an equalizer was cleared off the goal line as the Fire lost for the fifth time in 10 road matches. In fifth place, it heads way out west this weekend to play overall points leader San Jose. Last week: 5.
9. VANCOUVER (9-6-7). Amid a slew of player moves the Whitecaps squandered a two-goal lead to tie the Galaxy, 2-2, on Wednesday, then struck with a last-minute penalty kick Sunday to beat San Jose, 2-1. Eric Hassli (to Toronto FC) joined Sebastian LeToux (New York) and others jettisoned in the wake of Dane Richards, Barry Robson and Kenny Miller arriving; Robson and Gershon Koffie scored against the Galaxy before Vancouver conceded two in six minutes. Robson also converted a penalty kick to provide the winner against San Jose following a sharp finish by Richards. Miller made his MLS debut as a sub in the 78th minute. Last week: 10.
10. SEATTLE (8-5-7). The Sounders took the weekend off after losing a midweek exhibition to Chelsea, 4-2. They play at Colorado Saturday with just one win and three ties in their last five games. Last week: 9.
11. COLUMBUS (7-7-4). In his sixth game with the Crew after signing in late May, former Galaxy midfielder Chris Birchall scored just his second MLS goal to down D.C. United, 1-0. Jairo Arrieta, making his second league appearance, played the through ball that Birchall converted after a narrow offside call had taken a goal away from Josh Williams. The Crew hosts English Premier League club Stoke City during the week prior to an important league date in Kansas City on Saturday. Last week: 11.
12. NEW ENGLAND (6-9-5). The Revs picked up just their fifth road point – out of a possible 40 – by tying Sporting Kansas City, 0-0, behind keeper Matt Reis’s fourth shutout of the season. They lost in Montreal, 2-1, on Wednesday despite a spectacular strike by Lee Nguyen that crashed off the crossbar and rebounded into the net off the goalkeeper. The losses dropped the Revs to seventh in the Eastern Conference, with a 1-7-2 away record and only two points in the last four games. Last week: 12.
13. CHIVAS USA (6-8-5). In its Wednesday game Chivas USA took advantage of the teetering Timbers to beat them, 1-0, thanks to the first MLS goal scored by Miller Bolanos. He put away a Ryan Smith cross that was deflected into his path to give the club two wins and two ties in its last four games, but that streak came to an end against the Galaxy Saturday. Paolo Cardozo got his first MLS goal against his former club in the 3-1 defeat that left sixth-place Chivas USA seven points out of a playoff spot. Last week: 14.
14. PHILADELPHIA (6-10-2). The Union’s revival came to a halt Saturday in a 2-0 loss to the Red Bulls in the team's ninth match in 27 days. The defeat snapped a three-game winning streak and was tainted by the absence of Freddy Adu, who didn’t make the trip for what was described as “team matters.” Following the MLS All-Star break Wednesday, the Union hosts New England Sunday. Last week: 13.
15. FC DALLAS (5-10-7). As bad as things have been for FC Dallas, it hammered Portland, 5-0, Saturday three days after flubbing a chance to tie San Jose during a rough week for Brek Shea. He barked at Coach Schellas Hyndman after being substituted in a 2-1 loss to the Quakes, and watched as a late Hernan Pertuz goal gave FCD a lifeline it let slip when Jair Benitez zoomed his stoppage-time penalty kick over the crossbar. Shea was excluded from the game-day roster against the Timbers, and FCD overpowered them with five different scorers – including an own goal -- led by Jackson with a goal and two assists. Playmaker David Ferreira also recorded a pair of assists as FCD snapped a team-record 13-game losing streak. Last week: 17.
16. TORONTO FC (5-11-4). Five days after arriving from FC Dallas in the Julian de Guzman trade, Andrew Weideman scored his first MLS goal to push TFC past Montreal, 2-1, in a Wednesday game. Doniel Henry and Luis Silva relayed the ball to Weideman, who connected in his 10th MLS appearance and his second for TFC as a sub. Toronto sat out league play over the weekend to play a 1-1 tie with English visitor Liverpool, and this weekend doesn’t get a chance to increase its three-game winning streak. Last week: 18.
17. COLORADO (7-13-1). The Rapids’ losing streak extended to five games with defeats in Toronto and Salt Lake City and it its tied with FC Dallas for seventh place in the Western Conference. Conor Casey’s goal midway through the first half provided a 1-0 lead against TFC, but the Rapids gave up two goals in 17 minutes. The loss to SLC ran its winless streak against its Rocky Mountain rival to eight games and dropped its road record to 2-9-0. Last week: 15.
18. MONTREAL (7-13-3). The week started with a 2-1 defeat of New England fueled by Sanna Nyassi’s volleyed winner midway through the second half that lifted the Impact past the Revs in the standings. Patrice Bernier’s penalty kick had provided the first goal as Montreal improved its home mark to 6-3-2. But the road horrors continue; the frightful record away from home is 1-10-1 following a 3-0 loss in Houston. Last week: 19.
19. PORTLAND (5-11-4). A crushing 5-0 defeat in Dallas typified the team’s road futility – mired in a scoreless streak away from home it contributed a Hanyer Mosquera own goal to the rout. The streak has reached 697 minutes, a run of more than seven full games. It had already lost at Home Depot Center, 1-0, to Chivas USA during the week, and is looking up at the other eight Western Conference teams as it prepares to host Chivas USA in a rematch Saturday. It has lost three in a row since Gavin Wilkinson replaced John Spencer as head coach. Last week: 16.