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MLS Power Rankings: Los Angeles flies out of the gate
by Ridge Mahoney, March 4th, 2013 4:39PM

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By Ridge Mahoney

The Soccer America weekly power rankings debut with a new format that groups the 19 teams into three tiers while giving a thumbnail sketch of each team's performance.

Last year’s records are not incorporated into the tabulation of current rankings, and only league results will be considered. (Concacaf Champions League play starts this week for Houston, Seattle, and Los Angeles.)

Week 1 Soccer America MLS Power Rankings
1. LOS ANGELES (1-0-0)
2. SPORTING KANSAS CITY (1-0-0)
3. REAL SALT LAKE (1-0-0)
4. MONTREAL (1-0-0)
5. HOUSTON (1-0-0)
6. COLUMBUS (1-0-0)
-------------------------
7. VANCOUVER (1-0-0)
8. NEW YORK (0-0-1)
9. FC DALLAS (1-0-0)
10. SEATTLE (0-1-0)
11. PORTLAND (0-0-1)
12. D.C UNITED (0-1-0)
-------------------------
13. CHICAGO (0-1-0)
14. SAN JOSE (0-1-0)
15. TORONTO FC (0-1-0)
16. COLORADO (0-1-0)
17. PHILADELPHIA (0-1-0)
18. CHIVAS USA (0-1-0)
(NEW ENGLAND did not play.)

THE BEST. He’s not getting DP money but Mike Magee celebrated a new contract by hat-tricking the Fire in the Galaxy’s 4-0 romp. Sporting Kansas City gets second for rallying on the road, even if that 3-1 win came at woeful Philadelphia, which crumbled as Graham Zusi led the way with a goal and two assists, and debutant DP Claudio Bieler also tallied.

Shorthanded RSL’s 2-0 victory in San Jose shows the spine of the team is still formidable: two goals by Alvaro Saborio, one of them set up by captain Kyle Beckerman, and Nick Rimando’s 100th career shutout (second on the all-time list). The Impact stunned another sellout crowd at CenturyLink Field with a goal by captain Davy Arnaud, and Houston held serve at home against D.C. United thanks to a masterful game by Ricardo Clark, whose goal sealed the 2-0 win in the 89th minute. Two late goals gave the Crew a 3-0 away win against feeble Chivas USA, and Vancouver stoutly held off Toronto FC, 1-0, but lost defender Jay DeMerit to a ruptured Achilles.

THE MIDDLE. The Red Bulls started off the Mike Petke Era by blowing a two-goal lead in Portland as Fabian Espindola scored twice for his new team, and his trade partner, Jamison Olave, scored for both teams. FCD needed a goal gifted by a goalkeeper gaffe to dispatch Colorado, 1-0, while being outshot, 12-8. The Timbers Army celebrated the 3-3 tie that marked the debut of head coach Caleb Porter, whose team amassed a 21-10 edge in shots and scored through Diego Valeri and Darlington Nagbe. Seattle stumbled out of the gate as a packed house and national ESPN2 audience watched Eddie Johnson and Brad Evans hit the woodwork. United keeper Bill Hamid saved a penalty kick and United held out until the 80th minute in Houston before conceding twice.

THE REST. Playing the Galaxy in Home Depot Center can be daunting yet the Fire simply turned in a clunker. Bash Brothers Steven Lenhart and Alan Gordon were absent, and thus the chances fell to Chris Wondolowski, who failed to convert any of them as the Supporters’ Shield winner lost a regular-season game at home for the first time since 2011. Toronto FC, as expected, fell to its western rival in Ryan Nelsen’s debut as head coach, yet rookie Kyle Bekker and a few others gave TFC some spark.

Rapids backup keeper Stewart Ceus let a ball bounce over his head outside the penalty area to offset a decent effort and some stylish play in the loss at FCD. Philly took the lead against SKC on a goal by returnee Sebastian Le Toux, his 26th career goal for the Union, before falling apart in the second half. A paltry crowd (7,121 announced) turned up at HDC for the first game under Jose Luis Sanchez Sola: a 3-0 loss to Columbus that looked a lot like the depressing Chivas USA defeats in September and October of last year.



3 comments
  1. Stephen Johnson
    commented on: March 4, 2013 at 6:06 p.m.
    The performance and no show crowd for Chivas USA only adds to the embassment of the Chivas experiment. How long can the league this joke continue. Even the targeted audiance of the hispanic community lost interest and doesn't want anything to do with them. Its time to end the pain and revoke the franchise rights of Vergara before they drag the rest of the league down. This past week the league announced to be one of the top leagues in the world in the next 10 years. Till realize their mistakes in the past and dump Chivas this goal is only a pipe dream.
  1. Ken Jamieson
    commented on: March 4, 2013 at 9:34 p.m.
    The original NASL had it right, no ethnic names for teams. The NASL was extremely disappointed in 1975 when a Croatian group bought the Toronto Metros franchise and renamed them the Toronto Metros-Croatia. The net result was that the club struggled for support from outside Toronto's Croatian community, despite winning a championship. Chivas USA, while not being an overtly ethnic name (calling them Mexican Club of Los Angeles would be a more apt description of the club), is producing the same results as the Metros-Croatia 40 years ago. The owners are going for a predominately Hispanic roster, much like the Toronto team went almost exclusively for Croatian talent. Soccer has enough challenges in American without feeding the mainstream stereotype that the game is only followed by immigrants and ethnic groups. MLS likes to say it has learned from the mistakes of the original NASL, however I still believe MLS has a lot to learn from the pioneering league. The fact that four West Coast clubs carrying NASL-era nicknames are among the standard-bearers of the league means that the NASL did somethings right. Time to shut down Chivas USA and give a deserving city outside LA the franchise.
  1. Chris Sapien
    commented on: March 5, 2013 at 4:12 p.m.
    Well stated Ken, Let someone move them to San Diego and call them the Surf :)

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