By Ridge Mahoney
Get into the tackles, get some key saves, and get the ball to Marco Di Vaio in the right situation.
The Montreal formula for success is not quite that simple, yet head coach Marco Schallibaum and his players did the business again. By downing New York, 1-0, they held their place atop power rankings that saw a lot of movement between the top two tiers and the bottom sector status quo.
Vancouver’s 2-1 loss in Houston left Los Angeles -- a 1-0 conqueror of Colorado -- as the only other unbeaten team. Along with D.C. United, a 2-1 loser at home to Columbus, the Whitecaps dropped out of the top tier.
Sixteen of the 19 teams played last weekend despite it falling between the FIFA international dates. Qualifying play resumes in June. MLS has swapped games next weekend so Concacaf Champions League participants Seattle and Los Angeles can rest between the first and second midweek legs of their semifinal series against Santos Laguna and Monterrey, respectively.
Week 4 Soccer America MLS Power Rankings
Rank TEAM (W-L-T) Last Week
1. MONTREAL (4-0-0), 1.
2. LOS ANGELES (2-0-1), 3.
3. HOUSTON (2-1-0), 5.
4. FC DALLAS (3-1-0), 7.
5. SAN JOSE (2-1-1), 8.
6. PHILADELPHIA (2-1-0), 6.
7. CHIVAS USA (2-1-1), 13.
8. VANCOUVER (2-1-0), 2.
9. COLUMBUS (2-1-1), 14.
10. D. C. UNITED (1-2-1), 4.
11. SPORTING KC (1-1-2), 11.
12. NEW ENGLAND (1-1-1), 9.
13. TORONTO FC (1-2-0) 12.
14. REAL SALT LAKE (1-2-1), 10.
15. SEATTLE (0-2-1), 15.
16. NEW YORK (0-2-2), 16.
17. PORTLAND (0-1-2), 17.
18. COLORADO (0-3-1). 18.
19. CHICAGO (0-3-1), 19.
(Portland, Philadelphia and Toronto did not play in Week 4.)
THE BEST. Di Vaio was caught offside six times but clearly timed his run perfectly to slot home Patrice Bernier’s through ball after he’d collected a partial clearance. A crowd of 26,529 celebrated a second straight win at Olympic Stadium; the club moves to Stade Saputo for the rest of the season.
Mike Magee’s penalty kick was all the Galaxy needed to down the Rapids. Warren Creavalle and Giles Barnes scored their first MLS goals seven minutes apart in the Dynamo’s 2-1 victory that extended its unbeaten run at BBVA Compass Stadium to 33 games. It can tie the league record Saturday when it hosts San Jose. A goal and assist for Jackson propelled FC Dallas to a third straight home win, 2-0, over Real Salt Lake.
The Quakes got their first shutout of the season with a makeshift back line to beat Seattle, 1-0, on a Chris Wondolowski goal. To his critics, Chivas USA coach Jose Luis Sanchez Sola can say, “Resultados, amigos,” after a pulverizing 4-1 thrashing of Chicago at Toyota Park. Edgar Mejia assisted on the first goal and scored the second before a sharp Juan Agudelo finish and Fire own goal rounded off the rout.
THE MIDDLE. The Whitecaps took a 1-0 lead with a Darren Mattocks goal in their first road game of the season but conceded two goals in quick succession and lost at Houston, 2-0; they have away dates with Chivas USA and San Jose before returning home. The Crew looked right at home in RFK and downed D.C. United, 2-1, on a Josh Williams’ header and a blistering strike by homegrown signing Ben Speas. United goalie Bill Hamid was culpable on both goals; on the first one he came for a ball he couldn’t reach and left the net open, and the second goal resulted from his bobble of a free kick that hit him right in the hands.
The Revs failed to put a shot on goal in their opener, and though visiting SKC managed to put five shots on frame there were no goals at Gillette Stadium. Keeper Matt Reis got his second shutout in as many appearances this season. RSL was missing 11 players due to injuries, illness and international callups in its loss at Dallas but did welcome back defender and captain Nat Borchers, who played the full 90.
THE REST. There was no movement among the stragglers, so in effect, Seattle, New York, Colorado and Chicago might as well have taken the weekend off, as did Portland. Instead, the Sounders’ stumble at San Jose left them with their worst-ever start to a regular season and the wasteful Red Bulls became the Impact’s latest victim.
The Rapids lost all hope at Los Angeles when starters Pablo Mastroeni and Diego Calderon left the game with injuries and defender Drew Moor was sent off. Some great saves by stand-in keeper Clint Irwin kept it close. Fire backup goalie Paolo Tornaghi -- replacing U.S. callup Sean Johnson -- could do little as the Fire was riddled by Chivas USA before and after Patrick Nyarko scored its goal.