By Ridge Mahoney
Not so suddenly, the Montreal Impact has become the class of Canadian pro soccer.
After a 2-2 tie in midweek that edged it past Vancouver in the Amway Canadian Championship, the Impact took advantage of international call-ups that weakened Sporting Kansas City by posting a 2-1 road win, its third straight in league play.
The winning streak was just enough for the Impact to edge past FC Dallas into the top spot in the power rankings. Montreal is one of five teams to compile at least 10 points in the past five games as international commitments denuded many rosters.
Call-ups were factors in several league contests. The Revs also notched a third straight win by humiliating the Galaxy, 5-0, at Gillette Stadium as a rampant attack exposed an L.A. defense missing Omar Gonzalez to international duty. A shorthanded squad didn’t deter the Sounders from thumping Chivas USA, 2-0, as Chivas del Norte played their game under interim head coach Sacha van der Most, named last week to replace Jose Luis Sanchez Sola. Houston made do without Brad Davis to get a tie in Columbus.
A full slate of international play means there are only five league games this week, including a Columbus-Philadelphia game Wednesday, but the action picks up again next week with a long list of Open Cup matches in addition to resumption of the normal schedule.
Week 14 Soccer America MLS Power Rankings
RANK TEAM (W-L-T) LAST WEEK
1. MONTREAL (8-2-2) 2.
2. FC DALLAS (8-2-4) 1.
3. PORTLAND (5-1-7) 4.
4. NEW YORK (7-4-5) 3.
5. REAL SALT LAKE (7-5-3) 9.
6. COLORADO (5-4-4) 7.
7. HOUSTON (6-4-4) 6.
8. SPORTING KANSAS CITY (6-5-4) 5.
9. LOS ANGELES (6-5-2) 8.
10. SEATTLE (5-4-3) 13.
11. NEW ENGLAND (5-4-4) 14.
12. PHILADELPHIA (5-5-4) 10.
13. VANCOUVER (4-4-4) 14.
14. COLUMBUS (4-4-5) 11.
15. CHICAGO (3-7-2) 15.
16. SAN JOSE (3-6-6) 16.
17. TORONTO FC (1-7-5) 18.
18. CHIVAS USA (3-8-2) 17.
19. D.C. UNITED (1-9-2) 19.
THE BEST. The Impact prevailed in bad-tempered game in which defender Alessandro Nesta head-butted SKC forward Claudio Bieler after they’d scuffled several times, yet goals by Sanna Nyassi and Collen Warner six minutes apart earned Montreal a 2-1 comeback win and top spot in the Eastern Conference. Western leader FC Dallas rallied twice from one-goal deficits imposed by the Rapids’ Atiba Harris with goals by Blas Perez; the 2-2 result gave FCD its third tie in the last six games. The Rapids are 3-0-3 in their last six.
Heading into a long break (until June 23) from league play, the Red Bulls lost, 2-1, at home to Vancouver. New York scored first but a second caution to defender Jamison Olave helped the Whitecaps rally and stop the Red Bulls’ seven-game unbeaten run. RSL added to San Jose’s woes by scoring three times (Javier Morales, Robbie Findley, Ned Grabavoy) in 22 first-half minutes in a 3-0 victory and has won five of its last eight games.
Warren Creavalle’s goal enabled the Dynamo to leave Columbus with a 1-1 tie yet Houston hasn’t won any of its last four games.
THE MIDDLE. Without USA internationals Matt Besler and Graham Zusi, SKC lost at home for the third time this season despite taking the lead with a Bieler penalty kick. The Galaxy didn’t have Robbie Keane and a few other regulars, nor any excuses for a 5-0 routing by the Revs at Gillette Stadium. Lacking Brad Evans and Eddie Johnson, the Sounders used an own goal and one by Obafemi Martins to top Chivas USA for their fourth win in the last five games.
New England jumped three places (as did Seattle) by embarrassing the Galaxy. Diego Fagundez scored in his fourth straight game, and both he and Kelyn Rowe logged a goal and two assists as the revived Revs also registered their eighth shutout. Philly played more than half the game up a man yet needed a stoppage-time equalizer by Jack McInerney -- his league-high 10th goal of the season -- to secure a 1-1 tie in Toronto.
Kenny Miller celebrated his first start in more than two months by scoring the winner for the Whitecaps, which spotted New York a 1-0 lead with an own goal before rallying. Jordan Harvey tied the game to set the stage for Miller. Federico Higuain’s penalty kick broke a 294-minute home goalless streak for the Crew, which squandered a victory when Justin Meram skied a sitter.
THE REST. Mike Magee scored on his league debut for the Fire in a 2-0 defeat of fellow straggler D.C. United, which hasn’t won in the last 11 games despite the lineup changes of Coach Ben Olsen. The Quakes’ Frank Yallop shook up his selections as well to no avail as they failed to win for the 10th time in the last 11 games and were denied their best chance by a spectacular Nick Rimando stop of Marvin Chavez. Like D.C. United, TFC hasn’t won in its last 11, and lost a 1-0 lead to Philly in the final minutes provided by Jonathan Osorio’s diving header midway through the second half.