By Ridge Mahoney
Sporting Kansas City is the new leader atop the power rankings by virtue of a rather fortunate 2-1 win at Real Salt Lake in a showdown of conference leaders. Sporting’s third straight win and fourth in the last five games ended RSL’s eight-game unbeaten run.
Four of the eight games played last weekend ended in ties, three of which were scoreless. Chivas USA took the weekend off after downing Toronto FC, 1-0, on Wednesday and the Quakes and Dynamo took off the week entirely. Both of them host important intraconference games Saturday; San Jose plays Portland and Chicago travels to Houston.
Week 21 Soccer America MLS Power Rankings
1. SPORTING KANSAS CITY (10-5-6) 3.
2. PORTLAND (8 -2-10) 2.
3. REAL SALT LAKE (11-5-5) 1.
4. MONTREAL (9-5-6) 5.
5. VANCOUVER (9-6-5) 4.
6. PHILADELPHIA (8-6-7) 6.
7. COLORADO (8-7-7) 9.
8. NEW YORK (9-7-5) 8.
9. HOUSTON* (8-6-5) 11.
10. FC DALLAS (8-5-8) 7.
11. LOS ANGELES (10-8-3) 13.
12. NEW ENGLAND (7-7-6) 12.
13. CHICAGO (7-9-3) 14.
14. SEATTLE (7-7-4) 10.
15. SAN JOSE* (6-9-6) 15.
16. CHIVAS USA (4-11-5) 18.
17. COLUMBUS (6-9-6) 16.
18. TORONTO FC (2-10-8) 17.
19. D.C. UNITED (2-14-4) 19.
*Did not play.
THE BEST. Sporting Kansas City captured the showdown by rallying to beat Real Salt Lake, 2-1, at Rio Tinto Stadium after a second caution to Chris Wingert reduced RSL to 10 men. Robbie Findlay pounced on a bobble by SKC keeper Jimmy Nielsen to put RSL in front, but right after Wingert went off for a foul on Soony Saad, the SKC forward equalized with his third goal in the last two games. Deep into stoppage time defender Ike Opara headed home a Graham Zusi cross for the winner.
Lighting storms extended halftime of the Union-Timbers game at PPL Park to nearly an hour, and after the break Portland held out for its eighth road tie of the season. Philly nearly snatched a win midway through the second half but substitute Leo Fernandes’ shot hit the goalpost. The Impact also failed to score in a match of former conference leaders, and its 0-0 tie with FC Dallas extended its winless streak to five games. FCD dropped to fifth in the Western Conference; it hasn’t scored in the last four games and has zero wins in the last eight. Camilo’s league-leading 13th goal of the season provided the Whitecaps with a 1-0 advantage over the Galaxy but a pair of conceded goals snapped its six-game unbeaten streak.
THE MIDDLE. The Rapids got their first-ever point at Seattle with a 1-1 tie. Drew Moor’s goal provided a 1-0 lead and though an equalizer was conceded Colorado has accumulated 11 points in its last five games, which includes a 2-1 defeat of the Revs on Wednesday, when Nick LaBrocca equalizer and an own goal carried Colorado to victory. Thierry Henry managed the only Red Bulls’ shot on goal as they tied 0-0 in Toronto. Luis Robles preserved the shutout with a spectacular save late in the second half. Goals by youngsters Jose Villarreal and Gyasi Zardes propeled the Galaxy’s 2-1 comeback victory against Vancouver. The Galaxy has won three of its last four and despite eight losses has climbed to third in the Western Conference.
Jose Goncalves and Diego Fagundez scored in stoppage time as the Revs dented the Crew’s playoff aspirations with a 2-0 road win. That’s four losses in the last five games for staggering Columbus. On Wednesday, the Revs blew a 1-0 lead at Colorado provided by Juan Toja’s first MLS goal since 2008 and lost, 2-1.
THE REST. Sounders right back DeAndre Yedlin scored after a scramble during which a shot was saved and another hit the woodwork to earn Seattle a 1-1 tie with Colorado. There are still games in hand with which to make up ground, yet a playoff spot is seven points away. The Fire found D.C. United to be the perfect tonic for its two-game losing streak, and pounded out a 4-1 victory. Chris Rolfe scored twice and Joel Lindpere scored the winning goal and also recorded two assists. Luis Silva, acquired from Toronto FC less than two weeks ago, netted for D.C. United.
Speaking of TFC, it rebounded from a midweek road loss to tie New York, 0-0, at 'BMO Field. Keeper Joe Bendik needed to make just one save and Richard Eckersley’s fierce shot forced a superb save to keep TFC off the board.
Chivas USA had beaten TFC, 1-0, on Wednesday after going down to 10 men when a dangerous tackle by Eric Avila drew a red card. Erick Torres scored the only goal in his MLS debut and a notable returnee to MLS, Carlos Bocanegra, helped Chivas USA break a 14-game winless streak.