By Ridge Mahoney
Leader Portland didn’t play and there was little movement in the Power Rankings in the higher slots.
DONOVAN SHOWS UP.A virtuoso hat trick by Landon Donovan was only enough for the Galaxy to gain a 3-3 tie at FC Dallas but it certainly confirmed he’ll be a factor down the stretch in a conference playoff race that now includes Clint Dempsey, who replaced Obafemi Martins in the 34th minute of Seattle’s 2-1 victory at Toronto.
The Sounders have won three in a row, albeit against Chivas USA. FC Dallas, and Toronto FC. They get a real test in Houston Saturday, the same day the Galaxy hosts Real Salt Lake.
BACKUPS STEP UP.Unless there’s an emergency situation such as that in MLS Cup 2009 when Josh Saunders stepped in for an injured Donovan Ricketts, backup goalkeepers seldom make a major contribution in the playoffs.
Yet a reliable backup can certainly help a team reach the postseason. Marcus Hahnemann’s critical save in stoppage time preserved a 2-1 Seattle victory in Toronto, Matt Lampsonstoned the Red Bulls several times to help Columbus post a 2-0 win that snapped a three-game losing streak, and David Ousted got the shutout in Vancouver’s 2-0 defeat of San Jose.
Ousted, a former teammate of Charlie Davies at Danish club Randers, signed as a free agent in June. He may not be the backup to Brad Knighton much longer.
FANS STAND UP.Kudos to PPL Park fans, who rose en masse to saluteConor Casey with a standing ovation in the 85th minute after he scored both goals of Philly’s 2-0 defeat of D.C. United. The Union fielded the youngest lineup in its four-year history, and veteran Casey, 31, increased his season’s take to nine goals. The crowd of 18,652 was just one of several full houses to witness victories by the home teams.
A sellout crowd of 20,151 at B.C. Place watched the ‘Caps beat San Jose, 2-0, to end a three-game Quakes’ winning streak and increase the gap between the teams to six points. Camilo re-tied Mike Magee atop the league goalscoring list with his 14th, and Kenny Miller added the clincher.
The Rio Tinto faithful (19,402) enjoyed a decision by head coach Jason Kreis to send out his team in a 4-3-3 formation against Houston with Alvaro Saborio, Joao Plata and Olmes Garciaup front, and a midfield of Javier Morales, Kyle Beckerman and Ned Grabavoy. RSL controlled play for long stretches (officially, 64 percent possession) and Saborio scored the only goal of a 1-0 victory that ended a three-game winless streak.
Sporting Park (19,998) was filled to the brim and SKC responded by spanking New England, 3-0, as Kei Kamara led the way with two goals. He’s scored seven since returning from a loan spell with Norwich City. Revs defender Kevin Alston started a match for the first time since being diagnosed with leukemia in April; the defeat was New England’s fourth in the last six games and dropped the Revs three places in the rankings.
Week 24 Soccer America MLS Power Rankings:
RANK TEAM (W-L-T) LAST WEEK
1. PORTLAND (8-3-11), 1.
2. NEW YORK (11-8-5), 2.
3. COLORADO (9-7-9), 3.
4. SPORTING KC (11-7-6), 4.
5. REAL SALT LAKE (12-7-5), 5.
6. VANCOUVER (10-7-6), 7.
7. PHILADELPHIA (10-7-7), 8.
8. MONTREAL (10-7-5), 6.
9. HOUSTON (9-7-6), 9.
10. LOS ANGELES (10-9-4), 11.
11. CHICAGO (9-9-4), 12.
12. SEATTLE (10-7-4), 13.
13. NEW ENGLAND (8-9-6), 10.
14. SAN JOSE (8-10-6), 14.
15. FC DALLAS (8-6-9), 15.
16. COLUMBUS (7-11-5), 18.
17. TORONTO FC (4-11-8), 16.
18. D.C. UNITED (3-16-4), 17.
19. CHIVAS USA (4-13-6), 19.