By Ridge Mahoney
The idle Colorado Rapids took over the top spot in Soccer America's weekly MLS Power Rankings previously held by the Portland Timbers, who endured a rough week, conceding an equalizer at home against Real Salt Lake in stoppage time and losing a heated battle to the Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field Sunday night in front of 67,385 fans.
Montreal, Real Salt and Los Angeles all jumped two or more spots to move into the 2-3-4 spots ahead of Portland. The Sounders climbed four spots into the top 10.
1. COLORADO (10-7-9), 2. Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown, especially when a bye week is to be followed by trips to Kansas City and Los Angeles. Still, five wins and four ties in the last nine games ain’t no accident.
2. MONTREAL (12-7-5), 4.Two goals by Marco Di Vaio and two assists for Justin Mapp in a 5-0 dismantling of the Houston Dynamo indicates perhaps the Impact is emerging from its recent funk (three victories in the last five games after a five-game winless run).
3. REAL SALT LAKE (13-8-6), 6. Yes, the Crew is a muddle right now, but belting out a 4-0 win without several starters is one of those statement games. Captain Kyle Beckerman led the way with a pair of goals.
4. LOS ANGELES (12-9-4), 10.A 1-0 win at Vancouver had a lot of that 2011 feel about it, and as for its big jump in the rankings, how many other teams have won six of the last 10 games? Nooooobody!
5. PORTLAND (9-4-12), 1. Growing pains are to be expected but surrendering an equalizer at home in stoppage time to a 10-man RSL (3-3), followed by a bitter 1-0 loss at Cascadia Cup rival Seattle would test anyone’s agony threshold.
6. NEW YORK (11-9-6), 3.Head coach Mike Petke apologized to the fans, again, after a listless 3-2 loss at Chivas USA. Thanks for owning up, Coach; now, how ya gonna fix it?
7. SPORTING KC (11-8-6), 5.Another 1-0 loss, this time at Chicago, incurred without Kei Kamara. Graham Zusi got the start and worked hard but was missing that sharp edge. SKC has lost four of its last five.
8. NEW ENGLAND (11-9-6), 11. The Revs pounded four goals past the Union after a wrongly disallowed goal following a Matt Reis fumble to win 5-1, and are 4-2 in the last six games. Kelyn Rowe’s two golazos nailed down Player of the Week honors.
9. PHILADELPHIA (10-8-8), 7.The Union can feel aggrieved that Conor Casey’s go-ahead goal was incorrectly waved off, but no team should give up four goals in 15 minutes.
10. SEATTLE (11-8-4), 14.Sounders fans unfurled another majestic tifo prior to their heroes downing Portland, 1-0, as Eddie Johnson scored his fourth goal in five Portland encounters.
11. HOUSTON (10-8-6), 8.The worst defeat in team history came largely via the counterattack, which produced three of the five goals scored by Montreal. With a 3-6-3 road record, the Dynamo plays a crucial match Sunday at Chicago.
12. CHICAGO (10-10-4), 12. Hunter Jumper got the start in place of an injured Bakary Soumare, and stooped to head home a Mike Magee knockback for his first MLS goal.
13. VANCOUVER (10-9-6), 9.Losing at home to good teams, even the defending champion, isn’t going to secure a playoff spot. On the plus side, defender Andy O’Brien put in a full 90 minutes for the first time since suffering a pulled hamstring in June.
14. SAN JOSE (9-10-7), 14. The Quakes captured a road point at FC Dallas, despite the blown 2-0 lead it had taken on goals by Alan Gordon and Steven Beitashour.
15. FC DALLAS (9-7-10), 15. FCD stunned Chivas USA by scoring twice while a man down in a 3-1 win, then rallied again with goals by Blas Perez(his 10th of the season) and Michel to tie the Quakes, 2-2.
16. CHIVAS USA (5-14-6), 19. After blowing a 1-0 lead at home and losing to FCD, the Western Conference cellar-dweller lit up the Red Bulls. One of the season’s revelations, Erick “Cubo” Torres, scored twice.
17. COLUMBUS (9-11-5), 16.A dismal effort during a 4-0 roasting at Real Salt Lake can’t be good for the status of head coach Robert Warzycha and a few of his players. That’s eight losses in the last 12 games.
18. TORONTO FC (4-12-9), 17. Bobby Convey scored his first TFC goal against his first MLS team, D.C. United, in a 1-1 tie at his old stomping grounds, RFK Stadium.
19. D.C. UNITED (3-17-5), 18.There hasn’t been much magic this year for 2011 league MVP Dwayne De Rosario, but he rolled back the clock to nail a curling shot from 30-plus yards to also score against a former team.