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Soccer America Power Rankings
by Ridge Mahoney, March 17th, 2014 1:51PM

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TAGS:  mls

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[MLS: Week 2] Toronto FC didn’t disappoint by beating Seattle, 2-1, as it unveiled Designated Players Michael Bradley and Jermain Defoe on the second weekend of the 2014 season.

MLS:Week 2
Sunday, March 16 (Report)
Portland 1 Chicago 1.
Chivas USA 1 Vancouver 1.
Saturday, March 15 (Report)
San Jose 3 Real Salt Lake 3.
Sporting KC 1 FC Dallas 1.
Houston 1 Montreal 0.
Philadelphia 1 New England 0.
New York 1 Colorado 1.
Seattle 1 Toronto FC 2.

Defoe netted twice to move into second place with six other players on the scoring list behind Will Bruin, who notched his third goal as Houston won its second straight game by edging Montreal, 1-0. Yet Real Salt Lake held the top spot in the Soccer America Power Rankings by getting another result on the West Coast, this one a 3-3 tie in which the Earthquakes again resorted to their Goonie persona in a different form. Defender Victor Bernardez scored two goals, including a 95th-minute equalizer.

Last week's ranking follows the teams record (wins-losses-ties) in parentheses.

1. REAL SALT LAKE (1-0-1), 1. Many coaches more experienced than Jeff Cassar have been stunned by the Goonies but surrendering two late goals, including an equalizer deep into stoppage time, tarnishes an otherwise solid effort. RSL carved open the Quakes numerous times to notch goals by Kyle Beckerman, Joao Plata and Luke Mulholland, only to succumb late as so many have done. Yet a four-point haul from away tussles with the Galaxy and San Jose is a good foundation for the new head coach to build upon.



2. HOUSTON (2-0-0), 3. Of the 13 teams that have played two games, only the Dynamo has won both of them. The second victory, a 1-0 defeat of Montreal, was much tighter than the 4-0 blowout of New England in the opener, yet again David Horst put in a good shift as a replacement for Bobby Boswell, who was traded during the offseason. For the second straight game, Bruin netted the winning goal, and Kofi Sarkodie cleared a ball off the goal line.

3. VANCOUVER (1-0-1), 4. A win would be expected against a foe down to 10 men in the 13th minute, but the ‘Caps looked aimless against Chivas USA until subs Kekuta Manneh and Erik Hurtado sparked a rally that secured a 1-1 tie at StubHub Center. Manneh scored after Darren Mattocks, who had looked lively but couldn’t quite apply the finishing touch himself, stole a ball and slipped it inside for Manneh to drill home.

4. PHILADELPHIA (1-0-1), 12. Maurice Edu led a dominant Union midfield that limited New England to five shots and engineered a nearly 60-40 percent edge in possession during a 1-0 triumph. Leo Fernandes replaced an ailing Brian Carroll in the starting lineup and set up Sebastien Le Toux’s fourth goal in a Union home-opener. Amobi Okugo took the captain’s armband in Carroll’s absence and helped post a shutout.

5. TORONTO (1-0-0), 17. The DPs came to play -- two excellent goals by Jermain Defoe, a strong outing by Michael Bradley -- yet several other players also shone in a 2-1 victory at CenturyLink Field that officially christened the New Era of TFC. Centerbacks Steven Caldwell and Doniel Henry bottled up the middle, Jonathan Osorio’s brilliant through ball set up the first goal, and keeper Julio Cesar came up with a critical save.

 6. FC DALLAS (1-0-1), 11. Three days after FCD announced defender Matt Hedges had signed a contract extension, he showed his value by heading a 90th-minute equalizer and then clearing a shot off the goal line in a 1-1 tie at Sporting Kansas City. The point required a true team effort; substitute Michel’s free kick set up the goal, Stephen Keel also propelled a ball out of the goal area, and Chris Seitz bailed out his team with a few sharp saves.

7. SEATTLE (1-1-0), 2. Needing results to restore the faith of fans and management, the Sounders fell behind, 2-0, to Toronto FC at home and couldn’t add to a Clint Dempsey goal midway through the second half. Last weekend, they barely beat a shorthanded SKC, 1-0, on a stoppage-time goal. Marco Pappa hasn’t looked comfortable and the back line, of which Chad Marshall is expected to be the leader, has yet to jell.

8. PORTLAND (0-0-2), 5. Rallying to tie at home -- see San Jose -- in exciting fashion is great drama but poor procedure. Still, newcomer Gaston Fernandez looks up to the task; he tapped home a rebound for his second goal in as many MLS appearances to reward a wave of Timbers’ attacks that finally dented Chicago’s back line. The Timbers tied five of 17 home games last year; they are two-for-two in 2014 and they've needed some heroics from Donovan Ricketts in both games.

9. LOS ANGELES (0-1-0), 7. The Galaxy sat out league action last weekend and takes a 1-0 lead to Mexico for the second leg of its Concacaf Champions League quarterfinal against Tijuana. Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan have not been on their game and this week they’ll be needed: an away match with RSL, which beat the Galaxy, 1-0, on opening weekend, follows the trek to TJ. 

10. CHIVAS USA (1-0-1), 16. Give Coach Wilmer Cabrera and his players another high grade for tying Vancouver, 1-1, despite playing a man down for almost 80 minutes. Agustin Pelletieri departed with a straight red card in the 13th minute for a hard tackle on Pedro Morales, yet still Mauro Rosales sliced open the Whitecaps before and after stealing a ball in midfield and knocking it to Erick Torres to score just before halftime. Had Dani Fragoso not given a ball away that the ‘Caps turned into their equalizer, Chivas USA could be 2-0-0. The Eric Avila-at-right-back experiment, however, isn’t going so well.

11. SPORTING KC (0-1-1), 6. Coach Peter Vermes is doling out minutes carefully as he juggles league games with CCL matches and for the second straight weekend SKC faltered at the end. This time, it conceded a goal in the 90th minute to FC Dallas that canceled out an Aurelien Collin header nine minutes earlier. Claudio Bieler came off the bench, and Graham Zusi didn’t play at all in the 1-1 tie.

12. COLORADO (0-0-1), 9. Ex-Quake Marvin Chavez came off the bench to draw a penalty kick by which the Rapids garnered a 1-1 tie against the Red Bulls in the head coaching debut of Pablo Mastroeni. Another sub, Vicente Sanchez, sparked the attack upon entry in the 65th minute and after chipping a ball that Chavez controlled to draw the foul tucked away the penalty kick. The Rapids put six of their 18 shots on goal and showed a bit of heart by equalizing 15 minutes after falling behind.

13. COLUMBUS (1-0-0), 14. The Crew hosts Philly Saturday in its home opener after sitting out last weekend. It has sent five players to Dayton (USL PRO) on loan: forward Ryan Finley, midfielder/defender Kevan George, midfielder Matt Walker, defender Ross Friedman, and goalkeeper Brad Stuver.

14. NEW YORK (0-1-1), 8. Head coach Mike Petke has a new contract but is winless after two games. The Red Bulls gave up a 1-0 lead at home to tie Colorado, 1-1. Thierry Henry punctuated a solid game by nailing home a header from a clever Lloyd Sam cross and also delivered a few dangerous balls, yet much of RBNY’s play at both ends lacked cohesion. A questionable foul called on defender Jamison Olave provided the Rapids their goal via a penalty kick.

15. SAN JOSE (0-0-1), 10. When Bernardez is in beast mode, opponents tremble. He lit up RSL with two late goals after his glancing header from a Shea Salinas free kick had provided a 1-0 lead that a porous midfield quickly relinquished. Offensively, Salinas -- credited with 19 crosses -- threatened constantly from the left flank, and his corner kick enabled Bernardez to score the Quakes’ second goal, but center mids Sam Cronin and Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi were constantly overrun as RSL pushed forward. Quakes play the second leg of their CCL quarterfinal at Toluca on Wednesday (1-1 after the first leg).

16. CHICAGO (0-1-1) 18. The penalty kick he won in a 1-1 tie at Portland looked rather dubious, but forward Quincy Amarikwa, who scored a booming goal in the Fire’s 3-2 season-opening loss to Chivas USA, is relishing the confidence shown in him by head coach Frank Yallop. Jeff Larentowicz converted the penalty kick won by Amarikwa in the 19th minute. After making four lineup changes for the Timbers’ match, Yallop may need to re-tweak. U.S. U-20 international Benji Joya played 64 minutes in his first MLS start.

17. MONTREAL (0-2-0), 15. After sitting out the opener, captain Patrice Bernier started and played 72 minutes of a hard-luck 1-0 loss at Houston. A deflected shot that looped over keeper Troy Perkins decided the match. Felipe nicked the post with a shot and a Dynamo defender cleared an Andrew Wenger chip that was about to cross the goal line. The Impact opens its home schedule Saturday against Seattle, but striker Marco Di Vaio and midfielder Andres Romero must serve the end-game of three-match suspensions handed out last year in the aftermath of a bitter 3-0 playoff loss to Houston.

18. NEW ENGLAND (0-2-0), 13. If the rumors are true that head coach Jay Heaps issued an ultimatum to defender Jose Goncalves, who is unhappy with his contract, and the player elected to sit out the 1-0 loss in Philly, a major component of New England’s success in 2013 is in limbo. Andrew Farrell took his spot in the middle and was beaten in the lead-up to the goal, but it was in midfield the Revs came up short.

19. D.C. UNITED (0-1-0), 19. No game for United last weekend. The team announced it will not sign second-round draft pick Victor Munoz and that Homegrown defender Conor Shanosky has undergone wrist surgery. On Saturday, United plays the home opener of the transformed Toronto FC, coached by former D.C. defender Ryan Nelsen



1 comment
  1. Allan Lindh
    commented on: March 17, 2014 at 2:16 p.m.
    Not one word concerning the reality that the replacement refs are indistinguishable from the other refs. Except that they call a few penalties on thuggish defenders that the "other refs" don't. And the penalty call on Olave was "questionable" only in a league where large thuggish defenders are usually given free rein. Since when is running over an attacker receiving the ball in the box "questionable?"


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