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Soccer America Power Rankings
by Ridge Mahoney, April 7th, 2014 2:33PM

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TAGS:  mls

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[MLS: Week 5] The leader is still on top in the Soccer America Power Rankings but a Western Conference rival is putting on heavy pressure. Losses by Vancouver and Columbus left Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas as the league’s only unbeaten teams, and though FCD posted an impressive 4-1 victory over Texas rival Houston, RSL retained the top spot by tying defending champion Sporting Kansas City, 0-0, at Sporting Park.

MLS WEEK 5, Results:
Sunday, April 6 (Report)
Chivas USA 0 LA Galaxy 3.

Saturday, April 5 (Report)
Sporting KC 0 Real Salt Lake 0.
Houston 1 FC Dallas 4.
Vancouver 1 Colorado 2.
D.C. United 2 New England 0.
Chicago 2 Philadelphia 2.
Columbus 0 Toronto FC 2.
Montreal 2 New York 2.
Portland 4 Seattle 4.

1. REAL SALT LAKE (2-0-3), 1. RSL ground out its third shutout of the season, a 0-0 tie at Sporting Kansas City, thanks to some heroics by stand-in keeper Jeff Attinella. Several of his nine saves were spectacular, including a flying deflection of a Benny Feilhaber blast. When a Dom Dwyer shot got by him and hit the post, defender Nat Borchers blocked the follow-up attempt. Considering the injury absences of Nick Rimando and both starting outside backs, this was an excellent result.

2. FC DALLAS (4-0-1), 3. A red card on the hour opened the gates for FCD, which struck three times in nine minutes to blow open a 1-1 game and dump Houston, 4-1. Je-Vaughn Watson scored twice against his former team as FCD took another significant step forward in the Oscar Pareja era. So far, opponents have been outscored, 13-5. This surging start is reminiscent of last year, which didn’t turn out so well, but so far, so good this year. A glut of early home games -- five of the first seven -- brings Seattle and Toronto to Big D in the next two weeks

3. SPORTING KC (2-1-2), 5. A 20-5 edge in shots and 57-43 percent possession advantage yielded only a 0-0 tie with Real Salt Lake in a rematch of last year’s MLS Cup final. The back line from that game started as a unit for the first time this season and limited RSL to one shot on goal. In addition to hitting the post, Dwyer couldn’t convert a one-v-one against the keeper that would have given him three goals in as many consecutive games.

4. TORONTO FC (3-1-0), 7. Midfielder Michael Bradley took up the scoring load in the injury absence of forward Jermain Defoe by netting from a tight angle to set TFC on its way to a 2-0 victory over previously perfect Columbus. Head coach Ryan Nelsen was rewarded for dipping deeply into his roster: rookie Nick Hagglund started at centerback alongside Bradley Orr, Kyle Bekker put in a good shift in place of Jonathan Osorio, and minutes into his first MLS appearance, Issey Nakajima-Farran knocked home a Justin Morrow cross for the clincher.

5. COLUMBUS (3-1-0), 4. Well, it had to end sometime. Gregg Berhalter lost his first game as an MLS head coach. The Crew controlled much of the possession (62-38 percent), and took 18 shots and 10 corner kicks, but good chances were scarce against Toronto. After keeper Steve Clark let a shot from an acute angle sneak past him in the 11th minute, Columbus pushed forward often, only to fall apart in the attacking third. The fans did boo Bradley for scoring that early goal, which is certainly the right thing to do.

6. COLORADO (2-1-1), 11. Jose Mari struck an astonishing goal as well as the winner in a 2-1 victory at Vancouver. His sharply swerving left-footer tied the game in the 79th minute and two minutes later he put away a Nathan Sturgis pass with his right foot to complete the comeback. Keeper Clint Irwin showed no after effects of the quad injury that had sidelined him for the first three games of season while stoning the ‘Caps several times with big saves.

7.  VANCOUVER (2-1-2), 2. The ‘Caps were in command until Matias Laba departed with his second yellow card in the 77th minute, 10 minutes after a Darren Mattocks goal supplied a 1-0 lead. Four minutes after Laba went off, they were down, 2-1, and never caught up. Gershon Koffie had just been substituted and the dual departures left a huge hole in the middle from whence the Rapids hit two excellent goals. Vancouver’s bright start to season will tested in the next two games: against the Galaxy, away and at home.

8.  LOS ANGELES (1-1-1), 8. Speaking of said Galaxy, a sharp showing by Robbie Keane helped overpower Chivas USA, 3-0, as L.A. finally played a team other than RSL in league action. Keane, Stefan Ishizaki and Baggio Husidic all scored before the hour mark as a diamond midfield befuddled the opponents and contributed to a pass-completion rate of nearly 89 percent. Homegrown player Oscar Sorto made his league debut in the 75th minute.

9. PHILADELPHIA (1-1-3), 9. The Union tried a new formula -- score more than one goal and count on Zac MacMath to stop a stoppage-time penalty kick – and managed a 2-2 tie in Chicago. A deflected shot by Maurice Edu and swerving Leo Fernandes free kick that wound up in the net untouched ended a 13-game run during which Philly scored one goal or fewer. But it squandered a lead late and if not for SuperZac would have lost.

10. SEATTLE (2-2-1), 10. The Sounders needed Clint Dempsey’s first MLS hat trick to capture a 4-4 tie at Portland that exhausted everyone on and off the field with its spectacle and drama. Kenny Cooper scored his first goal for the club in the third minute yet the Sounders couldn’t contain the Timbers and trailed, 4-2, until Dempsey hit second and third goals in the 85th and 87th minutes.

11. HOUSTON (2-2-0), 6. A penalty kick, a sending-off and an own goal proved too much for the Dynamo to overcome and so the 2014 El Capitan series started off with a 4-1 home defeat. Ten minutes after giving away the PK, Ricardo Clark scored the equalizer. But a straight red card to David Horst and a Giles Barnes own goal sent Houston to a second consecutive loss.

12. D.C. UNITED (1-2-1), 19. Yes! United 2, Revs 0! Victory is victory, and the method doesn’t matter. In this case, an own goal created by a Cristian cross and some neat work by keeper Andrew Dykstra -- in his first start since October 2010 -- opened up and preserved a lead that newcomer Chris Rolfe doubled in the final seconds. Thus ended a 15-game winless streak, the second-longest in league history and a team record.

13. CHIVAS USA (1-2-2), 12. The bad times returned as a shorthanded team went down to the Galaxy, 3-0. Bobby Burling, Oswaldo Minda and Tony Lochhead were out injured, and the team never settled in. On the first goal keeper Dan Kennedy protested that Keane had illegally jarred the ball out of his hands. Chivas USA didn’t land a shot on goal until the 81st minute and it managed just five shots total.

14. CHICAGO (0-1-4), 14. The Fire was a penalty kick away from its first win of 2014 but Mike Magee’s low shot was saved deep into stoppage time of a 2-2 tie with Philadelphia. Magee scored his first goal of the season early and struck the free kick by which Juan Luis Anangano equalized late, but he couldn’t convert a PK earned when Anangano was fouled. Of the conceded goals, one bounced in off defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and the second was a free kick that eluded everyone and wound up in the net.

15. NEW YORK (0-1-4), 15. The Jekyll-Hyde Red Bulls won’t go away. Peguy Luyindula scores a nice goal but drills his penalty kick against the post. Missing four starters, New York gets a goal and assist from Jonny Steele and a blinder from keeper Luis Robles and still can’t win. Since being blown out, 4-1, at Vancouver in the season opener, the Red Bulls haven’t lost. Nor have they won.

16. MONTREAL (0-3-2), 18. Marco Di Vaio took a team-record 11 shots without scoring, and a bad giveaway in his own half led to one of the Red Bulls' goals in a 2-2 tie. Much more impressive was Felipe, who slipped a ball through for Andres Romero to score in the fifth minute. With the Impact trailing, 2-1, he played a ball wide to Justin Mapp with an exquisite pass off the outside of his foot (watch the highlight and marvel at how it checks on the Olympic Stadium artificial turf) before darting forward to head home Mapp's cross for the equalizer. Should be Goal of the Week. After losing its first three, the Impact has tied two in a row heading into this week’s game against Chicago, which booted Impact head coach Frank Klopas after the 2013 season.

17. NEW ENGLAND (1-3-1), 13. Whatever good came out of a last-second win at San Jose a week earlier dissipated at RFK Stadium in a 2-0 defeat. Defender Jose Goncalves’ own goal left him distraught and the Revs a goal down. They squandered at least three good chances to equalize, and though keeper Bobby Shuttleworth stoned Eddie Johnson one-v-one to keep them in the game, a stoppage-time goal sealed the final score. Head coach Jay Heaps objected to several refereeing decisions and was dismissed in the final minutes after Charlie Davies was booked for simulation.

18. PORTLAND (0-2-3), 16. How porous a season has it been? The Timbers have yet to be shut out and they have yet to win. Watching a 4-2 lead evaporate in the final five minutes against archrival Seattle confirms there are problems with organization and communication. Diego Valeri and Max Urruti scored their first goals of the season and Diego Chara hit two long-range belters to end a two-and-a-half-year scoring drought, but sloppiness and confusion in the defensive end yielded a bitterly frustrating result. Newcomer Norberto Paparatto has been cautioned in three of his four games.

19. SAN JOSE (0-2-1), 17. The Quakes didn’t play, so it’s harsh to drop them into the basement, but with D.C. getting off the schneid and the Revs’ only win having occurred in San Jose, that’s the way it goes. Home game Sunday against the Crew should be a good one.



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