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Soccer America Power Rankings
by Ridge Mahoney, April 28th, 2014 2:10PM

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TAGS:  mls

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[MLS: Week 8] Another deuce by Clint Dempsey powered the Sounders past Colorado, 4-1, and into the top spot in the Soccer America Power Rankings. None of the other top five teams were able to win, though red cards contributed to the defeats of FC Dallas and Sporting Kansas City. Real Salt Lake maintained its unbeaten record but dropped off the top spot by squandering two late goals in a 2-2 tie with Vancouver.

MLS WEEK 8, Results:
April 27 (Report)
Houston 1, Portland 1
August 26 (Report)
Montreal 1, Philadelphia 0
Seattle 4, Colorado 1
D.C. United 4, FC Dallas 1
New England 2, Sporting KC 0
Columbus 1, New York 1
Real Salt Lake 2, Vancouver 2
San Jose 1, Chivas USA 0  

1. SEATTLE (5-2-1), 4. By demolishing the Rapids, Seattle extended its winning streak to three; a modest number, yet the longest such run in MLS so far this season. The Sounders have scored 13 goals in the last four games and rode another pair of goals by Dempsey, who leads MLS with eight, to bury Colorado. Dempsey scored his first on the rebound of a shot by Marco Pappa, who had been set up by a Dempsey back-heel, and he got his second by nodding on a header from Chad Marshall. Dempsey is in the zone, and the team is feeding off his brazen, clever, committed play.

2. REAL SALT LAKE (3-0-5), 1. Seldom is Nick Rimando’s play anything but impeccable, but he gifted the Whitecaps their first goal by dropping a deflected shot, and lunged futilely for a well-hit shot from distance by Sebastian Fernandez that skidded past him to tie the game. RSL had played Vancouver off the field to score through Joao Plata and Alvaro Saborio, but more than a month after blowing a two-goal lead and conceding a tying goal in stoppage time at San Jose, RSL did it again.

3. SPORTING KC (3-2-2), 2. SKC managed just one shot on goal in a 2-0 home loss to New England and among the notable misses was a point-blank chance Benny Feilhaber drilled off-target. A straight red card to defender Aurelien Collin that he might have got away with last year by being cautioned provided New England with a man advantage it used to score twice in stoppage time. A handball by Uri Rosell by which the Revs scored their second goal on a PK wasn’t similarly punished, yet SKC will be without Collin and Ike Opara, out for the season after undergoing ankle surgery, for an important home game with the Crew Saturday

4. FC DALLAS (5-2-1), 3. FCD crumbled in a 4-1 loss to D.C. United after a wild tackle by Zach Loyd sent him off with a second caution. It had led, 1-0, on a fine Mauro Diaz goal that he set up for himself by veering into the middle to shoot high into the top corner. Michel also picked up a red card in the 89th minute that disqualifies him for an interconference showdown with New York Sunday at Toyota Stadium.

5. COLUMBUS (3-1-3), 6. The Crew ground out its third straight 1-1 tie by ending level with New York. Justin Meram justified his first start of the season (in place of suspended Bernardo Anor) by drawing a foul for a penalty kick that Jairo Arrieta converted after a string of saves by keeper Steve Clark had repelled the Red Bulls. Early-season impressions can be misleading, but the Crew is adapting nicely to a system that seems legit. The plan of head coach Gregg Berhalter gets a good test Saturday at SKC.

6. VANCOUVER (2-2-4), 8. The Whitecaps summoned the Goonie spirit of the team they play this weekend to score in the 86th and 94th minutes of a 2-2 tie. They were two goals down after nine minutes but Nicolas Mezquida and Fernandez scored off the bench and fellow sub Erik Hurtado also injected some life. Dramatic rallies are all fine and good, but head coach Carl Robinson will want a stronger start against San Jose this weekend in a match that will commemorate the 40th anniversary of both teams.

7. LOS ANGELES (2-1-2), 7. The league leader in off weeks (three) returns to action in Colorado Saturday. During the bye week Oscar Sorto, Jack McBean and Jose Villarreal (who is on loan to Mexican club Cruz Azul) trained with the U.S. U-21s and played Wednesday in a friendly against Club Tijuana. Eight Galaxy players started in Galaxy II's 3-0 USL PRO win on Sunday.

8. COLORADO (3-2-2), 5. The Rapids conceded a first-half goal for the first time this season, thus ending their 248-minute shutout streak, and they couldn’t contain the rampant Sounders despite several brave saves by keeper Clint Irwin. On two occasions, Seattle scored on rebounds of a goalie save or blocked shot. The first MLS goal for Dillon Serna, who ran onto a Nick LaBrocca through ball to score, cut the deficit to 3-1, but a few minutes later Colorado fell asleep on a throw-in and conceded a fourth goal.

9. TORONTO FC (3-3-0), 9. A week off gave TFC time to address some medical issues. Michael Bradley underwent a foot procedure to correct a nerve problem, and the ouchy hamstring of Jermain Defoe will improve with the extra rest. Doniel Henry, out three weeks with a low-grade MCL strain and torn calf, is working towards a return to action this weekend against New England.

10. D.C. UNITED (3-2-2), 11. A team playing at home with a man advantage for more than a half hour should roll up the goals, and D.C. hit four -- two by Fabian Espindola -- in a 4-1 rout of FC Dallas. Espindola also set up a goal for Sean Franklin with a clever run to the byline and accurate cross, and another defender -- centerback Bobby Boswell -- slammed in a rebound. Circumstances notwithstanding, United has amassed 11 points in its last five games and against FCD it started eight players who were with other teams last season.

11. NEW ENGLAND (3-3-2), 12. The Revs’ revival continues, albeit against the 10 men of SKC. Teal Bunbury marked a solid game against his former team by scoring in the second minute of stoppage time. Lee Nguyen converted a penalty kick awarded a few minutes later when persistent work by Diego Fagundez caused a Rosell’s handball. New England is 3-1-2 since dropping its first two games and has posted shutouts in two of the last three.

12. NEW YORK (2-2-5), 16. Bradley Wright-Phillips followed up his midweek hat trick in a 4-0 rout of Houston by scoring again Saturday in a 1-1 tie at Columbus after he’d fluffed two previous opportunities. A hamstring strain sidelined Tim Cahill for both games yet the Red Bulls repeatedly sliced open the Dynamo back line and against the Crew came back after a foul by Kosuke Kimura provided the home team with a penalty kick it converted. New York is 0-1-2 against the Western Conference heading into a game at FC Dallas this weekend.

13. PHILADELPHIA (1-3-5), 10. Though the Union outshot Montreal, 17-7, and controlled nearly 62 percent of possession it lost, 1-0. A poor pass by Sheanon Williams yielded a long shot that goalie Zak MacMath blocked but couldn’t cover and the rebound wound up in the net. Philly plays the second of its four games on the West Coast this season on Saturday in Seattle, where it lost, 1-0, two years ago in Ray Gaddis’ first professional game at left back. It has earned just two points in five road matches so far.

14. HOUSTON (2-4-2), 13. Out of the lineup because of a sprained ankle the past three games, Brad Davis confirmed his importance to the Dynamo attack by setting up a Will Bruin goal with a great cross in a 1-1 tie with Portland. The goal ended a 334-minute goalless streak, most of which coincided with Davis’ absence, but the Dynamo couldn’t convert any of its other opportunities. The defense improved significantly from a 4-0 shellacking in New York three days earlier though it coughed up a 1-0 lead.

15. SAN JOSE (1-2-3), 17. Livewire Yannick Djalo scored as a halftime substitute in a 1-0 defeat of Chivas USA to etch another dramatic entry in his loan saga (from Benfica) and break San Jose into the win column. He volleyed a looping cross from Shea Salinas to score just inside the far post. Salinas, who came back to the Quakes in 2012 after playing for Philly and Vancouver, is already halfway to the career-high eight assists he registered last year. A reunion with ex-Quakes right back Steven Beitashour is up next Saturday in Vancouver.

16. CHICAGO (0-1-6), 15. The Fire won’t appeal a second caution given to forward Quincy Amarikwa in a 1-1 tie with New England April 19, so the team’s top scorer with four goals will miss the game against RSL this weekend. During a week off from MLS play, Amarikwa scored in a 3-2 defeat of the Charlotte Eagles (USL Pro). Juan Luis Anangano tallied twice. Perhaps the run of six straight ties is an MLS version of a market correction; the Fire went 12 games in 2013 without a deadlock before finishing the season 1-1 against D.C. United.

17. MONTREAL (1-4-3), 19. Cold rain may have curtailed the crowd for the first game of the season at Saputo Stadium but a goal by Felipe and several sharp saves by keeper Troy Perkins earned Montreal its first win of the season, 1-0, over Philadelphia. Patrice Bernier set up the goal with a midfield interception and hard shot that rebounded to Felipe. Jack McInerney nearly scored against his former team but couldn’t get his shot past MacMath.

18. CHIVAS USA (1-4-3), 14. Leandro Barrera repeatedly burned the right corner of the Quakes’ defense but none of his forays produced a goal, as Erick "Cubo" Torres was closely monitored and substitute "Bofo" Bautista couldn’t find much space in a 1-0 defeat. Mauro Rosales brought some energy but his touches were ragged and he was replaced by Bautista in the 69th minute. Keeper Dan Kennedy had to depart with a red card after handling the ball outside the penalty area, so backup Tim Melia will get the start Saturday against Houston with the winless streak at seven games.

19. PORTLAND (0-3-5), 18. The Timbers are on pace, unfortunately, to smash the mark of 15 ties they posted last year after they tied,1-1, in Houston. Gaston Fernandez scored his third goal of the season when he reacted quickest to a deflected pass off the foot of Kalif Alhassan and stroked the ball high into the net. Keeper Donovan Ricketts saved at the feet of Bruin to retain the point but Diego Valeri failed to convert a good opportunity. The search for answers continues at home against D.C. this weekend.

 



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