[MLS POWER RANKINGS: WEEK 13] Another Northwest thriller, several impressive away wins, and late-game scoring heroics marked a memorable week of MLS play.
Here's how MLS teams rank, from best to worst, 13 weeks into the season. ...
1. LOS ANGELES (8-2-7). Getting scored on twice by former Galaxian Alan Gordon is painful enough; to concede a stoppage-time equalizer a few minutes after Juan Pablo Angel had tallied a late goal for a 2-1 lead is emblematic of poor finishing, as in the inability to close out games. Still, an eight-game unbeaten streak and just one loss in 14 matches since losing, 4-1, in Salt Lake City more than two months ago is impressive. Last week: 1.
2. FC DALLAS (7-4-4). Riding its own unbeaten run (nine games), FCD was due for a clunker, and duly obliged by listlessly losing, 4-1, to Sporting Kansas City. A great run and finish by Brek Shea tied the game at 1-1 before FCD fell apart against a team missing its Designated Player, Omar Bravo. Last week: 2.
3. PHILADELPHIA (6-3-4). After Keon Daniel scored his first MLS goal from a nice cross by Michael Farfan, the Union twice hit the frame with shots that could have increased its lead against RSL. Instead, the 2009 champion equalized and managed to come away with a 1-1 tie. The emergence of Daniel and the Farfan twins (Michael and Gabriel) during the past month has strengthened Philly, which is tied with New York atop the Eastern Conference. Last week: 5.
4. NEW YORK (5-2-7). The Red Bulls used an own goal and a penalty-kick save by Greg Sutton, plus a Thierry Henry winner, to get past New England, 2-1, Friday. Backups Stephen Keel and Austin Da Luz started; John Rooney (remember him?) and Corey Hertzog came off the bench as NYRB overcame a bunch of Luke Rodgers misses to notch the win anyway. Last week: 6.
5. SEATTLE (5-4-7). A sputtering attack woke up to notch late goals three minutes apart by Mauro Rosales and Osvaldo Alonso for a 2-1 lead that lasted about a minute. The 2-2 tie with cross-border rival Vancouver leaves the Sounders with a very unsatisfying 3-2-3 record (that includes just two shutouts) at Qwest Field. Last week: 3.
6. COLORADO (5-3-7). The Rapids needed nearly 92 minutes and a few rebounds to get their goal, but when Drew Moor stuck the ball home during a furious scramble they ended a six-game streak of ties to win, 1-0, in Portland. Several excellent saves by keeper Matt Pickens kept the Timbers at bay until Moor punished their inability to clear Jamie Smith’s free kick and two saved shots. Last week: 7.
7. REAL SALT LAKE (6-3-3). Deployed again up front to supplement RSL’s ravaged forward line, Jean Alexandre set up partner Fabian Espindola for the goal that earned a 1-1 tie at Philadelphia. The week started with a 2-1 loss in Columbus that RSL led for more than an hour on a Jamison Olave goal before it conceded twice in six minutes. Despite giving up five goals in the last four games, RSL is still the league’s stingiest team (seven goals allowed in 12 games). Last week: 4.
8. SAN JOSE (5-4-4). The league’s hottest team – 13 points in the last five games – rode the torrid form of hat-trick hero Steven Lenhart to dump D.C. United, 4-2, at RFK Stadium. San Jose also welcomed back Simon Dawkins to the scoring ranks; he netted the only non-Lenhart goal in his second appearance since recovering from compartment-syndrome surgery. No Wondo is no problem, so far. Last week: 10.
9. SPORTING KANSAS CITY (2-6-4). By smashing No. 2 FCD, 4-1, at Pizza Hut Park with a pair of Graham Zusi goals, SKC ran its unbeaten streak to four games, during which it has collected six of its 10 points this season. Bouncing back so dramatically just three days after a disappointing 0-0 tie with Chicago at the unveiling of Livestrong Sporting Park following a grueling 10-game road swing merits a big boost. Last week: 15.
10. CHIVAS USA (4-5-5). Marcos Mondaini provided an early 1-0 lead in Houston with his third goal of the season, but after conceding an equalizer Chivas USA handed out an unfortunate own goal when a deflected cross bounced off Heath Pearce into the net. There’s been significant improvement over last year but it needs another strong run to merit status as a true playoff contender. Last week: 8.
11. HOUSTON (4-5-6). The Dynamo held onto a piece of third place in the Eastern Conference with a 2-1 home defeat of Chivas USA that ended a seven-game winless streak. Brad Davis took over the league lead in assists (nine) with a corner kick that Geoff Cameron headed home for Houston’s first goal; an own goal turned out to be the winner. The jury is still out as to where Houston will be in late August when crunch time comes. Last week: 13.
12. D.C. UNITED (4-4-5). That was a nasty loss at home to the Quakes yet was United’s first defeat in the past five games. Rookie Blake Brettschneider got his first pro goal to earn reward for his solid performances of the past month or so, but after he netted to tie the game, 2-2, in the 34th minute, a pair of defensive breakdowns ensured the L-word. Last week: 9.
13. PORTLAND (5-5-2). The fortress that is Jeld-Wen Field was breached for the second straight game when Colorado broke a 0-0 tie in stoppage time. Forward Kenny Cooper suffered a gash in his scalp and Coach John Spencer, not for the first time, unleashed a ref rant. The Timbers have lost three straight and are eighth in the Western Conference, ahead of only fellow expansion entry Vancouver. Last week: 11.
14. COLUMBUS (4-4-6). The Crew started a week of two home games by beating RSL, 2-1, when Andres Mendoza equalized with a penalty kick and six minutes later set up Josh Gardner for his first goal since 2006. It crashed back to earth with a discouraging 1-0 loss to the Fire, which scored in stoppage time for its first road victory of the season, and the Crew’s first home loss. Last week: 12.
15. CHICAGO (2-4-8). Recently appointed head coach Frank Klopas earned his first win, 1-0, when Cristian Nazarit stunned the Crew in stoppage time by punching home the rebound of a saved Orr Barouch shot. Both were subs used by Klopas. The Fire’s first home win of the season came three days after it held out for a 0-0 tie in a rowdy road environment in Kansas City. Last week: 17.
16. VANCOUVER (1-6-8). The bright side of Eric Hassli returned to help notch the ‘Caps a memorable 2-2 tie at Qwest Field against archrival Seattle. He scored their first goal from the penalty spot and scorched an incredible volley from the right flank into the top corner a minute after Vancouver had fallen behind, 2-1. In his three games in charge, replacement head coach Tom Soehn doesn’t have a win, but his team has a pulse. Last week: 16.
17. NEW ENGLAND (3-7-4). The Revs, winless in seven games on the road, lost their fourth straight game overall, 2-1, in New York, and have yet to find a solution for an impotent attack (11 goals in 14 games). Shalrie Joseph’s penalty kick was saved, defender Ryan Cochrane put one into his own net, and a goal produced by an excellent Chris Tierney cross that Zak Boggs put away fell short. Last week: 14.
18. TORONTO FC (2-6-8). The Alan Gordon Show at HDC earned a 2-2 tie with the Galaxy. He struck in the fourth minute of stoppage time for his second goal of the game against one of his former teams. In the past five games TFC has tied four and lost one, which isn’t the way to make up ground, even in a relatively weak conference. Last week: 18.