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Power Rankings: Top tier remains unchanged
by Ridge Mahoney, April 17th, 2012 5:06PM
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TAGS:  mls


Unable to break Sporting Kansas City’s perfect beginning, Real Salt Lake dropped its second game of the 2012 season, 1-0, yet retained second place in the Soccer America Power Rankings.

Next for RSL is a showdown at No. 3 San Jose, which rallied twice to tie New York, 2-2, and ran its unbeaten run to four games. Also without a loss in its last quartet is D.C. United, which rallied to beat the Revs, 2-1, after falling behind at Gillette Stadium.

Houston and Chicago, which because of weird scheduling had each played only three games, waited out two lightning delays and got in about 65 rain-lashed minutes at Toyota Park before the game was abandoned with the score, 1-1. That result stands.

FC Dallas, D.C. United, and Chivas USA each jumped three places after winning, New England and Columbus fell after each lost its second straight game. Philly got off the schneid by winning its first game, but problems persist for bottom-feeders Portland and Toronto FC. TFC is the only team without wins or points.

1.   SPORTING KANSAS CITY (6-0-0). The lords and masters of MLS extended their perfect record by beating No. 2 Real Salt Lake, 1-0, with a typical mix of incisive attacking and pressuring defense. For the second time this season, midfielder Graham Zusi swung a corner kick that defender Aurelien Collin headed home. That was SKC’s 10th corner of the game, which was about the only stat it dominated while still blotting out RSL’s attack for most of the game. Last week: 1.

2.   REAL SALT LAKE (5-2-0). Several players tied to ignite RSL’s attack in the absence of playmaker Javier Morales, but only a few individual bursts by Fabian Espindola stretched SKC’s defense in a 1-0 loss. The lone shot on goal came from distance off the foot of defender Nat Borchers, which says a lot. The defeat snapped a three-game winning streak and RSL has another road toughie this week in San Jose. Last week: 2.

3.   SAN JOSE (4-1-1). Going down a goal doesn’t faze the Quakes. At New York they fell behind twice and rallied with goals by Rafael Baca and Chris Wondolowski to come home with a 2-2 tie. Both goals were the products of shrewd movement and crisp passing, which are becoming hallmarks of this
year’s team. Its depth will be tested in the wake of costly injuries to Shea Salinas and Victor Bernardez, starting with a enticing home date against RSL. Last week: 3.

4.   HOUSTON (2-1-1). After sitting out two straight weekends, the Dynamo got all of 65 minutes played against Chicago in an abandoned match ended with the score 1-1. Brian Ching’s slick setup of Will Bruin’s first goal this season gave a glimpse of what that partnership might become with ingredients like games, preferably of 90-minute duration, thrown into the mix. Last week: 4.

5.   SEATTLE (3-1-1). Zach Scott’s first career goal ended the Sounders’ 306-minute scoring drought in a 1-0 defeat of Colorado. An Alex Caskey corner kick provided the chance that Scott’s header converted, and Seattle registered its second straight shutout to get a much-needed home victory. Last week: 5.

6.   NEW YORK (3-2-1). The Red Bulls’ dual persona of potency and ponderousness can’t be exorcised, apparently. One-goal leads provided by Kenny Cooper and Dax McCarty were quickly matched by the Quakes in a 2-2 tie. A McCarty giveaway on which he might have been fouled led to one of San Jose’s goals, and Rafa Marquez’s bear hug and flailing kick that injured Salinas will earn him yet another disciplinary vacation. Something about this team just ain’t right. Last week: 6.

7.   VANCOUVER (2-1-2). The Whitecaps took a weekend off to recover from a 3-1 pasting in San Jose April 7 that tarnished their previously unbeaten record and ended a league-record shutout streak to start a season (427 minutes). Atiba Harris comes off suspension for a double-dip at home against SKC Wednesday and FC Dallas Saturday, teams from which Vancouver garnered only one point from a possible 12 last season.  Last week: 7.

8.   FC DALLAS (3-2-1). Blas Perez strengthened his case for early consideration in Newcomer of the Year honors by notching a goal and an assist to help FCD rally past Montreal, 1-0. He upped his totals to three in each category by literally using his head: he equalized in the 77th minute by nodding home a rebound off the crossbar, then flicked a ball that Fabian Castillo slipped through for Brek Shea to drill the winner.  FCD is one of only three MLS teams to win their last two games in a row. Last week: 11.

9.   CHICAGO (1-1-2).  Signing ex-Fire attacker Chris Rolfe should raise both the potency and savvy of the attack in the wake of a 1-1 tie with Houston disrupted by two lightning delays and finally abandoned with 25 minutes to play. Chicago scored one of the luckiest goals in its history when a Pavel Pardo free kick caromed off Logan Pause’s back and glanced off the bottom of the crossbar on its way over the goal line.  Last week: 9.

10.  D.C. UNITED (2-2-2). A four-game unbeaten run has lifted D.C. to third place in the Eastern Conference, though it has played two more games than fourth-place Houston. Dwayne DeRosario’s spectacular bicycle-kick assist yielded Maicon Santos’ equalizer, and with seven minutes left substitute Chris Pontius scored his first goal of the season for an inspired 2-1 win at New England. Last week: 13.

11.  CHIVAS USA (3-3-0). Keeper Dan Kennedy took Player of the Week honors for his four-save shutout and the Ecuadorean duo of Miller Bolanos and Oswaldo Minda produced a 1-0 win in Toronto with a 31st minute corner kick that Minda headed into the net for his first MLS goal. Kennedy, in true goalkeeper tradition, preserved the victory by stoning Danny Koevermans on a point-blank shot with a minute to play. Last week: 14.

12. COLORADO (3-3-0). There’s something amiss in Commerce City; a 1-0 loss in Seattle is the Rapids’ second straight shutout defeat, and overall is their third defeat in four matches. Without Pablo Mastroeni and Conor Casey, the Rapids battled evenly through the first half and lost a Brian Mullan
goal to a correct offside call, but they were overrun and outshot, 12-1, in the second half. Last week: 8.

13.  COLUMBUS (2-3-0). Centerback Eric Gehrig knocked down a Freddy Adu cross with his left arm to give the previously winless Union a penalty kick by which it sent the Crew to its second straight loss, 1-0. Olman Vargas threatened twice, but one shot was cleared by a defender and another snagged by the opposing keeper. Emilio Renteria appeared as a sub midway through the second half and played as disgruntled as he’d looked on the bench. Last week: 10.

14. NEW ENGLAND (2-4-0). Since beating the Galaxy, the Revs have lost two straight and against D.C. United squandered a 1-0 lead at home. A trio of newcomers produced a sixth-minute goal when Jose Moreno cashed in some nice work by Saer Sane and Lee Nguyen, but the Revs soon gave up a tying goal and despite launching 20 shots couldn’t regain the lead. They succumbed again in the 83rd minute, leaving a bitter taste heading into a bye week.  Last week: 12.

15. LOS ANGELES (2-3-0). David Junior Lopes, who had arrived in a midweek trade with Chivas USA, started at centerback and helped steer the Galaxy defense through some rickety moments in a 3-1 comeback triumph over Portland. David Beckham’s bending clincher got rave reviews, but the key plays were Robbie Keane’s endline dribble and cutback that Landon Donovan drove in for the equalizer, and a vintage strike from distance by Juninho that broke up a 1-1 tie.  Last week: 15.

16. PHILADELPHIA (1-3-1). There’s relief in Philly, nothing more, in the wake of a 1-0 defeat of Columbus resulting from Gabriel Gomez’s penalty kick. Still, Adu showed a few flashes he’ll need to replicate with Roger Torres sidelined for at least six weeks following knee surgery for a sprained MCL, and some superb stuff from keeper Zac MacMath boosted hopes that he’s learning quickly what it takes to be No. 1. Last week: 18.

17. MONTREAL (1-5-1). It was an emotionally charged occasion for striker Bernardo Corradi, who converted a penalty kick that gave the Impact a 1-0 lead and after the game spoke sadly of former Udinese teammate Piermario Morosini, who died of a heart attack in an Italian league match hours before the Impact kicked off against FC Dallas. Montreal conceded twice to lose, 2-1; its road record (0-5-0) and porous defense (14 goals allowed) are vintage expansion-team stats. Last week: 16.

18. PORTLAND (1-4-1). Making the same mistakes befalls teams on a bad run, and once again, the Timbers took a lead only to relinquish it, and eventually the game. Kris Boyd’s second goal in as many matches provided a 1-0 lead against the Galaxy at Home Depot Center, but a disallowed goal and some potent Galaxy finishing overturned the scoreline to 3-1.  Coach John Spencer has hard decisions to make with his team mired in a four-game losing streak and SKC up next. Last week: 17.

19. TORONTO (0-5-0). Defender Adrian Cann returned to active duty after nearly a year on the shelf recovering from a torn ACL in a 1-0 home loss to Chivas USA.  Swatches of empty seats grew as the match unfolded. TFC conceded a goal from a corner kick and despite chances for Koevermans, Ryan Johnson and Joao Plata (nine shots combined) never got it back. Five straight losses is a team record.  Last week: 19.

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