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MLS Power Rankings: FC Dallas stays on top
by Ridge Mahoney, April 18th, 2017 1:55AM
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TAGS:  atlanta united, chicago fire, clint dempsey, colorado rapids, columbus crew, d.c. united, fc dallas, los angeles galaxy, minnesota united fc, mls, montreal impact, new england revolution, new york city fc, new york red bulls, orlando city, philadelphia union, portland timbers, san jose earthquakes, seattle sounders, spain, sporting kansas city, toronto fc, ussf division 2, vancouver whitecaps

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The only two teams still unbeaten, FC Dallas and Sporting Kansas City, occupy the top two spots in Soccer America's MLS Power Rankings after getting results on the road.

FCD gave up a last-second goal but still came home from San Jose with a 1-1 tie and SKC turned in an impressive  performance to prevail against Portland in Providence Park, 1-0.

Orlando City beat the LA Galaxy, 2-1, and thus set a league record by winning a fourth straight home game in its new stadium. Columbus took command of the Eastern Conference by handing Toronto FC it first loss of the season, 2-1.
 
MLS Results, Week 7:
April 14
Philadelphia 0 New York City 2. Highlights
Vancouver 2 Seattle 1.  Highlights
San Jose 1 FC Dallas 1. Highlights
April 15
Montreal 2 Atlanta 1. Highlights
Orlando City 2 LA Galaxy 1. Highlights
Chicago 3 New England 0. Highlights
NY Red Bulls 2 D.C. United 0. Highlights
Columbus 2 Toronto FC 1. Highlights
Houston 2 Minnesota 2. Highlights
Colorado 1 Real Salt Lake 2. Highlights
Portland 0 Sporting KC 1. Highlights
 
Only league results are factored into the Power Rankings, which include team records in parentheses and rank last week.
 
1. FC DALLAS (3-0-2), 1. Stung in the final seconds at San Jose, still FCD is 2-0-1 on the road. A mazy run by Max Urruti set up the chance for Kellyn Acosta to convert, though the ball to him actually came off the foot of a sliding opponent. Atiba Harris reacted too slowly to a bouncing ball that led to the equalizer. Jesse Gonzalez made four saves and survived a couple of shaky moments.

2. SPORTING KC (3-0-3). 3. After a search of more than three seasons SKC may have suitably replaced two key members of its 2013 championship team: defender Aurelein Collin and goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen. Respectively, Ike Opara and Tim Melia have been solid all season and both were instrumental in SKC beating the Timbers with a Dom Dwyer goal set up by a great first-time cross by Jimmy Medranda. Melia saved the win by tipping a Darlington Nagbe last onto the crossbar.

3. ORLANDO CITY (4-1-0), 4. Spectacular hits by Will Johnson and Cyle Larin punctuated several promising attacks. Nelson Rivas hit the woodwork three times, including twice on a free kick off both posts. Yet the goalkeeping of Joe Bendik played a huge role as well as OCSC set a league milestone:  the first team to win its first four games in a new stadium, which is bedlam personified most of the time.

4. COLUMBUS (4-2-1), 8. Steadily, Crew SC is eradicating memories of last year’s dismal record and Federico Higuain, who had secondary assists on both goals, is confirming his credentials. Twenty-eight clearances, six blocked shots – including one by Justin Meram on the goal line -- and a great diving save by Zach Steffan helped secure a huge victory. Trailing 1-0 after 17 minutes Columbus replied quickly with goals by Ola Kamara and Meram to take a 2-1 halftime lead it held down the stretch.

5. PORTLAND (4-2-1), 2. An eight-game home unbeaten streak ended despite a few key saves by keeper Jake Gleeson as the league’s top-scoring team was blanked for the first time this season. The Timbers committed 22 fouls, including five by Diego Chara, but incurred no cautions.

6. HOUSTON (3-2-1), 5. In the proverbial game of two halves, the Dynamo squandered a 2-0 halftime lead after Mauro Manotas and Alberth Elis had scored after a throw-in and from a corner kick, respectively. Then the Dynamo conceded from a corner and couldn’t stop a counterattack. Erick “Cubo” Torres missed a great chance to win the game from close range in the final minutes. A fair effort but tying an expansion team at home after leading, 2-0, is under-achieving.

7. CHICAGO (3-1-2), 9. The Fire took advantage of an opponent down to 10 men and connected on 90 percent of its passes to win going away. Nemanja Nikolic scored twice after Bastian Schweinsteiger collected a nice pass from Luis Solignac and slipped through two opponents to net his second MLS goal. Since the German arrived the Fire is 2-0-1 and Nikolic has scored three goals.

8. NEW YORK CITY FC (3-2-1), 10. After riding out a few messy moments in the first half, NYCFC broke through Ronald Matarrita stole a ball and fed it to Jack Harrison for a tidy finish. In the final minute the soccer gods nodded and David Villa knocked a bouncing ball from 50 yards over the keeper and just under the crossbar.

9. ATLANTA UNITED (2-2-2), 9. The third of four straight road games produced a 2-1 defeat yet represented another measure of this team’s growth. Reduced to 10 men shortly after Kenwyne Jones’ goal provided a 1-0 lead, AUFC battled and didn’t succumb until the 93rd minute. The back line will need reshuffling with Leandro Gonzalez Pirez suspended for the last game of the road swing Saturday at Real Salt Lake.

10. TORONTO FC (1-1-4), 6. A blown 1-0 lead yielded the first loss of the season to a conference rival in better form and playing with more bite. Still, only one of Sebastian Giovinco’s shots reached the keeper, who turned it away with a spectacular save. Jozy Altidore headed home Victor Vazquez’s corner kick for this third goal in six games; he’s scored as many goals as the rest of the team.

11. SEATTLE (1-2-3), 7. Two long-distance shots by Clint Dempsey bounced off the frame and another forced a good save before Will Bruin drilled home a feed from Nicolas Lodeiro in the 90th minute. Seattle threatened again in stoppage time without reward and came up short, as did Dempsey; he’s failed to score in any of his four appearances against Vancouver.

12. NEW YORK RED BULLS (3-3-1), 15. The Red Bulls ran their home unbeaten streak to 17 games by efficiently dispatching D.C. with goals by Alex Muyl and Bradley Wright-Phillips. The shift to a 4-2-3-1 formation from a 4-2-2-2 alignment helped Sacha Kljestan and Felipe, who earned assists on the goals, better passing angles and options.

13. MONTREAL (1-2-3), 17. The return of Ignacio Piatti enabled the Impact to win its first game, but it needed nearly all of the second half playing against 10 men to get the winner through Anthony Jackson-Hamel. Piatti equalized shortly after Montreal fell behind.

14. NEW ENGLAND (2-3-1), 12. A second caution to Je-Vaughn Watson -- the third player deployed at left back in as many games -- left the Revs down a man in the 27th minute and when they lapsed at the end of the first half and again at the start of the second, the game was done. They turn around quickly to host the Quakes Wednesday to start a stretch of four home games in the next six.

15. D.C. UNITED (2-3-1), 13. A rough night at Red Bull Arena. Bill Hamid let one shot bounce off his hands into the net and another slip through his ankles. Defender Steve Birnbaum left the field in stoppage time on a stretcher after taking four of United’s 12 shots. It has been blanked in four of six games this season.

16. SAN JOSE (2-2-2), 14. The Late, Late Show played for the second straight week at Avaya Stadium, and again it was the Quakes rallying to equalize. Jahmir Hyka scored his first goal for the club during a final assault as they maintained a home unbeaten mark of 2-0-2. But they head out on the road, where they are 0-2, for three straight without a win in their last four games.

17. L.A. GALAXY (2-4-0), 16. Another goal for Romain Alessandrini and another loss for the Galaxy, which went behind in the ninth minute and battled to get even in the 83rd when Alessandrini scored his fourth MLS goal. Then Jermaine Jones let Cyle Larin get to a corner kick and smash it past keeper Clement Diop. The Galaxy outshot OCSC, 18-12, but also survived a couple shots off the woodwork and suffice to say have yet to stabilize their style of play.

18. REAL SALT LAKE (2-3-2), 19. RSL posted its second win in as many games under head coach Mike Petke by scoring two late goals – Yura Movsisyan, Brooks Lennon – to overturn an early 1-0 deficit. Lennon was one of five RSL academy products to start the game and he won it by veering inside from the left wing to lash a low shot into the net.

19. VANCOUVER (2-3-1), 21. “Remember me?” said Fredy Montero to Sounders fans by heading both goals in the first Cascadia Cup clash of 2017. Montero bagged his second and third goals as a Whitecap by heading in a Cristian Techera cross and nodding a Cristian Bolanos corner kick that had been redirected by Kendall Waston. A couple of saves by David Ousted -- along with woodwork – and a Waston goal-line clearance in the final seconds helped the “Caps win a second straight game not played in snow and slush with an orange ball.

20. MINNESOTA UNITED (1-4-2), 20. Speaking of orange, the Loons went to Houston and scored the last two goals of a game that looked lost at halftime. Christian Ramirez and Johan Venegas scored a dozen minutes apart early in the second half. How hard did they work to get the point? How about seven blocked shots?

21. COLORADO (1-3-1), 18. A 1-0 lead -- on a Kevin Doyle goal -- at home would have been a guaranteed win last year, but the Rapids allowed a late equalizer on a penalty kick when defender Jared Watts handled the ball and conceded again when Zac MacMath, positioned much too deep, couldn’t stop a low shot through traffic.

22. PHILADELPHIA (0-4-2), 22. A spirited first-half effort went up in smoke when NYCFC pounced on a Keegan Rosenberry turnover to take the lead and Villa’s rainbow shot from 50 yards rubbed in some salt.



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