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MLS Power Rankings Top teams hold their spots
by Ridge Mahoney, September 11th, 2017 5:54PM
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TAGS:  atlanta united, chicago fire, colorado rapids, columbus crew, fc dallas, houston dynamo, los angeles galaxy, mexico, minnesota united fc, mls, montreal impact, new england revolution, new york city fc, new york red bulls, orlando city, philadelphia union, portland timbers, referees, roster: carr names 24 to u.s. u-15 girls national team, russia, sacramento republic fc, sporting kansas city

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Toronto FC and Seattle continued their impressive runs and Atlanta United ran all over FC Dallas in its new home as teams got back to work after the FIFA international break.

TFC’s five-game winning streak is the second-longest in MLS this season. It won six a row from April 21 to May 13. The Sounders’ run of a dozen games unbeaten is the longest in 2017. FCD is trending in the other direction; its 3-0 loss in Mercedes Benz Stadium is the eight straight game without a victory.

Houston lost for the first time at home this season as the Rapids ended a nine-match winless streak, and Orlando City stopped its run at eight games by beating D.C. United.

MLS Results:
Sept. 6
New York City FC 1, Sporting KC 0. Highlights
Sept. 9
Chicago 1, New York Red Bulls 1. Highlights
Toronto FC 4, San Jose 0. Highlights
New York City FC 0, Portland 1. Highlights
Houston 0, Colorado 1. Highlights
D.C. United 1, Orlando City 2. Highlights
Minnesota United 1, Philadelphia 1. Highlights
New England 1, Montreal 0. Highlights
Vancouver 3, Real Salt Lake 2. Highlights
Sept. 10
Columbus 1, Sporting Kansas City 1. Highlights
Atlanta United 3, FC Dallas 0. Highlights
Seattle 1, LA Galaxy 1. Highlights
 
Only MLS results are factored into the Power Rankings, which include a team’s record in parentheses and rank last week.
 
1. TORONTO FC (17-3-8), 1. Two more goals for Jozy Altidore – he has 13 for the season – and a fifth straight victory moved TFC inexorably closer to the Supporters’ Shield. Jonathan Osorio has lost a starting spot but he scored his first goal since late May after replacing Sebastian Giovinco at halftime. Head coach Greg Vanney has the depth to rotate players down the stretch to keep the squad fit for the playoffs.

2. NEW YORK CITY FC (15-8-5), 2. A ball lost in midfield by Andrea Pirlo, who started back-to-back games for the first time since April, led to the Timbers’ goal and spoiled a week that began with a win thanks to Jack Harrison’s late winner. Two strong games by keeper Sean Johnson offer encouragement that NYCFC can hold onto second place and do well in the playoffs, assuming David Villa recovers fully from a strained hamstring that sidelined him for both matches.

3. SEATTLE (11-7-10), 3. A goal off the bench by Lamar Neagle -- two minutes after his entry -- from a superb serve by Roman Torres extended the Sounders’ unbeaten streak to 12 games, though this was a third straight 1-1 tie. Jordan Morris managed no shots in his sixth straight start before leaving with a strained hamstring; his replacement in the 61st minute, Will Bruin, took four shots and put one on target.

4. NY RED BULLS (12-10-5), 4. NYRB struck early – Bradley Wright-Phillips scored his 17th goal of the season and the 84th of his MLS career – yet it ended up tied for the third straight game. Sacha Kljestan’s 14th assist (on his 32nd birthday) moved him to within one of the league lead. This Sunday against the Union it plays the first of four games in 14 days.

5. SPORTING KC (10-6-11), 5. Midseason signing Cristian Lobato netted his first MLS goal -- in his fourth appearance -- and SKC salvaged just a point during a demanding week. SKC plays its next four games -- including the Sept. 20 Open Cup final against the Red Bulls -- at home, where it is 8-0-5 this season.

6. VANCOUVER (12-9-5), 7. A few midseason changes have taken effect and helped the ‘Caps post a 6-2-2 record in their last 10 games. Bernie Ibini logged two assists and Yordy Reyna, who missed the first half of the season with injuries, scored the winning goal. Midfielder Aly Ghazal went the distance in his MLS debut.

7. PORTLAND (12-9-8), 8. A goal in his seventh straight game upped Diego Valeri’s total for the season to 17 and the Timbers posted just their second shutout on the road, where they are 2-1-2 in the last five games, prior to which they were 2-6-2 away.

8. ATLANTA UNITED (11-8-6), 10. Not many teams can score twice on tap-ins by defenders and also hit the woodwork twice in the same game, yet that is how AUFC ended its four-game winless streak in the MLS unveiling of Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Depth will be tested this week with games Wednesday and Saturday, but with seven of the last nine games at MBS there won’t be any shortage of adrenaline to push through fatigue.

9. MONTREAL (10-11-6), 6. A third straight loss and stone-cold attack – one goal in those three games – have reversed the momentum of a four-game winning streak.

10. HOUSTON (10-9-8), 9. The home unbeaten record fell to the lowly Rapids as the Dynamo failed to capitalize on 64.7 percent of possession. DaMarcus Beasley got caught napping at the back post on the Colorado goal. Swiss centerback Philippe Senderos played 72 minutes in his MLS debut.

11. REAL SALT LAKE (10-14-5), 11. Goals by defenders Chris Wingert and Tony Beltran weren’t enough to avert just a second loss in the last 10 games. With only five matches remaining, RSL probably needs to sweep its next two at home against Portland and Seattle to stay in the playoff hunt, but this good run under Mike Petke has built a solid foundation for 2018.

12. COLUMBUS (13-12-4), 13. A 15th goal of the season for Ola Kamara partially atoned for a terribly whiffed clearance attempt by Jonathan Mensah that presented SKC with its goal. August signing Pedro Santos earned his second assist in four appearances. Its home winning streak ended at four games but Crew SC, 3-0-2 in its last five games overall, is hanging tough in the playoff chase.

13. SAN JOSE (10-12-6), 12. Another crushing road loss dropped the away mark to 3-11-1 and the overall goal difference to minus-17, third-worst in the league. The Quakes were outshot, 21-6, and a red card to midfielder Darwin Ceren rules him out of a crucial home game with Houston this weekend.

14. FC DALLAS (9-8-10), 14. FCD drew the short straw in opening Atlanta’s new home and was a bit lucky to stay in the game as long as it did. The winless skid is eight games – during which is has conceded 19 goals -- heading into a crucial home game with Seattle on Saturday.

15. MINNESOTA UNITED (7-14-5), 16. The revival of Ethan Finlay took another step forward when he scored his second goal in three appearances for the Loons (he also has two assists). After Francisco Calvo danced through the defense to take a shot that was saved, he collected the rebound and fed it to Finlay. Winger Sam Nicholson took six shots (two on goal) and nine corners in 75 minutes of play.

16. D.C. UNITED (8-16-4), 15. A three-game winning streak slammed to a halt when United fell behind early and didn’t score until Kofi Opare found an opening in the 89th  minute. The two August signings from German clubs are establishing their places: Zoltan Stieber (Hoffenheim) set up two scoring chances and put one of his two shots on goal, and Russell Canouse (Kaiserslautern) got in five tackles and made three interceptions.

17. CHICAGO (13-9-6), 17. With a sweet pass, Michael de Leeuw served up the chance by which Nemanja Nikolic scored to end a nine-game scoring drought. In addition to the assist, De Leeuw set up three other opportunities and ably ran the midfield in the absence of injured Bastian Schweinsteiger.

18. NEW ENGLAND (10-12-5), 19. With their back four finally stabilized, a fourth straight shutout victory at home keeps the Revs’ faint playoff hopes alive. Lee Nguyen scored his ninth goal of the season midway through the second half. To have any chance they must sweep at home and get points from their four remaining games on the road, where they are winless this season.

19. PHILADELPHIA (8-12-8), 18. An excellent right-wing cross by Faba Picault was punched home by C.J. Sapong in the fifth minute but Philly couldn’t hold the lead and is winless in its last five games. Charlie Davies played the final minutes in his first appearance since late July.

20. LA GALAXY (7-14-6), 20. An eventful return to CenturyLink Field for Sigi Schmid required him to replace an injured goalkeeper and garner a second goal in as many games from Gyasi Zardes. In relief of Jon Kempin, Brian Perk recorded three saves and Jermaine Jones was a juggernaut in midfield. The waters just ahead are just as deep; home against TFC, at Atlanta and SKC.

21. ORLANDO CITY (9-12-7), 21. The Lions finished with nine men and still held on to parlay goals from Gilles Barnes and Cyle Larin into just their second victory since May 31, which was also against D.C. Kaka came off the bench to replace Yoshimar Yotun, who passed erratically but did set up two scoring opportunities.

22. COLORADO (7-16-4), 22. A great chip to the back post by sub Stefan Aigner in the second minute of stoppage time was stabbed into the net by Dominique Badji to reward a courageous effort that halted a nine-game winless streak and gave interim head coach Steve Cooke his first league win.


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