Timbers move up, Quakes and Revs drop

[MLS POWER RANKINGS] Week 5 was a relatively volatile one in MLS, with boisterous fans packing Jeld-Wen Field to see expansion Portland hit seven goals in two victories, and D.C. and L.A. posting good wins on the road. With games slowly adding up, recent results begin to count as much as overall record in the rankings computation.

1. REAL SALT LAKE (4-0-0). An offside goal in stoppage time isn’t a glorious way to win, yet by beating Rocky Mountain Cup rival Colorado, 1-0, RSL preserved its perfect start to the season. Fabian Espindola had an earlier “goal” disallowed for offside but the officials failed to catch him a yard past the last defender when Paulo Araujo Jr. knocked the ball in his direction. Last week: 1.

2. LOS ANGELES (3-1-3). After a 0-0 tie in Toronto midweek, the Galaxy went to Chicago and stuffed the Fire, 2-1, without Landon Donovan (injured), and David Beckham, Juninho, and Jovan Kirovski (suspended). Chad Barrett scored against his first MLS team and some strong defensive play, especially by goalscorer Omar Gonzalez, blunted Chicago’s attack until a late goal and last-minute flurry. Last week: 4.

3. PHILADELPHIA (3-1-1). The Union’s failure to score a second goal in any of its games this season took its toll when Seattle struck in the 91st minute to earn a 1-1 tie at PPL Park. In the first half, Carlos Ruiz drilled a free kick that deflected off an opponent into the net; the few squandered chances that ensued turned out to be costly. Sebastien Le Toux continues to plug away without much reward. Last week: 2.

4. NEW YORK (2-1-2). Prior to a rematch with 2010 playoff foe San Jose, forward Luke Rodgers proclaimed that, sooner or later, NYRB was going to pummel an opponent, and so it came to pass. He scored twice and set up a goal for Thierry Henry -- who returned the favor -- in a 3-0 thrashing. The defense, given a 2-0 lead in the first 12 minutes, clamped down effectively. It’s just one win but an impressive one nonetheless. Last week: 7.

5. COLORADO (3-2-0). The Rapids held out at Rio Tinto Stadium until stoppage time, when an offside goal cruelly handed them a defeat. In the absence of Conor Casey, Caleb Folan labored, and a midfield lacking Pablo Mastroeni did a decent job blunting the RSL buildup and made the plays that were needed until the very end. Last week: 3.

6. SEATTLE (1-2-3). This time, head coach Sigi Schmid used Fredy Montero, Alvaro Fernandez and Nate Jaqua off the bench in his attacker rotation, and a chip by Montero produced the Fernandez header by which the Sounders scored a late equalizer to tie, 1-1. They conceded the goal from a free kick near the edge of the penalty area, one of several times they committed fouls in vulnerable areas. Last week: 6.

7. PORTLAND (2-2-1). The Timbers not only won their first two MLS home games, they scored seven goals and their buzz-sawed fans pumped up the volume to deafening decibels. The ‘D’ obviously needs work, otherwise 20-year-old keeper Jake Gleeson will flip out, but in attack, Portland is potent, and yet to be fully incorporated are Darlington Nagbe and recent signing Diego Chara. Last week: 17.

8.  COLUMBUS (2-1-2). The Crew set a club record with its fourth straight shutout and Robbie Rogers scored a nice goal from a Dilly Duka flick to ease past Sporting Kansas City, 1-0. SKC helped out by going down to 10 men for final 20 minutes yet a shutout streak of 373 minutes ain’t bad. But four goals in five games ain’t great, either. Last week: 13.

9. D.C. UNITED (2-2-1). Toronto FC is easy pickings in the back, true, but a pulverizing 3-0 win at BMO Field can’t be discounted. Chris Pontius rippled the net twice to remind everyone just how much D.C. missed him for most of last year, and to the Charlie Davies fairy tale was added another chapter with a second goal from the run of play to go with three penalty kicks. Last week: 16.

10.  HOUSTON (2-1-2). Ugly gamewinners will do just fine; the Dynamo beat the Revs, 1-0, with a last-second goal that bounced into the net off the hand of defender Hunter Freeman, who scored with his hand –accidentally, it seems – and wasn’t punished. The defense – four goals conceded in five games – looks tighter than the sieve-like unit that gave up 49 in 2010. Last week: 12.

11.  SAN JOSE (1-2-2). Perhaps the Quakes are just a bad, bad-weather team. Last month they lost their home opener to RSL, 1-0, in a driving rainstorm, and at Red Bull Arena Saturday were inundated by the elements and their own mistakes in a 3-0 defeat. Outshot, 16-7, they could have lost by more. That lone win in Dallas during Week 2 is fading rapidly. Last week: 5.

12.  NEW ENGLAND (1-2-3). Consecutive road losses to RSL and Houston has marred a decent start, and on Saturday the Revs were overrun for most of the game. Only desperate clearances and saves kept the Dynamo off the board until the bizarre Freeman goal that should have been prevented by keeper Matt Reis. Maybe the attack can be Revved back up at home against SKC Saturday. Last week: 8.

13.  VANCOUVER (1-2-3). A 0-0 tie at home against struggling Chivas USA isn’t cause for wild celebrations, but after conceding 10 goals in five games, the ‘Caps did post their first shutout despite some breakdowns that could have been costly. Designated Player Eric Hassli got through the game un-carded, an accomplishment of note; he has the same total of red cards as goals (two). Last week: 15.

14.  SPORTING KC (1-2-1). The long slog of 10 road games to open the season slowed to a crawl with a 1-0 defeat in Columbus. SKC missed an early opportunity to take the lead when a turnover provided Kei Kamara a chance he couldn’t put away, and a second caution to defender Julio Cesar in the 72nd minute effectively sealed the result. Last week: 11.

15.  FC DALLAS (1-2-1). What’s amiss in Big D is that there isn’t much of it. Poor tacking and worse marking plagued FCD as it fell behind a rampant Portland, 3-0. An unlucky ricochet off the post and keeper Kevin Hartman turned out to be the winning goal after a late flurry produced goals by David Ferreira and Brek Shea, and a stoppage-time shot off the post. Last week: 9.

16.  CHICAGO (1-3-1). The Fire was bad, bad, bad at home against the Galaxy – well short of full strength -- for the first 60 or 70 minutes and needed a spectacular overhead clearance by Gonzalo Segares to stay within two goals. Substitute Dominic Oduro’s first goal for the team in the final minutes accentuated the ineptitude that had preceded his arrival. Last week: 10.

17.  TORONTO FC (1-3-2). Questions about the 4-3-3 formation installed by head coach Aron Winter don’t address the basic problem; poor play at critical moments. In the first 10 minutes of a 3-0 home loss to D.C., Chris Pontius easily evaded right back Jacob Peterson to score D.C.’s first goal, and a terrible giveaway by left back Danleigh Borman led to United’s second. Ty Harden’s red card early in the second half brought down the curtain. All in all, a dismal performance. Last week: 17.

18.  CHIVAS USA (0-3-2). The attack perked up enough to generate 18 shots in a 0-0 tie at Vancouver, but has netted only three goals in five games. Two shots off the frame and a goal line block by Simon Elliott kept the ‘Caps off the board, and keeper Dan Kennedy did his part with a last-minute save. Still, this is the only winless team in MLS. Last week: 18.

1 comment about "Timbers move up, Quakes and Revs drop".
  1. Michael Hopcroft, April 19, 2011 at 2:53 p.m.

    I'm in Portland and went to the home opener. It was an amazing experience, but that being said I think Portland is a few places too high. That's because they still make astonishing mental lapses on defense that end up in the back of the net. The team won't reach anything approaching its potential as long as that continues to happen. They aren't as bad as the team that got blown out by Colorado, but they aren't world-beaters yet.

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