MLS Power Rankings: RSL: takes over top spot

The top three places are still held by Western teams, but Eastern Conference foes New York and Chicago have moved into the top five as the season nears the one-third mark of the season.

1. REAL SALT LAKE (8-2-3). Fabian Espindola missed a midweek 0-0 tie with Chicago to attend the birth of this son, then celebrated the occasion by scoring in the 51st minute at Seattle in a 1-0 victory. Luis Gil clipped a ball over the back line that Espindola volleyed into the net Kyle Reynish blanked Chicago in relief of Nick Rimando, who sat out with a sore shoulder, then returned to shut out the Sounders. Last week: 3.

2. SAN JOSE (7-2-2). The Quakes trailed for nearly the entire game before substitute Alan Gordon headed home a cross from Sam Garza, another sub, in the 88th minute to salvage a 1-1 home tie with Chivas USA. Their plus-10 goal difference leads the league. Last week: 1.

3. SEATTLE (7-2-1). The Sounders started the week by blanking FC Dallas, 2-0, for their fifth straight win as Fredy Montero scored twice within three minutes, backup keeper Bryan Meredith got the shutout, and rookie Andy Rose filled in capably for Oswaldo Alonso. The streak ended at home Saturday against RSL in a 1-0 decision that also concluded a brutal stretch of five games in 15 days during which Coach Sigi Schmid utilized 17 starters. Last week: 2.

4. NEW YORK (7-3-1). The Red Bulls scooped up six points from their two games to take over first place in the Eastern Conference. They switched off the Dynamo at home Wednesday, 1-0, with a Kenny Cooper goal, then traveled south to knock off Philly, 3-2, at PPL Park with a Cooper winner after Joel Lindpere and Markus Holgersson had scored. Cooper has nine goals, one more than he managed for Portland in 2011. Ryan Meara’s shutout streak ended at three but he preserved the victory with a desperation save in stoppage time.  Last week: 7.

5. CHICAGO (4-2-3). After Sean Johnson got his first shutout of the season in a 0-0 tie with RSL on Wednesday, the Fire rallied to beat Sporting Kansas City, 2-1, with second-half goals 20 minutes apart from Sebastian Grazzini and Marco Pappa. Grazzini tied the match with a penalty kick and Pappa’s team-high fourth goal of the season won it.  The Fire has accumulated 10 points in its last five games. Last week: 8.

6. SPORTING KC (7-3-0). A third straight loss, 2-1 in Chicago, dropped SKC to its third straight defeat and off the top of the Eastern Conference. Aurelien Collin gave away a penalty kick for the second time in as many matches to provide the equalizer, and a minute later Roger Espinoza received a straight red card for a foul. Espinoza’s ejection marks the third straight time SKC has finished a match against the Fire shorthanded. Bobby Convey’s first SKC goal had given it the lead and broken a 273-minute goalless streak. Last week: 4.

7. VANCOUVER (5-3-2). The ‘Caps took an early 1-0 lead at New England on a goal by Eric Hassli but couldn’t stand the pace and were beaten, 4-1, to end a three-game winning streak. A nice passing sequence from Davide Chiumiento to Sebastien Le Toux set up Eric Hassli for the goal in the fifth minute, but the Revs equalized within a minute and controlled the match from that point. Vancouver double-dips at home this week with the first leg of the All-Canadian Championship Wednesday against Toronto FC and border rival Seattle Saturday. Last week: 5.

8. HOUSTON (3-3-2).  With a Brad Davis golazo from distance the Dynamo opened BBVA Compass Stadium victorious Saturday after it had lost, 1-0, in New York to conclude its seven-match road run. A crowd of 22,304 clad in orange had to wait until midway through the second half for the goal that downed D.C. United, 1-0.  Coach Dominic Kinnear and his players need to re-focus quickly for a game with Portland Tuesday and a trip to New England this weekend. Last week: 9.

9. D.C. UNITED (5-4-3). Keeper Bill Hamid posted a career high of eight saves in a 1-0 loss to the Dynamo that dropped D.C.’s road record to 2-3-1 and extended their winless streak in Houston to six games. Hamid stymied Brian Ching, Adam Moffat and Will Bruin but couldn’t repel Davis’ blast from 35 yards. Perry Kitchen hobbled off with an ankle injury in the 29th minute and was replaced by Stephen King. Last week: 6.

10. COLORADO (5-5-0). Winners of two of their last three, the Rapids come off a bye week to host Sporting Kansas City on Saturday. Last week: 10.

11. MONTREAL (3-5-3). A Canadian pro soccer record crowd of 60,860 at Olympic Stadium watched the Impact score in the second minute through Davy Arnaud and battle the Galaxy to a 1-1 tie. The central defensive pairing of Matteo Ferrari and Nelson Rivas is looking very solid, and a sweet ball over the top from Rivas set up Arnaud to race clear and score. Beckham’s equalizer ended an Impact shutout streak of 259 minutes. Last week: 11.

12. COLUMBUS (3-4-2). The Crew rallied with two goals in five minutes to beat FC Dallas, 2-1, and end a five-game winless streak. Justin Meram crashed home a shot from 35 yards after a steal by Eric Gehrig to tie the score, and Sebastian Miranda connected with a  long-distance header from Nemanja Vukovic’s corner kick. Last week:  13.

13. NEW ENGLAND (4-6-0). Lee Nguyen scored the first two goals of his MLS career to earn Player of the Week honors as the Revs rallied to vanquish Vancouver, 4-1. Nguyen, waived by Vancouver in March, scored the first and final goals and also earned an assist. Saer Sene and Shalrie Joseph also scored as the Revs improved their home mark to 3-1-0; last year, they were 4-7-6 at Gillette Stadium. Last week: 15.

14. LOS ANGELES (3-5-2). David Beckham’s excellent goal earned the Galaxy a 1-1 tie in Montreal, but the attack still sputters. Maybe Beckham (Olympics), Landon Donovan (friendlies, World Cup qualifiers) and Robbie Keane (European Championships) are suffering from cases of Distracted Players? After a Tuesday visit to the White House, the Galaxy plays a tough stretch of three games in eight days against Chivas USA, San Jose, and Houston. Last week: 14.

15. FC DALLAS (3-6-3). Brek Shea, bothered by a case of turf toe, watched from the bench as FCD moved the ball well but failed to score in Seattle Wednesday. His entry in the 70th minute didn’t much change the match, yet when he started Saturday in Columbus his pass set up Fabian Castillo’s goal that provided a 1-0 lead and ended a goalless run of 273 minutes. A red card to Zach Loyd weakened FCD sufficiently that the Crew scored twice to win, 2-1. FCD has lost three in a row, and in two of those games it has finished with fewer than 11 players. Last week: 12.

16. PORTLAND (2-5-2). The Timbers sat out the weekend but jump right into the Orange Inferno Tuesday when they play at Houston. They also host the Fire Sunday. Last week: 16.

17. CHIVAS USA (3-6-1). Teenage forward Jose Correa’s impressive first start included a fourth-minute goal against the Quakes that held up until the 88th minute of a 1-1 tie. Chivas USA conceded a goal in the last 10 minutes for the third straight game yet snapped a three-game losing streak and has the best road record in the league at 3-1-1. Last week: 17.

18. PHILADELPHIA (2-6-1). A second caution for Freddy Adu late in the first half left the Union down to 10 men for the second half, during which it squandered a lead and lost to New York, 3-2. Lionard Pajoy scored both Philly goals, one from an Adu cross before he was dismissed. Rumors that defender Danny Califf is on the trading block won’t settle the troubled waters roiling the Commodore BarryBridge. Last week: 18.

19. TORONTO FC (0-8-0). A 2-0 defeat of Montreal in the Canadian Championship triggered hopes the team can carry that success into its league performances. Haven’t we heard that song before? TFC plays the first leg of the CC finals against Vancouver Wednesday before heading to RFK for a league match Saturday. Last week: 19.

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