MLS Power Rankings: Road warriors add points

Squeezed between the All-Star Game, numerous friendlies, and the start of Concacaf play for several teams, a weekend of away victories jumbled the power rankings.

Five teams won away from home as 18 of the 19 league teams got back into action following a 3-2 win by the MLS All-Stars over Chelsea on Wednesday. (D.C. United was busy playing a friendly.) The Union rode of the momentum of that game, played in its PPL Park, to rally past New England, 2-1, and tie the Revs in the standings. It was one of just three home teams to win in Week 21.

Houston continued its resurgence by winning, 2-0, in Toronto, and perhaps most impressively, Columbus took three points away from Livestrong Sporting Park. The Sounders, Galaxy, and Chivas USA also came home with three points to spice up the Western Conference playoff chase.

Concacaf Champions League play gets underway this week for Real Salt Lake, Toronto FC, and Seattle. The Galaxy, which plays some Spanish team Thursday, and Houston will open their CCL schedules next month.

1. SAN JOSE (13-5-5). Steven Lenhart Wig Night proved to be a smashing success, though the Quakes once again needed a cardiac conclusion just to get a point at home. Lenhart -- out four games with post-concussion issues -- came off the bench to score an equalizer deep in stoppage time, then donned an obscenely large blond mane to celebrate the 1-1 tie with Chicago that kept the Quakes atop the power rankings. They’ve not lost at Buck Shaw Stadium in nearly a year (their home defeat this season was played at AT&T Park, and they also beat the Galaxy at Stanford Stadium). This weekend they play a friendly against Swansea City, which may give an opportunity for Mehdi Ballouchy, a former Santa Clara Bronco acquired in a trade with the Red Bulls Monday. Last week: 1.

2. REAL SALT LAKE (13-7-3). Two goals by Alvaro Saborio gave him three in the last two games and his team a 2-1 defeat of Vancouver that kept RSL within two points of Western leader San Jose. The crunch of Concacaf Champions League play starts Tuesday with a road trip to Costa Rica to play Herediano, then it’s on to Colorado for a rematch with the Rapids, which RSL beat, 2-0, a week and a half ago. Last week: 3.

3. HOUSTON (10-5-7). The Dynamo’s defensive stinginess continued with a 2-0 victory in Toronto courtesy of goals by Calen Carr and Brian Ching. It is 5-0-2 over the past seven games during which it has conceded just two goals. Brad Davis earned assists on both goals; he has assisted in the last four games, all of which Houston has won, and is tied for the league lead with 10. The club has confirmed it is negotiating to bring back midfielder Ricardo Clark, who was released by Eintracht Frankfurt last month. Last week: 4.

4. NEW YORK (11-6-5). The Red Bulls’ steady run atop the Eastern Conference hit a pothole in Montreal, which posted a 3-1 victory. Thierry Henry scored his 11th goal of the season as New York lost to the expansion team for the first time in three meetings and conceded three goals in a league game for the third time this season. It holds a slim one-point lead over second-place Houston, where it plays Friday night following a Tuesday exhibition with Tottenham. Australian DP Tim Cahill met the press Monday and is training with the team as he awaits completion of his paperwork. Last week: 2.

5. D.C. UNITED (10-7-3). A 1-1 tie with Paris St. Germain set up United for a vital league game Saturday against Columbus, to which it lost, 1-0, in its last outing. The gap between the teams, which bracket fifth-place Chicago, is five points. Last week: 6.

6. LOS ANGELES (10-10-3). Finally! The Galaxy got to the .500 level by beating FC Dallas, 1-0, without both Landon Donovan (suspended) and David Beckham (at the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony). Mike Magee’s goal in the 62nd minute extended the Galaxy’s unbeaten run to five games (four of them victories). Keane’s assist on Magee’s goal gave him a mark of five goals and four assists during the Galaxy’s six games in July, and defender Omar Gonzalez played the full 90 minutes for the first time since MLS Cup last November. Real Madrid is at Home Depot Center Tuesday. Last week: 7.

7. SPORTING KANSAS CITY (11-7-4). Kei Kamara’s header from a Graham Zusi free kick ended SKC’s home goalless streak at 333 minutes but couldn’t prevent a 2-1 loss to Columbus that extended its home winless streak to four games. Kamara also nailed a header off the crossbar and nearly tied the match in the final seconds with a shot that slid just wide. SKC, which has won just four of 15 matches after starting the season 7-0-0, hosts Stoke City in a friendly Wednesday before traveling to New England for a Saturday game. Last week: 5.

8. CHICAGO (9-7-5). A Chris Rolfe goal and 10 saves by Sean Johnson had seemingly earned a win at San Jose, but an equalizer late in stoppage time left the Fire with a 1-1 tie. Rolfe toe-poked a pass from Patrick Nyarko into the net from distance but the Fire failed to preserve its perfect record (6-0-0) when scoring the first goal. Dutch forward Sherjill MacDonald, signed as a DP during the week, debuted in the 64th minute. Trade acquisition Alvaro Fernandez will meet up with the team this week. Last week: 8.

9. SEATTLE (9-5-7). Eddie Johnson scored in the first minute and assisted on Osvaldo Alonso’s winner midway through the second half in a 2-1 defeat of Colorado. The Sounders are unbeaten in their last five games and have moved into a third-place tie with Vancouver, which has played two more matches. Keeper Michael Gspurning returned to the lineup after missing 13 games with a hip injury he suffered playing against the Galaxy, which comes to CenturyLink Field Sunday. Last week: 10.

10. COLUMBUS (8-7-4). Jairo Arrieta, who recorded his first MLS assist a week ago, marked his first start in MLS as its Player of the Week by scoring both goals as the Crew rallied for a 2-1 win at Kansas City. Arrieta intercepted a wayward pass by Graham Zusi to belt the winning goal from nearly 30 yards out. The Crew is awaiting the completion of paperwork for Argentine Federico Higuain, 27, who was signed to a DP deal last week. Last week: 11.

11. VANCOUVER (9-7-7). Rookie Darren Mattocks scored his team-high seventh goal of the season in a 2-1 loss to Real Salt Lake that the ‘Caps finished with 10 men. Keeper Joe Cannon was sent off for handling outside the penalty area in the 76th minute and will miss the next league game Aug. 11, a home rematch with RSL. Kenny Miller came on as a sub in the 82nd minute and he just missed with a header a few minutes later. Last week: 9.

12. CHIVAS USA (7-8-5). The lowest-scoring team in the league (14 goals) still managed to get the goal it needed to beat Portland, 1-0, for the second time in 10 days and third time this season. Defender Danny Califf scored his first goal for Chivas USA after arriving in a trade from Philadelphia by getting his head to Ben Zemanski’s free kick midway through the second half. Chivas USA is seven points out of a playoff spot but has three games in hand over most of its conference rivals, so there’s a smidge of hope. Last week: 13.

13. PHILADELPHIA (7-10-2). Goals by Freddy Adu and Jack McInerney brought the Union back from a 1-0 deficit to beat New England, 2-1, for its fourth win in the last five games. McInerney drew the penalty kick, mistaken though it was, that Adu converted, and sealed Philly’s first comeback win of the season by getting on the end of Sheanon Williams’ cross to the back post. Next up is a big road game at Montreal, which sits in sixth place, four points ahead of the Union. Last week: 14.

14. NEW ENGLAND (6-10-5). Saer Sene’s team-high ninth goal of the season gave the Revs an early 1-0 lead at Philadelphia but a controversial penalty kick awarded for a Kevin Alston foul a foot or so outside the penalty area provided the Union an equalizer. Keeper Matt Reis had a bead on the PK but the ball slipped between his gloves. Philly then snatched a 2-1 win in the final minutes that lowered the Revs’ road mark to 1-8-2. They have scored only two goals and taken one point from their last four games, and are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Honduran Jerry Bengston, who has scored three goals at the Olympics including the winner in the upset of Spain. Last week: 12.

15. FC DALLAS (5-10-7). Brek Shea was again absent as FCD lost to the Galaxy, 1-0. He’s been given time off to regain his focus or find his center or something. Scott Sealy and Andrew Jacobson combined to take nine of FCD’s 12 shots against the Galaxy, which drew an FC Dallas Stadium record crowd of 22,565. Julian de Guzman, a trade acquisition from Toronto FC, made his third appearance for the club as a 78th-minute sub for Daniel Hernandez. Last week: 15.

16. MONTREAL (8-13-3). The Impact took revenge for a pair of losses to New York by thumping the Red Bulls, 3-1. Marco Di Vaio, in his eighth MLS match, got his first goal early in the second half and Davy Arnaud scored two minutes later. Sanna Nyassi’s fourth goal of the season in the 75th minute sealed the outcome as Montreal improved its home record to 7-3-2. Last week: 18.

17. TORONTO FC (5-12-4). TFC’s revival under coach Paul Mariner took another hit in a 2-0 home loss to Houston. It is 4-3-4 under Mariner, who replaced Aron Winter June 7 and has revamped the team by trading away Julian de Guzman and acquiring Eric Hassli, who joined the team Friday but didn’t play against Houston. The club has parted ways with Miguel Aceval, one of three players arrested outside a Houston nightclub during a road trip last month. TFC opens Concacaf play Wednesday at home against Aguila of El Salvador. Last week: 16.

18. COLORADO (7-14-1). Despite a goal in the third minute by Drew Moor, the Rapids fell to their sixth straight defeat, 2-1, at home to Seattle. Brian Mullan set up Moor’s goal with his sixth assist of the season, which ties him with Martin Rivero for the team lead. In those six defeats – which ties a club record -- they have been outscored, 11-3, and the barren streak has dropped them 11 points out of a playoff spot. They host RSL in a Rocky Mountain Cup game on Saturday. Last week: 17.

19. PORTLAND (5-12-4). The Timbers lost their fifth consecutive game, going down, 1-0, to Chivas USA at Jeld-Wen Field, and are tied with TFC for the fewest points (19 in 21 matches). Kris Boyd took six of Portland’s 19 shots and one of them, a left-footed blast from distance, forced a good save. They have been shut out in four of their last five league games. Last week: 19.

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