By Ridge Mahoney
The intensifying playoff races in both conferences are reflected in this week's Power Rankings.
There’s a mad scramble of teams
chasing leader Real Salt Lake, which sat out a weekend during which more than three dozen players missed league matches to represent their national teams. Galaxy coach Bruce Arena
predictably, complained about losing national team players for important league matches after Colorado cooled off the Galaxy, 1-0, at StubHub Center.
Every one of the other teams in the
top nine won to keep up the pressure, and by winning its seventh game in the last eight, the Sounders slipped into second place. No team can match its recent form of three straight wins and 22 points
in the past 10 games. They host No. 1 RSL Friday night. Week 28 Soccer America MLS Power RankingsRANK TEAM (W-L-T) LAST WEEK 1. REAL SALT LAKE (14-8-6) 1.
A showdown in Seattle looms for RSL after it sat out the international break; Alvaro Saborio
left the Costa Rican team after
its 3-1 defeat of the USA, but Kyle Beckerman
played the full 90 against Mexico Tuesday. Fun fact: RSL leads the league in shots on goal (149). 2. SEATTLE
Teams on a roll get the bounces, and so it was when a Zach Scott
cross caromed into the net off Fire defender Gonzalo Segares
in the 89th minute
to cap a 2-1 comeback victory. Lamar Neagle
had tied the game, four days after netting the only goal of a 1-0 win over Chivas USA. 3. COLORADO (11-8-9)
4. Edson Buddle
got some payback on a former team by drilling a superb shot into the top corner to down the Galaxy. Rapids are 6-1-4 in the past 11 games.
4. LOS ANGELES (13-10-4) 2.
Missing Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane, Omar Gonzalez
and Jaime Penedo
, the Galaxy still came within a Marcelo
shot off the underside of the crossbar of getting a point. 5. MONTREAL (13-7-6) 3.
Playing a man up for most of the game, the Impact knocked off New
England, 4-2, with two Patrice Bernier
penalty kicks and a pair of goals by the league leader, Marco Di Vaio
(17). After a barren run of one victory in eight games,
Montreal has won three of the last four. 6. SPORTING KANSAS CITY (13-9-6) 6.
A tight defense limited the Crew to just one shot on goal in a 3-0 victory. Claudio
logged a goal and an assist to further burnish his DP status. 7. NEW YORK (13-9-6) 7.
New York won in Houston for the first time, dumping the Dynamo, 4-1,
with Thierry Henry
and Jonny Steele
each getting a goal and an assist. 8. PORTLAND (10-5-12) 8. Kalif Alhassan
a shot off the goalline in the opening minutes, then struck in first-half stoppage time to score the first goal in what became a 4-0 romp when Rodney Wallace, Will Johnson
scored late. 9. NEW ENGLAND (10-10-7) 9.
The Revs lost goalkeeper Matt Reis
to a red card in the fifth minute and conceded
two penalty kicks, yet still battled admirably in a 4-2 loss to Montreal. Diego Fagundez
netted his team-high 10th goal of the season and Kelyn Rowe
added to his
ledger of sweet goals with a clever chip. 10. PHILADELPHIA (10-9-9) 11.
A man advantage for more than half an hour wasn’t enough for the Union in a 1-0 loss at San
Jose. Keon Daniel
hit the post early in the second half as Philly’s winless streak increased to four games. 11. CHICAGO (10-11-5) 12. Mike
’s 15th goal of the season and a Sean Johnson
penalty-kick save staked the Fire to a 1-0 lead in Seattle, but after the Fire conceded an equalizer Gonzalo
steered a cross into his own net. 12. SAN JOSE (10-11-7) 14.
The Quakes are third-best in the league at home (9-1-4) after beating Philly, 1-0, on a
goal and typically heroic work by keeper Jon Busch
. They prevailed despite losing Rafael Baca to a red card in the 58th minute. 13.
HOUSTON (10-10-7) 10.
A strong finisher the past two seasons, the Dynamo’s start to September isn’t one to remember. A 2-0 loss in Columbus and 4-1 home thrashing by New York
gives it four losses in the past six games. 14. FC DALLAS (10-7-10) 15.
FCD restored its reputation for the spectacular as it knocked off the Whitecaps, 3-1.
volleyed home a Fabian Castillo
cross in the 87th minute for the winner, and Jair Benitez
drove a shot home from the center circle two
minutes later to ice the victory. 15. VANCOUVER (10-10-7) 13.
The ‘Caps fizzled in a playoff-like setting, conceding an equalizer to FC Dallas after Daigo
scored an early goal and then succumbing twice more in the final minutes of a 3-1 defeat. They are 1-5-2 in the past eight games. 16. CHIVAS USA (6-15-7)
Seven goals in nine games since joining the team is the remarkable record of Erick Torres
. He pounced on a fortunate bounce to score early in the second half, and D.C.
United was beaten, 1-0, with some rugged defending by Carlos Bocanegra
and stellar goalkeeping from Dan Kennedy
. 17. TORONTO FC (4-13-10)
TFC was much better than the 4-0 scoreline inflicted upon it in Portland. The score was 1-0 until the 83rd minute. 18. COLUMBUS (9-14-5) 18.
A 2-0 defeat of
Houston (goals by Ryan Finley
and Justin Meram
) temporarily slowed its slide, but a 3-0 thumping at Sporting Kansas City re-started the downward express.
19. D.C. UNITED (3-19-5) 19.
Sharp goalkeeping stoned Conor Doyle
twice as United failed to score on the road for the 10th time this season in a 1-0 loss to Chivas