Soccer America Power Rankings

[MLS: Week 9] MLS moved into a very busy month of May with high-scoring rallies and yet another game in which Landon Donovan failed to break the all-time goals record of 134 he shares with Jeff Cunningham. Leader Seattle and No. 2 Real Salt Lake both came back after conceding the first goal to win, and No. 3 Sporting Kansas City also came out on top.

The Rapids blanked Donovan and the rest of the Galaxy to post a 1-0 victory. Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal start play in the Canadian Championship week, and there will also be midweek sprinkled throughout the month.

MLS WEEK 9, Results:
May 4 (Report)
FC Dallas 0, New York 1
Sporting KC 2, Columbus 0
May 3 (Report)
Chivas USA 1, Houston 4
Toronto FC 1, New England 2
Seattle 2, Philadelphia 1
Vancouver 3, San Jose 2
Chicago 2, Real Salt Lake 3
Colorado 1, Los Angeles 0
Portland 3, D.C. United 2
1. SEATTLE (6-2-1), 1. Defender Chad Marshall marked a monster game by heading the winner in a 2-1 comeback defeat of Philadelphia. He blocked six shots, two of which otherwise would have gone into the net, and after Obafemi Martins scored in his third straight game to tie it at 1-1, Marshall connected with a Marco Pappa corner kick. Seattle won its fourth consecutive match even though Osvaldo Alonso couldn’t convert a penalty kick, a sure sign that things are clicking.

2. REAL SALT LAKE (4-0-5), 2. RSL atoned for giving away goals and points three times already this season by storming back from a 2-0 deficit to win, 3-2, at Chicago. Joao Plata started and finished the comeback by netting in the 71st minute and knocking home Alvaro Saborio’s cross in the 93rd minute. In between, Saborio took advantage of a defensive miscue to tuck away a serve from sub Olmes Garcia to tie the game. The comeback preserved an unbeaten start to the coaching career of Jeff Cassar and the MLS tenure of newcomer Luke Mulholland.

3. SPORTING KC (4-2-2), 3. Keeper Eric Kronberg started the 2014 season as perhaps the most closely watched SKC player, and the replacement for team legend Jimmy Nielsen upped his stock with crucial saves in a 2-0 defeat of Columbus. A superb deflection in the first half and three sure stops in quick succession after halftime enabled SKC to hold onto a lead provided by Jacob Peterson’s goal. It clinched victory deep into stoppage time when Claudio Bieler tapped a Graham Zusi chip into an empty net.

4. FC DALLAS (5-3-1), 4. Losing a player to an early red card and failing to convert a penalty kick are tough setbacks to overcome, and on hot afternoon FCD eventually wilted in a 1-0 home loss to New York. Je-Vaughn Watson departed in the 10th minute for a studs-up tackle and an hour later a long ball opened up the FCD back line for the Red Bulls to score. Blas Perez’s penalty kick was saved in a second straight defeat. Playmaker Mauro Diaz missed the game to rest a few knocks.

5. VANCOUVER (3-2-4), 6. Facing a rough stretch of games on two fronts, the Whitecaps stormed past the Quakes to lead, 3-0, after 20 minutes and eventually prevailed, 3-2. Pedro Morales provided another entry into his MVP ledger by scoring two goals, the second of which -- a supreme blast from nearly 30 yards -- is one of the best goals so far this season. Kekuta Manneh punctuated a rare start by shooting against the post and cleverly slotting home the rebound. The ‘Caps are in Toronto Wednesday to play a Canadian Championship game, and stop off in Columbus on the way home for a league game before facing TFC again next week at B.C. Place.

6. COLUMBUS (3-2-3), 5. The Crew is definitely on the upswing under new head coach Gregg Berhalter but it has hit a lull. A run of three straight 1-1 ties ended in a 2-0 loss to the defending champion, though it put four shots on frame and played a man down after midfielder Wil Trapp departed with a second caution in the 80th minute. Columbus hosts Houston Wednesday without Trapp, whose pass competition percentage of 87.35 percent is an astonishing figure for a 21-year-old.

7. COLORADO (4-2-2), 8. The Rapids bounced back to take down the Galaxy, 1-0, after being drilled in Seattle a week earlier. A neat chip by Vicente Sanchez glanced into the net off the post in the 20th minute and the Rapids got some luck -- a shot off the post and missed penalty kick -- to record their fourth shutout. These are three precious points, though a skilled team would rather not concede so much possession time (58-42 percent) while clinging to a 1-0 lead at home.

8. LOS ANGELES (2-2-2), 7. Is there a flaw in the diamond midfield formation? Is there a lack of cohesion up front between the two Robbies, Friend and Keane? Or is it just iffy finishing that produces losses like the 1-0 defeat in Colorado that ended a four-game unbeaten streak? Before he drove a penalty kick wide of the post, Keane mis-trapped a feed from Landon Donovan and chipped over the bar. Donovan slid a shot just wide and with another hit the post yet seems to be sharpening his game as the start of World Cup training camp approaches.

9. NEW ENGLAND (4-3-2), 11. After losing three of their first five games, the Revs have climbed above .500 with a four-game unbeaten streak. They rallied on the road to beat Toronto FC, 2-1, on strong performances by Lee Nguyen and rookie Patrick Mullins, who hammered a thunderous shot for the equalizer and earned the penalty kick when his shot was blocked by an opponent’s arm. Defender A.J. Soares and several other players are getting back to their form of 2013.

10. D.C. UNITED (3-3-2), 10. United rallied twice from one-goal deficits before losing, 3-2, at Portland in stoppage time, but needed some good fortune to get those goals. A long Davy Arnaud shot took a deflection for the first one and an own goal yielded the second. Yet it battled heavy rain in a hostile environment and was within a few seconds of extending its unbeaten streak to six games.

11. NEW YORK (3-2-5), 12. Dax McCarty’s rugged, bustling play draws the most notice but occasionally he’ll uncork the kind of raking pass by which New York scored its goal to beat Dallas. He slotted a great ball into the channel that Thierry Henry controlled and knocked square for Bradley Wright-Phillips to bag his sixth goal of the season. McCarty’s pass, resilient defending, and a Luis Robles penalty-kick save added up to the first road win of 2014 and a total of four points from trips to Columbus and Dallas.

12. TORONTO FC (3-4-0), 9. There’s not a crisis in Toronto, but there are concerns after a third straight defeat. TFC lost at home to New England, 2-1, despite jumping ahead in the sixth minute when a long shot by Jackson took a deflection into the net, and it gifted the Revs their goals by a careless giveaway and penalty-kick handball, both by defender Doniel Henry. Two shots off the post heaped misfortune onto mistakes heading into home-and-away games with Vancouver in the Canadian Championship.

13. HOUSTON (3-4-2), 14. Giles Barnes scored twice as the Dynamo took advantage of get-well scheduling by dispatching Chivas USA, 4-1, at StubHub Center. Brad Davis and Will Bruin also scored as Houston assumed control after falling behind in the seventh minute. Its three goals in the first half exceeded its total goals scored in April (five games, two goals). How many of the problem areas have been addressed will be clearer after consecutive home games against Columbus, RSL and the Galaxy in a span of 11 days.

14. PHILADELPHIA (1-4-5), 13. The phenomenal run of keeper Zak MacMath against penalty kicks continued, as did the Union’s fruitless efforts. MacMath stopped his third consecutive PK after Philly had taken a 1-0 lead in Seattle when a Cristian Maidana free kick yielded an own goal, but the Union labored at both ends of the field as it generated just one shot on goal and its winless streak reached eight games.

15. SAN JOSE (1-3-3), 15. As much as they do to dispel the stigma of a one-man team, when the Quakes lose, 3-2, in Vancouver despite a pair of goals by Chris Wondolowski, the perception persists. They also can be terribly over-dependent on keeper Jon Busch, who recorded his 1,000th MLS save yet could do little about any of the three goals that hit his net in the first 20 minutes. (A few Quakes reacted slowly when Manneh scored on his own rebound.) The Goonie spirit produced Wondo’s second goal in stoppage time, but this time a two-goal deficit rendered the rally irrelevant.

16. CHICAGO (0-2-6), 16. A dominant half-hour dissipated into a 3-2 home loss to RSL. Mike Magee pounced on the rebound of a saved Harry Shipp shot to open the scoring and Greg Cochrane served a sublime left-wing cross that Juan Luis Anangano headed home to double Chicago’s lead. Despite two superb saves by keeper Sean Johnson, the Fire’s inability to stay on the lead continues. It has scored the first goal in six games, and of those six it has tied five and lost one. Something ain’t right.

17. MONTREAL (1-4-3), 17. The Impact rested last weekend; it plays FC Edmonton this week and next in the Amway Canadian Championship and also faces a demanding league game at home Saturday against SKC.

18. PORTLAND (1-3-5), 19. If their first victory of the season is any indication, nothing will come easy for the Timbers in 2014. A 3-2 defeat of D.C. United started off with a bang when Gaston Fernandez scored the earliest goal in the team’s short MLS history, 34 seconds after the opening kickoff. Defender Mamadou "Futty" Danso scored for both teams as the game flowed back and forth, and in stoppage time Max Urruti triggered a delirious celebration by smacking home the rebound of his own shot. Still, Portland coughed up a pair of one-goal leads at home and is still seeking its first shutout.

19. CHIVAS USA (1-5-3), 18. A 4-1 home defeat to the Dynamo started off well and then went completely sour. Erick "Cubo" Torres converted a penalty kick in the seventh minute but waves of Houston attacks riddled the Chivas USA defense, and the score was 3-1 when for the second straight week the team lost its starting goalkeeper to a foul and red card. Trevor Spangenberg replaced Tim Melia and watched a penalty kick sail past him to cap off Chivas USA's miserable afternoon. It has lost four of the last five games and looked stagnant without Mauro Rosales, sidelined with a strained hamstring.

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