Soccer America Power Rankings

[MLS: Week 19] D.C. United and Sporting Kansas City posted wins to stay right behind leader Seattle, which sat out league play. The Galaxy's eight-game unbeaten streak ended at Sporting Kansas City, which by winning, 2-1, captured its fifth game in the last six and jumped over Los Angeles into third place. Philadelphia moved up three places by getting a 1-1 tie in Chicago after drilling the Red Bulls, 3-1.

MLS WEEK 19, Results:
July 16 (Report)
Philadelphia 3 New York 1
Columbus 1 Sporting KC 2
Toronto FC 1 Vancouver 1
LA Galaxy 5 New England 1

July 18
Portland 2 Colorado 1

July 19
New York 1 San Jose 1
Sporting KC 2 LA Galaxy 1
Chicago 1 Philadelphia 1
Columbus 2 Montreal 1
Houston 2 Toronto FC 2
FC Dallas 2 New England 0
Real Salt Lake 1 Vancouver 1

July 20 (Report)
D.C. United 3 Chivas USA 1

1. SEATTLE (12-4-2), 1.  The Sounders took a weekend off from league action to play a 3-3 tie with Tottenham (attendance: 55,349) and has another full week to prepare for a big Monday night showdown with the Galaxy at CenturyLink on July 28.

2. D.C. UNITED (10-5-4), 2. Doing the math on a 3-1 defeat of Chivas USA Sunday night reveals extreme efficiency. United took just seven shots but five were on frame, starting with Eddie Johnson’s penalty kick in the 25th minute. He then knocked down a ball that Perry Kitchen put away. Luis Silva tacked on a third with 20 minutes left. It has won three in a row and five of the last seven and is just a point out of first place in the Eastern Conference. The fans have yet to buy in, however, as revealed by an announced attendance of 13,732.

3. SPORTING KC (10-5-5), 7. The defending champion is the second league team to hit double-digits in victories and with only 14 more games to play desperately needs victories like the 2-1 conquests of the Galaxy and Columbus it recorded four days apart. MLS Player of the Week Benny Feilhaber set up the first goal in Columbus and nailed the winner with a stunning strike off the bottom of the crossbar in stoppage time. Against L.A., he opened the scoring with a fabulous free kick into the top corner. Lawrence Olum’s winning goal ran SKC’s recent record to a league-best 5-0-1 as it plans for the long term with new contracts for Matt Besler and Graham Zusi.

4. LA GALAXY (7-4-6), 3. The Galaxy’s best run of the season, eight games unbeaten, ended at Sporting Park as a makeshift back line -- consisting of Tommy Meyer and A.J. DeLaGarza as outside backs and Kofi Opare and Leonardo in the middle -- labored to contain the SKC attack. Offensively, the Galaxy took just nine shots, and got its goal when Los Dos graduate Bradford Jamieson IV -- a 75th-minute sub -- flicked a ball for Robbie Keane, who’d earlier hit the crossbar, to slide into the net. Landon Donovan played the full 90 minutes in midfield without getting a shot. In Wednesday's 5-1 pasting of New England, Keane scored twice and assisted on a pair of goals by Gyasi Zardes.

5. TORONTO FC (7-5-5), 5. For the second straight week, TFC came back to frustrate the Dynamo, this time by scoring twice in the first half after falling behind. A goal by Gilberto compensated for an error by Bradley Orr by which Houston took its first lead, and Dominic Oduro scored in first-half stoppage time to re-tie the game at 2-2, which is how it ended. TFC also tied in midweek, 1-1, with Vancouver. Jermain Defoe netted his 11th goal of the season with a penalty kick after TFC had fallen behind at home. Four ties in the last six games have helped TFC cling to third place in the Eastern Conference while losing ground to the top two, though it holds games in hand over both Sporting KC and D.C. United.

6. VANCOUVER (6-4-9), 6. Extensive lineup changes enabled the ‘Caps to post 1-1 ties at Toronto FC and Real Salt Lake and finish the weekend in a three-way tie for fourth place in the Western Conference. Against RSL, head coach Paul Robinson handed Mehdi Ballouchy and Omar Salgado their first league starts of the season and also brought Nicolas Mezquida and Sebastian Fernandez back into the first XI. Darren Mattocks scored the goals in both games to break a personal goalless drought dating back to mid-April, and in the match at Rio Tinto Stadium, keeper David Ousted impressed the devotees of Nick Rimando with a few sparking saves. He set the tone in the third minute by tipping over a swerving free kick by Javier Morales.

7. FC DALLAS (8-7-5), 9. Andres Escobar marked his fifth consecutive start with his second MLS goal in a 2-0 defeat of New England. In the 29th minute, he collected the rebound of a Tesho Akindele shot off the crossbar to evade a pair of opponents and blast home a shot. He was dangerous throughout the game and led the team with five attempts at goal. FCD outshot the Revs, 24-9, but didn’t clinch victory until Akindele dribbled from midfield into the penalty area to drill his third goal of the season. FCD is unbeaten in its last six league games, and sits atop a very bunched quintet of teams that are well behind Western leader Seattle.

8. COLORADO (7-6-6), 4. The Rapids scored a goal in Portland for the first time since 2011 and though Deshorn Brown’s tally from a scramble provided a 1-0 lead, they succumbed to a 2-1 defeat that ended a modest three-game unbeaten streak. Brown is one of the league’s hottest scorers with seven goals in as many games, but dating back to June 1 Colorado has won just one league match. It could be without Brown Friday against Chivas USA as he picked up a groin strain in the Portland game.

9. REAL SALT LAKE (7-4-8), 8. RSL started a run of three home games by tying Vancouver, 1-1. It needed to rally with a Joao Plata goal after falling behind on a penalty kick whistled when a lunging tackle by defender Nat Borchers got a piece of the ball and a piece of Mattocks’ foot at the same time. RSL players protested fiercely but got back to business soon enough, and Kyle Beckerman flicked a ball that Plata smashed low into the far corner. Still, a 1-4-3 record over the last eight games signals tweaks are necessary.

10. COLUMBUS (5-7-8) 12.  The Crew bounced back from a 2-1 home loss to the defending champion Wednesday by beating the league doormat, a.k.a., Montreal, by the same score to end a seven-game winless streak. Goalless since the 2014 home opener, Bernardo Anor got his mojo back with a pair of blistering strikes, one with each foot, to revive a dispirited team that went into the locker room at halftime trailing. A bad giveaway by Michael Parkhurst, who’s been guilty of such gaffes a few times this season, gave Montreal the opportunity it converted. Keeper Steve Clark pulled off a few saves to help the Crew post its first league win since May 24.

11. NEW YORK (5-6-9), 10.  Aside from Bradley Wright-Phillips, last week was a mess. He scored in both games, neither of which brought much satisfaction. The Red Bulls were beaten handily, 3-1, at Philadelphia on Wednesday, and came home to take a 1-0 lead against San Jose Saturday only to concede a goal in the 85th minute and end up tied, 1-1. Wright-Phillips leads the league with 17 goals, Thierry Henry is tops in assists with 10, and a full-length parry by Luis Robles is a Save of the Week nominee. So some guys are getting it done. So why the ugly record?

12. CHIVAS (6-8-5), 13. A four-game winning streak ended in a 3-1 loss at D.C. United, though Erick ‘Cubo’ Torres got into the goal column with a late penalty kick. Torres stays among the leaders with 14 goals, but more significant is the fact that Chivas USA conceded just one goal during that four-game streak that included roads wins at Vancouver and San Jose and a home defeat of RSL. If it is going to get into the playoff chase, it needs to beat its conference foes.

13. NEW ENGLAND (7-10-2), 11.  Last season, the Revs’ surge to a third-place finish was one of the league’s surprise successes. Their campaign so far in 2014 is a puzzling disappointment worsening week by week. They lost their seventh straight game last weekend at Chicago, 2-0, yet are still in the playoff tier on goal difference. Charlie Davies got his first MLS start since 2011 as one of five roster changes; head coach Jay Heaps got a better performance but no points. As for the 5-1 loss at Los Angeles on Wednesday, A.J. Soares was sent off and Lee Nguyen converted a PK.

14. PHILADELPHIA (5-8-8), 17. Former Fire defender Jim Curtin returned to face the team he served for eight seasons, and as interim head coach he managed a 1-1 tie achieved with a controversial penalty kick won and converted by Sebastien Le Toux. In Le Toux’s career he is 12-of-12 from the spot and this season he leads Philly with eight league goals, including four PKs. As head coach, Curtin – who grew up about 10 miles north of Philly in Oreland, Pa. – has a record of 3-1-2. On Wednesday, the Union ended a seven-game winless streak at home by thumping New York, 3-1, with goals by Conor CaseyLe Toux and Fred. It had been four months since Philly won at home, and a sellout crowd of 18,541 really got into it.

15. CHICAGO (3-4-11), 14. A fiercely disputed handball whistled against Gonzalo Segares that provided Philadelphia with the spot kick by which it extracted a 1-1 tie dominated the post-match discussions, yet as the home team all the Fire could muster in its attack was a Jeff Larentowicz header from a Harrison Shipp corner kick. The header was one of 10 shots created by Chicago; the Union had nine. Philly held a narrow edge in possession (53-47 percent). The Union won more duels (56-51). Those stats indicate an even game and so does the result: Chicago’s sixth tie in nine home matches.

16. PORTLAND (5-6-9), 16. Fanendo Adi has been a midseason sensation, but a pair of players with longer Timbers tenure got the goals by which Portland erased a 1-0 deficit at home to win, rather than tie. The Providence Park faithful celebrated a home win for the first time since May 3, a 2-1 comeback defeat of Colorado attained when Maximiliano Urruti (who had come on for Adi) and Diego Valeri scored five minutes apart in the second half. English veteran Liam Ridgewell did enough in his MLS debut to offer hope of a defensive solidity the team badly needs.

17. SAN JOSE (4-8-5), 15.
Goonie-in-good-standing Steven Lenhart scored his first goal of the season just in time -- the 85th minute to be precise -- to rescue the Quakes from defeat at Red Bull Arena. He thus atoned for a handball that provided Wright-Phillips the penalty kick he converted, but Lenhart’s goal would have been irrelevant if keeper Jon Busch hadn’t stoned Wright-Phillips one-v-one four minutes earlier. The 1-1 tie snapped a four-game losing streak yet didn’t alter the perception that San Jose’s reliance on bruising challenges and knockdowns and goalmouth melees and late-game rallies to get points has run its course.

18. HOUSTON (5-11-4), 19.  Will Bruin scored his first goal since May 7 and forward partner Giles Barnes also tallied to give the Dynamo a pair of one-goal leads it couldn’t hold. The 2-2 tie with TFC extends Houston winless streak runs to eight games and maintains its status as the team with the most goals allowed (40) and worst goal difference (minus 18).

19. MONTREAL (3-10-5), 18. The bad times are back. After pouncing on a defensive miscue to take a 1-0 lead into the halftime break at Columbus, the Impact conceded twice on the way to a third straight defeat. Justin Mapp intercepted a back pass and relayed the ball to Marco Di Vaio, who did the rest to notch his fourth goal of the season. Mapp leads the team with seven assists.

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