Soccer America Power Rankings

[MLS: Week 20] In case anyone had forgotten, the Galaxy is still to be reckoned with. A 3-0 rout of the Sounders didn’t alter the Soccer America Power Rankings but certainly served as a reminder that with Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane in the lineup, and Omar Gonzalez healthy, it is a serious MLS Cup candidate.

MLS Results:
Monday, July 28
Seattle 0 LA Galaxy 3.
Sunday, July 27
Vancouver 2 FC Dallas 2.
Montreal 2 Portland 3.
Saturday, July 26 (Report)
Toronto FC 1 Sporting KC 2.
New England 1 Columbus 2.
Friday, July 25 (Report)
Colorado 3 Chivas USA 0.
Thursday, July 24
Real Salt Lake 3 Montreal 1.
Wednesday, July 23 (Report)
San Jose 4 Chicago 1.

1. SEATTLE (12-5-2), 1. Ouch. Blitzed early and often, the Sounders should have reacted better to the last-minute scratch of centerback Chad Marshall, who was injured in a car accident Saturday. A power outage hit CenturyLink Field shortly after kickoff and only sporadically during the match did Seattle match the Galaxy’s energy. If two losses in the last three games are causes for concern, the Sounders could be in for another tough test Saturday against the Quakes.

2. D.C. UNITED (10-5-4), 2. Sat out the weekend to prepare for a crucial double-dip this week: at Toronto FC and away to Houston.

3. SPORTING KC (11-5-5), 3. Rallied to beat Toronto FC, 2-1, at BMO Field and has won six of the last seven. Graham Zusi curled a shot into the top corner early in the second half to tie the game and Jacob Peterson’s winner from a Dom Dwyer backheel with 10 minutes left followed a second caution handed out to Matt Besler. That’s five road wins in a row, which is what the top teams can do.

4. LA GALAXY (8-4-6), 4. The Galaxy overran Seattle from the opening minute and created enough chances to score more than the three goals by which it led at halftime. Gyasi Zardes, Landon Donovan and Stefan Ishizaki cashed in the opportunities created by crisp, intelligent movement and sharp passing. Right back Dan Gargan exploited the space down his side to good effect and Omar Gonzalez marked his first league start since early May in dominant fashion.

5. FC DALLAS (8-7-6), 7. Plain and simple, FCD for the past two months or so has shown the fortitude and mutual commitment that takes time to develop under a new head coach. Trailing, 1-0, to an early goal in front of a sold-out away crowd in Vancouver, FCD scored twice within 10 minutes -- Blas Perez from a scramble and Michel with a penalty kick -- to take the lead it could not hold in a 2-2 tie. If there’s a finishing kick in this squad, FCD will be hard to knock out of the playoff tier.

6. COLORADO (8-6-6), 8. The Rapids lived up to the occasion, which was the honoring of long-time player and head coach Pablo Mastroeni. With his family, friends and former teammates on hand, Pablo’s team dismantled Chivas USA, 3-0, after jumping out to an early 2-0 lead on goals by Nick LaBrocca and Drew Moor. A welcome first goal of the season for Gabriel Torres, who was making his first start since early May, is a sign the Rapids could be gathering strength for a late-season push.

7. TORONTO FC (7-6-5), 5. Coughing up a lead at home, even to the defending champion, is a discouraging reminder of TFC’s shortcomings. A sweet ball through the SKC back line by Dominic Oduro set up Jackson to score the opening goal, but TFC couldn’t build on that advantage. Michael Bradley unleashed a few bitterly critical comments of the officiating and while it certainly wasn’t the finest of performances by referee Ted Unkel, that 5-4-1 home record leaves much to be desired.

8. VANCOUVER (6-4-10), 6. Darren Mattocks scored in a third straight game and the ‘Caps came away with a third consecutive tie, 2-2, with FC Dallas after taking an early lead. Carlyle Mitchell’s handball provided FCD with the penalty kick by which it took the lead; Pedro Morales converted his fifth PK of the season to earn Vancouver a point. Jay DeMerit’s retirement marks the end of one era and the start of another, yet again the ‘Caps are poised on the cusp of a playoff spot.

9. REAL SALT LAKE (8-4-8), 9. RSL needed a strong second half to down Montreal, 3-1, after  the Impact matched an early goal by Luke Mulholland, who needed some medical attention after a couple of collisions yet battled on gallantly. Olmes Garcia ended a year-long scoring drought by notching the winner in the 70th minute on a fantastic header from a Javier Morales serve, and Garcia added a clincher in stoppage time.

10. COLUMBUS (6-7-8), 10. Yes, the Revs can’t seem to beat or even tie anybody these days. But give the Crew its due; Federico Higuain's free kick was superb and Ethan Finlay's clutch goal in the 84th minute finished off an excellent ball from Justin Meram. Those moments of quality have been missing at times this season. The sequence of streaks continues: after five straight ties, the Crew lost two in a row, and now has back-to-back wins for the first time since the first month of the season.

11. NEW YORK (5-6-9), 11. The Red Bulls sat out the league schedule and instead beat Arsenal, 1-0. They play a big interconference match Wednesday at Real Salt Lake and host floundering New England on the weekend.

12. CHIVAS USA (6-9-5), 12. A second straight loss has slowed the momentum of a four-game winning streak that sparked a revival of playoff hopes. If those postseason dreams are to be realized, Chivas USA has very little margin for error. Next up is another game against a Western Conference foe it needs to beat, FC Dallas, at home on Sunday.

13. PHILADELPHIA (5-8-8), 14. The Union took the week off from league play and gave some younger players a run in a 1-0 loss to Crystal Palace on Friday. The water gets real deep this Friday at Sporting Park.

14. PORTLAND (6-6-9), 16. The rough and bumpy times in Porterland may be calming down, as long as Diego Valeri is on hand to hit the clutch goal. He struck his second straight game-winner to down Montreal, 3-2, after goals by Max Urruti and Will Johnson erased an early 1-0 deficit. Former captain Jack Jewsbury played his 300th league game. How much momentum can be built on back-to-back wins? The Timbers will find out Saturday at StubHub Center against the Galaxy.

15. SAN JOSE (5-8-5), 17. Portuguese loanee Yannick Djalo had shown some flashes of guile and flair since arriving three months ago from Benfica, and last Wednesday he scorched the Fire repeatedly in a 5-1 thrashing. He scored a goal and picked up three assists; Shea Salinas, Atiba Harris, Chris Wondolowski and Cordell Cato also scored as the Quakes non-forward alignment -- Steven Lenhart was a late scratch -- gave former Quakes head coach Frank Yallop a rude homecoming. Speaking of home, the Quakes christen the new home of the San Francisco 49ers, Levi’s Stadium, Saturday by hosting Seattle.

16. NEW ENGLAND (7-11-2), 13. The Revs and head coach Jay Heaps should be brooding about a catastrophic eight-game losing streak but the relentless schedule presses on. They are at Colorado Wednesday and at home against the Red Bulls Saturday.

17. CHICAGO (3-5-11), 15. Yallop's return couldn’t have gone much worse: a 5-1 thrashing at San Jose. Along with the ugly scoreline, however, he has to be considering which of his players he can keep and those he must discard. In the middle third of the season, the Fire won just one of nine, and pretty soon the building for next year must begin, since there are scant reasons to believe there’s a major turnaround looming.

18. HOUSTON (5-11-4), 18. The Dynamo got a week off from league action to bring new signing DaMarcus Beasley up to speed. Where he will play and how much he can help a team en route to its worst record since moving from San Jose prior to the 2006 season may be revealed Sunday at D.C. United.

19. MONTREAL (3-12-5), 19. In two games last week the Impact scored three goals and conceded six. A good effort against RSL collapsed when Issey Nakajima-Farran was sent off for a reckless challenge in the 65th minute and the score tied, 1-1. RSL went on to win, 3-1. Andres Romero and Maxim Tissot scored against Portland and again Montreal was poised to claim at least a point, until it conceded again in the 84th minute to lose, 3-2.

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