MLS Power Rankings: Sounders go top with emphatic win

The Supporters Shield winners and MLS Cup champion started the 2015 season impressively as MLS’s 20th season got underway. Seattle outclassed New England, 3-0, and the Galaxy dispatched Chicago, 2-0, as the Western Conference powers took care of business at home. They take the top twos spots in the first edition of the MLS Power Rankings.

MLS Results, Week 1
Sunday, March 8
Orlando City 1 New York City 1. Highlights
Sporting KC 1 NY Red Bulls 1. Highlights
Seattle 3 New England 0. Highlights
Saturday, March 7
Portland 0 Real Salt Lake 0. Highlights
Houston 1 Columbus 0. Highlights
FC Dallas 1 San Jose 0. Highlights
Vancouver 1 Toronto FC 3. Highlights
D.C. United 1 Montreal 0. Highlights
Philadelphia 0 Colorado 0. Highlights
Friday, March 6
LA Galaxy 2 Chicago 0. Highlights

1. SEATTLE. (1-0-0), 2. Clint Dempsey took the early lead in the MVP voting with a two-goal, one-assist performance, and Brad Evans battled through a rugged MLS debut at centerback as the Sounders flattened New England, 3-0. Right back Tyrone Mears got into the flow after a couple of early blips.

2. LOS ANGELES (1-0-0), 3. Life after Landon Donovan started off pretty well in a 2-0 defeat of Chicago. How’s this for balance: Homegrown product Jose Villarreal scored the first goal, reigning MVP Robbie Keane bagged the second, and backup keeper Brian Perk notched the shutout.

3. FC DALLAS (1-0-0), 4. Captain Matt Hedges struggled through a rough outing, but goalie Chris Seitz and his teammates held the fort until Blaz Perez got his head to a ball driven by Moises Hernandez and directed it home for a stoppage-time winner.

4. D.C. UNITED (1-0-0), 7. The offseason search for scoring help that netted Jairo Arrieta paid off right away; his goal downed Montreal, 1-0, to soften the absences of Fabian Espindola (suspended) and Eddie Johnson (medical leave for undisclosed reasons). Work crews cleared eight inches of snow off the field, and only 11,549 fans turned out in frigid conditions.

5. HOUSTON (1-0-0), 12. Head coach Owen Coyle started his MLS gig with a victory. After a couple of smart Tyler Deric saves kept Columbus off the board, Giles Barnes first-timed a shot into the top corner to give the Dynamo a 1-0 lead it held to the final whistle.

6. TORONTO FC (1-0-0), 14. The new look of TFC’s attack materialized when Sebastian Giovinco slipped a through ball that Jozy Altidore drilled home for the equalizer, yet it was the much-traveled Robbie Findley who netted the winner. Altidore also tucked away a late penalty kick. Six more road games are on the docket before TFC gets to play in a renovated BMO Field.

7. NEW ENGLAND (0-1-0), 1. Juan Agudelo and his fellow attackers seldom troubled the Sounders and the Revs looked completely lost with Lee Nguyen and Jermaine Jones. In their stead, Diego Fagundez and Andy Dorman did not excel. There’s a shorter yet difficult road trip to Yankee Stadium up next.

8. REAL SALT LAKE (0-0-1), 8. RSL departed Providence Park with a 0-0 tie for the third straight time. It needed a few slick saves from Nick Rimando and a goal-line clearance by Chris Schuler during a furious stoppage-time scramble to get the point. Playing a 4-3-3 formation rather than its traditional 4-4-2 diamond, RSL was outshot, 18-9, and didn’t put a shot on goal until the 73rd minute.

9. SPORTING KC (0-0-1), 9. In his league debut, Hungarian striker Krisztian Nemeth looked useful but Dom Dwyer squandered a couple of chances, SKC couldn’t regain an advantage erased when the Red Bulls equalized four minutes after Ike Opara’s powerful header dispatched Benny Feilhaber’s cross. Counting the 2014 regular-season finale and a playoff match, SKC has failed to win in three straight games against NYRB.

10. ORLANDO CITY (0-0-1), 10. A frenzied MLS debut at the Citrus Bowl nearly ended in bitter disappointment, but Kaka’s deflected free kick found the net in stoppage time to send most of the 62,150 attendees home happy. As for the clumsy, over-the-ball challenge on David Villa that earned Aurelien Collin a straight red card, it’s clear he’s already in midseason form.

11. NEW YORK CITY (0-0-1), 11. A sweet strike by Mix Diskerud got his MLS career off to a spectacular start in a 1-1 tie that NYCFC led until the final moments. Goalie Josh Saunders finished the match with his head bruised and bleeding from a collision with the goalpost and one-v-one situation, respectively. The “home” opener at Yankee Stadium is Sunday.

12. NY RED BULLS (0-0-1), 15. A slick cut inside and curling right-footed shot by Lloyd Sam earned the Red Bulls a 1-1 tie at Sporting Kansas City as the Jesse Marsch Era got underway. The midfield combo of Sacha Kljestan, Felipe Martins, and Dax McCarty looked promising, but there wasn’t a lot of supply for Bradley Wright-Phillips. Still, it’s a point.

13. COLUMBUS (0-1-0), 6. In his first game for the Crew since 2007, Kei Kamara launched six of its 18 shots in a 1-0 loss at Houston. A thunderous blast by Federico Higuain shook the crossbar and several good shots were saved, one off the foot of Kristinn Steindorsson on his MLS debut.

14. PORTLAND (0-0-1), 13. The Timbers reverted to their ways of 2014, when they tied nine of 17 home games, in a 0-0 deadlock with RSL. Diego Chara was held out and in his first MLS start George Fochive played solidly alongside Jack Jewsbury. Keeper Adam Kwarasey didn’t have much to do while logging a shutout in his MLS debut.

15. COLORADO (0-0-1), 18. Debuting for the Rapids in a 0-0 tie at Philadelphia were seven players: the back six of James Riley, Axel Sjoberg, Bobby Burling, Michael Harrington, Marcelo Sarvas and Lucas Pittinari plus BU rookie Dominique Badji up front. They held off Philly while a man down for the final 20 minutes after Burling was shown a second caution.

16. VANCOUVER (0-1-0), 5. Striker Octavio Rivero followed up a few impressive preseason showings by netting a goal in his MLS debut but not much else went right against Toronto FC despite the 1-0 lead. The ‘Caps collapsed in the second half and ex-Timbers defender Pa Modou Kah committed a foul in the final minutes that provided TFC with a clinching penalty kick in the 3-1 defeat.

17. SAN JOSE (0-1-0), 18. The Quakes were seconds away from leaving Toyota Stadium with a 0-0 tie when keeper David Bingham’s punch didn’t clear the danger and FCD drove the loose ball past him into the net. Defenders Marvell Wynne and Paulo Renato played the full 90 minutes in their first games for the Quakes, and Fatai Alashe and Innocent Emeghara came on as late subs.

18. MONTREAL (0-1-0), 16. Just days after its dramatic result against Pachuca, the Impact battled hard in a 1-0 loss at D.C. United. Keeper Evan Bush’s decision to come off his line opened the door for D.C. to score and a Hassoun Camara shot that would have tied the game was cleared off the goal line. Justin Mapp left the game with a dislocated elbow suffered when he fell heavily chasing a loose ball.

19. PHILADELPHIA (0-0-1), 17. The Union dominated the stats but didn’t get anything more than a 0-0 tie with Colorado, which failed to put either of its meager two shots on goal. Philly took 16 shots and controlled 60.7 percent of possession. Fernando Aristeguieta looked lively in his MLS debut and Andrew Wenger nailed a shot off the crossbar.

20. CHICAGO (0-1-0), 20. The Fire DP Roundup in the season opener at StubHub Center: David Accam didn’t play, Kennedy Igboananike took one shot, and Shaun Maloney was cautioned. As for other participants, captain Jeff Larentowicz’s errant clearance set up the Galaxy’s first goal but he otherwise played well at centerback alongside Eric Gehrig.

3 comments about "MLS Power Rankings: Sounders go top with emphatic win".
  1. d edgecomb, March 9, 2015 at 4:20 p.m.

    Some minor quibbles...I know we've had an influx of international stars, but Gonzalo Higuain certainly did not suit up for Columbus!

    And it was James Riley (not Paul) making his debut on Colorado's backline.

  2. Kyle Mahlan, March 9, 2015 at 4:44 p.m.

    Dempsey didn't have the assist in the game. The right back made the cross which Martins put in the net. If your going to put the article on here make sure you have it right.

  3. Andrea Hana, March 9, 2015 at 8:33 p.m.

    Nice job, Sounders!

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