MLS Power Rankings: Red Bulls cling to top spot

The Red Bulls remained unbeaten and atop Soccer America's MLS Power Rankings by beating San Jose, 2-0, in the seventh weekend of MLS play.

Vancouver rebounded from a stretch of one point in two games by edging past Real Salt Lake, 1-0, at Rio Tinto Stadium to take over second place. A 1-1 tie with Houston kept D.C. United in third.

Philadelphia and New York City FC didn’t cope well with the first midweek/weekend assignment of the season. After playing a 1-1 tie Thursday at Yankee Stadium, both teams lost on Sunday. NYCFC’s loss to Portland dropped it to 15th, and Philly remained mired one off the bottom after losing at home to New England.

This week MLS kicks off a program of Friday doubleheaders on Univision Deportes, but the main focus will be on Montreal and Club America, which play the first leg of their Concacaf Champions League final series on Wednesday.

MLS Week 7: Results
April 19

Philadelphia 1, New England 2 Highlights
New York City FC 0, Portland 1 Highlights
April 18

D.C. United 1 Houston 1.Highlights
Columbus 3 Orlando City 0.Highlights
FC Dallas 3 Toronto FC 2.Highlights
Colorado 1 Seattle 3.Highlights
Real Salt Lake 0 Vancouver 1.Highlights
LA Galaxy 2 Sporting KC 1.Highlights
April 17

New York 2, San Jose 0 Highlights
April 16

New York City 1, Philadelphia 1 Highlights

Only league results are evaluated in compiling the Power Rankings. The team’s rank is followed by its record in parentheses and its ranking the previous week.

1. NEW YORK (3-0-2), 1. Two goals in six minutes by Sacha Kljestan and Mike Grella and a solid shutout maintained the Red Bulls’ unbeaten record in a 2-0 defeat of San Jose. Lloyd Sam set up Grella for the second goal with a clever cut-back and precise cross rather than the speedy bursts he’s known for. Still, a few sharp saves from Luis Robles were needed to bail out sloppy play in the second half.

2. VANCOUVER (5-2-1), 4. Head coach Carl Robinson used a tactical switch and a man-advantage as the ‘Caps beat Real Salt Lake, 1-0, for its first-ever victory at Rio Tinto Stadium. A 4-3-2-1 formation provided more pressure from the forwards, and Darren Mattocks headed home Russell Teibert’s cross four minutes after RSL went down to 10 men. Three road wins in 2015 equals their away total of last year.

3. D.C. UNITED (3-1-2), 3. United is unbeaten at home (2-0-2) after squandering a lead against Houston and tying, 1-1. Chris Rolfe scored with a free kick but United couldn’t dictate the tempo for extended periods, and the teams finished nearly even in shots (16-15 edge to Houston). Andrew Dykstra took over for Bill Hamid (thigh contusion) and was unluckily beaten for the equalizer after a superb save.

4. REAL SALT LAKE (2-1-3), 2. Losses at Rio Tinto don’t come much tougher than this one: RSL fell, 1-0, on its opponent’s only shot on goal and finished the match down to nine men. Kyle Beckerman played the full game three days after a pair of knocks to his quadriceps forced him out of the USA-Mexico game in the 63rd minute. Sebastian Saucedo’s red card for a late, dangerous tackle was deserved.

5. FC DALLAS (4-2-1), 5. FCD nearly punished those hardy fans who endured a 206-minute weather delay by blowing a 3-0 lead, but in the end two goals by Fabian Castillo and one from Blas Perez were just enough to beat TFC, 3-2. Castillo’s goal 29 seconds after the opening kickoff is the earliest in team history and by winning FCD stopped a two-game losing streak well after midnight.

6. LOS ANGELES (3-2-2), 7. Winner of two in a row and all’s right in GalaxyWorld, right? Well not really, but using subs Gyasi Zardes and Omar Gonzalez after they’d played Wednesday for the USA paid great dividends with a 2-1 stoppage-time victory. A groin strain sidelined Robbie Keane for the second straight game, and L.A. struggled to build on a 1-0 lead provided by Baggio Husidic until Zardes got into the flow.

7. SEATTLE (3-2-1), 8. The Sounders can style up with the best of them when in the mood; Lamar Neagle’s superb curling shot to open the scoring couldn’t match Obafemi Martins’ amazing clincher. Yet the Rapids ran though Seattle’s midfield to launch 27 shots and land nine of them on target. Against the best teams, that won’t cut it, especially on the road.

8. NEW ENGLAND (3-2-2), 11. The Revs are bagging points against weaker teams; a 2-1 victory at Philadelphia upped their take to 11 points in the last five games, only one of which was against a playoff team. Teal Bunbury and Charlie Davies each scored their first goals of the season and three great defensive plays in the final minutes secured a win.

9. SPORTING KANSAS CITY (2-2-3), 5. Ike Opara’s absence with a ruptured Achilles’ tendon is going to be significant, though SKC endured waves of Galaxy attacks before succumbing to a corner kick in stoppage time. Benny Feilhaber’s league-leading fifth assist set up Krisztian Nemeth to tie the game but despite sharp goalkeeping by Luis Marin a deflected shot got past him right at the end.

10. SAN JOSE (3-4-0), 9. The Quakes got a bit of life when Tommy Thompson and Chris Wondolowski came off the bench, but already trailing the Red Bulls, 2-0, they didn’t much trouble New York down the stretch. Turnovers and errant passes ran rampant in a sloppy display that will give head coach Dominic Kinnear plenty to rectify before San Jose plays at RSL May 1 in the first of three road games in an eight-day span.

11. HOUSTON (2-2-3), 12. The Dynamo scraped out a 1-1 tie at RFK Stadium with a rebound put away by Ricardo Clark, who seems to be enjoying the advanced role assigned to him by head coach Owen Coyle. The defensive balance is still sporadic yet it has conceded only two goals in three road games thanks in part to keeper Tyler Deric.

12. COLUMBUS (2-2-2).13. Crew SC overpowered Orlando City SC, 3-0, by exploiting a man advantage when Rafael Ramos was red-carded in the 34th minute. Federico Higuain’s first goal of the season came from a sweet back-heel, and five minutes apart in the second half Kei Kamara forced a turnover that Justin Meram turned into a goal and then scored himself with an elegant chip.

13. ORLANDO CITY SC (2-3-2), 10. The Lions were doing all right in Columbus and looked capable of maintaining their unbeaten away record until Ramos’ dismissal. A home game Sunday against floundering Toronto FC (four straight losses) could be the right tonic but OCSC roller-coaster runs of form are unnerving.

14. PORTLAND (2-2-3), 15. From his first game in MLS Dairon Asprilla has been a threat, and though his first league goal came on a deflection it still enabled the Timbers to win their second game in the last three, 1-0, at New York City FC. Keeper Adam Kwarasey twice thwarted Khiry Shelton in the final minutes and thus did the Timbers win their first road game of the season. At Seattle on Sunday is next.

15. NEW YORK CITY FC (1-3-3), 14. That Mehdi Ballouchy can occasionally produce a bit of magic is unquestioned but he and NYCFC are still in search of a full, 90-minute performance. He scored an excellent goal in a 1-1 tie with Philadelphia and three days later NYCFC was blanked for the second time in the last three home games, 1-0, by Portland. Ballouchy set up Patrick Mullins with an excellent chance that was saved. David Villa sat out the Portland game with a sore hamstring.

16. CHICAGO (2-3-0), 16. The Fire’s two-game winning streak, interrupted with back-to-back bye weeks, sets up a crucial home game Friday against NYCFC.

17. TORONTO FC (1-4-0), 17. TFC’s identity is settling in; defending is a problem and Sebastian Giovinco is one of the league’s most potent players. Three quick goals preceded a long weather delay, after which Giovinco struck twice within six minutes. Two more road games remain before TFC can get back into BMO Field.

18. COLORADO (1-2-3), 18. There’s not much wrong with the Colorado attack, as shown by its 27 shots, and two of the three goals it conceded to Seattle were outstanding. This is a talented team in search of resiliency and stability as well as consistency. It may need a change or two to generate some momentum, otherwise following up a 4-0 road victory with a 3-1 home loss won’t seem unusual.

19. PHILADELPHIA (1-4-3), 19. A promising week turned into a bad one with a 2-1 home loss to New England three days after a late goal by C.J. Sapong snagged a 1-1 tie in Yankee Stadium. Philly led New England at halftime on a free kick by Cristian Maidana but were stung by Bunbury twice off the bench.

20. MONTREAL (0-2-2), 20. The Impact set up shop in Mexico City on Thursday to prepare for the CCL finals against Club America. It will also take next weekend off from league play. 

5 comments about "MLS Power Rankings: Red Bulls cling to top spot".
  1. Scott Wilson, April 20, 2015 at 3:36 p.m.


    #16 - Chicago Fire plays New York City FC...not the Red Bulls at home on Friday.

  2. Mark Buckley, April 20, 2015 at 3:51 p.m.

    Thanks Soccer America for making DC United #3, I know the soccer world is loving Coach Marsh in New Jersey, but barring injury DC can only get better. Silva is back, Espinosa comes back Saturday, and Markus Halsti is next. I'll be the first to admit DC is hard to watch, but they could have beaten New Jersey & Houston. I learned my lesson after last season, I don't care about the Atlantic Cup, the playoffs are more important than the regular season. Vamos United!

  3. Mike Jacome, April 20, 2015 at 5:35 p.m.

    "Three road wins in 2015 equals their away total of last year." Wow, that ispretty exciting. To be honest Vancouver only plays 25% away of their usual home level. Out of the twenty teams in MLS this Vancouver team is the one I enjoy the most watching them play, specially at BC Place. And I say this as a Seattle fan, which is saying something.

  4. Mike Jacome, April 20, 2015 at 5:53 p.m.

    The Impact set up shop in Mexico City on Thursday to prepare for the CCL finals against Club America. I believe Montreal made the samemistake Herediano did, they are settling in the altitud of Mexico about a week in advance, it's been proved that the worst effects of altitud are observed after the sixth day. that's why many teams in SouthAmerica travel from the sea level the same day to play in La Paz. When they play against Pachuca CF they had been in Mexico City for almost three weeks, which was good enough to get acclimatized.

  5. R2 Dad, April 20, 2015 at 9:25 p.m.

    Was surprised to see a New England defender attempting to impede the throw-in of a Philly player, yet nothing came from the Ref or AR. These are basics instilled at the middle school level, MLS. When are you going to get them right? Philly's passing sequences were pretty good, they outplayed NE for stretches and looked like they at least deserved a point.

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