MLS Power Rankings: Sporting KC retains first place

Sporting Kansas City kept the top spot in Soccer America's MLS  Power Rankings after sitting out the weekend; solid wins by FC Dallas, the Galaxy and Portland moved them up the rankings.

Gold Cup play starts this week and just about every team will be affected by absences. Only the Revolution is callup-free.

MLS Results:
Friday, July 3
Houston 1, Chicago 1. Highlights
Seattle 1, D.C. United 0.  Highlights
Saturday, July 4
Colorado 2, Vancouver 1.  Highlights
Montreal 1, New York City 2.  Highlights
Columbus 2, NY Red Bulls 1.  Highlights
FC Dallas 3, New England 0.  Highlights
Real Salt Lake 1, Orlando City 1.  Highlights
LA Galaxy 4, Toronto FC 0.  Highlights
Sunday, July 5
Portland 1, San Jose 0.  Highlights

The rankings are compiled from regular-season results only. After a team's rank it's record in parentheses is followed by its rank last week.

1. SPORTING KC (7-3-6), 1. SKC sat out the league program last weekend and holds the best points-per-game average in the league (1.69) heading into a showdown at Western Conference co-leader Vancouver (1.68) Saturday.

2. FC DALLAS (8-5-5), 3. With a free-kick goal and precise pass for Michael Barrios to score a third goal, Mauro Diaz orchestrated a 3-0 defeat of New England. He slipped a free kick under the Revs’ defensive wall to open the scoring, then played a ball for Fabian Castillo to score on the rebound. Barrios’ goal was his first in MLS. FCD has won two in a row, both by shutout.

3. D.C. UNITED (10-6-5), 2. A flailing elbow earned Fabian Espindola a straight red card in the 27th minute at CenturyLink Field, and United held out for an hour before conceding in a 1-0 defeat. It had already lost Luis Silva to a groin injury when Espindola departed, and hit the woodwork. Head coach Ben Olsen said, “I’m as proud as I’ve been in a while of this group.” He also said something about the refereeing.

4. LA GALAXY (8-6-7), 7. With new DP Steven Gerrard in attendance at StubHub Center, teammate Robbie Keane showed what his other acronym, MVP, is supposed to do by nailing a hat trick in a 4-0 rout of Toronto FC. He’s missed nearly one-half of the games yet leads the team with six goals and four assists in 11 appearances.

5. PORTLAND (9-6-2), 8. The labors of 90 minutes paid off in the first minute of stoppage time. Jack Jewsbury got his foot on a loose ball and curled an improbable shot into the Quakes net for a 1-0 victory. The Timbers have won six of their last seven and the last five at Providence Park, which has long been a fortress of support if not always results. Improvement noted: 5-9-3 at home last year, 6-1-3 so far in 2015.

6. SAN JOSE (7-6-4), 4. A stoppage-time stunner in Portland downed the Quakes, 1-0. Two penalty-kick appeals went unheeded as the Quakes were outshot 23-7 yet came agonizingly close to a point. They are 2-2-2 in their last six games and need to stay afloat until late August, when they play seven of their last nine at home.

7. SEATTLE (10-7-2), 9. Right back Tyrone Mears rescued the Sounders from what would have been a frustrating goalless game with D.C. United by lacing a rising shot inside the far post. The 88th-minute goal ended an hour of man-advantage and the result snapped a three-game losing streak. Keeper Stefan Frei left the game shortly before halftime after banging his head on the turf dueling for a ball in the air.

8. VANCOUVER (10-7-2), 5. A great play by Mauro Rosales, who chased down a throw-in about to go out of play and hooked it across the goalmouth for Kekuta Manneh to tuck away, highlighted a 2-1 loss at Colorado that finished a five-game run of road games necessitated by the Women’s World Cup with nine of 15 points. Manneh’s equalizer and a stunning save by David Ousted marked another solid road showing.

9. TORONTO FC (7-7-2), 6.. Changes implemented couldn’t contain the Galaxy at StubHub Center, as a 4-0 rout would suggest. TFC looked lost except for Sebastian Giovinco, who put two of his five shots on frame. Jay Chapman got his first MLS start in place of Jonathan Osorio. Off this showing the Gold Cup toll will be extremely heavy.

10. ORLANDO CITY SC (6-6-6), 10. The Lions were as stouthearted as their nickname while fending off RSL a man down for the entire second half of a 1-1 tie. Kaka chipped his ninth goal of the season in the fifth minute and after RSL tied it, he banged into Javier Morales from behind and was sent off. A couple of good saves by Tally Hall and tough work in the defensive third snagged another valuable road result: OCSC is 3-3-3 on the road (good) and at home is also 3-3-3 (not so good).

11. COLUMBUS (6-6-6), 12. Crew SC has yet to sort out a few issues of cohesion and consistency, but Kei Kamara and Ethan Finlay are on the same page. Kamara set up Finlay twice in a 2-1 defeat of the Red Bulls. Kamara leads the league in goals (12), Finlay in assists (10), and their combined totals of 17 and 15, respectively, are unrivaled in MLS.

12. MONTREAL (5-7-3), 11. A penalty kick converted by Ignacio Piatti brought Montreal even with New York City FC for about five minutes of a 2-1 defeat. The Impact outshot NYCFC, 25-10, but after tying the game a shot got by keeper Evan Bush that he said he should have saved.

13. NY RED BULLS (6-6-5), 13. Another goal for Anatole Abang, whose brazenness and speed are causing opposing teams a lot of headaches, pushed NYRB in front early at Columbus. Bradley Wright-Phillips provided the pass that Abang stuck away in the eighth minute for his third goal, but New York -- perhaps drained by the midweek Open Cup triumph over the Cosmos -- wilted in the second half of a 2-1 loss.

14. PHILADELPHIA (5-10-4), 14. The Union sat out the weekend after beating D.C. United, 2-1, in the U.S. Open Cup and plays at Portland Saturday. It has no midweek league games for the rest of the season, so if it falls short of the playoffs, the schedule can’t be blamed.

15. NEW YORK CITY (5-8-5), 18. City bounced back from a loss in Hudson River Derby last week to beat the Impact, 2-1, in Montreal. David Villa added two more elegant goals -- one with either foot -- to his MLS portfolio; he shot low inside the far corner to provide a 1-0 lead and five minutes after an equalizer he slipped a free kick around the defensive wall. Josh Saunders played one of his better games and finished with eight saves. The world waits to see if DPs Frank Lampard and Andres Pirlo will be on the field Sunday when NYCFC hosts TFC and Sebastian Giovinco.

16. HOUSTON (5-7-6), 15. A bevy of missed chances left the Dynamo deadlocked with Chicago, 1-1. Alex scored against his former team but a bad miss by Will Bruin and a few other squandered opportunities left Houston with just one win in the last six matches. Honduras issued a late callup to replace Ever Alvarado with Luis Garrido on the Gold Cup roster but Brad Davis was replaced on the U.S. squad and played the first 77 minutes.

17. REAL SALT LAKE (5-6-8), 16. RSL couldn’t exploit a man-advantage for the entire second half at home against Orlando City in a 1-1 tie. Sebastian Jaime equalized with a header that marked his fourth straight home game with a goal, and after Kaka’s red card RSL forced a few good saves but nothing else. One in win the last seven games and the next few weeks without five Gold Cup players -- including Nick Rimando and Kyle Beckerman (USA) and Alvaro Saborio (Costa Rica) -- aren’t encouraging.

18. NEW ENGLAND (6-8-6), 17. The Revs aren’t out -- they are still tied for second place in the Eastern Conference -- but they are definitely down after a 3-0 loss at FC Dallas that was their fourth straight loss. They were battling FCD at 1-0 when a pair of counterattacks finished them off. Last year’s loss skid reached eight games before New England rebounded and with 14 games left, it must get out of this tailspin soon. On Saturday, it plays the Red Bulls, which is one of only two teams New England has beaten in the last 12 games.

19. COLORADO (3-6-9), 19. The goal-challenged Rapids scored in the second minute through Vicente Sanchez and downed Vancouver, 2-1, on DP Kevin Doyle’s first MLS goal. They left Rosales unmarked on a throw-in and he set up the equalizer, but Doyle headed a Lucas Pittinari serve off the base of the post to win it.

20. CHICAGO (4-9-3), 20. In his first league start in 10 months following ACL surgery, Patrick Nyarko hit a late equalizer that broke a four-game losing streak and brought the Fire a 1-1 tie in Houston. Mike Magee, out since last August while recovering from hip and leg surgeries, played 31 minutes in his MLS return.

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