A relentless display at StubHub Center turned the weekend’s mega-market marquee game into a 5-1 rout of New York City FC and propelled the LA Galaxy into the top spot in Soccer America's MLS Power Rankings.
1. LA GALAXY (13-7-7), 2. If possible, the Galaxy is looking scarier on the field than on paper. The juggernaut started a bit slowly in a high-noon showdown with New York City FC, but was simply overpowering from about the 20th minute on. The onslaught keyed by Robbie Keane (two goals, two assists) produced 23 shots, including a dozen on frame, and blew through NYCFC nearly at will for most of the second half. Winner of four straight and eight of the last 10, the Galaxy is atop the conference, the overall rankings and the shortlist of possible MLS Cup finalists.
2. NY RED BULLS (11-6-6), 3. With 11 games to play after sitting out last week, NYRB has to be given a chance to not only win the Eastern Conference but the Supporters’ Shield as well. After games in Chicago and at home against D.C. United this week, the Red Bulls take another week off before playing their final nine games in 45 days (Sept. 11-Oct.25).
3. VANCOUVER (14-9-3), 6. The first team to 14 wins racked up a solid 1-0 defeat of FC Dallas, its fourth win in the last five games. Cristian Techera scored his third goal in as many matches; a swarming defensive effort limited the high-powered FCD attack to just two shots on goal while notching a 10th shutout. Gershon Koffie was a monster in midfield as he and central partner Matias Laba registered five interceptions apiece; Vancouver’s team total of 32 is a season high. After a busy week -- at home against Montreal in the Canadian Championship, a league game in Houston -- the ‘Caps take a short break until Sept. 9.
4. SPORTING KC (11-6-7), 1. Head coach Peter Vermes refused to blame fatigue for a 5-0 embarrassment inflicted by San Jose at Sporting Park and a 3-2 loss at Columbus that SKC led,2-1, with 10 minutes to play. A great goal by Graham Zusi gave SKC its second one-goal lead at Columbus but a run of five games in 15 days took a toll. It plays its next three on the road, starting Saturday at Colorado.
5. D.C. UNITED (13-9-5), 4. Losing to a Western Conference team struggling to make the playoffs didn't do much for the prestige of the Eastern Conference leader. United surrendered an early goal -- which it did for the third straight game -- and struggled futilely to catch up while putting just four of 23 shots on target. A two-game losing streak isn't cause for panic, but those early goals are a concern; D.C. has allowed nine goals in the first 15 minutes of its games, the most in MLS.
6. PORTLAND (11-8-7), 7. In his second MLS start, Lucas Melano did just what an DP-attacker acquired in midseason is supposed to do; generate goals. The Argentine slipped a ball that Darlington Nagbe drove into the net and then nailed the winner by swiveling sweetly to volley Diego Valeri’s serve. His blazing speed enabled the Timbers to rally after falling behind at home, where they are 8-1-5 this season. A flying forearm to the neck of “Cubo” Torres by Diego Chara in the final minutes earned him a straight red card and he will miss -- at the very least -- the trip to Seattle on Sunday.
7. COLUMBUS (10-8-8), 9. Crew SC came back twice, overcoming a 2-1 deficit to gain a 2-2 tie with NYCFC on Cedrick’s first goal for the club, and rallying to beat SKC, 3-2, when Tony Tchani equalized in the 80th minute and Jack McInerney headed the winner eight minutes later. In the first game, Kei Kamara scored his league-high 18th goal and set up Cedrick for the tying goal. Federico Higuainhad a hand in all three goals against SKC. Both games were at home, where Crew SC’s 20 goals allowed is second-highest in MLS. Three of its next four are on the road, starting with a return match against NYCFC and the team's first visit to Yankee Stadium on Saturday./p>
8. FC DALLAS (11-8-5), 5. FCD was blanked for the second time in the last three games, 1-0, at Vancouver, and created very few chances. Five of its meager seven shots were blocked. Fabian Castillo was closely tracked and central partners Victor Ulloa and Kellyn Acosta, who are drawing tight marking and constant pressure by opponents, were stifled. FCD can get back on track this weekend against RSL at home, where it had won four straight league games prior to losing, 2-1, to the Galaxy Aug. 15.
9. TORONTO FC (10-10-4), 10. Michael Bradley picked up three assists from the middle of the park and Jozy Altidore came off the bench to score twice as TFC exploited a disorganized team that finished with nine men for a 5-0 win over Orlando City. Sebastian Giovinco scored again from a free kick, this one caroming into the net off the inside of the post. On the sobering side, TFC has won just three of its last 10 games -- two of them against OCSC -- while conceding 22 goals
10. SAN JOSE (10-10-5), 12. Rather than look forward to a run of four straight games at home, the Quakes romped on the road. They overran a tired SKC team, 5-0, before heading further east to knock off D.C. United, 2-0. Cordell Cato, stationed at right mid after getting a run at right back, scored twice against SKC, as did Chris Wondolowski, and Shea Salinas logged two assists. Wondo and Salinas got the goals at RFK as the defense bagged its third straight shutout victory. The Galaxy comes to town this week to play under the Friday night lights.
11. HOUSTON (8-9-8), 11. Missing Giles Barnes, DaMarcus Beasley and Ricardo Clark because of injury, the Dynamo jumped in front of Portland, 2-0, on goals by Boniek Garcia and Will Bruin before succumbing twice in the final quarter of an hour. This was a glaring case of road points squandered and up next is a match at equally desperate Colorado.
12. MONTREAL (8-10-4), 8. The MLS debut of Didier Drogba, who entered in the 59th minute, wasn’t the only milestone attained at Stade Saputo on Saturday. Justin Mapp’s entry off the bench earned him the distinction of the youngest player (30 years, 10 months) in league history to make his 300th appearance, and was his first competitive action since fracturing his arm and elbow in early March. In his 21 minutes, Drogba took two shots and knocked down a ball that Johan Venegas shot wide.
13. NEW ENGLAND (9-9-7), 14. The Revs sat out the weekend -- their second such break this month -- heading into their final nine games of the season, during which they play both Philadelphia and Montreal twice. They start out Saturday against Philly at PPL Park, where they won, 2-1, in mid-April. They’ve recovered from a five-game losing streak by going 3-0-1; the attack is clicking and Jermaine Jones looks ready to resume his dominant role. There is, however, little margin for error.
14. SEATTLE (11-13-2), 13. The Sounders, as it turns out, are not quite as revived as some observers had preached after a thumping of Orlando and a comeback CCL triumph over Olimpia. RSL took advantage of a handball called against Roman Torres to score its first goal and some sluggish Seattle reaction to a shot off the crossbar to grab a second. Obafemi Martins brought his usual tenacity and energy to the fray but for the most part RSL dealt with the replacements for absentees Clint Dempsey, Osvaldo Alonso and Marco Pappa. The double-dip this week is worse: in Honduras Wednesday to play Olimpia, back home Sunday against Portland.
15. COLORADO (6-9-9), 16. A 1-0 defeat of Chicago may be the start of yet another streak; in their previous nine games the Rapids had sandwiched three-game losing streaks around a run of three straight victories. Dillon Serna tucked away a cross from Gabriel Torres 48 seconds into the match and Colorado, remarkably, held the lead all the way. Keeper Clint Irwin did his part with a few sharp saves and escaped punishment when he handled outside the penalty area.
16. REAL SALT LAKE (8-10-8), 17. One of its best efforts of the season earned a just reward for opportunism as well as effort. Javier Morales ruthlessly put away a penalty kick and Sebastian Jaime pounced on a Luke Mulholland blast off the crossbar to head home the rebound. Up 2-0 early in a home match at Rio Tinto Stadium, RSL managed its way to a crucial victory.
17. PHILADELPHIA (7-13-6), 18. The Union posted a second straight shutout on the road for the first time in two years and Andre Blake got the zero in his first start of 2015 in Montreal. Sebastien Le Toux’s sixth goal of the season moved the Union to a point back of sixth-place Montreal, which has played four fewer games, so the postseason remains well off in the distance. Still, Philly handled well the hoopla of Drogba’s debut. It needs another big effort at home Saturday against New England to keep the dream alive.
18. NEW YORK CITY FC (7-12-7), 15. The week started very well with a 2-2 tie in Columbus built on the shoulders of Kwadwo Poku, who scored both goals after a long weather delay, but a 5-1 Sunday smackdown at Stub Hub Center was NYCFC’s third loss in the last five games. NYCFC also blew a 2-1 lead in Ohio by conceding a goal six minutes after it had taken the lead. David Villa converted a PK against the Galaxy for his 15th goal of the season and took an amazing total of 10 shots, but his teammates managed just three combined. Frank Lampard's quad strain kept him off the field again.
19. ORLANDO CITY SC (7-12-7), 19. A week after finishing with 10 men in a 4-0 loss at Seattle, the Lions ended the game with nine in Toronto. Rafael Ramos was dismissed in the 36th minute and he was joined late in the game by Adrian Winter, whose giveaway had opened the door for TFC’s first goal. The Lions lead the league in red cards (nine) and minutes played while shorthanded (311). OCSC has been outscored, 18-4, in its last four road games and overall is 1-6-1 in the last eight.
20. CHICAGO (6-13-5), 20. You can’t lose a home game to the worst team in the other conference at this stage of the season, not with 89 minutes to recover from falling behind. There was plenty of effort but not enough poise nor luck. Newly acquired Gilberto made his home debut and in stoppage time bounced a shot off the post. Twenty shots and 68 percent possession yielded a fourth loss in the last seven games.