MLS Power Rankings: Red Bulls take over first place

Fighting back from a 2-0 deficit to beat Chicago, 3-2, moved the New York Red Bulls past the LA Galaxy and into top spot in Soccer America's MLS Power Rankings.

All of the top six teams except the Galaxy posted victories last week and though several teams are close to clinching playoff berths the balanced races in both conferences are keeping everyone’s hopes alive.
 
MLS Results, Week 28:
Sept. 9
Vancouver 2, Colorado 0 Highlights
Portland 0, Sporting KC 0 Highlights
Sept. 11
NY Red Bulls 3, Chicago 2 Highlights
Sept. 12
Philadelphia 1, Columbus 2 Highlights
Houston 1, Real Salt Lake 3 Highlights
FC Dallas 2, New York City FC 1 Highlights
Colorado 1, D.C. United 1 Highlights
LA Galaxy 0, Montreal 0 Highlights
San Jose 1, Seattle 1 Highlights
Sept. 13
Toronto FC 1, New England 3 Highlights
Orlando City 3, Sporting KC 1 Highlights
Only MLS results affect the Power Rankings. A team’s current rank is followed by its record in parentheses and ranking last week. 

1. NY RED BULLS (13-7-6), 2. Down 2-0 at Chicago after 26 minutes, the Red Bulls rallied with goals by Bradley Wright-Phillips and Mike Grella before halftime and wrapped up a 3-2 victory with a penalty kick from Sacha Kljestan, whose pass to Wright-Phillips started the comeback. Conceding five goals to the Fire in two games isn’t a great confidence-builder as the postseason approaches, but seven wins in the last nine matches is the kind of form that could win a Supporters’ Shield.

2. LA GALAXY (13-8-8), 1. Blanked at home for the first time since it lost its only home game of the year in early June to Vancouver, the Galaxy took a point against Montreal. In just his second MLS start, defender David Romney, 22, helped contain Didier Drogba but a six-game home winning streak during which the Galaxy had scored 27 goals ground to a halt. Giovani Dos Santos departed at halftime with a sore groin and without him the Galaxy failed to put a shot on goal.

3. VANCOUVER (14-10-3), 3. The ‘Caps needed 73 minutes to break down the Rapids and carved out a 2-0 victory thanks again to Cristian Techera, who served a cross that Octavio Rivero headed home for the first goal and then scored his sixth goal of the year after scuffing an initial shot. If each conference named a Newcomer of the Year, Techera would be among the Western leaders. “The Bug” (he’s 5-foot-2) has also notched four assists in 17 appearances.

4. FC DALLAS (14-8-5). 4. A hyperextended knee that sidelined Victor Ulloa -- he had started 50 consecutive games -- granted Michel his first start in nearly three months, and he racked up an "olimpico’:and an assist in a 2-1 defeat of New York City FC. Michel fed Tesho Akindele with a chip to set up the first goal and curled in the second himself directly from the corner arc. Keeper Jesse Gonzalez, 20, posted his second shutout in four consecutive starts. FCD’s season of streaks continues: it won its third straight after a run of three straight losses that followed five straight wins.

5. COLUMBUS (12-9-8), 5. Two more goals for Kei Kamara, including his 11th headed strike of the season, pushed Crew SC past Philly, 2-1 and a fourth win in the last six games. The league leader took his total to 20 and bagged two goals in a game for the sixth time this season. Both goals were products of good combination play by right back Harrison Afful and playmaker Federico Higuain. Defender Emanuel Pogatetz, who weeks ago questioned why he’d been benched, ended a two-month layoff by coming on as a sub in the 84th minute.

6. NEW ENGLAND (12-9-7), 8. Another fine goal by Diego Fagundez, who scored a goal in a third straight game and has already matched his 2014 stats of five goals and four assists, was the winner in a 3-1 victory at Toronto. The Revs exploited an own goal in the fourth minute to sit back and hit on the counter, and polished off the victory when sub Kelyn Rowe capitalized on a defensive miscue. Five straight wins have propelled them into the discussion for conference title.

7. PORTLAND (11-9-7), 9. The Timbers failed to win at home but moved up in the rankings regardless more or less by default. They did post their league-high 12th shutout of the year but were denied several times by sharp goalkeeping at the other end and thus played their fifth 0-0 game of the season.

8. TORONTO FC (11-12-4), 6. An atrocious giveaway in the TFC penalty area by Michael Bradley handed Orlando City the clinching goal despite a 21-7 shot advantage. A Robbie Findley shot hit the crossbar and a Sebastian Giovinco attempt was cleared off the goal line, yet Damien Perquis knocked a ball into the wrong goal in the fourth minute. TFC has lost four of its last six and is 7-4-1 at home.

9. SAN JOSE (11-11-6), 7. The Quakes rebounded with a much better effort a week after losing to Philly at home, but squandered a 1-0 lead and wound up tied with Seattle, 1-1. Matias Perez Garcia, a 70th-minute sub, jogged off the bench straight to a free kick and Fatai Alashe headed his serve into the net, but a dozen minutes later they failed to clear a rebound and Seattle equalized. San Jose plays the last of three straight home games Wednesday against Montreal and will join Seattle in fourth place by winning.

10. SPORTING KC (11-8-8), 10. Clunkers from several attackers, including Dom Dwyer, Benny Feilhaber and Graham Zusi, along with some poor play in the back condemned SKC to a 3-1 loss in Orlando that was its fourth in the last five games. Krisztian Nemeth battled through a challenge to drill an equalizer into the top corner, but the backline crumbled twice and in the final minutes Dwyer’s foolish bump of an opponent drew a red card. Aside from a nice ball that set up Nemeth to score, Feilhaber disappeared for long stretches, and Zusi misfired on two good scoring opportunities.

11. D.C. UNITED (13-10-6), 11. A 1-1 tie in Colorado stopped the rot of a three-game losing streak, but only just. In the 87th minute, Steve Birnbaum headed home Fabian Espindola’s cross to score only United’s second goal in four matches. 

12. SEATTLE (13-13-3), 12. Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins were stymied for most of the match at San Jose, but in the 82nd minute Martins reacted quickest to a saved header and acrobatically volleyed in the rebound. The malady curse continued and extended beyond the players: Nelson Valdez, Roman Torres, and Brad Evans were all forced to the sidelines, and Torres is out for the season with a knee injury. Assistant coach Brian Schmetzer managed the team in place of Sigi Schmid, who had stayed behind in Seattle for health reasons.

13. HOUSTON (9-11-8) 13. A crushing 3-1 home loss to Real Salt Lake was its third in the last five games and further clouded Dynamo playoff hopes. Two sharp saves by Tyler Deric near the end of the first half staved off RSL but two other rebounds wound up in the net and Houston conceded again shortly after Brad Davis converted a PK. Houston winds up is schedule against Eastern Conference teams Saturday in Philadelphia and has five more games against Western teams to climb up the standings.

14. COLORADO (8-9-10), 14. The Rapids held onto a 1-0 lead provided by Bobby Burling’s second goal of the season for nearly an hour but a goal in the 87th minute yielded a 1-1 tie. They lead the league in ties and continue to languish at the bottom of the goalscoring charts with 0.93 per game. The league average is 1.36.

15. MONTREAL (9-11-5), 15. The Impact held the Galaxy without a goal at StubHub Center to earn a 0-0 tie that was its first road shutout since posting a similar scoreline at New England in mid-March. Starters Ambroise Oyongo (rested after international duty) and Laurent Ciman (suspended) didn’t play, but a solid defensive effort and four saves by Evan Bush notched a fifth league shutout in 2015. Montreal plays at San Jose Wednesday in a game pushed back from late April to accommodate its CCL schedule then return home to play New England in its third game in eight days.

16. REAL SALT LAKE (9-11-8), 17. Playing catchup in a playoff chase requires winning on the road and RSL did just that in Houston after losing eight straight away. After a big save by Nick Rimando midway through the first half kept the game scoreless, goals by Javier Morales and Devon Sandoval opened up a 2-0 lead and Juan Manuel Martinez scored the clincher after RSL conceded a PK. Still, RSL’s 3-1 victory left both teams six points out of the playoff tier.

17. PHILADELPHIA (8-15-6), 16. Philly fell behind, 2-0, at home and produced only C.J. Sapong’s eighth goal of the season in a 2-1 loss to Crew SC that was its league-leading seventh home defeat. A shot by Sebastien Le Toux was tipped onto the crossbar as the Union lost its second straight game at PPL Park, where it plays Houston Sunday with no more margin for error.

18. CHICAGO (7-15-6), 18. The Fire grabbed a 2-0 lead at Red Bull Arena Friday and seemed poised to beat NYRB for the fourth straight time, but instead it fell, 3-2. Jeff Larentowicz converted a PK awarded for a foul on Kennedy Igboananike, and David Accam’s eighth goal produced a 2-0 lead after 26 minutes but by halftime the game was tied and a foul by Michael Stephens gave the Red Bulls their winning PK.

19. ORLANDO CITY (8-13-8), 20. With a season-ticket renewal date looming (Tuesday), the Lions provided strong incentive by belting TFC. Adrian Winter’s first MLS goal was also the earliest scored by TFC in league play and Brek Shea celebrated his return to action from a three-month injury layoff by setting up Bryan Rochez for his first league goal. Winter’s second goal clinched just the second win in the past dozen games for OCSC, which kept Kaka on the bench because of a strained leg muscle he suffered playing for Brazil.

20. NEW YORK CITY FC (7-14-7), 19. Keeper Josh Saunders let Michel's corner kick slip between him and the near post, which was the winning goal in a 2-1 loss to FC Dallas. NYCFC generated 13 shots but only a Patrick Mullins penalty kick hit the net. NYCFC has scored five goals in the last four games but has conceded 11, which is why it has three losses and one tie in those matches.

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