MLS Power Rankings: Change at the top

You want parity? MLS has it.

After just two rounds of play, only three teams are 2-0-0 and four of last year’s eight quarterfinalists -- the Red Bulls, Columbus, Vancouver, and Seattle -- are 0-8-0 combined.

Montreal followed up with its opening-weekend victory in Vancouver by thrashing the Red Bulls, 3-0, at the Olympic Stadium to claim first place in the Soccer America Power Rankings. Sporting Kansas City added to the ‘Caps woes by beating them, 2-0, to take second. By rallying for a 2-2 tie at Yankee Stadium, Toronto FC moved into third, a rung ahead of San Jose, which beat defending champion Portland, 2-1.

MLS Week 2 Results
March 11
Orlando City 1 Chicago 1 Highlights 
March 12
New England 0 D.C. United 0 Highlights
Montreal 3 New York 0 Highlights
Real Salt Lake 2 Seattle 1 Highlights
Colorado 1 LA Galaxy 0 Highlights
Columbus 1 Philadelphia 2 Highlights
Sporting Kansas City 2 Vancouver 1 Highlights
Houston 5 FC Dallas 0 Highlights
March 13
New York City FC 2, Toronto FC 2 Highlights
San Jose 2, Portland 1 Highlights

 The MLS Power Rankings are based solely on results in league matches.

1. MONTREAL (2-0-0), 5. A big rout of the Big Bad Red Bulls at the Big O? Oui. Ignacio Piatti played a vital ball in the buildup to the first goal by Dominic Oduro and converted a great feed from Danny Toia to tally the second in a 3-0 victory. Lucas Ontivero blazed one shot just over the bar and nailed another off the post. Keeper Evan Bush set the stage for Piatti by stoning Bradley Wright-Phillips from point-blank range. Expected to return next weekend at FC Dallas is Didier Drogba.

2. SPORTING KC (2-0-0), 6. Last year Dom Dwyer’s goal production dropped from 22 to 12, and the offseason departure of Krisztian Nemeth cast a cloud over the SKC attack, but Dwyer scored twice in the first half to spark a 2-1 defeat of Vancouver. In between a Dwyer belter off the underside of the crossbar and tap-in of a Chance Myers cross created by Graham Zusi, keeper Tim Melia denied Kekuta Manneh one-v-one.

3. TORONTO FC (1-0-1), 3. Down two goals at Yankee Stadium? No problem when you have Sebastian Giovinco. The Atomic Ant equalized with an excellent, low shot after defender Damien Perquis had tucked his free kick into the net. TFC is still sorting out a few issues in the middle of the field and is only one-quarter of the way through its eight-game road swing, but most of the signs point up.

4. SAN JOSE (2-0-0), 8. Chris Wondolowski’s 111th MLS goal preceded a spectacular strike from Quincy Amarikwa by which the Timbers were toppled, 2-1. Defender Clarence Goodson’s monster game included a half-field sprint and lunging block of a point-blank opportunity. Fatai Alashe played 71 minutes in his first league appearance since sports-hernia surgery. In his first MLS start, rookie Kip Colvey recovered from a shaky beginning to slip a ball Anibal Godoy centered for Wondo to stick away. Nice vibes at Avaya.

5. HOUSTON. (1-0-1), 14. Ruthlessly opportunistic, the Dynamo punished some slack FCD marking and other errors in a 5-0 rout. Ricardo Clark’s left-footed stinger was best of the four goals run up by the 27th minute yet Andrew Wenger shone brightest by serving a cross David Horst headed home, cutting back a ball into Clark’s path, and scoring himself after a comical defensive mixup. Thus was snapped a five-game winless streak in the Texas showdown. 

6. REAL SALT LAKE (1-0-1), 10. There may be a new star forming in the RSL midfield. In his home debut against Seattle Sunday Stephen Obayan nailed an equalizer from a Joao Plata corner kick and chipped in defensively with four tackles and three interceptions. Plata also played a ball that Juan Manuel Martinez crossed for Jamison Olave to head the winner in the 86th minute. 

7. NEW YORK CITY FC (1-0-1), 7. Goals by David Villa four minutes apart built a 2-0 lead NYCFC couldn’t hold in its home opener. Villa converted a penalty kick in the 24th minute and then controlled a deflected ball with his arm to slot the second. TFC got a goal back on a poorly defended free kick and conceded again when Giovinco ran loose. After two games, NYCFC is second in goals scored (6) and tied for the league lead in goals conceded (5). 

8. PORTLAND (1-1-0), 1. Amarikwa’s fabulous goal turned out to be the winner, but it was the first goal conceded by Portland that infuriated head coach Caleb Porter. A back line missing captain Liam Ridgewell (hamstring strain) allowed only three shots but two of them hit the net. Near misses proved to be costly; Lucas Melano squibbed a roller wide from close range and smashed another attempt off the crossbar, and Diego Chara’s shot hit the post. 

9. PHILADELPHIA (1-1-0), 20. The Union won for the first time in Columbus, 2-1, thanks to newcomer Chris Pontius, who hadn’t scored twice in a game for nearly four years. Six saves by Andre Blake staved off Crew SC until the 87th minute; he’s the early leader in the clubhouse with 14 on the season. Philly prevailed in duels won (51-43) and tackles won (17-11) as well as on the scoreboard.

10. LA GALAXY (1-1-0), 4. Oh, Omar, where art thou? Seconds away from a goalless point in Colorado, the Galaxy left Dick’s Sporting Goods Park stunned by Marco Pappa’s venomous volley in the 95th minute set up by a weak Daniel Steres’ clearance. Steres had earlier been cautioned for dragging down Kevin Doyle in desperation after scuffing a touch near the midfield line. The Galaxy needed seven saves by keeper Brian Rowe to stay at 0-0 until the final moments. 

11. COLORADO (1-1-0), 19. The Rapids came away from back-to-back games against the California teams by beating the Galaxy by the same score by which they lost to San Jose last week. Newcomer Shkelzen Gashi forced a pair of good saves and curled another shot just wide. Pappa came into the game midway through the second half and twice put shots on frame before hammering home a shot that rewarded Colorado’s 58.4 percent of possession. 

12. FC DALLAS (1-1-0), 2. It’s hard to pick the worst moment of that 5-0 disaster. It’s easier to pick on those most culpable. Yes, Matt Hedges – under no pressure at all -- steered a ball past his own keeper but Houston scorched left back Maynor Figueroa so often he was moved into the middle for the second half. Those two crossed paths and presented Houston with its fourth goal. So far Carlos Gruezo doesn’t look like an major upgrade in central midfield.

13. NEW ENGLAND. (0-0-2), 9. A solid defensive showing enabled goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth to post the 30th shutout of his MLS career. In a 0-0 tie at Gillette Stadium the Revs allowed just two shots on goal. Lee Nguyen drilled a shot off the crossbar as New England dominated in shots (18-8) and possession (nearly 60 percent).

14. ORLANDO CITY SC (0-0-2), 13. The Lions played yet another exciting and ultimately disappointing game. In a 1-1 tie with Chicago, Cyle Larin’s goal in the fourth minute provided a 1-0 lead that evaporated when a long ball out of the back victimized defender Seb Hines, and the home crowd left disappointed after an hour of play with a man advantage failed to produce a winning goal.

15. D.C. UNITED (0-1-1), 18. Forced to hand a first MLS start to No. 3 goalkeeper Travis Worra because of a midweek injury sustained in training by Andrew Dykstra, United dug in for a 0-0 tie at New England. On just a day’s notice, Worra’s parents, girlfriend, and a few of his former University of New Hampshire teammates watched him make three saves and earn a shutout on his debut.

16. CHICAGO (0-1-1), 17. After a frantic opening period at Orlando City in which David Accam equalized and then hit the post, the Fire went down to 10 men in the 32nd minute and held on grimly for a 1-1 tie. Michael Harrington departed after planting his foot into Brek Shea but the Fire came away with a point and committed just eight fouls while playing a man short for nearly an hour. 

17. SEATTLE (0-2-0), 12. Starting his first MLS game on his 23rd birthday, keeper Tyler Miller began well by tipping away a Plata shot, but RSL scored its winner when he lost a jump ball against Olave. More worrying for Seattle is a 1-0 lead -- provided by Osvaldo Alonso’s goal from a rebound in the 28th minute -– wiped out by conceding a wide-open header from a corner kick, and a knee injury that sent Erik Friberg to the bench in the 14th minute.

18.COLUMBUS (0-2-0), 11. Kei Kamara crashed home his 75th MLS goal but Crew SC dropped a second straight loss. To Philly. At home. Columbus fell behind in first-half stoppage time on a throw-in and after conceding again from a careless clearance couldn’t match the Union’s second goal. Still, it took 19 shots and lacked only a finishing touch a few times. Yet two defensive breakdowns are reminders of the 53 goals conceded last year. 

19. VANCOUVER (0-2-0), 16. Down 2-0 to Dwyer’s goals and a man short stemming from a straight red card to Jordan Smith, the ‘Caps got a goal back on Pedro Morales’ penalty kick but came up on the short end for the second week in a row. Nevertheless, head coach Carl Robinson lauded his team’s character for its spirited display in the second half. Smith’s reckless tackle will add at least one additional game to his suspension.

20. NY RED BULLS (0-2-0), 15. Once a terrible giveaway by defender Gideon Baah, who had done all right up to that point, opened the door for Montreal to take the lead in the 58th minute, the Red Bulls couldn’t cope. They conceded a second goal after a good save foiled Bradley Wright-Phillips from point-blank range and conceded a third in the final seconds.

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