MLS Power Rankings: Unbeaten SKC moves into top spot

The only unbeaten and untied team after three weeks has climbed atop the Soccer America MLS Power Rankings.

Sporting Kansas City needed a controversial goal to preserve its perfect mark and with that strike by Brad Davis edged Toronto FC, 1-0. Montreal and San Jose lost after winning their first two games and aside from SKC, only Real Salt Lake and Orlando City have yet to lose. Five teams, including MLS Cup finalist Columbus are winless. Seattle lost at home for the second time this season and is the lone team without a point.

Week 3 Results
March 18
New York City 0 Orlando City 1 Highlights
March 19
Chicago 0 Columbus 0 Highlights
NY Red Bulls 4 Houston 3  Highlights
FC Dallas 2 Montreal 0 Highlights
Seattle 1 Vancouver 2 Highlights
LA Galaxy 3 San Jose 1  Highlights
Portland 2 Real Salt Lake 2  Highlights
March 20
Philadelphia 3 New England 0  Highlights
Sporting KC 1 Toronto FC 0 Highlights
D.C. United 1 Colorado 1  Highlights

The MLS Power Rankings are based solely on MLS results. Most teams will take a week off for the FIFA international break, but three games will be played Saturday, the day before Easter.

1. SPORTING KC (3-0-0), 2. Often maligned during his days with the Dynamo, Brad Davis turned from villain to hero by knocking Justin Morrow off the ball to score the game’s only goal. Keeper Tim Melia had set the stage by stoning Tsubasa Endoh one-v-one with the game goalless. Newcomer Nuno Coelho has brought poise and spirit to a back line that has conceded just one goal.

2. MONTREAL (2-1-0), 1. With 20 minutes remaining and the score 0-0, Didier Drogba made his first appearance of the season, but FCD contained him as well as Ignacio Piatti (zero shots) while scoring two late goals. The injury absences of Ambroise Oyongo and Marco Donadel contributed to a rather lackluster performance and a couple of good chances that fell to Lucas Ontivero, who is still rounding into shape, weren’t converted.

3. REAL SALT LAKE (1-0-2), 6. RSL survived a first-half red card to Kyle Beckerman and the late ejection of Jamison Olave to escape Portland with a 2-2 tie. Joao Plata scored with the teams at even strength and Yura Movsisyan doubled the lead with RSL down to 10 before a tiring defense conceded two goals within five minutes.

4. TORONTO FC (1-1-1), 3. Centerback Josh Williams replaced Drew Moor (illness) and aside from the Davis-Morrow tangle, TFC’s back line held up well while limiting SKC to seven shots. Will Johnson and Tsubasa Endoh failed to put away sweet feeds from Sebastian Giovinco and though late subs Jozy Altidore and Mo Babouli sparked the attack TFC succumbed to its first defeat.

5. PHILADELPHIA (2-1-0), 9. Two sharp finishes by C.J. Sapong made up for a pair of penalty-kick saves that denied Ilsinho and Sebastien Le Toux as the Union exploited a man-advantage of 54 minutes. Andre Blake got the shutout thanks to a sparking save and a free kick that bounced off both posts and into his grasp.

6. LA GALAXY (2-1-0), 10. Gyasi Zardes took advantage of San Jose mistakes to score the first two goals of a victory that hadn’t looked likely with the teams at even strength. Steven Gerrard left after just three minutes with a strained calf but by breaking a personal scoring drought that extended to last August, Zardes gave the Galaxy enough cushion that a bad mistake by Jelle Van Damme cost the team a goal and not a victory.

7. SAN JOSE (2-1-0), 4. The Quakes also lost their first game after losing midfielder Simon Dawkins to a straight red card in first-half stoppage time. A scuffed clearance by rookie left back Kip Colvey enabled the Galaxy to score its winning goal and a clumsy challenge by Victor Bernardez yielded a PK clincher. Midfielder Matias Perez Garcia made his first appearance of the season and Chris Wondolowski scored his third goal in as many games.

8. FC DALLAS (2-1-0), 12. Blitzed for five goals last week in Houston, FCD tightened up the defense and eventually got goals with a great Mauro Diaz free kick and a late Max Urruti strike. So far this season FCD has pitched two shutouts and surrendered five in its other game. Seven players have been called for international duty so what happens after the break is anybody’s guess.

9. ORLANDO CITY SC (1-0-2), 14. The Lions have yet to face a 2015 playoff team but thanks to another goal by , his third in Cyle Larin as many games, and five saves by Joe Bendik they stayed unbeaten. Rafael Ramos got down the right flank to send over the cross that was fumbled and wound up in the net. Kaka sat out again with a thigh strain and both Larin and Antonio Nocerino left the game with slight injuries so the FIFA break is timely.

10. PORTLAND (1-1-1), 8. More craziness at Providence Park, where the 10th two-goal game of Fanendo Adi’s MLS career wiped out a 2-0 deficit and brought the Timbers a 2-2 tie. They needed more than 40 minutes of play to score after RSL went down a man and also conceded a goal despite the man advantage. For the second straight game, the Timbers started strongly yet fell behind.

11. COLORADO (1-1-1), 11. On the day Tim Howard’s acquisition was officially announced, a bad bobble by Zac MacMath enabled United to equalize at RFK. In his first start for the Rapids, Marco Pappa got his first assist with an inswinging corner kick that Dillon Powers nailed home with his head. Pappa started in place of suspended DP Shkelzen Gashi, and though the Rapids generated just eight shots they did come away with a point.

12. HOUSTON (1-1-1), 5. The highest-scoring team in the league (11 goals) has only four points because it has also conceded the most (7). Head coach Owen Coyle said he’d prefer fewer “grey-hair” games like the 4-3 loss at Red Bull Arena in which Will Bruin scored twice to join the league leaders with three goals.

13. VANCOUVER (1-2-0), 19. The ‘Caps took advantage of two penalty-kick calls to prevail in Seattle for the third time in MLS play. Cristian Bolanos probably wasn’t fouled and Blas Perez definitely went down hard; Pedro Morales stepped up to convert both times. Seattle scored its goal on a free kick that gave keeper David Ousted zero chance. Perez played the pass that freed Bolanos and knocked two other balls that produced errant shots. So far, he’s doing the job of a target man.

14. NY RED BULLS (1-2-0), 20. Two brilliant strikes by Felipe into the top corner -- including a free-kick winner -- bailed out an appalling defensive display marred by injuries to several players, including centerbacks Ronald Zubar and Gideon Baah. Since an emergency loan of Matt Miazga by Chelsea is probably out of the question, the Red Bulls at least have the international break to repair a defense that has conceded eight goals in three games.

15. D.C UNITED (0-1-2), 15. A hamstring injury and newborn daughter had pushed Fabian Espindola to a substitute’s role, but he came off the bench to score during a scramble and bag United a point. Patrick Nyarko’s pace on the right wing caused Colorado a few problems. Head coach Ben Olsen praised the team’s possession play but bemoaned another disappointing home result.

16. CHICAGO (0-1-2), 16. The Fire defended as if it was the road team and got the shutout. Columbus outshot Chicago, 12-4, but Matt Lampson’s four saves were enough. The absence of David Accam, sidelined by a sprained knee, impaired the attack and only Gilberto managed a shot on goal.

17. COLUMBUS (0-2-1), 18. An excellent save denied Ethan Finlay in a 0-0 tie at Chicago as Crew SC got its first shutout and point of the season. The attack generated a dozen shots but none by Kei Kamara, who had launched 11 in his first two games.

18. NEW YORK CITY FC (1-2-0), 7. Keeper Josh Saunders slapped a cross right onto the head of Cyle Larin and Mix Diskerud forced saves with all of his three shots but didn’t score as NYCFC fell to Orlando City. The near misses included David Villa’s bicycle kick over the bar and Steven Mendoza’s shot off the post. NYCFC’s three-man back line is jelling as newcomers Ronald Matarrita and Frederic Brillant (on the bench against the Lions) get to know each other as well as the league.

19. NEW ENGLAND (0-1-2), 13. The Revs’ right side was cut open on both of the Union’s first two goals. Lee Nguyen forced a good save with a long-distance shot and hit the inside of both posts on a free kick. Je-Vaughn Watson’s expulsion for a vicious takedown of Roland Alberg effectively sealed the result. Bobby Shuttleworth entered the record books as just the fourth MLS keeper to save two penalties in the same game.

20. SEATTLE (0-3-0), 17. What looked to be a phantom foul whistled against Joevin Jones provided Vancouver with a PK and a crunching tackle by Chad Marshall was similarly punished. Andres Ivanschitz has been Seattle’s best attacker to date and his rocket of a free kick tied the match at 1-1. Clint Dempsey narrowly missed an equalizer with one of his nine shots.

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