MLS Power Rankings: Tim Howard brings luck to Rapids

Colorado wasn’t able to mark Tim Howard’s return to MLS with a victory but by battling Portland to a 0-0 tie held top spot by a narrow margin over FC Dallas, which blasted Orlando City SC, 4-0.

Montreal’s comeback victory over New England moved the Impact into the top five. New York City’s first triumph over the Red Bulls also pushed it up the rankings a few notches while Eastern Conference rival Philadelphia dropped several spots.

Week 17 Results
July 1

Chicago 1, San Jose 0. Highlights
Real Salt Lake 1, D.C. United 1. Highlights
July 2
Toronto 1, Seattle 1.
Montreal 3, New England 2. Highlights
Houston 1, Philadelphia 0 . Highlights
July 3
New York City 2, NY Red Bulls 0. Highlights
Sporting KC 3, Columbus 2. Highlights
July 4
FC Dallas 4, Orlando City 0. Highlights
LA Galaxy 2, Vancouver 0. Highlights
Colorado 0, Portland 0. Highlights
Only MLS results are factored into the Power Rankings, which include a team’s record in parentheses and ranking last week.
1.COLORADO (9-2-6), 1. Along with a great reputation and tons of experience, Tim Howard brought a bit of luck with him to his MLS debut. Two Timbers shots hit the post, and he also stoned Darren Mattocks and Lucas Melano one-v-one to register his first league shutout since 2003. Also stopped on a breakaway was Shkelzen Gashi, who put all three of his shots on target without reward.

2. FC DALLAS (10-5-4), 2. Defenders Walter Zimmerman and Matt Hedges accounted for two of the goals and Mauro Diaz picked up two assists as FCD won a second straight game. Holding Orlando City SC to zero shots on goal also deserves mention.

3. REAL SALT LAKE (8-5-4), 4. Head coach Jeff Cassar didn’t use his first sub until the 80th minute despite going into extra time two days prior in the Open Cup, and a few players decided not to kill time when they probably should have, so a wonderfully dinked goal by Juan Martinez didn’t yield the victory it deserved. RSL is grinding out points to stay in the playoff tier: 11 in the last seven games.

4. PORTLAND (6-6-6), 7. The Timbers couldn’t quite spoil Howard’s return yet still managed a point. Fanendo Adi blasted a drive off the far post and in stoppage time chested a ball down into the wheelhouse of Ned Grabavoy, whose shot nicked the woodwork. Jake Gleeson’s four saves helped Portland extend its unbeaten run to six games (three wins, three ties) even though the overall record isn’t so great.
5. MONTREAL (6-4-6), 8. Rookie Michael Salazar replaced Didier Drogba (strained hamstring) and bagged his first two MLS goals as the Impact rallied from a 2-0 deficit. A penalty kick by Ignacio Piatti opened up a 3-2 lead and Montreal was able to keep Kei Kamara off the scoresheet the rest of the way.

6. NEW YORK CITY (7-5-6), 11. So all this Jack Harrison kid did in his first Hudson River derby is befuddle two opponents to score in the eighth minute, then join a counterattack and center a ball for David Villa to bag the clincher. For the second time this season, NYCFC has won three straight and looks like a real team. Now what happens?

7. LA GALAXY (6-3-8), 9. Surprise, surprise. In his first MLS game since returning from the European Championship, Irish striker Robbie Keane curls a great goal into the top corner. Steven Gerrard assisted on that goal and also served up a corner kick that Jeff Larentowicz -- with the aid of a push -- headed home. Brian Rowe doesn’t get mentioned as a top keeper but he’s got 60 saves and four shutouts. Thus did the Galaxy break a seven-game winless run that included five ties despite a red card delivered to Nigel de Jong for a wild tackle.

8. PHILADELPHIA (7-6-5), 3. A third loss in the last four games is more concerning than the 1-0 defeat to the last-place team in the Western Conference, even though said goal was scored by a former Philly player in the final seconds. Philly was outshot, 18-8, and six saves by Andre Blake were wasted.

9. NY RED BULLS (7-9-2), 5. Losing a derby game for the first time is sour enough, but the Red Bulls have also come within one of their loss total from last season. At Yankee Stadium they had nine corner kicks and 13 shots but other than a good chance that Felipe squandered weren’t all that incisive near goal.

10. VANCOUVER (7-8-3), 6. Rumored transfer target Kekuta Manneh didn’t dress -- a coach’s decision, according to the team–- and the ‘Caps lost for the third time in the last five games. Octavio Rivero -- another possible departee – was also held out yet they launched 26 shots.

11. SAN JOSE (5-5-7), 10. Stuck in a rut – four ties and no wins in their last six games – the Quakes have slipped out of the playoff tier. They mustered only six shots while losing to the league’s worst team as they were forced to again use midfielder Fatai Alashe at centerback.

12. SPORTING KC (7-8-3), 14. For just the sixth time in his eight MLS seasons, defender Matt Besler entered a game as a sub, and in the 91st minute he scored his first goal since 2011 to win the game. SKC failed to control the game despite playing with a man advantage following Benny Feilhaber’s equalizer from the penalty spot early in the second half and a go-ahead goal by Graham Zusiin the 56th minute.

13. TORONTO FC (5-6-5), 13. A second goal in as many games by Jordan Hamilton, who tapped in the rebound of a saved Sebastian Giovinco shot, provided a 1-0 lead TFC gave away in about a minute. But it did hold on to get its third tie in the last six games.

14. ORLANDO CITY (4-4-8), 12. Nothing positive to report except the heroics of keeper Joe Bendik, who kept the Lions within a touchdown.

15. D.C. UNITED (5-6-6), 15. Another amazing game from Bill Hamid and a stoppage-time header by sub Jared Jeffrey earned United a point it probably didn’t deserve. Several of Hamid’s seven saves were spectacular and he kept the game within range until Jeffrey nailed Fabian Espindola’s corner kick.

16. HOUSTON (4-8-5), 18. A first win as head coach for Wade Barrett arrived in dramatic fashion: a last-minute free kick by ex-Union midfielder Cristian Maidana. Dominance by the Dynamo – it took 18 shots to Philly’s eight – finally got the goal it needed.

17. NEW ENGLAND (4-6-7), 16. There’s your new-look Revs in a nutshell: Kei Kamara scores twice -- nearly two months after being traded by Crew SC -- and the rickety defense crumbles. It’s not all the fault of centerback Jose Goncalves, burned on two of the goals, but the 2013 MLS Defender of the Year looks nothing like his former self.

18. COLUMBUS (3-6-7), 17. It would be hard to blame Ola Kamara for Crew SC’s woes. His two goals gives him seven in just 10 appearances. Eventually, a red card to Tyson Wahl in the 49th minute proved to be too much to overcome, and the road record drops to 0-5-3.

19. SEATTLE (5-9-2), 19. A minute after the Sounders fell behind, Jordan Morris tied the game by collecting a long ball from Joevin Jones, cutting inside two defenders and firing a shot into the top far corner. Clint Dempsey was rested but is expected back to face the Galaxy.

20. CHICAGO (3-7-5), 20. He had to wait nearly five months after his MLS debut, but John Goossens created his first MLS goal himself by chasing down a clearance. He then blasted home a low drive that was enough to earn the Fire its second win in the last five games.

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