MLS Power Rankings: Eastern influence increases

Maligned as residents of the weaker conference, at least a few Eastern teams are making a case for inclusion among the league's elite.

Important wins for New York City FC and Toronto FC moved them into second and third place, respectively, in Soccer America's MLS Power Rankings,
and a 2-2 tie by the Red Bulls on the road held them in fourth. Bad defeats at home for Montreal (to Chicago) and New England (Columbus) muddled the Eastern playoff race.

Out West, Seattle's third straight win edged it into the top 10 and past San Jose, which fell at home to Houston.

Week 24 Results
Aug. 19
San Jose 1, Houston 2. Highlights

Aug. 20
Colorado 0, Orlando City 0. Highlights
Montreal 0, Chicago 3, Highlights
 New England 0, Columbus 2. Highlights
New York City FC 1, LA Galaxy 0. Highlights
Philadelphia 1, Toronto FC 3. Highlights
Real Salt Lake 1, FC Dallas 0. Highlights
Sporting Kansas City 2, Vancouver 0. Highlights

Aug. 21
D.C. United 2, NY Red Bulls 2. Highlights
Seattle 3, Portland 1. Highlights

Only MLS results are factored into the Power Rankings, which include a team's record in parentheses and rank last week.

 1.   FC DALLAS (13-7-6), 1. Only once before this season had FCD been beaten, 1-0, and it didn’t concede until the 78th minute, after several shots had been saved and Michael Barrios’ attempt had scraped the crossbar. No real cause for concern. Yet.

2.   NEW YORK CITY FC (11-7-8), 3. The bold runs up the left flank by Roland Matarrita that stretched the Galaxy back line and yielded a winning David Villa goal drew a lot of attention, yet the rest of the back line stood firm to blank the Galaxy for the first time in LA’s last nine games. Josh Saunders tipped away a bicycle kick that bounced through a crowd of players for his only official save as NYCFC topped its win total (10) of last season.

3. TORONTO FC (11-7-7), 6. Another impressive display reinforced perceptions that TFC is turning into an MLS Cup contender. Sebastian Giovinco scored another clinical goal, Drew Moor stooped to head a Michael Bradley free kick just inside the post, and Jozy Altidore powered through challenges to notch a clinching goal, his third in as many games. A point-blank save by Alex Bono with 20 minutes left snuffed Philly’s fading hopes. TFC has compiled 40 percent of its 40 points -- 16 to be exact -- in the last six games

4. NY RED BULLS (10-9-7), 4. Undaunted by a 75-minute weather delay shortly after the opening kickoff at RFK, NYRB took a lead by conjuring up a nice team goal polished off by Bradley Wright Phillips and scoring again on a fine strike by Felipe. Yet the 2-0 curse struck again and for the third time in the last four road games the advantage was wiped out

5. LA GALAXY (9-4-11), 2. Losing1-0 on a baseball field to an offside goal scored by a top team doesn’t normally prompt a drop in the rankings, but L.A. is in a bit of a funk: ties in three straight games preceded Saturday’s defeat. Galaxy II keeper Clement Diop got his first MLS start and registered six saves, including the one that rebounded to an offside Villa. Does Diop or veteran Dan Kennedy get the nod as starter Brian Rowe recovers from a head injury he suffered last week

6. COLORADO (11-3-10), 5. The Rapids posted their 10th shutout of the season but ended up tied for the sixth time in the last nine games, during which they have scored only eight goals. Something is missing: Jermaine Jones sat out a seventh straight game with a sprained lateral collateral ligament and his status for a big match with RSL Friday is up in the air.

7. SPORTING KC (11-11-5), 8. A feisty, tenacious player like Jacob Peterson is essential to success in MLS. He redirected a Nuno Coehlo shot into the net for his fourth goal of the season and then nicked the ball away just as a tackle came in to earn a penalty kick converted by Benny Feilhaber at the second attempt. Changes such as Coehlo in midfield and Graham Zusi at right back, plus three wins in the last five games, suggest perhaps SKC has righted the ship.

8. REAL SALT LAKE (11-8-7), 9. This looked like an old-school RSL win; tenacious defending, key Nick Rimando saves, defender Jamison Olave scoring the only goal on a rebound. By controlling 66.4 percent of possession RSL defended with the ball against a potent foe as it stayed unbeaten (7-0-5) at home. Believe it or don’t, RSL can catch Colorado by winning at Rio Tinto on Friday

9. MONTREAL (8-7-9), 7. No losses are good ones but falling at home to one of the league’s worst teams while being overrun numerous times raises grave concerns. Good saves foiled several incisive attacks but defensively the Impact just couldn’t keep pace.

10. SEATTLE (9-12-3), 13. Three straight wins and the liveliness of Nicolas Lodeiro have transformed the formerly foundering Sounders. Supported by a line of three attackers, Jordan Morris looks sharp and confident while carving out space for Clint Dempsey, scorer of the first two goals.

11. SAN JOSE (7-7-10), 10. Hosting a weak opponent for a game they couldn’t afford to lose, the Quakes did just that to halt a five-game unbeaten streak. Defender Victor Bernardez -- who was beaten on both Dynamo goals -- scored in the 54th minute to cut the deficit to 2-1, but decisions regarding a couple of PK appeals as well as a shot that might have crossed the goal line went against the home team.

12 .PORTLAND (8-9-9), 11. Head coach Caleb Porter did not reveal why Fanendo Adi started the Cascadia match on the bench -- Porter wouldn't confirm an Oregonian report the Nigerian forward had missed the team flight to Seattle -- he came onto the field in time to score in the 93rd minute as the Timbers lost their second game in a row and fourth of the last five.

13. PHILADELPHIA (9-9-7), 12. Outclassed at home for one of the few times in the Jim Curtin era, Philly let dissipate most of the momentum generated from a 4-0 thrashing of New England last week. Ken Tribbett’s diving header from a Tranquillo Barnetta free kick tied the game, but TFC regained the lead from a set play and then Tribbett was outmuscled by Altidore. Twice Andre Blake thwarted Giovinco with superb saves.

14. ORLANDO CITY (5-6-13), 14. The Lions earned just their third shutout of the season at a very difficult venue in which to get a point. Among the changes invoked by head coach Jason Kreis: defender Mikey Ambrose got his first MLS start and midfielder Tony Rocha made this second appearance since they were promoted from Orlando City B. Summer transfer acquisition Jose Aja also got his first start. And Kreis is giving a long look to veteran midfielder Antonio Nocerino, who earned his third start in the last four games.

15. D.C. UNITED (6-8-10), 15. A spectacular bicycle-kick pass by Marcelo revived a sodden United, which scored twice three minutes apart to extend its unbeaten streak to four games. Marcelo scored his first United goal from the penalty spot in the 70th minute and Patrick Mullins nabbed his second goal for the club shortly thereafter. In a wide-open race for sixth place United looks as good as anyone.

16. HOUSTON (5-10-9), 17. Goals early in each half by Ricardo Clark and David Horst provided a lead the Dynamo held thanks in part to keeper Joe Willis, who palmed away a two point-blank headers, to end a 15-game winless skid on the road. (Last win was 13 months ago at Avaya Stadium.) Willis also picked up a caution protesting a challenge from which the ball fell for San Jose to score.

17. COLUMBUS (4-8-11), 19. Ethan Finlay and Federico Higuain scored early in each half and Michael Parkhurst helped keeper Brad Knighton notch a shutout by clearing a ball off the goal line. Kudos for snapping a 10-game winless streak against another laggard, but now what?

18. CHICAGO (5-11-7), 20. The only good thing about a dubious record is ending it, as did the Fire by winning a road game after 36 straight -- dating back to July 2014 -- failures to do so. A deserved victory it was: newcomer Luis Solignac scored in the 15th minute set up by a brazen run from David Accam, who got credit for the clincher when Arturo Alvarez’s shot deflected off him. Matt Polster tacked on a third goal, assisted by Alvarez.

19. VANCOUVER (8-12-6), 16. The ‘Caps have lost four straight to fall out of the playoff tier. Against SKC, a penalty kick saved by David Ousted was ordered re-taken for his premature movement and converted on the second attempt. More bad news: six of their last eight are on the road, where the last of their three victories came nearly two months ago.

20. NEW ENGLAND (6-11-8), 18. The Revs are streaking in the wrong direction at the worst possible time. A fourth straight loss followed a promising three-game burst (two wins and a tie) that followed a three-game losing skid. They outshot Crew SC, 16-12, but were in chase mode because of conceding goals early in each half. A London Woodberry giveaway opened the door for the second goal.


Next story loading loading..

Discover Our Publications