MLS Power Rankings: Red Bulls hold top spot

The New York Red Bulls edged past Colorado, 1-0, in their home opener, one of several played in sub-freezing temperatures. Forecasts of severe weather prompted MLS to postpone the New England-Orlando City game.

Portland knocked off the LA Galaxy, 1-0 at StubHub Center, and San Jose and Houston leaped into the top 10 by doubling up their opening-weekend wins. The Galaxy has lost its first two games of the season for the first time in 16 years, though that knowledge won’t be any consolation for fans of Minnesota United, drilled 6-1 by expansion cohort Atlanta United on a snow-covered field in Minneapolis.
 
MLS Week 2:
March 11
Chicago 2, Real Salt Lake 0. Highlights
New York Red Bulls 1, Colorado 0. Highlights
Houston 3, Columbus 1. Highlights
Philadelphia 2, Toronto FC 2. Highlights
Montreal 2, Seattle 2. Highlights
Sporting Kansas City 0, FC Dallas 0. Highlights
San Jose 3, Vancouver 2. Highlights
New England-Orlando City postponed.
 
March 12
New York City FC 4, D.C. United 0. Highlights
Minnesota 1, Atlanta 6. Highlights
L.A. Galaxy 0, Portland 1.  Highlights.
 
Only MLS results are factored into the Power Rankings, which include a team’s record in parentheses and ranking last week.
 
1. NY RED BULLS (2-0-0), 1. A second straight week with a narrow win courtesy of an own goal may not be a dazzling start, but NYRB forced some good saves out of Tim Howard and limited Colorado to three shots. Derrick Etienne got 61 minutes and a caution in his first MLS start. Sean Davisplayed the full game against a good team.

2. FC DALLAS (1-0-1), 2. Head coach Oscar Pareja rested some of his starters for a CCL match with Pachuca this week and got a road point. Paxton Pomydal, wearing the No. 19 jersey formerly worn by the late Bobby Rhine, entered history as the youngest player (17 years, 84 days) to start a match for FCD, which controlled only 31.5 percent of possession but also limited SKC to two shots on goal. Cristian Colman's header off the woodwork was the closest either team came to scoring.

3. PORTLAND (2-0-0), 4. The Timbers prevailed at StubHub Center after grinding through 17 road games in 2016 sans a single victory. A great counterattack goal sparked by Sebastian Blanco’s long ball out of the back to Diego Chara, who finished off a return feed from Diego Valeri, punched out the host. They didn’t look all that secure playing against 10 men but after the horror of last season the result is all that matters.

4. TORONTO FC (0-0-2), 3. A crunching tackle that knocked Sebastian Giovinco out of a 2-2 tie with Philly in which TFC conceded an equalizer two minutes after taking the lead made for a rough day. Jozy Altidore converted a penalty kick earned when fouled and Justin Morrow scored from a tight angle after chesting down a long Michael Bradley free kick. TFC plays at Vancouver next weekend and its home opener follows the FIFA break.

5. NEW YORK CITY FC (1-0-1), 9. A vivid reminder of what Rodney Wallace meant to Portland’s 2015 title resurfaced in a 4-0 rout. He knocked home the rebound of a shot off the crossbar and then served up the first of two David Villa goals with a nice cross. Maxi Moralez polished off a Villa through ball for his first MLS goal and a few nice saves by Sean Johnson thwarted United’s comeback efforts.

6.  COLORADO (1-0-1), 5. The Rapids were unlucky to fall behind on Eric Miller’s own goal yet only the heroics of Tim Howard had denied the Red Bulls a goal up to that point. Halftime subs Dillon Serna and Shkelzen Gashi sparked the attack and a good save denied shot by Dominique Badji an equalizer. Howard logged seven saves and looks back to his old, and very good, self.

7. SPORTING KC (0-0-2), 7. Newcomer Gerso (three shots, one on target) is looking to be a decent addition to the attack but despite connecting on 85 percent of its passes and controlling more than two-thirds of the possession SKC didn’t much dent FCD. SKC has yet to score a goal this season or concede one.

8. SAN JOSE (2-0-0), 12. The Quakes rallied with a man advantage after a terrible start gave away two goals. Centerback Florian Jungwirth and keeper David Bingham mucked up a dicey situation and rookie right back Nick Lima got schooled by Nicolas Mezquida. Lima atoned with a well-taken equalizer and Anibal Godoy scored his second great goal in as many weeks to win it.

9. HOUSTON (2-0-0), 13. A scintillating front three makes Houston the second most-fun team to watch in MLS so far this season, behind only Atlanta. Romell Quito, Alberth Elis and "Cubo" Torres each scored a fine goal and only a stoppage-time reply denied Tyler Deric of a shutout. Crew SC had no solution for midfielder Alex as well.

10. SEATTLE (0-1-1), 8. A goal in stoppage-time by Will Bruin grabbed the Sounders a tie they seldom looked capable of attaining for the first 75 minutes. The also lost a Clint Dempsey goal to a handball decision against Jordan Morris that looked iffy, but a creaky back line is giving the team problems.

11. ORLANDO CITY SC (1-0-0), 11. Weather forced postponement of the Lions’ game at New England. It will be played Sept. 2.

12. CHICAGO (1-0-1), 15. Early goals by Nemanja Nikolic and Arturo Alvarez and strong midfield play prompted by Dax McCarty and Juninho carried the Fire to a comfortable victory, and how many of those have you seen the last few years? Keeper Jorge Bavaneeded to make just one save.



13. D.C. UNITED (1-1-0), 5. An old-fashioned butt-kicking was not what the debut of Ian Harkes was supposed to be and it can’t be completely written off due to the injury absence of Luciano Acosta. What doesn’t change is the fact United can’t stop Villa: in six games against D.C. he’s scored six goals and assisted on three others.

14. MONTREAL (0-1-1), 14. The Impact squandered a great chance to beat the defending champion. Ignacio Piatti slipped a through ball for Matteo Mancosu to score an early goal and bagged the second himself after halftime, but errors by Laurent Ciman and others proved to be costly.

15. ATLANTA UNITED (1-1-0), 20. Say what you will about the opposition, spinning the orange ball through the snow into the net six times is unforgettable stuff. The first hat trick in team history goes to Josef Martinez, the first two-goal game belongs to Miguel Almiron, and so it begins. After two games, more than 90,000 spectators and hundreds of thousands of TV viewers will attest this team is eminently watchable.

16. LA GALAXY (0-2-0), 10. Two disputed cautions in three minutes dismissed Jelle Van Damme in the first half and despite generating a few chances 10 vs 11 the Galaxy couldn’t match an early counterattack goal. More worrying, perhaps, is the leg injury that forced off Giovani dos Santos at halftime.

17. PHILADELPHIA (0-0-2), 17. C.J. Sapong equalized late to cap off a bizarre 2-2 tie. He replaced Jay Simpson, who left injured after scoring the opening goal. Alejandro Bedoya bounced a penalty kick off the crossbar and Sapong got his first goal since last August to get the point. Oguchi Onyewu held up well against the power of Jozy Altidore but he’ll need more time to match the MLS pace.

18. NEW ENGLAND (0-1-0), 18. Revs will open at home March 25 against Minnesota United with their game against Orlando City pushed back to early September. Benefiting from an unexpected week of rest are Cody Cropper, who is going through the MLS concussion protocol, and Lee Nguyen, hobbled by an ankle contusion.

19. REAL SALT LAKE (0-1-1), 16. A sluggish start in Chicago – RSL trailed, 2-0, after 15 minutes – didn’t much improve. Yura Movsisyan fired wide on a good opportunity and with Albert Rusnak subdued, an attack missing Joao Plata (injured) sputtered.

20. COLUMBUS (0-1-1), 19. Thwarted in its early attacks, Crew SC crumbled defensively and didn’t tally until Ola Kamara’s goal in stoppage time. A terrible pass by keeper Zach Steffen gave away the first goal and Jonathan Mensah, who has yet to settle in, flew into a wild tackle that earned him a red card.

21. VANCOUVER (0-1-1), 21. Sub keeper Paolo Tornaghi did not show the same confidence he did when starting a game late last season against the Quakes; he bobbled a couple of balls after replacing David Ousted, sent off with a 2-0 lead provided on goals by Erik Hurtado and Mezquida. Down to 10 men in the 23rd minute, the ‘Caps ran out of gas though even fresh they might not have prevented Godoy’s breathtaking winner.

22. MINNESOTA UNITED (0-2-0), 22. Officially the worst start to an MLS season, for an expansion team or otherwise. Kevin Molino scored a goal that briefly lifted hopes in a snowy setting that turned from a winter wonderland into a stark, grim landscape.

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