MLS Power Rankings: FC Dallas maintains top spot

By knocking off previously unbeaten Sporting Kansas City, FC Dallas held top spot in Soccer America's MLS Power Rankings. Maynor Figueroa scored just his second MLS goal and FCD notched its second shutout of the season against SKC.

Victories for Orlando City, Portland, and Houston moved those teams into the top five, and just outside that group are Atlanta United and Toronto FC.

The news is not so good for fans of the L.A. Galaxy, beaten at home by defending champion Seattle, 3-0, and the first team to lose five games in 2017. Philadelphia blew a 3-0 lead and remains winless.
 
MLS WEEK 8:

April 19
New England 0 San Jose 0. Highlights
April 21
Toronto FC 3 Chicago 1. Highlights
April 22
New England 2 D.C. United 2. Highlights
Houston 2 San Jose 0. Highlights
Portland 2 Vancouver 1. Highlights
NY Red Bulls 2 Columbus 0. Highlights
FC Dallas 1 Sporting KC 0. Highlights
Real Salt Lake 1 Atlanta United 3. Highlights
Philadelphia 3 Montreal 3. Highlights
April 23
LA Galaxy 0 Seattle 3. Highlights
New York City FC 1 Orlando City SC 2. Highlights
Minnesota United 1 Colorado 0. 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 (4-0-2), 1. If there’s been a hangover from that crushing loss in the CCL semifinals, FCD has yet to show it. Figueroa crashed the back post to head home a Michael Barrios cross; his only previous MLS goal came as a member of the Rapids against SKC in 2015. Keeper Jesse Gonzalez needed to make just one save despite SKC controlling 61.1 percent of possession.

2. ORLANDO CITY (5-1-0), 3. The Lions ticked off another box on the “must-do” list by winning a road game. Cyle Larin scored twice to take over the league lead with six goals as OCSC left no doubt as to which 2015 expansion team is sharper right now. Forward Carlos Rivas, midfielder Will Johnson, and centerback Jonathan Spector are all in very good form, and strange as it sounds, Kaka will need to ramp it up quick when he gets back on the field.

3. SPORTING KC (3-1-3), 2. Losing away to the top team is no disgrace and only the Lions remarkable surge is sufficient reason to drop SKC a notch. Dom Dwyer drew five fouls as SKC managed just one shot on target. On FCD’s goal, left back Seth Sinovic couldn’t block the cross and right back Graham Zusi was beaten as Figueroa scored just the third goal conceded by SKC this season. However, it has only scored six goals in seven games.
 
4. PORTLAND (5-2-1), 5. As they finished the 2015 season en route to the title the Timbers are starting 2017. Darlington Nagbe nailed one of the strikes of the season and Darren Mattocks, starting in place of suspended Fanendo Adi, notched the winner against the team that drafted him into MLS.

5. HOUSTON (4-2-1), 6. Unbeaten (4-0-1) at home is nothing to sneeze at, especially since the Dynamo has also defeated Seattle, Columbus, and the Red Bulls while outscoring them and the Quakes, 11-3. Erick "Cubo" Torres converted a penalty kick in the ninth minute, Alberth Elis banged home a misplayed corner kick, and the defense held firm to log the first shutout of 2017.

6. ATLANTA UNITED (3-2-2), 9. How good is it going for AUFC? Brandon Vasquez scored about a minute into his MLS debut to round off a victory set up with goals by Hector Villalba and Yamil Asad, who both also missed excellent opportunities. Maybe the moment of the match was provided by centerback Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, who bounced up after a sliding block in his own penalty area and dribbled nearly upfield 50 yards to help set up a chance that Villalba dragged wide.

7. TORONTO FC (2-1-4), 10. TFC answered the call of the home fans and dispatched the Fire thanks to a vintage performance by Sebastian Giovinco, who landed six of his 11 shots on target, including a low bullet inside the near post and a breathtaking free kick off the underside of the crossbar. A nice touch by Victor Vazquez set up Giovinco for the first goal and his short corner and dummy run opened space for a Justin Morrow cross that Eriq Zavaleta headed into the net. TFC plays the next two at home then hits the road for three straight.

8. SEATTLE (2-2-3), 11. The Sounders returned to StubHub Center, where they won, 4-2, last September en route to the title, and were even more impressive this time. Clint Dempsey and Jordan Morris scored, as did one of the Galaxy defenders at the wrong end. Nicolas Lodeiro marked another fine game with a perfect chip that Dempsey headed in, and Seattle completed 86 percent of their passes while controlling 57 percent of possession. Backup defenders Tony Alfaro (third MLS start) and Jordy Delem (second) stepped up the challenge admirably.
 
9. COLUMBUS (4-3-1), 4. First-half injuries took midfielder Artur and defender Alex Crognale off the field as Crew SC lost its third road game of four. Crognale suffered his injury while committing a penalty-kick foul that Red Bulls exploited for their second goal. Some sharp saves by Zach Steffen kept the score close. Justin Meram was thwarted one-v-one and also shot just over the bar; a desperate deflection denied Ola Kamara from just yards away at the back post.
 
10. NY RED BULLS (4-3-1), 12. A second goal in as many games for Alex Muyl marked NYRB’s second straight win by a 2-0 score. Kemar Lawrence overlapped a run by Sacha Kljestan to serve a ball deflected onto the chest of Muyl, who tapped it home. Daniel Royer converted a penalty kick awarded when Bradley Wright-Phillips faked Crognale into a clumsy foul six minutes after Luis Robles stoned Meram. Aaron Long got the defensive touch that foiled Kamara.
 
11. CHICAGO (3-2-2), 7. Once Giovinco got going the Fire seldom looked capable of getting back in the game. David Accam got a consolation goal by surging through midfield and playing a ball wide that was returned to him by Luis Solignac. On the second TFC goal from a short corner kick, two players failed to block a cross that three other players could not head clear.

12. NEW YORK CITY FC (3-3-1), 8. The home unbeaten run (9-0-2) ended at 11 games as NYCFC held 62.4 percent of possession but only scored with a clinical David Villa first-time finish from a sharp angle. Coaches and players come and go but Larin keeps scoring; his take is nine goals in seven games against NYCFC, and on the winner Rodney Wallace was simply outmuscled and perhaps fouled.
 
13. MONTREAL (1-2-4), 13. The Impact returned from yet another road game with a point by wiping out a 3-0 deficit. Ignacio Piatti, who else, started the rally with a typically elegant goal just before halftime, and then sub Anthony Jackson-Hamel -- who? -- struck with a header and on the rebound of a saved shot. Jackson-Hamel’s ledger the past two games: 36 minutes played, four shots -- all on target -- and three goals. After posting a record of 0-2-3 while playing five of the first seven away, Montreal hosts four of its next five.

14. D.C. UNITED (2-3-2), 15. Missing five regulars through injury and illness, United claimed its first road point of the season though it squandered a 2-1 lead when a ball caromed off Sean Franklin into the D.C. net. Sebastian Le Toux, making his first start for D.C., tallied two minutes after Jared Jeffrey’s equalizer. Ian Harkes hit the post with a fizzing right-footed shot and the crossbar on a header. Two big saves by Bill Hamid with the score 2-2 preserved the point.

15. NEW ENGLAND (2-3-3), 14. The Revs needed more than the two points they claimed from two home games. After failing to score against San Jose, they took an early lead with a Lee Nguyen header in the fifth minute but after falling behind needed an own goal to equalize. Late in the match Teal Bunbury scuffed a sitter after a header by Kei Kamara, whose cross had been headed in by Nguyen, came back off the post.

16. MINNESOTA UNITED (2-4-2), 21. The third start was the charm for Miguel Ibarra, who hadn’t mustered a shot as a starter in two road games but thrilled the crowd at TCF Bank Stadium by nodding home Johan Venegas’s header of a rebound off the post. Ex-Rapids Sam Cronin and Marc Burch led a resolute defensive effort that dealt with 25 crosses and blocked three shots to earn the Loons their first MLS shutout.

17. SAN JOSE (2-3-3), 16. Playing a fresh team on two days’ rest is a daunting assignment at the best of times, and though the Quakes escaped Gillette Stadium with a point without scoring, they weren’t so fortunate against head coach Dominic Kinnear’s former team. They gave away a penalty kick on the first Dynamo goal and keeper David Bingham inexplicably whiffed on a corner kick to present the second. Already the Quakes are winless in their last six games.
 
18. VANCOUVER (2-4-1), 19. After netting twice against the Sounders last week, Fredy Montero bagged another Cascadia Cup goal by following up his own saved penalty kick, but the ‘Caps were unable to keep pace with Portland. One goal conceded was a spectacular blast, the other a quick strike from a midfield turnover. Still, the ‘D’ needs shoring up; after tying Philly 0-0 in the season opener, the ‘Caps have conceded 13 goals in six games.

19. REAL SALT LAKE (2-4-2), 18. The Mike Petke Project hit a big bump despite a sharp,low finish by Albert Rusnak for his second MLS goal. RSL coughed up the ball twice and paid the price in goals conceded by a patchwork back line. Nick Rimando, whose risky pass led to the first goal, and Chris Wingert, robbed of the ball prior to the second, both left the game injured. RSL has already lost more home games, two, than it did all of last year when it was 8-1-8 at Rio Tinto.

20. L.A GALAXY (2-5-0), 17. At the start of the season, not many bets would have been placed on the Galaxy being the first team to lose five games but the record is what it is. The attack sputtered and a typically solid game by Romain Alessandrini went unrewarded. Ashley Cole contributed an own goal to an effort that sent thousands of fans home early. The midfield was a mess and Giovani dos Santos didn’t wake up until the second half.

21. PHILADELPHIA (0-4-3), 22. Philly did about everything right in building a 3-0 lead and many things wrong while squandering a pair of goals by Roland Alberg and one from C.J. Sapong, who also assisted on Alberg’s opener. Fabrice Jean-Picault failed to convert a breakaway with the score 3-2 and a soft rebound given up by Andre Blake enabled the equalizer.

22. COLORADO (1-4-1), 21. Except for keeper Zac MacMath, whose pair of excellent saves preceded the Loons’ goal, the Rapids struggled for much of the game. Dominique Badji crashed a point-blank shot off the crossbar and a few other decent chances were not converted. After beating New England to open the season the Rapids have gone winless in five games and taken just one point from two meetings with MNUFC.
 
 
 

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