MLS Power Rankings: Busy week yields little movement

In a week of 14 league matches, the top teams prevailed and mixed results for most of the teams that played twice didn’t much reshuffle the positions in Soccer America's MLS Power Rankings.

The top four held their places by winning -- collectively, they have lost only one of the last 12 games -- and the only major mover was Colorado, which dropped three spots by losing at home to the Galaxy, 3-1, and also at Atlanta, 1-0.
MLS Week 17, Results:
June 21
D.C. United 2, Atlanta United 1. Highlights
Minnesota United 3, Portland 2. Highlights
Colorado 1, L.A. Galaxy 3. Highlights
Seattle 1, Orlando City 1. Highlights
June 23
Toronto FC 2, New England 0. Highlights
Houston 1, FC Dallas 1. Highlights
June 24
New York Red Bulls 0, New York City FC 2. Highlights
Atlanta United 1, Colorado 0. Highlights
Philadelphia 1, D.C. United 0. Highlights
Columbus 4, Montreal 1. Highlights
Chicago 4, Orlando City 0. Highlights
Minnesota United 2, Vancouver 2. Highlights
L.A. Galaxy 1, Sporting Kansas City 2. Highlights
San Jose 2, Real Salt Lake 1. Highlights
June 25
Portland 2, Seattle 2. Highlights.
Only MLS results are factored into the Power Rankings, which include a team’s record (wins-losses-ties) in parentheses and rank last week.
1. TORONTO FC (10-2-5), 1. Two days after playing Montreal in the Canadian Championship finals, TFC blunted the Revs after Drew Moor tapped home from close range in the 11th minute. Attacker Victor Vazquez contributed at both ends by blocking a close-range shot that would have tied the game, and lofting a long ball late in stoppage time that Sebastian Giovinco chased down to score the clincher.

2. CHICAGO (10-3-4), 2. Fire fans will be a quandary when they pick their team’s Player of the Year, now that David Accam has already equaled his personal best in goals (10) and set a new mark for assists (six) halfway through the season. In addition to scoring a hat trick Accam slid a perfect ball converted for a 14th goal by Nemanja Nikolic, who deferred to his teammate on a penalty kick Accam drove home to complete the hat trick. Unbeaten in nine games –-seven of them wins –- the Fire week after week confirms its place among the top teams.

3. NEW YORK CITY FC (9-5-3), 3. Speaking of top teams, NYCFC looked totally in command on Saturday, much to the chagrin of the majority at Red Bull Arena. Alexander Ring led a midfield that smothered Tyler Adams and Co., and after squaring a ball that Jack Harrison first-timed into the top corner, left back Ben Sweat headed a Ring cross inside the far post.

4. SPORTING KC (8-4-6), 4. SKC also won on the road in more extraordinary circumstances. A knuckling shot by Roger Espinoza wound up in the net off the keeper’s fists and a bicycle kick driven by Ike Opara’s right foot hit the twine. A crunching tackle that knocked Benny Feilhaber out of the game adds to the woes of head coach Peter Vermes, already deprived of defenders Matt Besler and Graham Zusi by Gold Cup duty.

5. VANCOUVER (6-6-3), 6. A road point extended a modest unbeaten streak to three games but the ‘Caps conceded twice after taking a 2-0 lead with a Cristian Techera penalty kick and a Tony Tchani header from a superb Techera free kick from the left wing. Oddly, Minnesota had played midweek and the ‘Caps had not.

6. LA GALAXY (6-6-4), 5.  The Backwards Season continues with another home defeat. Keeper Clement Diop added another entry to his nightmare reel by fumbling a long shot into his own net and then charged out to concede a bicycle-kick goal. Its record at StubHub Center this season dropped to 1-4-3, but the road mark is 5-2-1 after a victory in Colorado paced by a pair of goals from Jack McBean, who hadn’t scored in league play for more than four years.

7. ATLANTA UNITED (7-7-3), 7. Slogging through an arduous run of seven games in 25 days (including the Open Cup), AUFC is hanging tough. It shook off a letdown at RFK, when a scuffed pass by Alec Kann opened the door for D.C. to match the third goal of the season by rookie Julian Gressel and eventually score the winner. (In the game Yamil Asad registered his league-best ninth assist.) Kann atoned with a last-second save to preserve a victory sparked by a substitute appearance by Brandon Vasquez and a goal by Josef Martinez, who was making his first start since suffering a thigh injury in March. Martinez has scored seven goals in seven games.

8. FC DALLAS (6-3-7), 8. Where would FCD be without Max Urruti? His crisp finish into the bottom corner registered his ninth goal of the season, which is more than twice the total of team runner-up Roland Lamah, who scored three of his four goals in a 6-2 rout of RSL. Urruti’s goal cancelled out one conceded when defender Matt Hedges failed to deal with a high bouncer into the penalty area. Mauro Diaz logged nearly 70 minutes and contributed one key pass in his first start of 2017.

9. HOUSTON (7-6-4), 9. The Robot celebration returned when Erick ‘Cubo’ Torres collected a long ball from centerback Adolfo Machado and drilled it into the net for his 11st goal but that was the only Dynamo shot on target. The 7-0-2 home record is impressive, the goals conceded total of 25 is not.

10. MONTREAL (4-5-6), 10. A three-game road trip ended with two points collected and eight goals conceded. Two minutes after the Impact fell behind in the 17th minute, Anthony Jackson-Hamel equalized and a solid 50 minutes of work with the score tied, 1-1, went up in flames as the players tired in the last quarter of an hour. This game was the third of six in 19 days, including the second leg of the Canadian Championship finals on Tuesday.

11. NEW ENGLAND (5-7-5), 11. Aside from a fierce Teal Bunbury header in the 88th minute that forced an excellent save, the Revs seldom capped off their approach work with a good shot. Lee Nguyen saved a goal by heading a free kick from under the crossbar. They are giving solid efforts on the road but still the record is 0-6-3.

12. NEW YORK RED BULLS (7-8-2), 12. One shot on goal? In the derby? By left back Kemar Lawrence? Zero shots for Bradley Wright-Phillips? Not good. Sasha Kljestan contributed three key passes and NYRB controlled 59 percent of possession to negligible effect. Four points in the last four games? Also not good.

13. SAN JOSE (6-6-5), 15. A dominant 2-1 defeat of Real Salt Lake ended the tenure of head coach Dominic Kinnear, who was fired by the team along with assistant coach John Spencer just hours after Danny Hoesen scored his second MLS goal and with his third assist set up Marco Urena for the clincher. Replacement head coach Chris Leitch gets the mother of all debuts Saturday: the California Clasico (Fireworks Version) against the Galaxy at Stanford Stadium.

14. PORTLAND (7-7-4), 13. In Minneapolis, the Timbers rallied twice with a Diego Valeri penalty kick and an own goal and still fell short. At home, they scored twice near the end of the first half on a Fanendo Adi PK and stoppage-time header from Dairon Asprilla, then frittered away a one-man advantage. Defensive help, much-needed, has arrived in the form of centerback Larrys Mabiala.

15. COLUMBUS (8-9-1), 17. Kekuta Manneh scored right off the bench from an Ola Kamara and then returned the favor as Crew SC broke open a 1-1 game to win going away. Goals by Federico Higuain bookended a victory that kept Columbus in the playoff tier though its 1.39 points per game is the fewest of teams in that sector.

16. ORLANDO CITY (7-6-5), 16. After stealing a point in Seattle with a dramatic Scott Sutter header from a Kaka free kick in stoppage time, the Lions -- as might be expected -- succumbed in Chicago. But the big picture is worrying; they have won just one of their last 11 games and in that span have conceded at least two goals six times.

17. COLORADO (5-10-1), 14. Dillon Serna scored against the Galaxy in his first start of the season, but otherwise the two midweek matches slammed down the momentum of a three-game winning streak. Playing the wing midfield slots, Serna (right) and Josh Gatt (left) took a combined 11 of the Rapids’ 19 shots. In Atlanta, the shorthanded Rapids used outside backs Eric Miller and Mike da Fonte in the middle as they were shut out for the fifth time in seven road games, all of which they have lost.

18. PHILADELPHIA (5-7-4), 19. A superbly volleyed goal by Fafa Picault and a penalty-kick save by Andre Blake helped Philly end a three-game losing streak. Midfielder Haris Medunjanin helped rescind a red card issued to Acosta by telling referee Sorin Stoica that Acosta had only pushed him, not kicked him. So who needs VAR?

19. SEATTLE (5-7-6), 18. A week after blowing a 1-0 lead against NYCFC and losing, 2-1, the Sounders did the same in Portland, except that Clint Dempsey came off the bench to head an equalizer in the 94th minute. Joevin Jones had capitalized on a turnover and the rebound of his own shot to score the opening goal and after the shock of conceding two goals late in the first half and the dismissal of right back Brad Evans, the Sounders stubbornly stayed in the game.

20. MINNESOTA UNITED (5-9-3), 22. By scoring five goals and accruing four points the Loons exceeded their output of the previous five games in both categories. They ended a three-game goalless skid against Portland and snatched the victory when Abu Danladi scored a 64th-minute winner after MNUFC had blown a pair of one-goal leads. They rallied from a 2-0 halftime deficit with goals by Francisco Calvo (who had finished into his own net in the Portland game) and Jerome Thiesson, who celebrated his first MLS goal by flapping his arms as would a loon in flight.

21. D.C. UNITED (5-9-3), 21. A superb save by Bill Hamid in the final seconds earned United a 2-1 comeback victory in which Luciano Acosta and Patrick Nyarko scored before halftime but it came up empty on the short road jaunt to Philly. Lamar Neagle’s penalty kick was stopped as was his stoppage-time header in United’s 10th goalless game.

22. REAL SALT LAKE (5-11-2), 20. RSL sorely missed Kyle Beckerman and Albert Rusnak in the middle and quiet games on the flanks for Brooks Lennon and Joao Plata added up to a listless effort, the eighth loss in the last 11 games. A goal by Jose Hernandez in the 94th minute averted the shutout but not a league-most eighth road defeat.
1 comment about "MLS Power Rankings: Busy week yields little movement".
  1. beautiful game, June 27, 2017 at 11:28 a.m.

    NYRB v NYCFC contest was a third tier performance. Villa was the only quality player on the pitch. Villa's soccer IQ is far and beyond any of his teammates.

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