MLS Power Rankings: Red-hot Fire takes over at the top

The Chicago Fire took advantage of Toronto FC’s second loss in the last four games to take over first place in Soccer America's MLS Power Rankings.

A 4-0 rout of Vancouver coupled with a 3-1 FC Dallas defeat of TFC moved Chicago on top, and New York City FC rose to second by downing Minnesota United, 3-1.

Atlanta United moved into fifth, a place ahead of FCD, by winning at Columbus, 2-0. Road defeats for New England and Houston kept those teams winless away from home.
MLS Results, Week 18:
June 29
New York City FC 3, Minnesota United 1. Highlights
June 30
Real Salt Lake 0, Orlando City 1. Highlights
July 1
Chicago 4, Vancouver 0. Highlights
FC Dallas 3, Toronto FC 1. Highlights
Sporting KC 1, Portland 1. Highlights
Montreal 2, D.C. United 0. Highlights
Columbus 0, Atlanta United 2. Highlights
Colorado 3, Houston 1. Highlights
San Jose 2, LA Galaxy 1. Highlights
July 2
Philadelphia 3, New England 0. Highlights
Only league results are factored into the Power Rankings, which include a team’s record in parentheses and its rank last week.

1. CHICAGO (11-3-4), 2. Two more goals for Nemanja Nikolic four minutes apart sent the Fire on its way to an eighth win of a 10-game unbeaten streak. Arturo Alvarez marked just his fifth start of the season by scoring in the 25th  minute and a goal by Michael De Leeuw rounded off the rout.

2. NEW YORK CITY FC (10-5-3), 3. Head coach Patrick Vieira benched R.J. Allen and Ethan White for being late to a pre-game meeting and Ronald Matarrita left injured in the ninth minute, and still NYCFC won its fourth in a row. After a shot fumbled by Eirik Johansen presented the Loons with their goal, Alexander Callens equalized. Jack Harrison nailed home a Rodney Wallace cross for his second goal in as many games, then gave a ball that David Villa took past three challengers to shoot inside the far post.

3.  TORONTO FC (10-3-5), 1. TFC outshot FCD, 15-6, but managed only a goal by Marky Delgado as it was chasing the game. Victor Vazquez, Justin Morrow, Raheem Edwards and Steven Beitashour were all absent. TFC gets right back to work Wednesday against Orlando City, which it beat in early May during a six-game winning streak.

4. SPORTING KANSAS CITY (8-4-7), 4. After falling behind at home, SKC needed Daniel Salloi’s first pro goal and the third penalty-kick save of the season from Tim Melia to run its beaten streak to five games. Salloi scored on a nice feed from Roger Espinoza and Melia’s save made up for the foul that caused the PK. The result also extended SKC’s home unbeaten streak to 18 games.

5. ATLANTA UNITED (8-7-3), 7. Keeper Alec Kann earned an assist when Hector Villalba chased down his long kick to score the first goal, and Villalba added a second to take his season tally to eight as AUFC ended a three-game losing streak. It is one of only four teams with three away wins this season.

6FC DALLAS (7-3-7), 8. The acquisition of Roland Lamah has been a bit of a disappointment, yet he scored twice in the first 21 minutes to set in motion a convincing FCD victory. Max Urruti’s goal, which produced the final scoreline, is his 10th of the season. He also assisted on Lamah’s opener in the fifth minute.

7.  MONTREAL (5-5-6), 10. The Impact ended a three-game run without a victory courtesy of Blerim Dzemaili, who scored with a rocket shot from 25 yards and then assisted on Chris Duvall’s chip for the clincher. Of its three shutouts this season, two have been of D.C.

8.  L.A. GALAXY (6-7-4), 6. A badly depleted squad held out until the final seconds but not long enough. Jelle Van Damme’s first MLS goal, a powerful volley of a Jose Villarreal free kick, supplied the lead, and a clear handball by Quakes defender Victor Bernardez in the penalty area was not spotted by the referee.

9. VANCOUVER (6-7-3), 5. A bad day turned completely sour when Matias Laba was sent off in the 78th minute. Fredy Montero came off the bench to register two of the Caps’ three shots on target. The result would have been much worse if not for seven saves by David Ousted.

10. SAN JOSE (7-6-5), 13. The annual Cali Clasico at Stanford Stadium, which includes a postgame fireworks display, set the night alight once again. Shea Salinas slammed a shot off the underside of the crossbar in the final seconds of stoppage time to seal a comeback that thrilled a sellout crowd of 50,701.  Keeper David Bingham’s mammoth goal kick bounced to Chris Wondolowski, who cut past a challenge to drill the equalizer. New head coach Chris Leitch plays his first road game Tuesday at Atlanta.

11. HOUSTON (7-7-4), 9. A goal by Erick "Cubo" Torres pulled the Dynamo level in first-half stoppage time but it couldn’t rally again after conceding shortly after halftime. His 12 goals is second-most in MLS and within three of his personal best for a season (2014 with Chivas USA).

12. NEW YORK RED BULLS (7-8-2), 12. The Red Bulls sat out the weekend and play at New England Wednesday.

13. NEW ENGLAND (5-8-5), 11. The road record dropped to 0-7-3 as the Revs failed to rally after conceding a penalty kick in the fourth minute. A Benjamin Angoua handball produced the PK and the Revs gave up a second goal early in the second half to decide the outcome.

14. PORTLAND (7-7-5), 14. A spectacular blast by Diego Valeri gave Portland the lead but his failure to convert from the penalty spot helped forge the 1-1 tie. The Timbers have won just twice in their last 11 games.

15. ORLANDO CITY (8-6-5), 16. The Lions ended a four-game winless streak thanks to a shutout and a goal by Will Johnson, who like head coach Jason Kreis and several players once toiled for RSL. Cyle Larin started and went the full 90 minutes in his first appearance since being cleared to play following his DIU arrest last month. Kaka left the game apparently miffed at being substituted in the 72md  minute.

16. COLORADO (6-10-1), 17. The anemic attack -- 15 goals in 16 previous games -- burst to life. Dominique Badji assisted on all three goals, and Marlon Hairston scored twice after Conor Doyle struck in the 21st minute. The victory snapped a two-game losing streak and was their fourth in the last six games.

17. PHILADELPHIA (6-7-4), 18. The Union struck early with a C.J. Sapong penalty kick and broke open the game on goals by Ilsinho and Roland Alberg after halftime. Seldom was troubled keeper Andre Blake as he posted his career-high seventh shutout of the season and Haris Medunjanin registered his second two-assist game.

18. COLUMBUS (8-10-1), 15. Crew SC lost to Atlanta United for the second time in the last three games while producing just one shot on goal despite controlling 57.8 percent of possession. Since beating TFC in mid-April it is 4-8 even though it has been shut out only three times. In that span, it has given up 24 goals, an average of two per game.

19. SEATTLE (5-7-6), 19. No game for the Sounders last weekend. It plays at Colorado Tuesday in an important battle for two teams below the playoff sector.

20. MINNESOTA UNITED (5-10-3), 20. Christian Ramirez pounced on a goalkeeper bobble to smash home his team-leading 10th goal of the season, but the Loons were outpaced and outplayed for much of the game. They start a run of five straight home games Tuesday against Columbus.

21. D.C. UNITED (5-10-3), 21. United managed only two shots on goal and also hit the woodwork as it was blanked for the 12th time this season. It arrived in Montreal the day of the game via charter after its commercial flight was cancelled due to weather.

22. REAL SALT LAKE (5-12-2), 22. RSL held the edge in possession (60-40 percent) and shots (12-7) but was blanked for the ninth time this season. Only Joao Plata and Jefferson Savarino landed shots on target.
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