MLS Power Rankings: Chicago stays on top

Chicago held the top spot and the teams in second and third switched places during the holiday midweek action.

The Fire posted a 2-2 tie in Portland to stretch its unbeaten streak to 11 games, the longest such run in MLS this season. Toronto FC beat Orlando City, 3-1, and moved into second past New York City FC, which lost a seesaw game in Vancouver, 3-2.

Home teams lost five of 11 games and the Galaxy suffered one of its worst defeats ever, regardless of venue, at StubHub Center to RSL, 6-2. Houston stayed in course for an unbeaten home season by throttling Montreal, 3-1, and is 8-0-2 at BBVA Compass Stadium.

Philadelphia maintained its recent good form to earn a 1-1 tie at Sporting Kansas City and move up a few more notches.

There are no league games this week because of the Gold Cup. Six teams play in the U.S. Open Cup. The league program resumes July 19.
MLS Results, Week 19:
July 4
Atlanta 4 San Jose 2. Highlights
Minnesota United 0 Columbus 1. Highlights
FC Dallas 4 D.C. United 2. Highlights
Colorado 1 Seattle 3. Highlights
New England 2 NY Red Bulls 3. Highlights
July 5
Orlando City 1 Toronto FC 3. Highlights
LA Galaxy 2 Real Salt Lake 6. Highlights
Houston 3 Montreal 1. Highlights
Vancouver 3 New York City FC 2. Highlights
Portland 2 Chicago 2. Highlights
July 6
Sporting KC 1 Philadelphia 1. Highlights
Only MLS results are factored into the Power Rankings, which are based on recent form as well as overall performance. Included is a team’s record in parentheses and rank last week.
1. CHICAGO (11-3-5), 1.  Relegated to a backup role by a wave of successful signings, Arturo Alvarez seized upon a starting assignment by swerving home a free kick and setting up a goal for Brandon Vincent.  Seven saves by Matt Lampson and seven blocks by his teammates helped the Fire overcome a 24-6 disparity in shots.

2. TORONTO FC (11-3-5), 3. Sebastian Giovinco upped his take against OCSC to eight goals in seven games by netting twice and he also hit the crossbar with a free kick. TFC has won three of its last four and after the break plays New York City FC twice in a span of 11 days.

3. NEW YORK CITY FC (10-6-3), 2. A four-game winning streak ended, but only after NYCFC rebounded from conceding a goal in the third minute with tallies by Maxine Chanot and David Villa six minutes apart before halftime. In his first start since mid-May, Andrea Pirlo stayed with the pace and assisted on Chanot’s goal but he lost his influence and was replaced in the 75th minute.

4. ATLANTA UNITED (9-7-3), 5. Provided a man advantage in the 32nd minute, AUFC kept to its task and prevailed thanks to a pair of goals by Josef Martinez and singletons from Carlos Carmona and Anton Walkes.

5. FC DALLAS (8-3-7), 6. Deprived of three starters by the Gold Cup, FCD still blew away D.C. by scoring four goals in 15 minutes either side of halftime. Atiba Harris started the barrage and Roland Lamah notched a pair sandwiched around Max Urruti’s team-leading 11th of the season. Close behind is Lamah with eight, half of which he’s netted in the last two games. He may be the solution to the scoring woes of Cristian Colman, who has yet to net in 551 minutes of action.

6. SPORTING KC (8-4-8), 4. Some sharp goalkeeping thwarted SKC, which took the lead on Diego Rubio’s goal early in the second half but conceded the tying goal after Benny Feilhaber was whistled for a PK foul. Defender Erik Palmer-Brown, in his first start since 2015, stepped right in for Matt Besler and looked very solid.

7. VANCOUVER (7-7-3), 9. The ‘Caps took the lead and fell behind before battling back to grab a vital victory. After Jordan Harvey volleyed a superb equalizer from a tight angle early in the second half, sub Yordy Reyna made his B.C. Place debut in the 65th minute and marked an impressive showing by nailing the winner with a spectacular diving header.

8. MONTREAL (5-6-6), 7. Stung by a goal conceded in the first minute the Impact labored futilely in the Houston heat and didn’t get a goal, by Michael Salazar, until the 89th minute. He hadn’t scored in MLS since netting two against New England more than a year ago. Seven saves by Evan Bush kept the score respectable.

9. HOUSTON (8-7-4), 11. In the absence of the team’s three Honduran attackers away on Gold Cup duty, Andrew Wenger scored in the first minute and a goal by Alex midway through the first half set a victory in motion. Mauro Manotas did his part by assisting on both goals and Memo Rodriguez’s goal midway through the second half polished off the Impact.

10. SAN JOSE (7-7-5), 10. The Quakes started fast and hung tough in Atlanta on two days’ rest but couldn’t overcome a disadvantage imposed by the dismissal of defender Kofi Sarkodie in the first half after a long, long wait (2,633 minutes) ended for Tommy Thompson, who blasted his first professional into the roof of the net. Chris Wondolowski scored his eighth of 2017 and is nearing a league-record eighth consecutive season in double-digits.

11. NEW YORK RED BULLS (8-8-2), 12. The Red Bulls left Gillette Stadium with a big three points and a franchise record 53rd victory for head coach Jesse Marsch thanks to a last-minute strike by substitute Gonzalo Veron, who scored his first league goal since last September.

12. L.A. GALAXY (6-8-4), 8. Also netting his first goal in nearly a year was Ashley Cole, who tied the game and provided some hope that lasted about five minutes, until RSL scored the first of five consecutive goals. The Galaxy wilted three days after losing a heartbreaker in the final seconds against San Jose and head coach Curt Onalfo rightly blamed everyone including himself.

13. PHILADELPHIA (6-7-5), 17.  A heroic game by John McCarthy, in the nets with Jamaican Andre Blake on Gold Cup duty, helped the Union get its point. His six saves included two dazzlers and rendered relevant Roland Alberg’s tying goal from the penalty spot in the 69th minute.

14. PORTLAND (7-7-6), 14. Sebastian Blanco’s equalizer in the 70th minute earned the Timbers a tie but an apparent late winner by Fanendo Adi was disallowed by his foul as he headed the ball into the net. An Adi penalty kick had provided a 1-0 lead against an opponent that scored twice despite being outshot, 24-6.

15. NEW ENGLAND (5-9-5), 13.  This may be the loss that torpedoes the season. The Revs blew a pair of one-goal leads taken with strikes from Teal Bunbury and Lee Nguyen five minutes apart, and surrendered yet another goal in the final minute. Four defeats in a row leads into a long break, after which there are back-to-back home games of utmost importance.

16. SEATTLE (6-7-6), 16. Early-game injuries to Osvaldo Alonso (knee) and Chad Marshall (foot) did not deter the Sounders, which overpowered the Rapids with a pair of goals by Clint Dempsey, who also assisted on a close-range goal for Will Bruin. After the break Seattle plays very winnable home games against D.C. and San Jose.

17. COLORADO (6-11-1), 17. Trailing 2-0 at home after half an hour, the Rapids didn’t score until the 78th minute when Dominique Badji struck, and then they conceded a clincher five minutes later. They were in scramble mode for most of the game; 19 fouls committed and five cautions incurred. Three losses in the last four games, including two at home, has stalled their push for a playoff slot.

18. COLUMBUS (9-10-1), 18. Adapting to a new team has taken some time for ex-Whitecap Kekuta Manneh, but he marked his first start in more than month by drilling home a bouncing shot from distance. A three-man back line anchored by rookie Alex Crognale overcame an injury to Nicolai Naess, who was ably replaced by Josh Williams, limited the opposition to just six shots and only one needed to be stopped by keeper Zack Steffen.

19. ORLANDO CITY (8-7-5), 15. Whether or not this ranking is “fair” -- and for a team with 10 points in its last 10 games, only D.C. has fewer, it probably is – the Lions are trending in the wrong direction. Kaka set up a goal for sub Carlos Rivas that cut the deficit to 2-1, and two minutes later the Lions conceded a clincher. Their 1.1 goals per game is among the lowest in the league and a minus-7 goal difference is not what team management expected when it fired head coach Adrian Heath a year ago.

20. REAL SALT LAKE (6-12-2), 22. Beating up on a bitter rival depleted by injuries away from home is always a good thing, and it was the fourth win in the last nine games. Jefferson Savarino scored twice within five minutes and four other teammates also netted, including Albert Rusnak, who picked up his team-high seventh assist as well.

21. MINNESOTA UNITED (5-11-3), 20. A run of five straight home games started off badly against one of the conference’s under-achieving teams. The Loons came out in a 3-5-2 formation with rookie Abu Danladi and Christian Ramirez paired up front and landed just one shot on goal, which isn’t much to show for 55.7 percent of possession.

22. D.C. UNITED (5-11-3), 21. The roof fell in after Ian Harkes nailed his first MLS goal and by the time recent signing Deshorn Brown got D.C. on the board again the result had been determined. Keeper Travis Worra, making his third start of the season, stopped four shots.
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