MLS Power Rankings: Atlanta surges to top as NYCFC falters

So successful have been the MLS teams in recent weeks that two of them swept up the standings when previous leader New York City FC fell to its first loss of the season.

A 3-0 defeat in Portland opened the door for Atlanta United to grab first place and Sporting Kansas City to move into second. NYCFC fell to third; FC Dallas and Los Angeles FC also won to retain the fourth and fifth slots, respectively.

A fourth straight victory for Orlando City jumped the Lions from 10th to sixth, and Houston’s 5-1 trampling of the Toronto FC backups lifted the Dynamo into the top 10. Skidding in the opposite direction were Vancouver (third straight loss), and Philadelphia and San Jose (both winless in their last five).
MLS Week 8:
April 20
Sporting KC 6, Vancouver 0. Highlights
April 21
Montreal 3, Los Angeles FC 5. Highlights
Houston 5, Toronto FC 1. Highlights
FC Dallas 2 Philadelphia 0. Highlights
Columbus 2, New England 2. Highlights
NY Red Bulls 1, Chicago 2. Highlights
Real Salt Lake 3, Colorado 0. Highlights
Orlando City 3, San Jose 2. Highlights
LA Galaxy 0, Atlanta United 2. Highlights
April 22
Seattle 3, Minnesota United 1. Highlights
Portland 3, New York City FC 0. Highlights
Only MLS results are factored into the Power Rankings, which include team records (W-L-T) and rank last week.
1. ATLANTA UNITED (5-1-1), 2. The team renowned for pulverizing opponents played a smart, efficient game to snuff out the Galaxy with a pair of penalty kicks (Josef Martinez, Miguel Almiron). AUFC outshot the home team, 20-8, and conceded just one shot on goal.

Atlanta United Photo

2. SPORTING KANSAS CITY (5-1-2), 3. Buy up all the Johnny Russell stock you can afford. He scored three of the first four goals as SKC ran roughshod over the nine-man ‘Caps, who were stifled by an early double-save from Tim Melia. Newcomers Russell and Felipe Gutierrez already have scored five goals apiece.
3. NEW YORK CITY FC (5-1-1), 1. The stats, once again, did not tell the tale. NYCFC dominated possession (74.6 percent) and completed 91 percent of its passes and landed just three shots on goal. David Villa started and managed just one shot. Never seen that before.
4. FC DALLAS (3-0-3), 4. Off the bench, Max Urruti and Mauro Diaz scored 10 minutes apart. FCD outshot the Union, 17-9. Keeper Jimmy Maurer earned his third shutout.
5. LOS ANGELES FC (4-2-0), 5. Stung by two early goals, LAFC wiped out a 3-1 deficit by scoring four second-half goals against 10 men. Thus ended a six-pack of road games, during which it accrued 12 points, to kick off its inaugural season. The home debut is Sunday against 2016 champion and 2017 finalist Seattle.
6. ORLANDO CITY (4-2-1), 10. The Lions were well in command but got a little careless in the final minutes. Yet when you put seven of 11 shots on net and blank the opposition for most of the game, you should win.
7. NEW ENGLAND (3-2-2), 8. Another strong game from Cristian Penilla (goal and assist) gained the Revs a point after they’d twice fallen behind on the road.      
8. NEW YORK RED BULLS (3-3-0), 6. The Red Bulls swarmed the Fire defense but could not score until the 81st minute despite a 22-4 advantage in shots and 62.9 percent of possession.
9. LA. GALAXY (3-3-1), 7. A listless display confirmed a few items: Sebastian Lletget shows the effects of playing just a few games in the last 13 months; an absence of Jonathan dos Santos (late scratch due to injury) is significant; and Zlatan Ibrahimovic can’t fix everything.
10. HOUSTON (2-2-2), 15. Two goals in the first seven minutes (Mauro Manotas, Leonardo) got the rout rolling. Romell Quioto scored the fifth goal after assisting on the goal by Manotas as well as one by Alberth Elis. The opposition was negligible but the points still count.
11. COLORADO (2-2-2), 11. A controversial red card to Tim Howard in the 20th minute reduced the Rapids to 10 men and despite some sharp work by replacement Zac MacMath they could not subdue RSL.
12. REAL SALT LAKE (3-3-1), 16. Yes, RSL rolled to a three-goal win but only after needing more than an hour to score against 10 men. Damir Kreilach iced the win by arrowing his first MLS goal just inside the far post.
13. VANCOUVER (3-4-1), 9. Last year, the ‘Caps rebounded after a season marred by disciplinary problems. On Friday, Yordy Reyna and Efrain Juarez were sent off for their conduct during a scuffle with the team already down three goals. Home game Friday against RSL is a chance to atone.
14. PORTLAND (2-3-2), 18.  Timbers toppled one of the league’s elite for a second straight win. Sebastian Blanco got the winner with his fourth goal of 2018 and helped set up the clincher by forcing a turnover that led to a rebounded shot that Fanendo Adi tapped into the empty net. Timbers are off this weekend; can they regain the momentum next week in San Jose?
15. COLUMBUS (3-3-2), 12. A fifth goal of the season by Gyasi Zardes -- he scored only two in 24 games for the Galaxy last year -- just before halftime gave Crew SC a 2-1 lead it couldn’t hold. The point broke a three-game losing streak but a win at home Saturday against San Jose is much-needed.
16. TORONTO FC (1-4-0), 15. TFC Lite did all right offensively –- 17 shots and a goal by ex-Rutgers defender Mitchell Taintor but was no match for the Dynamo attack. Normal service resumes Saturday against Chicago.
17. CHICAGO (2-3-1), 23. The best game in the brief MLS career of Aleksander Katai and some sparkling saves by Richard Sanchez earned the Fire its second win in the last three games. Katai drilled home the first goal and earned the PK converted by Nemanja Nikolic for the winner
18. SEATTLE (1-3-1), 22. Once Will Bruin had added a second goal minutes after Gustav Svensson smashed home a shot from about 25 yards, the Sounders looked worthy of their first league win of 2018.
19. SAN JOSE (1-3-2), 14. Two very late headers by Florian Jungwirth narrowed the score between the teams but not the gap in performance. Quakes are scoring consistently (11 goals) but are conceding regularly (13) as well.
20. D.C. UNITED (1-3-2), 21. United heads up Interstate 95 to Philly after a week off.
21. PHILADELPHIA (1-3-2), 17. A disappointing result mirrored the performance. Offseason moves haven’t rendered much improvement as yet, and a crucial phase is approaching. After hosting D.C. this weekend Philly plays three straight on the road.
22. MONTREAL (2-5-0), 19. Goals from Ignacio Patti in ninth and 16th minutes should have paved the road to victory; instead a stunning strike from ex-Impact defender Laurent Ciman and a Victor Cabrera red card triggered a complete collapse after Piatti completed his hat trick.
23. MINNESOTA UNITED (2-5-0) 20. The Loons have lost four straight. Christian Ramirez’s excellent goal midway through the second half could not make up for a chaotic first 45 minutes. A glut of upcoming home games must be exploited.

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