MLS Power Rankings: Week 6
Only one Major League Soccer team is still undefeated after a month and a half of the 2014 season. Real Salt Lake’s 2-2 tie against the Philadelphia Union provided one of the most entertaining games of the weekend, and Jeff Cassar’s team took another point on the road.
FC Dallas, the other undefeated team heading into the weekend, led twice at home against the Seattle Sounders but ran into a hot Clint Dempsey and lost, 3-2. On the other end of the spectrum, five teams remain winless, including the two conference champions from 2013.
Here are the power rankings after six weeks of MLS play:
MLS Power Rankings — Week 6
1. Real Salt Lake (2-0-4)
Last week: 1
RSL is the only undefeated team left in the league after scrapping out a 2-2 draw at Philadelphia. Only two of its opening six games were at home, where the team returns for four of its next six.
2. Columbus Crew (3-1-1)
Last week: 4
Columbus scored the best team goal of the week — and probably of the season — against San Jose, building from goalkeeper Steve Clark and from flank to flank before Federico Higuaín finished it. However, poor marking on a corner kick gave Chris Wondolowski an easy equalizer.
3. Sporting Kansas City (2-1-2)
Last week: 5
After a week off, Kansas City hosts struggling Montreal next week, which might seem a fortuitous way to get back into it. However, the Impact took two of three meetings against Kansas City last year.
4. FC Dallas (4-1-1)
Last week: 2
After Dallas began with four corner kicks in the first five minutes on Saturday, Seattle gifted the home team a goal. Despite the early pressure, Dallas couldn’t hold on, twice relinquishing one-goal leads on the way to a 3-2 loss.
5. Toronto FC (3-2-0)
Last week: 3
Without Michael Bradley, Toronto struggled against Colorado. The World Cup might be rough for the Reds, who had a lot of chances to score in the second half but succumbed, 1-0, to a Rapids counterattack.
6. Seattle Sounders (3-2-1)
Last week: 8
The key word for Seattle in the last two weeks has been “character.” For the second week running, the Sounders came back from behind twice in the same game, this time pulling out the victory courtesy of a two-goal performance from Clint Dempsey.
7. Colorado Rapids (3-1-1)
Last week: 9
On Twitter after the Rapids’ 1-0 win at Toronto FC, goalkeeper Clint Irwin called his team “obdurate,” which was the perfect way to describe its scrappy defensive performance. An increasingly rare Edson Buddle goal on the counter sealed a win by the narrowest margin, set up by Dillon Powers.
8. Philadelphia Union (1-1-4)
Last week: 7
Philadelphia has given up four goals in the 80th minute or later so far in 2014, and the Union seemed headed for a loss after Kyle Beckerman’s late strike. However, Maurice Edu scored on a corner kick in stoppage time to salvage at least a point at home.
9. L.A. Galaxy (2-1-1)
Last week: 10
Landon Donovan was inches away from scoring career MLS goal No. 135, but Robbie Keane did manage to put one away in the second half after a couple looks in the first. The Galaxy largely controlled the game against Vancouver, winning 1-0 by its lack of finishing rather than because of a tough defensive challenge.
10. Houston Dynamo (2-3-0)
Last week: 6
A strong first half gave way to a listless second as the Dynamo became New England’s first victim of the season. Tally Hall made a poor decision to charge off his line when he was beaten for the second goal, but the game was already over by then despite the close score.
11. New England Revolution (2-3-1)
Last week: 13
It wasn’t necessarily a good game, but the Revolution have their first home win after defeating Houston. On the negative side, captain José Gonçalves left the game injured in the first half, but Kevin Alston, who has battled leukemia since last season, scored his first MLS goal to win it.
12. Chivas USA (1-2-3)
Last week: 14
After being down 1-0 at halftime, Chivas largely controlled the second half in Portland and battled back to take a point in what was a fortress last year. Cubo Torres scored again, but rookie Thomas McNamara had to be stretchered off after a non-contact knee injury, which could be a big blow.
13. Vancouver Whitecaps (2-2-2)
Last week: 11
The Whitecaps might have been in the clear after a stingy defensive performance in the first half at L.A., but they never had chances beyond the counterattack. Without much of an attack, they lost 1-0 at StubHub Center to remain winless on the road.
14. New York Red Bulls (0-2-4)
Last week: 12
The Red Bulls have fallen behind in every game so far this season — in the first five minutes in each of the previous two — which makes it hard to win. Mike Petke’s team is off to a terrible start, made more difficult by a 1-0 loss to rival D.C. on Saturday.
15. Chicago Fire (0-1-6)
Last week: 16
For the first time in 2014, Chicago took a point after conceding first in a 1-1 draw at Montreal. However, since it was at winless Montreal, the Fire won’t be able to cling to that fact as too much of a positive after missing another opportunity to get their first win.
16. Portland Timbers (0-2-4)
Last week: 15
The front six players are starting to click for the Timbers, as seen in the nifty combination play that led to Will Johnson’s goal on Saturday. The defense continues to be a problem, as Pa Modou Kah got caught ball-watching the whole way on Chivas’ equalizer, and the Timbers struggled to defend set pieces again.
17. D.C. United (2-2-1)
Last week: 18
D.C. needed a combination of strong defending, poor finishing from New York and a lot of good luck, but United has won two games in a row for the first time since October 2012. Second-choice goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra wasn’t troubled much in his second straight shutout victory.
18. San Jose Earthquakes (0-2-2)
Last week: 17
Wondolowski took advantage of Columbus’ brain lapse on a corner kick to score an easy goal, giving him more fodder for World Cup consideration. His team, on the other hand, looked lackluster at home until Yannick Djaló entered the game.
19. Montreal Impact (0-3-3)
Last week: 19Jack McInerney scored in his Impact debut to give Montreal a 1-0 lead over Chicago (assisted by Marco Di Vaio, who has been crucial in his appearances so far this year). However, the team just can’t hold onto a lead, failing to win after scoring first for the third time in 2014.