MLS Power Rankings: Week 7
Major League Soccer’s parity resulted in five ties on Saturday, and four of the other five games were decided by a single goal. The one consistent theme so far this season has been Real Salt Lake's ability to get results, as RSL is still yet to lose a game.
Dallas, recovering from Clint Dempsey's shellacking a week earlier, also got back into the win column. As for Dempsey, he played a part in two more goals for Seattle, setting up Obafemi Martins for the game-winner at Chivas USA to continue his hot streak.
New York finally won its first game, leaving just four teams without a win: Chicago, Montreal, San Jose and Portland. Plenty of time remains for those teams to reverse their fortunes, but especially for the Timbers, the trend gets more worrying by the week.
Here are the Planet Fútbol Power Rankings after seven weeks of play:
MLS Power Rankings — Week 7
1. Real Salt Lake (3-0-4)
Last week: 1
Much as it did last year, RSL dominated Portland on Saturday, creating several good chances in the first half before a second-half onslaught produced a rare Ned Grabavoy goal. Nick Rimando, back from injury, had another spectacular performance on the other end to earn the home win.
2. Sporting Kansas City (3-1-2)
Last week: 3
Matt Besler’s long throw created Sporting’s first two goals on Saturday, and Kansas City eventually buried Montreal, 4-0. Aurélien Collin had enough space against the lackluster Impact to get involved in the attack on three of those goals.
3. FC Dallas (5-1-1)
Last week: 4
After conceding an early goal, Dallas had plenty of chances to take advantage of its home field, earning 16 corner kicks. Center back Matt Hedges carried the team to a 2-1 victory over Toronto FC, scoring the equalizer and assisting the winner, both with his head on set pieces.
4. Columbus Crew (3-1-2)
Last week: 2
The comparisons between this year’s Crew and last year’s Portland Timbers are ripe, especially after the momentary defensive lapses in crucial situations of the last couple games. It took another special team goal, with Héctor Jiménez lashing home a long shot after Wil Trapp’s pinpoint diagonal ball, to earn a point at home against lowly D.C.
5. Seattle Sounders (4-2-1)
Last week: 6
Seattle has conceded goals on penalties in the last two weeks and three in the last four, but Clint Dempsey continued his scorching run of form in the 2-1 win over Chivas USA. The United States captain has scored or assisted in six straight regular-season games.
6. Toronto FC (3-3-0)
Last week: 5
Despite being under constant pressure away from home, still with an injury-weakened lineup and in a tough place to play, Toronto nearly pulled out a point. In the end, set-piece defending did the Reds in against Dallas.
7. L.A. Galaxy (2-1-2)
Last week: 9
L.A. was assertive from the start in Vancouver, but unlike last week in the same matchup, the Galaxy was stretched at the back a couple times and conceded in the 2-2 draw. Robbie Keane scored again, but his colleagues on the other end couldn’t match his steady performance.
8. Colorado Rapids (3-1-2)
Last week: 7
The Rapids mounted attack after attack against San Jose, controlling the game but failing to finish in the 0-0 draw. The final ball was missing all game despite Colorado’s stranglehold in the midfield against a direct Earthquakes team.
9. Philadelphia Union (1-2-5)
Last week: 8
Philadelphia is starting to show some frustration in attack, as a forward has yet to differentiate himself as the go-to man. That was obvious on Saturday against Houston, when the Union tried to go over the top all game to no avail in a 0-0 draw.
10. Houston Dynamo (2-3-1)
Last week: 10
Kofi Sarkodie’s second yellow card for time-wasting may have been harsh, but Houston did well to pull out a point at PPL Park. Still, after a strong start to the season, the Dynamo hasn’t put together a performance worthy of much praise since its first two games.
11. New England Revolution (2-3-2)
Last week: 11
New England’s attack continues to be a huge problem, minus a few counterattacking opportunities on Saturday in a 1-1 draw against Chicago. Goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth was the hero, saving a stoppage-time penalty to preserve the road point after Kevin Alston sacrificed himself with a handball on the goal line.
12. Vancouver Whitecaps (2-2-3)
Last week: 13
The Whitecaps need to impose their style of play on the game that they showed in the first couple weeks of the game if they are to break into the top tier of MLS teams, rather than playing a reactive game, as they did in a comeback draw against L.A. on Saturday.
13. New York Red Bulls (1-2-4)
Last week: 14
Tim Cahill’s return in a 2-1 midweek win over Philadelphia was a big boost, but possibly losing Thierry Henry, who limped off at the end, to injury puts New York in the same position it was when Cahill was out. The Red Bulls are in a bit of an identity crisis right now, trying to figure out how to win without one or both of their big stars.
14. Chivas USA (1-3-3)
Last week: 12
Chivas came out on the losing end of a game of mistakes against Seattle, with Cubo Torres taking advantage of an Osvaldo Alonso slip to score his league-leading sixth goal (tied with Dempsey). Unfortunately for the Goats, Dan Kennedy committed his own fatal error before the Sounders’ Dempsey-Martins combination finished them off.
15. D.C. United (2-2-2)
Last week: 17
D.C.’s game management ran out in the end against Columbus, conceding on a last-minute counterattack to prevent a third consecutive victory. Fabián Espíndola scored his second goal of the season early in the game to take a lead that D.C. couldn’t hold despite Columbus going down a man.
16. Chicago Fire (0-1-6)
Last week: 15
Quincy Amarikwa scored his fourth goal of the year, already giving a career high for a single season, against New England, but for the second time this year, the Fire missed a likely game-winning penalty in stoppage time. Chicago’s six consecutive draws ties the MLS record for one-point results in a row.
17. Portland Timbers (0-3-4)
Last week: 16
Despite what was probably Portland’s best defensive game of the season, the Timbers lost by a single goal after another moment of lax defending on Saturday, its fifth conceded after the 76th minute. Donovan Ricketts hasn’t been in the same form this year, and he hasn’t been able to bail out his teammates as often as he did in 2013, when he won Goalkeeper of the Year.
18. San Jose Earthquakes (0-2-3)
Last week: 18
After Alan Gordon hit the crossbar on the first possession in Colorado, San Jose was largely listless in attack. The fact J.J. Koval starts in midfield while Yannick Djaló comes off the bench is a strong indicator of the Earthquakes’ stubbornness in their direct, physical-based attack.
19. Montreal Impact (0-4-3)
Last week: 19 Shocking defense in the second half against Kansas City led to Montreal being buried by the defending champions, 4-0. Head coach Frank Klopas showed his frustration by refusing to speak to media after the game, only issuing a short statement via the team’s PR staff.