MLS Power Rankings: Week 8
After the Montreal Impact and San Jose Earthquakes recorded their first victories of the MLS season this past weekend -- both narrow 1-0 victories -- two teams still remain winless with two months of the MLS season in the books: The Chicago Fire, and, more surprisingly, the defending Western Conference regular season champion Portland Timbers.
On the other end of the spectrum, Real Salt Lake is still unbeaten, although it should have won against the Vancouver Whitecaps after going up two goals in the first 10 minutes and leading 2-0 into the 85th minute. Meanwhile, the Seattle Sounders continued to climb up the table on Clint Dempsey’s shoulders, recording an emphatic 4-1 win over the Colorado Rapids, with the American adding to his league-leading goal tally yet again.
Here’s how the league shapes up after two months:
MLS Power Rankings — Week 8
1. Real Salt Lake (3-0-5)
Last week: 1
RSL jumped to a quick two-goal lead against Vancouver, only to see that deficit disappear in the last 10 minutes after two uncharacteristic mistakes from Nick Rimando, settling for a 2-2 draw. Rimando remains one shutout from tying Kevin Hartman’s career MLS record of 112.
2. Seattle Sounders (5-2-1)
Last week: 5
In April, Clint Dempsey had one of the best months of any MLS player in recent history. He dominated the second half of Seattle's 4-1 win over Colorado on Saturday, scoring twice after setting up Lamar Neagle for the game’s first goal just before halftime.
3. Sporting Kansas City (3-2-2)
Last week: 2
Aurélien Collin’s first straight red card in his MLS career — and a harsh one at that — gave New England the boost it needed to score twice late in the game for the 2-0 win over the reigning MLS Cup winners.
4. FC Dallas (5-2-1)
Last week: 3
When Mauro Díaz scored early against D.C., it seemed Dallas would cruise to another victory. However, Zach Lloyd’s second yellow card five minutes before halftime led to the home team turning the tables and scoring four unanswered goals in the 4-1 result.
5. Columbus Crew (3-1-3)
Last week: 4
Three draws in a row and four games without a win have reversed the Crew’s promising start to the season. Columbus controlled most of its 1-1 draw with New York, creating chance after chance, but it couldn’t find what would have been a crucial second goal.
6. Toronto FC (3-3-0)
Last week: 6
After a week off, Toronto hosts New England on Saturday, which heads into BMO Field with a three-game unbeaten streak. Michael Bradley will likely miss the game, coming off a minor foot procedure that had been planned since preseason to deal with a nagging nerve issue.
7. L.A. Galaxy (2-1-2)
Last week: 7
After its involvement in the CONCACAF Champions League and three bye weeks to this point, L.A. has played only five matches. That should mean the Galaxy are plenty fresh to play in the altitude in Colorado against the Rapids on Saturday.
8. New York Red Bulls (2-2-5)
Last week: 13
It was another productive week for New York, defeating Houston 4-0 at home in midweek before clawing back for a point in Columbus. The Red Bulls are working hard to undo the damage of six straight games without a win to open the season, and Bradley Wright-Phillips is paying a big part of that with four goals this week.
9. Colorado Rapids (3-2-2)
Last week: 8
Colorado lost to the Sounders by three goals, but the Rapids really aren’t as bad as that scoreline suggests. The one bright spot in a miserable result was promising youngster Dillon Serna’s first professional goal.
10. New England Revolution (3-3-2)
Last week: 11
It wasn’t pretty, but the Revs defeated Kansas City on Saturday after benefitting from Collin’s red card, with Teal Bunbury striking against his former team for the winner. They have scored two goals in two of the last three games, winning both times, after failing to score in their first three.
11. Vancouver Whitecaps (2-2-4)
Last week: 12
Sebastián Fernández scored another long-range blast to cap a dramatic comeback for the Whitecaps in Salt Lake. That doesn’t change the fact that Vancouver hasn’t won in four games, but at least it prevented another road loss and showed character to fight back in hostile territory.
12. D.C. United (3-2-2)
Last week: 15
D.C. is another team that will hate to see April end, having won three games at home and tying in Columbus in the last four weeks. May won’t be as kind in terms of scheduling, with trips to Portland and Philadelphia kicking off a month in which United -- which already matched its putrid win total from last season -- also faces Kansas City at home.
13. Philadelphia Union (1-3-5)
Last week: 9
Especially on the road, teams need their goalkeepers to come up with one or two good saves to give them a chance to win. Zac MacMath missed his opportunity and gifted Montreal its first win of the season on Saturday, allowing Felipe to pounce on a rebound in the 1-0 defeat.
14. Houston Dynamo (2-4-2)
Last week: 10
It wasn’t a good week for Houston, which lost on the road and tied at home. The Dynamo, which led Portland after an early Will Bruin goal before settling for a 1-1 draw Sunday, haven’t won since starting the season 2-0.
15. Chivas USA (1-4-3)
Last week: 14
Chivas struggled with San Jose’s direct, physical style on Saturday. Cubo Torres missed a point-blank effort late in the first half at 0-0 that could have changed the story had he managed to put it away, but the Goats became the Earthquakes' first victim of the season with the 1-0 defeat.
16. Chicago Fire (0-1-6)
Last week: 16
The next stretch of games could define Chicago’s season, with matches looming against RSL, Kansas City (twice), New York, Columbus, L.A., Seattle, Colorado and Toronto. If the Fire, who were on bye this week, want to make the playoffs, that’s the caliber of teams against which they will have to prove they belong.
17. San Jose Earthquakes (1-2-3)
Last week: 18
After five games without a win, even the ugly ones will be celebrated. Yannick Djaló’s sublime strike off the bench contrasted with the rest of the game, which was fairly brutal but ended with the Earthquakes snatching three points.
18. Montreal Impact (1-4-3)
Last week: 19
Montreal also won, leaving just two teams without victories now in the league. The Impact opened Stade Saputo with a win over Philadelphia in cold, wet conditions, relieving some pressure on manager Frank Klopas.
19. Portland Timbers (0-3-5)
Last week: 17 Just as dramatically as the Timbers rose last year, they have fallen this year. Another defensive error, again from Pa Modou Kah, allowed Houston to score against the run of play and negated all of Portland’s early attacking momentum on the road.