Landon Donovan scored a hat trick on Sunday against FC Dallas.
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Week 24 MLS Power Rankings
Real Salt Lake (12-7-5) Days after sealing a place in the U.S. Open Cup final, and sealing hosting rights to boot, RSL topped Houston 1-0 on the strength of an Alvaro Saborio penalty kick to reclaim sole possession of first place in the hunt for the Supporters' Shield. Aside from two losses during the Gold Cup, when the club was depleted of some of its top talent, RSL is 7-0-3 in the last three months. Jason Kreis' side has churned out consistent success more than anyone during this parity-ridden season.
New York Red Bulls (11-8-5) The Thierry Henry-less lineup that was trotted out at Crew Stadium did little to trouble the hosts, as the inconsistent Red Bulls followed up a landmark road win with a lackluster road loss in Columbus. The loss dropped the Red Bulls behind Sporting KC by a point atop the Eastern Conference and sets up quite the showdown against regional rival Philadelphia this weekend, with major table implications in play.
Portland Timbers (8-3-11) The Timbers' bye week was spoiled by crashing out of the U.S. Open Cup in the semifinals, when a potential home final awaited the club if it could have topped Real Salt Lake. Instead, the trophy chase turns back to league play, where Portland quietly has not won in three matches and hosts FC Dallas before a grueling three-game stretch that includes two matches against RSL and Clint Dempsey's first match in Seattle, where nearly 70,000 will be on hand to take in the spectacle.
Sporting Kansas City (11-7-6) Kei Kamara will steal the headlines with his brace guiding Sporting Kansas City to a 3-0 romp over the New England Revolution, but how about the continued contributions from Soony Saad? The young forward continues to flourish, setting up Kamara for both of his headers and ensuring that Graham Zusi's continued absence with a quad injury did not hinder the club, which won for the first time in three games.
Colorado Rapids (9-7-9) The Rapids' unbeaten streak stretched to a league-best eight games Sunday night, but failing to come up with a victory over lowly Chivas USA while having a man advantage on two occasions will leave an unsatisfying taste in the club's collective mouth. Martin Rivero's late heroics salvaged the point, though, and with Colorado welcoming forwards Vicente Sanchez and Gabriel Torres prior to the close of the transfer window, manager Oscar Pareja has two new weapons he can deploy for the stretch run.
Los Angeles Galaxy (10-9-4) L.A. will cry foul for the two goals the club conceded that looked like they should have been waved off for offside, but there's nothing that will change the standings after the fact, as the two-time defending champion remains on the edge of the playoff picture. Landon Donovan's hat trick should have been enough to carry the club to victory, but instead the Galaxy enter next weekend's anticipated clash against RSL wanting a little more.
Seattle Sounders (10-7-4) The Sounders kicked off the Clint Dempsey era with a victory, with Mauro Rosales stepping up to the plate with a fine showing and an early goal to help Seattle to the three-point haul. The club likely would have preferred the onset of Dempsey's debut to come under different circumstances, with the USA captain entering earlier than expected, in the 34th minute, to replacing an ailing Obafemi Martins.
Philadelphia Union (10-7-7) Conor Casey's resurgent, under-the-radar, season continued, as his brace spearheaded a 2-0 victory for the Union over last-place D.C. While Jack McInerney has struggled to rediscover his top scoring form, Casey -- aided by top MLS assist man Sebastien Le Toux -- has found his, with him picking up the slack and scoring seven goals during McInerney's current drought to help keep the Union alive and well in the Eastern Conference mix.
Vancouver Whitecaps (10-7-6) Camilo is back atop the leaderboard for the Golden Boot (tied with Mike Magee) after his latest game-winning goal -- his fourth of the campaign -- helped the Whitecaps end a three-game winless skid and top San Jose 2-0 at BC Place. Nigel Reo-Coker turned in a tremendous shift in the midfield, with coach Martin Rennie reserving post-game praise for the Reo-Coker-Daigo Kobayashi-Gershon Kofie midfield triumvirate that may well get more runouts together after a dominating showing.
Houston Dynamo (9-7-6) The Dynamo were stymied by Real Salt Lake in a meeting of two of the league's model franchises, but a soft-yet-clear penalty call on Adam Moffat was all that was necessary to separate the two sides. Houston can brace itself for DempseyMania, with the club welcoming the native Texan and newest Seattle Sounder to BBVA Compass Stadium next weekend prior to its opening match of the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League campaign.
Montreal Impact (10-7-5) Coming off a CCL victory over San Jose that forced Marco Schallibaum to mix up his lineup a bit over the weekend, the Impact faltered until it was too late and could not complete a comeback against Chicago before falling 2-1. The Impact, after their red-hot start, are just 2-5-3 in their last 10 league matches but have a golden chance to get back in the win column by hosting D.C. United in a grudge match this weekend after falling to the last-place side earlier this month.
Chicago Fire (9-9-4) Despite Mike Magee and Chris Rolfe both not starting, the Fire took the action to the Impact, with Joel Lindpere and Dilly Duka providing the scoring to help the club creep within two points of a playoff place. Rolfe certainly made his impact felt off the bench, though, with a win-preserving goal-line clearance in the dying moments robbing Matteo Ferrari of a would-be equalizer.
FC Dallas (8-6-9) FC Dallas can thank a generous assistant referee for allowing two Blas Perez equalizers to stand, as the club clawed its way to a controversial 3-3 draw with LA Sunday night. The tie extended Dallas' winless streak to 10 matches, though, and preventing that from stretching to 11 won't be easy, with a visit to Jeld-Wen Field to take on Portland next up on the schedule.
San Jose Earthquakes (8-10-6) San Jose endured a rough week against Canadian competition, falling in its CONCACAF Champions League group stage opener to Montreal before heading to Vancouver and succumbing to a 2-0 defeat in league play. With 10 games remaining in the season, and four of the five teams ahead of San Jose maintaining games in hand on the Earthquakes, the Supporters' Shield holders need to come up with maximum efforts from here on out in order to return to the postseason.
New England Revolution (8-9-6) Kevin Alston's return to the starting lineup for the first time since being diagnosed with leukemia was certainly a sight for sore eyes, but the Revs could not come through with a performance necessary in the confines of Sporting Park to walk away with any points and watched Chicago leapfrog them in the playoff hunt. The word that Charlie Davies will be joining the squad should deliver a jolt, both emotionally and on the field for a team stumbling as of late.
Columbus Crew (7-11-5) Federico Higuain's two-goal showing guided the Crew to a 2-0 victory over New York that knocked the Red Bulls out of first place. While Higuain opened the scoring with his third penalty attempt against New York and goalkeeper Luis Robles this season, it was his second goal -- a sumptuous chip from some range -- that had the masses swooning Saturday evening.
Toronto FC (4-11-8) TFC outplayed Seattle for large stretches of their match Saturday only to squander goals on major defensive lapses, and the club could not complete its comeback and spoil Dempsey's debut. Jonathan Osorio delivered yet another well-taken goal, though, and the Canadian rookie has five goals on the season to throw himself into consideration for Rookie of the Year honors.
D.C. United (3-16-4) With a place in the U.S. Open Cup final secure, it certainly looks as if Ben Olsen is going to use the remainder of the regular season to get his young signings some valuable experience, as evidenced by the lineup he sent out at PPL Park Saturday night. With 18-year-old Collin Martin getting his first MLS start and 17-year-old Michael Seaton coming off the bench for his league debut, the future is very much now for D.C.
Chivas USA (4-13-6) The Goats are extremely fortunate to have earned a point at home against Colorado, with undisciplined tackling and lack of composure costing Chivas two players in the 1-1 draw. Dan Kennedy coming up huge on an underwhelming team is no secret, and the goalkeeper was at it again Sunday night, stuffing a Deshorn Brown penalty kick in the early stages after an asinine handball by Steve Purdy, who played the part of basketball rim guardian as opposed to sound soccer center back off a corner kick.
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