The Red Bulls outplayed Will Bruin (left) and the sixth-place Dynamo on Sunday, winning 4-1.
Robert Chamblis/Icon SMI
Week 28 MLS Power Rankings
Real Salt Lake (14-8-6) RSL retains its perch atop the Western Conference after a bye week, but it watched the results around the league give Friday's nationally televised clash against the hard-charging Seattle Sounders even more meaning. With a victory, RSL would restore some breathing room in the Supporters' Shield race against a team that has two games in hand and trails by only two points. A loss would put Seattle in the driver's seat for the Shield.
Seattle Sounders (14-8-4) Seattle's six-point haul with a depleted squad (no Clint Dempsey, Eddie Johnson or Brad Evans for both games, and no Obafemi Martins and Leo Gonzalez for one) not only highlighted the club's depth but it also has the Sounders, winners of seven of their last eight games, positioned for a Supporters' Shield charge. Lamar Neagle inherited the scoring responsibilities with goals in wins over Chivas USA and Chicago and continues his resurgence since returning to his hometown club.
Montreal Impact (13-7-6) Unbeaten in four games after a 4-2 victory in New England, the Impact have fully righted the ship after a summer hiccup and sit in a favorable place atop the Eastern Conference standings. Marco Di Vaio's two goals give him a league-leading 17 for the season, and he looks the part of the favorite to win the Golden Boot, considering form and health of his closest competitors.
LA Galaxy (13-10-4) The Galaxy's three-game winning streak came to a halt, with former striker Edson Buddle doing the damage in a 1-0 loss to Colorado no less. Bruce Arena's side can take solace in the fact that it was without its starting goalkeeper and DP trio, but the failure to secure any points keeps the pressure on with teams trailing in the standings gaining ground over the weekend.
Sporting Kansas City (13-9-6) Sporting KC asserted its dominance in a thorough 3-0 beating of Columbus to keep pace with Montreal and New York atop the Eastern Conference. With Kei Kamara off to Middlesbrough, the club's other attacking components will need to fill the void for the playoff run. Soony Saad has done just that with his opportunities, and so too has Benny Feilhaber, who has been quietly enjoying a return to form in recent weeks.
Portland Timbers (10-5-12) Portland is back to its winning ways after a 4-0 thrashing of Toronto FC, one that got out of hand with three goals in the final 10 minutes. It is no coincidence that the club's fortunes turned with the return of captain Will Johnson, who scored a career-high seventh goal in his first match back from a shoulder injury and helped restore order after a three-game winless run.
Colorado Rapids (11-8-9) Edson Buddle is up to 98 goals in his career after torching his former club LA with a vicious strike and guiding the Rapids to a 1-0 win and a much-needed three-point haul at the StubHub Center. Each one of Colorado's final six games will have six-point-swing potential as the club looks to return to the postseason after missing out last year.
New York Red Bulls (13-9-6) For all of the Red Bulls' road struggles this season, they've managed to win at two of the toughest places to play, Kansas City and Houston. The 4-1 win over the Dynamo was as encouraging a victory as the club has had this season, with complementary parts Jonny Steele, Eric Alexander and Bradley Wright-Phillips each playing major roles in the spirit-lifting win.
Philadelphia Union (10-9-9) The Union won't want to look at the game film from their 1-0 loss in San Jose Sunday night, with the club unable to take advantage of an Earthquakes side that was depleted in defense and down to 10 men for the final 33 minutes of the contest. The club returns home to face Houston in a game that can either go a long way in cementing Philadelphia's place in the top five or ensure a struggle down the home stretch.
FC Dallas (10-7-10) FC Dallas refuses to go away. The club has followed up its 11-game winless stretch with a three-game unbeaten streak, with the most recent result being a vital 3-1 victory over Vancouver despite leading scorer Blas Perez's being unavailable. Mauro Diaz and Jair Benitez's game-deciding goals were both of the highlight-reel variety, and they have FCD feeling quite good ahead of a match with Colorado that could catapult the club back into the playoff picture if it can pull out another win.
Houston Dynamo (10-10-7) Houston's struggles, both to get a top-choice team on the field and to churn out successful results, continued in a bad way Sunday, with a lackluster 4-1 loss to New York following up a surprising 2-0 loss to Columbus on Wednesday. The Dynamo did not lose any ground in the playoff chase despite the losses, but there are greater signs of worry for Dom Kinnear's side heading into a vital clash with Philadelphia at PPL Park.
New England Revolution (10-10-7) New England's 4-2 loss to Montreal turned in the early minutes, with goalkeeper Matt Reis controversially sent off after taking Marco Di Vaio down in the box. There is no question that a penalty should have been called on the play, but there is plenty of room to argue that Di Vaio was not denied an obvious goal-scoring opportunity and that Reis should not have seen red. The Revs played hard to stay alive, but that's a tough mountain to climb against a strong opponent.
Vancouver Whitecaps(10-10-7) The Whitecaps are going through another one of their funks, with a 3-1 loss in Dallas extending their winless streak to four games at an inopportune time. Martin Rennie's curious decision to start Nigel Reo-Coker at right back surely did not work out, as FC Dallas exposed his lack of savvy and experience at the position. Vancouver suddenly finds itself five points out of a playoff place with a brutal schedule to close the season.
San Jose Earthquakes (10-11-7) Despite being without its top center back tandem and going down a man for the final 33 minutes, San Jose used a moment of class from Shea Salinas and an all-around gutsy effort to land a 1-0 victory over Philadelphia and maintain its playoff hopes. The Earthquakes have played a game more than the three teams they are chasing and are five points out of a playoff berth, but Mark Watson's side is not going down quietly.
Chicago Fire (10-11-5) Chicago had every right to claim at least a point against Seattle, but Gonzalo Segares' inadvertent own goal in the waning minutes coughed up the points and had the Fire heading home unsatisfied. All eyes will be on goal-scorer Mike Magee's apparent leg injury, especially with a two-game week on the docket and a playoff spot still there for the taking.
Columbus Crew (9-14-5) The Crew kicked off the post-Robert Warzycha era in solid form, earning a 2-0 midweek win over Houston, before coming crashing back down to earth and being supremely outclassed by Sporting KC over the weekend. Yielding an early penalty to a team like SKC, which is tough to beat once it has the lead, is a recipe for disaster, which is how the remainder of Saturday night's contest played out.
Chivas USA (6-15-7) The Goats continue to give top effort down the stretch, narrowly losing in Seattle before returning home to take a 1-0 win off lowly D.C. United. Erick Torres earned another chance to do the robot following his opportunistic goal, and he now has seven goals in just nine games since joining the club on loan from parent club Chivas de Guadalajara.
Toronto FC (4-13-10) The wheels fell off both on and off the field for TFC this week. First, president and general manager Kevin Payne was shown the door not even a full season into his Toronto venture, another flareup in the club's turbulent front office history. Then, the Reds saw a 1-0 game get out of control in a 10-minute flurry and eventually lost 4-0 to Portland.
D.C. United (3-19-5) Still winless on the road, D.C. saw its futile campaign hit a new low following a 1-0 loss to Chivas USA. The rare chances that were created were blown, and the goal that was conceded was a gift. If there is a silver lining, it is that Chris Pontius returned from injury as a second-half substitute after missing the last seven matches with a hamstring knock.
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