RSL's Javier Morales, left, celebrates during his hat trick performance in Houston on Sunday. (David J. Phillip/AP)
In 12 Major League Soccer games this past week, 39 goals were scored, and three players scored hat tricks. For the first time in league history, two of them came in the same game, a 5-4 shootout that saw the Chicago Fire win their first game of the year.
Their opponents in that game, the New York Red Bulls, got their hat trick through Bradley Wright-Phillips, who also scored one two weeks ago. The Fire took all three points at Red Bull Arena, though, as the away teams went 6-4-2 across the league. One of those away teams, RSL, had Javier Morales score a hat trick, including one goal 15 seconds into the club's triumph at Houston.
After the strangest week of the 2014 MLS season yet, here are the latest power rankings:
MLS Power Rankings — Week 10
1. Real Salt Lake (5-0-5)
Last week: 2
This week: 5-2 at Houston
RSL is still undefeated after an emphatic victory in Houston. Javier Morales scored his first three goals of the season in the win, coming up with a hat trick that included the fastest goal in franchise history.
2. Sporting Kansas City (5-2-2)
Last week: 3
This week: 3-0 at Montreal
The defending champions ran over the Impact after an early red card to Collen Warner. They dominated every aspect of the game, helped by the man advantage, and won by three goals.
3. Seattle Sounders (7-3-1)
Last week: 1
This week: 2-1 vs. Dallas, 0-5 at New England
The Sounders tied their best 10-game start in franchise history and earned their fifth win in a row, all comebacks, in midweek against Dallas. It all came apart in a disastrous trip to New England, resulting in a 5-0 throwaway game.
4. New England Revolution (5-3-2)
Last week: 5
This week: 5-0 vs. Seattle
Clint Dempsey’s return to Foxboro was not a happy one. In a result nobody saw coming, the Revolution turned what was supposed to be a tough test against the Sounders into a five-goal party, spearheaded by Diego Fagundez' first two goals of the season.
5. Vancouver Whitecaps (4-2-4)
Last week: 8
This week: 1-0 at Columbus
Despite being on the road, Vancouver out-gunned Columbus and could have easily won by more than one goal. It was a statement game that could have marked a change in mentality away from BC Place for a team that has been shy in strange stadiums.
6. New York Red Bulls (3-3-5)
Last week: 4
This week: 4-5 vs. Chicago
In one of the highest-scoring games in recent memory, the Red Bulls fell short to hand Chicago its first win of the season. Bradley Wright-Phillips scored his second hat trick but lost the duel to rookie Harry Shipp, who did the same for the visitors.
7. L.A. Galaxy (2-2-3)
Last week: 9
This week: 1-1 at Portland
A point didn’t really help L.A.’s quest in playing catch-up with the rest of the league in terms of games played, but the Galaxy could feel hard done by against the Timbers. A late penalty shout fell on the refereeing crew’s deaf ears, only to see a one-goal margin erased moments later.
8. FC Dallas (5-5-1)
Last week: 6
This week: 1-2 at Seattle, 1-2 at San Jose
After a pair of 2-1 losses, questions are starting to creep up about whether Óscar Pareja’s Dallas side will fade after a strong start, just as Schellas Hyndman’s did last year. After jumping to the top of the table at the beginning, Dallas is now a .500 team.
9. Colorado Rapids (4-3-3)
Last week: 7
This week: 0-0 at San Jose, 1-3 vs. Chivas USA
Marvin Chávez scored twice against his old team just two days after being traded to Chivas USA. His old teammates gifted him two excellent opportunities with poor defensive decisions, and he took them well to win a game for his new team.
Chicago Fire rookie Harry Shipp scored the first three goals of his career to help the club to a wild 5-4 win over the New York Red Bulls (Warren Wimmer/Icon SMI)
10. D.C. United (4-3-2)
Last week: 13
This week: 1-0 at Philadelphia
D.C. surpassed its 2013 win total already this season with a victory by the slimmest margin against the Union. Bill Hamid came up big late in the game with a double save to preserve the shutout, but he was shaky on crosses on a couple occasions.
11. Toronto FC (3-4-0)
Last week: 11
This week: Off
Toronto’s big guns all played in the Canadian Championship against Vancouver on Wednesday with no game to play on the weekend, winning 2-1 on a Michael Bradley goal. The return leg in Vancouver and a visit from New York are on the schedule this week, which marks the beginning of the World Cup period in which at least a couple of those key players will be missing.
12. Houston Dynamo (4-5-2)
Last week: 12
This week: 1-0 vs. Columbus, 2-5 vs. Salt Lake
Houston kicked off a three-game homestand with a win over Columbus on a set piece but lost the middle game to a strong RSL team. Rookie Mark Sherrod was a bright spot in the latter, scoring twice to keep the game close well into the second half despite his team being short a man.
13. Columbus Crew (3-4-3)
Last week: 10
This week: 0-1 at Houston, 0-1 vs. Vancouver
It’s starting to get scary for the Crew, who haven’t won in seven games. Columbus’ comeback attempt in Houston fell short with Justin Meram hitting the post, but the team was outplayed at home against the Whitecaps three days later.
14. Chivas USA (2-5-3)
Last week: 16
This week: 3-1 at Colorado
The robot was in full effect as Erick Torres scored again, but Chávez made bigger headlines by scoring twice against his old team. It’s strange to think that a team based in Southern California could play better in the snow than a team based in Denver, but that’s what happened Sunday.
15. Portland Timbers (1-3-6)
Last week: 15
This week: 1-1 vs. L.A.
Mamadou Danso watched Robbie Keane score the go-ahead goal in stoppage time for the Galaxy, but Diego Valeri responded with a goal even deeper into stoppage time to salvage another point. The Timbers’ attack is starting to click, but the defense is still in early preseason form.
16. San Jose Earthquakes (2-3-4)
Last week: 18
This week: 0-0 vs. Colorado, 2-1 vs. Dallas
Two classic San Jose performances handed the Earthquakes four points at home last week, in which they showcased their direct style and made it effective. Give them credit: at least they’re owning the way they play and not shying away from it.
17. Philadelphia Union (1-5-5)
Last week: 14
This week: 0-1 vs. D.C.
Philadelphia is officially in the midst of its worst time as a franchise. The Union’s nine-game winless streak is the longest in its history, and the fact that rival D.C. inflicted the latest blow makes it sting that much more.
18. Chicago Fire (1-2-6)
Last week: 19
This week: 5-4 at New York
Finally, the Fire are no longer without a win. Shipp continued his strong first season with a hat trick in a crazy game against the Red Bulls to earn his first win as a pro.
19. Montreal Impact (1-5-3)
Last week: 17
This week: 0-3 vs. Kansas City