Seattle bags top spot in Power Rankings
Sporting Kansas City’s second loss in as many games hasn’t changed the fact they still have the most points in Major League Soccer, but it has caused them to slip in the latest FOX Soccer MLS Power Rankings.
The Montreal Impact’s 2-0 win at Livestrong Sporting Park not only snapped Sporting KC’s unbeaten home record, it also pushed KC closer to the trailing pack in the East. Peter Vermes’ squad is still the team to beat, but the recent losses have allowed some West powers to climb into the picture for the top spot in MLS.
The Seattle Sounders have taken over at the summit and have done so thanks to the return from injury of Mauro Rosales, and the blossoming partnership of Fredy Montero and Eddie Johnson. That, and a Sounders defense that has really come together since their disastrous showing in the CONCACAF Champions League against Santos Laguna.
One team that hasn’t moved an inch in the rankings is Toronto FC, which set an MLS record for worst start to a season after dropping to 0-8 following their 2-0 loss to D.C. United. Aron Winter’s time in Toronto is nearing an end and things don’t look likely to improve any time soon.
Here are the latest FOX Soccer MLS Power Rankings:
1- SEATTLE SOUNDERS
Two-win weeks propels the Sounders to the top spot. With Montero heating up and Rosales settling in after his injury layoff, Seattle’s attack should help them from feeling the brief absence of injured goalkeeper Michael Gspurning.
2- SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
Looked good in rolling over D.C. United, but saw their seven-match unbeaten streak snapped in Vancouver on a stoppage time Eric Hassli goal. They’re still a fun team to watch and don’t look likely to drop too far any time soon.
3- SPORTING KANSAS CITY
The week off didn’t help Sporting KC avoid a second straight shutout loss. Peter Vermes probably isn’t panicking just yet, but a two-game road swing through Chicago and Colorado will tell us if the KC attack is just in a brief slump or facing bigger issues.
4- REAL SALT LAKE
It took two months but Jason Kreis was finally able to field a full-strength lineup and the result was a win, though not a dominating performance. Alvaro Saborio breaking out for two goals is a positive sign, but Nick Rimando’s heroics spared RSL’s defense some blushes.
5- VANCOUVER WHITECAPS
The Whitecaps proved that their early-season success is no fluke by halting the hottest team in the league, San Jose Earthquakes. Eric Hassli’s stoppage-time winner just might be the slump-buster that gets the French striker rolling.
6- D.C. UNITED
Giving up five goals in San Jose had to trouble Ben Olsen, but seeing Bill Hamid show well against Toronto FC in his return to the starting lineup was definitely a positive. Beating TFC isn’t exactly tough these days, but having struggling striker Hamdi Salihi score in his second straight match is a very good sign for D.C.
7- NEW YORK RED BULLS
A second straight shutout victory has Hans Backe’s patchwork defense looking better than his first-choice backline. Ryan Meara is playing like a veteran, and the return of Juan Agudelo should help the Red Bulls cope a little better with Thierry Henry’s absence.
8- HOUSTON DYNAMO
A big week for the Dynamo with the opening of BBVA Compass Stadium, but the team can’t lose sight of the fact they face two tough Eastern Conference rivals this week in New York and D.C. United. Having Brad Davis back from injury will help tremendously.
9- CHICAGO FIRE
Earned a confidence-building victory against Chivas USA last Friday, but a brutal week awaits with games against RSL and Sporting KC.
10- COLORADO RAPIDS
Took full advantage of FC Dallas’ two red cards to post a business-like 2-0 victory on Sunday. Getting Conor Casey more minutes was a positive, but the Rapids can’t afford to lose Omar Cummings for long.
11- MONTREAL IMPACT
Already showing signs of improvement before last week, the Impact shocked Sporting KC thanks to a quality team effort and the contributions of an ever-improving defense boosted by the addition of Nelson Rivas. A big Canadian Championship decider looms on Wednesday vs. Toronto FC.
12- LA GALAXY
For all the talk about Omar Gonzalez’s absence, Bruce Arena finally acknowledged the reality that it is the Galaxy’s lack of offense that is hurting them as much as the absence of their star centerback.
13- FC DALLAS
Two red cards doomed Dallas against Colorado, but now they’re faced with missing Blas Perez and Daniel Hernandez for at least one match. On the bright side that match is against struggling Columbus.
14- NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
Jay Heaps won’t be happy with the loss in RSL, but the team looked good in beating Colorado last Wednesday and gave Real Salt Lake all they could handle. They’ll feel aggrieved for a questionable red card to Fernando Cardenas in the RSL loss.
15- PHILADELPHIA UNION
Where is the offense? With each passing game it becomes clear that the Union either A) need to get Danny Mwanga more minutes or B) need to sign a new forward. Their strikers just aren’t getting the job done, which is spoiling a strong run of form by the team’s defense.
16- CHIVAS USA
Robin Fraser has tried different personnel and different formations, but his Chivas USA side still couldn’t avoid dropping a third straight match. The Goats just aren’t generating enough chances and the need for a top-notch playmaker becomes more glaring by the day.
17- PORTLAND TIMBERS
The Timbers finally managed to avoid giving up late goals in a loss, but they didn’t score any either, settling for a scoreless draw against a struggling Columbus team.
18- COLUMBUS CREW
The Crew’s lackluster offense produced another snoozer against Portland, but there is some good news in the form of the signing of midfielder Chris Birchall. He should help fill a void in defensive midfield. Now if only Robert Warzycha could fill the goal-scoring void.
19- TORONTO FC
An 0-8 start and the potential of being eliminated from the Canadian Championship by Montreal on Wednesday should spell the end of the Aron Winter era, but even the team’s record-breaking losing streak could be overlooked if TFC can produce a win on Wednesday against Montreal.