2012 MLS Power Rankings: Week 2
And so, another week in the knock-down, drag-out world of Major League Soccer has come to an end. And once again, the Western Conference flexes its muscles, schooling its counterparts from the East...with the notable exception of the Houston Dynamo (who are really a Western Conference team posing as one from the East).
Real Salt Lake rules the roost once more in this week's MLS power rankings, but what about the other teams? Let's find out.
19. New England Revolution
There is nothing but misery this week if you are a New England Revolution fan. Jay Heaps's Revs were blasted out of the water 3-0 by Sporting Kansas City at Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.
It's a long season, but this has all the makings of another disaster year. New England's next match is on Mar. 24 against the Portland Timbers. Kickoff at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET and will be televised by Comcast SportsNet.
18. Chivas USA
One can argue that it's a normal soccer day in L.A. when the Galaxy win...and Chivas USA lose. Turns out, that is exactly what happened to Robin Fraser's Goats, who fell to the Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
It will not get any easier for the Goats, who will travel to The Fortress: Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah to take on the top team in our power rankings, Real Salt Lake. Kickoff is scheduled for Mar. 24 at 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET and will be televised by KWHY-TV and Fox Sports Prime Ticket.
17. Montreal Impact
Tous Pour Gagner: All To Win. That is the motto of Jesse Marsch's Montreal Impact. And although they did not get their first win of the season at Stade Olympique against the Chicago Fire, they did get their first draw of the year: 1-1.
Davy Arnaud put the Impact ahead 1-0, but they couldn't hang on to the lead. The next objective for Montreal: build on an advantage.
They get to do just that when they hit the road on Mar. 24 against the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET and will be televised by TVA Sports.
16. Toronto FC
CONCACAF highs and MLS lows. That was the week that was for Aron Winter's Toronto FC.
Goals in the 34th minute from Ryan Johnson and 67th from Nick Soolsma paced Toronto FC to a breakthrough 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy. Johnson was on the scoresheet again for Toronto against the Seattle Sounders in the 62nd minute, but they fell 3-1 on the road at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Wash.
TFC continue their season on Mar. 24 against the San Jose Earthquakes. Kickoff at BMO Field in Toronto, Ont. is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET and will be televised by TSN.
15. D.C. United
Ben Olsen paid a heavy price for reconfiguring the starting lineup for D.C. United one too many times in a 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy at the Home Depot Center.
Nick De Leon was the bright spot for D.C., recording the first goal of the year for the visitors in the 87th minute.
It will not get any easier for D.C., who take on the resurgent Vancouver Whitecaps at B.C. Place Stadium in Vancouver, B.C. Kickoff is scheduled for Mar. 24 at 10 p.m. ET and will be televised by Comcast SportsNet.
14. Red Bull New York
Hans Backe's New York Red Bulls were the first victims to be put to the sword at Rio Tinto Stadium by Real Salt Lake, to the tune of 2-0.
The result was just another example of why the West is best this season. Another Western Conference opponent looms in the Colorado Rapids at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. Kickoff is scheduled for Mar. 25 at 4 p.m. ET and will be televised by ESPN and ESPN Deportes.
13. Philadelphia Union
Another day, another defeat for Peter Nowak's Philadelphia Union, who fell to the Colorado Rapids 2-1 at PPL Park in Chester, Pa.
Lionard Pajoy scored in the 67th minute for the Union, who were unable to complete a would-be comeback.
The Union return to Western Conference action when they face the Chicago Fire on Mar. 24 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by Comcast SportsNet.
12. Columbus Crew
Robert Warzycha's Columbus Crew were off this week.
The Crew will host the Montreal Impact on Mar. 24 at Crew Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET and will be televised by Fox Sports Ohio.
11. Chicago Fire
The Chicago Fire made history as the first home opponent for the Montreal Impact at Stade Olympique in Montreal, Que.
Dominic Oduro salvaged a 1-1 draw in the 71st minute, although it nearly didn't happen thanks to a late volley from the Impact that bounced off the crossbar.
The Fire resume action in the Eastern Conference on Mar. 24 against the Philadelphia Union at Toyota Park. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CT/8:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by Comcast Sportsnet.
10. San Jose Earthquakes
Perhaps Frank Yallop's San Jose Earthquakes will be wise not to play their games so far away from Santa Clara County.
Okay, so San Francisco County isn't that far. But the Quakes still lost, 1-0, to the Houston Dynamo over the weekend at AT&T Park.
Up next for San Jose: a match with Toronto FC. Kickoff at BMO Field is scheduled for 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET and will be televised by Comcast SportsNet.
9. Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Martin Rennie's Vancouver Whitecaps continue their assault at the top, and they earned their first ever road win in their existence, a 1-0 victory over Chivas USA at the Home Depot Center.
Team captain Jay DeMerit brought home the goods for the Caps in the 68th minute of play.
Vancouver will look to continue their dream start to the season when they face D.C. United at BC Place Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for Mar. 24 at 7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET and will be televised by Rogers SportsNet Pacific.
8. Portland Timbers
John Spencer's Portland Timbers had a tough assignment on the road against FC Dallas at FC Dallas Stadium in Frisco, Tex. In the end, all they could muster was a 1-1 draw.
Darlington Nagbe salvaged the draw in the 51st minute of play for Portland.
Next up for the Timbers is a match with the cellar-dwelling New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for Mar. 24 at 1 p.m. PT/4 p.m. ET and will be televised by ROOT SPORTS.
7. Los Angeles Galaxy
CONCACAF lows and MLS highs. That was the week that was for Bruce Arena's Los Angeles Galaxy.
In CONCACAF Champions League play, the Galaxy were dominated by Toronto FC and never really put it together in a 2-1 defeat. The Galaxy only got on the score sheet due to an own goal.
But it was a different story on Mar. 18 when they faced D.C. United. Desperate and hungry for some much-needed confidence, the G's demolished D.C. the same way Real Salt Lake ran it up on them in Week 1: a 3-1 rout.
Robbie Keane scored his first ever brace as a member of the Galaxy, recording goals in the 45th and 70th minutes of play. Marcelo Sarvas added an insurance goal in the 86th minute to open his account.
The Galaxy will have a two-week break before returning to action on Mar. 31 against the New England Revolution. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. PT/11 p.m. ET and will be televised by NBC Sports.
6. Houston Dynamo
It was nothing special from the Houston Dynamo over the weekend against the San Jose Earthquakes. Just a 1-0 victory thanks to a 14th-minute penalty from Brad Davis at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
The Dynamo's difficulty level gets kicked up a notch when they face the Seattle Sounders on Mar. 23 at CenturyLink Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 9 p.m. CT/10 p.m. ET and will be televised by NBC Sports.
5. FC Dallas
Schellas Hyndman's FC Dallas faced a stern test over the weekend in the form of the Portland Timbers. Despite finishing the first half with the advantage, the Hoops were consigned to a 1-1 draw.
Panamanian sensation Blas Perez opened his scoring account in the 22nd minute of play.
FC Dallas hit the road on Mar. 25 to take on Sporting Kansas City at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT/7 p.m. ET and will be televised by Fox Sports Southwest and Galavision.
4. Colorado Rapids
Oscar Pareja's Colorado Rapids continued their fine form with a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park.
Jaime Castrillon opened the scoring in the 56th minute of play while Tony Cascio scored the eventual winner in the 62nd minute.
The Rapids will look to maintain their Rocky Mountain High when they face the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena. Kickoff is scheduled for Mar. 25 at 2 p.m. MT/4 p.m. ET and will be televised by NBC Sports.
3. Seattle Sounders FC
Sigi Schmid's Seattle Sounders were dumped out of the CONCACAF Champions League unceremoniously by Santos Laguna to the tune of 6-1 at Estadio Corona in Torreon, Mexico. Alvaro Fernandez recorded the only goal of the match for Seattle in the 37th minute of play.
So how would Seattle cope with being blown out of the water by Santos? How about taking their frustrations out on a team still alive in the CCL?
That's right, the Sounders bounced back in typical Sounders fashion, destroying Toronto FC to the tune of 3-1 on a hat trick from David Estrada in the 17th, 51st and 63rd minutes.
Next up for Seattle is a match with the Houston Dynamo on Mar. 23. Kickoff at CenturyLink Field is scheduled for 7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET and will be televised by NBC Sports.
2. Sporting Kansas City
Sporting Kansas City are the class of the MLS Eastern Conference for a reason: They know how to win with authority.
Sporting took advantage of New England going down a man 14 minutes into the contest en route to a 3-0 shutout of the New England Revolution at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park.
Graham Zusi opened the scoring in the 28th minute. Also on the score sheet were Kei Kamara in the 39th minute and C.J. Sapong in the 47th minute.
Next up for Sporting is a match with FC Dallas at LIVESTRONG. Kickoff is scheduled for Mar. 25 at 6 p.m. CT/7 p.m. ET and will be televised by KSMO-TV and Galavision.
1. Real Salt Lake
It was back to business for Jason Kreis's Real Salt Lake, who were businesslike in their 2-0 shutout of the New York Red Bulls at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Fabian Espindola continued his hot form, opening the scoring in the 39th minute of play. Luis Gil also recorded his first of the season in the 58th minute.
Next up for Real Salt Lake is what appears to be a virtual walkover against Chivas USA at the Fortress. Kickoff is scheduled for Mar. 24 at 7 p.m. MT/9 p.m. ET and will be televised by The CW Channel 30.