MLS Power Rankings: Sporting Kansas City and Toronto FC Rise After Week 13
Week 13 of the 2015 MLS season featured some highlight-reel goals and a few outstanding individual performances. There were also some incredible matches that dramatically altered the power rankings.
Sporting Kansas City dominated FC Dallas at home, and Toronto FC confidently defeated the San Jose Earthquakes. Last week's No. 1 team, the Seattle Sounders, also recorded wins on Sunday and Wednesday.
These three teams impressed this weekend, but how did they compare with the rest of the league?
Here are the MLS power rankings for Week 13.
20. New York City FC (Previous: 20)
New York City FC earned a second draw in its last three games by tying the Houston Dynamo 1-1 at Yankee Stadium on Saturday. The team's one win came in its home opener on March 15 vs. the New England Revolution.
NYCFC is currently riding an 11-game winless skid and has earned a measly four points in that span. Injuries have affected the squad, but the expansion side is clearly the worst team in the league right now.
The draw against the Dynamo was a step in the right direction. The referee could have called Dynamo forward Will Bruin's goal back for a foul from teammate David Horst, who appeared to use Jason Hernandez as a springboard for the assist. The attack was more lively compared to previous games as well.
However, NYCFC is still winless since March and remains at No. 20 despite the draw with Houston.
19. Montreal Impact (Previous: 16)
It was a rainy Saturday night in Bridgeview, Illinois. The Chicago Fire weren't affected by the inclement conditions, defeating the 10-man Montreal Impact 3-0 at Toyota Park.
The official sent off Impact midfielder Marco Donadel in the 37th minute after this tackle on Matt Polster. Two Chicago goals followed the red card, capping off a convincing Fire performance.
Chicago goalkeeper Jon Busch was not tested. Montreal mustered just three shots, none of which hit the target, per the official MLS website. Those numbers described the Impact's display in a nutshell.
Failing to generate a shot on target and losing by three goals to an average side mean that Montreal slips to No. 19 this week.
18. Colorado Rapids (Previous: 14)
The Colorado Rapids had a rough week, losing 1-0 to the Seattle Sounders on Wednesday before falling to the Portland Timbers in second-half stoppage time.
The defeat at the hands of the Timbers was an especially tough result. The Rapids appeared to have a point clinched until Jack Jewsbury struck in the final moments of the match.
Colorado wasn't particularly impressive, but neither was Portland. The Timbers took advantage of a lackadaisical back line at the end of the game, while the Rapids barely generated chances. The same can be said about the Seattle match.
It will take time for Kevin Doyle and Luis Solignac to adjust to their new team and to MLS. However, two losses move the Rapids down to No. 18 for this week.
17. Philadelphia Union (Previous: 17)
The Philadelphia Union have been a significantly stronger side with Cristian Maidana and Vincent Nogueira in the lineup at the same time. They recorded a win and a draw until they lost to D.C. United on Saturday.
It was a harsh result for Philadelphia, who conceded a penalty late in the match, leading to D.C.'s win. Zach Pfeffer was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box, which is a hard call to make, but was ultimately the correct one.
However, Philadelphia had several quality chances to score a second goal. Andrew Wenger struck the crossbar, and Fernando Aristeguieta forced United goalkeeper Bill Hamid to make a crucial save.
It was a solid performance by the Union, who managed to create chances in a narrow loss to the Eastern Conference leaders. As a result, Philadelphia stays at No. 17.
16. Chicago Fire (Previous: 19)
The Chicago Fire thoroughly dominated the 10-man Montreal Impact on Saturday. Unlike the match against New York City FC on May 15, Chicago capitalized on its man advantage and took control of the game.
It was arguably Chicago's most complete performance of the season. Harry Shipp was excellent once again, designated player Kennedy Igboananike scored, and the defense kept a clean sheet.
The comprehensive win moved Chicago into sixth place in the Eastern Conference and also moved up the Fire to No. 16 in the power rankings.
15. Orlando City SC (Previous: 15)
Orlando City SC will feel aggrieved to have drawn 10-man Columbus Crew at home. Michael Parkhurst's red card gave Orlando a prime opportunity to record a second consecutive win at the Citrus Bowl, but it had to settle for a point.
In fact, if it wasn't for Pedro Ribeiro's 89th-minute strike, Orlando may have lost the game. The defense was also beaten on two headers that led to Columbus' goals.
However, the Crew are still a top-tier team in MLS, and Orlando has been forced to rotate its lineup. Even though the Lions failed to capitalize on their man advantage, a point against an Eastern Conference contender keeps them at No. 15.
14. Real Salt Lake (Previous: 12)
Real Salt Lake has been inconsistent recently, especially in the scoring department. It has recorded multiple goals in just four games this season and has won three times in those matches.
RSL's attack has been coping with some key absentees for parts of the season, such as Joao Plata and Javier Morales. However, the Claret-and-Cobalt failed to beat the LA Galaxy and Vancouver Whitecaps with a full-strength attack.
Miscommunication cost RSL in Vancouver, and a penalty clinched the win for L.A. But the attack has been noticeably poor in recent weeks. Two losses in a row with just one goal scored mean a demotion to No. 14.
13. Portland Timbers (Previous: 18)
The Portland Timbers moved into a playoff spot in the Western Conference thanks to two narrow wins this past week. While the performances weren't perfect, it must have been a relief to pick up six points on the trot in what's been an average campaign so far.
The 1-0 win against D.C. United was an impressive showing by the Timbers. Will Johnson started his first game since he broke his leg last September, and he and Diego Chara were breaking up onrushing attacks, which is something Portland has desperately missed this season.
Had it not been for Bill Hamid, the Timbers could've won by at least a couple of goals. They seldom conceded chances to D.C., which must have pleased head coach Caleb Porter.
The game against the Colorado Rapids was a bore, but the Timbers nicked three points thanks to Jack Jewsbury's persistence. Defeating the top team in the East and then grabbing a victory at high altitude are two tremendous results. That's good enough to move Portland to No. 13.
12. Houston Dynamo (Previous: 11)
The Houston Dynamo went up 1-0 against New York City FC at Yankee Stadium and appeared to be on their way to a third win in their previous four games. However, Raul Rodriguez conceded a penalty due to a handball, which David Villa converted.
The match ended 1-1, which is a disappointing result for the Dynamo. They didn't seem to be comfortable on the narrow Yankee Stadium pitch and couldn't generate any chances from open play.
Will Bruin's tame header via a cross was the only decent opportunity created through the flanks. It's a major facet of the Dynamo's attack, so playing on a smaller pitch hampers Houston's system.
The Dynamo should've done better against one of the worst teams in MLS. However, they only move down one spot because a few visiting teams have struggled in the final third, and the penalty on Rodriguez was a bit harsh.
11. LA Galaxy (Previous: 13)
The LA Galaxy utilized their squad depth to pick up four points this week against a pair of formidable foes. Juninho's penalty was enough as the Galaxy hung on for a victory on Wednesday against Real Salt Lake. It was also the first time L.A. recorded back-to-back wins since April 18.
The MLS Cup rematch against the New England Revolution on Sunday night was entertaining for the neutrals, but it left Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena speechless at halftime. The wet conditions on the Gillette Stadium turf made the ball move faster, but they still allowed four goals in a 2-2 draw.
Jose Villarreal assisted Gyasi Zardes' goal with this nifty pass, but what's even more impressive is how much Villarreal has stepped up since returning from injury. If he can continue to provide this kind of service, the Galaxy will be fine this season.
Zardes also scored on the same day U.S. Men's National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann named him to the roster for the Germany and Netherlands friendlies. All in all, it was a solid week for the Galaxy, who deservedly move up to No. 11 this week.
10. Columbus Crew (Previous: 10)
The Columbus Crew finished a match with 10 men for the third time this season, but they managed to claim a point against Orlando City SC at the Citrus Bowl on Saturday.
The red card to defender Michael Parkhurst for this handball led to Orlando City tying the match at 1-1. However, Kei Kamara's league-leading 10th goal gave the 10-man Crew a surprising lead. It all came down to a late Pedro Ribeiro strike which prevented Columbus from gaining a win.
If Parkhurst had stayed on the pitch, Columbus would've likely won the game. The call was a difficult one to make, but ultimately, it was correct. The ball struck the defender's arm and prevented it from going into the net.
Nonetheless, the Crew played a near-perfect match and maintain their No. 10 ranking.
9. San Jose Earthquakes (Previous: 7)
San Jose Earthquakes striker Chris Wondolowski is having another great season, but he's gone slightly under the radar. He scored his eighth goal of the campaign against Toronto FC on Saturday and is now the league's second-leading goalscorer.
However, like the Orlando City match the previous week, San Jose failed to win. The Earthquakes fell 3-1 to Sebastian Giovinco and Toronto FC at BMO Field, which was their first defeat since April 17.
The referee could've recalled Warren Creavalle's go-ahead goal after Giovinco fouled Sanna Nyassi. However, the Earthquakes have to keep playing when the ball is that close to goal. They didn't, and it cost them.
The Earthquakes mustered just two attempts on target, per the official MLS website, including the Wondolowski penalty, which is clearly not good enough. A lackluster performance by San Jose in the final third drops it to No. 9.
8. New England Revolution (Previous: 8)
The New England Revolution were dazzling in the opening 17 minutes against the LA Galaxy on Sunday. They were well on their way to a morale-boosting victory until Ignacio Maganto scored for the Galaxy.
By the 27th minute, L.A. was up 2-1 thanks to Gyasi Zardes. Diego Fagundez's wonderfully taken free-kick helped New England equalize shortly thereafter.
Both teams were more cautious after a highly entertaining first half. New England head coach Jay Heaps was probably fuming at his defenders for not closing down Maganto or Jose Villarreal prior to Zardes' goal.
Because of that average display from the defense in the first half, the Revolution are still locked in at No. 8 this week.
7. New York Red Bulls (Previous: 6)
The New York Red Bulls nearly exited Seattle with a 1-1 draw. However, Clint Dempsey and Chad Barrett combined in second-half stoppage time to grab a late victory.
It was a tough blow for the Red Bulls, but on the other hand, goalkeeper Luis Robles had to bail them out a few times. The defense, mainly from full-back Chris Duvall, was also mediocre.
Also, width foiled New York's pressing again. Seattle spread the ball to open up space, which led to both of its goals. Head coach Jesse Marsch has had success with the midfield's pressing, but with the Sounders and Philadelphia Union exploiting it, he has to try to overcome his opponents' tactics.
The Red Bulls are down to No. 7 this week because their defensive display left something to be desired. If Robles didn't make those saves, the Sounders would've won by at least two goals.
6. Toronto FC (Previous: 9)
Toronto FC was destined to start slowly after major roster turnover in the winter. Nearly three months into the season, TFC's squad appears to be settled and happy.
The Reds earned their second win in as many weeks after defeating the San Jose Earthquakes 3-1 at BMO Field on Saturday. Justin Morrow, Warren Creavalle and Luke Moore scored, but it was Sebastian Giovinco who took home the plaudits.
Giovinco caused fits for San Jose slow back line. He threaded killer passes together and burst by the defenders with his blazing speed. In all, he attempted seven shots, per the official MLS website.
It was one of Toronto's most complete performances of the season, and it came against one of the in-form sides in the league. It was also impressive how the team fought back after conceding the penalty to Chris Wondolowski. All of this is reason enough to move it into the sixth spot.
5. FC Dallas (Previous: 4)
A crushing 4-0 defeat versus Sporting Kansas City on Friday extended FC Dallas' winless skid to three games. Dallas' best player, Fabian Castillo, wasn't available after he missed training last week, per Steve Hunt of the Dallas Morning News.
However, it wouldn't have made a difference for Dallas. Sporting KC was unstoppable going forward, although it was boosted by Zach Loyd's red card.
Krisztian Nemeth, Graham Zusi and Benny Feilhaber were pulling the strings in the final third throughout the game, and Dallas struggled to contain them.
Dallas was still hanging on with Loyd on the pitch, but the team fell apart after he received his second yellow card. It wasn't a great performance by Dallas even prior to the sending off. But the club is still in third place in the Western Conference, so it only slips one spot.
4. Vancouver Whitecaps (Previous: 5)
The Vancouver Whitecaps won their first game since May 9 by defeating Real Salt Lake 2-1 on Saturday. Cristian Techera scored the decisive goal on tenacity and alacrity, which was his first-ever tally for the club. Gershon Koffie's surprising rocket from distance also lifted the Whitecaps to victory.
Despite the win, Vancouver was still far from convincing up front. Besides Techera, the other forwards struggled to create quality chances, which is something head coach Carl Robinson must address.
Games against the LA Galaxy, New York Red Bulls and the New England Revolution are on the horizon, which means Robinson must fix these issues quickly.
The much-needed win moves the Whitecaps up to No. 4 this week, but there are still some lingering issues they have to solve.
3. D.C. United (Previous: 2)
D.C. United is still at the top of the Eastern Conference, but that gap closed after accumulating one point in two matches last week. D.C. lost 1-0 to the Portland Timbers on Wednesday before beating the Philadelphia Union.
The 2-1 win against the Union was a major improvement compared to the 1-0 loss on May 17. However, D.C. was still far from perfect. A late penalty ended up clinching the win for United, but it was unlikely D.C. would've won the match if it wasn't for Zach Pfeffer's handball.
D.C. did well to bounce back after losing in Portland, a match where the Timbers thoroughly dominated, but the team still drops one spot this week due to that lackluster defeat.
2. Sporting Kansas City (Previous: 3)
Sporting Kansas City's 4-0 win over FC Dallas was one of its most emphatic victories of the season. Sporting KC also extended its unbeaten streak to six games and is now tied with Dallas for third place in the Western Conference.
Krisztian Nemeth continued his fine form this season with a goal and an assist. Benny Feilhaber dictated the tempo of the match as always. SKC had a man advantage, but it put an exclamation point on what was a perfect performance.
Sporting is now just five points behind the Seattle Sounders thanks to its incredibly successful month in May. The convincing victory moves SKC into the top two.
1. Seattle Sounders (Previous: 1)
The Seattle Sounders are now leading the race for the Supporters' Shield after recording narrow wins over the Colorado Rapids and New York Red Bulls.
The Rapids were bombarded by the Sounders on Wednesday and only lost by one goal thanks to goalkeeper Clint Irwin. The same occurred with the Red Bulls on Sunday. Luis Robles made several crucial saves, but he also couldn't stop Seattle's attack.
Seattle may have won each game by one goal, but it's virtually unstoppable right now and easily retained the top spot in the rankings.
Peter Galindo covers MLS and U.S. soccer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @GalindoPW.