MLS Power Rankings: Vancouver Whitecaps and DC United Knocked out of the Top 2

Peter Galindo@@GalindoPWFeatured ColumnistJuly 6, 2015

MLS Power Rankings: Vancouver Whitecaps and DC United Knocked out of the Top 2

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    Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

    Several MLS sides lost players to the CONCACAF Gold Cup, and it showed this weekend across the league.

    The biggest (and arguably the only) upset came on Saturday night when the Vancouver Whitecaps lost 2-1 to the Colorado Rapids.

    The team the Whitecaps were chasing, the Seattle Sounders, snapped a three-game losing streak with a narrow 1-0 win over D.C. United on Friday. The victory moved the Sounders back to the top of the Western Conference.

    Elsewhere, Toronto FC failed to defeat the LA Galaxy for the 10th straight time after a humiliating 4-0 defeat, albeit the Reds were without Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore.

    These results have significantly altered the top five, including the No. 1 and No. 2 spots. Who overtook Vancouver and D.C.?

20. Chicago Fire (Previous: 20)

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    Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

    The Chicago Fire tied the Houston Dynamo 1-1 but failed to snap their winless skid, which has now extended to five games. 

    The Fire nearly opened the scoring in the fourth minute via a corner. Razvan Cocis' header rattled the crossbar, bounced on the line and stayed out. 

    Chicago conceded the opening goal in the 56th minute after some horrid defending. Seven Fire defenders miraculously allowed the Dynamo to score through a simple cross into the box, which was converted by Alex. Patrick Nyarko responded after a mad scramble in Houston's penalty area to clinch a point.

    This was not an entertaining match on Friday. Each team struggled to generate chances, but a draw was a fair result for both sides. However, Chicago's slide continues, and they need to start picking up some wins if they want to climb out of the basement.

19. Montreal Impact (Previous: 16)

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    Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

    The Montreal Impact should've won based on their dominant second-half performance. However, David Villa torched the Impact at home to claim a 2-1 win for New York City FC.

    The Impact responded well after Villa's well-taken opening goal, equalizing through an Ignacio Piatti penalty. It appeared as if Montreal was going to claim a point, but NYCFC's Spanish forward reclaimed the lead for the visitors off a free kick

    Goalkeeper Evan Bush could've done better, and he admitted as much after the game, per Olivier Tremblay on the official MLS website. 

    The Impact were the better side and peppered the NYCFC goal with a barrage of shots. However, the goalkeeping error and Houston Dynamo and Colorado Rapids earning results drops Montreal to No. 19.

18. Houston Dynamo (Previous: 18)

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    Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

    The Houston Dynamo have won just once in their last six games. Despite this run of poor form, Houston is still just six points away from a playoff spot, but tying the worst team in MLS at home won't do them any favors.

    The Dynamo drew 1-1 with the Chicago Fire despite controlling the majority of the game. Houston was the more dangerous side but struggled in the final third, generating just two shots on target, per the official MLS website.

    A draw isn't a bad result by any means, but failing to beat the Fire at home is inexcusable and keeps the Dynamo at No. 18.

17. Colorado Rapids (Previous: 19)

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    Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

    The Colorado Rapids have won just 11 games under head coach Pablo Mastroeni. Four of those victories have come against the Vancouver Whitecaps.

    The latest win came on Saturday in a 2-1 triumph at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Independence Day. Vicente Sanchez opened the scoring after just 79 seconds, and Kevin Doyle bagged his first MLS goal in the victory.

    Luis Solignac may have gotten away with a handball prior to Sanchez's goal, but Colorado managed to thwart the Whitecaps once again. The Rapids shut down Vancouver's speedy attack, albeit the visitors didn't start Octavio Rivero, Matias Laba or Pedro Morales. 

    Nonetheless, it was a great result despite the shaky performance at times. The Rapids deserve to move up a spot after knocking off one of the best sides in MLS.

16. New York City FC (Previous: 17)

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    Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

    New York City FC recovered from its derby defeat against the New York Red Bulls by beating the Montreal Impact 2-1 on the road on Saturday. 

    David Villa scored twice in the victory, raising his season tally to eight in 15 games. It's no coincidence that with Villa fit and in form, NYCFC has subsequently improved. 

    The victory wasn't totally convincing. Montreal peppered NYCFC's goal, but the defenders put their bodies on the line to block shots, which was admirable given how much goalkeeper Josh Saunders has been hung out to dry this year.

    NYCFC has now won four of their last five games and is just three points away from a playoff spot. They also move to No. 16 after a vital road victory.

15. Philadelphia Union (Previous: 15)

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    Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

    The Philadelphia Union did not play this weekend, so they stay at No. 15 in the power rankings.

    Philadelphia's next match is against the red-hot Portland Timbers on Saturday. If the Union can somehow exit PPL Park with at least a point, it could help kick-start a summer resurgence.

14. Real Salt Lake (Previous: 14)

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    Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

    Real Salt Lake played against 10 men for more than 45 minutes but couldn't defeat Orlando City SC at home despite the advantage. 

    RSL actually conceded a couple of chances to Orlando City in the second half. Carlos Rivas and Sean St Ledger each missed wide and were stopped by goalkeeper Jeff Attinella. 

    Sebastian Saucedo had the best opportunity of the half for RSL after he struck the post from distance. However, apart from Saucedo's shot, the Claret and Cobalt failed to test goalkeeper Tally Hall for the rest of the night.

    RSL will see this match as two points lost. They were wasteful in front of goal and paid for it by splitting the points with 10-man Orlando, meaning Salt Lake stays at No. 14 this week.

13. New England Revolution (Previous: 12)

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    Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

    The New England Revolution's slide continued on Saturday after a 3-0 defeat at the hands of FC Dallas. 

    The defense received some of the blame for the loss, and rightfully so, but the attack was just as poor. Once again, the team failed to generate chances in the final third on the road, mustering just two shots on target, per the official MLS website.

    This could just be an anomaly given London Woodberry switching to center back. However, with the Revolution riding a four-game winless skid, they're sliding down the Eastern Conference standings.

    New England is still a solid team and is dealing with a couple of notable absences, including Jermaine Jones. The Revs are also in fourth place in the East, so they only drop one spot as a result.

12. New York Red Bulls (Previous: 9)

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    Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

    The New York Red Bulls started their match against the Columbus Crew with a bang. Anatole Abang opened the scoring for the Red Bulls after just eight minutes, but New York went on to lose Saturday's game 2-1.

    The Red Bulls will be disappointed in conceding the second goal, especially given how well they shut down the swift Crew counterattacks. It was a fairly innocent sequence that New York could've easily stopped, but the Red Bulls didn't track Kei Kamara and Ethan Finlay, and Columbus made them pay for it.

    Due to the narrow loss to the Crew, New York slips three spots to make way for Columbus and Orlando City SC, who fought bravely for a draw.

11. Orlando City SC (Previous: 11)

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    Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

    Orlando City SC finished its match against Real Salt Lake with 10 men and still picked up a 1-1 draw on the road. 

    Kaka was sent off for what appeared to be a fairly harmless foul on Javier Morales. Still, credit Orlando for coping without its star designated player and for coming away with a point.

    Orlando has lost just once in its last seven games and is tied with two other teams for second place in the Eastern Conference. Given the expansion side's current form and the final result despite the disadvantage, it stays at No. 11. 

10. Columbus Crew (Previous: 13)

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    Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

    The Columbus Crew picked up their second win in their last three games by edging the New York Red Bulls 2-1 at home on Saturday. Ethan Finlay scored both goals, with Kei Kamara assisting each one.

    Finlay and Kamara have now been involved in 24 of the Crew's 27 goals in MLS this season, per the Columbus Dispatch's Adam Jardy. It proves how vital both players are to the team's success.

    Finlay has now scored five goals to go with a career-high 10 assists this year. If U.S. men's national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann doesn't at least consider the Crew winger for a call-up, he'd be making a huge mistake.

    As for the Crew, it wasn't their best performance of the season, but defeating a contender in the Eastern Conference is always a positive. Thanks to the recent victory and the team's current form, Columbus has moved back into the top 10.

9. San Jose Earthquakes (Previous: 8)

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    Don Ryan/Associated Press

    The San Jose Earthquakes probably should've walked out of Providence Park with a win over the Portland Timbers. However, they ended up losing 1-0 after some awful officiating that went against both teams.

    Despite Chris Wondolowski and Matias Perez Garcia missing the game, the Earthquakes had a couple of good chances. Defender Alvas Powell prevented San Jose from opening the scoring, although it appears as if he handled the ball.

    However, goalkeeper David Bingham had to make several saves to preserve the 0-0 draw. San Jose was clearly second-best, but it almost earned a valuable road point, which is why it deserves to stay in the top 10 this week.

8. Toronto FC (Previous: 4)

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    Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

    Toronto FC lost Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore to Gold Cup duty, and it showed as it lost 4-0 to the LA Galaxy on Saturday night.

    However, the Galaxy were also missing goalkeeper Jaime Penedo, defender Omar Gonzalez and forward Gyasi Zardes. Toronto just committed too many mistakes, and reigning MVP Robbie Keane took advantage. It also doesn't help when Warren Creavalle concedes a penalty after eight minutes.

    TFC fans shouldn't fret about this result. Bradley, Altidore, Luke Moore and Ashtone Morgan were all unavailable, so it was always going to be an uphill battle in LA. However, the lopsided defeat drops Toronto to No. 8.

7. D.C. United (Previous: 2)

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    Jennifer Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

    D.C. United had to play with 10 men against the Seattle Sounders for more than an hour. D.C. almost held on for a draw until Tyrone Mears scored the winning goal in the 88th minute to give the Sounders a 1-0 win.

    Fabian Espindola's red card was justified. He cannot elbow an opponent, and it appeared to be blatant. Despite Espindola's costly error, D.C. still managed to hold its own and recorded a few chances. 

    However, the Sounders, who still don't have Obafemi Martins or Clint Dempsey, outshot D.C. and were the better side throughout the game.

    United is leading the Supporters' Shield standings, but it has two matches in hand over Seattle, and with this defeat, it slips to No. 7 to make way for the victorious Sounders.

6. Seattle Sounders (Previous: 10)

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    Jennifer Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

    The Seattle Sounders are slowly getting healthy. Midfielder Osvaldo Alonso returned versus D.C. United and made a difference as the Sounders defeated 10-man D.C. 1-0 on Friday.

    The Sounders limited D.C. to just two shots on target, per the official MLS website. Seattle recorded five but couldn't convert until Tyrone Mears' screamer found the back of the net in the 88th minute.

    Nonetheless, it was a much-needed win for the Sounders, who return to the top of the Western Conference after defeating the league's top team. However, until Seattle gets Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins back, it's still a side that isn't top-five worthy in the power rankings.

5. Vancouver Whitecaps (Previous: 1)

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    Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

    Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson didn't have Pedro Morales due to an injury, but he opted to rest designated players Octavio Rivero and Matias Laba against the Colorado Rapids. All three players were desperately missed as the Whitecaps lost 2-1 to the Rapids on Saturday.

    The Whitecaps' nightmare began just seconds into the game when Vicente Sanchez scored the opening goal. Vancouver wanted a handball to be called but carelessly stopped running and lunged into tackles before Sanchez gave the Rapids the lead.

    Kekuta Manneh bagged the equalizer, but then Kevin Doyle struck in the second half to score his first MLS goal. In truth, goalkeeper David Ousted could have done more to keep the ball out of the net, but Colorado deserved the win.

    Vancouver was hindered by defender Pa Modou Kah's injury during the game, but once again, the Whitecaps failed to beat a hapless Colorado side. As a result, the Canadian side moves from No. 1 to No. 5 after a lackluster effort.

4. FC Dallas (Previous: 6)

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    Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

    FC Dallas crushed the New England Revolution 3-0 and is now just three points away from first place in the Western Conference. 

    Mauro Diaz was sensational once again, as he scored the opening goal and assisted Michael Barrios' strike in the 73rd minute. To no one's surprise, Fabian Castillo was also influential in this game, as he doubled Dallas' lead in the second half.

    With Diaz healthy, Dallas could potentially challenge for the No. 1 seed in the West. Once Tesho Akindele and Blas Perez return from the Gold Cup, the attack will be incredibly difficult to stop.

    Thanks to the team's second straight win, they move up to No. 4 and jump past the Vancouver Whitecaps, who have a game in hand over the Hoops.

3. Sporting Kansas City (Previous: 3)

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    Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

    Sporting Kansas City has played fewer games than any other team in the Western Conference. It has at least two matches in hand over every club above it in the standings, so Sporting KC will be the most dangerous side in the second half of the season.

    Sporting did not play last week, so it stays at No. 3. Its next game is against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Sunday, who are tied for first place and are five points above SKC.

2. LA Galaxy (Previous: 7)

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    Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

    The LA Galaxy put on another attacking clinic on Saturday with their 4-0 win over Toronto FC. Robbie Keane scored a hat trick, with Sebastian Lletget adding a consolation in second-half stoppage time.

    Since the Galaxy's 4-0 defeat to Orlando City SC on May 17, LA has lost just twice in its last nine games. It's also outscored its opponents 20-8 in that span. 

    Other teams in the Western Conference better watch out for the Galaxy. This is the time of year when they begin to hit top form and gather momentum.

    LA is just one point away from first place in the West, but it's also played at least two more games than the other playoff teams. Nonetheless, the Galaxy are in form and have been very tough to beat as of late, which is why they have climbed to No. 2.

1. Portland Timbers (Previous: 5)

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    Don Ryan/Associated Press

    The Portland Timbers were struggling as recently as May 23, but since the their 2-0 defeat to Toronto FC on that day, they've lost just once.

    The Timbers recorded their sixth win in their last seven games after edging the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 on Sunday night.

    The refereeing was very inconsistent, but both teams were affected. The Earthquakes should've been reduced to 10 men after this elbow by Jordan Stewart on Dairon Asprilla. However, Alvas Powell appeared to handle the ball in the box, which would've resulted in a San Jose penalty had it been called.

    These aforementioned incidents, and many others, were missed by the officials. However, in the end, Portland dominated the match and scored a deserved winner through Jack Jewsbury.

    With TFC, D.C. United and the Vancouver Whitecaps losing, along with the Timbers' scintillating form, Portland is the new No. 1.

    Peter Galindo covers MLS and U.S. soccer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @GalindoPW.

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