2011 MLS Power Rankings: Week 2

Jo-Ryan SalazarSenior Analyst IMarch 27, 2011

2011 MLS Power Rankings: Week 2

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    SANDY, UT - MARCH 26: Fans of Real Salt Lake cheer during a game against the Los Angeles Galaxy during the first half of an MLS soccer game March 26, 2011 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
    George Frey/Getty Images

    Now with two weeks of the 2011 Major League Soccer season in the books, Real Salt Lake makes their move, while the Los Angeles Galaxy tumble in grand fashion.

    Along the way, the Philadelphia Union are making their move to challenge RSL, while D.C., Sporting Kansas City, and Vancouver are also sliding down the ladder.

    Who is up and who is down? Let's take a look in this week's MLS Power Rankings here on Bleacher Report.

18. Portland Timbers

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    TORONTO, CANADA - MARCH 26:  Nathan Sturgis #11 of Toronto FC battles for the ball with Jack Jewsbury #13 of Portland Timbers during MLS action at BMO Field March 26, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
    Abelimages/Getty Images

    At the cellar yet again this week are John Spencer's Portland Timbers, who did not do themselves any favors in losing a pillow fight with Toronto FC to the tune of 2-0.

    "I think for us, the big positive this week, I don’t think the best team won the game," Spencer told PortlandTimbers.com. "But at the end of the day, they scored two goals and that’s what matters."

    Midfielder Jack Jewsbury took the loss in stride.

    I think for the majority of the game, we pushed the game to them," Jewsbury told PortlandTimbers.com. "Again, just a few mistakes on our part and they capitalized on them.

    "We need to make sure that we try to shore those things up, but at the same time, I think if we bring that fight and that energy like we did tonight, we will be on the other end as well."

    "Definitely, it’s a disappointing result," said Timbers forward Kenny Cooper. "We haven’t got off to the best start, but it’s a good group of guys with great character. We really got to roll our sleeves up and get that first win."

    The Timbers get their next chance at doing so when they face Chivas USA in another pillow fight. Kickoff at the University of Portland's Merlo Field is scheduled for Tuesday, March 29 at 7:00 p.m. PT/10:00 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on the radio by 95.5 The Game. This is a U.S. Open Cup play-in game.

    Portland's next MLS contest will be the last road game before their home opener at Jeld-Wen Field, an April 2 matchup with the New England Revolution. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. PT/7:30 p.m. ET and will be televised locally by FOX Channel 12 and estrellaTV 8.3.

17. Chivas USA

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    CARSON, CA - MARCH 26:   Blair Gavin #18 of Chivas USA fights for the ball with Jamie Smith #20 of the Colorado Rapids at The Home Depot Center on March 26, 2011 in Carson, California.  The Rapids won 1-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Robin Fraser's Chivas USA stood tall in holding the Colorado Rapids attack at bay, but still dropped a 1-0 decision at the Home Depot Center.

    Chivas gets a chance to earn their first win of the calendar year when they take on the Portland Timbers at Merlo Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. PT/10:00 p.m. ET on March 29.

    Chivas's next MLS contest will be on April 2 when they face Toronto FC. Kickoff at BMO Field is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. PT/1:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by TSN and locally by Fox Sports Prime Ticket.

16. Seattle Sounders FC

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    SEATTLE - MARCH 25:  Steve Zakuani #11 (R) of the Seattle Sounders FC celebrates with Erik Friberg #8 and Mauro Rosales #10 after scoring a goal against the Houston Dynamo at Qwest Field on March 25, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/G
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Sigi Schmid's Seattle Sounders continue their slide. Well, they're not actually sliding this week, they stay where they are at 16th in this week's Power Rankings after a 1-1 draw with the Houston Dynamo.
    Steve Zakuani earned the draw for the Sounders in the 80th minute.

    “I think we deserved more tonight than a tie,” Schmid told SoundersFC.com's Matt Gaschk. “I’m very proud of the team. I’m very proud of the effort they put in. Right now, we can’t get anything to break our way sometimes. So I’m happy that we fought back and got the equalizer. Like I said, we deserved more on the day.”

    “Guys were very passionate … positive,” Zakuani said regarding the adjustments at halftime. “We were frustrated. We had chance after chance, and the ball just won’t go in. But we regrouped and came back in the second half and picked up where we left off.”

    “We definitely wanted more. I think we played well and we definitely did enough to win the game. We just have to finish those chances,” said forward Nate Jaqua. “We’re playing some good soccer. If we play like that, things are going to go in and we’re going to win games.”

    With only one out of a possible nine points, the Sounders are still in search of their first win. They take on the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday, April 2 at Buck Shaw Stadium on the campus of Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, Calif.

    Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. ET and will be televised locally by KING 5.

15. Toronto FC

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    TORONTO, CANADA - MARCH 26: Javier Martina #33 of Toronto FC celebrates his 2 goals, to win 2-0 over Portland Timbers during MLS action at BMO Field March 26, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
    Abelimages/Getty Images

    So how do you solve the issue of having a bunch of up-and-comers from British Columbia deliver your comeuppance? Why, by laying the wood on their Cascadia neighbors from Portland, of course!

    That's because Toronto FC's Javier Martina scored a brace in the 14th and 70th minutes to give the Reds their first win of the season, a 2-0 victory over the Portland Timbers at BMO Field.

    Manager Aron Winter was pleased.

    "It was great, especially for him, because he came overseas and he’s a good player," Winter told PortlandTimbers.com. "And always, your first game, for your own fans at home to make two goals but the second goal was beautiful.

    "It was also very good from Stefan that he saw at that moment that he was one against one, which he gave him the ball, and he finished it very well. It was a great goal, the second."

    "It’s like a dream, you know, to play a first game for the Toronto fans and score two goals and win 2-0, you know," Martina said to TorontoFC.ca when asked about his performance.  "But like I say, we did it, the whole team worked hard, and you see at the end with 10 men, everybody worked for each other, and that’s the most important thing."

    "We did a lot of passing drills, trying to build out of the back," said TFC goalkeeper Stefan Frei to TorontoFC.ca. "It made it a little more difficult today with the field, out of the back, especially in both 18s. The field was in terrible shape, so it made it very risky at times to play out of the back.

    "More than we would have probably liked to, we ended up playing longer balls. But I think you have to adjust to the situation, to your surroundings, and we did a decent job of that." 

    Up next for Toronto is an April 2 contest with Chivas USA at BMO Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. ET, and it will be televised by TSN.

14. Houston Dynamo

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    HOUSTON - MARCH 19:  Goalkeeper Tally Hall of the Houston Dynamo stopsa shot during warmups before playing the Philadelphia Union at Robertson Stadium on March 19, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Geoff Cameron scored in the 42nd minute for Dominic Kinnear's Houston Dynamo, who remain 14th in this week's Power Rankings after a 1-1 draw with the Seattle Sounders at Qwest Field in Seattle, Wash., on Friday.

    Goalkeeper Tally Hall was instrumental in maintaining the draw, making seven saves.

    “We were fortunate to be up 1-0 at halftime, but we came and played better in the second half," Kinnear told HoustonDynamo.com.

    "With all of their chances, maybe they were due a goal, but the goal we gave up was very sloppy. This is one of the harder places to play in the league, so one point isn’t terrible. We’re happy with that. We’re not thrilled, but we’re happy with that."

    Kinnear was wondering how Hall came in the clutch for the Orange.

    “Maybe he saves it for his family," Kinnear speculated, "but if that’s the case, we’ll be traveling with his family from now on, because he was excellent.”

    Tally Hall will need to come up with more saves if Houston are to get on the winning trail, especially with their next opponent being the New York Red Bulls.

    Kickoff at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J., is scheduled for Saturday, April 2 at 6:30 p.m. CT/7:30 p.m. ET and will be televised locally by KHOU 11.2 and TV Azteca 51.

13. Los Angeles Galaxy

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    SANDY, UT - MARCH 26: Fabian Espindola #7 of Real Salt Lake and Leonardo #22 of the Los Angeles Galaxy fight for the ball during the first half of an MLS soccer game March 26, 2011 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. Real Salt Lake beat the Los Angeles G
    George Frey/Getty Images

    Oh, how the not-so-mighty have fallen!

    Bruce Arena's Los Angeles Galaxy have taken the biggest tumble this week to 13th in this week's MLS Power Rankings, and this comes after an embarrassing 4-1 defeat to Real Salt Lake.

    The Galaxy came into the match discombobulated, and they were unable to pass, unable to finish, and most importantly, unable to defend.

    Juan Pablo Angel did salvage some pride in the 80th minute to make the match slightly respectable.

    Otherwise, there can be no excuses for a performance like this if Los Angeles are to be a relevant factor in hoisting ANY FORM of hardware this season.

    They get a chance to get right against the high-flying Philadelphia Union on Saturday, April 2. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. ET and will be televised locally by FOX Sports West.

12. Columbus Crew

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    COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 26:  Danleigh Borman #11 of the New York Red Bulls goes over the back of Rich Balchan #2  of the Columbus Crew to get control of the ball in the second half on March 26, 2011 at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. New York and Columbus pl
    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Robert Warzycha's Columbus Crew could only muster up a scoreless draw in their home opener at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.

    “Offensively, we have to be sharper in front of the goal,” he told MLSSoccer.com's Craig Mars. “If we shot earlier a couple of times, maybe we would have scored. Playing against a team like that, we should have taken three points.

    “If you don’t shoot, you don’t score. It’s as simple as that. We had opportunities in the second half, probably two or three times where somebody could have pulled the trigger.”

    “I was going to the near post every time, but there wasn’t anybody coming behind me going to the far post to be an assistant,” said the Crew's Andres Mendoza. “We had half chances. They didn’t come to fruition for one reason or another."

    The Crew are struggling, but captain Chad Marshall is aware that there is plenty of room for error at this point in the year.

    “It’s a new team,” said Marshall. “It’s going to take some time to figure out who we are. It’s not the end of the world.”

    But Columbus need points, or they could see themselves off the pace quickly. Next up for the Crew is Friday night, April Fools Night match with FC Dallas.

    Kickoff at Crew Stadium is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by Fox Soccer Channel.

11. Vancouver Whitecaps

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    CHESTER, PA- MARCH 26: Eric Hassli #29 of the Vancouver Whitecaps argues with referee Yader Reyes during the game against the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park on March 26, 2011 in Chester, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
    Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

    After tasting the thrill of victory, Teitur Thordarsson's Vancouver Whitecaps suffered the agony of defeat, a 1-0 loss to former expansion side Philadelphia Union.

    It didn't help matters that Eric Hassli, who was the hero last week for the Caps, turned into the goat this week after being given his marching order.

    "I thought we played quite well today," Thordarson said after the match, according to Simon Fudge from whitecapsfc.com. "However, to lose a man like we did in the second half, that had a huge influence on the game. With 10 men, we couldn't keep the ball up the pitch as we would have liked and struggled to attack as well as we did earlier in the game. 

    "I'm not unhappy with the way we played, just with the result. We had better chances than them in the first half and should have scored on those chances."

    “As a team, we played pretty well defensively,” said Greg Janicki to MLSSoccer.com's Brandon Tinko. “It was kind of a defensive battle the whole game. Neither side was really creating many chances.”

    Vancouver's next opportunity to get their first-ever win on the road will be on April 10, when they travel to Houston.

    Up next for the Caps is an April 2 contest with Sporting Kansas City at Empire Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. PT/7:00 p.m. ET and will be televised locally by Rogers SportsNet Pacific.

10. D.C. United

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    FOXBORO, MA - MARCH 26:  Charlie Davies #9 of DC United and Didier Domi #3 of the New England Revolution fight for the ball on March 26, 2011 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Revolution defeated DC United 2-1.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Image
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Ben Olsen's D.C. United ran into trouble in the form of a confident New England Revolution side. In spite of Charlie Davies converting a spot kick in the 90th minute, it was too little too late, as D.C. lost 2-1.

    "Overall, I think it began with our team," Olsen told DCUnited.com. "It wasn't good enough today. The way we started the game, it looked like we thought we had arrived because we had one game at home that we were fairly good. 

    "All week we preached about moving on, and making sure that the same energy and commitment that we had last week was there this weekend. That's what professionals do: they show up week in and week out. We didn't do our part in that manner."

    When asked of Davies possibly graduating to the starting XI for the long haul, Olsen kept mum.

    "We'll see," Olsen said. "[Josh Wolff] is struggling with a little hammy, but I had plans to bring in Charlie anyways. He's done well off the bench for us. He's done a very good job of being the guy off the bench for us.

    "Will he be a starter for us eventually? That remains to be seen. But, his attitude, the energy he brings to this group has been fantastic."

    "We've just got to play better," Davies said after the match. "We started the game off flat. We didn't come out with enough intensity. They beat us to a lot of balls.

    "It's just a learning experience...better now than later. For the next game, we have to forget about this, but learn from it, and come out with much more intensity and much more will to win the next game."

    Midfielder Chris Pontius was looking for excuses for D.C. lack of form on Saturday.

    "Sometimes, I don't think it was our mentality, and I know everyone gets up for every game," Pontius said. "I just think we just didn't figure things out fast enough. They played three guys in the middle and they were able to control a lot of the game, dictate it.

    "They beat us to second balls, which is huge. From there, we came in here and sorted it out at halftime. It's a big hill to climb: two goals down. Obviously, we are disappointed, but we've got to move on, we've got a big game at Colorado next week."

    And with Colorado tied with Real Salt Lake for first place in the Western Conference, the situation won't get any easier for D.C.

    Kickoff at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo., is scheduled for Sunday, April 3 at 7:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by Galavision.

9. Sporting Kansas City

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    BRIDGEVIEW, IL - MARCH 26: Teal Bunbury #9 of Sporting Kansas City controls the ball as Cory Gibbs #5 of the Chicago Fire closes in during an MLS match at Toyota Park on March 26, 2010 in Bridgeview, Illinois. The Fire defeated Sporting Kansas City 3-2.
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Peter Vermes's Sporting Kansas City move down the Power Rankings after a tough 3-2 defeat on the road to the Chicago Fire.

    Matt Besler scored in the 51st minute for Sporting, and Teal Bunbury made it the final margin in the 72nd minute of play. Sporting were down to 10 men in the first half after Omar Bravo was given his marching orders.

    “I really felt that we could come back," Vermes told sportingkc.com. "It’s not like one of those ‘hey, let’s make everyone feel good and see what we can do’ talks. I really believed we could get back into this game.

    "We had some chances that at the point where we were already down and I just felt we could.  We got that goal early and we thought we were going to have some opportunities on set pieces. 

    "We thought we were going to score another one.  It was the third goal that really put a dagger in us.  I give the guys a lot of credit because they came back and got the next one.  It was a tough day.”

    “Obviously we were in a tough spot going into the second half," said Sporting captain Davy Arnaud. "I was surprised by the way the Fire played in the second half. They were up a man, and up two goals at home and we went out and won the second half.

    "We scored two goals and gave up one, but with the way that we played and being down a man, we showed some character.  

    "It was surprising with the way there were trying to slow the game down, you’d think it would be the opposite being up a man.  I thought we pushed the game fairly well being one less.”

    “If you look at the way we battled back, it’s a positive," Besler added. "It hurts to lose.  That’s never good.  If you’re going to try and take something out of the game, it’s the way we battled back with 10 men and made it a game.”

    Sporting are in search of their first victory of the season and have a chance to get it on Saturday, April 2 when they travel to Vancouver, B.C., Canada and Empire Field to take on the Vancouver Whitecaps.

    Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. CT/7:00 p.m. ET and will be televised locally by KSMO-TV.

8. FC Dallas

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    FRISCO, TX - MARCH 26: Fabian Castillo #15 of FC Dallas dribbles against the San Jose Earthquakes at Pizza Hut Park on March 26, 2011 in Frisco, Texas. (Photo by Layne Murdoch/Getty Images)
    Layne Murdoch/Getty Images

    After falling to Tigres UANL 2-1 in their midweek friendly, Schellas Hyndman's FC Dallas found it hard to come back from a halftime deficit of 2-0, which, coincidentally, turned out to be the final margin at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas.

    “The game is made with two parts,” Hyndman told MLSSoccer.com's Robert Casner. “Stopping goals and scoring goals, and I don’t think we did either very well today.”

    George John had trouble building chemistry with Zach Loyd in the back, and it led to Chris Wondolowski regaining his scoring touch from last season.

    "Playing center back has a lot to do with partnership with the guy next to you,” said John. “I played with Brek [Shea] the first game and Zach this game and we didn’t have a lot of training this week because we were down in Mexico [playing Tigres UANL]. It’ll come together, but right now, we are going through some rough patches.”

    “On both goals, both of those defenders were too far away,” Hyndman added. “Their responsibility is to stop shots, stop penetration, stop runners from running through them, and I thought that those two situations, they left them too free. We have seen them both play better than that.

    “It was a disappointing loss for us at home, but at the same time, I think it’s an opportunity for us to continue to grow and develop our character.”

    FC Dallas are in search of their first victory of the season, and they need to find it. They get an opportunity to do so against the Columbus Crew on Friday, April 1.

    Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT/ 7:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by Fox Soccer Channel.

7. San Jose Earthquakes

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    SANTA CLARA, CA - MARCH 19:  Chris Wondolowski #8 of the San Jose Earthquakes in action during their game against Real Salt Lake at Buck Shaw Stadium on March 19, 2011 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Hide the men, women and children if they are still awake, unless they are wearing the colors of San Jose: Wondo is back.

    The leading goalscorer in MLS from a year ago, Chris Wondolowski, scored a brace in the fifth and 23rd minutes to give Frank Yallop's San Jose Earthquakes a 2-0 victory over FC Dallas at Pizza Hut Park.

    “I had three great chances [in that game] that I should have finished,” he told MLSsoccer.com by phone after Saturday’s game. “I should have gotten one or two. I put that on me.”

    “He doesn’t drop his head and he knows he can finish,” said Frank Yallop to reporters following the game. “He’s proved he’s one of the top finishers in the league.

    “Even if he had scored a hat trick last weekend, he’ll come into each game the same. He’ll miss some chances–every striker does. He was upset last week, but didn’t come into this one differently. From a coach’s point of view, I don’t worry about him going into a shell.”

    If Wondowlowski continues to maintain his form from last year, San Jose could be moving higher in these Power Rankings.

    Up next for the Quakes is a match with the struggling Seattle Sounders, which also doubles as a Heritage Cup match. The Heritage Cup is contested between teams in MLS who keep the name, and in turn, the heritage, of their North American Soccer League counterparts.

    While the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps were eligible to take part, both teams chose not to, meaning that once again, only Seattle and San Jose will contest a home-and-home for the trophy.

    Kickoff at Buck Shaw Stadium is scheduled for Saturday, April 2 at 7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. ET and will be televised locally by Comcast SportsNet Plus.

6. New England Revolution

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    CARSON, CA - MARCH 20:  Shalrie Joseph #21 of the New England Revolution celebrates his first half goal with teammates during the MLS match against the Los Angeles Galaxy in the first half at The Home Depot Center on March 20, 2011 in Carson, California.
    Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

    Steve Nicol's New England Revolution are building steam after picking up a 2-1 win over rivals D.C. United.

    Zack Schilawski opened the scoring early in the eighth minute and Shalrie Joseph made it 2-0 New England in the 17th minute.

    "The conditions were pretty tough to play for both teams," Nicol told revolutionsoccer.net. "The wind was playing havoc with the ball...makes it difficult to connect your passes. But obviously, we won the game, and we’re delighted with that."

    Revs midfielder Pat Phelan put the victory in perspective.

    "Being in this league a couple of years, you know a game against D.C. is going to be like that no matter where it is," Phelan said. "It turned into a circus, but cooler heads prevailed. We sucked it out; we made some poor decisions, they made some poor decisions, and they made a few more."

    Fellow midfielder Stephen McCarthy noted that some improvements are in order if New England are to challenge for the spoils.

    "Communication is the key right now," McCarthy said. "Everyone’s trying to get used to the spots. We’re doing well right now, but I hope it keeps getting better."

    "In the midfield, we know it’s going to be physical," Joseph said when asked of the team's performance. "We want to send a message early that it’s going to a battle in the middle."

    More of the same scrappiness will be in order for New England when they take on the Portand Timbers on Saturday, April 2 at Gillette Stadium.

    Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by Comcast SportsNet.

5. Chicago Fire

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    BRIDGEVIEW, IL - MARCH 26: Members of the Chicago Fire including Gaston Puerari #18, Patrick Nyarko #14 and Michael Videira #21 celebrate a goal with teammate Diego Chaves #99 (facing camera) against Sporting Kansas City during an MLS match at Toyota Park
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Carlos De Los Cobos's Chicago Fire were engaged in a dogfight with Sporting Kansas City at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill. In the end, the Fire came out victorious, 3-2.

    Diego Chaves opened the scoring on a penalty kick in the 34th minute. And, as pointed out in last week's Power Rankings, other players stepped up.

    Gaston Puerari added a goal in the 40th minute to make it 2-0 and Marco Pappa earned the game-winner in the 60th minute of play.

     “It was a difficult match," De Los Cobos told sportingkc.com. "We had a big start to the game. In the second half, we had some problems but the most important thing was the attitude of the players.

    "I am very satisfied with the effort of the players. We played a very strong team; even playing a man down they created some problems for us. 

    "I told the players before the match we need to create a strong image for the Fire here at home. Last year, we lost a lot of points and games. This year it is different. Most of all, it is the players. I am very satisfied with them and they communicate. We have a different team for this season.”

    “I think as a whole we did a good job," Pappa said on the team's effort. "Everyone was focused during the game, and we earned three points at home.  We feel very good after the game with this result.”

    "We came out and wanted to set a tone for the rest of the year here in our first home game," said Fire midfielder Patrick Nyarko. " We want to get as many points as we can early and at home because it will go a long way to help us down the road in our playoff push.

    "Last year, we were very tentative to open the season, we played well, but weren’t getting results, so this year the emphasis is on results–we’re going to do whatever it takes.  

    "Even though we won, we’re still not comfortable with the way we gave up those two goals.  We’re going to go back to the drawing board and work on it–we can’t give any team any chances...especially at home.  We need to make this place a fortress against teams that come and play here, and we need to earn as many points as possible at home.”

    “It was absolutely important to get the win at home," added midfielder Logan Pause. "Winning here is one of the things we are focused on changing.  

    "We got the best fan base in the league and we need to do our part in and be responsible for our actions on the field.  We hope to create an environment and mentality that refuse to lose.”

    Next up for the Fire is a U.S. Open Cup playoff game with the Colorado Rapids. Kickoff at Shea Stadium is scheduled for Wednesday, March 30 at 6:30 p.m. ET.

    Chicago's next MLS contest is on the road at Qwest Field on Saturday, April 9 against the Seattle Sounders. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by Comcast SportsNet.

4. Red Bull New York

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    COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 26:  Sebastian Miranda #21 of the Columbus Crew gets control of the ball in front of Joel Lindpere #20 of the New York Red Bulls on March 26, 2011 at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Hans Backe's New York Red Bulls—who played without the services of Tim Ream, Juan Agudelo, Thierry Henry, Rafa Marquez and others due to national team duty in Europe and elsewhere—had to settle for a scoreless draw against the Columbus Crew.

    Players from the reserve side were forced to fill in and did well to preserve the draw thanks to solid defending.

    “It’s not like we’re lacking as a team in confidence but this is a good result for us,” defender Stephen Keel told MLSsoccer.com. “To come on the road, missing six, maybe seven starters and get a result is a positive for us.

    “If you look at all the factors, today we were missing our captain and our two starting center backs among others. We just wanted to come in here, stay compact and keep everything in front of us. First and foremost, we needed to keep a clean sheet and we did that.”

    The Red Bulls will hope to gain some of their top players back when they take on the Houston Dynamo on Saturday, April 2 at Red Bull Arena.

    Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET and will broadcast locally on the radio by WADO 1280 AM.

3. Philadelphia Union

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    CHESTER, PA- MARCH 26: Carlos Ruiz #20 of the Philadelphia Union celebrates after he scoring the game winning goal during the game against the Vancouver Whitecaps at PPL Park on March 26, 2011 in Chester, Pennsylvania. The Union won 1-0.  (Photo by Drew H
    Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

    Their shirt sponsor may say "BIMBO," but they sure aren't playing like a bunch of bimbos.

    Conference leaders? Definitely.

    Peter Nowak's Philadelphia Union are on the upswing two games into their campaign. They moved to the top of the MLS Eastern Conference after a 1-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps.

    Carlos Ruiz, back for another go at MLS, scored the game-winner in the 77th minute thanks to Sebastien Le Toux.

    But the Union won this game thanks to adjustments on defense, as well as the play of new additions like Carlos Valdes and goalkeeper/team captain Faryd Mondragon.

    “We kept shooting ourselves in the foot and doing all these crazy things [in 2010],” central defender Danny Califf told MLSSoccer.com's Dave Zeitlin. “The big thing is we’re not making those mistakes anymore.

    "I don’t think we’re giving up a lot of shots, which is similar to last year, except [now] we’re not making silly mistakes. We’re not getting back passes picked off, we’re not doing things like that. And the shots that do come through, Faryd’s taking care of like a champ. So we’re riding high at the moment.”

    “We really have a great understanding between the back four and the defensive mids right now,” said Philadelphia's Jordan Harvey. “It’s really nice to get the two shutouts and it’s good to have the confidence going into a tough game.”

    That "tough game" Harvey is alluding to will take place Saturday, April 2 against a Los Angeles Galaxy side itching to get their mojo back.

    Kickoff at the Home Depot Center is scheduled for 10:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by Comcast SportsNet.

2. Colorado Rapids

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    CARSON, CA - MARCH 26:  Quincy Amarikwa #12 of the Colorado Rapids celebrates after scoring a first period goal agaisnt Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center on March 26, 2011 in Carson, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Gary Smith's Colorado Rapids, the defending MLS Cup champions, had to look to the unlikeliest of players to bring home three points in their contest with Chivas USA.

    That player: Quincy Amarikwa.

    Amarikwa, starting in place of the injured Omar Cummings, scored in the 32nd minute to give Colorado a 1-0 victory. Conor Casey was also out for the Rapids, but it was nothing the defending Cup holders couldn't handle, as the defensive back line stymied the Chivas offense at will and often.

    “Both the guys performed very well,”  Smith told MLSsoccer.com following the match. “Quincy took his goal very well and showed a lot of composure, and they were both a real threat for their back four. And then Conor came on and performed admirably.

    “It ain’t always champagne football. They threw the kitchen sink at us and we showed qualities that we didn’t need last week.

    "I don’t think there is ever an easy game away at this time of the season, and the mentality of these players gives them not just the results but the rewards that they get. There was a tremendous amount of discipline and everyone was focused on the result.”

    Colorado will look to continue their momentum as they partake in a couple of games this week.

    On Wednesday, Mar. 30, the Rapids face the Chicago Fire at Shea Stadium in a U.S. Open Cup playoff game. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. MT/6:30 p.m. ET.

    Colorado's next MLS contest is on Sunday, Apr. 3 when they host D.C. United at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. MT/7:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by Altitude 2 and Galavision.

1. Real Salt Lake

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    SANDY, UT - MARCH 26: Ned Grabavoy #20, Fabian Espindola #7, Andy Williams #77 and Javier Morales #11 of Real Salt Lake celebrate a gaol during a game against the Los Angeles Galaxy during the first half of an MLS soccer game March 26, 2011 at Rio Tinto S
    George Frey/Getty Images

    Jason Kreis's Real Salt Lake are on top of this Week's MLS Power Rankings, and they will be here for a while, as they made a joke of the contest by shutting out the Los Angeles Galaxy 4-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday.

    “[The first] 45 minutes [was] probably the best soccer I’ve seen in front of this stadium [from] this team,” Kries told MLSSoccer.com's Randy Davis following the match. “It was sheer delight to watch that.”

    The stage was set for the flood when Andy Williams scored in the second minute of play. Javier Morales then broke loose with a brace in the 10th minute off a penalty and in the 41st minute. Paulo Araujo Jr. wrapped up the scoring for RSL with an insurance goal in the 68th minute of play.

    “We feel the crowd all the time,” Morales said. “I think they are amazing. For me, we have the best crowd in the league."

    Could Real Salt Lake run the table and make this their year? So far, the signs are pointing to "Yes." Stay tuned...

    Their next match will be on April 5 when they take on Deportivo Saprissa in the second leg in the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League semifinals. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. MT/10:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by Fox Soccer Channel.

    RSL's next MLS contest will be on April 9 when they take on the New England Revolution. Kickoff at Gillette Stadium is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. MT/7:30 p.m. ET.