2011 MLS Power Rankings: Week 3

Jo-Ryan SalazarSenior Analyst IApril 4, 2011

2011 MLS Power Rankings: Week 3

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    SANDY, UT - MARCH 26: Fireworks go off before a sold-out crowd of 20,000 at a game against Real Salt Lake and the Los Angeles Galaxy at an MLS soccer game March 26, 2011 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
    George Frey/Getty Images

    Three weeks are now in the books in this young 2011 Major League Soccer season. Real Salt Lake and the Colorado Rapids continue to leave the rest of the league in the dust. While Colorado has the overall lead in the standings, RSL have a couple of games in hand and will look to catch up on their Rocky Mountain neighbors.


    Other teams are making their move up and down the ladder after a match week filled with draws, draws and more draws. As well as the occasional win or two.


    Bleacher Report presents to you this week's MLS power rankings.

18. FC Dallas

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    COLUMBUS, OH - APRIL 01:  Kevin Hartman #1 and Daniel Hernandez #2 of FC Dallas make a save against the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium on April 1, 2011 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
    Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

    A new team has taken the cellar in this week's power rankings, and they are Schellas Hyndman's FC Dallas, who dropped a 2-0 stinker to the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium last Friday in the first leg of the Pioneer Cup.


    The night did not get any better for the Hoops when they had to play down to 10 men after Jackson was ejected in the 33rd minute for rough tackles on the Crew's Dejan Rusmir and Eddie Gaven.


    With just one point to show for their efforts this season, the pressure is on Hyndman to get some results.


    They will look to upset the high-flying Colorado Rapids in a renewal of the 2010 MLS Cup Final at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas.


    Kickoff at The Oven is scheduled for Friday, Apr. 8 at 8:00 p.m. CT/9:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by Fox Soccer Channel.

17. Chivas USA

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    TORONTO, CANADA - APRIL 2: Jacob Peterson #23 of Toronto FC battles for the ball with Marcos Mondaini #23 of Chivas USA during MLS action at BMO Field April 2, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
    Abelimages/Getty Images

    Robin Fraser's Chivas USA opened the week on the losing end, crashing out of the U.S. Open Cup with a 2-0 defeat to the Portland Timbers at Merlo Field on the campus of the University of Portland.


    In MLS play, they got their first point of the season after a 1-1 draw with Toronto FC. Alejandro Moreno scored for Chivas in the second minute.


    “We came out of Portland feeling very positive, and today we had a lively and energetic start,” Fraser told MLSsoccer.com after the draw in Toronto. “I would have liked to see more out of that start, but to get a goal is a good way to go, with our group, we’re good and aggressive in spurts, but we need to be more consistent over 90 minutes.”


    The Chivas USA manager noted that the return of Moreno to the lineup helped in Chivas's results.
    “Everyone in the attacking end is better when Alejandro is there,” said Fraser. “He helps us in terms of making decisions and helps them in terms of where they need to be and what they need to be doing. He’s a natural leader, who has played in a lot of situations.”


    However, the injuries Chivas has incurred means that the depth of the Goats will continue to be tested.
    “It’s almost comical [the number of injuries the team has suffered],” Fraser said. “But then again, I look at the group that is healthy, and there is no whining or crying about it even though there a lot of guys that played past 90 this week. We just keep persevering.” 


    Up next for Chivas USA is a match with the Columbus Crew. Kickoff at the Home Depot Center is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. ET on  Saturday, Apr. 9 and will be televised locally by KWHY/Univision and Fox Sports Prime Ticket.

16. Portland Timbers

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    FOXBORO, MA - APRIL 2:  Jake Gleeson #20 of the Portland Timbers is unable to stop a goal by the New England Revolution score against the Timbers at Gillette Stadium on April 2, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    John Spencer's Portland Timbers had a couple of matches this week. They opened their U.S. Open Cup run with a 2-0 victory over Chivas USA at Merlo Field. Jack Jewsbury opened the scoring in the 84th minute of play before Eric Brunner added a second in the 86th minute. Portland will take on the San Jose Earthquakes in the next round.


    On Saturday, they brought in Akron's Darlington Nagbe into the mix and scored a resounding 1-1 draw against the New England Revolution. Jack Jewsbury scored in the 38th minute to level the match minutes before halftime.


    Spencer, though, was hoping for more from his men after the contest was aloof.


    “I don’t think there was much in the game to be honest with you," Spencer told PortlandTimbers.com. "I thought maybe the first 10-15 minutes, they were playing that three in the middle with Shalrie Joseph floating off the front a little bit. I think that once we adapted to that system, we committed to the game.

     
    "Obviously, we gave a goal away, which as disappointing as it is at halftime, I thought in the second half we were very unlucky not to have got a second. With Kalif’s (Alhassan) free kick off the post and Matt Reis drops one under the cross bar, I think with a little bit of Lady Luck there, we could’ve gone away with the three points.”


    The matched also marked the debut of goalkeeper Jake Gleeson.


    “Coming in young, there’s probably a lot of pressure on me to perform as well as Adin (Brown) or Troy (Perkins)," Gleeson said, "but I put a lot of pressure on myself. To come out and hold the goalkeeping standard up high and playing well, so I think most of the pressure actually comes from myself because I want to be as good as those guys at the moment, which is tough.”


    “I feel very comfortable with the group of guys," said Jewsbury. "As the captain, in the leadership role, my experience comes into play. [I want to] continue building this team. We’ve just got to continue to fight for one another, and improve upon the things that we haven’t done so well and continue to build the things that we have.”


    After a long break, Jewsbury will look to lead his team to their first win of their inaugural MLS run when they take on the Chicago Fire at Jeld-Wen Field in Portland, Oregon. Kickoff is scheduled for Thursday, Apr. 14 at 8:00 p.m. PT/11:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by ESPN2.

15. D.C. United

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    COMMERCE CITY, CO - APRIL 03:  Goal keeper Pat Onstad #20 of D.C. United defends the goal against the Colorado Rapids at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on April 3, 2011 in Commerce City, Colorado. The Rapids defeated D.C. United 4-1.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Ben Olsen's D.C. United were given a Rocky Mountain ambush by defending champions Colorado Rapids to the tune of 4-1.


    Santino Quaranta scored his first goal of the season off the delivery from Chris Korb in the 70th minute to equalize the match before the Rapids left it late.


    Next up for D.C. United are a couple of matches. D.C. takes on the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday, Apr. 6 in a U.S. Open Cup contest. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.


    D.C. will then renew their rivalry with the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday, Apr. 9 at RFK Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.

14. Toronto FC

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    TORONTO, CANADA - APRIL 2: Alan Gordon #21 of Toronto FC celebrates goal against Chivas USA during MLS action at BMO Field April 2, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
    Abelimages/Getty Images

    Aron Winter's Toronto FC settled for a 1-1 draw with Chivas USA at BMO Field on Saturday. Alan Gordon scored for Toronto in the 36th minute after his former club opened the scoring early in the contest.


    Maicon Santos had a chance to give Toronto the ascendancy in the 60th minute, but his shot went wide.


    "I think that when you’re on the pitch, it’s better that a player who’s captain is in the midfield, who can reach back and front," Winter told TorontoFC.ca's Asif Hossain. "I’m sitting on the bench and when I want to reach my players, it’s very difficult when they aren’t near to me. I think when you’re like Stefan (a goalkeeper) and you’re behind and you have to coach the players in front, I think the distance is too far... Maicon is the captain."


    "No, I’m not gonna change anything (as captain)," Maicon said when asked about switching things up. "We’re gonna keep it up with everything, we’re gonna keep it up, the hard work we’ve been doing. Just keep it up...When I went to just put the ball in, and I think the guy come up from behind me and clipped my leg, so I touched the wrong way on the ball. So that’s unfortunate that that’s happened...that’s football."


    With the collection out of the way, TFC will look to get back on the winning track when they take on the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for Saturday, Apr. 9 at 10:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by GOLTV Canada.

13. Houston Dynamo

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    HARRISON, NJ - APRIL 02:  Cameron Weaver #15 of the Houston Dynamo celebrates his game-tying goal in the second half against the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena on April 2, 2011 in Harrison, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
    Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

    Dominic Kinnear's Houston Dynamo move up one spot in the rankings after a gutsy 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls. Cam Weaver scored in the 50th minute to give the Dynamo the draw.


    “We played a good team that was attacking us very hard,” said goalkeeper Tally Hall to MLSSoccer.com's Darrell Lovell. “So coming out of here with a point is not something we’re disappointed about, but we’re still looking for that first win."


    “The response was perfect, because being down a goal is tough,” said head coach Dominic Kinnear. “They've got good players, they can possess the ball, so to get that response gave us a lift, and I think it kind of shocked them a bit.”


    “In the beginning of the season, when the team is still trying to find its groove,” said midfielder Geoff Cameron, “it just shows the character of the team this year, compared to last year, where we could have lost this point tonight. And I think that's a good step in the right direction.”


    Next for the Dynamo are a couple of contests. On Wednesday, Apr. 6, the Dynamo travel to Aggie Soccer Stadium in College Station, Texas, for a U.S. Open Cup contest with Sporting Kansas City. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. CT/8:00 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on the radio by SportsTalk 790.


    Houston will then return to Robertson Stadium on Sunday, Apr. 10 for a match with the Vancouver Whitecaps. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. CT/7:00 p.m. ET and will be televised nationally by Galavision and regionally by KHOU 11.2 and Fox Sports Houston.

12. Seattle Sounders FC

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    SANTA CLARA, CA - APRIL 2: James Riley #7 of the Seattle Sounders FC dribbles the ball against the San Jose Earthquakes during an MLS soccer game at Buck Shaw Stadium on April 2, 2011 in Santa Clara, California. The game ended in a 2-2 tie. (Photo by Thea
    Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    Sigi Schmid's Seattle Sounders jump up a few spots after holding the San Jose Earthquakes to a 2-2 draw at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara, California. This match counted as the first leg of the Heritage Cup.


    Brad Evans scored in the 17th minute for Seattle, and O'Brian White added a second in the 42nd minute. However, the Sounders were unable to hold on to their halftime advantage.'


    “We scored some goals tonight, so that was a good situation, but I think we let ourselves down a little bit defensively,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid told SoundersFC.com's Matt Gaschk.  “We needed to do a better job of keeping the ball.”


    “When you’re on the road and you take the lead twice, you probably expect to win the game, but it wasn’t to be,” midfielder Steve Zakuani said.  “But it’s tough to be too disappointed when you know you’ve come to San Jose—a team who had a big win last weekend—and for the majority outplayed them and create some really good chances on their pitch.”


    The Sounders are still searching for their first win of the season when they take on the Chicago Fire on Saturday, Apr. 9, 2011. Kickoff at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. PT/4:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by KING 5.

11. New England Revolution

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    FOXBORO, MA - APRIL 2:  Zach Schilawski #15 the New England Revolution battles James Marcelin #14 of the Portland Timbers at Gillette Stadium on April 2, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Steve Nicol's New England Revolution were unlucky to get stood up by the Portland Timbers in a 1-1 draw at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.


    Stephen McCarthy opened his scoring account in the 22nd minute.


    “We’re just disappointed all around," Nicol told RevolutionSoccer.net. "There were very few things about tonight. I guess if you’re not on your game and you pick up points, then you should be happy. But obviously, we’re at home, and we want three points. We don’t want one point. We had a couple of chances where we might have won the game, but in all honesty, we were disappointing tonight, and we were pretty flat most of the time. We just never ever got rolling.


    “The bottom line is we didn’t pass the ball well so it wouldn’t have mattered who we played tonight. We didn’t pass the ball at all, all night, and when that happens, you’re going to struggle. 


    "We just didn’t have any passing. Let’s be honest: very few times did we actually put three or four passes together and anytime we did, we actually nearly created things. But it was few and far between. Certainly wasn’t regular enough. We didn’t pass the ball well at all. And when you don’t, you’re going to struggle.”


    Forward Zach Schilawski agreed with Nicol's words.


    “Disappointing is a good word," Schilawski said "I think everyone in the locker room’s a little disappointed right now. (We were) hoping to get three points out of that one and unfortunately it just didn’t work out for us.”


    “I think we’re impatient and sometimes when we do get the ball on the ground we make the wrong decision a lot of the time," said midfielder Pat Phelan "so (that’s) something to work on. We knew that it was going to be a problem and we just have to get better with it.”


    McCarthy was quick to agree with Phelan's premise of impatience.


    “I felt like we were just impatient, just trying to play that perfect ball when new should have just been playing separate passes," McCarthy said. "I think that’s what we do and that’s what we’re good at and we just didn’t do that today … I think had we done that we definitely would have been able to keep it and play a solid game.”


    Up next for the Revolution are a couple of matches. On Wednesday, Apr. 5, they take on the Vancouver Whitecaps at Empire Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 10:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by Comcast Sportsnet and TSN.


    The Revs will then take on Real Salt Lake on Saturday, Apr. 9 at Gillette Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by Comcast Sportsnet.

10. Sporting Kansas City

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    VANCOUVER, CANADA - APRIL 2: Atiba Harris #9 of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC picks up the ball after scoring on goalie Jimmy Nielsen #1 of the Sporting Kansas FC during the second half in MLS action on April 02, 2011 at Empire Field in Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Rich Lam/Getty Images

    Peter Vermes's Sporting Kansas City failed to hold on to a 3-0 advantage and settled for a 3-3 draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps at Empire Field in Vancouver, British Columbia.


    Teal Bunbury scored a brace in first half stoppage time and the 58th minute of play, while Kei Kamara added a 62nd minute goal.


    “The first 20 minutes I thought we were solid," Vermes told SportingKC.com. "Our goalkeeper was outstanding, and we had some great chances. There was a lot of rubber on that turf, and we got fatigued. They kept coming—finished off with three great balls and came back. I’m proud of our guys—to score three goals on the road is pretty solid. But even as fatigued as we were, we need to do a better job of holding the game.”


    “It was disappointing—bottom line," said Bunbury on the draw. "We shouldn’t have let them back in the game. They’re a great team but we had the lead and we have to learn to stay composed. My job is to score goals and I got lots of opportunities. I thought our guys played well, but we need to stay focused and stay together as a team.”


    “It’s definitely disappointing for everyone right now," added goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen, who allowed Camilo of the Caps to score a stoppage time brace. "Of course a positive was that we scored three goals. But it’s not good enough—we were up 3-0 with 15 minutes to go. Credit to Vancouver with the power they had putting the ball behind our back four.”


    “I don’t know if I’ve ever been a part of a game like that before, honestly," said Sporting's Davy Arnaud. "Teal scored an important goal for us in the first half. Credit to Vancouver—they kept going. To get two after the 90th minute, hats off to them, but at the same time, we have to look at ourselves. It’s not good enough for us. At the end of the day, it was a point on the road, but we didn’t lock the game down.”


    Sporting will look to rebound from a disappointing effort in Canada when they take on the Houston Dynamo at Aggie Soccer Stadium in College Station, Texas in a U.S. Open Cup match. Kickoff is scheduled for Wednesday, Apr. 6 at 7:00 p.m. CT/8:00 p.m. ET.


    Sporting's next MLS match will be on Saturday, Apr. 16 when they face the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT/7:30 p.m. ET and will be televised locally by KSMO-TV.

9. Vancouver Whitecaps FC

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    VANCOUVER, CANADA - APRIL 2: Camilo Sanvezzo #37 and Davide Chiumiento #20 of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC celebrates after Camilo scores the tying goal against the Sporting Kansas FC during the second half in MLS action on April 02, 2011 at Empire Field in
    Rich Lam/Getty Images

    Teitur Thordarsson's Vancouver Whitecaps pulled off one of their biggest comebacks in their young history when they rallied from three goals down to force a 3-3 draw at Empire Field in Vancouver, British Columbia.


    Brazilian import Camilo was instrumental, with goals in the 92nd and 93rd minutes of play. Atiba Harris also scored in the 73rd minute for Vancouver.


    “In and around the box, that’s where he is dangerous,” Thordarson told Brandon Timko of MLSSoccer.com. “It was nice to see that. During the last week of training, he had really been showing well.”


    “It’s sad that the fans don’t get to see him in training because he does that all the time,” winger Wes Knight said. “It’s really good for him to show his effectiveness. Ninety-plus minutes at striker is not easy on this team.”


    Nizar Khalfan and Davide Chiumiento also contributed to the cause, helping spark the comeback.


    “It was a different dynamic,” defender Jonathan Leathers said. “They brought their skill sets and blew the defense away. I give a lot of credit to [Khalfan and Chiumiento] to come in and make such a big difference."


    Vancouver now have the collection and will look to get back on the winning track when they square off for a couple of contests.


    The Caps take on the New England Revolution on Wednesday, Apr. 6 at Empire Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. PT/10:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by TSN.


    Vancouver will them travel to Robertson Stadium in Houston, Texas to take on the Houston Dynamo. Kickoff is schedule dfor Sunday, Apr. 10 at 4:00 p.m. PT/7:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by Rogers Sportsnet Pacific and Galavision.

8. Philadelphia Union

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    CARSON, CA - APRIL 02:  Sebastien Le Toux #9 of the Philadelphia Union defends against Juninho #19 of the Los Angeles Galaxy during the match at The Home Depot Center on April 2, 2011 in Carson, California.  (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
    Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

    Peter Nowak's Philadelphia Union were dooped by the Los Angeles Galaxy to the tune of 1-0 at the Home Depot Center on Saturday. 


    The match was marred by a bevy of rough fouls and cards of every color. Adding insult to chippiness, the Union failed to capitalize on a man advantage and also were down to 10 men after Jack McInerney was sent off late in stoppage time.


    “I don’t think there was enough rhythm with the play from us,” defender Danny Califf explained after the match to philadelphiaunion.com's Judah Levine. “I think from both sides it was a pretty physical match and things got a little chippy. We weren’t sharp and it showed. The Galaxy put in a couple of really good set pieces and got a good goal on a set piece. They defended really well and we couldn’t figure out how to break them down.”


    Forward Carlos Ruiz suffered a right shoulder strain late in the contest.


    We didn’t play well in the first half,” said Ruiz,. “In the second half, we obviously played better because they played with 10 men, but we didn’t find the space to try and score. I think we played too many long balls and that was easy for them because everybody was defending.”


    A couple of matches are on the way for the Union. Philadelphia faced D.C. United on Wednesday, Apr. 6 at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown, Maryland for a U.s. Open Cup contest. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.


    The Union will then take on the New York Red Bulls at PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania on Saturday, Apr. 9. Kickoff is scheduled for  7:00 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN2.

7. Columbus Crew

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    COLUMBUS, OH - APRIL 01:  Eddie Gaven #12 of the Columbus Crew celebrates with Robbie Rogers #18 and Rich Balchan #2 after scoring a goal against FC Dallas at Crew Stadium on April 1, 2011 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
    Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

    Robert Warzycha's Columbus Crew finally get right to begin the month of April, scoring a 2-0 victory over FC Dallas at Crew Stadium on Friday night.


    Andres Mendoza scored in the 54th minute of play, and Eddie Gaven added a second in the 91st minute to effectively put the game out of reach for Dallas.


    With the confidence building, Columbus will look to start up their first win streak of the season when they face Chivas USA. Kickoff at the Home Depot Center is scheduled for 10:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Apr. 9.

6. Red Bull New York

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    HARRISON, NJ - APRIL 02:  Juan Agudelo #17 of the New York Red Bulls signs autographs after their game against the Houston Dynamo at Red Bull Arena on April 2, 2011 in Harrison, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jonathan Fickies/Getty Images for New York Red Bulls)
    Jonathan Fickies/Getty Images

    Hans Backe's New York Red Bulls, in spite of acquiring Dwayne De Rosario from Toronto FC, has to settle for a 1-1 draw against the Houston Dynamo at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.


    Dane Richards scored in the second minute of first-half stoppage time to give the Red Bulls a 1-0 advantage going into the break.


    Despite the performance, Backe sees the potential in De Rosario's addition to the lineup.


    “I could see the difference with De Rosario in the second half with the short, short passes,” head coach Hans Backe told Kristian Dyer of MLSSoccer.com. “That will help Thierry Henry a lot.”


    “The most difficult thing in the game is to create chances,” Henry said. “If we keep creating chances, you hopefully will put more in the back of the net.”


    This week, the Red Bulls will look to incorporate De Rosario more when they take on the Philadelphia Union on Saturday, Apr. 9 at PPL Park. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. PT and will be televised by ESPN2.

5. San Jose Earthquakes

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    SANTA CLARA, CA - APRIL 2: Simon Dawkins #10 of the San Jose Earthquakes dribbles the ball against the Seattle Sounders FC during an MLS soccer game at Buck Shaw Stadium on April 2, 2011 in Santa Clara, California. The game ended in a 2-2 tie. (Photo by T
    Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    Frank Yallop's San Jose Earthquakes did very well in coming back from a 2-1 deficit to force a 2-2 draw with the Seattle Sounders on Saturday night at Buck Shaw Stadium.


    Simon Dawkins, on loan from Tottenham Hotspur, scored his first-ever MLS goal in the 32nd minute, and Khari Stephenson equalized in the 52nd minute of play off a scoring 35-yard blast.


    “I’m always taking shots from that distance in training,” Stephenson told Geoff Lopez of MLSSoccer.com. “Sometimes they’re good shots, sometimes they’re not. But you have to try. I took the chance, and it worked out for me today."


    With Stephenson showing his potential as a scoring threat, Yallop now has a decision to make when the Quakes face Toronto FC on Saturday, Apr. 9 at Buck Shaw. Who will he start?


    “Maybe both [Dawkins and Stephenson],” Yallop said. “Someone other than Wondo scored. Thank God for that.”


    Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on the radio by KTRB 860 AM and KZSF 1370 AM.

4. Los Angeles Galaxy

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    CARSON, CA - APRIL 02:  Leonardo #22 of the Los Angeles Galaxy controls the ball  against the Philadelphia Union during the match at The Home Depot Center on April 2, 2011 in Carson, California.  (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
    Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

    Bruce Arena's Los Angeles Galaxy had a bad taste to wash in their mouths after the 4-1 pummeling they received at the hands of Real Salt Lake. They got right against the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia Union.


    A 33rd-minute goal from Leonardo via David Beckham, combined with consistent defending, was just enough for the Galaxy to hold off the Union 1-0.

    "I’m very happy tonight," Leonardo told LAGalaxy.com. "I scored my first goal which was dedicated to my mom because it’s her birthday and for getting to start tonight.  The most important thing though is the three points we earned.”


    Los Angeles had to play down to 10 men after Chris Birchall was sent off in the second half, but their defense continued to frustrate Philadelphia in what was a very chippy outing at the Home Depot Center on Saturday.


    "I think we clearly earned the three points," Arena said on the win. "We had a good goal in the first half and some good chances in the second half. It is very difficult playing with ten players for 35 minutes. I think our team responded pretty well. The three points is big, and I think we are the only team that got three points today, so after four games we have seven points. Not exactly where we want to be, but it is not the worst.”


    When asked of the cards issued—10 were dealt, four yellow and one red to each side—Arena took it all in stride.


    “It wasn’t a game that demanded a lot of cards


    Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, who made his first start of the season, credited his back line for doing the work.


    "They played pretty solid," Ricketts said, "I didn’t have much to do. They mopped up whatever came through. They were pretty solid. It wasn’t only the back four. We played well in the midfield. It was a team effort. I like nights like this. I just try to talk to the back four, yell at the midfield, so I can keep in touch with the game, so I don’t fall asleep."


    "It’s still the beginning of the season," said defender Omar Gonzalez, who also made his first start from injury. "Things happen and I’m just happy we were able to respond the right way. Practice was great the whole week to get our mind set to come in and get a win. That’s just what a good team does."


    Midfielder David Beckham was given the opportunity to play in the central midfield, and it paid off.


    "Bruce just said to me, 'Do you want to try something different?'" said Beckham. "And, we did. I think it worked well tonight. We kept the ball well; we passed the ball well. We created chances. I’ve played that position a number of times before…with Man United, Real Madrid, so I know I can play that position."


    Miguel Lopez was making his first start for the G's.


    "The work in the midfield was excellent, but there are things that we need to improve," Lopez said. "We need to keep working to fix some small details because we have a long road ahead of us.  I believe that we have a team that can battle to the end this season.”


    Next up for the Galaxy is a trip to RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. to take on D.C. United. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. PT/7:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by Fox Sports West.

3. Chicago Fire

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    BRIDGEVIEW, IL - MARCH 26: Diego Chaves #99 of the Chicago Fire celebrates a penalty kick goal with teammate Patrick Nyarko #14 against Sporting Kansas City during an MLS match at Toyota Park on March 26, 2010 in Bridgeview, Illinois. The Fire defeated Sp
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Carlos De Los Cobos's Chicago Fire defeated the Colorado Rapids 2-1 on Wednesday in a U.S. Open Cup contest.


    Gaston Puerari gave Chicago a halftime advantage, while Jalil Anibaba gave the Fire a 2-1 advantage in the 61st minute.


    "It was a difficult match," De Los Cobos told chicago-fire.com "Colorado didn’t bring all their players but we took this match seriously because to us it was an important game to try and compete in this tournament in the best way. I’m very satisfied with the effort of my players. We had a few big moments during the match, and I think we deserved to win because we created some options. 


    "I’ve always said it’s not easy to win against teams in this league because all the teams have very good players and all the teams try to give 100 percent on the field. For us, this victory strengthens our confidence."


    "It was a great result," said midfielder Logan Pause. "Moving to the next phase of qualifying, these tournaments are exciting forthe club and this team. It gives us a different perspective, a different format versus a 34- game season. I’m really proud of the guys—it wasn’t the prettiest at times, but getting the result is what matters."


    The Fire will take on either the Portland Timbers or San Jose Earthquakes in the next round.


    Up next for the Fire is a match with the Seattle Sounders at Qwest Field. Kickoff is scheduled for Saturday, Apr. 9 at 4:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by Comcast Sportsnet.

2. Colorado Rapids

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    COMMERCE CITY, CO - APRIL 03:  Caleb Folan #21 of the Colorado Rapids is lifted up by Anthony Wallace #6 as Pablo Mastroeni #25 watches as they celebrate Folan's goal in the 81st minute against D.C. United at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on April 3, 2011 in
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Gary Smith's Colorado Rapids had a hit-and-miss week.


    On Wednesday, March 30, the Rapids dropped a 2-1 decision to the Chicago Fire in a 2011 U.S. Open Cup play-in game. Andre Akpan scored in the second half for the Rapids.


    So what did the Rapids do afterwards? Well, they took their anger out on D.C. United, crushing their 4-1.


    Caleb Folan, a new signing to the club, scored a brace with goals in the 38th and 81st minutes. Jamie Smith added a goal in the 71st minute, and Omar Cummings returned from injury in grand fashion with a goal in the 92nd minute of play.


    “Coming into the game, I think we were high on confidence, but we wanted to maintain the winning streak," Folan said after the match to ColoradoRapids.com. "So obviously we set out to do well, and attack and go for the win. It was a bit slow to start the game; it took us a while to find out feet.


    "But I think in time we kind of gelled, were passing the ball a lot better and were finding space, playing the right plays, attacking the team and creating chances. Thankfully I got on the end of a few today.”


    “I think the score actually flatters a little bit," said Smith. "It was a very tough game for a large portion of the 90 minutes. There was one big moment and that was the second goal that we got. 


    "I think that shift after some pressure from DC gave us a bit more of a footing to go on and win the game so comfortably. But for a good period of the game, D.C. gave as good as they’ve got. They scored at a good time to get themselves back into the game and that second goal from Jamie Smith was probably the most important moment of the game.”

    Next up for the Rapids is a Friday night match with FC Dallas. Kickoff at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas is scheduled for Apr. 8 at 7:00 p.m. MT/9:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by Fox Soccer Channel.

1. Real Salt Lake

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    SANDY, UT - MARCH 26: Former BYU basketball player Jimmer Fredette (C) smiles with his girlfriend Whitney Wonnacott (R) during a game against Real Salt Lake and the Los Angeles Galaxy during the second half of an MLS soccer game March 26, 2011 at Rio Tint
    George Frey/Getty Images

    Jason Kreis's Real Salt Lake were off this week, but this week, they have a couple of big matches on the way.


    On Tuesday, RSL looks to finish off Deportivo Saprissa at Estadio Ricardo Saprissa Ayma in San Jose, Costa Rica. This is the second leg of the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League semifinals. Kickoff is scheduled for Tuesday, Apr. 5 8:00 p.m. MT/10:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by Fox Soccer Channel.


    Real Salt Lake's next MLS match is on Saturday, Apr. 9 against the New England Revolution. Kickoff at Gillette Stadium is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. MT/7:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast locally on the radio by ESPN 700, ESPN Deportes 1600-AM and Juan 106.1 FM.

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