2011 MLS Power Rankings: Week 9
In this week's edition of the 2011 Major League Soccer Power Rankings, Schellas Hyndman's FC Dallas shoot to the top after a couple of impressive victories this week.
All this and more as Bleacher Report presents you with Week 9 of the 2011 MLS Power Rankings.
18. Sporting Kansas City
Omar Gonzalez scored an own goal in the 39th minute to give Sporting the early lead, but they would not hold on to it, as they gave up four unanswered goals to LoS Angeles.
Perhaps the long road trip is taking its toll on Sporting, as their new stadium nears completion.
“We have been talking about the same thing about playing on the road, we have known that," said midfielder Davy Arnaud to reporters.
"It is not easy but at the same time it is not so difficult that we should turn in a second half performance that we did tonight. It is just not obviously what we wanted and it is very disappointing.
“It was not good enough to come out in the second half and let the game go the way it did. It is just not good enough.”
Sporting have a chance to make amends next week when they take on the Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday, May 21 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington.
Kickoff is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. CT/10:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by KSMO-TV.
17. Vancouver Whitecaps FC
It's been a tough week for Teitur Thordarsson's Vancouver Whitecaps, who could only settle for a draw and a defeat for their efforts.
On Wednesday, Davide Chiumiento equalized in the first minute of stoppage time to give the Caps a 1-1 draw against the San Jose Earthquakes.
"We don’t make things easy for ourselves, as it seems to be a habit now to make things exciting," Thordarson told Simon Fudge of WhitecapsFC.com.
"We didn’t create so many chances in the first half, but in the second part of the second half when we started taking risks, we made a change on the field by playing three at the back. We were struggling a bit energy-wise and that is understandable, but I want to say one more time that I am impressed by the character of the team. We fought back into it and equalized."
On Saturday, the Caps would not be so lucky, dropping a 1-0 decision to the New England Revolution.
"I’m obviously disappointed with the result, but at the same time, we dominated the game," Thordarsson said. "We didn’t create too many goalscoring opportunities, but we had some of them, especially in the first half.
"That was basically the same with New England. They had a lot of dangerous corners and free kicks, and we knew that’s what they’re good at. We kept our heads up and continued to play, but unfortunately, we didn’t manage to create too many goal chances, and they were given a penalty."
“I think we had a really good first half,” goalkeeper Jay Nolly told MLSSoccer.com's Brandon Timko.
“We were energized. I felt like we were creating chances and doing really well. We had a really young roster out there, but I don’t think you saw that. We were playing well, and I think if they had gotten that penalty and we had fallen off, that would have been a huge disappointment for us, but we kept pushing forward.”
The Whitecaps will look to bounce back from their harrowing week when they take on Toronto FC in the first leg of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship at Empire Field on Wednesday, May 18.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. PT/10:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by Rogers SportsNet Pacific.
16. Houston Dynamo
"We’re very pleased to get a shutout here," Kinnear told reporters after the match. "They’re a good team and it’s a tough place to play. The team showed a lot of determination and I’m happy for the guys.”
“You look back and we had chances to put the ball in the back of the net," midfielder Geoff Cameron added "With a little more composure and that final pass, we could have come out of here with three (points).
“The first half we held them strong and fought hard. Then in the second half we turned it on, possessed the ball and I thought we dominated most of the second half.”
If Houston are to move up the ladder, they need to up the ante and produce. Up next is a New York Red Bulls side in need of a little fixing up.
Kickoff at Robertson Stadium in Houston, Texas is scheduled for Saturday, May 21 at 7:30 p.m. CT/8:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by KHOU 11.2, Fox Sports Houston Plus and TV Azteca-51 on tape delay on Sunday, May 22 at 8:30 a.m. CT/9:30 a.m. ET.
15. Columbus Crew
Robert Warzycha's Columbus Crew slide to No. 15 in this week's MLS Power Rankings after a dismal 3-0 defeat to the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium on the campus of Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California.
“It opened everybody’s eyes,” Warzycha told thecrew.com's Criag Merz. “We can’t be that confident, thinking we’re that good. We have to keep working to improve.
“We have to make sure we’re marking right in the box. There’s a lot of room for improvement.”
For starters, avoiding surrendering three goals in 12 minutes could work wonders for the Crew, whose seven-game unbeaten streak is in tatters.
It won't get any easier for Columbus, who now have to face the Portland Timbers at Jeld-Wen Field on Saturday, May 21. Kickoff is scheduled for 11:00 p.m. ET.
14. Philadelphia Union
Ahhh, there is only so much Danny Mwanga can do to save the Philadelphia Union from slinking down to 14th in this week's Power Rankings.
To his credit, he came off the bench and equalized in the Union's 1-1 draw with the Los Angeles Galaxy in the 84th minute.
“As a forward, you want to be able to produce — getting assists, getting goals,” Mwanga told MLSSoccer.com's Dave Zeitlin. “Not being able to do that is frustrating. But at the same time, you can’t rely on that. You’ve just got to keep working, keep your head up. It’s a long season; the goals will come.”
“He trained well this week,” assistant manager John Hackworth said of Mwanga. “I had a good feeling about it. I told him he was gonna get one. He came on and had a lot of confidence. When he’s like that, he’s as good as anyone in this league.”
Unfortunately, that would be all that fans would see of Mwanga, as he was unable to reprise his heroics in the Union's 2-0 defeat to FC Dallas at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas.
“I think we had a very busy week with travel, so I think it was good to refresh our lineup,” Nowak told Zeitlin. “Those changes were necessary. I think we need to keep the lineup fresh and continue to develop as a team.”
Next up for the Union is a match with the Chicago Fire on Saturday, May 21 at PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania.
Kickoff is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by Comcast SportsNet and Galavision on tape delay at 9:00 p.m. ET.
13. Chicago Fire
Carlos de Los Cobos's Chicago Fire are 13th in this week's Power Rankings after settling for a 2-2 draw with TRoronto FC at BMO Field in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Down 2-0, Marco Pappa scored his fourth of the season in the 63rd minute while Orr Barouch opened his scoring account with a 76th minute equalizer.
“It feels good,” Fire midfielder Corben Bone told MLSSoccer.com's Sam Stejskal.
“We didn’t get a win, which we were really hoping for, but at the same time we fought back from a 2-0 deficit to get the draw and took a point on the road which is crucial. I think that shows signs of a good team if we can come back and steal a point like that.”
Next up for the Fire is a match with the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park on Saturday, May 21.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. CT/8:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by Galavision.
12. Toronto FC
Aron Winter's Toronto FC did not have a pleasant week, earning just a loss and a draw.
On Wednesday, a late first-half injury time penalty doomed Toronto, who fell 1-0 to FC Dallas at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco.
If a straight-out defeat is bad, perhaps even worse is giving up an apparently victory late. Case in point: the Reds' 2-2 draw with the Chicago Fire at BMO Field.
Joao Plata scored in the ninth minute for TFC, while Maicon Santos made it 2-0 for the home side in the 47th minute of play.
"I think in the second half we didn’t want to play anymore. That’s why I think we lost (the points)," Winter toldTorontoFC.ca's Asif Hossain, "because in the first half we were chasing up and pushing up and putting pressure in the front. Then in the second half after the second goal we didn’t do that anymore, and that’s why I think we have given away 2 points."
Toronto will look to rebound from a depressing week with a series of contests with the Vancouver Whitecaps for a spot in the 2011-12 CONCACAF Champions League Preliminary Round.
Kickoff for the first leg at Empire Field in Vancouver, British Columbia is scheduled for Wednesday, May 18 at 10:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by Rogers SportsNet.
On Sunday, May 22, Toronto will be back in action to face the Colorado Rapids at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by GOLTV Canada.
11. Seattle Sounders
Sigi Schmid's Seattle Sounders were looking to lay down the law against their rivals to the south, the Portland Timbers, on a rainy Saturday night at Qwest Field.
Unfortunately, all they could muster was a 1-1 draw. Alvaro Fernandez scored in the 52nd minute thanks to Fredy Montero and Roger Levesque.
“It just feels like there should be a conclusion,” Sounders FC goalkeeper Kasey Keller told SoundersFC.com's Matt Gaschk. “That conclusion is just going to have to wait a couple months until we go down to Jeld-Wen and pick up three points down there.”
In the meantime, Seattle have a punching bag coming their way in the form of cellar-dwellers Sporting Kansas City.
Kickoff at Qwest is scheduled for Saturday, May 21, at 7:00 p.m. PT/10:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by KONG 6/16.
10. Red Bull New York
Hans Backe's New York Red Bulls were upended by Chivas USA 3-2 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey to slide down to 10th in this week's Power Rankings.
Thierry Henry scored his fifth of the season in the 21st minute and Dwayne De Rosario opened his scoring account with a 35th minute penalty kick to equalize once again for New York.
“We weren’t good enough when we let in goals on set pieces like that,” right back Jan Gunnar Solli told MLSSoccer.com's kristian Dyer. “Too much ball-watching. Anything can go in when you’re in front of goal, that’s basically it.”
“We played too pretty. We played too sloppy,” Backe said. “We know exactly what to do on set pieces, but were too sloppy.”
“I think it was ball-watching. We made it too easy on them,” midfielder Teemu Tainio added. “We can’t let [Red Bulls goalkeeper] Bouna [Coundoul] all alone like that. It would be too easy to give just one reason – it was a lot of little things. We made it too hard for ourselves.”
New York have a lot to fix in terms of set pieces when they face the Houston Dynamo at Robertson Stadium on Saturday, May 21.
Kickoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. and will be televised by MSG.
9. Colorado Rapids
Gary Smith's Colorado Rapids are staying put where they are, at ninth in this week's Power Rankings after a 1-1 draw with D.C. United at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.
In spite of Drew Moor opening his scoring account in the 23rd minute, it would not be enough as a penalty conversion by D.C. would see the Rapids relinquish their advantage.
“All in all, it was a good point but it’s a little infuriating not to bag all three when you have a poor decision like that,” Smith told MLSSoccer.com's Nick Thomas. “We didn’t start the second half very well and D.C., with a little bit of help from the officials, took advantage of it.
"But, yes, in frustration we didn’t get all three [points], but it’s been a long three road trips unbeaten so it’s decent.”
Next Sunday, May 22, the Rapids host Toronto FC 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.
8. Chivas USA
Justin Braun may never grow up to be a matador in his lifetime, but on Sunday at Red Bull Arena, he played the part...football-style.
Braun scored goals in the sixth, 31st and 56th minutes to give Robin Fraser's Chivas USA a 3-2 upset victory over the New York Red Bulls on the road.
Hey Jorge Vergara, give the kid two ears and a tail!
"I just tried to make the runs and put myself in the positions where I could find the ball," Braun told reporters.
"My teammates were fortunate enough to get the ball there. Without the service, the goals don’t come. When I got the ball, I just tried to hit it on frame. I’m pretty happy about it, it’s a big moment for me to have the first hat trick of my career."
"Justin was tremendous," Fraser admitted. "I thought all night long he was just a real presence on the attacking end of the field. He ran a lot of things down; he was obviously very efficient in front of the goal. I think for him it’s great, it’s good for him, for his confidence.
"His season started a little late because he was injured for most of preseason, and I think he’s been somewhat frustrated with his own play. I think tonight’s going to be tremendous for his confidence."
So will Braun be starting on Saturday, May 21 against the Los Angeles Galaxy?
"Well, a guy scores three goals, what are you going to do?" Fraser asked the press.
"I think Justin has been good. Justin had a late start to the year, so I think it’s just been a little bit of him coming along. He’s certainly come on in games and done well, but tonight certainly was his coming out party for the year. You have a performance like that, you certainly make a statement for yourself."
Braun will need to step his game up when David Beckham and company raise the bar a little higher in the Honda Superclasico.
Kickoff between Chivas USA and the Los Angeles Galaxy is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. PT/10:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by ESPN2.
7. San Jose Earthquakes
Frank Yallop's San Jose Earthquakes had a good week and rose to seventh in this week's Power Rankings.
On Wednesday, they drew 1-1 with the Vancouver Whitecaps at Empire Field. Chris Wondowloski put the visitors ahead in the 39th minute of play but could not hold on to the lead late.
“It’s just so frustrating on the bench, not to get that second one that I think would have sealed the match,” Quakes coach Frank Yallop told reporters. “It’s three precious points, but we let it slip away.”
“I think we did everything we talked about pregame, so we’re pleased with that,” midfielder Sam Cronin added.
“It’s not ideal, but at the end of the day, we’ve got to make sure we put an honest effort in. That’s what we did last season, and we’re back to it again. These games might be unlucky and tough to swallow, but we’ve just got to keep going. “
The Earthquakes finally put the pieces together and crushed the Columbus Crew at Buck Shaw Stadium on Saturday to the tune of 3-0.
Chris Wondolowski scored his fifth of the season in the 50th minute of play, former Crew standout Steven Lenhart made it 2-0 San Jose in the 59th minute, and Khari Stephenson made it 3-0 Quakes in the 62nd minute.
“It means a lot,” Lenhart told MLSSoccer.com's Geoff Lepper. “I spent three years [at Columbus]. I respect the coaches and the team. I was just focused today and I wanted to perform well. My family was here, so I tried really hard. You expect that every week, but today especially.”
“I think he’s done a phenomenal job getting back into the swing of it,” Wondolowski added. “He just keeps getting better each day, in practice and in games.”
The Quakes will next take on the New England Revolution at Buck Shat on Saturday, May 21.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by Comcast SportsNet.
6. Portland Timbers
Round One of the Cascadia Cup showdown between John Spencer's Portland Timbers and the Seattle Sounders went to...well, no one in particular. Unless you credit the Timbers by way of away goals recorded.
The Timbers and Sounders fought to a 1-1 draw on Saturday at Qwest Field. Mamadou "Futty" Danso equalized for the Timbers in the 65th minute of play thanks to captain Jack Jewsbury.
“Jack Jewsbury has been fantastic for us, that is why we brought him here and made him captain," Spencer told reporters following the match. "
He has lived up to everything and more. Jorge Perlaza has to be given credit. The runs he makes are on par with some of the top strikers of the world. We need to try to get him some more service throughout the match.
“We take a lot of confidence with us. Sigi Schmid has done a tremendous job here and the whole organization is fantastic. They are a good team and we have come up here four months old and played well. We have to start showing that belief we have at home on to the road. I think we showed that tonight.”
Danso, however, was less than impressed with the performance.
“We came here for the win," Danso said. "We didn’t come here for the tie.”
Portland will hope that in their next match with the Columbus Crew, they will get a moreauspicious result.
Kickoff at Jeld-Wen Field is scheduled for Saturday, May 21 at 8:00 p.m. PT/11:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by FOX Channel 12 and estrellaTV 8.3.
5. D.C. United
Ben Olsen's D.C. United find themselves fifth in this week's Power Rankings after a 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids. Chris Pontius equalized in the 62nd minute for his third goal of the season.
"We were not sharp enough from the get-go," Olsen told reporters following the game.
"We think we are better than we really are because we had two games, so now we go out and forget about the commitment, the fight - all the little things that got us the results we had in the last two games. We started off in an unacceptable manner.
"Now the response was fantastic. The ball movement was better, and our balance was better. Our balance overall wasn’t good enough in the first half; we didn’t have options. I am not going to give good reviews on the first half to anyone on our squad.
"I am not happy with one point, but I am happy that we battled back."
Up next for D.C. United is a friendly on Sunday, May 22 with Ajax Amsterdam, the defending Eredivisie champion who prevailed over FC Twente 3-1 earlier this week.
D.C. will return to MLS action on Sunday, May 29, when they take on the Portland Timbers at Jeld-Wen Field in Portland, Oregon.
Kickoff is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by Comcast SportsNet.
4. New England Revolution
Steve Nicol's New England Revolution check in at No. 4 in this week's Power Rankings after a 1-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
Shalrie Joseph scored the game-winner in the 49th minute.
"In the first half, without a shadow of a doubt, we just encouraged them by giving the ball away," a frank Nicol told reporters after the match.
"Second half was better. The second goal was a great move – a great finish – and he was onside. But we’re looking to do more of that. But we won. We’re excited to win the game, we won the game. We think we deserved to win the game overall. And we move on."
"All around, we played a good defensive game in both games," midfielder Benny Feilhaber said. "Everyone’s been saying it’s our first two shutouts of the year and they came back-to-back, which I think is important. We got a little bit more stability back there.
"To be honest, I feel like we created more chances against Colorado, but it was about actually putting the ball in the back of the net today and I think we were able to do that. The one thing can say is that we were able to score and that’s what we improved on."
Next Saturday, May 21, the Revolution will take on the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara.
Kickoff is scheduled for 10:30 p.m. PT and will be televised by Comcast SportsNet.
3. Real Salt Lake
Jason Kreis's Real Salt Lake continued their struggle to pick up the pieces after a scoreless draw with the Houston Dynamo at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday.
Wake up Real, Monterrey was ages ago...Of course, the lack of Javier Morales in the lineup did have something to do with the result, Kreis argued.
“We are going to have to answer questions about who is going to be the integral figure in there to create chances," Kreis said. "Can other guys get a little more involved in the attacking third? Some of that is just going to take time."
“It’s frustrating because I think that in a couple of those situations we are just so close," said defender Nat Borchers. "We are chomping at the bit right now to get goals and I think they will come. We’ve just got to keep fighting.”
Up next is a match with Schellas Hyndman's high-flying FC Dallas at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco.
Kickoff is scheduled for Sunday, May 22 at 5:00 p.m. MT/7:00 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on the radio by ESPN 700, ESPN Deportes 1600-AM and Juan 106.1-FM.
2. Los Angeles Galaxy
Bruce Arena's Los Angeles Galaxy turned a three-game winless streak into a three game unbeaten streak within the space of four days.
On Wednesday, they settled for a 1-1 draw with the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park thanks to poor finishing and an inability to maintain a 1-0 advantage late. Landon Donovan scored his fifth goal in the 24th minute for the Galaxy.
"The result is very disappointing," Arena said after the match.
"We should have won this game by two or three goals. We missed a bunch of chances, the referee missed the penalty on the goalkeeper, we had plenty of chances to get to 2-0. We made a mistake at the end and it cost us a goal, but having said that, we were certainly in position to score two or three goals. But it is disappointing."
"Yeah we were at fault for not scoring another goal," Donovan concurred. "Obviously mistakes happen, it’s part of the game but we have had too many of those this year where we are giving away points cheaply, I think we deserved better tonight."
Someone must have snuck an alarm clock in the Galaxy's dressing room on Saturday night prior to the match against Sporting Kansas City, because it sure helped them in their 4-1 rout.
After a 39th minute own goal from Omar Gonzalez, Donovan responded with a brace in the 44th and 46th minutes.
Juan Pablo Angel made it 3-1 in the 64th minute to end his scoring drought and David Beckham, in true David Beckham fashion bent one past Sporting goalkeeper Eric Kronberg to put the game out of reach.
“There is about one person in the world that can do that and he did it tonight,” Donovan said of LA's No. 23.
“I obviously thought we played well, it was a fabulous result," Arena said after the match.
"I can’t be more proud of our team; it was a challenging week with New York here, Philadelphia and tonight Kansas City. A lot of teams could use that as an excuse but our guys preformed great. It was a week that we could’ve won all three but came out a little short there, but I think we played well and are starting to play better as a team."
“I like to score goals," Beckham said. "It is not the biggest thing that I go to games thinking about. My game has always been about getting assists and if can get a goal then great. I always enjoy scoring goals, who doesn’t?
"I think more importantly tonight the performance of the team, the character of the team especially like I said coming off the road trip and the travel it is a great performance by us tonight.”
The Galaxy will be facing a Chivas USA outfit that pulled off a similarly impressive result in beating a team LA has yet to beat in New York.
Kickoff for the first leg of the Honda Superclasico from the Home Depot Center in Carson, California is scheduled for Saturday, May 21 at 7:00 p.m. PT/10:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes.
1. FC Dallas
Schellas Hyndman's FC Dallas are at the top of this week's MLS Power Rankings after a sensational week. Six points, no goals conceded, and no David Ferreira needed. (That rhymes, by the way.)
On Wednesday, captain Daniel Hernandez opened his scoring account with a penalty conversion in the third minute of first-half injury time to give the Hoops a 1-0 victory over Toronto FC.
“Fabián asked to take it and I was going to let him,” Hernandez told MLSSoccer.com's Robert Casner. “Then I looked over at coach and he told me to take it. He must have been watching me throughout the week. I have been trying to practice on them actually since David went out.
“The most important thing is getting the three points. I’ve never been a big celebrator on scoring goals when I do score them.”
Thankfully for the captain, he wouldn't need to do them on Saturday against the Philadelphia Union, because that was reserved for Fabian Castillo and Brek Shea.
Shea recorded his third of the year in the 29th minute, while Castillo earned his second of the season in the 43rd minute of play to give FC Dallas a 2-0 victory.
The Hoops are riding high, and will look to build on their momentum when they face struggling Real Salt Lake on Sunday, May 22 at Pizza Hut Park.
Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. CT/7:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by Fox Sports Southwest.