2011 MLS Power Rankings: Week 10
The end of the world is near! The end of the world is here! We're all gonna die, say your prayers, everyone!
Wait a minute, that's not right. The world is still the same, no one has died yet (save for maybe a few people), we're good. Whew.
What a relief.
Then again, the sky might as well be falling for Sporting Kansas City, who are running into a huge quandary in this week's Power Rankings. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Union make a huge jump in this week's Major League Soccer Power Rankings, while the Los Angeles Galaxy return to the top position.
Let's take a look at this week's power rankings.
18. Sporting Kansas City
Once again, at the cellar of this week's MLS Power Rankings are Peter Vermes's Sporting Kansas City, who suffered a 1-0 defeat to the Seattle Sounders.
The loss was their fifth straight.
"It is very disappointing to walk away from here tonight without a point," Vermes told reporters following the match.
"I thought we deserved something out of the game today," said team captain Davy Arnaud. "We defended well, we didn’t give them any legitimate chances, and anything they got was on set pieces.
"We worked so hard for each other defensively and stuck to our game plan and we deserved to get a point out of this game. It hurts to give up a goal like that. The work we put in, we deserved something out of it.”
A couple of games are on the table for Sporting. On Wednesday, they take on the New England Revolution in U.S. Open Cup play-in action. The winner of this tie moves on to the third round proper of the competition.
Kickoff at Blue Valley DAC is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CT/8:30 p.m. ET.
Sporting will then return to MLS play when they take on the Colorado Rapids on Saturday, May 28, Kickoff is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. CT/9:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by KSMO-TV.
17. Vancouver Whitecaps FC
This week, Teitur Thordarson's Vancouver Whitecaps stepped away from MLS play to take on Toronto FC in first leg of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship Final.
The Caps settled for a 1-1 draw. Eric Hassli scored for Vancouver in the 64th minute.
“It’s always frustrating to walk off the field with a 1-1 draw after the way we dominated the game tonight,” said team captain Jay Merritt to MLSSoccer.com's Brandon Timko. “But you have to look at the positives.”
“I felt that we were the better team in the second half,” said goalkeeper Jay Nolly. “We should take some confidence out of this game in that we were positive and we were creating good chances going forward with numbers and we were defending well.
“There are a lot of good things to take from this game, but we’re definitely disappointed with the chances we had that we didn’t put them away.”
Up next for the Caps are a couple of matches. First up is the second leg of the 2011 Canadian Championship with Toronto on Wednesday, May 25.
Kickup at BMO Field in Toronto, Ontario, Canada is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. PT/8:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by Rogers SportsNet One.
Vancouver resumes MLS play on Saturday, May 28 when they take on the New York Red Bulls. Kickoff at Empire Field in Vancouver, British COlumbia, Canada is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. PT/5:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by TSN.
16. Chicago Fire
Carlos De Los Cobos's Chicago Fire were upended by the Philadelphia Union 2-1 on Saturday at PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania. Dominic Oduro earned his second goal of the season in the 68th minute for the Fire.
“In the first half, we were able to control the game a little bit but then they came on strong at the end,” Fire winger Dominic Oduro told MLSsoccer.com's Sam Stejskal after the match. “I think the second half was more like a push and pull, but at the end of the day, we lost the game.
“There’s nothing we can do but keep our heads up. We still have a lot of games to go so you just got to keep your head up and try to fight for the little points ahead of you. Right now, we’re among the bottom on the table but at the same time we have a lot of games to go. We just have to reach out for the points and keep trying to make the playoffs.”
Chicago will take time off their sorry MLS campaign to battle for a place in the 2011 US Open Cup third round proper against the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for Tuesday, May 24 9:30 p.m. CT/10:30 p.m. ET.
The Fire will face the Earthquakes again in MLS play at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois on Saturday, May 28. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CT/8:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by Comcast SportsNet.
15. Columbus Crew
Robert Warzycha's Columbus Crew continued their slump after a 1-0 defeat to the Portland Timbers at Jeld-Wen Field. Adding insult to defeat was an injury to the club's leading scorer, Emilio Renteria, in the first half.
“I don’t think we deserved to lose," Warzycha told reporters following the match. "Obviously we came here (and played the team with) right now the hottest (home) start in the league, with the fans and the (team) 4-0-0 in their previous (home) games. But we came to play so we didn’t sit back and just defend. I think we could have scored a couple goals early. We missed our chances and then obviously the quick free kick cost us the game.”
“Overall I thought this was a really tough place to play," midfielder Robbie Rogers admitted. "Obviously no team has been successful here. So we were all really excited to come here and hopefully at least get a point. I thought we battled and fought, and in the end made a really dumb mistake in allowing that set piece, allowing them to score. I know that’s one of their strengths, but that’s just something that you can’t allow.
"Hopefully we’ll learn from this and we’ll move on. We have a game next weekend at home and we need three points.”
Next up for the Crew is a match with Chivas USA at Crew Stadium on Saturday, May 28. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by ONN-TV.
14. Chivas USA
Robin Fraser's Chivas USA were a snakebitten bunch on Saturday against the Los Angeles Galaxy. A 1-0 shutout loss was compounded by unlucky finishing and blown opportunities left and right for the Goats offense.
The Goats will look to rebound when they travel to Columbus, Ohio to take on the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. PT/7:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by Fox Sports Prime Ticket.
13. Colorado Rapids
Gary Smith's Colorado Rapids settled for a scoreless draw with Toronto FC on Sunday at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado.
"I think we really are missing some of the more creative guys up front now - that experience more so than the sharpness or energy we're getting from the group," Smith told reporters after the match. "But when moments came, we needed someone to step up and take the bull by the horns and create a chance. At the moment we're finding goals hard to come by. There's nothing wrong with the endeavor in the group; there was some good possession, but converting possession into valuable opportunities was difficult today."
"I think we need to score goals and we've been fortunately enough on the road to get some goals, which has been great, and we've gotten points on the road," added goalkeeper Matt Pickens. "But when we come back here we expect three points and we're a little disappointed that we didn't."
Next up for the Rapids are a couple of games. On Wednesday, May 25, the Rapids take on the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. MT/8:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by Altitude.
Colorado will then return to Dick's Sporting Goods Park for a match with Sporting Kansas City. Kickoff is scheduled for Saturday, May 28 at 7:00 p.m. MT/9:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by Altitude.
12. Toronto FC
Aron Winter's Toronto FC traveled to Dick's Sporting Goods Park and could only muster up a scoreless draw. The Reds manager was noticeably pleased regarding the club's performance against the defending MLS Champions.
"Today we started very offensive and more play in the midfield," Winter told TorontoFC.ca's Asif Hossain. "I am glad that we got the tie because the guys played very well, especially since there were some players that I could not start with due to some of the regular eleven being a little injured."
“From the outset we decided to keep it tight and to keep everything wide and think that we did that today," said defender Richard Eckersley. "We proved that we could go into games like this, tough games, and keep clean sheets."
On Wednesday, May 25, TFC will wrap up their 2011 Nutrilite Canadian Championship campaign with the second leg of the Final against the Vancouver Whitecaps. Kickoff at BMO Field in Toronto is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by Rogers SportsNet.
Toronto will resume MLS play on Saturday, May 28 with a match against the Philadelphia Union. Kickoff at BMO Field is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by GOLTV Canada.
11. New England Revolution
Steve Nicol's New England Revolution had a rough go at things on the road, and fell to the San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 at Buck Shaw Stadium on the campus of Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California.
Chris Tierney scored in the 86th minute for the Revs, who unable to rally late in the second half.
“We certainly didn’t deserve to lose the game," Nicol told reporters after the match. "The bottom line is that we made two mistakes and they cost us two goals. We’re disappointed. We had a decent amount of the ball tonight, but would have liked to have created more chances.”
“We were missing that final pass, that last little piece of creativity up top," Tierney added. "It’s the same thing that’s been hurting us for a while. We just didn’t find it.
"If you don’t score goals in this league, you’re not going to win. We have to capitalize better on our possession.”
The Revolution will get a chance to do so this week with two contests at home. On Wednesday, May 25, 2011, New England takes on hapless Sporting Kansas City at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts for a spot in the U.S. Open Cup third round proper. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. ET.
The Revs will look to get a result against the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday, May 28, after drawing 1-1 on the road earlier this year. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by Comcast SportsNet and Galavision.
10. FC Dallas
Another severe weather delay came for Schellas Hyndman's FC Dallas. Unlike the LA Galaxy game, they would not get a result, settling instead for a point split with Real Salt Lake.
“It was a difficult game for both teams," Hyndman told reporters after the match. "It seemed that the ball wasn’t really bouncing right for either team. We are disappointed with the tie and, as we always say to our players, there are three points there to be taken and we are always trying to get those three points.
"It’s been a while since we have gotten the strike force working together, but I thought the boys really did everything we did in practice this week. The early services came across on the ground and we missed a lot of those services in the first half in terms of quality.”
FC Dallas captain Daniel Hernandez was aware of the inclement weather beforehand, as was the team.
“They were able to let us know ahead of time before we went out to get a brief warm-up here in the locker room before we went down," Hernandez said. "We went through this against L.A., so it wasn’t a big shock to us.
"Obviously, we would have liked to finish eight minutes of the game out before we had that long delay, but we had to do that against L.A. and it was just something we had to do. We were able to get loose and warm before we had to go back out.”
“The fact that we got seven out of nine points at home is certainly something we are proud of," added goalkeeper Kevin Hartman. "Even though we’re on the road Wednesday, we have a great opportunity against Seattle and then we head down to Houston to face our in-state rivals on Saturday.”
The Hoops's match with the Seattle Sounders is scheduled for Wednesday, May 25. Kickoff at Qwest Field is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. CT/10:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by Fox Sports Southwest.
FC Dallas will then renew their rivalry with the Houston Dynamo in the Texas Derby, the two-legged showdown for an 18th-Century mountain howitzer known as El Capitan. Kickoff at Robertson Stadium in Houston, Texas is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CT/8:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by Fox Sports Southwest.
9. Houston Dynamo
Dominic Kinnear's Houston Dynamo scrapped it out against the MLS Eastern Conference leaders New York Red Bulls on Saturday and earned a 2-2 draw. Brad Davis scored on a penalty in the 12th minute and Koke added another in the 82nd minute of play.
“There were good chances on both ends and good play from both ends," Kinnear told reporters following the contest. "We are a little sour with losing the lead so late after working so hard to get the lead after going down an early goal. Overall though, I thought it was one of the better games we played this year, especially on the ball.”
The Dynamo return to action with a couple of blockbuster showdowns. On Wednesday, May 25, they travel to the Home Depot Center in Carson, California to take on the Los Angeles Galaxy. Kickoff is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. CT/10:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by KHOU 11.2 and Fox Sports Houston.
Houston will then return home on Saturday, May 28 to take on FC Dallas in the Texas Derby. Kickoff at Robertson Stadium is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CT/8:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by KHOU 11.2, Fox Sports Houston and TV Azteca-51 via tape delay on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. CT/9:30 a.m. ET.
8. Real Salt Lake
Jason Kreis's Real Salt Lake are finding wins harder to come by, as they settled for a scoreless draw with FC Dallas in the rain at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas. But for the RSL manager, a silver lining is just that—a silver lining.
“We didn’t come here and play the way that I wanted to play," Kreis admitted after the match. "It wasn’t pleasing to my eye, but I'm thrilled about the result. We have to feel proud of what we did and say this is the first point we have ever picked up in Dallas.”
Real goalkeeper Nick Rimando agreed.
“We have always been jinxed here," Rimando said. "To get a result, it’s a step. We have a good feeling going into next week.”
“When you are playing against Dallas, the humidity is a factor," midfielder Kyle Beckerman added. "It wasn’t that hot, but it was humid. We were sweating more than at home, but humidity only gets to us because they are a good team; the same with the altitude when we’re at home.”
No humidity will be awaiting Real Salt Lake when they host the Seattle Sounders on Saturday, May 28 at Rio Tinto Stadium. Kickoff in Sandy, Utah is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. MT/9:00 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on the radio by ESPN 700, ESPN Deportes 1600-AM and Juan 106.1-FM.
7. Red Bull New York
Hans Backe's New York Red Bulls were lucky enough to be spared blushes on the road by Mehdi Ballouchy, whose last-gasp goal in the first minute of second-half stoppage time gave them a 2-2 draw with the Houston Dynamo.
Dane Richards scored in the first minute to give the Red Bulls the early lead. New York had to do without Thierry Henry, who was suffering from a swollen knee.
“[Coach Hans Backe] told me that I deserve to be back,” Red Bulls goalkeeper Greg Sutton told MLSSoccer.com's Kristian Dyer. “He wanted me to be aggressive, they have some big guys in the box. He wasn’t too happy with how things were going back there.
“Positionally, you have to always be in a good spot to help the guys. Tonight, positionally, I was in the places I needed to be.”
And the beat goes on for New York, who have a couple of matches on the way. On Wednesday, May 25, the Red Bulls take on the Colorado Rapids at Red Bull Arena. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by MSG.
On Saturday, May 28, New York travels to Vancouver and Empire Field for a match with the Vancouver Whitecaps. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by MSG and TSN2.
6. Seattle Sounders FC
Sigi Schmid's Seattle Sounders earned a 1-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City after Jeff Parke scored his first of the season in the third minute of second-half stoppage time.
“It came down to Jeff finishing and he’s a center back that doesn’t get too many goals,” said Seattle's Grant Wahl to SoundersFC.com's Matt Gaschk. “Our offensive players defended well, so it was a night some of our defenders had to win the game.”
“I thought they played alright. I thought Kennedy was good. I thought Tyson did well with Kamara and that’s a difficult match-up as well. And Ozzie at times has Bravo, so he did a good job,” Schmid said. “Our center backs did a good job of containing the two. I thought we matched up with them fairly well. In the first half I thought there were two or three that dropped into the box that we could have done better with, but in the second half, there wasn’t much.”
“It was crucial. We would have been very disappointed with a 0-0 tie,” Wahl added. “We needed three points. We were fortunate to have that finish by Jeff to get the three points.”
Up next for the Sounders are a couple of critical Western Conference ties.
On Wednesday, May 25, Seattle takes on FC Dallas at Qwest Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. PT/10:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by KONG 6/16. The Sounders will then hit the road on Saturday, May 28 to take on Real Salt Lake at the Fortress, Rio Tinto Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. PT/9:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by KONG 6/16.
5. D.C. United
Ben Olsen's D.C. United were off this week, but they did have a friendly with Eredivisie champions Ajax Amsterdam. Ajax prevailed in the friendly 2-1.
Blake Brettschneider scored in the 58th minute for D.C.
"Today was a good day for us," Olsen told reporters after the friendly. "A lot of guys that haven’t seen minutes came in and gave a good effort, although a better effort in the second half than they did in the first.
"We didn’t get the way they played for about 15 minutes; as you could see, we didn’t touch the ball for fifteen minutes. They are an unbelievable team; the way they play, how they understand their system, and it’s nice to play against a team like that."
"I thought once we figured out how to contain [Ajax] and keep them to one side, we started to do a lot better and as the game went on we continued to create chances," Brettschneider added, "and I was fortunate enough to finish one of them. This was a positive result for us, obviously we wanted to get the win, but there was a lot of positive stuff there—a lot for us to build on."
Will it all pay off when they head the New Fortress, a.k.a. Jeld-Wen Field in Portland, Oregon? The match with the Portland Timbers on Sunday, May 29 holds the answer.
Kickoff is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by Comcast SportsNet.
4. San Jose Earthquakes
Frank Yallop's San Jose Earthquakes may still be near the bottom of the MLS Western Conference, but let this be known: they are shaking and they are baking.
On Saturday, they defeated the New England Revolution to the tune of 2-1. A three-game unbeaten streak combined with a two-game winning streak puts the Quakes at No. 4 in this week's Power Rankings.
Ellis McLoughlin scored in the 71st minute for the Quakes thanks to Chris Wondolowski and Bobby Convey scored the decisive winner in the 83rd minute of play. However, Yallop wasn't too pleased by the overall effort.
"We didn’t play well,” Yallop told MLSSoccer.com's Fidencio Enriquez. “I thought we didn’t move the ball well. [New England] possessed the ball better than us, especially in the first half. They outplayed us football-wise. I think we needed the thrust of someone like Ellis to make a difference and he did. I think he and [Anthony Ampaipitakwong] changed the game for us.”
“It was a good play by Amp and Wondo obviously played a great ball, a perfect ball,” McLoughlin said on his first goal of the season. “I was just chilling behind [Steven Lenhart] and made a good run towards the near post. The defender followed [Lenhart] and left me wide open, so I just headed to the far post.”
Still, a win is a win, the Earthquakes manager remarked.
“Winning is obviously the most important thing, so three points tonight is very vital. I thought we deserved to win,” Yallop concluded. “These games you have to win.”
San Jose will look to keep their unbeaten streak going when they face the Chicago Fire in a US Open Cup play-in game. The winner will move on to the third round proper of the competition. Kickoff at Buck Shaw Stadium is scheduled for Tuesday, May 24 at 7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. ET.
The Quakes return to MLS action when they travel to Toyota Park in Bridgeview to take on the Fire again. Kickoff is scheduled for Saturday, May 28 at 5:30 p.m. PT/8:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.
3. Portland Timbers
John Spencer's Portland Timbers kept the pressure on the teams at the top of the MLS Western Conference with a 1-0 victory over the Columbus Crew.
Former Crew standout Eric Brunner earned his first goal of the season thanks to Kalif Alhassan and team captain Jack Jewsbury in the 46th minute of play.
"I told the guys they need to stop believing the press," Spencer told the press after the match. "We have no divine right to win games here at home. We need to keep having the underdog mentality. When you’ve got the underdog mentality you’ve always got something to prove, you’ve always got a chip on your shoulder. We lost the chip on our shoulder in the first half. In the second half I thought we started well.”
“We talked about maybe getting a quick one to catch them off-guard," Brunner remarked on the game-winner. "I was looking for it and Kalif (Alhassan) sprung loose and played a great ball back post and floated back a bit and I got a good header on it. It’s a good feeling. It’s nice to get on the scoresheet as a defender. It’s good to get the three points and to get the shutout.”
"The team did well to go on from there and finish the game off well defensively," added forward Kenny Cooper. "Columbus are a tough team and it’s another great win at home for us.”
Another one could be coming against D.C. United on Sunday, May 29. Kickoff at Jeld-Wen Field is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. PT/5:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by KPDX TV and estrellaTV 8.3.
2. Philadelphia Union
Peter Nowak's Philadelphia Union doop their way to No. 2 in this week's MLS Power Rankings. The Union prevailed over the Chicago Fire 2-1 at PPL Park.
Saturday was the coming-out party for rookie Michael Farfan, who scored his first of the season in the 64th minute of play. After Chicago equalized four minutes later, Carlos Ruiz scored the game-winner, his third of the season, in the 74th minute of play.
“At home, you always want to get the three points,” Farfan told MLSSoccer.com's Kevin Kinkead. “We wanted to go out and get another goal, and Carlos did a great job of handling that. That was a beautiful goal. We see him do that in practice all the time, but to do it in front of all of those people is something else.”
“They are still young, they are still developing,” Nowak said Michael and his twin brother, Gabriel Farfan. “I think they understand the concept of what we’re trying to do. I think Mike is a guy that always recognizes when to go forward, but his defense is very good too.
"I don’t think there’s any confusion as to the ways we can use him.”
With the Union now in first place in the Eastern Conference, the objective is for Philadelphia to hold on to it. Up next is a match with Toronto FC on Saturday, May 28. Kickoff at BMO Field is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by Comcast SportsNet.
1. Los Angeles Galaxy
Bruce Arena's Los Angeles Galaxy are first place overall in the league and are first place in this week's Power Rankings after a 1-0 victory over Chivas USA on Saturday night at the Home Depot Center. Chad Barrett scored on a David Beckham set piece in the 26th minute of play.
“It was a hard earned victory, for sure," Arena told reporters following the game. "We really had to battle to get three points and I think you have to give Chivas credit there. They certainly showed a lot of energy in the second half trying to get the equalizer.
"I thought we played very well in the first half, perhaps if we put away that chance by Barrett in the opening minutes of the second half we make life a little easier for ourselves. But, good to be in these games, where it’s a battle and, on a night where you are not your best, not particularly sharp, to walk off the field with three points is a positive. That’s what we accomplished tonight.”
“We created a lot of chances and moved the ball well," said team captain Landon Donovan. "This year we have done that a lot in the first half and we have tried to continue that in the second half and for whatever reason we haven’t been able to do that, but sometimes when you are not perfect you have to find a way to win and I think that a lot of teams would have drawn or lost that game so we’re still happy.”
“At the end of the day it was another three points that we wanted," said midfielder David Beckham, who will miss the match on Wednesday, May 25 with the Houston Dynamo due to a Gary Neville testimonial. "When you come up against your rivals in a derby game, you want to win. It’s important for the team and the organization to show that we’re not messing around and we’re serious about winning games and improving and I think that we did that tonight.”
"I like being the provider as much as the goal scorer," Barrett said, "but ultimately I’m here to score goals and it was great to get the goal here and help the team get the three points.”
"Tonight probably wasn’t the greatest performance, but we won," forward Juan Pablo Angel added. "These kinds of games, you don’t play them, you win them. It was a scrappy game, especially in the second half, we didn’t keep possession as much as we would have liked but in the end we got the three points and that is what counts.”
The matchup with the Dynamo at Victoria Street is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by Fox Sports Prime Ticket.
On Saturday, May 28, the G's will hit the road to face the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. PT/8:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by Fox Sports West and Galavision.