2011 MLS Power Rankings: Week 13
It's been a terrible weekend for U.S. Soccer, with the men dropping a 2-1 stinker to Panama in Tampa on Saturday. Back on the home front, Major League Soccer marches on, with a full slate of results.
Sporting Kansas City got their first win in a long time, while Toronto FC pulled off a huge upset on Saturday against the Los Angeles Galaxy. Meanwhile, the New York Red Bulls take over as our top team with their win over the New England Revolution.
We have it all for you. Here's this week's MLS Power Rankings on Bleacher Report.
18. New England Revolution
The slide for Steve Nicol's New England Revolution continues, as they capitulated against the New York Red Bulls, 2-1. Zak Boggs scored for the Revs in the 54th minute of play.
"We’ve had chances to win two games, never mind one game," Nicol told reporters following the contest. "We gave a couple of chances up. I’m being told that at the end we were offside. I feel we still should have gotten something from the game. Obviously the penalty was huge. Number one if we score it, and number two, if (Stephen) Keel gets sent off. I don’t understand why he was given a yellow card."
"It’s a short memory in this league," said midfielder Chris Tierney. "There’s not much between the teams still in this league, and if you put a run of a bunch of good games together, you’re right back in it. We have a short memory, we’ll look right past it and be ready for next week."
Midfielder Pat Phelan believes the club would be wise to look ahead towards Toronto FC and the Chicago Fire.
"We have a two game homestand against two teams that are struggling in Toronto and Chicago," said Phelan. "I think we feel like we did some good things tonight. They’re a good side, it’s a tough place to play. We could have gotten more out of the game, we should have gotten more out of the game. But there are definitely a lot more positives to take away from this game than our previous ones."
New England host Toronto on Wednesday, June 15 at Gillette Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by Comcast Sportsnet and TSN.
On Saturday, June 18, the Revolution take on the Fire in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Kickoff at the Razor is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by Comcast Sportsnet.
17. Portland Timbers
“I don’t think they were scared to play here," Spencer said of the Rapids after the match. "I think they came with a game plan and they felt they were good enough to beat us. They didn’t sit back and they had a couple chances in the first half where we never stopped a cross coming into the box and Troy Perkins makes a couple saves from headers. I thought they came to play. I think near the end they were maybe settling for a tie, but they get that free kick — which I didn’t think was a free kick — and it’s game over.”
Forward Ryan Pore rued his missed chances late in the match off the bench.
"You come on for 10 minutes and you want nothing more than to take three points in front of your home fans and that’s why John (Spencer) put me in there to try to get a late one," Pore said. "I thought we played our best game of the season at home. We moved the ball well, we just weren’t able to score on our chances."
News flash: the Timbers are beatable at home, after all. It won't get any easier for the Men in Green, who have the New York Red Bulls next.
Kickoff at Jeld-Wen Field is scheduled for Sunday, June 19 at 7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by Root Sports and Galavision.
16. Chivas USA
“I don’t think we played great during the first 20 minutes," Fraser said after the match. "Actually I thought we played better toward the end of the half, because we started to put some passes together. Earlier in the game, we were a little too direct when we could have found opportunities to play, and I thought later in the half at times were able to play quite well and able to play through them.”
“There is not a single person who is guilty; we are all responsible for what happened on the field," Mondaini said. "Unfortunately, they have the virtue of being good at set pieces. Tonight wasn’t the exception.”
“We need to be more careful with the ball," midfielder Jorge Flores added. "We know we are a good team when we take care of the ball, and that’s all that we are missing. This is what is going to take for us to take it to the next level.”
It won't get any easier for Chivas USA, as they take on a very angry FC Dallas side who dropped an awful result against Sporting Kansas City.
15. Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Tom Soehn's Vancouver Whitecaps came into Qwest Field looking to pull off an upset of the Seattle Sounders in Seattle, Washington. Eric Hassli scored a brace in the 29th and 85th minutes to give Vancouver a 2-2 draw with their Washingtonian neighbors.
Alain Rochat gave the league a stern warning.
“It’s just the beginning,” Rochat told MLSSoccer.com's Brandon Timko. “We’re about to see the real Eric Hassli.”
“I felt the first 45 was fantastic,” head coach Tom Soehn said. “We did very well with our shape and organization and possession in the first half.
“We still have to do it over 90 minutes. But we definitely feel as if we’re heading in the right direction. We can build off this.”
Up next for the Vancouver Whitecaps is a match with the Philadelphia Union at Empire Field in Vancouver, British Columbia. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. PT/10:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by Rogers SportsNet Pacific.
14. Toronto FC
While Eric Hassli was the hero for Vancouver, Alan Gordon did similar heroics for Aron Winter's Toronto FC at his old stomping grounds, with goals in the 68th minute and the fourth minute of second half stoppage time, en route to a 2-2 draw.
"What we showed in the second half, the way we battled, didn’t hurt ourselves, (worked) like a team, and want to help each other - maybe we can play very good football and it showed," Winter told TorontoFC.ca's Asif Hossain. "Now, the most important thing that we have to do is that every game we bring the same focus like in the second half.”
“At halftime we got together and we needed to come out with some pride, some heart and some fight," Gordon added. "It’s something that we haven’t been doing a lot of lately and we really did it today. In the second half we played 45 good minutes we now have to now build on that and put together 90 minutes, get some points and move up the table.”
Has struggling Toronto finally found their scoring messiah in Alan Gordon? New England and Seattle might be in trouble this week.
The Reds travel to Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, June 15 to take on the New England Revolution. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by TSN.
On Saturday, June 18, Toronto returns to BMO Field in Toronto, Ontario to host the Seattle Sounders. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by GOLTV Canada.
13. Columbus Crew
Andres Mendoza scored in the 76th minute on a penalty, while Josh Gardner scored the game-winner in the 82nd minute of play.
“I’m happy for Mendoza,” the Crew's Jeff Cunningham told thecrew.com's Craig Merz. “The boy deserves it. He’s definitely putting in the work tonight."
“I think we started the game as usual, gave up a goal in the 10th minute," Warzycha said. "It was a bit frustrating because it was on the first corner and they got a lucky bounce and scored. We responded pretty well and the game was even in the first half.
“We came in the second half with not as much energy as I would’ve liked,” he added. “Salt Lake had a couple of corners in a row and put us in the box a bit, but after that we started to pick up the tempo and in the end we scored two goals against a very good team.”
However, they also had a Sunday to forget at Crew Stadium, falling to the Chicago Fire 1-0.
“Too many guys had a bad game today – too many at once, put it that way,” Warzycha told Merz. “Chicago was a team that wanted it more. When you have a combination of a team that wants it more and good players, obviously you’re going to lose the game.
"You can lose three points at home or away, but I’m more disappointed in the way we played. We didn’t create any offense, we defended for 90 minutes.”
“They were fighting and winning most of the battles," Columbus's Kevin Burns said of the Fire. "They were the superior side. It happens. It’s very disappointing. We’ve been on the other end of those where we’re getting ties when we think we’re dominating the games. They took it to us.”
Next Saturday, Columbus travels to Robertson Stadium in Houston, Texas to take on the Houston Dynamo. Kickoff is scheduled for June 18 at 8:30 p.m. ET and will televised by ONN-TV.
12. FC Dallas
After sitting at the top of last week's MLS Power Rankings, FC Dallas take the biggest tumble, to 12th after an embarassing 4-1 defeat to 10-man Sporting Kansas City at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas.
Brek Shea scored his fifth goal of the season in the 32nd minute of play.
The Hoops will need to shake off this embarrassing result if they are to rise back up in the Power Rankings.
FC Dallas's chance comes against Chivas USA. Kickoff at the Home Depot Center is scheduled for Saturday, June 18 at 9:30 p.m. CT/10:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by Fox Sports Southwest.
11. Chicago Fire
This was one of the better weeks for Frank Klopas's Chicago Fire, with four out of a possible six points secured.
On Wednesday, they took on Sporting Kansas City at Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas and battled to a scoreless draw.
“I think that our movement off the ball could’ve been better,” Klopas told MLSsoccer.com's Sam Stejskal after the match. “Our decision making in the final third could’ve been better.
“To get a point in a place like (Kansas City) on the road is very good. We just got to keep building on that.”
On Sunday, Chicago traveled to Columbus, Ohio to take on the Crew and came away with a 1-0 victory. They left it late, with Cristian Nazarit opening his scoring account in stoppage time.
Up next for the Fire is a match with New England Revolution on Saturday, June 18. Kickoff at Gillette Stadium is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT/7:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by Comcast SportsNet.
10. D.C. United
Ben Olsen's D.C. United were ambushed ruthlessly by the San Jose Earthquakes, capitulating to the tune of 4-2.
Andy Najar and Blake Brettschneider opened their scoring accounts on Saturday at RFK Stadium. Najar scoring in the 13th minute of play while Brettschneider equalized to make it 2-2 in the 34th minute.
"It was very disappointing; we looked like young kids," a disgusted Olsen told the press. "This is going to happen, we have always said that we are going to have games when young kids make mistakes – that I can live with. But the lack of commitment at times was unacceptable. I think we started reading our own press a little bit, everybody thought we were on a roll, so now we don’t have to do what got us a little success—and it’s a little success."
"We had several chances—it’s not that we needed to create more chances," Brettschneider said. "I don’t know, we just kept let [San Jose] keep coming and coming. We had a couple of mental errors and overall we didn’t finish our chances, so you can look at it both ways."
"I think we came out slow and that they came out with a lot more intensity," defender Chris Korb added. "We got that first goal and [San Jose] got that next one, and you can’t give up a goal right after you equalize. It’s always heartbreaking to give up a goal that quickly. We got the second [goal] to tie it back up, and five minutes after halftime you can’t give up a goal. The last 20 minutes we had some opportunities, but we just couldn’t finish—it was a tough day overall."
With the always-fearsom Real Salt Lake next on the calendar, these types of efforts from D.C. simply won't cut it.
Kickoff at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah is scheduled for Saturday, June 18 at 9:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by Comcast SportsNet.
9. Sporting Kansas City
Peter Vermes's Sporting Kansas City finally got a break for once, going unbeaten with a win and a draw to show for their efforts.
On Wednesday, Sporting welcomed their new stadium, Livestrong Sporting Park, with a scoreless draw against the Chicago Fire.
That set the stage for one of their biggest victories of what has otherwise been a disappointing season: a 4-1 blowout victory over FC Dallas.
Three different scorers contributed to the cause on Sunday: Graham Zusi with a brace in the 28th and 55th minutes, Aurelien Collin in the 49th minute and Luke Sassano in the 78th minute of play.
With a renewed sense of optimism, Sporting will look to get their first win of the season against the San Jose Earthquakes on Friday, June 17. Kickoff at Livestrong is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CT/8:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by Fox Soccer Channel.
8. Seattle Sounders FC
Sigi Schmid's Seattle Sounders had no answer for Eric Hassli on Saturday at Qwest Field, as they were consigned to a 2-2 draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps in a Cascadia Cup match.
Mauro Rosales scored in the 81st minute and Osvaldo Alonso also opened his scoring account in the 84th minute. Ultimately, the inability back Seattle's back line to defend one of Hassli's best goals in his young MLS career cost Seattle an advantage over their Pacific Northwest rivals.
“We battled and we fought. They didn’t quit,” defender James Riley told SoundersFC.com's Matt Gaschk. “We’re sitting in our locker room like it’s a loss instead of a derby victory. It definitely stings to be up 2-1 and work that hard and press for the equalizer and go ahead. So, we’ll learn from it.”
“Let’s not forget that 80 minutes into the game we’re down 1-0 and we come back and have a chance to win it,” Keller said. “That’s just frustrating that you do battle like hell to get back into the lead and then you concede so quickly after.”
There is a possibility that Alan Gordon is Toronto's version of Eric Hassli. The Sounders will be wise not to let something inexcusable happen for a second straight week.
Kickoff between TFC and the Seattle Sounders is scheduled for Saturday, June 18 at 4:00 p.m. PT/7:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by KONG 6/16.
7. Los Angeles Galaxy
Bruce Arena's Los Angeles Galaxy are not going to win the Supporters Shield, let alone the MLS Cup, if they continue an unacceptable habit of leaving points on the table with less than a minute to go in any contest. It doesn't matter how long, or how short, it just won't happen and it would take an Act of God for it to render otherwise.
Saturday night proved to be a fitting example of the defensive issues the Galaxy have been plagued with, as they settled for a 2-2 draw with Eastern Conference minnows Toronto FC. Chris Birchall scored in the second minute and Juan Pablo Angel earned his second of the season in the first minute of second half stoppage time.
“Disappointing result, certainly to work as hard as we had to work in this game, give Toronto a lot of credit; I thought they played real hard," Arena told reporters. "We have to manage the game at the end of the game it’s quite simple. Give Alan Gordon a lot of credit, great goal at the end. We had a bunch of guys standing around we got out competed at the end of the game in that play. Give him a lot of credit he did well he took that chance well.”
"We didn’t play particularly well," Angel remarked. "And, when you manage to score a goal that late in a game, that should have been enough to get the three points, but we were unable to hold on to the result. So, disappointed.”'
“We have done it a few times this year where we have given up leads and that is very uncharacteristic of us, but it has been a little bit too characteristic of us this year," said defender Todd Dunivant. "It was a great finish, but those kinds of things happen to you when you do not really play all that well. I don’t think that we did again tonight. It is two games in a row where we kind of let ourselves down and those kind of plays go against you when you are not playing at your best.”
“We still need to sharpen some things up," said defender Sean Franklin. "We talked about it the whole year that’s probably like one of the last things that we need, the final third, to make smart passes. I think if we focus on it we will be fine for the rest of the season.”
"We are probably still trying to find out what is our best formation," Birchall admitted. "We have lost Juninho and Landon tonight, two influential players, but we have got good players to fill in. We passed it around but we gave it away a bit too much in positions where we did not want to. Overall, it was better than last week but we are just disappointed to concede the goal in the last minute.“
They will need to find a winning formation sooner than later, especially with a couple of tough road contests on the horizon. The first one: a match with the defending MLS Cup Champion Colorado Rapids.
Kickoff at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado is scheduled for Saturday, June 18 at 6:00 p.m. PT/9:00 p.m. ET and will be televised on tape delay by Fox Sports West at 8:00 p.m. PT/11:00 p.m. ET.
6. Real Salt Lake
Jason Kreis's Real Salt Lake had a week to forget, as their Monterrey hangover continued.
On Wednesday, RSL fell to the Columbus Crew, 2-1. Jamison Olave scored his first of the season in the seventh minute of play.
"I felt some guys didn’t really put the effort in and when you don’t put the effort in you don’t get a result," Kreis told reporters as he preached the obvious. "Today we didn’t get a result because we didn’t put the effort in. We pretty much let down a lot of people on the team.”
Saturday was a bit more positive, though not by much, as they battled to a 1-1 draw with the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania. Fabian Espindola scored in the 53rd minute for Real.
“We felt that it was a tale of two halves today," Kreis said to reporters after the match. "We were pretty abysmal in the first half. We weren’t fighting enough, we didn’t have that competitive spirit, we were second to everything. In fact we were fortunate that we only allowed one goal.
"But then the reaction in the second half was fantastic, superb. We were fiery, we possessed the ball better, we were more aggressive with our decisions, we spent more time in their half of the field. That’s exactly the way that we want to play.”
Captain Kyle Beckerman had nothing to hide in terms of lamenting the team's lack of depth.
“We’re struggling right now; we’re so thin pretty much everywhere with the Gold Cup and injuries," Beckerman said. "[Philadelphia] has been playing really well at home and they brought a lot of energy in the first half. The game’s about tides—you weather a storm; you make the other team weather a storm. The first half, definitely we had to weather most of it. That’s just the way it was.”
"Whenever you lose a game and you come back and at least get a point on the road (you’re pleased)," said goalkeeper Nick Rimando. "It’s a tough place to play. They’ve got great fans here and great players on the field. We didn’t have all of our guys, so to come here and get a point is good.”
Next up for Real Salt Lake in their continuing quest to catch up with the league is a Saturday contest with D.C. United.
Kickoff at Rio Tinto Stadium is scheduled for June 18 at 7:00 p.m. MT/9:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by KMYU 2.2, Comcast SportsNet and Dish Network 12.
5. Colorado Rapids
Gary Smith's Colorado Rapids got on the winning track with a 1-0 shutout victory over the Portland Timbers at Jeld-Wen Field. Like Chicago against Columbus, they left it late against the Timbers, with Drew Moor earning his second of the season in the second minute of second half stoppage time.
“I thought we covered just about every single quality we needed to tonight," Smith said after the match. "This is an incredibly difficult place to come and play. I think John (Spencer) has done a terrific job of playing to their strengths. They hung around. We always knew there were going to be periods in the game where we would have to show some real fighting spirit. It was an extremely even affair. And in the end— fortunately for us—we found a way, from a wonderful delivery, to get onto some second-phase ball and grab the three points.”
For the Rapids, it was a matter of, "What, me worry?" argued Moor.
"Nobody really panicked; nobody thought we were struggling because we were tying games," Moor said.
"We were still playing good soccer. It’s still early in the year. We hate giving away points at home. A draw on the road you’re okay with, depending on how the game goes. Six straight ties hardly ever happens, but it’s always nice to get three points, especially on the road.”
Can Colorado make a win streak out of this? This Saturday's contest with the LA Galaxy holds all the answers. Kickoff at Dick's Sporting Goods Park is scheduled for June 18 at 7:00 p.m. MT/9:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by Altitude.
4. Houston Dynamo
Dominic Kinnear's Houston Dynamo took it to Chivas USA, winning 2-1 at Robertson Stadium on Saturday.
“It’s huge,” Hunter Freeman told MLSSoccer.com's Darrell Lovell. “We’d gone seven games without a win, and we needed it.”
“We haven’t won in a while, and [the win] takes a lot of pressure off,” Kinnear said. “We put that on ourselves, to win every game.”
The Dynamo manager was quick to point the significant of the victory even further.
“If you look at the standings," Kinnear explained, "in the East a few teams are starting to pull away, so it’s a huge win for us tonight with Philadelphia tying today and New York winning last night. For our overall psyche, we can enjoy our Sunday for a change, and then look forward to coming in on Monday. It does relieve a lot of pressure we put on ourselves.”
Houston will now look to build on this victory when they take on the Columbus Crew at Robertson Stadium.
Kickoff is scheduled for Saturday, June 18 at 7:30 p.m. CT/8:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by KHOU 11.2, Fox Sports Houston Plus and on tape delay by Azteca America 51 at 8:30 a.m. CT/9:30 a.m. ET on Sunday, June 19.
3. Philadelphia Union
Peter Nowak's Philadelphia Union could only manage a 1-1 draw with Real Salt Lake at PPL Park in Chester on Saturday. Keon Daniel scored for the Union in the 24th minute of play.
“It’s very frustrating,” Union defender Jordan Harvey told MLSsoccer.com's Dave Zeitlin. “I thought we deserved three points. We had them on the ropes in the first half and we didn’t put them away, and it came back to bite us in the butt.
“I thought we defended well. They couldn’t get anything. They couldn’t get a sniff when we were behind the ball. The only way they were really gonna get something was off a counter. It was definitely frustrating.”
“We had a lot of chances and that was very good,” said Sebastien Le Toux to philadelphiaunion.com's Andy Jasner. “I thought I had one. I thought we could have been up by 2-0 or 3-0 at halftime. It didn’t happen and it ended up in a tie. I think we are a little disappointed, but we understand we have to keep playing this way. Good things will happen for us.”
Next up for Philly is a match at Empire Field with Eric Hassli and the Vancouver Whitecaps. Kickoff in Vancouver is scheduled for Saturday, June 18 at 10:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by Comcast SportsNet.
2. San Jose Earthquakes
It was the Steven Lenhart Show as Frank Yallop's San Jose Earthquakes cruised to an easy 4-2 victory over D.C. United at RFK Stadium on Saturday.
Lenhart scored a hat trick in the 15th, 22nd and 60th minutes. Simon Dawkins made it 3-1 in the 49th minute of play.
“There’s a lot that’s been going on in my life,” Lenhart told MLSSoccer.com's Geoff Lepper. “I think more than anything, it’s just a good release for me to play.”
“It’s been coming for Steven,” Yallop said. “He’s had chances. (I’m) very, very happy for Steve. He’s been though a lot this year with his family stuff and moving from Columbus. The difference was Lenhart tonight.
“With all the stuff he’s had going on this year, he’s not trained that much, he’s been injured. You’ve got to look at all those factors. With his father dying, it’s been a very, very sad time for Steve. You add all that up, for him to get a hat trick, it’s so pleasing. I’m so happy for him, because he’s a great kid. It’s well-deserved.”
Lenhart could be seeing more goals coming his way when the Quakes travel to Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City to take on Sporting Kansas City. Kickoff is scheduled for Friday, June 17 at 5:30 p.m. PT/8:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by Fox Soccer Channel.
1. Red Bull New York
At the top of this week's MLS Power Rankings are Hans Backe's New York Red Bulls, who silenced the New England Revolution 2-1 through an own goal by New England's Ryan Cochrane in the 37th minute and Thierry Henry's seventh of the year in the 50th minute of play.
"We started in the absolutely right direction," Backe told reporters after the match. "We could have killed the game very early, so I can’t complain because I still think that it’s difficult to replace four of five starters. You can get two new rookies in when you give them a full chance with a starting lineup but when you get four or five in, it’s a little bit too much to expect that we can control the game and dictate games like we have done before."
"Again, we have a lot of stuff to work on," Henry said. "I do not know how many times we are going to give teams opportunities and chances to score a goal. I mean we are literally sometimes giving them a chance to score a goal. Anyways, we won the game. I think we had some chances to score goals. They could have scored too. But overall, it feels good to go home with a win."
"We have a few extra days off to regroup and try to get back on track," Keel added. "Portland is a tough place. Everyone knows about their fans and their stadium and all that stuff so it’s a tough road trip. I know the guys are looking forward to it. It’s a little extra special having played there the past two years. I’m pretty excited to go back there to see some old friends and old teammates and stuff so it should be pretty good."
Kickoff between the Red Bulls and Portland Timbers at Jeld-Wen Field is scheduled for Sunday, June 19 at 10:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by MSG Plus, Galavision and TSN2.