2011 MLS Power Rankings: Week 21

Jo-Ryan SalazarSenior Analyst IAugust 9, 2011

2011 MLS Power Rankings: Week 21

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    Parity ran amok this week in Major League Soccer, with the top teams falling and the teams with the worst records pulling off stunning victories on the march.

    Above the fray, Seattle find themselves shooting back up to the top of the Power Rankings after going through the week without a defeat.

    The moving and shaking is what makes Bleacher Report's MLS Power Rankings an interesting list to follow, so let's go through the action from the past week.

18. Chicago Fire

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    Frank Klopas's Chicago Fire could only manage one out a possible six points this past week.

    On Wednesday, they drew 1-1 with the Philadelphia Union at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois.

    Pavel Pardo, making his MLS debut, opened his scoring account in the 54th minute.

    That set up an important Sunday matinee at Empire Field against the Vancouver Whitecaps.

    “It’s been a must-win since four games ago,” Patrick Nyarko told MLSsoccer.com's Sam Stejskal on Friday. “[Vancouver] are a struggling team just like us, and they’re playing at home so they have the advantage. 

    "There’s pressure but no pressure, because they’re playing in front of their fans and they’re supposed to come out and try to take the game. We just need to stay calm, play our game, play like we played on Wednesday [against Philadelphia] and we should get the win Sunday.”

    They were unable to do so and were outgunned 4-2.

    Dominic Oduro equalized to make it 1-1 in the 23rd minute and Orr Barouch scored a consolation goal in the 80th minute of play.

    Up next for the Fire is a match on Saturday, Aug. 13 against the New York Red Bulls.

    Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT/7:30 p.m. ET at Red Bull Arena is Harrison, New Jersey and will be televised by MY50.

17. San Jose Earthquakes

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    Frank Yallop's San Jose Earthquakes could only manage a 1-1 draw against the Portland Timbers at Buck Shaw Stadium on the campus of Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California.

    Alan Gordon equalized for the Quakes in the 67th minute of play.

    “We played well," Yallop told reporters. "We had a good performance from the guys. We were not as dangerous near the goal as I would have liked.

    "I thought Alan [Gordon] took his goal well, and I thought team-wise it was a solid performance. We played a lot freer tonight. I think besides the finishing touches we played well. We had a little bad luck not to get the win tonight.”

    “Overall, the team performance was strong," remarked defender Bobby Burling "We moved the ball and possessed it well. We locked down defensively at key moments. We created a few chances and I think on a different night those chances go in and we get three points.”

    Next up for the Quakes is a match on Saturday, Aug. 13 against the Colorado Rapids.

    Kickoff at Buck Shaw Stadium is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. PT/10;30 p.m. ET and will be televised by Comcast SportsNet.

16. New England Revolution

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    It was a forgettable Saturday for Steve Nicol's New England Revolution, who fell 3-2 to Chivas USA at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

    Shalrie Joseph scored his seventh of the season in the 69th minute, while Diego Fagundez opened his scoring account in the 86th minute.

    "The goals we gave away were atrocious, bottom line. We could’ve scored seven ourselves," said a terse Nicol. "I could have been standing here with a 6- or 7-3 victory, instead we lose 3-2. We go in at halftime one down; we should have been two up. And again we come in at the end 3-2 down and we could have been 5, 6-3. The three goals were atrocious.

    "I’ll always defend the players, but occasionally when your defense gives up goals like that, there’s no hiding place. The goals were atrocious. And really, defensively, we let down the rest of the team tonight. We made some great chances—fantastic chances when you think about when we should’ve scored—and we’ve lost again."

    "This is a very difficult league (to play in) and it’s been a year since I last played a match," said forward Milton Caraglio. "The truth is that I felt pretty well with my teammates and well, (we have to) work hard for the next match so we can get a victory."

    "It started in the first half, the first five or 10 minutes we couldn’t get those early chances that would’ve made a huge difference in terms of us chasing the game and in terms of being a little bit more composed and relaxed," Joseph added. "But once we went down 1-0, we started to chase the game a little bit here and there and we weren’t able to finish tonight."

    On Saturday, Aug. 13, the Revs take on the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by Comcast SportsNet.

15. Toronto FC

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    It was a solid week for Toronto FC, who punched their ticket to CONCACAF Champions League group play to go with a goal festival in league play.

    Toronto defeated Real Esteli of Esteli, Nicaragua, 2-1 to win the Preliminary Round aggregate 4-2.

    Ryan Johnson scored a brace in the 37th and 47th minutes for the Reds. Manuel Roses scored last in the first half for Esteli.

    “If you are playing an away game against an opponent that is very difficult, and if you know the circumstances—long travel with a long ride—and then how the team responded, a big compliment,” Winter told MLSSoccer.com's Larry Millson. “It’s not easy to win those games away from home.

    “We are not still there, but the beginning is there.”

    “This was huge, you know,” midfielder Matt Stinson added. “At the end of a long road trip, we have a tie and a win. This win getting us into the group stage of CONCACAF, I think it’s great.”

    Toronto's next match in CONCACAF play is against Tauro F.C. of Panama. Kickoff in Panama City, Panama is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 18 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

    Back in league play, a wild night at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. saw Toronto hold D.C. United to a 3-3 draw.

    Peri Marosevic scored in the 52nd minute of play, Julian De Guzman opened up his scoring account in the 69th minute and Danny Koevermans recorded his thrid of the season in the 86th minute.

    "Strange game. If you had watched the game, we had given away two goals, but after losing 1-0, then we came very well back," Winter told TorontoFC.ca's Asif Hossain. "In the end we were winning 3-2, it's impossible that you get a goal in 20 seconds—it's 3-3. It is unprofessional. The last week has been very heavy and tough for us because we traveled and played a lot of games. You could see in the final moments the guys were a little bit tired.

    "I'd like to say we lost two points. We gave away two points because in the end, we were also lucky in the extra time of the game because in the moment we were not sharp."

    Toronto FC's next league contest is against Real Salt Lake on Saturday, Aug. 13. Kickoff at BMO Field in Toronto, Ontario is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by GOLTV Canada.

14. Vancouver Whitecaps

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    Frustrated and fuming from their 4-0 blowout defeat to the Los Angeles Galaxy, Tom Soehn's Vancouver Whitecaps FC were in need of a result and took their anger out on the Chicago Fire.

    The payoff? Some of their best football to date, resulting in a 4-2 victory at Empire Field in Vancouver, British Columbia.

    Eric Hassli scored a brace in the second and 72nd minutes. Gershon Koffie opened his scoring account in the 24th minute and Camilo Sanvezzo made it 3-1 in the 48th minute of play.

    "We spent this week really focusing on commitment to defending, and not just the backs, the forwards as well," Soehn told whitecapsfc.com's Simon Fudge. "Camilo and Eric (Hassli) did a fantastic job of pressuring and then winning balls to help us out in the middle of the park.

    "Defensively, it was a much better commitment to what we need to do to win games. We obviously did enough to create opportunities, but it was the latter part of the focus in putting them on target. Good things happen when you put shots on target, and today, we were rewarded for that."

    Up next for the Caps is a match at RFK Stadium with D.C. United. Kickoff is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 13 at 4:30 p.m. PT/7:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by Rogers SportsNet Pacific.

13. Red Bull New York

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    Mercy sakes! What is going on with Hans Backe's New York Red Bulls? Things are starting to go south for them in a hurry.

    At Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, the horns were torn off by the likes of Real Salt Lake in the form of a 3-0 shutout defeat.

    “I hate to use clichés, it was a terrible game. We need to get back to the attitude of last year,” assistant manager Mike Petke told MLSsoccer.com's Kristian Dyer. “We were coming off a bad year last year and we came in wanting to prove something. We need to find that this year.”

    Can the Red Bulls figure things out before Philadelphia and Columbus leave them in the dust? The Aug. 13 match with the Chicago Fire at Red Bull Arena will provide the answer.

    Kickoff is scheduled for Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by MSG.

12. Philadelphia Union

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    Peter Nowak's Philadelphia Union only managed a couple of 1-1 draws this week.

    On Wednesday at Toyota Park, the Union's Veljko Paunovic scored in the 34th minute in their 1-1 draw with the Chicago Fire.

    “Chicago was very good tonight,” said assistant manager John Hackworth to philadelphiaunion.com's Nick Iuele. “With their new additions, they are obviously an improved team, and they made it hard for us, especially in the first 30 minutes.”

    “We knew that they needed to win," Paunovic added. "They were going to push very hard today; we were prepared for that. We tried to be a solid block against them. We did that well and when we had the opportunity to score, we did. Of course we didn’t want the goal that drew the game, it was unfortunate, but in the end I think we are satisfied with this.”

    Jack McInerney opened his scoring account in the 15th minute in Philly's 1-1 draw with the Houston Dynamo at PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania.

    “We have to stay humble, come back to work and try to get the three points,” Sebastien Le Toux told philadelphiaunion.com's Andy Jasner. “I thought tonight we played very hard and did a lot of things well. We left it all on the field. We came away with a tie and that’s a bit disappointing, but we will come back to work to get prepared.”

    Up next for the Union is an Aug. 13 home tie with FC Dallas at PPL Park. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by 6abc.

11. FC Dallas

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    Schellas Hyndman's FC Dallas had a big week ahead of them, and Champions League highs were mixed with Major League lows.

    Battling through 107-degree heat in Preliminary Round action, an Ugo Ihemelu goal in the 36th minute helped Dallas defeat El Salvador's Alianza FC 1-0 at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas.

    Dallas's next CONCACAF Champions League match is against Pumas UNAM.

    Kickoff at Estadio Olimpico Universitario in Mexico City is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 17 at 9:00 p.m. CT/10:00 p.m. ET.

    That set up a chance for the Hoops to sweep the Los Angeles Galaxy in cooler climes at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California.

    Marvin Chavez scored in the ninth minute, but the inability of the midfield and back line to contain the Galaxy's Landon Donovan proved costly in their 3-1 defeat.

    “I thought it was a very fast-paced game. Unfortunately, it was a physical game," Hyndman remarked. "I think I know we were tired and it kind of showed in the second half. I thought we started off very well and scored a great goal then we gave up three goals on set pieces. For us we are disappointed but at the same time we got the best we could out of the boys.”

    “We lost our concentration and that was fatal for us," Chavez said. "[LA] started to attack us and they took advantage of their set pieces and that hurt us, so we have to go back and work on that.” 

    Midfielder Brek Shea admitted that the rivalry between Los Angeles and Dallas was starting to heat up.

    “I think over the past couple of years there has been a rivalry going between us," Shea added. "There were a lot of stops in the game we couldn’t get any rhythm there were a lot of fouls. The rhythm kept getting disrupted."

    Dallas will look to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and prepare for an Aug. 13 encounter with the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT/7:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by Fox Sports Southwest.

10. Columbus Crew

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    Robert Warzycha's Columbus Crew were given a rude wake-up call at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado, in the form of a 2-0 defeat.

    "I think making every sub was a part of it, putting new players on the field," Warzycha told reporters. "And [Colorado] are a good team, obviously at the end of the first half they had some possession, they were finding (Brian) Mullan on the right side. I made an adjustment at halftime and the second half was a little bit different.

    "So sometimes if you play on the road mentally you try to protect your goal and that’s why you’re dropping so much. Next thing you know you’re inside your own box. So we adjusted in the second half and I think it was much better."

    "It was tough because we had a lot of chances tonight, and I don’t think our work rate was as high as it’s been the past few games," said midfielder Tommy Heinemann. "It’s a team game, and I say that when our work rate is not there and we don’t’ create as many chances, it’s tough to score.

    "We had a couple good chances that we should have capitalized on. But our work rate needs to be better next week."

    Columbus will host the New England Revolution next Saturday, Aug. 13 at Crew Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by ONN-TV.

9. Chivas USA

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    It was a good weekend for Robin Fraser's Chivas USA, who picked up an important 3-2 road victory against the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium.

    Alejandro Moreno scored a brace in the 31st and 80th minutes for Chivas, while Nick LaBrocca recorded his seventh goal of the season in the 59th minute of play.

    “We did not close out the game very well, we allowed two soft goals to make the game more stressful than it should have been,” Moreno told MLSsoccer.com's Adam Serrano. “It’s a learning experience for us and we’re happy with the result, and three points makes the trip to LA a whole lot better.”

    The match marked the debut of French international Laurent Courtois.

    “I was happy to be part of the team, but we could not suffer that much to get three points when we’re already winning,” Courtois said of the team's performance. “When you’re winning, you handle the game with easy passes and be patient to build opportunities, and we didn’t. We suffered and couldn’t manage, then we needed an amazing effort to keep the score.”

    A tough test awaits the Goats at CenturyLink Field on Saturday, Aug. 13 against the Seattle Sounders. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. PT/4:00 p.m. ET and will be televised KWHY and Fox Sports Prime Ticket.

8. Portland Timbers

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    What a week for John Spencer's Portland Timbers, who picked up their biggest victory of the season against the Los Angeles Galaxy on Wednesday, 3-0.

    This team needs to wear their Rose City Reds more often, if not for the rest of the season.

    Mike Chabala opened his scoring account in the 26th minute, Jorge Perlaza recorded his fifth of the season in the 33rd minute and Eric Brunner made it 3-0 in the 68th minute of play.

    "I asked the guys from the first minute to try and outrun them every inch of the field, and I think we did that tonight," Spencer told the press. "It's a very pleasing result, obviously, after the way things have been going. I think we showed a massive amount of character tonight mentally after what happened to us at the weekend, when everybody expected us to blow Toronto away for some reason.

    "I keep saying that there are no easy games in MLS. It's a very unpredictable league, as you've seen tonight. We've played very well and beat a team that is possibly the best team in the country right now."

    "It was a lot of fun," said midfielder Sal Zizzo. "One of the best games you'll see from us, hopefully you'll see more. It was the most fun I've had all season."

    "I think finally someone struck us in the back of the head with a hammer and the idea finally stuck," remarked goalkeeper Troy Perkins. "I was a little more vocal about little things like keeping the ball and keeping guys back instead of looking forward."

    "We know we're confident," added midfielder Darlington Nagbe. "We just beat one of the best teams in the league, so we know that we can do it. So, we've just got to go on the road now and do it against San Jose."

    Unfortunately, that would not happen, as they drew 1-1 with the San Jose Earthquakes. Kenny Cooper scored in the 23rd minute for a Timbers outfit that played down to 10 men during second-half stoppage time.

    “I think the draw was a fair result," Spencer said to reporters. "It was probably one of the most boring games of soccer I’ve seen in a long time. You can’t always score two, three, four goals a game.”

    “These guys have played a lot of minutes in a short amount of time," Cooper said. "I think it might be three games in eight days or something. I give the boys a lot of credit, it was a great point. I thought the boys battled well.”

    “I think we need better communication, but we were happy to get a point and four points in two games," added midfielder Lovel Palmer. "I think we’re happy to get a point at an away game.”

    The Timbers will look for another statement victory on Aug. 14 when they face the Houston Dynamo at Robertson Stadium in Houston, Texas. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. PT/9:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by ROOT SPORTS and Galavision.

7. D.C. United

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    Better watch your backs, Thierry Henry and Landon Donovan. The Walking Chicken Man known as Dwayne De Rosario is out to peck at your lead in the Budweiser Golden Boot race.

    De Rosario scored a hat trick in the 19th, 64th and 88th minutes to give Ben Olsen's D.C. United a 3-3 draw with Toronto FC at RFK Stadium. De Rosario now has nine goals on the year.

    "It was a good feeling to help my team get points," De Rosario said to the press. "Whether it’s against Toronto or not, that doesn’t really matter to me. I try to play every game with the same mentality."

    However, questionable officiating culminated in Bill Hamid's ejection in the seventh minute, forcing United to play down to ten men for a majority of the contest.

    "I think Dwayne De Rosario should be the story—that you guys write about—and the heart of that group [D.C. United] out there," Olsen suggested. "[United] didn’t get a call all night but they found a way to get one point and it should have been three.  I’m really proud of the way the guys fought, but I don’t want to talk about the referees right now."

    "We went down a man, and coming back in a game like this shows a lot of character," said midfielder Santino Quaranta. "There were times in the game when things didn’t go our way, but the most encouraging thing as player in this locker room was that we fought back every time."

    Up next for D.C. United is a home tie with the Vancouver Whitecaps on Aug. 13. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and will be televised by Comcast SportsNet.

6. Real Salt Lake

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    A hit-and-miss week told the story for Jason Kreis's Real Salt Lake. On Wednesday, they fell to Sporting Kansas City 2-0.

    "I thought Kansas City beat us mentally for most of the first half when they put us on our heels; they tried to press us on our half of the field," Kreis told reporters after the match. "We made the unwise choice of continuing to pass out of that pressure and that led to us giving the ball away about 25 yards away and all of a sudden we gave up a goal, so we’re on our heels even more and then we gave up the second goal. 

    "These are two things we’ve told our team now for several years. If goals are going to come against us they are going to come against when we give away balls cheaply and when we’re not focused on defending dead balls."

    "[Sporting] are a great attacking team with a lot of weapons, and they play well at home," said goalkeeper Nick Rimando. "I thought they put us under the gun early and created a lot of chances. If you don’t keep the ball [Sporting KC] will punish you, and that’s exactly what they did in the first half."
    "We weren’t good enough," a terse Kyle Beckerman said. "They played with a lot more energy especially in the first half and got a couple chances and scored."

    "[The match with New York is] a must-win game," midfielder Arturo Alvarez said. "They’ve kind of been struggling as well and it’s a great chance for us to get back on track. I think we’re going to get out of this and get those three points that we need at home."

    Alvarez was right.

    Goals from Nat Borchers in the 13th minute, Luis Gil in the 44th minute and Alvaro Saborio in the 77th minute of play gave way for some more home-cooking—and a 3-0 win over the New York Red Bulls at Rio Tinto Stadium.

    "I think that we finally got back to what we do well," said a delighted Kreis. "Individually, I think that a lot of the players took the message on board that we gave them yesterday about ‘why you are here.’ So many players on our team do certain things extremely well and need to stay within themselves when they are playing for us.”

    “Our energy was good from the start, which we've been trying to work on for the last couple weeks," said Borchers. "Our possession game was very sharp. I thought a lot of times Luis (Gil) unlocked things by finding space behind Dax McCarty.”

    “We need to keep trying to improve," added defender Chris Wingert. "We're not really worried about where we are playing, we just need to play our game the best we can and try to implement that, no matter what stadium we are in. When we are able to do that, we're a tough team to beat.”

    Next up for Real Salt Lake is an Aug. 13 match with Toronto FC. Kickoff at BMO Field in Toronto is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. MT/7:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by KMYU 2.2, Comcast 22 and Dish Network 12.

5. Sporting Kansas City

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    Peter Vermes's Sporting Kansas City were on a roll this past week.

    On Wednesday, in spite of playing down to 10 men, goals from Roger Espinoza in the 29th minute and Teal Bunbury in the 34th minute paced Sporting to a 2-0 victory over Real Salt Lake at Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas.

    "It just showed the commitment from the guys right off the bat," Vermes told the media. "We started from where we left off from the last game in the way we were pushing.  I thought our defense was strong.  It was very difficult for them to break us down especially when we were at even strength with them.  They didn’t really have one chance from the first half."

    "The guys recovered well and it’s great to get a shutout a clean sheet.  That is big time for the team."
    "I think we played probably our best game this season over 90 minutes; very solid," said goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen. "In the first half, I don’t think they had a shot on target." 

    "When we got a man down we still played with big discipline and very aggressive and hard but fair. I think overall a credit to the whole team.  It was a tough performance by the team today."

    "I feel like we did well. We’ve been stressing for the past two games to try to go out and get the first goal and start off with a better mentality," Bunbury said. "It was just a great night and we got away with a huge win. Now we just have to keep going."

    Up next for Sporting was a match with the Seattle Sounders at Livestrong.

    "We’ve been playing Wednesdays and Saturdays for about the last month now," said midfielder Graham Zusi on the contest. "We just need to get our bodies healthy again, and just come out the way we did tonight. Seattle is a good team, and during the week we really need to focus on the way we play.”

    Easier said than done, Mr. Zusi. In spite of a sixth-minute goal from Kei Kamara, Sporting fell to the Sounders 2-1.

    “It seems like Seattle just finds a way to get something out of us in the last minute or two,” Kamara concluded to MLSSoccer.com's Andrew Wiebe.

    Sporting were forced to play down to 10 men after Omar Bravo was sent off in the 59th minute.
    “It’s extremely frustrating when your team works as hard as we did and for it to be tainted, for it to be taken away by a bad call,” Vermes said. “At that point in the game, we are playing well. We are in control of the game. We are pushing on their doorstep to score another one.”

    “This one is tough,” Sporting's Matt Besler added. “It’s really hard to describe the feeling, really. Pretty empty. Deflated.”

    The home-cooking won't get any easier with the high-flying Portland Timbers chopping into town.
    Kickoff at Livestrong is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 17 at 7:30 p.m. CT/8:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by KSMO-TV.

    On Sunday, Aug. 21, Sporting host D.C. United, Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. CT/7:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by KSMO-TV and Galavision.

4. Houston Dynamo

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    Dominic Kinnear's Houston Dynamo earned some late-game heroics in the form of Geoff Cameron, whose 84th minute equalizer gave the men in orange a 1-1 draw with the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park.

    The match marked the debut of Honduran international Carlo Costly.

    “I think it's going to take a little bit for him to get acclimated to his new teammates and his new team,” midfielder Brad Davis told MLSSoccer.com's Darrell Lovell. “But him being a guy that's played in some good leagues, I think he's going to adapt a bit quicker than someone else might.”

    “I think Carlo has the right attitude—he came in and the guys like him right off the bat,” said fellow newcomer Adam Moffat.

    “We're really looking forward to seeing him get on the field more and make more of a contribution for us.”

    Up next for the Dynamo is a match with the Portland Timbers on Aug. 14 at Robertson Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. CT/9:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by Galavision, KHOU 11.2 and Fox Sports Houston.

3. Los Angeles Galaxy

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    A hundred minutes of Sunday league football combined with 80 minutes of Major League Soccer defined the week for Bruce Arena's Los Angeles Galaxy.

    On Wednesday, their 14-game unbeaten streak came to a crashing halt as they were shut out by the Portland Timbers to the tune of 3-0 at Jeld-Wen Field in Portland, Oregon.

    "We were dominated in the first half and it was the story of the game," Arena told reporters. "I don't think we made adjustments for the size of the field and the surface and we were really outplayed in every position on the field. We were dominated, we were beat. I don't think there's anything sophisticated about the analysis of this game. We were beat all over the field."

    "We made it hard on ourselves," said team captain/midfielder Landon Donovan. "We knew they were going to come to play and this would be the biggest game they played all year and we weren't ready for it. If you're not ready to play in this league, you'll get beat."

    "I'm surprised at the way we played, but if you perform like that, you deserve to lose like that," added midfielder David Beckham. "We go home a little bit embarrassed because of the result, but at the end of the day, it's the first game we've lost in three months. We've been on a good run, [but it] had to end somewhere."

    Where one streak ends, another begins. And though the first 10 minutes of their match with FC Dallas was an extension of their 90 with Portland, they got clicking with a 3-1 victory.

    Omar Gonzalez scored in the 32nd minute, Juninho made it 2-1 in the 62nd and Mike Magee wrapped up the scoring in the 81st minute of play.

    "I think both teams were fatigued from not only a long week but a pretty busy schedule to date," Arena inferred to the press. "It wasn’t going to be easy and I thought perhaps the difference in the game is that out team showed a lot of determination. 

    "They fought real hard over 90 minutes but it was something we had to do to neutralize Dallas. I thought Dallas came out and played real well and gave us a lot of trouble in the opening 20 minutes of the game.”

    "We wanted to make sure we played the right way," Donovan said. "This was a much better performance and a step in the right direction to winning the Supporters Shield this year.”

    "Character wise it was a really good performance. All around the pitch everyone worked hard for each other, and that’s the only reason we won tonight," Beckham remarked.

    The Galaxy get the week off before returning to play for a couple of matches.

    First is CONCACAF Champions League actions C.D. Motagua of Honduras. Kickoff at the Home Depot Center is scheduled for Tuessay, Aug. 16 at 7:00 p.m. PT/10:00 p.m. ET.

    The Galaxy will then resume league play against the San Jose Earthquakes. Kickoff at Victoria Street is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 20 at 7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by Fox Sports Prime Ticket.

2. Colorado Rapids

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    Gary Smith's Colorado Rapids came out with guns blazing in their 2-0 victory over the Columbus Crew at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.

    Brian Mullan, who was disgraced not too long ago for a season-ending tackle on Steve Zakuani, atoned for his transgressions by opening his scoring account in the 55th minute.

    Omar Cummings recorded his third of the season in the 79th minute of play.

    "I thought the performance overall tonight was as good as anything else we’ve produced here," Smith said after the match. "It was always going to be a very tight and evenly-matched affair. 

    "There was a lot of tenacity and industry in the opening exchanges, it enabled us to win possession in good areas, broke up any flow to their game, and barring one or two better final balls, we might’ve even seen ourselves nudge in front in the first half. But when you come in at nil-nil and you’ve had a good portion of the game—there’s still plenty to play for."

    "I think we were patient. We held the ball, and we moved it unselfishly. I think that’s something that’s been missing. We’ve been winning, but grinding it out, and I think this is the way we need to try to play more," Mullan said. "The defense was solid, the midfield did their job moving the ball around, and the forwards were combining well and getting in good spots."

    "Everyone is scoring goals; to see Sanna [Nyassi] and Pablo [Mastroeni] score last week, to me and Brian getting it this week, so you have multiple scorers and just scoring a lot of goals is confidence for any team," Cummings added.

    Up next for the Rapids is an Aug. 13 encounter with the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. MT/10:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by Altitude.

1. Seattle Sounders FC

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    At the top this week are Sigi Schmid's Seattle Sounders, who finished the week unbeaten.

    First, they rectified for the 1-0 defeat to Panama's San Francisco FC in the CONCACAF Champions League Preliminary Round 1st leg with a 2-0 victory at CenturyLink Field.

    Alvaro Fernandez scored in the 41st minute for the Sounders, and after the match went into extra time Nate Jaqua continued his scoring form in the 98th minute to help Seattle punch their ticket to the group stage.

    “Sometimes when you get where the lucks turned against you, it seems you have to grind out a victory,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid told Matt Gaschk of SoundersFC.com. “I think we were the better team over the 120 minutes. We just had to grind it out.”

    Schmid earned league win number 150 with a 2-1 decision over Sporting Kansas City at Livestrong Sporting Park.

    Lamar Neagle scored the game winner in the second minute of second-half stoppage time. That came off a Mauro Rosales equalizer two minutes earlier.

    “Obviously, we’re pleased with the result to come from behind like that.  You know the red card was a game changing moment,” Schmid told Gaschk.  “Right after that I felt like we got into a better rhythm and you know after that we lost it again.  Two tremendous plays by Mauro Rosales at the end but over all for our team after playing 120 minutes in a really hard game against a team from Panama.  I was really proud of them.”

    “You can tell that our effort is always there,” Neagle added.  “At the end of the game we’re still striving to get that win no matter what the score is even though we’re down one or whatever it is, we still come back.  We’ve gone down a goal many times, but we always seem to fight back and win the game, and that’s what happened.”

    Up next for the Sounders is a match with Chivas USA. Kickoff at CenturyLink Field is scheduled for Aug. 13 at 1:00 p.m. PT/4:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by KING 5.

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