MLS Power Rankings, Week 20: All-Star slump?

July, 28, 2011
7/28/11
7:28
PM PT
On the heels of Major League Soccer's second successive All-Star Game blowout loss to Manchester United, there's growing sentiment that the game doesn't make a whole lot of sense and should be altered -- or abandoned.

We're not in favor of either idea. The ASG is a lot of fun, even if it doesn't mean anything, and the MLSers looked pretty good on attack in the first half of Wednesday night's 4-0 loss in Harrison, N.J. (They couldn't defend, but that has more to do with Red Bulls coach Hans Backe's flawed tactics.)




Man United won last year's event, 5-2, and Everton prevailed on penalties after a 1-1 draw in 2009, so that's three in a row MLS has lost, even if Everton's “victory” doesn't really count as one.

Some would like to see a return to the original format, used in 1996-97, 1999-2001 and again in 2004: East vs. West. Or, as , in '98, MLS's Yanks against its foreigners.

Those were ugly games, mostly, with 6-1, 6-4, 9-4 and 6-6 scorelines included. Non-soccer fans want more goals. Real soccer fans know that too many goals usually means bad game. These weren't just bad, they lacked competition -- the highlight of the early ASGs was Landon Donovan stripping off his jersey after scoring one of his four goals in San Jose 10 years ago to reveal a sports bra, a tribute to San Jose's own Brandi Chastain.

The exhibitions against foreign, mostly British (almost entirely English) clubs, have been good ones, with victories over Guadalajara, Fulham, Chelsea, Celtic and West Ham United. Beating Chelsea was a bit of a surprise -- there's some talent in those Blues -- but the other clubs were perfect: second- and third-tier English sides, all very good, but none of them Manchester United.

It makes little sense to bash a format because one of the three or four best clubs on the planet beat a group of MLS players who had never played together before, but that's just us.

This week's rankings:




1. GALAXY (11-2-9, 42 points), Last week: 1
Week 19: Sean Franklin
's first MLS goal beats Columbus, 1-0; a nice Mike Magee strike ties Manchester City, 1-1, but the Englishmen win the friendly on penalties, 7-6
Remark: With 42 points, Galaxy is just four points from a playoff berth last season. With four extra games this year, they probably need 10 more, but it's inevitable
All-Stars: Midfielders Donovan, David Beckham and Juninho, defenders Franklin and Omar Gonzalez
Next:
Saturday at Vancouver, 4:30 p.m. (Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Deportes)

2. SEATTLE SOUNDERS (10-4-8, 38 points), Last week: 2
Week 19:
A half-dozen second-half goals surrendered in 7-0 debacle vs. Manchester United; Jeff Parke hand ball costly in 1-0 loss at Panama's San Francisco FC in CONCACAF Champions League preliminary-round opener
Remark: Sigi Schmid empties his bench in the second half, uses 26 players against Man U, calls defeat the biggest embarrassment of his career
All-Stars: Goalkeeper Kasey Keller and midfielder Osvaldo Alonso
Next:
Saturday at Houston, 5:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

3. FC DALLAS (11-5-6, 39 points), Last week: 3
Week 19: Brek Shea
's ninth gives the Hoops a 1-0 win at Toronto FC; Marvin Chavez nets a pair in 2-2 draw at New York
Remark: Milton Rodriguez and Peri Marosevic jettisoned. No big loss
All-Stars: Winger Shea
Next: Thursday in a CONCACAF Champions League preliminary-round first leg at Alianza (El Salvador), 7 p.m. (Fox Soccer Channel); Sunday vs. Chivas USA, 4 p.m. (Galavision)
4. REAL SALT LAKE (9-3-6, 33 points), Last week: 4
Week 19: Alvaro Saborio
scores twice, one from the spot after taking a dive, in controversial 4-0 rout of San Jose
Remark: Head coach Jason Kreis, who scored more than 100 in his MLS career, admonishes Saborio for “embellishment” that won a penalty, led to Quakes defender Bobby Burling's red card and turned a tight match into a romp
All-Stars: Midfielder Kyle Beckerman and defender Jamison Olave
Next:
Saturday vs. Columbus, 6 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

5. PHILADELPHIA UNION (8-4-7, 31 points), Last week: 5
Week 19:
Teen academy star Christian Hernandez's late goal pips Everton, 1-0; rookie Michael Farfan's drive keeps Union close in 2-1 loss to Real Madrid
Remark: Nobody plays Real Madrid tighter than Philly. Could Peter Nowak actually steer these guys to a title?
All-Stars: Goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon
Next:
Friday vs. Colorado, 4:30 p.m. (Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Deportes)

6. COLUMBUS CREW (8-6-7, 31 points), Last week: 7
Week 19:
Crew bounce back from 1-0 loss in L.A., beat Portland, 1-0, on Eddie Gaven's goal to pull even on points with Eastern leader Philly; Andy Gruenebaum red card leads to 3-0 friendly defeat to Newcastle United
Remark: Robert Warzycha, on the Crew's unexpected success: “Am I surprised? I'm not. … We said we're going to keep a core of guys here and if they produce, we're going to be very good.”
All-Stars: None
Next: Saturday at Real Salt Lake, 6 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

7. COLORADO RAPIDS (7-6-10, 31 points), Last week: 8
Week 19:
Player of the Week Sanna Nyassi steps in for injured Conor Casey, scored a hat trick to beat New York, 4-1; Kosuke Kimura scores one for the ages in 2-2 draw vs. New England
Remark: You've got to see Kimura's 75-yard goal
All-Stars: Forward Omar Cummings
Next:
Friday at Philadelphia. 4:30 p.m. (Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Deportes)

8. NEW YORK RED BULLS (6-5-12, 30 points), Last week: 6
Week 19: Thierry Henry
scores his 10th at the end of a 4-1 disaster at Colorado, No. 11 to pull put late 2-2 draw with FC Dallas
Remark: Two wins in 17 games against MLS competition since the start of May, and those wins were over Toronto and New England
All-Stars: Forwards Henry and Juan Agudelo, defenders Rafa Marquez and Tim Ream, and winger Joel Lindpere
Next:
Saturday in a friendly vs. Paris Saint-Germain (France) at London, 6 a.m. (ESPN Deportes); Sunday in a friendly at Arsenal (England), 8:20 a.m. (Fox Soccer Channel)




9. CHIVAS USA (6-7-8, 26 points), Last week: 12
Week 19: Justin Braun
nets his second hat trick of the season in 3-0 rout of Houston
Remark: Alejandro Moreno's return from fine Copa America campaign with Venezuela restores leadership up top
All-Stars: Midfielder Nick LaBrocca and defender Heath Pearce
Next:
Sunday at FC Dallas, 4:30 p.m. (Galavision)

10. SPORTING KANSAS CITY (6-6-8, 26 points), Last week: 11
Week 19:
SKC holds Newcastle United to a 0-0 draw in a friendly; Lawndale's Kei Kamara and Omar Bravo score twice to beat Toronto FC, 4-2
Remark: Danish power Brondby's bid for forward Teal Bunbury quickly dismissed by Sporting braintrust
All-Stars: Defender Matt Besler and forward Omar Bravo
Next:
Saturday vs. New England, 5:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

11. D.C. UNITED (5-6-8, 23 points), Last week: 9
Week 19: Charlie Davies
sends penalty kick over the crossbar in 1-0 loss to New England; Yorba Linda's Chris Pontius connects in 3-1 defeat vs. Everton
Remark: Dejan Jakovic's return from nearly two months of injury rehab strengthens the defense
All-Stars: Midfielder Dwayne De Rosario
Next:
Saturday at San Jose, 7:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

12. HOUSTON DYNAMO (5-7-9, 24 points), Last week: 10
Week 19:
Shorthanded Dynamo offer little in 3-0 loss at Chivas USA
Remark: How did dismal Dynamo warrant four All-Star selections? At least there's no questioning Brad Davis pick
All-Stars: Goalkeeper Tally Hall, defender Corey Ashe, winger Davis and midfielder/defender Geoff Cameron
Next:
Saturday vs. Seattle, 5:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

13. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (4-9-8, 20 points), Last week: 16
Week 19: Stephen McCarthy
goal wins at D.C. United, 1-1; last-minute Shalrie Joseph PK delivers 2-2 draw at Colorado
Remark: Kimura catches Mission Viejo's Matt Reis off his line from long distance, but road draw with reigning champs is solid, especially after win at D.C. ends nine-game winless streak
All-Stars: Midfielder Joseph
Next: Saturday at Sporting Kansas City, 5:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

14. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (5-7-9, 24 points), Last week: 13
Week 19: Chris Wondolowski
tallies twice in 2-2 tie with Vancouver; bad-call PK/red card dooms Quakes to 4-0 loss at Real Salt Lake
Remark: Goalkeeper Jon Busch confronts RSL coach Kreis after Saborio's dive, admits he “lost my cool”
All-Stars: Forward Wondolowski and winger/defender Bobby Convey
Next:
Saturday vs. D.C. United, 7:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

15. CHICAGO FIRE (2-6-12, 18 points), Last week: 14
Week 19: Cory Gibbs
gives Fire early lead in 3-1 loss to Manchester United
Remark: Fire add royalty to roster by bringing in central midfielder Pavel Pardo, late of Club America and Mexico's national team
All-Stars: None
Next: Wednesday vs. Philadelphia, 6 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

16. PORTLAND TIMBERS (6-10-3, 21 points), Last week: 15
Week 19:
Lumbermen let two-goal advantage slip away in 3-2 loss to England's West Bromwich Albion, concede late goal in 1-0 defeat at Columbus; Sal Zizzo and Brian Umony score three minutes apart to beat Argentina's Independiente, 2-0
Remark: Only a friendly, but victory over Independiente is the Timbers' first at home since May 21
All-Stars: Midfielder Jack Jewsbury
Next:
Saturday vs. Toronto FC, 8 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

17. TORONTO FC (3-11-9, 18 points), Last week: 17
Week 19: Torsten Frings
and Danny Koevermans debut in 1-0 home loss to FC Dallas; Koevermans, Ryan Johnson score first goals for Reds in 4-2 defeat at Sporting Kansas City; Joao Plata tallies twice in 2-1 win over Nicaragua's Real Esteli in CONCACAF Champions League preliminary-round opener
Remark: Five of seven new arrivals step into starting lineup, but Aron Winter has no plans to abandon Dutch 4-3-3
All-Stars: None
Next: Saturday at Portland, 7:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick); Tuesday in CCL preliminary-round second leg at Real Esteli, 7 p.m. (Fox Soccer Channel)

18. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (2-10-9, 15 points), Last week: 18
Week 19: Eric Hassli
nets a pair of equalizers in 2-2 draw at San Jose
Remark: Playoffs? Tom Soehn can't see why not. “There's still a lot of soccer to be played,” he says
All-Stars: Forward Hassli
Next: Saturday vs. Galaxy, 4:30 p.m. (Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Deportes)

All times Pacific

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