MLS Power Rankings: Embrace the future
April, 25, 2012
By Scott French | ESPNLosAngeles.com
Ezra Shaw/Getty ImagesChris Wondowski, center right, and Steven Lenhart celebrate a recent goal by San Jose against Salt Lake.
The soccer world appears, more or less, determined to accept goal-line technology, slowly accepting that justice -- being fair and accurate about whether goals count -- trumps a century and a half of tradition.
It's coming soon, perhaps to Major League Soccer soonest of all.
Commissioner Don Garber last week told the Associated Press Sports Editors' gathering in New York that he “would be open to whatever it is that could be done to ensure that we have goal-line technology.”
The game's rule-makers -- the International Football Association Board -- meet July 2, when they could approve one or both of two competing systems, and Garber wants the trial run in MLS.
“The bottom line here,” he said, “is that I would be open to using goal-line technology as soon as it is made available.”
That likely would mean before this season is done.
Here are this week's power rankings:
1. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (5-1-1, 16 points), LW: 3
Week 7: Simon Dawkins and Chris Wondolowski score in stoppage to beat nine-man RSL, 3-1.
Latest: Quakes -- most exciting side in MLS at the moment -- sit alone atop the Western Conference standings for the first time since 2005, when they won the Supporters' Shield. They moved to Houston that offseason, and version 2.0 arrived in San Jose in 2008.
Coaching legend: Frank Yallop won MLS Cups in 2001 and 2003, took the reborn Quakes within a game of the 2010 title game, has current version challenging for the Western Conference lead. Win over RSL was his 100th in the league.
Next: Saturday at Philadelphia, 4 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick); Wednesday, May 2, vs. D.C. United, 7:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick).
2. SPORTING KANSAS CITY (7-1-0, 21 points), Last Week: 1
Week 7: Winning streak hits seven with 3-1 win at Vancouver, with Aurelien Collin and Lawndale's Kei Kamara again scoring. Run ends with 1-0 loss at Portland.
Latest: K.C. finally falls after Thousand Oaks' Chance Myers scores an own goal vs. Portland, but Peter Vermes isn't displeased: “I'll be real honest. I am happy with the way we played and the fact we didn’t give up many chances. We played well but came up short. ... All in all, I was happy with the performance.”
Coaching legend: Bob Gansler, the U.S. coach at the 1990 World Cup, led the Wizards to the MLS Cup/Supporters' Shield double in his first full season, added the U.S. Open Cup in 2004, won 95 league games in all or part of eight sasons.
Next: Saturday, May 5, vs. Montreal, 4:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)
3. REAL SALT LAKE (5-3-0, 15 points), LW: 2
Week 7: Two-footed tackle, last-man foul leaves RSL with nine men, and a draw turns into a 3-1 loss in stoppage at San Jose.
Latest: Elias Bakazkos is “an inexperienced referee, from my point of view,” Lions coach Jason Kreis said. “I don’t know if he’s ever refereed one of our matches before. I think it’s difficult circumstances for him, and he struggled.”
Coaching legend: Kreis stepped straight from the field to the coaches box, brought RSL the MLS Cup crown within two years, a power since.
Next: Wednesday at FC Dallas, 5:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick); Saturday vs. Toronto FC, 6 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick).
4. SEATTLE SOUNDERS (3-1-1, 10 points), LW: 5
Week 7: Idle.
Latest: Mauro Rosales and Adam Johansson return from injury in 60-minute scrimmage against the University of Washington, but Steve Zakuani's next step -- in a Reserve League game at Chivas USA -- is pushed back.
Coaching legend: Sigi Schmid had the Sounders contending from day one, has captured three straight U.S. Open Cup trophies.
Next: Saturday at Chicago, 5:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick); Wednesday, May 2, vs. Galaxy, 7 p.m. (KDOC/Channel 56 and KWHY/Channel 22).
5. D.C. UNITED (3-2-3, 12 points), LW: 9
Week 7: Maicon Santos' quick reply provides a 1-1 draw with Montreal. Yorba Linda's Chris Pontius nets a hat trick to beat New York, 4-1, and extend unbeaten streak to six.
Latest: Pontius is Player of the Week, but D.C. coach Ben Olsen says he “still doesn't know how to play forward, though. And that's a scary thing.”
Coaching legend: Bruce Arena won the first two MLS Cups, reached the final in year three, won a U.S. Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions' Cup, posted a 75-38 MLS mark in three years.
Next: Saturday vs. Houston, 4:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick); Wednesday, May 2, at San Jose, 7:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick).
6. NEW YORK RED BULLS (3-3-1, 10 points), LW: 4
Week 7: Defensive troubles catch up in 4-1 loss at New York.
Latest: Rafa Marquez given a three-game suspension for battering Shea Salinas when he deserved five or six. Will New York dump the underperforming thug come summer?
Coaching legend: Juan Carlos Osorio is the closest thing for a club whose bosses have included Firmani, Queiroz, Parreira, Milutinovic, Bradley and Arena. He somehow guided the Red Bulls to the 2008 title game.
Next: Saturday vs. New England, 12:30 p.m. (NBC Sports Network).
7. HOUSTON DYNAMO (2-1-2, 8 points), LW: 6
Week 7: Brian Ching's first goal of the year provides a 2-2 draw at Columbus.
Latest: Brad Davis aims to return for this weekend's D.C. United clash.
Coaching legend: Dominic Kinnear arrived with the Quakes from San Jose, immediately claimed back-to-back MLS Cup championships.
Next: Saturday at D.C. United, 4:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)
8. GALAXY (3-3-0, 9 points), LW: 11
Week 7: Josh Saunders' PK stop in stoppage leaves L.A. with a 2-1 victory at Colorado.
Latest: Bruised quadriceps could sideline Mike Magee against FC Dallas.
Coaching legend: Sigi Schmid brought the Galaxy their first trophies. Bruce Arena restored the glory the past three seasons.
Next: Saturday vs. FC Dallas at Home Depot Center, 7:30 p.m. (KDOC/Channel 56 and KWHY/Channel 22); Wednesday, May 2, at Seattle, 7 p.m. (KDOC/Channel 56 and KWHY/Channel 22).
9. COLORADO RAPIDS (3-4-0, 9 points), LW: 8
Week 7: Omar Cummings trims the deficit, can't convert from the spot to tie, and Rapids fall, 2-1, to the Galaxy.
Latest: Conor Casey's long-awaited return from an Achilles tear, postponed last week by strep throat, appears set this weekend against Chivas USA.
Coaching legend: Gary Smith won an MLS Cup. Dysfunctional front office led to his exit.
Next: Saturday vs. Chivas USA, 6 p.m. (Fox Sports West and KWHY/Channel 22); Wednesday, May 2, at New England, 5 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick).
10. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (3-2-2, 11 points), LW: 12
Week 7: 'Caps can't hang with Sporting Kansas City in a 4-1 loss. Camilo thrives as striker for the first time under Martin Rennie, ends four-game winless streak with 1-0 triumph over FC Dallas.
Latest: FC Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman rips Whitecaps for their physical play, ties it to David Ferreira's injury last year against Vancouver. “They're a much better team [than last season], but I still don't like the way they play. You remember last year to the date the MVP of the league was taken out here, and he's still not on the field.”
Coaching legend: Canadian legend Bobby Lenarduzzi -- the 'Caps' president -- took the old 86ers/Whitecaps to four straight Canadian Soccer League titles.
Next: Saturday at Columbus, 4:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick); Wednesday, May 2, in a Canadian Championship semifinal first leg at FC Edmonton (NASL), 7 p.m.
11. FC DALLAS (3-3-1, 10 points), LW: 7
Week 7: Hoops can't make it three in a row, fall at Vancouver, 1-0.
Latest: Star striker Blas Perez suspended for elbowing the jaw of Mission Viejo's Jordan Harvey in loss to Vancouver. Since there's a midweek clash, he'll be back against the Galaxy.
Coaching legend: Dave Dir won the U.S. Open Cup in '97. Schellas Hyndman took the Hoops to overtime in the 2010 MLS Cup final.
Next: Wednesday vs. Real Salt Lake, 5:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick); Saturday vs. Galaxy at Home Depot Center, 7:30 p.m. (KDOC/Channel 56 and KWHY/Channel 22).
12. CHIVAS USA (3-4-0, 9 points), LW: 10
Week 7: A 21-4 shot advantage means little against Philadelphia, the Goats' fourth 1-0 defeat in as many home games.
Latest: That talk that Chivas might make a move to bring in Mexican star Rafa Marquez (possibly in a trade for Nick LaBrocca)? Forget about it. LaBrocca is more valuable, Marquez seems a cancer.
Coaching legend: Bob Bradley built the foundation for Preki's successes, then departed to take charge of the U.S. national team.
Next: Saturday at Colorado, 6 p.m. (Fox Sports West and KWHY/Channel 22).
13. CHICAGO FIRE (2-1-2, 8 points), LW: 13
Week 7: Dominic Oduro's and Patrick Nyarko's pace the difference in 3-2 victory at Toronto FC.
Latest: Oduro's opener -- from a rare Torsten Frings error -- is fastest Fire goal, at 25 seconds. Fifth-fastest of all MLS goals.
Coaching legend: Bob Bradley won the MLS Cup and U.S. Open Cup in the club;'s inaugural season, another Open Cup in 2000, posted 95-62-17 MLS record.
Next: Saturday vs. Seattle, 5:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick).
14. PORTLAND TIMBERS (2-4-1, 7 points), LW: 15
Week 7: Kris Boyd's cross leads to an own goal, and the Timbers end four-game losing streak (and Sporting Kansas City's perfect run), 1-0.
Latest: Mike Fucito, formerly with the hated Sounders, didn't fit in Montreal, so Timbers made a deal to nab him. “I feel sorry for Mike,” Seattle coach Sigi Schmid says. “He's probably got to wear an undershirt because I think their green jersey is going to make his skin itch.”
Coaching legend: Technical director Gavin Wilkinson twice took the Timbers to USL1 semifinals.
Next: Saturday at Montreal, 11 a.m. (MLS Direct Kick).
15. PHILADELPHIA UNION (2-3-1, 7 points), LW: 16
Week 7: Sweet work by Freddy Adu and Wildomar's Michael Farfan and a defensive error adds up to a 1-0 win at Chivas USA.
Latest: Neither of the two victories were impressive, but there's something to be said for 322 minutes of shutout soccer.
Coaching legend: Peter Nowak got the Union to the playoffs in season two, but offseason moves pitted hard-core fans against the Pole.
Next: Saturday vs. San Jose, 4 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick).
16. COLUMBUS CREW (2-3-1, 7 points), LW: 17
Week 7: Eddie Gaven scores twice to give the Crew the lead, but they can't hold off Houston and settle for 2-2 draw.
Latest: Frankie Hejduk's return to the Crew is most apropos, as any Nordecke vet will tell you.
Coaching legend: Sigi Schmid in three years built Crew into 2008 MLS Cup champs, then high-tailed it to Seattle.
Next: Saturday vs. Vancouver, 4:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick).
17. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (2-4-0, 6 points), LW: 14
Week 7: Idle.
Latest: First-year coach says Revolution is “as good as any team's Ive been on.” Of course, he spent his whole career with the Revs ... who used to be pretty good.
Coaching legend: Steve Nicol took the Revs to four MLS Cup finals and won U.S. Open Cup and SuperLiga trophies before funding shortfalls took a toll.
Next: Saturday at New York, 12:30 p.m. (NBC Sports Network); Wednesday, May 2, vs. Colorado, 5 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick).
18. MONTREAL IMPACT (1-5-2, 5 points), LW: 18
Week 7: Bernardo Corradi's clinical finish gives Impact a lead it can't hold in 1-1 draw at D.C. United.
Latest: Six games needed to win first road point. Their countymen did it in four, Vancouver last year and Toronto FC in 2007.
Coaching legend: Nick DeSantis won the 2004 USL1 title, a Canadian Championship and two USL Commissioners Cups in the longest of three stints in charge before MLS.
Next: Saturday vs. Portland, 11 a.m. (MLS Direct Kick); Wednesday, May 2, in a Canadian Championship semifinal first leg vs. Toronto FC, 5 p.m.
19. TORONTO FC (0-6-0, 0 points), LW: 19
Week 7: Reggie Lambe's pair gives TFC a lead it can't hold in 3-2 loss to Chicago.
Latest: Ownership's demand: Win or else. Aron Winter's reply: “We're making the playoffs.”
Coaching legend: Still waiting for one to emerge. Could be Winter, if everyone will just be patient.
Next: Saturday at Real Salt Lake, 6 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick); Wednesday, May 2, in a Canadian Championship semifinal first leg at Montreal, 5 p.m.