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Wednesday, June 20, 2012
MLS Power Rankings: Technology time

By Scott French

Dominic Oduro, Wilman Conde
The Red Bull's Wilman Conde clearing of the Fire's Dominic Oduro's shot was the biggest play of the week in MLS.


In just a matter of days, the argument over goal-line technology has been settled. They'll still argue, but after Ukraine was denied a legitimate goal in Tuesday's 1-0 loss to England at Euro 2012, the discussion is moot.

“After last night's match,” FIFA President Sepp Blatter tweeted Wednesday, “GLT is no longer an alternative but a necessity.”

MLS Commissioner Don Garber has been vocal in his support of goal-line technology, and the week's better argument in favor of implementation occurred in Chicago's 3-1 victory Saturday over visiting New York.

A shot by Fire forward Dominic Oduro, slowed by a deflection off Red Bulls goalkeeper Ryan Meara, was cleared as it entered the net by Wilman Conde. The linesman was a little behind the play and screened by a sliding Conde and could not see that the ball had, indeed, crossed fully into the goal. Referee Baldomero Toledo waved play on and cautioned Oduro for protesting.

The incident incensed the Fire, who replied with another goal four minutes later and another 13 minutes after that to pull away.

Marko Devic's goal for Ukraine was just as clear, and John Terry's clearance after it had crossed the line should have been easier to spot. UEFA, led by legendary French midfielder (and anti-technology crusader) Michel Platini, is experimenting with goal judges in this European Championship. Their sole job is to decide if the ball has crossed the line. The goal judge in Donetsk was next to the net staring at the play, and he didn't get it right.

As Michael Ballack noted on ESPN's coverage of the Euros, it's not his fault. Everything's happening so fast, the eyes can't discern exactly where what is at any given moment. ESPN used stop-action video to prove Devic's goal should have counted.

FIFA on July 5 will decide if Platini's alternative or either of two systems, both using technology, at use in England and Denmark should be approved for widespread use. The past week calls for at least one of them to get the nod, and the UEFA boss' chances aren't good.

Here are this week's power rankings:

1. REAL SALT LAKE (10-3-2, 32 points), Last Week: 1
Week 15:
Fabian Espindola strikes twice in impressive 3-0 triumph at Chivas USA.
Latest: Javier Morales ready to return to the starting lineup.
Should-be All-Star: Espindola has been unstoppable.
Next: Wednesday vs. Galaxy, 6 p.m. (KDOC/Channel 56 and KWHY/Channel 22); Saturday vs. San Jose, 6 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick).

2. SPORTING KANSAS CITY (9-3-1, 28 points), LW: 3
Week 15:
C.J. Sapong, Julio Cesar hit the net in 2-0 win over Toronto FC.
Latest: Peter Vermes reveals K.C. has tried to acquire Giovani Dos Santos “a couple times, but there's always been little problems here or there,” mostly money talk with Tottenham. The Mexico star says he wants to stay in Europe.
Should-be All-Star: Aurelien Collin has been splendid at the back.
Next: Wednesday at Seattle, 7 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick); Saturday at Philadelphia, 4 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick); Tuesday in a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal vs. Dayton Dutch Lions (USL Pro), 5:30 p.m.

3. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (8-3-3, 27 points), LW: 4
Week 15:
Idle.
Latest: When will the Quakes' new stadium open? Could be 2013 or 2014 -- still lots of uncertainty.
Should-be All-Star: Chris Wondolowski, of course.
Next: Wednesday at Colorado, 6:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick); Saturday at Real Salt Lake, 6 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick); Tuesday in a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal vs. Seattle, 7:30 p.m.

4. D.C. UNITED (9-4-3, 30 points), LW: 6
Week 15:
Yorba Linda's Chris Pontius returns from injury, comes off the bench to deliver a 1-0 win over Philadelphia.
Latest: D.C. negotiating an extension with Designated Player Branko Boskovic. His current deal is done July 15.
Should-be All-Star: MVP Dwayne De Rosario is hard to deny.
Next: Sunday at New York, 4 p.m. (NBC Sports Network).

5. NEW YORK RED BULLS (8-4-2, 26 points), LW: 2
Week 15:
Shorthanded Bulls get a fortunate call, then concede twice late in a 3-1 loss at Chicago.
Latest: New York wants a third DP, but it won't be Michael Ballack.
Should-be All-Star: Thierry Henry is the best player in the league.
Next: Wednesday at Vancouver, 8 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick); Sunday vs. D.C. United, 4 p.m. (NBC Sports Network).

6. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (7-3-4, 25 points), LW: 8
Week 15:
Sebastien Le Toux's late winner lifts 10-man 'Caps past Colorado, 1-0.
Latest: Veteran English midfielder Barry Robson, with Middlesbrough latest, is introduced as the Whitecaps' second DP. Three-year contract starts with next week's opening of the transfer window.
Should-be All-Star: It's been vintage Joe Cannon in the nets for Vancouver.
Next: Wednesday vs. New York, 8 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick); Saturday vs. Galaxy at Home Depot Center (Carson), 7:30 p.m. (KDOC/Channel 56) and KWHY/Channel 22).

7. SEATTLE SOUNDERS (7-4-3, 24 points), LW: 5
Week 15:
Eddie Johnson's goal too little too late in 4-1 loss at Montreal.
Latest: Cuban refugee Osvaldo Alonso gets U.S. citizenship, looks for a call-up from Jurgen Klinsmann.
Should-be All-Star: Midfield anchor Alonso makes it all click.
Next: Wednesday vs. Sporting Kansas City, 7 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick); Sunday at Portland, 2 p.m. (ESPN and ESPN Deportes); Tuesday in a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal at San Jose, 7:30 p.m.

8. HOUSTON DYNAMO (5-4-4, 19 points), LW: 10
Week 15:
Adam Moffat bomb carries Dynamo past FC Dallas, 2-1, to retain the El Capitan cannon.
Latest: Scouts from Everton, Schalke 04 and Stoke City test the Texas heat to get a look at Geoff Cameron vs. Dallas.
Should-be All-Star: Brian Ching better be a Commissioner's Pick.
Next: Wednesday vs. Toronto FC, 6 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick); Saturday at Montreal, 4:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick).

9. CHICAGO FIRE (6-5-3, 21 points), LW: 13
Week 15:
Justice is served in 3-1 win over New York with Gonzalo Segares and Chris Rolfe goals.
Latest: Brazilian midfielder Alex arrives from Switzerland, ready when the transfer window opens.
Should-be All-Star: Forward Dominic Oduro has a lot more than just speed.
Next: Saturday vs. Columbus, 5:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick).

10. COLUMBUS CREW (5-4-4, 19 points), LW: 7
Week 15:
MLS unbeaten streak hits six with a scoreless draw at New England.
Latest: Defense has been key for Crew, but more production required to take the next step.
Should-be All-Star: We like right back Sebastian Miranda. A lot.
Next: Saturday at Chicago, 5:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick).

11. COLORADO RAPIDS (6-7-1, 19 points), LW: 9
Week 15:
Rapids fail to hold onto a point on the road, surrender late in 1-0 loss at Vancouver.
Latest: Shane O'Neill celebrates high school graduation by signing a Home Grown Player deal.
Should-be All-Star: Jaime Castrillon's impact in midfield has been huge.
Next: Wednesday vs. San Jose, 6:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick).

12. GALAXY (4-8-2, 14 points), LW: 16
Week 15:
Josh Saunders makes big saves in his return, Todd Dunivant scores from David Beckham header, and eight-game winless streak, all competitions, ends with a 1-0 victory over Portland.
Latest: After disappointing Euro 2012, will Robbie Keane soldier on for Ireland? “I'm not even really thinking about it, to be honest with you,” he says.
Should-be All-Star: Only David Beckham has been close to standard.
Next: Wednesday at Real Salt Lake, 6 p.m. (KDOC/Channel 56 and KWHY/Channel 22); Saturday vs. Vancouver at Home Depot Center (Carson), 7:30 p.m. (KDOC/Channel 56) and KWHY/Channel 22).

13. MONTREAL IMPACT (4-7-3, 15 points), LW: 14
Week 15:
MLS Impact debut at Saputo with 4-1 rout of mighty Seattle.
Latest: Patrice Bernier is MLS Player of the Week after an assist hat trick, but partner Felipe Martins was deserving, too.
Should-be All-Star: Martins made a statement with his performance vs. Seattle.
Next: Wednesday vs. Chivas USA at Home Depot Center, 7:30 p.m. (Prime Ticket); Saturday vs. Houston, 4:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick); Wednesday, June 27, vs. Toronto FC, 4:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick).

14. CHIVAS USA (4-7-3, 15 points), LW: 11
Week 15:
Goats battle gamely but can't stay with Real Salt Lake in a 3-0 loss.
Latest: Nick LaBrocca is getting close, but Goats handicapped without the All-Star midfielder and South American youngsters Jose Erik Correa and Miller Bolaņos, all out with hamstring injuries.
Should-be All-Star: Holding midfielder Oswaldo Minda has opened the most eyes.
Next: Wednesday vs. Montreal at Home Depot Center, 7:30 p.m. (Prime Ticket); Saturday at FC Dallas, 6 p.m. (Galavision); Tuesday in a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal vs. Charlotte Eagles (USL Pro) at Cal State Fullerton, 7:30 p.m..

15. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (5-7-2, 17 points), LW: 12
Week 15:
Revs claim fifth “result” in six home games in 0-0 tie against Columbus.
Latest: The goal is better passing, better possession. With Revs' attacking talent, they might contend for real if they get there.
Should-be All-Star: Saër Sene is in the front group for MLS Newcomer of the Year.
Next: Saturday at Toronto, 1:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick).

16. PORTLAND TIMBERS (3-6-4, 13 points), LW: 15
Week 15:
Timbers get nothing from early chances in 1-0 loss to the Galaxy.
Latest: MLS's best home crowd braces for MLS's best rivalry game, the Cascadia Cup clash with hated Seattle.
Should-be All-Star: Darlington Nagbe is on the verge of something big.
Next: Sunday vs. Seattle, 2 p.m. (ESPN and ESPN Deportes).

17. FC DALLAS (3-9-4, 13 points), LW: 17
Week 15:
Jair Benitez picks up third red card vs. Houston in three years (for elbowing Colin Clarke in the head away from the ball), and Hoops give up the decisive goal in a 2-1 loss 13 minutes later to fall to 0-7-3 in their last 10.
Latest: If a couple guys had gotten hurt, Dynamo defeat would have summed up the season.
Should-be All-Star: Blas Perez has been a bright spot in a dismal campaign.
Next: Saturday vs. Chivas USA, 6 p.m. (Galavision).

18. PHILADELPHIA UNION (2-8-2, 8 points), LW: 18
Week 15:
John Hackworth's first game in charge is a 1-0 loss to D.C. United.
Latest: German midfielder Kai Herdling is waived two weeks before his loan from 1899 Hoffenheim expires.
Should-be All-Star: Gabriel Gomez has impressed in Philly's circus.
Next: Saturday vs. Sporting Kansas City, 4 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick); Tuesday in a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal vs. Harrisburg City Islanders (USL Pro), 4:30 p.m.

19. TORONTO FC (1-10-0, 3 points), LW: 19
Week 15:
Paul Mariner's debut fits form: a 2-0 loss at Sporting Kansas City.
Latest: L.A.-bred rookie Luis Silva, Dutchman Nick Soolsma and Chilean Miguel Aceval arrested for public intoxication after a brawl in a nightclub parking lot before the game in Houston. All three were sent home.
Should-be All-Star: Rising Canadian national team back Ashtone Morgan has been a rare plus.
Next: Wednesday at Houston, 6 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick); Saturday vs. New England, 1:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick); Wednesday, June 27, vs. Toronto FC, 4:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick).

All times Pacific