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Wednesday, July 20, 2011
MLS Power Rankings, Week 19: More pain, no gain

By Scott French

We've wrung our hands again and again over injuries to big players in Major League Soccer this season -- David Ferreira, Javier Morales and Steve Zakuani most of all -- and now here's another.

Colorado forward Conor Casey snapped his left Achilles' tendon during the Rapids loss Saturday at Seattle, and he'll miss the rest of the season -- and possibly right up until next season's opener -- in a massive blow to the reigning MLS Cup champions' hopes to repeat.

Injuries are part of the game, of course, but the number of major injuries to some of the league's most important players has been this season's unwanted storyline. FC Dallas' Ferreira is the reigning MLS MVP. Real Salt Lake's Morales is the league's premier playmaking midfielder. Seattle's Zakuani is the most dangerous winger.

All three were injured on tackles, with Morales (by Chivas USA's Marcos Mondaini) and Zakuani (by Colorado's Brian Mullan) cut down in brutal, misthought attacks. Casey, maybe the best big target forward in MLS, was alone when he tumbled to the turf, just another misstep in a career that has seen too many injuries.

This week's rankings (with, in a nod to USL Pro standout Seedy Bah, our favorite names):




1. GALAXY (10-2-9, 39 points), Last week: 1
Week 18: Adam Cristman
scores again, but Galaxy schooled in 4-1 friendly loss to Real Madrid
Remark: Man City friendly a respite before the schedule turns really serious
Best name: There's a bit of poetry to Paolo Cardozo's name, no? To the midfielder's play, too
Next: Wednesday vs. Columbus at Home Depot Center (Carson), 7:30 p.m. (Prime Ticket); Sunday vs. Manchester City (England) in friendly at Home Depot Center (Carson), 1 p.m. (ESPN and ESPN Deportes)

2. SEATTLE SOUNDERS (10-4-8, 38 points), Last week: 3
Week 18:
MLS Player of the Week Mauro Rosales and Fredy Montero each contribute goal, assist as Sounders rally twice in 4-3 thriller over Colorado
Remark: Torrance's Sigi Schmid extends his contract through 2015, says he's “living a dream” as Sounders coach
Best name: Jhon Kennedy Hurtado's moniker is somewhat historic
Next: Wednesday in a friendly vs. Manchester United (England), 7 p.m. (Fox Soccer Channel and Galavision); Tuesday in CONCACAF Champions League preliminary-round first leg at San Francisco FC (Panama), 5 p.m. (Fox Soccer Channel)

3. FC DALLAS (10-5-5, 35 points), Last week: 2
Week 18:
Muggy triple-digit heat leads to a lot of standing around in 0-0 draw with D.C. United
Remark: Kenny Cooper returning to Dallas? Time in Portland seems short, and Schellas Hyndman isn't hiding his interest
Best name: Backline leader Ugo Ihemelu, who started his pro career with an MLS Cup title with the Galaxy
Next: Wednesday at Toronto FC, 5 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick); Saturday at New York, 3 p.m. (Galavision)

4. REAL SALT LAKE (8-3-6, 30 points), Last week: 4
Week 18:
Game at Vancouver is pushed back, no new date determined, when heavy storms leave a temporary grass field at Empire Stadium unplayable
Remark: All-Star snubs for Montclair's Nick Rimando, Fabian Espindola irk RSL brass
Best name: Andy Williams means someone else to your parents and grandparents
Next: Saturday vs. San Jose, 7 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

5. PHILADELPHIA UNION (8-4-7, 31 points), Last week: 5
Week 18:
Early goals by Carlos Ruiz, Carlos Valdes start 3-0 romp at New England
Remark: Eastern Conference leaders get only one All-Star berth (goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon's?) The real star is coach Peter Nowak
Best name:
Teen goalkeeper Zac MacMath's name adds up
Next: Wednesday vs. Everton (England), 4:30 p.m.; Saturday vs. Real Madrid (Spain), 6 p.m. (ESPN Deportes)

6. NEW YORK RED BULLS (6-4-11, 29 points), Last week: 6
Week 18:
Red Bulls settle for another tie, goalless at Chivas USA
Remark: Supporters' Shield “is gone,” Hans Backe admits. Playoffs are the goal
Best name: The coolest name: defender `air Hot's, of course
Next: Wednesday at Colorado, 6 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick); Saturday vs. FC Dallas, 3 p.m. (Galavision)

7. COLUMBUS CREW (7-5-7, 28 points), Last week: 8
Week 18: Brian McBride
inducted into the Crew's Circle of Honor before 0-0 tie with San Jose
Remark: Tony Tchani, so good as a Red Bulls rookie last year, improves the midfield, but he'll miss Galaxy game
Best name: Midfielder Dilly Duka might have the best name in MLS
Next: Wednesday vs. Galaxy at Home Depot Center (Carson), 7:30 p.m. (Prime Ticket); Saturday vs. Portland, 5 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick); Tuesday in a friendly vs. Newcastle United (England), 4:30 p.m.

8. COLORADO RAPIDS (6-6-9, 27 points), Last week: 7
Week 18: Wells Thompson
scores, assists to provide two leads, but Seattle rallies for 4-3 win
Remark: Mullan wimps out, stays home when Rapids visit Seattle, denying chance for Sounders fans still angry about his Zakuani attack a chance to vent
Best name: Senegalese forward Macoumba Kandji, who sacrificed so much (torn ACL) for so great a reward (MLS Cup title, on his winning shot)
Next: Wednesday vs. New York, 6 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick); Saturday vs. New England, 6 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

9. D.C. UNITED (5-5-8, 23 points), Last week: 10
Week 18:
Less offense than the score suggests in 0-0 draw at FC Dallas
Remark: D.C. makes another move, brings in youngster Austin da Luz from New York
Best name: It was Fred (just Fred) before he left for Australia. Santino Quaranta sounds like a tasty liqueur
Next: Wednesday vs. New England, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday in a friendly vs. Everton (England), 4:30 p.m. (Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Deportes)

10. HOUSTON DYNAMO (5-6-9, 24 points), Last week: 11
Week 18: Brad Davis
' free kick provides quick advantage, but red cards to Colin Clark, Brian Ching enable Sporting K.C.'s comeback in a 1-1 tie
Remark: Former Dynamo midfielder Stuart Holden, in town with Bolton, says he watches “every game when I'm in town. I watch every game online at 2 in the morning”
Best name: Tally ho, Tally Hall! Goalkeeper's an All-Star, too
Next: Wednesday vs. Bolton (England), 5:30 p.m.; Saturday at Chivas USA, 7:30 p.m. (Fox Sports West and Galavision)

11. SPORTING KANSAS CITY (5-6-8, 23 points), Last week: 12
Week 18: Aurelien Collin
draws fouls for two red cards, scores in 90th for 1-1 draw at Houston
Remark: Brazilian attacking midfielder Jeferson, late of Vasco da Gama, is the third DP in club history. “He's a big-time player,” says Peter Vermes
Best name: Teen forward Soony Saad, one of the new arrivals
Next: Wednesday vs. Newcastle United (England), 5:30 p.m.; Saturday vs. Toronto FC, 5:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)




12. CHIVAS USA (5-7-8, 23 points), Last week: 13
Week 18:
Goats can't put a shot on target in 0-0 tie vs. New York
Remark: Talk resurfaces about a move to San Diego. “Not at all. Completely, 100 percent no ...,” co-owner Jorge Vergara says. “We’re going to stay in L.A. forever and ever.”
Best name: We like rookie Zarek Valentin. Too bad Ben Zemanski's parents weren't thinking along those lines
Next: Saturday vs. Houston at Home Depot Center (Carson), 7:30 p.m. (Prime Ticket and KWHY/Channel 22)

13. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (5-6-8, 23 points), Last week: 9
Week 18:
Quakes shut out again in draw at Columbus
Remark: Winless streak hits six games, no goals in five of them
Best name: Three times fast? Try to say rookie midfielder Anthony Ampaipitakwong's name once
Next: Wednesday vs. Vancouver, 7:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick); Saturday at Real Salt Lake, 7 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

14. CHICAGO FIRE (2-6-12, 18 points), Last week: 14
Week 18:
Woodland Hills' Orr Barouch hits his third crossbar in 1-0 loss to visiting Portland
Remark: Is Mexican star Pavel Pardo en route to Chicago?
Best name: Baggio Husidic's name is product of a childhood Roberto Baggio fixation
Next: Saturday in a friendly vs. Manchester United (England), 2 p.m. (ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes)

15. PORTLAND TIMBERS (6-9-3, 21 points), Last week: 16
Week 18: Jack Jewsbury
's first-half penalty kicks enough to win at Chicago, 1-0
Remark: Torn ACL ends veteran defender Kevin Goldthwaite's year
Best name: Forward Bright Dike's is hard to beat
Next: Wednesday in a friendly vs. West Bromwich Albion (England), 8 p.m.; Saturday at Columbus, 5 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick); Tuesday in a friendly vs. Independiente (Argentina), 8 p.m.

16. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (3-9-7, 16 points), Last week: 15
Week 18:
Hapless Revs lose Benny Feilhaber to red card, battered by visiting Philadelphia, 3-0
Remark: Injured French midfielder Ousmane Dabo retires so New England can bring in someone else.
Best name: Forward Rajko Lekic's name evokes the Little Mermaid, Niels Bohr and everything else Danish
Next: Wednesday at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick); Saturday at Colorado, 6 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

17. TORONTO FC (3-9-9, 18 points), Last week: 17
Week 18:
Reds are, mercifully, idle
Remark: English defender Andy Iro, the former UC Santa Barbara All-American, escapes Crew hell for a new start with refashioned Reds
Best name: Torsten Frings is a star German midfielder, not burnt fries and onion rings
Next: Wednesday vs. FC Dallas, 5 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick); Saturday at Sporting Kansas City, 5:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

18. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (2-10-8, 14 points), Last week: 18
Week 18:
Game with Real Salt Lake is postponed when heavy rains turn temporary turf (for Man City friendly) to mush; field is playable but not very good as Camilo's opener fails to stand up in 2-1 loss to Manchester City
Remark: Coach/technical director Tom Soehn says 'Caps are “still looking for a leader, someone that's good in possession, someone that can put their stamp on the game,” former Manchester United/Bayern Munich standout Owen Hargreaves is targted
Best name: We like Chinese forward Long Tan
Next:
Wednesday at San Jose, 7:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)

All times Pacific