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MLS rankings: May 3

1 – 1. Sporting Kansas City (7-0-1 – 21 pts, 12 gf, 3 ga). This week: Didn’t play. A week off never hurts, but Kansas City now find themselves trailing San Jose in the Supporter’s Shield race. Up next: Montreal on Saturday

2 – 2. San Jose Earthquakes (7-1-1 – 22 pts, 20 gf, 9 ga). This week: Beat DC United 5-3; Beat Philadelphia 2-1. The Quakes keep scoring, though their defense hasn’t looked quite so airtight lately. Now they play the Whitecaps. Again, already? Up next: At Vancouver on Saturday

3 – 3. Seattle Sounders (5-1-1 – 16 pts, 10 gf, 3 ga). This week: Beat LA Galaxy 2-0; Beat Chicago 2-1. A workman-like win at Chicago is followed by a convincing display against their arch-nemeses. Are the Sounders the most complete team in the MLS? Up next: Philadelphia on Saturday

4 – 4. Real Salt Lake (6-1-3 – 19 pts, 16 gf, 11 ga). This week: Beat Toronto 3-2. Drew 1-1 with Dallas. RSL’s defense has looked uncharacteristically porous lately, but a home date against New England should probably do the trick. Up next: New England on Saturday

5 – 7. Vancouver Whitecaps (4-2-2 – 14 pts, 7 gf, 6 ga). This week: Beat Columbus 1-0. A good week for the Whitecaps, who all but booked their place in the Canadian Championship title game in midweek. Their defense must be better in the rematch with San Jose. Up next: San Jose on Saturday

6 – 5. DC United (4-3-3 – 15 pts, 18 gf, 15 ga). This week: Lost to San Jose 5-3; Beat Houston 3-2. Scoring 6 goals in their last two matches? Great. Giving up 7? Not so much. Up next: At Toronto on Saturday

7 – 8. FC Dallas (3-3-3 – 12 pts, 10 gf, 12 ga). This week: Drew 1-1 with LA Galaxy. Drew 1-1 with Real Salt Lake. At this point, Dallas isn’t everwhelming anyone, but they’ve managed to keep picking up points, which is the important thing. Up next: Colorado on Sunday on Sunday

8 – 6. Houston Dynamo (2-2-2 – 8 pts, 7 gf, 8 ga). This week: Lost 3-2 to DC United. The Dynamo have their third bye week of the season so far this weekend, but at least their road trip ends on May 9. Up next: At New York on May 9

9 – 11. New York Red Bulls (4-1-3 – 13 pts, 18 gf, 14 ga) This week: Beat New England 1-0. The next month will give Kenny Cooper a great chance to boost his USMNT credentials with Thierry Henry injured. Up next: At LA Galaxy on Saturday

10 – 12. Colorado Rapids (4-0-5 – 12 pts, 13 gf, 12 ga). This week: Lost 2-1 to New England; Beat Chivas USA 4-0. Great win against Chivas, poor performance against the Revs. The Rapids are the up and down team of the season so far. Up next: At Dallas on Sunday

11 – 9. Chicago Fire (2-2-2 – 8 pts, 7 gf, 8 ga). This week: Lost 2-1 to Seattle. A trip to visit struggling Chivas presents a good opportunity for the Fire to kickstart their season, finally. Up next: At Chivas USA on Friday

12 – 10. LA Galaxy (3-1-4 – 10 pts, 11 gf, 13 ga). This week: Lost 2-0 to Seattle; Drew 1-1 with Dallas. Back-to-back flat performances has coach Bruce Arena looking for answers. Here is one, coach: Don’t bench Beckham and Robbie Keane. Up next: New York on Saturday

13 – 15. New England Revolution (3-0-5 – 9 pts, 7 gf, 10 ga). This week: Beat Colorado 2-1; Lost 1-0 to New York. The Revs finally ended their losing streak by beating Colorado, but they’re still struggling to impose themselves on games. Up next: At Real Salt Lake on Saturday

14 – 13. Columbus Crew (2-1-4 – 7 pts, 6 gf, 10 ga). This week: Lost 1-0 to Vancouver. A punchless offense and mistake-prone defense has the playoffs looking like a far-off prospect. Up next: At Portland on Saturday

15 – 16. Philadelphia Union (2-1-4 – 7 pts, 5 gf, 8 ga). This week: Lost to San Jose 2-1. The Union are piecing together better performances, but just seem to be missing something on the attacking end. Sebastian LeToux, perhaps? Up next: At Seattle on Saturday

16 – 18. Montreal Impact (2-2-5 – 8 pts, 9 gf, 15 ga). This week: Beat Portland 2-0. Maybe they haven’t reached the point where you can say they’re “acquitting themselves nicely,” but the Impact are certainly not the worst expansion team the MLS has ever had. Up next: At Kansas City on Saturday

17 – 14. Portland Timbers (2-1-5 – 7 pts, 9 gf, 13 ga). This week: Lost 2-0 to Montreal. Go here for my insightful analysis of Portland’s struggles. The Timbers are at a worrying point where the fans are starting to get fed up with their disappointing start, so they’ll need some good results before heat builds even more on coach John Spencer. Up next: Columbus on Saturday

18 – 17. Chivas USA (3-0-5 – 9 pts, 4 gf, 9 ga). This week: Lost 4-0 to Colorado. With Toronto in the MLS, Chivas are a long way from being the worst team in the MLS, but they sure are lousy. Up next: Chicago on Friday

19 – 19. Toronto FC (0-0-7 – 0 pts, 6 gf, 16 ga). This week: Lost 3-2 to Real Salt Lake. It’s a measure of how bad Toronto has been that a scoreless draw at Montreal is seen as a positive result. Up next: DC United on Saturday

Match Report: FC Dallas 1, New England 0

Calling this a “match report” might be a bit ambitious, since I’m posting about 55 words, but that’s OK. A late, late injury-time goal from Ugo Ihemelu (I’m not checking the spelling on this) gave Dallas a much-deserved win over New England. The fightin’ red and whites dominated the match, particularly Fabian Castillo, who gave the slow Revs backline fits, but seemed destined for a draw until Ihemelu scored on a corner. A much-heartening result if you’re a Dallas fan, especially on the heels of the disaster in DC last week. The Revs weren’t particularly good, but let them enjoy their 2-match winning streak that just ended, please.

MLS rankings: April 4

If you thought I'd be averse to posting photos of myself on this site, you'd be sadly mistaken. As for the other two? Well, it's too late to worry about that.

This is a special “My sister’s birthday” edition of MLS rankings. Happy birthday Melani! There were a couple dramatic movers in the rankings – San Jose and New England both notched impressive wins, while the Galaxy continue to drop and face the No. 1 team this week.

1 – 1. Sporting Kansas City (4-0-0 – 12 pts, 7 gf, 1 ga). This week: Beat Chivas USA 1-0. Once again, it wasn’t pretty, but if Sporting keeps racking up points, it won’t matter. Up next: LA Galaxy on Saturday

2 – 4. Real Salt Lake (3-0-1 – 9 pts, 8 gf, 4 ga). This week: Beat Portland 3-2. RSL were a bit lucky to grab the win against Portland, but it’s the type of match that the top teams grind out. Up next: Montreal on Wednesay

3 – 2. Seattle Sounders (2-0-1 – 6 pts, 5 gf, 2 ga). This week: Lost to San Jose 1-0. One loss certainly isn’t enough to cause worry, but the Sounders have yet to put together a complete performance. Up next: At DC United on Saturday

4 – 7. San Jose Earthquakes (3-0-1 – 9 pts, 5 gf, 1 ga). This week: Beat Seattle 1-0. A solid defense and opportunistic offense have the Quakes thinking playoffs. Whether they can keep this up is the question. Up next: Vancouver on Saturday

5 – 5. Vancouver Whitecaps (2-2-0 – 8 pts, 3 gf, 0 ga). This week: Drew 0-0 with Philadelphia. OK, they were outplayed by the Union, haven’t scored in two matches, and Hassli, LeToux, Camilo and Long don’t seem to be on the same page. But, they still haven’t given up a goal. Up next: At San Jose on Saturday

6 – 6. Houston Dynamo (2-0-1 – 6 pts, 2 gf, 2 ga). This week: Didn’t play. Aside from Kansas City’s continued dominance, the Dynamo didn’t lose any ground by not playing. A quirk in scheduling has them not playing this week either. Up next: At Chicago on April 15

7 – 12. Colorado Rapids (3-0-1 – 9 pts, 7 gf, 5 ga). This week: Beat Chicago 2-0. It was a return to normal service for the Rapids, who were efficient and clinical, and once again good on defense in beating the Fire. Up next: At Real Salt Lake on Saturday

8 – 3. LA Galaxy (1-0-2 – 3 pts, 5 gf, 7 ga). This week: Lost to New England 3-1. I still think the Galaxy will be there come playoff time, but after three matches, they are as bad defensively as any team in the MLS, save perhaps Toronto and Montreal. Up next: At Kansas City on Saturday

9 – 11. Columbus Crew (2-0-1 – 6 pts, 3 gf, 2 ga). This week: Beat Toronto 1-0. The Crew gave Toronto a lesson in game management in winning their second match of the year. Columbus looks like one of the better teams in the East at this point. Up next: New York on Saturday

10 – 13. New York Red Bulls (2-0-2 – 6 pts, 10 gf, 7 ga) This week: Beat Montreal 5-2. The Red Bulls offense (and Henry in particular) have come to life in the last two matches, though how much of that is due to bad defending? Up next: At Columbus on Saturday

11 – 8. Chicago Fire (1-1-1 – 4 pts, 2 gf, 3 ga). This week: Lost to Colorado 2-0. Aside from the second goal in the Colorado match, the Fire are defending well, but have disappointed in attack so far. Up next: Houston on April 15

12 – 16. New England Revolution (2-0-2 – 6 pts, 4 gf, 5 ga). This week: Beat LA Galaxy 3-1. I’m sure’s rankings have the Revs in the Top 5 after their second straight win – I’m going to err on the side of “I’ll believe it when they keep doing it,” though. Up next: At Dallas on Thursday

13 – 14. DC United (1-1-2 – 4 pts, 5 gf, 5 ga). This week: Beat FC Dallas 4-1. OK, there’s the United offense, finally. Nick DeLeon looks like a really good MLS player. Up next: Seattle on Saturday

14 – 9. Portland Timbers (1-1-2 – 4 pts, 6 gf, 6 ga). This week: Lost to Real Salt Lake 3-2. The Timbers threw away a win against RSL. Until their defense improves, they’ll struggle to make the playoffs. Up next: Chivas USA on Saturday

15 – 10. FC Dallas (1-1-2 – 4 pts, 5 gf, 8 ga). This week: Lost to DC United 4-1. For such an experienced team, Dallas were all over the place defensively. Plus, the David Fereira situation looks like a season-long distraction. Up next: New England on Thursday

16 – 15. Chivas USA (1-0-3 – 3 pts, 1 gf, 3 ga). This week: Lost to Kansas City 1-0. If you disregard the RSL match, Chivas have yet to score and have lost three out of three matches at home. Up next: At Portland on Saturday

17 – 18. Philadelphia Union (0-1-3 – 1 pt, 2 gf, 6 ga). This week: Drew 0-0 with Vancouver. The Union play better and pick up their first point, but still can’t seem to get Lionard Pajoy involved in the attack. Up next: Columbus on April 14

18-17. Montreal Impact (0-1-3 – 1 pt, 3 gf, 10 ga). This week: Lost 5-2 to New York. The Impact gave it a go against New York and were punished in the second half. They should be a fun team for their fans to support this year, though. Up next: At Real Salt Lake on Wednesday

19 – 19. Toronto FC (0-0-3 – 0 pts, 1 gf, 7 ga). This week: Lost to Columbus 1-0. Ugh. Toronto are bad. Torsten Frings will whip these guys into shape, though they could be out of the playoff race by the team he gets back. Up next: At Montreal on Saturday

MLS Playoffs: FC Dallas 0, New York Red Bulls 2

Thierry Henry's beard takes on a shirtless Landon Donovan in the next round.

Goals: Joel Lindpere (1), Thierry Henry (1)

Red card: Jan Gunnar Solli

Shots: FC Dallas – 23 (7 on target), New York – 13 (6 on target)

A crushing loss for FC Dallas, who, like many of their matches in the second half of the year, dominated with possession and chances, but were unable to score a goal. Jackson in particular was wasteful, though he has been much better this year as more of an attacking midfielder than a forward. Dallas needs to address their lack of quality strikers in the offseason. After near total domination in the first half (particularly the first 30 minutes) by Dallas, New York broke the deadlock when Joel Lindpere was first to a cross just after the break. Dallas continued to batter New York without scoring, and got even bigger of a lifeline when Jan Gunnar Solli was sent off for a terrible tackle on Daniel Hernandez. They still couldn’t finish the game off, and Thierry Henry made certain of the win in injury time with a goal. New York has to be considerably better defensively in their next match – against the Galaxy. The first 30 minutes pretty much summed up why they haven’t been any good this year. They were more fortunate than anything else to escape with a win.

MLS rankings: Week 20

By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood

Sorry for the lack of rankings last week, but I was in the hospital watching my baby being born. Sort of. She did OK these rankings, though.

All times Pacific; first number is current ranking, second is previous ranking. I trust you can figure out the rest…

1 – 4. FC Dallas beat Chivas USA 1-0 at home; drew 2-2 at New York. Dallas escaped from New York with a point and beat Chivas, and also moved on easily in the Champions League. Will they cement their spot at No. 1 by beating the Galaxy, or will they drop down to No. 4 again after one week at the top like they did last time? Season: 12-6-5, 30 gf, 20 ga. Up next: At LA Galaxy on Saturday

2 – 2. LA Galaxy lost 3-0 at Portland; won 4-0 at Vancouver. The Galaxy would have moved back into first place if they’d even lost to Portland by a 1-0 scoreline. But 3-0? From the title favorites? With Beckham and Donovan playing? Not good enough. Season: 12-9-3, 32 gf, 19 ga; Up next: FC Dallas on Saturday

3 – 3. Seattle Sounders lost 3-1 at Houston. The Sounders seem to have gotten over their resounding defeat at home to Manchester United by advancing in the Champions League (is this the first time all the MLS teams have advanced? I think so.) They need to grab a point against KC in the quest for the Supporters Shield. Season: 10-8-5, 33 gf, 26 ga; Up next: At Sporting Kansas City on Saturday

4 – 7. Columbus Crew won 2-0 at Real Salt Lake; won 1-0 at home against Portland. What? The Crew is up to No. 4? Yeah, that’s what I said too. When you compare lineups with New York, you think that there is no possible way this team is better, but they are. They defend, they score important goals (though not many), but man are they ugly to watch. Season: 9-7-6, 24 gf 20 ga; Up next: Colorado on Friday

5 – 1. Real Salt Lake lost 2-0 at Sporting Kansas City; lost 2-0 at home to Columbus; beat San Jose 4-0 at home. After crushing San Jose, RSL has been woeful the last two matches – even at home. This team is missing something. (Could it be a playmaker?) Also: I think Alvaro Saborio is overrated. Season: 9-6-5, 26 gf, 16 ga; Up next: New York on Saturday

6 – 6. Colorado Rapids won 2-1 at Philadelphia; drew 2-2 at home with New England. Despite the injuries this team has dealt with, they have been playing the last few weeks like the defending champions that they are. They are in for a tough match this weekend, though against the current top team in the East. Season record: 8-10-6, 33 goals for, 31 goal against; Up next: Columbus on Friday

7 – 5. Philadelphia Union drew 1-1 at Chicago; lost 2-1 at home to Colorado. The Union have had a bit of a bump in the road as of late – could losing Carlos Ruiz hurt them? Nonetheless, they are a good enough team to beat Houston at home and stay in the hunt for first in the East. Season: 8-8-5, 26 gf, 19 ga; Up next: Houston on Saturday

8 – 9. Sporting Kansas City beat Real Salt Lake 2-0 at home; drew 1-1 at home against New England; won 4-2 at home against Toronto. Sporting’s long inexorable climb up the standings continues. I never thought after starting the season 1-1-6 that they would eventually be challenging for a Top 4 spot, but it looks highly likely at this point thanks to their 14-match unbeaten streak (and wealth of home matches). Season: 7-9-6, 31 gf, 28 ga; Up next: Seattle on Saturday

9 – 8. Red Bull New York drew 2-2 at home with Dallas. Yay, the Red Bulls won the Emirates Cup! It’s just too bad they can’t beat anyone in the MLS. Season: 6-12-5, 37 gf, 30 ga; Up next: At Real Salt Lake on Saturday

10 – 10. DC United won 2-0 at San Jose. United got a fairly workman-like win at San Jose, thanks to two Dwayne De Rosario goals. Their defense (and the play of goalkeeper Bill Hamid) has been significantly better the second half of the season. Season: 6-8-6, 26 gf, 30 ga; Up next: Toronto on Saturday

11 – 11. Chivas USA lost 1-0 at Dallas; beat Houston 3-0 at home. Some decent performances lately has Chivas fans hopeful of a playoff berth. New England is a perfectly winnable game on Saturday, though they probably need Justin Braun to end his “I only score hat tricks, but once every two months” run of play. Season: 6-8-8, 27 gf, 24 ga; Up next: At New England on Saturday

12 – 14. Portland Timbers beat LA Galaxy 3-0 at home; drew 2-2 at home with Toronto; lost 1-0 at Columbus. The Timbers got the performance their fans had been waiting for, for awhile, and amazingly it came against Los Angeles. Now with crumbling San Jose visiting, they have an excellent chance to charge into the final playoff spot. Side note: Eddie Johnson is a way better forward than Kenny Cooper or Jorge Perlaza in their system. Season: 7-4-10, 27 gf, 34 ga; Up next: At San Jose on Saturday

13 – 13. Houston Dynamo beat Seattle 3-1 at home; lost 3-0 at Chivas USA. Despite only picking up 15 points from their last 15 matches, the Dynamo are still in the final wild card playoff spot after beating Seattle. As uneven as their play has been of late, the same can be said of their competitors for the final spot (Chivas, Portland, DC United).  Season: 6-9-7, 26 gf, 27 ga; Up next: At Philadelphia on Saturday

14 – 12. San Jose Earthquakes lost 2-0 at home to San Jose; lost 4-0 at Real Salt Lake. So far, the Earthquakes have came out the worst from midseason trades, losing all punch up front with Ryan Johnson gone and leaking goals at the back minus Brandon McDonald. What is the identity of this team? A loss to Portland this weekend could spell the end for their playoff hopes. Season: 5-9-8, 24 gf, 29 ga; Up next: Portland on Saturday

15 – 18. New England Revolution drew 1-1 at Sporting Kansas City; drew 2-2 at Colorado. The Revs have been improved since getting thrashed at home by Philadelphia a couple weeks ago. But really, it’s not surprising – their roster certainly isn’t the worst in the MLS. Nonetheless, if they want to make the playoffs, they have to beat Chivas. Season: 4-9-9, 20 gf, 30 ga; Up next: Chivas USA on Saturday

16 – 15. Chicago Fire drew 1-1 at home with Philadelphia. So far the Fire’s calling card this season has been decent U.S. Open Cup performances and arguably the best showing by any MLS team against Manchester United. As for their play in the MLS? Yuck. Season: 2-13-6, 21 gf, 26 ga; Up next: At Vancouver on Sunday

17 – 17. Toronto FC drew 2-2 at Portland; lost 4-2 at Sporting Kansas City. Though you get the feeling that the roster decisions that have (mostly) revitalized Toronto came too late, they have looked, at the very least, like a decent attacking team in the second half of the season – and they are still in the Champions League. They still can’t defend, though. Season: 3-10-11, 21 gf, 43 ga; Up next: DC United on Saturday

18 – 16. Vancouver Whitecaps lost 4-0 at home to LA Galaxy. It’s been a bitterly disappointing season for Vancouver – even as an expansion team. Despite the signing of Eric Hassli, who has been very good, the other personnel decisions by this team (Mustapha Jarju? Trading Terry Dunfield) are the reason this team is the worst in the MLS. Season: 2-9-11, 21 gf, 34 ga; Up next: Chicago on Sunday


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