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Jun 2, 2014

Week 14 rankings: Sounding alarm

Four different Sounders players got on the score sheet in a 4-0 rout of Real Salt Lake on Saturday at CenturyLink Field.

In a battle of Western Conference powers, Seattle put an understrength Real Salt Lake team to the sword with a 4-0 win. Combined with New England's loss to Montreal, and Seattle is back atop ESPN's Power Rankings.

1. Seattle Sounders -- Clint Dempsey -- now away on World Cup duty -- and Obafemi Martins have helped drive Seattle's brilliant start. But against RSL it was two less heralded signings in Gonzalo Pineda and Marco Pappa who helped orchestrate a 4-0 victory.

2. New England Revolution -- Parity remains alive and well in MLS, as the high-flying Revs fell back to earth against Montreal. Manager Jay Heaps will be bothered most by an oddly passive defensive performance that saw runners go untracked on both Impact goals.

3. Real Salt Lake -- RSL couldn't overcome the double blow of World Cup absences and injury in losing to Seattle, though the contentious penalty that opened the scoring didn't help. Manager Jeff Cassar is right: Forget this one and move on.

4. Vancouver Whitecaps -- Easily the league's most improved player, Erik Hurtado continued his breakout season, tormenting Cascadia rivals Portland with a goal as well as earning a penalty. Vancouver survived a shaky ending but secured an impressive 4-3 road win.

5. D.C. United -- One goal from Eddie Johnson heading into June figured to spell doom for DCU, but Fabian Espindola is on pace for a career season with seven goals, including a looping goal (or was it a cross?) that proved to be enough to beat Sporting Kansas City 1-0.

6. LA Galaxy -- The Galaxy was rightly ticked about the penalty whistled against Juninho, given that the foul was outside the box. Fortunately, Landon Donovan bagged an equalizer courtesy of a Robbie Rogers assist to allow L.A. to escape hot and humid Chicago with a point.

7. Toronto FC -- It was beginning to look like the latest in a series of rough days for Doneil Henry, given his culpability on both Crew goals. But the TFC defender made amends with a stoppage time winner against Columbus to give Toronto all three points.

8. Colorado Rapids -- The good part of Colorado's split personality was on display against Houston, as Deshorn Brown and Kamani Hill combined for three goals. Dillon Powers has looked impressive since moving closer to goal, as well.

9. Sporting Kansas City -- The injury crisis permeating SKC showed no signs of letting up in the 1-0 loss to D.C. United, with Aurelien Collin forced off after just nine minutes. On the plus side, Erik Palmer-Brown looked much more assured than he did during his debut.

10. San Jose Earthquakes -- Sometimes, it just takes a few months for a foreign player to adapt to MLS. That looks to be the case with Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi, who has shown steady improvement, and belted a 35-yard wonder strike against Dallas to give the Quakes a 2-1 win.

Bradley Wright-Phillips padded his lead as the leader in the Golden Boot race with another goal against Sporting KC this weekend.
Bradley Wright-Phillips padded his lead as the leader in the Golden Boot race with another goal against Sporting KC this weekend.

11. New York Red Bulls -- The Red Bulls stopped the bleeding with a road draw at Kansas City, surviving an early onslaught and then earning a 1-1 draw thanks to another deft finish by Bradley Wright-Phillips.

12. Houston Dynamo -- Houston is in a rut, having dropped four of five, and can't rely on the absent duo of Brad Davis and Oscar Boniek Garcia to get them out of it. No excuses for the poor defensive starts, however.

13. Portland Timbers -- Things appeared to be looking up in Portland after a midweek win at Chivas USA. Then Sunday's 4-3 loss to Vancouver happened with the Timbers' defense delivering a shoddy performance reminiscent of games earlier in the season.

14. Chicago Fire -- Another home game, another match in which the Fire left points on the table, as it coughed up Landon Donovan's equalizer with 15 minutes to go. That said, with the team missing Mike Magee and Patrick Nyarko, Chicago will take the 1-1 draw.

15. Columbus Crew -- On a day in which Federico Higuain was absent, the Crew came so close to getting an inspiring result. Instead it suffered another gut-punch in losing to Toronto. That's just one win in 10 games now for Columbus.

16. Montreal Impact -- The Impact delivered as complete a performance as they have all season in beating New England 2-0. Andres Romero and Jack McInerney got the goals, but it was the heretofore leaky defense that was most impressive, shutting down the Revolution's fearsome attack.

17. Philadelphia Union -- Against Chivas USA, Conor Casey provided the finishing that has been so often lacking this season for the Union. Cristian Maidana also showed off his considerable skills with a gorgeous assist and a well taken goal.

18. F.C. Dallas -- The 2014 campaign isn't even half over and Dallas already has six red cards. That shocking lack of discipline has been a significant factor in FCD's eight-game winless streak, which was extended on Saturday thanks to a 2-1 loss to San Jose.

19. Chivas USA -- You know things aren't going your way when you get called for delay of game, in the 27th minute no less. It was just the first in a serious of unfortunate events that led to a 3-0 defeat against Philadelphia.

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