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2014 MLS midseason awards

MLS Aug 4, 2014
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D.C.'s turnaround led by Olsen

MLS Jul 31, 2014
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 By Jason Davis
Jul 20, 2014

Week 19 rankings: Seattle stays top

Check out the top 10 goals from the MLS so far this season.

Despite not playing this weekend, Seattle's position at the top of the ESPNFC MLS Power Rankings remains unassailable. Of the teams vying to grab the top spot, both D.C. United and defending MLS Cup champ Sporting Kansas City won their Week 19 matches, with SKC securing the more impressive victory.

A season thick with parity below the Sounders continued through the weekend. The East remains tough at the top but features a gaggle of teams battling it out for playoff spots down the standings. Potential summer acquisitions could be the key to sorting out the mess.

1. Seattle Sounders

Idle this week, Seattle used the open date to host Tottenham Hotspur in a friendly that ended in a 3-3 draw. There's usually not much to say about summer friendlies, but the Sounders made their date with Spurs truly special by bringing to life the dream of 18-year-old cystic fibrosis patient Xander Bailey.

ESPN's Monica Gonzalez caught up with 18-year-old Xander Bailey from the Make-A-Wish Foundation about his experience with the Seattle Sounders and his message to other teens fighting against cystic fibrosis.

2. D.C. United

United finally stopped the surprising run of Chivas USA with a 3-1 win Sunday night. Eddie Johnson put in a strong second-half performance and scored D.C.'s opener with a penalty kick. The win puts United just one point back from Sporting Kansas City in the East. Ben Olsen has to be in the early discussion for Coach of the Year.

3. Sporting Kansas City

What a week for the defending champ: On the same day that Sporting secured a home win over the L.A. Galaxy thanks to a marvelous Benny Feilhaber free kick and a scrappy header from Lawrence Olum -- their second win in four days -- the club announced designated-player deals with Matt Besler and Graham Zusi that will keep the pair with the SKC for the foreseeable future.

It has been announced that Sporting Kansas City's Matt Besler and Graham Zusi have agreed to designated player contracts.

4. Colorado Rapids

A couple of missed chances ultimately did the Rapids in against Portland, a previously difficult place to play that hadn't proved to be this season. The loss dropped Colorado into a three-way tie in the West with L.A. and Vancouver, with Colorado holding on to the fifth and final playoff spot by virtue of a tiebreaker over the Whitecaps.

5. Vancouver Whitecaps

Two road games, two draws for the Whitecaps. In midweek, Vancouver tied with Toronto 1-1 at BMO Field. On Saturday, they replicated the score line against Real Salt Lake in Utah, benefiting from a questionable penalty on Nat Borchers. Two points from that stretch is a respectable return for Carl Robinson's team and keeps Vancouver in the mix for the playoffs.

6. Toronto FC

After the draw on Wednesday with Canadian rival Vancouver, Toronto traveled to Texas to take on the ice-cold Dynamo. Mistakes, a theme for TFC this year, led to Houston's opener and ultimately resulted in a draw instead of a win. TFC must iron out those semi-regular gaffes to become legitimate contenders.

After a last-minute first half goal and a Michael Bradley missed penalty the sides shared the points in Houston.

7. L.A. Galaxy

The Galaxy followed up their home rout of the Revolution with a one-goal loss in Kansas City. The trip to the Midwest is always difficult, and Bruce Arena can be encouraged by his team's fight in the loss. Robbie Keane's leadership remains a boon to the Galaxy's effort, and Bradford Jamison is a player to watch.

8. Real Salt Lake

Joao Plata salvaged a draw for RSL against Vancouver with yet another late goal. The Ecuadorian striker must carry more of the scoring load while Alvaro Saborio is out injured. Despite Plata's small size, he very well might be up to the task.

Real Salt Lake and Vancouver played to a 1-1 tie at Rio Tinto Stadium in a game filled with high emotion.

9. New York Red Bulls

The Red Bulls chug along. They are always capable of first-rate play but all too often underperform for reasons no one can seem to grasp. The latest example is the disappointing home draw with San Jose, the dregs of the Western Conference.

10. Portland Timbers

Portland's win against Colorado on Friday night, their first three-pointer in five games, keeps the Timbers' slim dream of a playoff spot alive for the time being. Diego Valeri and Maxi Urruti scored a goal each, giving Portland's win a nice Argentine flavor.

DC United extended their lead at the top of the MLS Eastern Conference with a comfortable 3-1 victory over Chivas USA.

11. FC Dallas

FC Dallas picked on the coldest team in MLS, the Revolution, in a 2-0 win in Frisco. All things considered, coach Oscar Pareja has done a yeoman's job keeping his team together through a string of injuries and suspensions. Nothing about FC Dallas jumps off the page 20 games into the season, yet they sit in second place in the Western Conference.

12. Chivas USA

The loss in Washington ended the Goats' four-game winning streak, but there are plenty of reasons to be positive about the club's ability to compete in the stacked Western Conference. Chivas might not be a playoff team, but Wilmer Cabrera's side won't be a pushover down the stretch.

The New England Revolution slumped to a seventh straight defeat on Saturday, losing 2-0 to FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium.

13. Philadelphia Union

Interim coach Jim Curtin's Chicago homecoming ended with a 1-1 draw, but the Union needed a late penalty kick from Sebastien Le Toux to escape Toyota Park with a point. Philadelphia could soon get a boost with the return of Colombian defender Carlos Valdes, which would greatly help sort out the problems in the back.

14. New England Revolution

Slide, slide, slide. New England's losing streak is at six games after a loss in Dallas, and the season is in jeopardy of slipping away. The Revs hold on to the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference by a sliver, but with the Crew and Union tied on points with Jay Heaps' side, the position might not be New England's for long.

A stoppage-time penalty from Sebastian Le Toux earned the Philadelphia Union a point against the Chicago Fire.

15. Columbus Crew

Columbus won for the first time in eight games, but did it against the Eastern Conference's bottom-dweller. The Crew won thanks to a Bernardo Anor brace, in spite of a lineup missing several key starters. If the Crew can build on the win, they'll still have a part to play in the playoff race.

16. Chicago Fire

The Fire were nearly there before a handball call against Gonzalo Segares helped the Union to a draw in Bridgeview. The single point was disappointing to coach Frank Yallop & Co., but the Fire still believe themselves to be part of the of second-half story in the East, sitting just three points off a playoff spot.

A brace from Bernardo Anor lifted Columbus Crew to a 2-1 comeback victory over the Montreal Impact at Columbus Crew Stadium.

17. Houston Dynamo

After five straight losses, the Dynamo are experiencing a slight uptick in results with a pair of draws in their last three matches. The latest was a 2-2 finish against Toronto at home, and while the points still aren't coming fast enough to put Houston back in the playoff picture, at least the team is scoring goals again.

18. Montreal Impact

A forgettable season continues for the Impact, with little sign that there are any changes afoot in Quebec. Joey Saputo's team is not living up to the promises made upon their arrival in the league, and one can only imagine a rethink is in the offing once 2014 comes to a close.

19. San Jose Earthquakes

Steven Lenhart finally scored his first goal of the year to earn the Quakes a tough road draw against New York on Saturday. San Jose gave New York plenty of chances to reclaim the lead but managed to hold on. It's a tiny bit of light in an otherwise dark season so far for the Earthquakes.

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