Week 15 rankings: Sounders stay hot
It wasn't as easy as they'd like, and it came with the unfortunate sending off of Obafemi Martins, but the Sounders handled the Fire on Saturday to maintain their spot atop ESPN's Powers Rankings. Seattle heads into the league's two-week break as the clear best team in MLS.
1. Seattle Sounders -- Martins' red card took some of the shine off the Seattle's 3-2 win over Chicago, but the Nigerian's two first-half goals once again showed why the Sounders can be thankful he didn't head to Brazil for the World Cup during Clint Dempsey's absence. The Sounders are currently on pace for a record season point total.
2. Vancouver Whitecaps -- Vancouver can score with anybody in MLS; unfortunately, the Whitecaps also allowed the Union to get three of their own in a 3-3 draw this weekend. If Carl Robinson and company can lock things down in the back, they could be a dark horse in the West.
3. New England Revolution -- Another week, another slip for New England. Despite facing a depleted New York Red Bulls side who was missing Henry, Olave, and McCarty in addition to two World Cup players, the Revolution dropped points at home in a 2-0 loss.
4. Toronto FC -- TFC quietly has the best points-per-game average in the Eastern Conference, and while the 1-0 win over San Jose on Saturday wasn't pretty, it did lift Jermain Defoe and company into fourth place with a least three fewer games played than everyone above them in the standings. Defoe continues to carry the attack.
5. Real Salt Lake -- A draw with Columbus midweek and a loss to the Timbers on Saturday made for a disappointing week for RSL. Until Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando come back and the team can get their top strikers healthy, things will be difficult for Jeff Cassar's side.
6. D.C. United -- There's not much to say about United's scoreless draw against Columbus. Fabian Espindola certainly wants his ill-advised chipped penalty back, but United hardly did enough on the day to deserve a win.
7. LA Galaxy -- The Galaxy managed only a draw against Chivas USA on Sunday night, a disappointing result for a team used to feasting on the Goats. One positive for LA is the goal from Gyasi Zardes, a talented player who has yet to fulfill his promise.
8. Sporting Kansas City -- Finally, some good news for the defending champs, though it took playing most of the game with 10 men to get a win in Houston. Sporting will be glad the break is here, as they deal with depth issues and adjust to life post-Oriel Rosell.
9. Colorado Rapids -- The Rapids failed to hang on to a road point in Dallas, where Fabian Castillo's brilliant individual effort sunk Colorado. Pablo Mastroeni's team simply couldn't handle FC Dallas's speed on the defensive end, but continues to get big contributions from rookie striker DeShorn Brown.
10. New York Red Bulls -- Is this the start of a good run for the Red Bulls? Heading into the World Cup break, New York won for the first time in 20 matches at Gillette Stadium, and did it without Henry, Olave, McCarty, or Cahill. Luis Robles was the star of the show with 10 saves and the clean sheet.
11. San Jose Earthquakes -- It wasn't a good day for the Quakes on the road in Toronto, where they were mostly dominated by the home side over 90 minutes. Mark turned to Steven Lenhart and Alan Gordon in Chris Wondolowski's absence, but the Bash Brothers were ineffective.
12. Portland Timbers -- The Timbers won't care that their first win over Real Salt Lake in 11 tries came with their Western Conference rivals hampered by absences and injuries. The 3-1 win is three more points towards resuscitating a season that very nearly slipped away, and was Portland's third win in their last four.
13. Columbus Crew -- If it wasn't already obvious how much the Crew rely on Federico Higuain to create chances, it was on display against D.C. United. The Crew looked toothless on the road and were lucky to escape with a point.
14. Houston Dynamo -- The Dynamo's four losses in a row, the latest a home defeat to Sporting Kansas City, should set off alarms in Texas. Does Dom Kinnear's team have enough talent to get back on track post World Cup-break?
15. Chicago Fire -- The Fire made a game of it, but ultimately fell to the Sounders at home in Bridgeview. Chicago's bright spot continues to be leading Rookie of the Year candidate Harrison Shipp, who scored both of the Fire's goals in the loss.
16. Montreal Impact -- The idle Impact had the weekend to celebrate their midweek Canadian Championship victory over Toronto FC. That win, and their surprising dominance of New England last weekend, might be a platform for improvement in Quebec.
17. F.C. Dallas -- If Oscar Pareja's team can get the sort of performance out of Fabian Castillo that they did in a 3-2 win over Colorado on Saturday, all might not be lost in North Texas. The dynamic Colombian's stunning winner helped end the club's eight-game winless streak.
18. Philadelphia Union -- Good enough to draw, not good enough to win; the Union's underwhelming campaign continued with a 3-3 result against the Whitecaps at PPL Park. The Union stormed back from two goals down to take the lead, only to have Zac MacMath submarine the comeback with an ill-advised takedown of Darren Mattocks late in the game.
19. Chivas USA -- Undermanned Chivas USA grinded out a 1-1 draw against stadium-mates LA Galaxy on Sunday night, a moral victory in a difficult season. Chivas USA bunkered in and absorbed pressure, leaning heavily on goalkeeper Dan Kennedy to secure the single point.