Goalkeepers took center stage in Week 13 with several massive performances that meant a low-scoring week in Major League Soccer. The league’s best youngsters like Andre Blake, Jesse Gonzalez, and Zack Steffen were no surprise as they stonewalled talented attacks, but players like Patrick McLain and Ryan Meara also stepped up to earn points for their clubs.
Video review continues to remain a hot topic throughout the league, with instances like Federico Higuain’s red card reviewed while blatant contact to the face from teammate Cristian Martinez went unpunished. The replay system is mentioned more and more, with new wrinkles all the time.
My pool questions on #SKCvCLB we’re not allowed to be asked as apparently the VAR process couldn’t be asked about. Makes absolutely no sense that we don’t have answers on two significant match turning moments.— Daniel Sperry (@sperrydaniel94) May 28, 2018
But play goes on and the cream continues to rise to the top while a few upsets threw a wrench in the standings this week in classic MLS style. Check out how the latest results affected the power rankings:
1. Columbus Crew (Last Week: 4)
A showdown of two of the top defensive teams in recent weeks played out exactly like it was supposed to with a 0-0 draw on Sunday evening. Columbus had the majority of the quality chances — including a penalty — but couldn’t quite convert. Still, getting out of Children’s Mercy Park down a man, after Federico Higuain was sent off at the end of the first half, is a great result.
2. New York Red Bulls (Last Week: 1)
The Red Bulls’ offense was finally stifled by Andre Blake and the Union. On the other end, Tim Parker was all that stood between the visitors and a lead. Ryan Meara luckily wasn’t tested by CJ Sapong on his penalty attempt, and New York took just one frustrating point away.
3. Sporting Kansas City (Last Week: 3)
Very few teams have beaten Zack Steffen this year and SKC was no different. Even with a man advantage, SKC struggled to test the Crew defense. Tim Melia had to come up big to salvage a point after he made a clumsy challenge on Gyasi Zardes and gave up a penalty, but he did just that.
4. New York City FC (Last Week: 2)
David Villa and NYCFC looked as though they would cruise in Houston, dominating the early stages of the match and jumping out to a lead. But defensive lapses cost the Pigeons three goals as the Dynamo piled on the pressure.
5. Portland Timbers (Last Week: 6)
The Timbers rolled on, this time past the Rapids in Colorado as Samuel Armenteros bagged a skillful brace and Diego Valeri notched the winner just before the hour mark. Portland has now charged all the way up to third in the West table its their sixth win in a row.
6. Houston Dynamo (Last Week: 8)
Houston did exactly what got the team into the postseason last year, capitalizing on defensive mistakes. Alberth Elis, Tomas Martinez, and Alejandro Fuenmayor all got on the score sheet as the Dynamo are now unbeaten through four.
7. Atlanta United (Last Week: 5)
Atlanta was off this week.
8. FC Dallas (Last Week: 9)
Dallas weathered the storm from the champions, including some magic from Gonzalez. The Hoops put just three shots on target at Toronto, and held a measly 29.8% of possession, but got the job done thanks to the man between the sticks and Maxi Urruti’s deft touch.
9. Los Angeles FC (Last Week: 7)
Uruguayan dynamo Diego Rossi continues his stellar start to his MLS career, but LAFC will rue the missed chances in the expansion side’s 1-1 draw with D.C. United. Dejan Jakovic was sent off for a studs-up challenge in first-half stoppage time, but nothing was called in a bizarre turn of events as Laurent Ciman seemed to dive on top of the ball and handle it in LAFC’s penalty area.
10. Toronto FC (Last Week: 10)
TFC’s short-lived resurgence took a step back at home against Dallas. The Reds did everything they could to break through, forcing Gonzalez into nine saves on the night. But the worst part of the night might have been Tosaint Ricketts’ miss from inches out after a rebound dropped to his feet.
11. New England Revolution (Last Week: 13)
New England couldn’t quite hold onto its leads on the road in Vancouver. The Revs raced out to a 2-0 lead just to squander it in a matter of minutes. Teal Bunbury’s third gave the road team hope but Cristian Techera made the Revs’ lives miserable. But Brad Friedel should be content bringing the point back to Foxborough.
12. Orlando City (Last Week: 11)
The Lions blitzed Chicago but couldn’t capitalize on their plethora of chances. Orlando was by far the better side on the night but only Cristian Higuita could beat McLain and it cost the Lions. A pair of wonder goals from Aleksandar Katai and Alan Gordon at the death sank City’s hopes.
13. LA Galaxy (Last Week: 14)
It was a cagey affair in Carson with just two shots on target between bitter California rivals LA and San Jose. Luckily for the Galaxy, Romain Alessandrini has magic in his boots and was able to make the Southern California side’s shot count. The Frenchman was once again the difference-maker in Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s absence.
14. Philadelphia Union (Last Week: 17)
Philly will look back on Sapong’s penalty blunder, failing to put his attempt on frame. But a host of chances went begging that could have given the Union a victory instead of the draw that they took back across the Pennsylvania state line. A draw in Red Bull Arena is at least a positive sign, especially for a Philadelphia side that has been looking for positives as of late.
15. Chicago Fire (Last Week: 15)
The Fire went into Orlando content with playing for a draw, at times putting all 11 men behind the ball. City spent most of the match in Chicago’s final third, but the Fire weathered the storm with moments of individual brilliance to snatch all three points.
16. Vancouver Whitecaps (Last Week: 16)
Cristian Techera was a man on a mission as the Uruguayan winger bagged all three of Vancouver’s goals in a wild come-from-behind draw. The diminutive forward found plenty of space behind New England’s back line time after time and he could have had a fourth as his first half chip beat Matt Turner but bounced off the woodwork.
17. Minnesota United (Last Week: 18)
The Loons took flight against an ailing Montreal side as Batman and Superman both found the back of the net. Minnesota made the most of its chances and coupled it with a solid defensive performance to inch closer to the red line in the West.
18. Seattle Sounders (Last Week: 12)
Seattle has just one win in its last five and has sunk to the bottom of the West table, only ahead of Colorado on goal difference. To make matters more concerning, the Rave Green have been held scoreless in all but three MLS matches this season. Failure to score yet again on a weak RSL defense is bad news for the reigning Western Conference champions.
19. Real Salt Lake (Last Week: 22)
Sebastian Saucedo scored his first MLS goal in spectacular style. It not only broke the deadlock, it ended up as the game-winning goal as RSL managed its first victory over a Western Conference team in a month.
20. D.C. United (Last Week: 21)
It was a smash-and-grab draw for D.C. Luckily for the road team, a Zoltan Stieber handball and penalty call was overturned, leaving the door open for Darren Mattocks. The Jamaican forward got on the end of a header from Paul Arriola to level it with less than seven minutes remaining in normal time.
21. Montreal Impact (Last Week: 19)
There’s talk of a total rebuild in Montreal coming soon, with owner Joey Saputo claiming even superstar Ignacio Piatti is on the market. It may be necessary for the Canadians, who have struggled mightily in 2018, with a 2-0 loss to Minnesota the latest in a long line of disappointing results.
22. San Jose Earthquakes (Last Week: 20)
It hurts to lose a match to your most-hated rival. It hurts worse when their goalkeeper makes a fingertip save in the final minute to deny a surefire equalizer. But when that keeper was in San Jose blue and black just a few months ago? That has to sting for the Quakes, who are now winless through three.
23. Colorado Rapids (Last Week: 23)
The score looked closer than the match actually was. An own goal and a late penalty brought the Rapids within one goal of Portland but Colorado was never a threat to take points off the Cascadian side.