- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 12, 2008

MLS POWER RANKINGS

After a month of Euro 2008 action, Drew Hansen turns his attention back to domestic soccer. Here are his MLS rankings, from top to bottom.

1. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (10-4-3) - The class of the league this year, no team is deeper. Adam Cristman has developed into a fearsome striker.

2. D.C. UNITED (7-7-1) - After an abysmal start, United is riding a six-game unbeaten streak in league play. Luciano Emilio is scoring at a torrid pace and the team is blending well with Marcelo Gallardo’s playmaking. Dick Heller even says they’re worth watching.

3. COLUMBUS CREW (8-4-3) - Emmanuel Ekpo’s emergence on the right flank has opened up room for the Crew’s other attacking players.

4. TORONTO FC (6-5-3) - Losing forward Danny Dichio to concussion symptoms is a blow to a team that has scored a middle-of-the-road 18 goals in 14 matches.

5. CHICAGO FIRE (6-5-3) - The team is in desperate need of some attacking help and should address this in the summer transfer window. Talks continue with former Fulham captain Brian McBride, whose rights are owned by Toronto.

6. LOS ANGELES GALAXY (6-6-4) - It says something about the Western Conference when the Galaxy, who share first place with Chivas USA, are sitting at .500 despite scoring a league-high 34 goals.

7. CHIVAS USA (6-6-4) - With excellent goalie Brad Guzan apparently headed to Aston Villa of the English Premier League, this club should enter an adjustment period (see Zach Wells and D.C. United).

8. COLORADO RAPIDS (6-8-1) - Despite winning just one of its last five matches, Colorado can claim a share of the Western lead with a win Saturday.

9. REAL SALT LAKE (5-6-5) - Coach Jason Kreis was suspended for the second time this season for criticizing officials, but the refs have little to do with his team’s inconsistent play.

10. NEW YORK RED BULLS (5-6-5) - Though the loss did not occur in league play, the Red Bulls should probably be lower on this list after falling to Baltimore’s Crystal Palace USA of USL2 in an Open Cup match.

11. HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-8) - There’s just something wrong with the defending champs, who still have a bevy of talent but can’t win matches.

12. KANSAS CITY WIZARDS (5-5-5) - Bringing back striker Josh Wolff from the Second Bundesliga should help get this team going.

13. FC DALLAS (4-6-6) - Coaching turmoil has overshadowed a solid season from striker Kenny Cooper, who has scored eight goals and started all 16 games.

14. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (3-9-3) - Signing former Norwich City star Darren Huckerby might be the biggest transfer of the year.

SIGNING OF THE WEEK

Peter Crouch to Portsmouth

Standing 6-foot-7 and owning a terribly awkward gait, Crouch simply doesn’t look coordinated enough to be a top-class striker. But as he proved at Liverpool before being nudged to the bench this past season, Crouch can influence a game with his combination of height and guile. And in signing the lanky scorer to a deal worth 11 million pounds, Portsmouth proves it is an up-and-coming club in the English Premier League and could challenge the big four.

GOAL OF THE WEEK

Chivas USA’s Ante Razov versus Los Angeles Galaxy

Razov laced a curling, 22-yard shot with his left foot around Galaxy keeper Steve Cronin in the 15th minute of Chivas USA’s 1-1 tie with the Galaxy on Thursday. A great run and pass from midfielder Sacha Kljestan, who sliced through the porous Galaxy defense, set up the shot.

See the match highlights at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=rZq_J9dD230

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