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2014 MLS midseason awards

MLS Aug 4, 2014
Read

D.C.'s turnaround led by Olsen

MLS Jul 31, 2014
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Aug 11, 2014

Week 22 rankings: L.A. the big story

ESPN FC's Adrian Healey, Alexi Lalas, and Taylor Twellman break down the summer MLS signings and project which move will have the biggest impact.

In the wake of Landon Donovan's retirement announcement, the L.A. Galaxy came back twice from a goal down to tie San Jose 2-2. With the teams above them stumbling, it was enough to take over the top spot in this week's ESPN Power Rankings.

L.A. Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes shared points after a heated 2-2 draw at the StubHub Center on Friday.

1. L.A. Galaxy (Last week: 3)
After an emotional week featuring Landon Donovan's big news, the Galaxy lacked its recent sharpness but still managed to come back twice to tie San Jose 2-2. Gyasi Zardes scored again, and just might be the league's most improved player.

2. Sporting Kansas City (1)
Kansas City's road win streak finally ended in a 2-0 loss to Vancouver. But the bigger long-term loss might have been goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum, who exited early with a shoulder injury. SKC will now lead to lean on inexperienced backup Jon Kempin, who did manage to save a late penalty.

3. Seattle Sounders (4)
Seattle's 2-0 win over Houston wasn't pretty, but manager Sigi Schmid won't care as he celebrated his 200th career MLS win. A busy week awaits with a U.S. Open Cup semi against Chicago followed by a top-of-the-West tilt against RSL.

4. Real Salt Lake (8)
Another Western Conference side beginning to round into form. "Little Big Man" Joao Plata continued his stellar season with his 10th goal, while goalkeeper Nick Rimando now has the career shutout mark all to himself thanks to a 3-0 win over D.C. United.

5. Toronto FC (5)
It looks like TFC just might survive the absence of Jermaine Defoe just fine. Gilberto -- the other Designated Player -- and Luke Moore put in highly effective shifts up top to give Toronto a 3-2 victory over Columbus. Top spot still looks out of reach but with D.C.stumbling, second place is doable.

6. Vancouver Whitecaps (6)
The moniker "draw specialists" isn't one that any coach wants, so Carl Robinson was especially pleased to see his side prevail over Kansas City. Pedro Morales continued his fine season with a stellar assist on Darren Mattocks' goal.

7. D.C. United (2)
So is United's two-game losing streak a minor blip or a sign of a slide? The 3-0 hammering at the hands of RSL -- and Eddie Johnson's on-field petulance -- points to the latter, though Perry Kitchen's return from suspension for next week's home date with Colorado should help.

8. FC Dallas (10)
At first glance, this isn't a team that scares you, but FCD is still getting the job done with Matt Hedges and Fabian Castillo continuing to impress in a 3-1 win over Colorado. A U.S. Open Cup semi and an away date at San Jose should test this team's depth.

9. New York Red Bulls (7)
Maintaining momentum remains a foreign concept for the Red Bulls, as last week's heroic effort against New England was followed up by a tepid 1-0 defeat against Chicago. Perhaps a bye week and the return of Jamison Olave from suspension will cure what ails.

10. Portland Timbers (11)
The Timbers recorded just their second shutout of the season in a 2-0 win over Chivas USA. While it's true that the Goats aren't the toughest test, at least it looks as if new signing Liam Ridgewell is settling in.

11. Philadelphia Union (12)
Sebastien Le Toux scored twice in a 2-1 win vs. Montreal, and has quietly put together a 10-goal season for the resurgent Union, though he hobbled off with a late injury. Philadelphia is now back in the playoff places, an impressive achievement given its 1-5-5 start.

12. Colorado Rapids (9)
The Rapids are imploding, as is the team's execution in both penalty areas. Their third loss in a row, this time a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Dallas, witnessed backbreaking defensive mistakes combined with an inability to finish. Now, Colorado finds itself outside the playoff places.

13. San Jose Earthquakes (14)
Chris Wondolowski showed he's still a potent striker and Matias Perez Garcia revealed his considerable ability as well. But a big reason San Jose took a point off L.A. was due to the defending of Jason Hernandez, who was immense all night.

14. Columbus Crew (13)
Two goals are usually enough for the Crew, but that didn't turn out to be the case in a 3-2 loss to Toronto. Manager Gregg Berhalter has promised changes but with no reinforcements arriving before the transfer deadline, his options are limited.

15. Chicago Fire (16)
Chicago finally managed to win a match, just its fourth of the season, against New York. Mike Magee scored off the rebound of his own penalty, and the Fire's much-maligned back line held firm, with Bakary Soumare delivering some tremendous last-ditch tackles.

16. Chivas USA (15)
The Goats' Archangel Offense -- save us, Cubo Torres! -- can only take a team so far. Now Chivas USA's lack of a second scoring option combined with some sloppiness on the back lines has resulted in four straight losses.

17. Houston Dynamo (17)
The Dynamo lacked a ruthless streak, and were punished for it in losing to Seattle. Brad Davis' penalty that was saved by Stefan Frei was the most egregious example but there were others, and Houston missed a great opportunity to snag a road point.

18. New England Revolution (18)
After losing nine of 10, this was one bye week that came at the perfect time. And with the Revs now officially in the Jermaine Jones sweepstakes, help may be on the way. Manager Jay Heaps will certainly have his fingers crossed that his owners will pony up the money.

19. Montreal Impact (19)
Yes, the Impact controlled vast swaths of Saturday's loss to the Union. But you can't make mistakes like Krystof Krol did and get away with it. After dropping its seventh game in a row, all that remains for Montreal is to figure out just how brutal this season will be.

Jeff Carlisle

Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC. He has covered the 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cups for ESPN in Germany, South Africa and Brazil, respectively. Follow him on Twitter @jeffreycarlisle.

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