Wednesday, October 20

Pro Power Rankings: Monterry Still Unbeaten, Dallas Streak Ends as Top Clubs Meet

Parity in Central America saw very few clubs dominate over the past two weeks to make significant moves in the TSB CONCACAF Pro Club Power Rankings this week. The top of the list, however, remained consistent as power players experienced reasonable blips as there were an astounding seven matches between two clubs in the Top 10 during Mexican Primera Division play and Major League Soccer action.

Top-ranked Monterrey navigated a pair of tough contests in league play during the CONCACAF Champions League break, playing to a scoreless draw against America (ranked 5) and defeating Toluca, 2-0. America’s other match was a 2-2 draw against Puebla and Toluca (10), also played to a scoreless draw against Cruz Azul (4), who defeated Santos Laguna, 3-0, in their other match and remain the first-place club overall in Mexico on points. Santos Laguna also battled to a scoreless draw with Morelia. The other Top 10 match featuring Mexican clubs was a Chivas Guadalajara 1-0 win against Necaxa. Chivas (9) also fell, 1-0, to Morelia and drew, 2-2, with Queretaro, while Necaxa were 1-0 winners against Puebla.

The MLS contingent in the Top 10 was just as busy in high-profile matches. Real Salt Lake (2) played a scoreless draw in New York against the Red Bulls (8) and ended the record FC Dallas 19-game unbeaten streak with a 2-0 win. Dallas (3) also played to a 2-2 draw against the Colorado Rapids and New York fell, 2-1, in Philadelphia.

With all the best clubs squaring off little changed in the Top 10 of the Power Rankings. Dallas only dropped one spot to fourth, and Toluca made the biggest move up four spots to sixth as others slipped slightly.

With Champions League on break, the intrigue outside of the Top 10 were minimal with the exception of the USSF Division-2 playoffs where three of the top four seeds were eliminated in the Quarterfinals and the eighth-seeded Puerto Rico Islanders, a CCL participant, advanced to the championship for the second time in three years along with the Carolina RailHawks. The Islanders knocked off the regular season champion Rochester Rhinos and avenged their 2008 championship loss against Vancouver with two goals in series overtime after a scoreless aggregate through the two legs. Vancouver had won the quarterfinal showdown of future MLS clubs, splitting the series with Portland but edging the Timbers, 2-1, on aggregate. The RailHawks, top seed in the NASL Conference and fourth overall in the league, ran away in the second leg of the quarters against Minnesota, 4-0, after a scoreless first leg, but had to rally from down one to defeat defending champion Montreal Impact in the semifinals, 2-1.

Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama each played two rounds worth of action during the FIFA international break, but only five of the 44 clubs were able to manage two wins over the two-week span. San Francisco, Tauro and Arabe Unido won twice in Panama while Victoria and Marathon each picked up a pair of wins. El Salvador only played one full round of games. Marathon also earned a draw with a third match midweek on their break from CCL play.

The odd stat of the week came from Guatemala where all 12 clubs earned a win and a loss over the two weeks as all 12 games finished in favor of the home clubs without any draws.

Of the unranked clubs, Puntarenas had a good two weeks of play, earning a pair of draws and a victory. They tied CCL club Saprissa at home and league leader Barrio Mexico on the road with identical 1-1 draws before downing Group A second-place club Cartagines, 2-0, vaulting the side up to 88.