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April 1, 2014 at 7:52 PM

Week 4 in MLS: Power rankings and other thoughts from Alan Hinton

In a weekly feature that we’ll continue throughout the season, local legend Alan Hinton, who coached the old NASL Sounders and did broadcast work recently for the MLS team, has offered to provide his thoughts on the action leaguewide.

Here was Hinton’s Week 3 post. Posted below is his latest offering:

*     *     *

It’s still very early in the MLS season to form a real trend. One thing for certain is that New York is the same moody team based on Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill, who is out for three weeks with a hamstring strain. It might take New York and L.A. until the second half of the season to make a sustained run.

The Sounders played well for an hour against a very much improved Columbus. Federico Higuain was Columbus’s best player and I thought Osvaldo Alonso was the Sounders’. The Djimi Traore red card was shocking. Columbus striker Dominic Oduro had come back from an offside position and was semi-fouled by Traore, but the rule states that if he had denied Oduro a clear opportunity to score, then it’s red card. Oduro got a clean rocket of a volley that hit Sounders brave goalkeeper Stefan Frei full in the face. Therefore no red card — yellow card at best.

What if Oduro would have scored? Then I assume the referee would have given the goal and no red card, and maybe not even a yellow card to Traore. The ref got it wrong there and on the last play of game when Columbus scored the game-winning goal. He was interfering with play and should have made Columbus take corner kick when he blew his whistle. The ref was too busy in this game and needs to keep a lower profile. His strange decisions cost Sounders two goals.

This is a huge game in Portland, as always for the Sounders, and we owe them for the way they destroyed us in playoffs last season. I’d love to see former Sounders favorite Steve Zakuani start and play directly against Sounders young star DeAndre Yedlin. Clint Dempsey will be back, and hopefully Brad Evans, whilst Traore will sit because of the red card versus Columbus. Portland will miss both goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts and defender Michael Harrington both through league suspensions.

My top MLS team this week is Real Salt Lake, whose new coach Jeff Cassar has continued the winning ways he inherited from former coach Jason Kreis. RSL hammered previous top choice Toronto, 3-0 — impressive.

Former Colorado coach Oscar Pareja is doing his magic as the new coach of Dallas, which has been impressive. Columbus is my third choice on the evidence of three straight wins, and fourth are the Vancouver Whitecaps, who under new coach Carl Robinson have had a good start. My first four choices are all coached by new coaches this season: Jeff Cassar, Gregg Berhalter, Oscar Pareja and Carl Robinson.

Chivas USA, with former Sounder Mauro Rosales, tied in New York with New York only scoring on the last kick of the game.

Alan Hinton’s MLS power rankings

1. Real Salt Lake
2. Columbus Crew
3. FC Dallas
4. Vancouver Whitecaps FC
5. Sporting Kansas City
6. Toronto FC
7. Seattle Sounders FC
8. Houston Dynamo
9. Colorado Rapids
10. Philadelphia Union
11. Portland Timbers FC
12. Los Angeles Galaxy
13. New England Revolution
14. Chivas USA
15. Chicago Fire
16. San Jose Earthquakes
17. New York Red Bulls
18. Montreal Impact
19. D.C. United

| More in MLS, Power rankings


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