MLS Power Rankings- Sounders win streak has them at season high

Only MLS league games will be reflected in the rankings. Rankings are voted on by MLSsoccer.com editorial staff; words by Ben Baer and Dave Zeitlin.

BIGGEST MOVERS:SEA+3; NYC-5

1

LAST WEEK: 1

HIGH: 1 LOW: 7

The Five Stripes maintain their grip on the top spot for the 10th straight week — but it’s a tenuous one. Atlanta’s gotta rebound from a surprising loss to D.C. United to keep pace with the hard-charging Red Bulls in what’s shaping up to be a great Supporters’ Shield race.

Previous: Lost 3-1 at ORL Next: at COL on 9/15

2

LAST WEEK: 2

HIGH: 1 LOW: 7

The Red Bulls became the first team to clinch a spot in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, despite a lopsided 3-0 loss to Montreal over the weekend. Make of that result what you will, however; the team rested some players after beating Houston earlier in the week and finishing off a grueling five-games-in-15-days stretch.

Previous: Won 1-0 vs. HOU; Lost 3-0 at MTL Next: at DC on 9/16

3

LAST WEEK: 6

HIGH: 3 LOW: 21

Nobody is hotter than the Sounders, who broke an MLS single-season record with their eighth straight win. Will a bye week and a looming Cascadia road match vs. Vancouver on Sept. 15 slow them down or will they keep charging up the table and challenge for one of the top spots in the West? Also: #ThankYouDeuce.

Previous: Won 3-1 vs. SKC Next: at VAN on 9/15

4

LAST WEEK: 3

HIGH: 1 LOW: 15

The loss at Seattle puts them under a little more pressure as they chase a top two seed in the West. Avoiding the Knockout Round should be at the top of Peter Vermes goals.

Previous: Lost 3-1 at SEA Next: vs. ORL on 9/8

5

LAST WEEK: 4

HIGH: 4 LOW: 18

Dallas have typically won games this year with a strong defense and opportune attack. That changed up completely last week as Maxi Urruti and Michael Barrios have come to life.

Previous: Lost 4-3 at SJ; Won 4-2 vs. HOU Next: vs. CLBon 9/15

6

LAST WEEK: 7

HIGH: 3 LOW: 17

Bob Bradley handed his son a heartbreaking defeat thanks to Carlos Velas first brace since March. One big question that remains: Is Andre Horta finally ready to take over a starting role?

Previous: Won 4-2 at TOR Next: vs. NEon 9/15

7

LAST WEEK: 8

HIGH: 7 LOW: 22

The Union were moments away from a nine-point week and the club’s first-ever five-game league winning streak. A late Scott Sutter goal spoiled that but, after a road draw in Orlando, the Union are still sitting pretty in the East playoff picture, with a chance to win the U.S. Open Cup later this month to boot.

Previous: Won 2-0 at DC; Drew 2-2 at ORL Next: vs. MTL on 9/15

8

LAST WEEK: 9

HIGH: 2 LOW: 12

It was a picture perfect night for Crew SC, who rallied from behind to beat New York City FC on Justin Meram’s first goal back in Columbus. Still, Gregg Berhalters teamhave to be careful as they’re closer to to falling out of the top four spots in the East (and losing a home playoff game) than they are catching third-place NYCFC.

Previous: Won 2-1 vs. NYC Next: at DAL on 9/15

9

LAST WEEK: 11

HIGH: 6 LOW: 21

Bravo to Mike Petkes team for an incredible couple of weeks in terms of offense. After a mostly inconsistent season, RSL seemed to have found their form.

Previous: Won 6-2 vs. LA Next: vs. MIN on 9/15

10

LAST WEEK: 5

HIGH: 1 LOW: 10

While many teams are off for the international break, NYCFC have a busy week with home games against New England and D.C. United. If they can maintain their perfect mark at Yankee Stadium and pick up six points, they’re right back in the Supporters’ Shield race.

Previous: Lost 2-1 at CLB Next: vs. NE on 9/5; vs. DC on 9/8

11

LAST WEEK: 10

HIGH: 2 LOW: 18

A little surprising to see the Timbers fall after a four-point week. A win on Saturday would see them jump Seattle ahead of their two rivals facing off in Vancouver next week.

Previous: Won 2-0 vs. TOR; Drew 1-1 at NE Next: vs. COLon 9/8

12

LAST WEEK: 12

HIGH: 11 LOW: 23

A midweek home loss to Philly did some damage to D.C.’s postseason hopes but the Fighting Wayne Rooneys got their mojo back with a statement win over Atlanta. Its looking like itll be a fight to the finish with Montreal for that final playoff spot in the East.

Previous: Lost 2-0 vs. PHI; Won 3-1 vs. ATL Next: at NYC on 9/8

13

LAST WEEK: 15

HIGH: 10 LOW: 23

With Toronto and New England faltering, a door appears to have opened for the Impact. A tough schedule awaits, but with the way Ignacio Piatti and Saphir Taider are playing, theres no denying Montreals prospects.

Previous: Won 3-0 vs. RBNY Next: at PHI on 9/15

14

LAST WEEK: 16

HIGH: 8 LOW: 20

They did what they needed to do against the Quakes over the past two weeks. They now have two weeks to prepare for a gigantic Cascadia Cup match.

Previous: Won 2-1vs. SJ Next: vs. SEA on 9/15

15

LAST WEEK: 13

HIGH: 1 LOW: 21

It’s looking more and more like the 2017 MLS Cup champs won’t be getting a chance to defend their crown. Losses to Portland and LAFC this past week left the Reds nine points out of the final playoff spot and had captain Michael Bradley questioning the team’s mentality.

Previous: Lost 2-0 at POR; Lost 4-2 vs. LAFC Next: vs. LA on 9/15

16

LAST WEEK: 14

HIGH: 6 LOW: 16

The subpar defense continues to rear its ugly head and Saturday may have been rock bottom. Sigi Schmid and Co. have some time to figure this out ahead of a vital stretch run.

Previous: Lost 6-2 at RSL Next: at TOR on 9/15

17

LAST WEEK: 18

HIGH: 14 LOW: 23

They got some time to get Darwin Quintero healthy and Adrian Heath should use this time to get cohesion going between the Colombian, Romario Ibarra and Angelo Rodriguez.

Previous: Idle Next: at DC on 9/12; at RSL on 9/15

18

LAST WEEK: 17

HIGH: 7 LOW: 18

After two losses in four days (to the Red Bulls and rival FC Dallas), the Dynamo are just about cooked in the playoff race. The silver lining: they can perhaps rest some starters and put everything toward capturing their first U.C. Open Cup title later this month.

Previous: Lost 1-0 at RBNY; Lost 4-2 at DAL Next: vs. POR on 9/15

19

LAST WEEK: 19

HIGH: 9 LOW: 22

Mired in a nine-game winless streak, time is running out for the Revs. But they have a chance to make a statement in the league’s only midweek game if they can find a way to hand NYCFC their first loss at Yankee Stadium.

Previous: Drew 1-1 vs. POR Next: at NE on 9/5

20

LAST WEEK: 20

HIGH: 17 LOW: 23

Hopefully their trip to Memphis got their heads right after a disastrous Rocky Mountain Cup.

Previous: Idle Next: at PORon 9/8

21

LAST WEEK: 21

HIGH: 6 LOW: 23

The Lions saw their winless streak extend to seven games but at least gave their fans something to cheer about with a late, game-tying goal from Scott Sutter (albeit after giving up a late goal to Philly’s Fafa Picault). Their chances of snapping the skid this weekend don’t look too good as they travel to Sporting Kansas City to take on one of the West’s best.

Previous: Drew 2-2 vs. PHI Next: at SKC on 9/8

22

LAST WEEK: 23

HIGH: 12 LOW: 23

Vako has been a bright spot of late, but is it a blip or something that is sustainable?

Previous: Won 4-3 vs. DAL; Lost 2-0 at VAN Next: vs.SKC on 9/15

23

LAST WEEK: 22

HIGH: 11 LOW: 23

The Fire had plenty to ponder on their trip to Germanyand with over three weeks between MLS matches, Veljko Paunovic will hope hisrefreshed squad can finally put a halt to a 9-game winless streak that has derailed theirseason.

Previous: Idle Next: vs. ORL on 9/16

Series:Power Rankings

Whats Happening in India 7 Years After New Delhi Bus Attack – Time

Seven years after the fatal gang-rape of Jyoti Singh on a bus in New Delhi horrified India and sparked nationwide protests, a crowd gathered last Monday to mark the anniversary of her attack. That same day, Dec. 16, a former lawmaker from India’s ruling party was convicted of raping a 17-year-old girl.

The dichotomy highlighted the plight of India’s women, who, despite the outrage after Singh’s rape and murder, still face unprecedented rates of sexual violence. Nothing has changed for women at all, says Asha Devi, Singh’s mother, who was at Monday’s gathering with her husband to remember their 23-year-old daughter, who has become known as Nirbhaya, or fearless. So many of these incidents are continuing to happen.

Each day, about 90 rapes are reported in India, but many more go unreported due to the fear and stigma surrounding sexual violence. In just the past month, high-profile cases have included a 27-year-old veterinarian who was gang-raped and murdered; a four-year-old girl who was allegedly raped by her neighbor; and a six-year-old girl who was found by family members lying in a pool of blood after local media reports said she was allegedly kidnapped and raped by her neighbor in northern India. Last Monday, Kuldeep Singh Sengar, the former lawmaker from India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was convicted of raping a 17-year-old girl in 2017. He was sentenced to life imprisonment on Friday. The case came to national attention last year after the victim tried to set herself on fire because of alleged police inaction. Multiple Indian politicians are currently facing sexual assault charges.

The 2012 Nirbhaya case, as Singh’s attack came to be known, shook the whole conscience of society, says Ranjana Kumari, the director of India’s Centre for Social Research. Everywhere reacted to it. The government implemented legal reforms, including mandating harsher punishments for rapists, and launched initiatives aimed at improving safety for women. In 2014, shortly after Prime Minister Narendra Modi was elected, his government pledged a zero tolerance policy on violence against women and said it would strengthen the criminal justice system.

But for the most part, activists say little has changed. Here we are. Unfortunately asking the same questions, says Jayshree Bajoria, author of a 2017 Human Rights Watch report on violence against women in India.

The biggest question: Why, despite the outcry over Jyoti Singh’s murder and government promises of change, does sexual violence remain endemic in the country?

Mother of Nirbhaya breaks down during a protest against the release of juvenile convict of the 16 December gang-rape, along with student activists at Jantar Mantar on December 20, 2015 in New Delhi, India.

Photo by Ravi Choudhary/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

India was the most dangerous country in the world for women due to the high risk of sexual violence and of being forced into slave labor, according to a 2018 survey by the Thompson Reuters Foundation.

From 2016-2017, the number of reported cases of rape reached 32,559 according to government statistics, but experts agree that far more occur than are reported. That number also does not take into account attempted rapes. Rape statistics in India must be taken with a large carton of salt because they don’t tell the whole story, says Kavita Krishnan, a women’s rights activist and the Secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association.

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Those who do report rape and sexual assault often struggle to be taken seriously. Women interviewed by Human Rights Watch researchers say they are often not believed, either by police, medical professionals or in court. Survivors and witnesses receive little protection from retaliatory attacks: in December, a woman died after being set on fire while on her way to testify against her alleged rapists. And, according to a Human Rights Watch report, some medical professionals still conduct the degrading and inaccurate two-finger tests under the guise of being able to measure a woman’s past sexual experience through an internal examination. The World Health Organization says the practice, which cannot determine if a woman is a virgin or if she’s had several sexual partners, has no merit, yet the evidence from the procedure has been used during trials to assert that a rape survivor had loose or lax morals.

Sometimes, the very authorities who are supposed to enforce the law are accused of sexual violence. On Dec. 15, police entered the Jamia Millia Islamia University campus in New Delhi and sexually assaulted female students who were among a crowd protesting a controversial new law, the Citizenship Amendment Bill, according to local media reports. Police turned the lights off in certain areas so that CCTV cameras would not capture the violence, according to a statement by an activist and an advocate.

Many women say they are always afraid for their safety. I’m constantly edgy and aware of who’s looking or who’s not. There is this constant feeling of fear, says Saloni Chopra, an Indian actor who has spoken about her experiences of sexual and physical abuse. It’s not something you can shrug off. It’s exhausting. You feel helpless.

You also know that once everyone is done raging, people are going to go back to their normal lives, Chopra adds. It’s hard to change the conversation.

DU students and members of Asmita Theatre Group hold placards and shout slogans during a protest against government as Nirbhaya and other rape survivors havent received justice, on the seventh anniversary of the Nirbhaya rape case, at Jantar Mantar on December 17, 2019 in New Delhi, India.

Raj K Raj/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

The Nirbhaya case kicked off a wave of sustained protests in India and a more open dialogue about sexual violence, eventually prompting a response from the government. A cultural silence was broken. It was a moment in time where it seemed that India was breaking the cultural taboo of speaking about sexual violence, says Bajoria, the HRW researcher.

Since then, the women’s movement has swelled; in response to calls from politicians and members of the public for women to stay at home to stay safe from rape, female activists have said they will not trade their freedom for safety, says Krishnan. India has also had its own MeToo movement, which gained momentum in 2017. After law student Raya Sarkar published a list on Facebook of alleged sexual harassers in academia, women began sharing their stories of sexual assault and harassment. The movement led to women in the media and entertainment industries speaking out about their own similar experiences in 2018.

But greater awareness of the problem has not brought greater safety. In fact, women’s rights activists in India say things have gotten worse in recent years.

It has become much more difficult for feminist voices to be heard this time around, Krishnan says of her attempts to speak up about violence against women. She has received daily rape and death threats since 2014, during the election campaign of now Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose BJP party has been accused of protecting its own lawmakers accused of sexual misconduct.

Seven years ago I could protest against the government and the supporters of the government were not threatening me with rape and death. Now they are, Krishnan says. This is a very real and present danger. That is the picture of India today. It’s a terrifying situation.

Amid the public pressure that followed the Nirbhaya case, the government, then led by the Congress Party enacted significant reforms. It developed guidelines for the health care system to provide better treatment to survivors of sexual violence, and it created the Nirbhaya Fund in 2013, which provides state money to help pay for initiatives focused on women’s safety and on assisting female victims of violence. read more