The MLS season is just about halfway over, and several teams have made major statements recently to legitimize their candidacy as MLS Cup contenders.
Leading the pack is FC Dallas, which thumped Orlando City, 4-0, last time out, prompting the dismissal of Lions head coach Adrian Heath. In the East, NYCFC has emerged as the dominant presence, winning four straight to assume the top spot in the conference.
While several teams continue to roll, other contenders have floundered. Both the Columbus Crew and Seattle Sounders remain in a funk, and will be hoping for a midsummer shakeup to ignite a push towards the postseason.
Here’s a look at this week’s SBI MLS Power Rankings:
SBI MLS Power Rankings (Week 18)
1. FC DALLAS (10-5-4)
LAST WEEK: Defeated Orlando City, 4-0, on Monday
THIS WEEK: at San Jose Earthquakes on Friday
OUTLOOK: FC Dallas has won five of their last eight, but Monday’s destruction of Orlando City was by far the most impressive. When the attack is ticking, FC Dallas might just be the league’s best team, and their status as the West’s top dogs on the table certainly adds some backing to that claim.
2. COLORADO RAPIDS (9-2-6)
LAST WEEK: Tied Portland Timbers, 0-0, on Monday
THIS WEEK: at Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday
OUTLOOK: Tim Howard’s debut may not have yielded a win, but the Rapids continue to roll out West. A draw against the reigning MLS Cup champions remains a solid result, one that keeps the Rapids among the conference’s, and the league’s, elite.
3. NEW YORK CITY FC (8-5-6)
LAST WEEK: Defeated New York Red Bulls, 2-0, on Sunday; Defeated New England Revolution
THIS WEEK: at New England Revolution on Wednesday; at Sporting KC on Sunday
OUTLOOK: A pair of statement wins for NYCFC, who now sits top of the Eastern Conference after toppling their local rivals. Rookie Jack Harrison has shined throughout the club’s four-game win streak, and it appears NYCFC has a bit of momentum going heading into the season’s second half.
4. REAL SALT LAKE (8-5-4)
LAST WEEK: Tied D.C. United, 1-1, on Friday
THIS WEEK: vs. Montreal Impact on Saturday
OUTLOOK: RSL should be doing much better at home, and a 1-1 draw with D.C. United will be a disappointing result for a team that is in the thick of a tight race in the West. This weekend’s match with the Impact should serve as a major test, and could serve as a springboard for a team that needs to do better at Rio Tinto Stadium.
5. LA GALAXY (6-3-8)
LAST WEEK: Defeated Vancouver Whitecaps, 2-0, on Monday
THIS WEEK: at Seattle Sounders on Saturday
OUTLOOK: The returns of Robbie Keane and Gyasi Zardes have certainly helped the Galaxy find a bit of form. With injuries, suspensions and international absence causing the season to be a bit of a rollercoaster ride, the Galaxy remain firmly in the Western Conference picture, and could be set for a bit of a run with everyone back in the fold.
6. PORTLAND TIMBERS (6-6-6)
LAST WEEK: Tied Colorado Rapids, 0-0, on Monday
THIS WEEK: at New York Red Bulls on Sunday
OUTLOOK: The Timbers are quietly unbeaten in six following Monday’s draw with the Rapids. Leading the way throughout the run is a now-settle defense, a unit that has posted a pair of shutouts in its last four.
7. PHILADELPHIA UNION (7-6-5)
LAST WEEK: Lost, 1-0, to Houston Dynamo on Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. D.C. United on Saturday
OUTLOOK: The forward position remains a concern following injuries to C.J. Sapong and Fabian Herbers, but even a loss to the Dynamo isn’t enough to bump the Union out of a top spot in the East. The loss on a last-second goal by former Union midfielder Cristian Maidana was a gut-punch, but the Union can get right back
8. MONTREAL IMPACT (6-4-6)
LAST WEEK: Defeated New England Revolution, 3-2, on Saturday
THIS WEEK: at Real Salt Lake on Saturday
OUTLOOK: An incredible turnaround from the Impact, who scored three unanswered to snatch a spectacular win over the Revs. Third in the East with a pair of games in hand, the Impact are in a good spot, but need to improve defensively going forward.
9. NEW YORK RED BULLS (7-9-2)
LAST WEEK: Lost, 2-0, to NYCFC on Sunday
THIS WEEK: vs. Portland Timbers on Sunday
OUTLOOK: A road swing has seen the reigning Supporters’ Shield champions suffer, as four straight losses in all competitions have hurt the team’s confidence. A derby loss to NYCFC serves as a new low, as the Red Bulls need to regroup a bit ahead of a return home against the reigning MLS Cup champions.
10. SPORTING KANSAS CITY (7-8-4)
LAST WEEK: Defeated Columbus Crew, 3-2, on Sunday
THIS WEEK: vs. NYCFC on Sunday
OUTLOOK– The win over the Crew was a much-needed one, as Sporting KC looks to stay in contention in the West despite a porous home record. The returns of Graham Zusi and Matt Besler should help, but Sporting KC needs to step up to compete in the pressure cooker that is the Western Conference.
11. TORONTO FC (5-6-5)
LAST WEEK: Tied Seattle Sounders, 1-1, on Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. the Chicago Fire on Saturday
OUTLOOK: Sebastian Giovinco has hit a bit of a rough patch, and the absences of Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore have really taken their toll on TFC in recent weeks. Without their DPs, TFC is still an okay team with players like Jordan Hamilton stepping up, but okay won’t be enough to earn wins throughout the summer.
12. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (7-8-3)
LAST WEEK: Lost, 2-0, to LA Galaxy on Monday
THIS WEEK: vs. Colorado Rapids on Saturday
OUTLOOK: Octavio Rivero is officially gone, meaning the Whitecaps are likely set to bring someone in during the summer transfer window. It will be a needed addition, as the team has lost three of its last five while grabbing just four points.
13. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (5-7-5)
LAST WEEK: Lost, 1-0, to Chicago Fire on Friday
THIS WEEK: at FC Dallas on Friday
OUTLOOK: With their backline all but depleted, the Earthquakes are in trouble, as evidenced by a 1-0 loss to the Fire. A matchup with FC Dallas does not bode well for a team that faces a challenge to remain in contention throughout the summer.
14. D.C. UNITED (5-6-6)
LAST WEEK: Tied Real Salt Lake, 1-1, on Friday
THIS WEEK: at Sporting KC on Friday
OUTLOOK: Bill Hamid has been on another level since returning to the fold, and D.C. United has responded with much better results. They still remain middle of the pack, but it appears that D.C. is on their way up.
15. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (4-7-7)
LAST WEEK: Lost, 3-2, to Montreal Impact on Saturday; Lost, 1-0, to NYCFC on Wednesday
THIS WEEK: at Columbus Crew on Saturday
OUTLOOK: A brutal, brutal week for the Revs. After surrendering three straight goals to cough away a two-goal lead against the Impact, the Revs failed to score a goal of their own in a 1-0 loss to NYCFC. The pair of losses undid any momentum earned with the two wins prior to them, and the Revs look like they’ll have some major work to do to remain in contention through the summer.
16. ORLANDO CITY (4-4-8)
LAST WEEK: Lost, 4-0, to FC Dallas on Monday
THIS WEEK: vs.Houston Dynamo on Friday
OUTLOOK: An embarrassing loss for the Lions, as a young Orlando City team was thrashed by a team that is likely an MLS Cup favorite. Consistency in defense remains a major concern, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Adrian Heath and co. address it before the end of the summer.
17. SEATTLE SOUNDERS (5-9-2)
LAST WEEK: Tied Toronto FC, 1-1, on Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. LA Galaxy on Saturday
OUTLOOK: Jordan Morris continues to shine, especially in Tuesday’s friendly win over West Ham, but the Sounders remain a team in disarray. Still second to last in the West, the Sounders will need Clint Dempsey and Morris to lead the way before the team adds some help in the transfer window.
18. HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-8-5)
LAST WEEK: Defeated Philadelphia Union , 1-0, on Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. Orlando City on Friday
OUTLOOK: Overall, a very good performance from the Dynamo, who took down one of the East’s contenders. Wade Barrett has done a solid job as head coach so far, and could certainly be a option long-term for a Dynamo team that looks to be on the up.
19. COLUMBUS CREW (3-6-7)
LAST WEEK: Lost, 3-2, to Sporting KC on Sunday
THIS WEEK: at New England Revolution on Saturday
OUTLOOK: The Crew desperately need the transfer window. With just one win in their last nine, the Crew just aren’t a very good team as assembled, especially defensively. Expect some new faces soon behind forward Ola Kamara, who has proven to be a legitimate goalscorer.
20. CHICAGO FIRE (3-7-5)
LAST WEEK: Defeated San Jose Earthquakes, 1-0, on Friday
THIS WEEK: at Toronto FC on Saturday
OUTLOOK– Following a three-game winless run, the Fire took advantage of a beat up Earthquakes backline to secure a hard-fought win. The Fire remain way out of the playoff picture, but the win is a sign of progress from a team assembling a very new-look roster.
What do you think of the SBI MLS Power Rankings? Which teams do you see being ranked too highly? Who didn’t get enough respect?
Share your thoughts below.