There was no shortage of entertainment last week with a schedule full of intriguing playoff match-ups and a rivalry-filled Sunday.
In a marquee cross-conference match, New York City FC disposed of the LA Galaxy, 1-0, as the former continues to banish their early season home woes. Eastern conference playoff hopefuls clashed in Philadelphia as Toronto FC handled the Union in a 3-1 victory. Meanwhile on the Western side of things, Supporters’ Shield leaders FC Dallas couldn’t come back from Salt Lake City with any points as Real Salt Lake held on at home for a 1-0 win.
Sunday featured two bitter rivalry matches. Leading off the afternoon was a four-goal thriller as D.C. United salvaged a draw against a New York Red Bulls side that must be disappointed with their continued road issues. The nightcap was a four-goal event of its own as Cascadia competitors Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers clashed in Washington state. The Sounders rode the back of a Clint Dempsey brace to secure a 3-1 win over the Timbers.
Here’s a closer look at this week’s SBI MLS Power Rankings:
SBI MLS Power Rankings (Week 25)
1. (Last week-1) FC DALLAS (13-7-6)
LAST WEEK: Lost to Real Salt Lake, 1-0 on Saturday
THIS WEEK: at Real Esteli on Wednesday (CCL), at Houston Dynamo on Saturday
OUTLOOK: FC Dallas looked overwhelmed on the road against Real Salt Lake. The current Supporters’ Shield leaders were dominated in most measurable statistics as they lost the possession battle 66%-34%. Even worse was a passing accuracy that hovered around 60% over the course of the match. Still, they managed to hold Real Salt Lake at bay until Jamison Olave’s 78th minute winner. A double slate of action is on the agenda this week with a CCL match midweek followed by a trip to in-state Houston Dynamo on the weekend.
2. (2) COLORADO RAPIDS (11-3-10)
LAST WEEK: Tied Orlando City SC, 0-0 on Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. Real Salt Lake on Friday
OUTLOOK: Twenty shots couldn’t pick a winner between the Colorado Rapids and Orlando City SC on Saturday evening. The result brings the Rapids to double-digit draws on the season, a category that Orlando leads with 13 in total. They pick up a point on FC Dallas, as the Western leaders lost to Real Salt Lake, leaving the door open in coming weeks if they can regain their early season form. The defense is surely there, now having recorded 10 clean sheets on the season, but the offense needs to pick back up, starting with Real Salt Lake this Friday.
3. (5) TORONTO FC (11-7-7)
LAST WEEK: Beat Philadelphia Union, 3-1 on Saturday
THIS WEEK: at Orlando City SC on Wednesday, vs. Montreal Impact on Saturday
OUTLOOK: Toronto FC made it look easy in a top-tier Eastern conference match as they dispatched the Philadelphia Union by a scoreline of 3-1 on Saturday. Sebastian Giovinco made it 1-0 for the visitors before Ken Tribbett tied the match for the Union. It wasn’t to be for the Union though, as Drew Moor would make it 2-1 before Jozy Altidore continued his red hot form by striking home the final goal for a 3-1 victory. TFC remain hot on the heels of New York City FC with a match in hand that they’ll get to use this week as they first travel to Orlando before welcoming Canadian rivals Montreal Impact to Toronto.
4. (6) NEW YORK CITY FC (11-7-8)
LAST WEEK: Beat LA Galaxy, 1-0 on Saturday
THIS WEEK: at Orlando City SC on Sunday
OUTLOOK: A clean sheet 1-0 victory at home left fans wondering who these players wearing city blue were on Saturday. After starting the season in horrid form at home, New York City FC suddenly has a respectable 5-3-5 record at Yankee Stadium and a landmark win over the LA Galaxy. NYCFC avenged last season’s 5-1 loss in LA on the back of a David Villa goal. The captain easily placed the tap-in into the back of the net after a Ronald Matarrita shot was saved by backup keeper Clement Diop. The defense and Josh Saunders held firm the rest of the way as NYCFC remained on top of the East. They’ll take on an Orlando City SC team that is fringing a playoff spot this weekend as they seek to continue their solid form on the road.
5. (3) LA GALAXY (9-4-11)
LAST WEEK: Lost to New York City FC, 1-0 on Saturday
THIS WEEK: at Chicago Fire on Wednesday, vs. Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday
OUTLOOK: The Galaxy fell despite winning the possession battle at Yankee Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Galaxy were out-shot, 18-11, and could only manage a single shot on target as New York City FC snatched a 1-0 lead early via David Villa and held on for a clean sheet victory. The Galaxy came close to scoring on a Nigel de Jong shot that was sent just wide, but the visitors couldn’t find the back of the net despite threatening moves. The Galaxy will hope to regain goal-scoring form when they visit the Chicago Fire on Wednesday before travelling back home to meet the Vancouver Whitecaps over the weekend.
6. (4) NEW YORK RED BULLS (10-9-7)
LAST WEEK: Tied Alianza 1-1 on Tuesday (CCL), Tied DC United, 2-2 on Sunday
THIS WEEK: vs. New England Revolution on Sunday
OUTLOOK: What happens to the New York Red Bulls on the road? That’s surely the question on Jesse Marsch’s mind as his side dropped a 2-0 lead to secure only a single point from D.C. United in their trip to the capital. The Red Bulls road record reads more like a bottom of the conference team rather than one sitting in thirdplace, battling for a first-round bye in the playoffs. Bradley Wright-Phillips continued his sizzling form with a goal and an assist but it wasn’t enough as Marcelo Sarvas and Patrick Mullins would strike within three minutes of each other to bring the match level. Another conference match looms as the New England Revolution come to town on Sunday.
7. (8) REAL SALT LAKE (11-8-7)
LAST WEEK: Beat FC Dallas, 1-0 on Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. Colorado Rapids on Friday
OUTLOOK: A fantastic result for the now third-place Real Salt Lake. Jamison Olave managed to snag the 78th minute winner, but it was the midfield and defense as a whole that headlined this victory. They held FC Dallas to a mere 60% passing accuracy and only 34% possession while managing to block three shots. They face another steep challenge this week as the Colorado Rapids come to town.
8. (12) SEATTLE SOUNDERS (9-12-3)
LAST WEEK: Beat Portland Timbers, 3-1 on Sunday
THIS WEEK: at Houston Dynamo on Wednesday, at Portland Timbers on Sunday
OUTLOOK: Despite their horrific loss in the battle of the Tifos on Sunday, the Sounders came out on top in the only scoreline that matters, defeating Cascadia rivals Portland Timbers, 3-1, at home. Clint Dempsey recorded a brace in the second half and Cristian Roldan recorded a third goal shortly after, leaving the Timbers down 3-0 before Fanendo Adi stole one back for the visitors in the spirit of the phrase ‘too little, too late’. The Sounders get a chance to double-up on their glory as after a midweek showdown in Houston, they travel to Portland to play the Timbers for the second time in as many weeks.
9. (10) SPORTING KANSAS CITY (11-11-5)
LAST WEEK: Tied Central FC, 2-2 on Tuesday (CCL), Beat Vancouver Whitecaps, 2-0 on Saturday
THIS WEEK: at Vancouver Whitecaps on Tuesday (CCL), at Philadelphia Union on Saturday
OUTLOOK: Sporting Kansas City opened last week with a 2-2 draw against Central FC in CONCACAF Champions League play before securing a 2-0 victory over Western conference opponents Vancouver Whitecaps over the weekend. Benny Feilhaber had a day, first assisting Jacob Peterson on his 39th minute goal before scoring one of his own in the 64th minute. They’ll see the Whitecaps again this Tuesday in CCL play before travelling to Philadelphia to take on the Union on Saturday.
10. (7) MONTREAL IMPACT (8-7-9)
LAST WEEK: Lost to Chiacgo Fire, 3-0 on Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. LA Galaxy on Wednesday, at DC United on Saturday
OUTLOOK: Surely the shocking result of the weekend, the Montreal Impact fell to the lowly Chicago Fire, 3-0, on Saturday night, only the fifth victory for the Fire this season and the first road victory for the fire since July 12th, 2014 (36 matches). The Impact out-shot, out-possessed, and out-passed the visitors, but the Fire are the one who found the back of the net three times via Luis Solignac, David Accam, and Matt Polster. The Impact maintain their playoff position but will want to bounce back with two tough matches this week as LA comes to town before Montreal travels to DC on Saturday.
11. (9) PHILADELPHIA UNION (9-9-7)
LAST WEEK: Lost to Toronto FC, 3-1 on Saturday
THIS WEEK: at Columbus Crew on Wednesday, vs. Sporting Kansas City on Saturday
OUTLOOK: After their utter dominance of New England in their previous 4-0 victory, the Philadelphia Union returned to frustrating form in falling to Toronto FC, 3-1 this past week. Ken Tribbett managed the lone goal for the home team as Giovinco, Drew Moor, and Jozy Altidore dominated proceedings and left the Union flustered and looking for answers. They’ll travel to Columbus to play the Crew in a midweek match before welcoming Western conference playoff contenders Sporting Kansas City over the weekend.
12. (11) SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (7-7-10)
LAST WEEK: Lost to Houston Dynamo, 2-1 on Friday
THIS WEEK: vs. New England Revolution on Wednesday, at Columbus Crew on Saturday
OUTLOOK: Another poor road record streak fell this weekend as San Jose Earthquakes couldn’t catch the Houston Dynamo and fell, 2-1, for the Dynamo’s first road win since July 10th, 2015. Ricardo Clark and David Horst put the visitors ahead, 2-0, and the Earthquakes couldn’t catch up despite a goal from Victor Bernardez as the Earthquakes fell at the Avaya Stadium, only their second home loss of the year. The loss leaves the Earthquakes still on the outside of the playoff picture looking in, which they’ll hope to rectify this week against two Eastern conference opponents.
13. (13) PORTLAND TIMBERS (8-10-8)
LAST WEEK: Lost to Seattle Sounders, 3-1 on Sunday
THIS WEEK: vs. Seattle Sounders on Sunday
OUTLOOK: Unfortunately for the Portland Timbers, their spectacular Tifo display did not match the product on the field against the Seattle Sounders, as the visitors fell, 3-1, in an embarrassing display. The lone bright spot was the goal of Fanendo Adi, who started the match on the bench. They’ll have a chance to redeem themselves this weekend as Seattle travels to town in a second Cascadia Cup match on primetime national TV.
14. (14) D.C. UNITED (6-8-10)
LAST WEEK: Tied New York Red Bulls, 2-2 on Sunday
THIS WEEK: at Montreal Impact on Wednesday, vs. Chicago Fire on Saturday
OUTLOOK: Though they only provided the home fans with a single point on Sunday, it surely felt like a victory for the D.C. faithful as they battled back from a 2-0 deficit to snatch a point from their rivals, New York Red Bulls. Bradley Wright-Phillips put the visitors up 1-0 in the first half, and was added to by Felipe in the 64th minute. But just 10 minutes later, D.C. United had tied the match. A 70th minute penalty goal from Marcelo Sarvas was followed up three minutes later by a Patrick Mullins finish as D.C completed the comeback in rapid fashion. They’ll aim to build on that moral victory in a midweek visit to the Montreal Impact followed by a match at home against the Chicago Fire.
15. (16) ORLANDO CITY (5-6-13)
LAST WEEK: Tied Colorado Rapids, 0-0 on Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. Toronto FC on Wednesday, vs. New York City FC on Sunday
OUTLOOK: A result that is surely getting tiring for the Orlando City faithful, another draw saw the road side secure only a single point for the 13th time this season. Efforts on both sides of the aisle couldn’t break through as the Colorado Rapids held off the visitors for a 0-0 result. Things don’t get any easier for Orlando City this week, as they face the hottest team in MLS on Wednesday in 2nd place Toronto FC, before welcoming Eastern conference leaders New York City FC on Sunday.
16. (15) VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (8-12-6)
LAST WEEK: Lost to Sporting Kansas City, 2-0 on Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. Sporting Kansas City on Tuesday (CCL), at LA Galaxy on Saturday
OUTLOOK: The Vancouver Whitecaps could manage little possession and even fewer chances on Saturday as Sporting Kansas City ran over them en route to a 2-0 victory. The Whitecaps only got two shots on target and were largely shut down by their Eastern Conference opponents as they remain two points out of playoff position. The loss really stings as a victory would’ve catapulted them into playoff position at 6th in the West. They’ll have a chance to avenge it in CCL play on Tuesday as Sporting KC comes to the north side of the border, but most important is the difficult weekend match in Los Angeles against the Galaxy.
17. (18) HOUSTON DYNAMO (5-10-9)
LAST WEEK: Beat San Jose Earthquakes. 2-1 on Friday
THIS WEEK: vs. Seattle Sounders on Wednesday, vs. FC Dallas on Saturday
OUTLOOK: The streak is over! The Houston Dynamo left Avaya Stadium on Friday night with all three points for their first road win since July 10th, 2015. The Dynamo defeated the Earthquakes by holding on to a 2-0 lead courtesy of Ricardo Clark and David Horst, despite a second half goal from the visitors’ Victor Bernardez. The Dynamo earn their fifth win of the season but remain in the basement of the Western Conference. They can gain some ground this week with match-ups against both the Seattle Sounders and FC Dallas.
18. (19) CHICAGO FIRE (5-11-7)
LAST WEEK: Beat Montreal Impact, 3-0 on Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. LA Galaxy on Wednesday, at DC United on Saturday
OUTLOOK: The longest broken streak of the week, however, belonged to the Chicago Fire. The MLS cellar-dwellers secured their first road win in 36 matches dating back to July 12th, 2014. Luis Solignac, David Accam, and Matt Polster headlined the sweet victory with a goal apiece as the visitors were largely outplayed but managed to pile up that most important statistic of all. They’ll aim to build on this success while welcoming the Galaxy to town before visiting D.C. United over the weekend.
19. (20) COLUMBUS CREW (4-8-11)
LAST WEEK: Beat New England Revolution, 2-0 on Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. Philadelphia Union on Wednesday, vs. San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday
OUTLOOK: What a week on the road for teams in the bottom of the standings. Adding to the success of the Dynamo and Fire, the Columbus Crew went into New England and returned to the midwest with three points following a 2-0 victory. Ethan Finlay and Federico Higuain scored the goals to secure the victory over Kei Kamara’s new team. The coming week sees two matches on slate for Columbus, but both will be at MAPFRE Stadium as the Philadelphia Union and San Jose Earthquakes come to town.
20. (17) NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (6-11-8)
LAST WEEK: Lost to Columbus Crew, 2-0 on Saturday
THIS WEEK: at San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday, at New York Red Bulls on Sunday
OUTLOOK: It’s been a rough two weeks for the New England Revolution at home. After getting clobbered by the Philadelphia Union, 4-0, last week, the Revs were soundly defeated by the lowly Columbus Crew, 2-0, at Gillette Stadium. Ethan Finlay and Federico Higuain scored for the visitors as the Crew snatched all three points on the road. The Revolution couldn’t manage a single goal despite 16 total shots (5 on target), bringing their MLS-worst goal differential to -17. They’ve got a ton of travel this week, first venturing to the west coast to face the Earthquakes on Wednesday before returning to the east to face the Red Bulls on Sunday.
What do you think of this week’s rankings? Which teams do you see being ranked too highly? Who didn’t get enough respect?
Share your thoughts below.