It was a slow week in MLS as World Cup qualifiers had many teams taking time off during the international break. Those who played did so definitively, as the week passed without a single draw as a result.
FC Dallas staked their claim to remain on top of the rankings by dismantling a dreadfully bad road team in the Portland Timbers. The New York Red Bulls and New York City FC did their part as well, securing victories over the Vancouver Whitecaps and D.C. United respectively. The Colorado Rapids continued their second half slide with yet another bad result, this time a loss against the woeful New England Revolution.
The worst loss of the week, however, belongs to the Philadelphia Union, who found themselves on the receiving end of a 3-0 beat-down at the hands of the Chicago Fire. The same Fire now only find themselves six points out of the playoffs in the East despite a weak season to this point.
Who were the biggest movers and shakers on a slow week?
Here’s a closer look at this week’s SBI MLS Power Rankings:
SBI MLS Power Rankings (Week 27)
1. (Last week-1) FC DALLAS (15-7-6)
LAST WEEK: Defeated Portland Timbers, 3-1, on Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. Colorado Rapids on Saturday
OUTLOOK: Hosting a Portland Timbers side with a stunningly bad 0-8-6 away record, FC Dallas handled business on Saturday as they cruised to an easy 3-1 victory. The win further solidifies FCD’s grip on the Supporters’ Shield, as they lead second-place New York City FC by 7 points with only 6 matches left to play. FCD made it look easy, carrying a 3-0 lead into the final minutes behind goals from Mauro Diaz, Victor Ulloa, and Walker Zimmerman, before Diego Valeri snatched a consolation goal for the visitors to seal the result. The league leaders face a difficult Western Conference challenge this weekend when the Colorado Rapids come to visit.
2. (2) NEW YORK RED BULLS (12-9-7)
LAST WEEK: Defeated Vancouver Whitecaps, 1-0, on Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. D.C. United on Sunday
OUTLOOK: Good luck to the rest of the league if the New York Red Bulls find their footing on the road. The reigning Supporters’ Shield winners finally secured their second road victory of the season by travelling north of the border to face the Vancouver Whitecaps, returning home with a 1-0 win. The Red Bulls are tied for the most home wins in MLS, but their road form has left them lagging behind their Eastern conference rivals. Bradley Wright-Phillips did all he could to change that narrative as his 50th minute goal sees him move into a tie with David Villa in the MLS Golden Boot race and sees the Red Bulls move a point behind their local rivals in the Eastern Conference standings. They’ll face their historic rivals, D.C. United, at home this Sunday as they seek to stake their claim to the top of the East.
3. (3) REAL SALT LAKE (12-8-8)
LAST WEEK: Tied LA Galaxy, 3-3, on Wednesday
THIS WEEK: at Portland Timbers on Saturday
OUTLOOK: Real Salt Lake enjoyed a nice week off over the international break after their previous 2-1 victory over the Colorado Rapids. RSL remains in second place in the West after the low-action week and return to a double-slate of matches featuring two tough Western conference opponents. First, RSL hosted the LA Galaxy in a hugely impactful midweek showdown with big first-round bye implications. For most of the match, it seemed like the Galaxy would take advantage, but a last gasp goal from RSL pulled a point back and kept them in serious contention. After that difficult affair, RSL travels west to visit the sixth-place Portland Timbers, winners of only one in their last four. The Timbers will be looking to bounce back after a bad loss to FC Dallas, so RSL will need to avoid disappointment against a feisty squad.
4. (6) NEW YORK CITY FC (12-8-8)
LAST WEEK: Defeated D.C. United, 3-2, on Thursday
THIS WEEK: at New England Revolution on Saturday
OUTLOOK: In what would’ve been the match of the week even with a full slate of games, New York City FC were victorious on Thursday night against D.C. United in a heart-attack thriller. In a match featuring four goals after the 79th minute, Frank Lampard made the difference for NYCFC, scoring twice (85′, 93′) to snatch victory from DCU not once, but twice. The win sees NYCFC take back the top spot in the East and they’ll look to hold it as they travel to face the New England Revolution this weekend. The Revolution righted their home woes last week in defeating the Colorado Rapids, and they’ll aim to put a halt to NYCFC this weekend. Can NYCFC get back on track with their early season road success?
5. (7) LA GALAXY (10-4-14)
LAST WEEK: Defeated Columbus Crew, 2-1, on Saturday, Tied Real Salt Lake, 3-3, on Wednesday
THIS WEEK: vs. Orlando City on Sunday
OUTLOOK: What international break? The LA Galaxy played, and won, during the week of World Cup qualifiers, and immediately return to action with two fixtures this week. First, the Galaxy visited Real Salt Lake with both teams even on points and matches played, tied for the second spot in the West. The Galaxy were mere moments from victory when a 94th minute RSL equalizer snatched a point for the hosts and kept the playoff race wide open. The second match of the week sees the Galaxy return home to face Orlando City for a potentially dangerous match. The Lions are just on the wrong side of the Eastern conference playoff line and will come in looking to move above it by stealing three points in LA.
6. (5) TORONTO FC (12-8-7)
LAST WEEK: BYE
THIS WEEK: at Chicago Fire on Saturday
OUTLOOK: The lack of action for Toronto FC over the break saw them fall to third in the East behind both victorious New York teams, but the Canadian side won’t be worried as they maintain a game in hand over each of their rivals for the top spot. This week, they return to action with a potential trap game in Chicago against the Fire. While the ninth-place team in the East may not seem like a tough match-up, the Fire are 5-2-6 at home this season, proving difficult to break down as they showed in their previous 3-0 dismantling of the Philadelphia Union. TFC features the second-best road record in the league, however, so the visitors will enter expecting a rare win in Chicago to reclaim the top of the Eastern conference. The recent form of Jozy Altidore will certainly help, as the team pushes on without star Sebastian Giovinco.
7. (4) COLORADO RAPIDS (11-5-10)
LAST WEEK: Lost to New England Revolution, 2-0, on Saturday
THIS WEEK: at FC Dallas on Saturday
OUTLOOK: It was a hugely disappointing result for the Colorado Rapids over the international break, as the visitors continued their second-half slowdown in falling to the New England Revolution, 2-0. These Rapids seem a far cry from the team that went 15 straight matches without a loss earlier this season. The loss to the Revolution continues a now four-match winless streak and things don’t get any easier this week with a visit to league leaders FC Dallas on the schedule. The Rapids will have to find a way to bounce back.
8. (11) SPORTING KANSAS CITY (11-12-5)
LAST WEEK: BYE
THIS WEEK: vs. Houston Dynamo on Friday
OUTLOOK: Sporting Kansas City needed the week off after two bad losses the week before with a 3-0 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps in CCL play and a 2-0 loss to the Philadelphia Union fresh in their minds. Luckily for them, they return to action this week on Friday against the last-placed team in MLS, the Houston Dynamo. Despite recent form, Sporting KC still find themselves steadily in fifth place in the West thanks to the Timbers struggles, and seek to solidify that position against a Dynamo team with just one win in their last nine matches.
9. (8) PHILADELPHIA UNION (11-10-7)
LAST WEEK: Lost to Chicago Fire, 3-0, on Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. Montreal Impact on Saturday
OUTLOOK: That one stings. Losing is bad enough, but getting obliterated by the cellar-dwellers of the Eastern Conference must really hurt the Philadelphia Union. Even worse, the scoring was opened with an own goal from Roland Alberg before Michael de Leeuw and Arturo Alvarez tacked on goals two and three for the Fire, who suddenly find themselves only six points out of playoff position with a game in hand over D.C. United. For the Union, the loss sees them start lagging behind the three Eastern conference leaders ahead of them, now three points behind a first round bye spot. Still safely above the playoff line by nine points, the Union will look to turn things around against the team right below them in the standings, the Montreal Impact, who had a midweek match that may leave them tired entering the weekend.
10. (10) PORTLAND TIMBERS (9-11-8)
LAST WEEK: Lost to FC Dallas, 3-1, on Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. Real Salt Lake on Saturday
OUTLOOK: Hopefully Portland Timbers fans enjoyed their rivalry win over the Seattle Sounders, because it was back to losing form this week against league leaders FC Dallas. The 3-1 defeat marks the third in four matches for the Timbers and sees the gap between themselves and the playoff line narrow as they sit three points above the San Jose Earthquakes, who have two matches in hand. Righting the ship won’t be easy this week with a visit from Real Salt Lake on the schedule. The visitors have won two in a row against two of the strongest teams in MLS by defeating FC Dallas and the Colorado Rapids, and seek to continue their rise in the standings. The Timbers have some fortune, however, as their playoff rivals face each other this week with the Earthquakes hosting the Seattle Sounders.
11. (12) SEATTLE SOUNDERS (9-13-4)
LAST WEEK: BYE
THIS WEEK: at San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday
OUTLOOK: The Seattle Sounders enjoyed a nice week off while Jordan Morris featured for the USMNT in World Cup qualifiers last week, but they return to action this week with a hugely impactful match on Saturday. A visit to Avaya Stadium is on tap as the Sounders visit the very stingy at home San Jose Earthquakes in a big-time playoff impacting match out West. With the Portland Timbers in struggling form in sixth place and facing a difficult opponent this week, the Sounders and Earthquakes sit four and three points outside of the playoffs respectively, each holding two matches in hand. The winner this weekend could set themselves up for a strong playoff push come the last few matches of the season. It’ll be one to watch, as the Sounders look to continue their playoff push without Clint Dempsey
12. (9) MONTREAL IMPACT (9-8-10)
LAST WEEK: Lost to Orlando City, 4-1, on Wednesday
THIS WEEK: at Philadelphia Union on Saturday
OUTLOOK: The Montreal Impact enjoyed a week of rest after their 1-0 victory over Toronto FC two weeks ago. They return to action this week with a double-slate to catch up with the rest of the league. First, the Impact welcomed Orlando City to town after the Lions enjoy their own week off following a victory over New York City FC. The Lions took full advantage of several Impact mistakes, including a red card penalty assigned to keeper Evan Bush, and dominated the hosts, 4-1. The Impact now travel to the Philadelphia Union, coming off a bad loss to the Chicago Fire, in a battle that could be a deciding factor in hosting a playoff match down the line. The Impact will have to bounce back this weekend in order to keep themselves above the dangerous playoff fray.
13. (14) ORLANDO CITY (7-7-13)
LAST WEEK: Defeated Montreal Impact, 4-1, on Wednesday
THIS WEEK: at LA Galaxy on Sunday
OUTLOOK: Orlando City can consider their bye week a success, as without playing a match they find themselves only a point behind D.C. United with a match in hand. They’ll seek to take advantage of that match in a two-match week that sees them travel across multiple countries and time zones. First, the Lions traveled north of the border to face Didier Drogba and the Montreal Impact. The Lions dominated an error-filled match and secured a 4-1 victory and advancement into the sixth and final playoff spot. It’ll likely be more difficult in their second match as they travel back to the U.S. but across the country to face the injury-bitten LA Galaxy. A second win assure them sole possession of the sixth and final playoff spot regardless of D.C. United’s result, and with DCU facing a tough Red Bulls side, this could be valuable opportunity for the Lions.
14. (13) D.C. UNITED (7-8-11)
LAST WEEK: Lost to New York City FC, 3-2, on Thursday
THIS WEEK: at New York Red Bulls on Sunday
OUTLOOK: A thrilling victory for New York City FC and great match for neutrals was a heartbreaking defeat for D.C. United. After surrendering the lead late, an equalizing goal in the 90th minute seemed to surely secure a good road draw for DCU, but Frank Lampard’s even later winner snatched victory for NYCFC. The loss means that DCU stays only one point above Orlando City and the playoff line, with the Lions having a match in hand. This week sees them face the other New York side, their long-time rival Red Bulls. After securing a draw just a few weeks ago in D.C., they’ll face a tall task against one of the strongest home teams in the league as they seek to maintain their slim playoff lead.
15. (15) SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (7-8-11)
LAST WEEK: BYE
THIS WEEK: vs. Seattle Sounders on Saturday
OUTLOOK: The San Jose Earthquakes return to action with their most meaningful match yet this season. Only three points behind the struggling Portland Timbers for the final Western Conference playoff spot, the Earthquakes have two matches in hand and a crucial one scheduled against the Seattle Sounders this week. The Sounders sit only a point behind them, also with two matches in hand on the Timbers, meaning the winner of this match has a crucial advantage heading into the last weeks of the season. The Earthquakes have been strong at Avaya Stadium this year,but can they secure all three points this weekend?
16. (16) VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (8-13-7)
LAST WEEK: Lost to New York Red Bulls, 1-0, on Saturday
THIS WEEK: at Columbus Crew on Saturday
OUTLOOK: The Vancouver Whitecaps fell victim to the New York Red Bulls second road victory of the season last week, hurting their playoff hopes in the process. The loss drops them to eight consecutive matches without a win and five losses in their last six. They now sit four points behind the Portland Timbers with the same number of matches played, while the Settle Sounders and San Jose Earthquakes sit ahead of them in the standings with two matches in hand each. The Whitecaps will hope to get their season back on track with a visit to the lowly Columbus Crew this weekend, who’s up-and-down form leaves the Whitecaps guessing as to which Crew team will show up.
17. (19) NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (7-12-9)
LAST WEEK: Defeated Colorado Rapids, 2-0, on Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. New York City FC on Saturday
OUTLOOK: The New England Revolution entered last week on a six-match winless streak, including losing five of their last six, as they welcomed the Colorado Rapids into town. The Revolution figured out their issues, however, and took down the lagging Rapids, 2-0, in Foxboro behind goals from Juan Agudelo and Chris Tierney. They’ll welcome another difficult opponent to Gillette Stadium on Saturday as Eastern Conference rivals New York City FC come to town after their own heart attack victory on Thursday of last week. The Revolution sit just outside of playoff position, but with each team ahead of them with matches in hand, and so need to make the most of their remaining six this season. A win against the Eastern conference leaders would go a long way towards that goal.
18. (20) CHICAGO FIRE (6-12-8)
LAST WEEK: Defeated Philadelphia Union, 3-0, on Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. Toronto FC on Saturday
OUTLOOK: The Chicago Fire entered their match against the Philadelphia Union on the back of a demoralizing 6-2 defeat against D.C. United. They left with a reinvigorating victory over a strong Union side in dominant fashion. The Fire scored three and shut out the potent visitors, though they were helped out by a Union own goal to open the scoring. The Fire remove themselves from the basement of the East and rise to ninth place, only six points out of playoff position, with games in hand on several sides above them. Could a late season charge come to Chicago? Perhaps, but it starts with a difficult visit from Toronto FC, who have been the hottest team in MLS during the second half of the season.
19. (17) COLUMBUS CREW (5-10-11)
LAST WEEK: Lost to LA Galaxy, 2-1, on Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday
OUTLOOK: The Columbus Crew traveled to Los Angeles this past week and put on a decent showing as they controlled large segments of the match but ultimately fell to the LA Galaxy by a score of 2-1. The loss coupled with the Chicago Fire’s victory sees the Crew dropped into last place in the East, but not out of playoff contention, only six points back of D.C. United with a match in hand. They’ll hope to change their topsy-turvy form (D-W-L-W-L) when they welcome the Vancouver Whitecaps to town this weekend. The Whitecaps are on a eight-match winless streak and have lost five of their last six, providing an ideal opponent for the Crew to renew their playoff hopes against.
20. (18) HOUSTON DYNAMO (5-11-10)
LAST WEEK: BYE
THIS WEEK: at Sporting Kansas City on Friday
OUTLOOK: No change in the season outlook for the Houston Dynamo during their week off, they remain in the cellar of MLS with playoff hopes all but dead as they sit 10 points back of the sixth-place Portland Timbers. They’ll have the opportunity to play spoiler against Sporting Kansas City, who sit in fifth place in the West, very much still in the playoff fringe. It’s been woeful goings on the road for the Dynamo this year, as the team has managed only a single road victory this season. They’ll have a difficult task against Sporting KC who are incredibly strong at home, with a 9-4-1 record.
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.