With week 16 of the MLS season in the books, the top teams held their ground with one major exception.
Every team in last week’s top 10 either won or tied their respective matches, except for the Portland Timbers, who fell disappointingly to the Colorado Rapids thanks to Alan Gordon’s late winner. Likewise, most of the bottom half of the rankings found themselves on the losing end of proceedings, with the only notable exceptions coming from the aforementioned Rapids and Real Salt Lake.
The Chicago Fire came away as the first road winners at Gillette Stadium in their win over the New England Revolution, while New York City FC took advantage of a torrential rainstorm to emerge ahead of the Seattle Sounders. Toronto FC also topped their match against D.C. United to keep the top of the Eastern Conference in order.
Every team save the Rapids and RSL either lost or tied in a very bad week out West, including the top four, who remain in order. Minnesota United, victims of RSL’s victory, wound up back in the West basement after scrambling out of it following a struggling start to the season.
Here’s a look at this week’s SBI MLS Power Rankings:
SBI MLS POWER RANKINGS (WEEK 16)
1. (Last Week – 1) TORONTO FC (9-2-5)
LAST WEEK: Beat D.C. United, 2-0, on Saturday.
THIS WEEK: at Montreal Impact (Canadian Championship) on Wednesday; vs. New England Revolution on Friday
OUTLOOK: No surprises here, as Toronto FC took care of business against a struggling D.C. United to keep their hold on the top of the league steady. The East leaders face double duty this week as they take on the Impact in the first leg of the Canadian Championship final, before heading to the northeast to take on the Revs.
2. (2) CHICAGO FIRE (9-3-4)
LAST WEEK: Beat New England Revolution, 2-1, on Saturday.
THIS WEEK: vs. Orlando City on Saturday.
OUTLOOK: The Chicago Fire achieved what six teams have tried and failed to do so far this year, beat the Revs in Gillette Stadium. The Fire continue their astounding 2017 turnaround and keep a firm grip on second in the East and Supporters’ Shield. They’ll face another tough test when they welcome Orlando City this weekend.
3. (3) FC DALLAS (6-3-6)
THIS WEEK: at Houston Dynamo on Friday.
OUTLOOK: FC Dallas seemed to have a win secured Saturday against the Whitecaps, if not for Cristian Techera and his absurd free kick to equalize the match. Still, FCD will take a solid point on the road in a bad week for the Western Conference, which they’ll hope to translate to a win in Houston on Friday night.
4. (5) NEW YORK CITY FC (8-5-3)
LAST WEEK: Beat Seattle Sounders, 2-1, on Saturday.
THIS WEEK: at New York Red Bulls on Saturday.
OUTLOOK: Playing in a literal puddle, the field at Yankee Stadium was far worse than usual as NYCFC took on and defeated the Seattle Sounders thanks to David Villa’s 50th and 51st MLS goals. They’ll hope for drier conditions, and a better result, as they take on the Red Bulls at RBA for the second time in the span of about 10 days.
5. (4) SPORTING KANSAS CITY (7-4-6)
LAST WEEK: Tied San Jose Earthquakes, 0-0, on Saturday.
THIS WEEK: at LA Galaxy on Saturday.
OUTLOOK: Sporting Kansas City found itself shut down and shut out against the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday, ending in a scoreless draw. But thanks to poor performances from their competition, they remain on top out West. They’ll aim to distance themselves from the pack next weekend in LA.
6. (10) ATLANTA UNITED (6-6-3)
LAST WEEK: Beat Columbus Crew, 3-1, on Saturday.
THIS WEEK: at D.C. United on Wednesday; vs. Colorado Rapids on Saturday.
OUTLOOK: Atlanta United put on a comprehensive show, with all three DPs finding the scoresheet as they downed the Crew, 3-1. The return of Josef Martinez should provide a big boost en route to a playoff push. They’ll face a trip to D.C. United before coming home to take on the Colorado Rapids this week.
7. (6) PORTLAND TIMBERS (7-6-3)
LAST WEEK: Lost to Colorado Rapids, 2-1, on Saturday.
THIS WEEK: at Minnesota United on Wednesday; vs. Seattle Sounders on Sunday.
OUTLOOK: The Portland Timbers were the source of the lone upset victory on Saturday, as they were felled by Alan Gordon’s penchant for late game-winning headed goals. The Timbers maintain their spot in the standings, but will hope to bounce back from their disappointment on a road trip to Minnesota before returning home for the Cascadia Derby.
8. (7) ORLANDO CITY (7-5-4)
LAST WEEK: Tied Montreal Impact, 3-3, on Saturday.
THIS WEEK: at Seattle Sounders on Wednesday; at Chicago Fire on Saturday.
OUTLOOK: It was nothing if not entertaining when the Lions took on the Impact last weekend. En route to a 3-3 draw, Ignacio Piatti dazzled the Lions’ defense as the Impact seemed secure with a win in the dying moments. But it was the defense that would save Orlando City, as Jonathan Spector put one in during stoppage time to salvage a draw. Double action features for OCSC this week, as they visit the Sounders and Fire.
9. (8) LA GALAXY (5-5-4)
LAST WEEK: Tied Houston Dynamo, 2-2, on Saturday.
THIS WEEK: at Colorado Rapids on Wednesday; vs. Sporting Kansas City on Saturday.
OUTLOOK: Whether or not Romain Alessandrini strayed offsides on the final goal, it was a dramatic conclusion that saw the LA Galaxy salvage a draw at home against the Houston Dynamo. They’ll want a more definitive result when they visit the Colorado Rapids in midweek play before welcoming Sporting KC to he StubHub Center.
10. (12) NEW YORK RED BULLS (7-7-2)
LAST WEEK: Beat Philadelphia Union, 2-0, on Sunday.
THIS WEEK: vs. New York City FC on Saturday.
OUTLOOK: After Derrick Jones was sent off for the Union, the Red Bulls piled on the pain. Bradley Wright-Phillips scored twice in the second half to seize three road points for the Red Bulls. Now they return home to prepare for another New York clash against NYCFC, the second such match at RBA in less than two weeks.
11. (9) VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (6-6-2)
LAST WEEK: Tied FC Dallas, 1-1, on Saturday.
THIS WEEK: at Minnesota United on Saturday.
OUTLOOK: The Whitecaps escaped their home match against FC Dallas with a point, and they’ve got Cristian Techera to thank. Techera fired in a gorgeous free kick late in the match to equalize for the hosts and salvage a draw. They’ll hope for more magic this weekend in Minnesota against the Loons.
12. (11) SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (5-6-5)
LAST WEEK: Tied Sporting Kansas City, 0-0, on Saturday.
THIS WEEK: vs. Real Salt Lake on Saturday.
OUTLOOK: The Quakes back four shined once again in a scoreless draw against Sporting Kansas City. A point against the Western Conference’s best is no crying shame, and now they’ll aim to take three points from one of the Western Conference’s worst as they take on Real Salt Lake.
13. (15) HOUSTON DYNAMO (7-6-3)
LAST WEEK: Tied LA Galaxy, 2-2, on Saturday.
THIS WEEK: vs. FC Dallas on Friday.
OUTLOOK: The Dynamo will surely feel hard done after replays showed Romain Alessandrini’s game-tying goal at the death to have been offsides, but there’s nothing to do now as they left LA with a point in hand. The Dynamo now return to Texas for an in-state showdown with FC Dallas near the top of the Western Conference.
14. (13) COLUMBUS CREW (7-9-1)
LAST WEEK: Lost to Atlanta United, 3-1, on Saturday.
THIS WEEK: vs. Montreal Impact on Saturday.
OUTLOOK: The Crew were simply outplayed in Atlanta, as Miguel Almiron and Josef Martinez nullified a Crew equalizer earlier in the match. The loss leaves the Crew just one point ahead of the team that beat them and the red playoff line. They’ll aim to rebound at home against the Montreal Impact this weekend.
15. (14) SEATTLE SOUNDERS (5-7-4)
LAST WEEK: Lost to New York City FC, 2-1, on Saturday
THIS WEEK: vs. Orlando City on Wednesday; at Portland Timbers on Sunday.
OUTLOOK: Despite holding a lead after a goal from Cristian Roldan, the Sounders were unable to stop the rain and David Villa as NYCFC battled back for a win. The Sounders will look to dry off in Orlando in midweek play before returning for the big time clash against the Portland Timbers this weekend.
16. (16) NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (5-6-5)
LAST WEEK: Lost to Chicago Fire, 2-1, on Saturday.
THIS WEEK: at Toronto FC on Friday.
OUTLOOK: Very rarely does a team go totally unbeaten at home over the course of a season, and this won’t be the Revs year. The hosts lost at Gillette Stadium for the first time this season to the Chicago Fire last weekend, and now must leave the comforts of home to take on league-leaders Toronto FC in Canada.
17. (17) PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-7-4)
LAST WEEK: Lost to New York Red Bulls, 2-0, on Sunday.
THIS WEEK: vs. D.C. United on Saturday.
OUTLOOK: The Philadelphia Union did their best to hold on, but a sending off of Derrick Jones opened the floodgates as the Red Bulls would knock two in for a frustrating home loss for the Union. They’ll aim to rebound against the struggling D.C. United this weekend down in the nation’s capital.
18. (19) MONTREAL IMPACT (4-4-6)
LAST WEEK: Tied Orlando City, 3-3, on Saturday.
THIS WEEK: vs. Toronto FC (Canadian Championship) on Wednesday; at Columbus Crew on Saturday.
OUTLOOK: Ignacio Piatti did everything he could to pull a win out of Orlando City Stadium on Saturday, with two goals and an assist, but it wasn’t mean to be as Jonathan Spector leveled for the hosts in stoppage time. A point on the road is never bad, and they’ll hope to seize another this weekend in Columbus. But first, midweek action in the Canadian Championship final against Toronto FC.
19. (21) COLORADO RAPIDS (5-8-1)
LAST WEEK: Beat Portland Timbers, 2-1, on Saturday.
THIS WEEK: vs. LA Galaxy on Wednesday; at Atlanta United on Saturday.
OUTLOOK: In the big upset of the week, Alan Gordon returned to his penchant for late, game-winning, headed goals, as he bolstered the Rapids past the Portland Timbers. While riding the high of their win, it doesn’t get easier for the Rapids. They’ll welcome the LA Galaxy before visiting Atlanta United in double-duty action this week.
20. (20) D.C. UNITED (4-8-3)
LAST WEEK: Lost to Toronto FC, 2-0, on Saturday.
THIS WEEK: vs. Atlanta United on Wednesday; at Philadelphia Union on Saturday.
OUTLOOK: D.C. United continued a whole host of struggles in their 2-0 loss to Toronto FC last weekend. Aside from extending their winless run to three matches, they were held scoreless for the sixth time in seven matches. They’ll need their anemic offense to get going if they want to stand a chance at home against Atlanta or on the road against the Union this week.
21. (22) REAL SALT LAKE (5-10-2)
LAST WEEK: Beat Minnesota United, 1-0, on Saturday.
THIS WEEK: at San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.
OUTLOOK: Another good win for a low-table team, Real Salt Lake celebrated a 1-0 victory over Minnesota United on Saturday to elevate themselves from the cellar. They’ll have a hard time adding to it this weekend, however, as they take on the steadfastly defensive Quakes in California.
22. (18) MINNESOTA UNITED (4-9-2)
LAST WEEK: Lost to Real Salt Lake, 1-0, on Saturday.
THIS WEEK: vs. Portland Timbers on Wednesday; vs. Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday.
OUTLOOK: A loss to the former basement-dwellers sends the Loons down to the basement themselves. After bouncing back from their rough start to the season, Minnesota United has dropped four of their last five and finds themselves in last once again. They’ll seek to pull themselves out once more as they take on the Timbers and Whitecaps at home this week.