With Week 7 in the books, several teams continue to make their case for moving up the table, while a few others continue to languish near the bottom.
Sporting Kansas City proved the big winner of the weekend, as a 1-0 victory over the Portland Timbers sees them catapult into the top two with a showdown against No. 1 FC Dallas looming this weekend. The Chicago Fire also bolstered their resume and moved up correspondingly after their 3-0 win over the New England Revolution. Orlando City and New York City FC both jumped into the top five as well after convincing wins ahead of their meeting this weekend.
It was bad news for a few teams at the bottom, however, as the Rapids drop out of the top 20 with their late loss to Real Salt Lake at home. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Union continue to languish at the bottom spot of the rankings after their 2-0 defeat at the hands of NYCFC leaves them as the league’s sole winless team.
Here is a closer look at this week’s SBI MLS Power Rankings:
SBI MLS POWER RANKINGS (Week 7)
1. (Last week: 1) FC DALLAS (3-0-2)
THIS WEEK: vs. Sporting Kansas City on Saturday.
OUTLOOK: FC Dallas continues to reign supreme in the number one spot, which they’ve held since the opening of the season. While a draw isn’t exactly the result FCD was looking for against the San Jose Earthquakes, they were the better team on Friday for essentially the duration of the game and only a last-minute Jahmir Hyka goal salvaged a point for the Quakes. They’ll headline next week’s matches with a No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown against Sporting Kansas City.
2. (6) SPORTING KANSAS CITY (3-0-3)
LAST WEEK: Beat the Portland Timbers, 1-0, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK: at FC Dallas on Saturday.
OUTLOOK: Sporting Kansas City rockets into the top two after a huge win over the Portland Timbers last weekend. Not only did Sporting KC win a difficult match, they did so by shutting down one of the most prolific attacks in the league. Tim Melia made arguably the Save of the Year on an absolute rocket from Darlington Nagbe to preserve SKC’s lead late in the match. He’ll need to be on point once again as the challenge only increases as they visit FC Dallas this weekend in a top two showdown.
3. (2) PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-2-1)
LAST WEEK: Lost to Sporting Kansas City, 1-0, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK: vs. the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday.
OUTLOOK: The Portland Timbers ran into a brick wall named Tim Melia last weekend, as they fell to Sporting Kansas City, 1-0, despite Darlington Nagbe’s best efforts. While not a terribly hard loss to swallow against a tough opponent, the Timbers will want to bounce back with a win this week when they welcome the Vancouver Whitecaps in a second straight Cascadia showdown for the visitors.
4. (8) ORLANDO CITY (4-1-0)
LAST WEEK: Beat the LA Galaxy, 2-1, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK: at New York City FC on Sunday.
OUTLOOK: Last weekend, for just the second time this year, Orlando City scored more than one goal in a match. It proved enough for the team to seize their fourth win in five matches to open the season, as they defeated the LA Galaxy by a 2-1 scoreline. Will Johnson scored a spectacular volley to open the match, and Cyle Larin countered a Galaxy equalizer with a stoppage-time winner to celebrate his birthday weekend. Now they’ll travel to Yankee Stadium for a big-time Eastern Conference showdown against New York City FC.
5. (9) NEW YORK CITY FC (3-2-1)
LAST WEEK: Beat the Philadelphia Union, 2-0 last Friday.
THIS WEEK: vs. Orlando City on Sunday.
OUTLOOK: New York City FC took advantage of a struggling Philadelphia Union team last weekend, earning their first road win of the season in a 2-0 victory. Jack Harrison managed to open the scoring for NYCFC early in the second half, but the lead wasn’t secure until David Villa scored a Goal of the Year candidate and chipped Andre Blake from 50-yards out on a volley. That stunning strike sets up NYCFC’s return home to face one of the top teams in the East in Orlando City this Sunday.
6. (10) CHICAGO FIRE (3-1-2)
LAST WEEK: Beat the New England Revolution, 3-0, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK: at Toronto FC on Friday.
OUTLOOK: This isn’t the Chicago Fire of recent seasons, that much has been clear. The Fire continued their hot start in 2017 with their most comprehensive victory yet, a 3-0 walloping of the New England Revolution. New acquisitions have led the way for the Fire, and that continued as Nemanja Nikolic recorded a brace and Bastian Schweinsteiger added a third to cap a perfect night in Chicago. They’ll travel a bit north this weekend to take on a Toronto FC team that has been hit-or-miss to start the year.
7. (11) COLUMBUS CREW (4-2-1)
LAST WEEK: Beat Toronto FC, 2-1, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK: at the New York Red Bulls on Saturday.
OUTLOOK: Much like the Fire, the Columbus Crew are removing themselves effectively from the bad memories of 2016. The Crew sit atop the Eastern Conference after last weekend’s 2-1 victory over Toronto FC as they aim to return to the playoffs for the first time since their MLS Cup Final appearance in 2015. Ola Kamara and Justin Meram led the comeback effort for the Crew, and they’ll need to be just as effective this weekend as they face the difficult test of playing the New York Red Bulls in Red Bull Arena this weekend.
8. (3) TORONTO FC (1-1-4)
LAST WEEK: Lost to the Columbus Crew, 2-1, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK: vs. the Chicago Fire on Friday.
OUTLOOK: Toronto FC continued their very confusing start to the 2017 season, suffering their first loss of the year despite a string of poor results in their first six matches. Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the crew encapsulated their start well, with some offensive prowess shining through, but with subpar defending opening the door for their opponents to battle back. With four draws and a loss through six, TFC will need to turn things around in short order, starting with this weekend against the surprising Chicago Fire.
9. (4) SEATTLE SOUNDERS (1-2-3)
LAST WEEK: Lost to the Vancouver Whitecaps, 2-1, last Friday.
THIS WEEK: at the LA Galaxy on Sunday.
OUTLOOK: The ghost of Fredy Montero returned to doom the Seattle Sounders on Friday, as his brace led the Vancouver Whitecaps to a 2-1 win over their Cascadian rivals. The Sounders have struggled to open the year, much like their MLS Cup opponents in 2016, but have shown flashes of last year’s team behind some poor efforts overall. They’ll face the struggling Galaxy this weekend with a chance to earn their second win of the season.
10. (5) ATLANTA UNITED (2-2-2)
LAST WEEK: Lost to the Montreal Impact, 2-1, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK: at Real Salt Lake on Saturday.
OUTLOOK: Whether or not the red card call was fair, Atlanta United battled admirably despite being down to 10-men during the second half of their match against the Montreal Impact. It wasn’t enough, however, as Anthony Jackson-Hamel re-directed a shot into the back of the net at the death and doomed Atlanta to their second loss of the season. A difficult challenge awaits them in Utah this weekend, where they’ll face a Real Salt Lake team that has looked entirely revitalized under new coach Mike Petke.
11. (7) HOUSTON DYNAMO (3-2-1)
LAST WEEK: Tied Minnesota United, 2-2, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK: vs. the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.
OUTLOOK: The Houston Dynamo will certainly be disappointed with a draw against Minnesota United at home last weekend, but the method by which it came only makes it worse. Despite taking a 2-0 lead into halftime, thanks to goals from Mauro Manotas and Alberth Elis, the Dynamo were swarmed in the second half and surrendered two goals to Christian Ramirez and Johan Venegas. After impressing to start the year, the Dynamo have won just one of their last four and will hope to get back on track against the Earthquakes this weekend.
12. (13) NEW YORK RED BULLS (3-3-1)
LAST WEEK: Beat D.C. United, 2-0, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK: vs. the Columbus Crew on Saturday.
OUTLOOK: The New York Red Bulls can breathe a small sigh of relief as they snapped their four-match winless run with a 2-0 win over long-time rivals D.C. United on Saturday. The Red Bulls looked the better team for most of the match, and two second-half goals courtesy of Alex Muyl and Bradley Wright-Phillips helped reflect that on the scoreboard. The Red Bulls have yet to lose at home, and they’ll aim to keep it that way when the Crew come to town this weekend.
13. (12) SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (2-2-2)
LAST WEEK: Tied FC Dallas, 1-1, last Friday.
THIS WEEK: at the New England Revolution on Wednesday; at the Houston Dynamo on Saturday.
OUTLOOK: The heart-attack Quakes did it again on Friday, as they played 94 minutes before finding the back of the net to salvage a 1-1 draw at the very death of the match. Jahmir Hyka’s 94th minute effort cancelled out a 78th minute goal from Kellyn Acosta to seize a point. While it makes for exciting matches, the Quakes will hope to win one outright and without drama when they visit the Dynamo this weekend.
14. (18) VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (2-3-1)
LAST WEEK: Beat the Seattle Sounders, 2-1, last Friday.
THIS WEEK: at the Portland Timbers on Saturday.
OUTLOOK: Fredy Montero hadn’t been too effective so far this year entering last weekend, but a match against his former team proved to be his breakout moment, as his brace led the Vancouver Whitecaps to a 2-1 victory over the Sounders. The win continues an improvement in form from the Whitecaps after they went winless in their first three to open the year. They’ll travel slightly south to face their other Cascadian rival, the Portland Timbers, this weekend.
15. (14) LA GALAXY (2-4-0)
LAST WEEK: Lost to Orlando City, 2-1, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK: vs. the Seattle Sounders on Sunday.
OUTLOOK: When Romain Alessandrini equalized Will Johnson’s early goal in the 83rd minute, it seemed as though the Galaxy would be the first to leave Orlando City Stadium with any points in its young history. It wasn’t to be, however, as Cyle Larin continued to build the stadium’s fortress-like reputation with a stoppage-time winner and sent the Galaxy home empty-handed. The Galaxy will hope to defend their own home as the Sounders come to town this weekend.
16. (15) NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (2-3-1)
LAST WEEK: Lost to the Chicago Fire, 3-0, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK: vs. the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday; vs. D.C. United on Saturday.
OUTLOOK: The Chicago Fire are red hot and the New England Revolution ran into them at the wrong time. The Revs were dismantled by an all-around effective Fire team, surrendering a brace to Nemanja Nikolic and a third goal to Bastian Schweinsteiger en route to a 3-0 loss. Still, the Revs remain in solid position though six matches despite their road struggles. They’ll thankfully return home, where they’re perfect this season, as they take on a struggling D.C. United on Saturday.
17. (16) D.C. UNITED (2-3-1)
LAST WEEK: Lost to the New York Red Bulls, 2-0, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK: at the New England Revolution on Saturday.
OUTLOOK: Red Bull Arena is a consistently difficult stadium for away teams to leave from with points, and D.C. United was reminded of that last weekend. DCU were largely manhandled by their Atlantic Cup rivals, and two goals from Alex Muyl and Bradley Wright-Phillips capped that domination with a win for the hosts. While not necessarily a fortress, the Revs are unbeaten at Gillette Stadium, providing another tough road test for D.C. this weekend.
18. (19) MONTREAL IMPACT (1-2-3)
LAST WEEK: Beat Atlanta United, 2-1, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK: at the Philadelphia Union on Saturday.
OUTLOOK: While the Montreal Impact may have earned a bit of a fortunate red card against Atlanta United, they still took advantage as Anthony Jackson-Hamel’s late goal earned them all three points at home last weekend. They’ll go back on the road this weekend, where the Impact are winless, and take on the league’s last remaining overall winless team, the Philadelphia Union.
19. (20) MINNESOTA UNITED (1-4-2)
LAST WEEK: Tied at the Houston Dynamo, 2-2, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK: vs. the Colorado Rapids on Sunday.
OUTLOOK: After surrendering two goals in the first half and entering the break down 2-0, it looked to be another long night for Minnesota United against the Dynamo last weekend. But whatever coach Adrian Heath said during halftime worked, as Christian Ramirez and Johan Venegas led Minnesota to battle back and seize a 2-2 draw at the fulltime whistle. The Loons are showing improvement, bit by bit, and they’ll hope to continue that against the Colorado Rapids back home this weekend.
20. (21) REAL SALT LAKE (2-3-2)
LAST WEEK: Beat the Colorado Rapids, 2-1, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK: vs. Atlanta United on Saturday.
OUTLOOK: This Real Salt Lake team continues to look revitalized under new head coach Mike Petke, picking up their second straight win with him at the helm. RSL went to Colorado and battled back from down in the first half-hour to beat the Rapids by a 2-1 final scoreline. Goals from Yura Movsisyan and Brooks Lennon in the 85th and 88th minutes secured all three road points for the visitors, who now hope to beat Atlanta United at home this weekend and make it three straight wins.
21. (17) COLORADO RAPIDS (1-3-1)
LAST WEEK: Lost to Real Salt Lake, 2-1, last Saturday.
THIS WEEK: at Minnesota United on Sunday.
OUTLOOK: The Rapids will be kicking themselves for letting three points escape them last weekend against Real Salt Lake. After Kevin Doyle put the hosts up 1-0 in the 29th minute, the Rapids continued to battle and held a lead heading into the final 10 minutes. But it wasn’t to be, as Zac MacMath, in place of the suspended Tim Howard, allowed to goals within three minutes from Yura Movsisyan and Brooks Lennon to allow RSL to steal three points away. They’ll need to bounce back and solidify that back line as a trip to a rising Minnesota United is next on the agenda.
22. (22) PHILADELPHIA UNION (0-4-2)
LAST WEEK: Lost to New York City FC, 2-0, last Friday.
THIS WEEK: vs. the Montreal Impact on Saturday.
OUTLOOK: The woes continue to pile-up for the Philadelphia Union, who lost their fourth straight and remain as the league’s sole winless team through six matches this season. After two draws to start the year, the Union have fallen completely out of sorts, and that only continued as Jack Harrison and a ridiculous David Villa strike handed NYCFC a 2-0 win on the road. Good news for the Union though, as the Impact come to town winless through four matches on the road this year. Perhaps a chance to bounce back in front of the home fans for the Union.