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SBI MLS Power Rankings: Week 19

Photo by Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

After a short break for the Gold Cup group stage, with only six teams in action in the U.S. Open Cup, the power rankings have remained static for MLS.

That changes dramatically this week, as league play is set to return with a vengeance as a majority of teams undergo a double-slate of matches. Most notable is a pair of battles at the very top of the rankings, as No. 3 New York City FC are set to take on No. 1 Toronto FC on Wednesday, followed by the No. 2 Chicago Fire on Saturday. Those matches could go a long way towards determining the top of the Eastern Conference as well as the top of next week’s power rankings.

Elsewhere, No. 6 Atlanta United take on southern rivals No. 8 Orlando City in a top ten showdown, while the Columbus Crew and Philadelphia Union play a crucial red-line match in the Eastern Conference.

Sporting Kansas City take on Real Salt Lake as they look to keep their slipping grip on the top of the Western Conference, while FC Dallas try and overtake them when they face the Montreal Impact over the weekend. Finally, A pair of winless road teams will try to shake off that unwelcome distinction. The Houston Dynamo play two on the road this weekend, one of which comes against also-winless D.C. United, who themselves are on the road in midweek play against the Seattle Sounders.

It’s sure to be an eventful return for MLS, no matter the results.

Here’s a look at this week’s SBI MLS Power Rankings:


1. (Last Week – 1) TORONTO FC (11-3-5)

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THIS WEEK: at New York City FC on Wednesday; vs. Colorado Rapids on Saturday.

OUTLOOK: While the Gold Cup break represented an opportunity for teams to rest their players in anticipation of the second half of the season, it hurt Toronto FC more than it helped. With no Jozy Altidore or Michael Bradley for the remainder of the tournament, TFC will need to face down a double-week by relying on their MLS-best depth, starting away at NYCFC.


2. (2) CHICAGO FIRE (11-3-5)

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THIS WEEK: at New York City FC on Saturday.

OUTLOOK: The Chicago Fire come out of the Gold Cup break still riding an 11-match unbeaten run. Though they’ll still be missing Dax McCarty, the remainder of the Fire’s roster should be ready to go against NYCFC on Saturday in a hugely important showdown in the Eastern Conference. They’ll also take an advantage in the form of avoiding a midweek match, unlike their opponents.


3. (3) NEW YORK CITY FC (10-6-3)

NYCFC logo


THIS WEEK: vs. Toronto FC on Wednesday; vs. Chicago Fire on Saturday.

OUTLOOK: Talk about a brutal return from the break. NYCFC face not one, but both of their primary rivals for Eastern Conference supremacy in the span of four days this week. First it’ll be a slightly weakened Toronto FC before a nearly-full strength Chicago Fire over the weekend. They can take some solace in playing both matches at home, where they’ve lost just once this year, and the return of Sean Johnson in goal after his USMNT stint.



Sporting Kansas City Logo

LAST WEEK: Beat FC Dallas, 3-0, on Tuesday. (U.S. Open Cup)

THIS WEEK: at Real Salt Lake on Saturday.

OUTLOOK: Sporting Kansas City welcome the return of Dom Dwyer amid a six-match unbeaten run, but will continue to lack Graham Zusi due to USMNT duties. Sporting KC has struggled on the road this year, winning just two of ten matches, and face a Real Salt Lake team that is coming off one of the most surprising smackdowns of the season in a 6-2 blowout of the LA Galaxy. Though their defense has been stellar, their offense has been mediocre, and they’ll need Dwyer to convert his strong USMNT form into strong club form.


5. (5) FC DALLAS (8-3-7)

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LAST WEEK: Lost to Sporting Kansas City, 3-0, on Tuesday. (U.S. Open Cup)

THIS WEEK: at Montreal Impact on Saturday.

OUTLOOK: Four straight unbeaten and two straight wins have FC Dallas rapidly gaining on Sporting Kansas City at the top of the Western Conference. Just a point back and with two games in hand, Dallas will aim to seize the top spot with a much-needed road success. It’ll be a challenge, as FCD haven’t taken a full three points away from home since May 6th against Real Salt Lake.


6. (6) ATLANTA UNITED (9-7-3)



THIS WEEK: at Orlando City on Friday.

OUTLOOK: With the departure of Brad Guzan from the USMNT, Atlanta United finally get the keeper they’ve been waiting for, despite solid work from Alec Kann at the back in the meantime. Guzan’s presence could make all the difference in Orlando City Stadium, which remains a very difficult place to play despite some recent struggles from the Lions, as Atlanta pursue the top dogs out East.


7. (7) PORTLAND TIMBERS (7-7-6)

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THIS WEEK: vs. Real Salt Lake on Wednesday; at Vancouver Whitecaps on Sunday.

OUTLOOK: Something just isn’t fully clicking in Portland lately. The Timbers haven’t been losing, but they’ve not been winning either, with three straight draws most recently on their record. The three points are welcome, but far from satisfying for a team that hasn’t won a match since June 10th. As they slip closer to the red line, the Timbers will want to secure six points this week against favorable opposition.


8. (8) ORLANDO CITY (8-7-5)



THIS WEEK: vs. Atlanta United on Friday.

OUTLOOK: Orlando City have suffered a bit of a rough patch lately, having won just one of their last six matches, and things only get more difficult on Friday. With the fierce attack of Atlanta United coming to town, on three straight wins and the recent arrival of Brad Guzan no less, it’s a bad time for the Lions to lose their primary attacking option. Cyle Larin will join Canada for the Gold Cup knockout stage as they play Jamaica on Thursday, effectively ruling him out for Friday’s match.


9. (9) LA GALAXY (6-8-4)

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LAST WEEK: Lost to San Jose Earthquakes, 3-2, on Monday. (U.S. Open Cup)

THIS WEEK: vs. Vancouver Whitecaps on Wednesday; at New England Revolution on Saturday.

OUTLOOK: To put it mildly, the Galaxy are struggling. Three straight losses, including an embarrassing 6-2 defeat at home to Real Salt Lake, have left the Galaxy reeling and searching for answers. With just one win at home this year, the Galaxy can’t overlook the Vancouver Whitecaps in midweek play. The weekend match in New England won’t be much easier, as the Revs have been strong in their own house this year, though they are coming off four straight losses.


10. (10) NEW YORK RED BULLS (8-8-2)

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LAST WEEK: Beat New England Revolution, 1-0, on Thursday. (U.S. Open Cup)

THIS WEEK: vs. San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday; at Minnesota United on Saturday.

OUTLOOK: The New York Red Bulls emerge from the break in inconsistent form. Alternating wins and losses since May 27th have left them just outside the playoff picture, but with a fairly simple win-and-in path to getting back in contention. Two good results at home against the Quakes and on the road against Minnesota United could see them soar as high as fifth in the East.


11. (11) VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (7-7-3)

Vancouver Whitecaps FC Logo


THIS WEEK: at LA Galaxy on Wednesday; vs. Portland Timbers on Sunday.

OUTLOOK: The Whitecaps emerge from the break still lacking a small-side team’s worth of players, including Alphonso Davies, Russell Teibert, Marcel de Jong, and Samuel Adekugbe. They are, however, entering on the back of a good come from behind win over NYCFC thanks to Yordy Reyna, whose presence could make all the difference for a Whitecaps team in pursuit of higher playoff positioning. They’ll face the struggling Galaxy and Timbers in a double-week, who have struggled at home and on the road respectively.


12. (12) SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (7-7-5)


LAST WEEK: Beat LA Galaxy, 3-2, on Monday (U.S. Open Cup)

THIS WEEK: at New York Red Bulls on Wednesday; at Seattle Sounders on Sunday.

OUTLOOK: Out of the break and into the fire. The Quakes double-week coming off the Gold Cup break features a pretty brutal pair of road trips. First to Red Bull Arena, where the hosts have a strong record of 5-2-2, and then to CenturyLink Field, where the Sounders have lost just once this year. Holding on just above the red line, earning some kind of results on these difficult trips will be crucial to the Quakes playoff hopes.


13. (13) HOUSTON DYNAMO (8-7-4)

Houston Dynamo Logo


THIS WEEK: at Minnesota United on Wednesday; at D.C. United on Saturday.

OUTLOOK: The Houston Dynamo are in the midst of an impressive season to be sure, but they have a fatal flaw. While the team is unbeaten at home, they are just as winless on the road. That flaw will be put to the test in their double-week, as they’re on the road against Minnesota United and D.C. United in the span of four days. With a single win, the Dynamo could more than double their road points total this year, at just two points through nine matches. It’s something they’ll need to figure out to make a run at the MLS Cup title.


14. (14) COLUMBUS CREW (9-10-1)



THIS WEEK: vs. Philadelphia Union on Saturday.

OUTLOOK: The Columbus Crew currently sit in the sixth and final playoff spot, but only by the grace of having played a few more matches than the teams directly below them. The Red Bulls and Montreal Impact sit within firing range of the Crew, as do this weekend’s opponents, the Philadelphia Union. With a pair of wins in their two matches in hand, the Union could jump the Crew in the standings, but the Crew have a valuable opportunity this weekend at home to take that advantage away.


15. (15) SEATTLE SOUNDERS (5-7-6)

Seattle Sounders FC Logo


THIS WEEK: vs. D.C. United on Wednesday; vs. San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday.

OUTLOOK: With their last match a road victory in Colorado, momentum appears to be with the Sounders coming out of the Gold Cup break. They’ll rejoice at getting Cristian Roldan back from the national team, but as a result they lose Clint Dempsey for the remainder of the tournament. With two matches at home, and just one loss at CenturyLink this year, six points is the only goal for the Sounders as they look to replicate last season’s second-half push to a championship.



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LAST WEEK: Lost to New York Red Bulls, 1-0, on Thursday. (U.S. Open Cup)

THIS WEEK: vs. LA Galaxy on Saturday.

OUTLOOK: Things have fallen apart in a big way for the New England Revolution. After carrying an unbeaten home record into June, the Revs were finally knocked off at home by the Chicago Fire, and seemingly got knocked off their winning ways as well. Including that loss to the Fire, the Revs have lost four straight to fall way down the depths of the Eastern Conference. Among those losses are two straight at home, where they’ll face a Galaxy team that has been a road menace to others in the league.


17. (17) PHILADELPHIA UNION (6-7-5)



THIS WEEK: at Montreal Impact on Wednesday; at Columbus Crew on Saturday.

OUTLOOK: The streakiest team in the league is at it again, now on a three-match unbeaten run that has seen them rise into playoff contention in the East. Coming off seven points in three matches, plus the return of Alejandro Bedoya from Gold Cup duty, the Union will aim to continue that success on the road twice this week. Both road matches come against red-line Eastern Conference competition, and four points would go a long way to helping the Union’s cause.


18. (18) MONTREAL IMPACT (5-6-6)

Logo Impact MLS


THIS WEEK: vs. Philadelphia Union on Wednesday; vs. FC Dallas on Saturday.

OUTLOOK: The Impact are coming off some mixed, but slightly negative, results in their last five matches with a 1-2-2 record. This hasn’t stopped them from staying in Eastern Conference contention, however, due to having played the fewest matches league-wide this year. They’ll face a crucial match in the East against the Union before hosting always-difficult FC Dallas on the weekend. They’ll also remain without a handful of Gold Cup players, including goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau, and key players Patrice Bernier and Anthony Jackson-Hamel.


19. (19) MINNESOTA UNITED (5-11-3)



THIS WEEK:  vs. Houston Dynamo on Wednesday; vs. New York Red Bulls on Saturday.

OUTLOOK: After battling back from their slow start to the season, Minnesota United has fallen right back to the basement with three straight without a win, including two straight losses. While the Loons can’t be ruled out of the Western Conference just yet, the Loons need to change their form soon or they will find themselves rapidly eliminated from contention. The good news is both of their matches this week come at home against the Dynamo and Red Bulls, where the Loons have a solid 5-4-1 record.


20. (20) D.C. UNITED (5-11-3)


THIS WEEK: at Seattle Sounders on Wednesday; vs. Houston Dynamo on Saturday.

OUTLOOK: The past few months have been a drag for D.C. United. After hoping for a turnaround after a slow start to the season, things have only gotten worse in the capital. DCU has lost four of their past five matches, including three straight, and aside from a two-goal loss to FC Dallas have fallen right back into anemic offensive form. A road trip to Seattle is not exactly what the doctor ordered, but a visit from the winless on the road Dynamo may be more palatable. But 10 points back from the red line, D.C. United’s season sits on the precipice, and results need to start coming now to avoid tipping over.


21. (21) COLORADO RAPIDS (6-11-1)

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THIS WEEK: at Toronto FC on Saturday.

OUTLOOK: The Rapids have struggled lately, losing three of their last four, and their formerly strong home record has been diminished by two straight losses. Worse still, the Rapids have yet to even earn a single point on the road, with an 0-7-0 record away from Colorado. It can’t be much worse, then, that the Rapids need to travel all the way to Toronto FC to take on one of the league’s best teams this weekend.


22. (22) REAL SALT LAKE (6-12-2)

RSL Logo


THIS WEEK: at Portland Timbers on Wednesday; vs. Sporting Kansas City on Saturday.

OUTLOOK: This season has certainly been disappointing for Real Salt Lake. But they can hold their heads high about their last performance out, a 6-2 demolition of the LA Galaxy. It was the kind of result that left fans wondering, “where was that all year?”. Mike Petke hopes that his team can come out of the Gold Cup break and show more of that ability off as we approach the latter stages of the season. It may not take them to the playoffs, though they’re certainly not out yet, but it would build confidence moving forward.


  1. If you’re just going to reuse the same power ranking scores from the last time (week 17) you may as well not do it at all. At least take the few games that WERE played into account in the rankings!

  2. Top three teams in the East. I don’t know that I am buying that. Dallas still the team to beat for me.


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