MLS Week 18 Power Rankings: LAFC dominates, Minnesota impresses

Los Angeles FC flexed its muscles and Minnesota United was impressive in MLS Week 18. Here are our Power Rankings for the week.

Los Angeles FC finished Week 18 of the 2019 MLS season in peak form. It outscored Sporting Kansas City and the Vancouver Whitecaps 11-2 during the week to pull nine points ahead of the Los Angeles Galaxy. Meanwhile, Minnesota United compiled two victories of its own, including an impressive 3-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes. It now sits only two points behind Seattle Sounders FC for third in the Western Conference.

Here is a look at our MLS Power Rankings after Week 18:

(Legend: (W-L-T, LW: last week’s rankings )

Top Ten

1. LAFC (13-2-4, LW: 1) 

How dominant is LAFC? It registered eight different goalscorers this week, with Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi leading the way. LAFC’s +34 goal differential ranks first in MLS by a mind-blowing 23 goals over second-place Philadelphia. Clubs better hope LAFC peaked early, because it is currently best in the league, and it’s not even close.

2. Philadelphia Union (10-5-6, LW: 3)

The Union exposed the Orlando back line several times in their-back-to-back series. Philadelphia took four of available six points, including three at Orlando.

3. New York City FC (7-2-8, LW: 2)

Portland ended NYCFC’s unbeaten streak, but that 3-0 win over Seattle proved impressive enough to keep it in the top three.

4. Los Angeles Galaxy (11-7-1, LW: 8)

The Galaxy benefit from some bad losses by teams in front of them. That said, they own 11 victories as a one-dimensional offensive club. Los Angeles gets its players back from the Gold Cup just in time for the stretch run. If another scoring threat emerges alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the Galaxy may make some noise yet.

5. Seattle Sounders FC (9-5-5, LW: 5)

Seattle sits at the fifth position, despite its rough week on the pitch. A 3-0 loss at NYCFC demonstrated where the Sounders are at this point of the season. They appear to be stuck in neutral with critical matches ahead.

6. D.C. United (8-5-7, LW: 4)

F.C. Dallas beat D.C. United 2-0 in what could have been a worse result. Dallas controlled the match from start to finish in what was one of United’s worst performances of the year. 

7. Minnesota United FC (9-7-3, LW: 13)

The hot streak continued for Minnesota United with critical victories over fellow playoff contenders Montreal and San Jose. United entered this season with higher expectations, and now it appears it is reaching them.

8. FC Dallas (8-7-5, LW: 12)

Sometimes it takes a slump to figure things out. F.C. Dallas faced its struggles in the last month, and now it is coming off one of its best performances of the season.

9. Atlanta United FC (9-7-3, LW: 6)

It’s probably time to put out a missing person’s report on the Atlanta United back line.

10. San Jose Earthquakes (8-7-4, LW: 9)

San Jose recovered from a 3-1 loss at Minnesota to beat Real Salt Lake in stoppage time. Danny Hoesen’s set-piece winner earned the Earthquakes a tough 1-0 win.

Next Nine

11. New York Red Bulls (8-7-4, LW: 7)

You can’t unsee the Red Bulls’ performance at Houston. Something is wrong with this club, and I’m not sure it can fit it without adding some help over the transfer window.

12. Montreal Impact (9-9-3, LW: 10)

Tough home loss to rising Minnesota for Montreal. Fortunately, most of the other Eastern Conference contenders struggled as well.

13. Houston Dynamo (8-7-3, LW: 11)

Houston fans will point to the 4-0 demolition of the Red Bulls and ask why the Dynamo dropped to 13th. The answer is simple: there is absolutely no excuse for a club with Houston’s talent level to drop all three points to expansion FC Cincinnati. None. 

14. Portland Timbers (7-8-2, LW: 15)

Portland set the stage for its stretch run with a critical 1-0 win over NYCFC. The Timbers still have played only three home games this year. They are a team to watch in the coming weeks.

15. Real Salt Lake (8-9-2, LW: 14)

Real Salt Lake earned a reputation for toughness and grit under Jason Kreiss years ago, and they still maintain that attribute today. The problem is RSL lacks the playmakers to take the next step in the league’s elite.

16. New England Revolution (6-8-5, LW: 18)

Bruce Arena took some hits to his reputation after the United States men’s national team’s failure to qualify for the World Cup. However, his quick turnaround of the Revolution should put to rest any doubts. Their schedule works favorably for the Revolution over the next four matches, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see them take at least nine points.

17. Orlando City (6-9-4, LW: 16)

Orlando City’s 3-1 home loss to the Philadelphia Union reminded everyone of its flaws. Yet its hard-fought 2-2 tie with the same Union reminded fans that it can give even the league’s best teams some problems.

18. Toronto FC (6-8-5, LW: 17)

Toronto FC gave the Galaxy all it could handle for much of the match, but its lack of offensive depth showed.

19. Chicago Fire (5-8-7, LW: 21)

The Fire’s crushing 5-1 victory over Atlanta raised some eyebrows. Chicago presents opposing clubs several problems, but the Fire never seem to put it all together. Their 1-0 loss to struggling Sporting Kansas City serves as another example of their inconsistency. When will the Fire become a club worth watching every week?

Final Five

20. Sporting Kansas City (5-7-7, LW: 20)

Sporting Kansas City’s ugly 5-1 home loss to top-ranked LAFC showed how far this club has fallen in a year. 

21. Colorado Rapids (5-10-4, LW: 19)

A 2-1 loss at home to the Revolution will likely come back to bite the Rapids.

22. Vancouver Whitecaps (4-8-8, LW: 22)

Well, at least Vancouver got one goal in their horrid performance against LAFC.

23. FC Cincinnati (4-13-2, LW: 24)

Practically no one saw FC Cincinnati’s 3-2 upset victory over Houston coming. FCC won’t win many more matches this season, but moments like this remind us there is still some talent on the roster.

24. Columbus Crew (5-13-2, LW: 23)

The Crew’s two losses last week drop them to the bottom of the standings.

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