Week 27 of the MLS season finished with a new club in first place in the Eastern Conference. New York City FC beat the New England Revolution 2-1 to overtake the idle Philadelphia Union. Meanwhile, Orlando City stuck with the league-leading Los Angeles FC and escaped with a 2-2 tie.
The short week gives us an opportunity, especially since I’ve missed the last two weeks of power rankings. So while I’m sitting at home laid up with a busted knee, I figure it’s time to give a fresh look at the power rankings. With that in mind, here we go with a full remaking of the columns without any long-lasting shenanigans from Boston Brazzell:
(Legend: (W-L-T, LW: last week’s rankings )
1. Los Angeles FC (19-4-6, LW: 1)
There was no way I could justify moving LAFC out of first place. No team has come close to its overall dominance this season. However, LAFC do seem to be slowing down, and I wonder if teams like the Los Angeles Galaxy could surprise them early in the playoffs.
2. New York City FC (15-5-8, LW: 5)
Got more trash to talk, Boston? Hmm? NYCFC’s slow start didn’t stop it from passing Atlanta United and the Philadelphia Union. However, NYCFC still has key matches against both clubs coming up.
3. Philadelphia Union (15-8-6, LW: 4)
Two strong victories over Atlanta United and D.C. United should have put the Union in the driver’s seat. However, NYCFC’s run blocked its path. NYCFC has a game in hand and a two-point advantage heading into the final weeks of the season. Can the Union make a run?
4. Atlanta United FC (15-10-3, LW: 2)
Atlanta’s stunning loss at Philadelphia served as another reminder that this isn’t the same club that won the MLS Cup last year. It remains one of the best teams in the league, but Atlanta lacks the same cohesiveness it possessed a year ago.
5. Minnesota United FC (13-9-6, LW: 3)
Minnesota United took it to LAFC on the road in their last game and left with a 2-0 victory. Minnesota’s lack of consistency sometimes gets in the way, but there is little doubt it can play with the big boys.
6. San Jose Earthquakes (13-10-5, LW: 10)
The Earthquakes recovered from a tough three-game losing streak with a bit of home-loving in victories over Vancouver and Orlando City. However, the next six games feature matches against six different playoff contenders. Ouch…
7. Seattle Sounders FC (13-9-7, LW: 6)
I’m convinced the 2019 Sounders are frauds. They currently own second place out west, but they have shown me nothing to be confident in as the season closes.
8. Portland Timbers (13-11-4, LW: 9)
Portland has come a long way since its horrid loss at FC Cincinnati earlier this year. The Timbers’ fate rests in their own hands with only two road matches left.
9. Real Salt Lake (13-11-4, LW: 8)
RSL gets their shot at moving up the standings with a victory over the Earthquakes, and it gets that shot at home in Rio Tinto.
10. FC Dallas (12-10-7, LW: 14)
FC Dallas put themselves in playoff position with two wins over inferior competition (Houston Dynamo and FC Cincinnati). Now the question is whether or not it has enough to earn points against Seattle and NYCFC coming up.
11. Los Angeles Galaxy (13-12-3, LW: 7)
The Galaxy currently sit outside of the playoffs with a manageable schedule. The problem is whether or not they can find the scoring to support Zlatan Ibrahimovic with matches at Colorado and Real Salt Lake on the horizon.
12. D.C. United (11-10-9, LW: 11)
It says a lot about how weak the Eastern Conference is that the fourth-place team finds itself slotted at No. 12 in the rankings.
13. Toronto FC (11-10-8, LW: 16)
Toronto FC hasn’t lost since Aug. 3, but it needs to stay hot a bit longer. Earning points against NYCFC will be difficult in the Bronx on Wednesday.
14. New York Red Bulls (12-12-5, LW: 12)
The Red Bulls’ struggles this season remain a mystery. Making the playoffs could be a problem with matches against Seattle, Portland, D.C. United and Philadelphia ahead.
15. New England Revolution (10-10-9, LW: 13)
The Revolution continue to be a difficult opponent. However, their lack of high-end skill just isn’t enough to carry them higher in the standings.
16. Sporting Kansas City (10-12-7, LW: 18)
Sporting Kansas City faces the Galaxy in a critical match for both teams this weekend. Expect a war in Carson between the two clubs.
17. Chicago Fire (8-12-10, LW: 17)
Chicago has an outside chance of making the playoffs, but now is the time to make its move. All four remaining matches are winnable, with two against rivals ahead of it in the standings.
18. Orlando City (9-13-8, LW: 15)
What a match against LAFC!
19. Colorado Rapids (9-14-6, LW: 21)
Colorado would be in the playoff hunt if not for its horrible start. However, the Rapids can still help spoil the playoffs for one of the league’s premier franchises, the Galaxy, on Wednesday night. Expect a wild match with the Galaxy in need of points.
20. Montreal Impact (11-15-4, LW: 19)
Montreal posted some epic victories this season, but it never could get over the hump. For example, the Impact dominated the Union 4-0 in July. One week later, it surrendered six goals at Colorado in a devastating loss. What a wasted season.
21. Columbus Crew SC (8-15-7, LW: 23)
The Crew have posted two wins since their June 11 victory over Pittsburgh in the U.S. Open Cup.
22. Houston Dynamo (9-15-4, LW: 20)
How will the Dynamo front office will respond to the club’s epic collapse in the offseason?
23. Vancouver Whitecaps FC (6-15-9, LW: 22)
Thirty goals. That’s one goal per game this season, and that won’t get the job done in a conference featuring several scorers.
24. FC Cincinnati (5-21-3, LW: 24)
Do I need to beat the dead horse here?