MLS Power Rankings: Toronto building separation
MLS Power Rankings: August 22
Toronto FC continues to show its the best team in MLS. Saturday's win at the Fire was arguably the best proof all season. Can anyone catch the Reds?
1. Toronto FC (14-3-8, 50 points)
The Reds already had the best record in the league and had some cushion in that category. Then they go and win at the Fire, which entered with a 10-0-1 home record. A two-goal win at Toyota Park is as good of a result as any team in the league has this season. (Pictured: Michael Bradley)
2. New York City FC (14-7-4, 46 points)
Jonathan Lewis’ (pictured) 94th minute winner against New England kept City within range of Toronto FC and built a five-point cushion on the third-place Fire. NYCFC has won four of five and eight of 11.
3. Seattle Sounders (11-7-7, 40 points)
Clint Dempsey (pictured) got to play hero yet again by drawing and converting a 94th minute penalty kick against Minnesota on Sunday. The Sounders’ role has continued, nine unbeaten and 6-0-1 in the last seven, and now they are leading the Western Conference.
4. Sporting Kansas City (10-5-10, 40 points)
Locally, the Eastern Conference showdown between the Fire and Toronto got a lot of attention, but Sporting KC and Dallas was a big one in the Western Conference. KC came out on top and gained the edge for now in the crazy-tight race out west. (Pictured: Ike Opara)
5. New York Red Bulls (12-10-2, 38 points)
The Red Bulls have struggled to get wins against the top teams in the league, but have shown consistency against the rest of the pack. Bradley Wright-Phillips added another memorable performance to his Red Bull legend with two goals, including the extra time winner (celebration pictured), in the U.S. Open Cup semifinal win at FC Cincinnati.
6. Atlanta United (10-7-5, 35 points)
Due to Mercedes-Benz Stadium opening in September, Atlanta has played fewer games than any other MLS team. As a result, based on point total, Atlanta is below the playoff line, but don’t expect that to last. After trips to D.C. and Philadelphia, both winnable games, Atlanta hosts five straight at its new stadium. Eight of the final 12 will be in Atlanta.
7. Chicago Fire (12-8-5, 41 points)
All is not well in Fire land. The team has lost three straight and five of six. Individually, none of the losses were bad. Four losses were on the road to teams currently in playoff spots. The other one was against league-leading Toronto. Things will get better, but it does appear there is a ceiling on this team. (Pictured: David Accam)
8. Portland Timbers (10-9-7, 37 points)
Throwing out the 4-1 loss at Toronto last week, Portland has had four really solid results in the last five matches. It’s not quite there yet, but the Timbers are starting to resemble the team in the beginning part of the season that looked like one of the best in the league. (Pictured: Sebastian Blanco)
9. Vancouver Whitecaps (10-9-4, 34 points)
As if the Western Conference wasn’t cramped enough, Vancouver is getting into the mix. The Whitecaps are a point clear of San Jose for the last playoff spot with two extra games and two extra home games on the Earthquakes. Yordy Reyna (pictured) had one of the prettiest curling shots for a goal on Saturday.
10. FC Dallas (9-6-8, 35 points)
Dallas is going through struggles that are starting to enter red flag territory. One point and one goal in the last four matches. FCD is still, on paper, among the league’s elite teams. However, on the field, it hasn’t quite been there. It’s hard to believe this team is currently fifth in the Western Conference, games in hand or not. (Pictured: Maxi Urruti)
11. Montreal Impact (10-8-6, 36 points)
Last year’s Eastern Conference finalist is showing it may be back. The Impact have won four straight, with 11 goals in those games, and are back in a playoff place.
12. Houston Dynamo (10-8-7, 37 points)
The Dynamo went into Vancouver without Alberto Elis and Cubo Torres so maybe it’s not a surprise result. That loss snapped a six-game unbeaten run for Houston. (Pictured: A.J. DeLaGarza)
13. Columbus Crew (11-12-3, 36 points)
Columbus picked up a key point in Orlando on Saturday to keep some distance from the Lions. However, Montreal’s hot surge has the Crew on the outside looking in long-term, with two fewer games than the Impact and the same point total. (Pictured: Waylon Francis)
14. San Jose Earthquakes (9-10-6, 33 points)
The 2-2 draw, which took an added time penalty kick, against Philadelphia was a missed opportunity for a San Jose team chasing a playoff spot. The Earthquakes needed three points at home against a below average team.
15. Philadelphia Union (8-11-6, 30 points)
As Montreal gets hot and Columbus keeps plodding along as a competent, but not great team, Philadelphia has fallen a bit too far out of the playoff race. The Union need to get hot really quickly. (Pictured: coach Jim Curtin)
16. New England Revolution (8-11-5, 29 points)
Sunday’s 2-1 loss to New York City FC was a heartbreaker for the Revs. New England had the lead 75 minutes into the match and couldn’t even hang on for a point. The Revolution are fading out of the playoff race and running out of time. (Pictured: Claude Dielna)
17. Real Salt Lake (8-13-5, 29 points)
This season is lost, but RSL has shown enough flashes that if the young group of players can stick together things could get better. A couple solid offseason additions and Salt Lake could be back among the contenders next year. (Pictured: Jefferson Savarino)
18. Orlando City (8-10-7, 31 points)
It’s incredible how quickly Orlando has fallen out of the playoff race. The Lions were 6-1 to start the season. It’s hard to fathom that after that start Orlando may realistically already be out of the playoffs. Saturday’s 1-1 home draw against Columbus, one of the teams they are fighting with for one of the final playoff spots, was a missed opportunity to gain some ground. (Pictured: A suspended Kaka in the middle of Orlando's supporters' section)
19. LA Galaxy (6-12-5, 23 points)
LA has to look towards next year. There is still a talented core to build around, but the results haven’t been there this year and now standout center back Jelle Van Damme has moved back to his native Belgium. (Pictured: Ashley Cole)
20. Minnesota United (6-14-4, 22 points)
It was harsh on the Loons to lose on a 94th minute penalty kick in Seattle on Sunday. However, on a positive note Ethan Finlay (pictured) scored in his debut after arriving in a trade from Columbus.
21. D.C. United (6-15-4, 22 points)
D.C. gets a temporary reprieve as the last place team in the rankings after winning 1-0 at Colorado. It took an absolutely ugly own goal to get that win though. On the upside, D.C. made some interesting moves, most notably signing national team winger Paul Arriola, with a new stadium opening next year. (Pictured: Patrick Mullins)
22. Colorado Rapids (6-13-4, 22 points)
The own goal that was scored in the 1-0 loss to D.C. United on Saturday is an all-timer. Search for it immediately. The Rapids actually peppered the goal frame in this one, but that own goal is what that game will be remembered for. Pablo Mastroeni was fired as coach and that’s not how interim coach Steve Cooke (pictured) wanted to start.