MLS Power Rankings: Atlanta on fire in new home
MLS Power Rankings: Sept. 26
Atlanta opened Mercedes-Benz Stadium to raucous, record crowds and goals. So many goals. Atlanta United is surging up the standings and CSNChicago.com's power rankings.
1. Toronto FC (18-5-8, 62 points)
Two losses in a row doesn’t change the fact that Toronto is the best team in this league. The Reds didn’t bring a number of starters to the 2-1 loss at New England, but still have chance to set a league record for points in a season by getting seven from the last three matches. (Pictured: Michael Bradley)
2. Atlanta United FC (14-8-7, 49 points)
Atlanta has been dominant in Mercedes-Benz Stadium and is not a team anyone will want to play in the playoffs. Atlanta has outscored its opponents 19-3 in the new stadium and is within striking distance of second place in the Eastern Conference. (Pictured: Hector Villalba)
3. Sporting Kansas City (12-6-11, 47 points)
Sporting KC picked up its fourth trophy in the past six years by winning the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday. KC backed it up with a 2-1 win against the Galaxy on Sunday to move into a tie for second place in the Western Conference.
4. Portland Timbers (13-10-8, 47 points)
The Timbers took care of business against Orlando on Sunday to stay near the top of the Western Conference, but Vancouver and Kansas City have two games in hand. Portland’s attack seems to be humming along with Diego Valeri (pictured) leading the league with 20 goals.
5. Seattle Sounders (11-8-11, 44 points)
Seattle’s 13 game unbeaten run came to an end in Salt Lake. The Sounders are in the incredibly tight top four race in the Western Conference. (Pictured: Roman Torres)
6. New York City FC (15-8-7, 52 points)
A loss at home, a draw at the bottom team in the standings and a draw at home. NYCFC has fallen off a bit lately and it’s not the right time of year to do it. New York still has a hold on second place, but it’s not that solid with the recent results. (Pictured: Sean Johnson)
7. Columbus Crew (14-12-5, 47 points)
Columbus picked up a big win in the playoff race by beating the Red Bulls 3-2. Federico Higuain (pictured) assisted on all three goals and the team is now unbeaten in seven straight (a run started with a win against the Fire).
8. Vancouver Whitecaps (14-9-6, 48 points)
Vancouver has won five of seven to take the lead in the Western Conference. Six of those seven were at home, but the Whitecaps have five wins on the road this season. That’s tied for second most in the league. (Pictured: Fredy Montero)
9. Chicago Fire (14-11-6, 48 points)
It looks likely that the playoff drought will end this year. Beyond that, who knows? The Fire continue to slowly slide down the standings after once holding the best record in the league. (Pictured: Matt Lampson)
10. Real Salt Lake (12-14-5, 41 points)
RSL beat Portland and Seattle, which were two of the hottest teams when going to Rio Tinto Stadium, to vault solidly into a playoff spot. Salt Lake has won four of five and is 7-2-3 in the last 12. That’s quite the revitalization job done by coach Mike Petke (pictured).
11. New York Red Bulls (12-11-6, 42 points)
After losing the U.S. Open Cup final on Wednesday, the Red Bulls lost a big one in the playoff race at Columbus. It’s six straight without a win in MLS play and the Red Bulls’ playoff spot is far from secure at this stage. (Pictured: Kemar Lawrence)
12. Houston Dynamo (10-10-9, 39 points)
As a standalone result, Houston’s 1-1 draw at New York City FC (feel free to use the ‘at’ loosely because the game was played in Connecticut) was a good result. However, the Dynamo is winless in five straight and the team’s previously likely playoff spot is very much in the air. (Pictured: Mauro Manotas)
13. San Jose Earthquakes (11-13-6, 39 points)
The race for the final two playoff spots in the Western Conference appears to be a battle of who wants it least. The Earthquakes have found themselves in the mix, but a 4-0 loss at D.C. didn’t inspire confidence that they can get in. (Pictured: Danny Hoesen)
14. Minnesota United FC (9-15-5, 32 points)
Minnesota really has improved since the beginning of the season. Ethan Finlay scored his third with the Loons in six games. He also has three assists and the team has a 3-2-1 record in those games. No. 1 overall pick Abu Danladi (pictured, right) is turning in a solid season as well with seven goals in a limited role.
15. Montreal Impact (11-13-6, 39 points)
Montreal’s playoff hopes are on life support. The Red Bulls’ inability to win a game in the past month has kept the door slightly open, but the Impact slumped at the same time. (Pictured: Daniel Lovitz)
16. New England Revolution (11-14-5, 38 points)
Jay Heaps got fired and the Revs delivered a 2-1 win against Toronto. It’s too late for New England’s playoff hopes though. (Pictured: interim coach Tom Soehn and Lee Nguyen)
17. Philadelphia Union (9-12-9, 36 points)
It’s been a disappointing season in Philadelphia after making the playoffs last year. Due to the big improvement in the Eastern Conference, the Union have a chance to improve on last season’s point total (42) and not even be in the playoff race.
18. FC Dallas (9-9-11, 38 points)
It’s hard to believe Dallas is this low, but four points in the last 10 games is evidence enough. A turnaround in the last five games would likely see Dallas into the playoffs, but it doesn’t look like that will happen at this point. (Pictured: Victor Ulloa)
19. Orlando City (9-13-8, 35 points)
Even with some struggling teams, there's a decent core of players that could lead the team to success with a few good additions. That’s not as clear with Orlando. The Lions have some talent, but the uncertain futures of Cyle Larin and Kaka mean a rebuild could be coming. (Pictured: Dillon Powers)
20. D.C. United (9-17-4, 31 points)
D.C. got a 4-0 win in RFK Stadium's second to last MLS game and Patrick Mullins (pictured with Paul Arriola) went from having no goals on the season to four. Once Mullins broke his season-long scoring drought, he scored three more in the same game. Wild.
21. LA Galaxy (7-17-6, 27 points)
Sunday’s 2-1 loss in Kansas City dropped the Galaxy to an astonishing 1-12-2 in the past 15 matches. That’s staggering for anyone, especially one of the more historically consistent clubs in the league. (Pictured: Gyasi Zardes)
22. Colorado Rapids (7-17-5, 26 points)
It’s amazing how quickly things can turn in MLS. Last year, the Rapids were the surprise story of the league. This year, things look so hopeless. (Pictured: Tim Howard)