MLS Power Rankings: Red Bulls red-hot into playoffs
MLS power rankings: Oct. 24
Major League Soccer's playoff field is set. Some teams are entering with momentum while others limped in. None are hotter than the New York Red Bulls. Check out where they rank in CSN Chicago's final 2016 Major League Soccer Power Rankings.
1. New York Red Bulls (16-9-9, 57 points)
Now that the regular season is done, it's a good time to remark at how impressive the Red Bulls' turnaround was this season. After starting 1-6, and being shutout in five of those losses, New York finished 15-3-9. They won the final four games in the regular season and are unbeaten in 16 straight. That hot run makes them one of the favorites for MLS Cup, but the cold start shows that the Red Bulls would have won the Supporters' Shield with a merely bad start as opposed to horrifically bad.
2. FC Dallas (17-8-9, 60 points)
Dallas finished off the Supporters' Shield by earning a scoreless draw at an LA team that had nothing to play for. FCD added that trophy to the U.S. Open Cup title from earlier in the year. Still, playmaker Mauro Diaz is out for the playoffs with a torn Achilles suffered in the second to last regular season match. His absence severely hinders Dallas' MLS Cup, and treble, hopes.
3. Colorado Rapids (15-6-13, 58 points)
The Rapids recovered from a midseason lull and regained the lead in the Supporters' Shield race with two matches to go, but couldn't seal the deal. On the upside, Jermaine Jones returned from injury as a sub in the season finale against Houston. Jones only made eight starts this season after serving a six-match suspension to start the season, leaving for Copa America duty in May and June and then missing the second half of the season with a torn LCL. In those eight matches the Rapids were 5-0-3.
4. Seattle Sounders (14-14-6, 48 points)
No one should want to play this team right now. The Sounders were buried in the MLS playoff race and needed a miraculous run to get out of it. Nicolas Lodeiro showed up and the Sounders finished the season 8-2-4 to clinch a playoff spot, and a home playoff game, on the final day. Panamanian center back Roman Torres also returned from injury for the final nine matches and has also been a big boost to the team,
5. New York City FC (15-10-9, 54 points)
David Villa scored an impressive 23 goals this season and is a big reason why New York City FC is such a tough team. NYCFC also seems to have straightened out its early Yankee Stadium issues. The club is 7-0-1 in its past eight home matches after a 1-3-5 record in the first nine home matches of the season.
6. LA Galaxy (12-6-16, 52 points)
The Galaxy had the most ties in the league, but also tied Colorado for the fewest losses. LA is going to be a tough out in the playoffs, as always. The Galaxy even got to rest its top players in the final regular season game against Dallas having already been locked into the No. 3 seed.
7. Toronto FC (14-9-11, 53 points)
Toronto could have taken the top seed in the Eastern Conference, but went five matches without a win before beating the Fire in the season finale. Sebastian Giovinco returned from injury to play the final two matches of the regular season. With Jozy Altidore playing well and Giovinco healthy, Toronto is one of the favorites in the East.
8. D.C. United (11-10-13, 46 points)
D.C., to the surprise of many, became both one of the hottest and most entertaining teams to close the season. Before falling at Orlando in the regular season finale, United had won four in a row and three of those wins came by multiple goals. D.C. got away with the ugly 4-2 loss at Orlando, in which former Fire striker Kennedy Igboananike scored his first goal with his new team, because they still will host a first-round game.
9. Sporting Kansas City (13-13-8, 47 points)
Sporting KC locked up a playoff berth with a 2-0 home win against San Jose. KC has been a strong home team since opening the new stadium, now called Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas, but will be going on the road to open the playoffs. Not only that, Sporting takes on red-hot Seattle. It's a tough draw, but should be an entertaining game.
10. Real Salt Lake (12-12-10, 46 points)
RSL looked like one of the best teams in the league for most of the season, but fell apart late. They take a seven match winless streak into the postseason and are forced to go on the road in the first round. Injuries to key players played some part in RSL's struggles, but this team has too much talent to struggle like it did to end the season.
11. Portland Timbers (12-14-8, 44 points)
The defending champs are out. Portland needed a win on the road at already-eliminated Vancouver and laid an absolute egg. The Timbers fell down four goals before getting one back late in a 4-1 loss. Portland finished winless on the road and in doing so ensured neither MLS Cup finalist from the year before made the playoffs for the first time ever.
12. New England Revolution (11-14-9, 42 points)
The Revolution missed out on the playoffs by goal differential, which will make them rue a number of missed opportunities from throughout the season. The most recent was a game at the last-place Fire in which the Revolution were tied in the second half with a man-advantage after a Luis Solignac red card. The Revs lost that game.
13. Montreal Impact (11-11-12, 45 points)
Montreal is without Didier Drogba, who apparently has walked out on the team after being benched against Toronto last week. The Impact struggled down the stretch with a 2-4-2 record to close the regular season and face one of the hotter teams, D.C., on the road in the first round.
14. Philadelphia Union (11-14-9, 42 points)
Like Real Salt Lake, Philadelphia is limping into the playoffs on a seven-match winless streak. The Union's 42 points is the lowest number to make the playoff since MLS expanded the schedule to 34 games in 2011. Can Philly turn it around at Toronto? Neither club has ever won a playoff game.
15. Orlando City (9-11-14, 41 points)
Back-to-back wins to close out the season made it appear Orlando was closer to making the playoffs than the Lions really were. Still, Kaka is one of the best playmakers in the league and former Roma striker Julio Baptista had six goals and three assists in just 729 minutes after joining midseason. It will be interesting to see what the Lions do in Jason Kreis' first offseason with the team.
16. Columbus Crew (8-14-12, 36 points)
The Crew are almost certainly the biggest disappointment of the year. Columbus returned most of the team that hosted MLS Cup last year. This time around, the Kei Kamara saga was the start of it and then Federico Higuain's injury added to Columbus' problems. There's still good talent on the team so a don't doubt a turnaround in 2017.
17. Vancouver Whitecaps (10-15-9, 39 points)
Vancouver's offense basically disappeared in the second half of the season, but the Whitecaps did finish with a resounding 4-1 win against Cascadia rivals Portland. Not only did the Whitecaps eliminate Portland, but Vancouver claimed the Cascadia Cup, on goal differential by one goal, with the win.
18. San Jose Earthquakes (8-12-13, 37 points)
San Jose finished the season with a league-low 32 goals, less than one per match. In addition, the Earthquakes gave up the fourth fewest goals at 40. In other words, if you like goals (you should) hopefully you didn't watch too many San Jose games this year.
19. Houston Dynamo (7-14-13, 34 points)
Houston should have an interesting offseason. The Dynamo didn't click on a number of levels, but did show some moderate improvement under interim coach Wade Barrett. The decision to retain Barrett or not, and what the team should look like under him or a new hire, will be the focus of the offseason.
20. Chicago Fire (7-17-10, 31 points)
The total overhaul of the club in the offseason resulted in just one more point than the year before and the Fire became the first team in MLS history to finish in last place in consecutive years. There are some pieces in place to help for 2017, but another offseason of big change could be ahead.