MLS Power Rankings: Where teams stand at Gold Cup break
MLS Power Rankings: July 10
As Major League Soccer takes a break for the Gold Cup, a tier of contenders is starting to emerge as better than the rest of the chasing pack.
1. Toronto FC (11-3-5, 38 points)
Toronto suffered a rare defeat at Dallas last weekend, but bounced back with a solid 3-1 win at Orlando on Wednesday. Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco (pictured) each assisted each other’s goals before Giovinco scored on a ridiculous free kick to give TFC an insurance goal. These two are among the league’s best strikers and playing well with each other.
2. Chicago Fire (11-3-5, 38 points)
The results keep coming for the Fire, even when they shouldn’t. The Fire were overwhelmed in the run of play at Portland, but still held on for a 2-2 draw. A playoff spot seems like a near-certainty, which means the chase for at least a top two spot and a first-round bye is on.
3. FC Dallas (8-3-7, 31 points)
Dallas enters the Gold Cup break with some really good momentum. FCD beat then-Supporters’ Shield leading Toronto before brushing aside D.C. United 4-2 on the Fourth of July. Dallas is within reach of Western Conference-leading Sporting Kansas City and has two games in hand.
4. Sporting Kansas City (8-4-8, 32 points)
Sporting limped into the break with a pair of draws at home against Portland and Philadelphia. SKC was without four key players due to the Gold Cup. (Pictured: Erik Palmer-Brown)
5. New York City FC (10-6-3, 33 points)
A four-game winning streak came to an end with a 3-2 loss at Vancouver, but NYCFC is still just one of three teams in MLS with double-digit wins. The top four teams in the Eastern Conference (Toronto, Chicago, NYCFC and Atlanta) would make for mouth-watering conference semifinals. (Pictured: manager Patrick Vieira)
6. Atlanta United FC (9-7-3, 30 points)
Josef Martinez (pictured) scored twice in Atlanta’s 4-2 win against D.C. United. He now has nine goals in nine matches, and three of those appearances came off the bench. How many goals would he have had he not gotten hurt in March?
7. Houston Dynamo (8-7-4, 28 points)
The Dynamo’s lack of success on the road (0-7-2) means they have had to be near perfect at home. Houston has managed to do that so far with an 8-0-2 home mark. (Pictured: Erick Torres)
8. Portland Timbers (7-7-6, 27 points)
The talent is there in Portland, but the results have dried up. The Timbers are 2-5-5 in the last 12 matches. Injuries and international absences are an excuse for the past couple weeks, though recent draws against Sporting Kansas City and the Fire aren’t bad results. (Pictured: Fanendo Adi)
9. Orlando City (8-7-5, 29 points)
Orlando has Cyle Larin back, but hanging on to a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference won’t be easy. The Lions will have a tough fight with Atlanta, Columbus and the New York Red Bulls for the last three playoff spots. (Pictured: Kaka)
10. Columbus Crew (9-10-1, 28 points)
Columbus has been far from consistent, but only three teams in MLS have more wins than the Crew. The Crew snapped a four-game road losing streak by winning 1-0 at Minnesota on the Fourth of July and enter into the break on a positive note. (Pictured: Ethan Finlay)
11. New York Red Bulls (8-8-2, 26 points)
The Red Bulls won in New England in what almost seemed like a playoff elimination game in early July. It wasn’t quite that dramatic, but it was a big three points for a team that hasn’t shown much consistency. The Red Bulls are two points behind Columbus for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. (Pictured: Luis Robles)
12. Seattle Sounders (6-7-6, 24 points)
Is Seattle starting to turn things around? The Sounders beat Colorado 3-1 on the road to pick up a much-needed win. Sure, the Rapids aren’t very good, but if Seattle is to replicate last year’s late season and postseason, it has to start soon. (Pictured: Clint Dempsey, left)
13. San Jose Earthquakes (7-7-5, 26 points)
Earthquakes general manager Jesse Fioranelli fired Dom Kinnear in the middle of a season that wasn’t going badly considering San Jose’s roster. Technical director Chris Leitch has slid over to coach and already gave talented young midfielders Tommy Thompson (pictured) and Jackson Yueill more playing time.
14. Vancouver Whitecaps (7-7-3, 24 points)
The Whitecaps came back from a goal down in the second half to beat New York City FC on Wednesday. Vancouver is hanging onto the last playoff spot in the Western Conference via tiebreaker on Seattle. (Pictured: Fredy Montero)
15. Philadelphia Union (6-7-5, 23 points)
Philadelphia is once again showing signs of life. The Union have a four-game losing streak, a four-game winning streak and another three-game losing streak this season. Right now, it’s a three-game unbeaten run. It’s still an uphill climb to get to a playoff spot, but the Union have a chance. (Pictured: Derrick Jones)
16. Montreal Impact (5-6-6, 21 points)
A year after getting so close to reaching MLS Cup, Montreal just hasn’t looked good this season. The Impact have some games in hand to work with, but are just three points above the worst record in the league and are seven points out of the playoffs. (Pictured: Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla)
17. LA Galaxy (6-8-4, 22 points)
Uhh, what was that LA? The Galaxy gave up six at home to a Real Salt Lake team that has looked like one of the worst teams in the league for much of the season. LA has one win at home and five wins on the road, giving them the worst home record and the best road record. A team that had an eight-game unbeaten run followed that up with three straight losses. (Pictured: Bradford Jamieson IV)
18. New England Revolution (5-9-5, 20 points)
With how strong the Eastern Conference is this season, New England’s four-game losing streak could be near fatal to the Revolution’s playoff chances. It’s also been equal parts bad luck, bad finishing and poor play. The Revs combined for 44 shots in the two home losses (to the Fire on June 17 and to the Red Bulls on Wednesday) during this current stretch. (Pictured: Cody Cropper)
19. Real Salt Lake (6-12-2, 20 points)
What on earth happened at the StubHub Center? RSL dropped a six spot on the Galaxy on the road in a 6-2 win. RSL is probably too far out of the race to make a serious playoff chase, but the young team is flashing its potential.
20. Colorado Rapids (6-11-1, 19 points)
Colorado had started to show some improvement by winning five of its past six at home, but Seattle won at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on the Fourth. The Rapids haven’t been able to replicate last year’s somewhat magical run from one of the worst teams in the league to Western Conference finalists. (Pictured: Marlon Hairston)
21. Minnesota United (5-11-3, 18 points)
With Minnesota continuing to struggle, it will be interesting to see if the Loons can make any notable moves in the summer transfer window. A playoff spot may be out of reach, but Minnesota should be looking towards building a core of players to build around for next season. (Pictured: sad Minnesota fans)
22. D.C. United (5-11-3, 18 points)
Ian Harkes (pictured, right) scored his first MLS goal with a pearl of a shot at FC Dallas on Tuesday. Yes, that is the same Harkes as former U.S. World Cup midfielder John Harkes.