Only MLS league games will be reflected in the rankings. Rankings are voted on by MLSsoccer.com editorial staff; words by Alicia Rodriguez.
BIGGEST MOVERS: LA +4; SEA -5
LAST WEEK: 1
HIGH: 1 | LOW: 7
It may have taken a very wild #MLSAfterDark result in San Jose, but Atlanta kept on rolling with maximum points in a double-game week. If they can beat the Red Bulls in Harrison, the Supporters' Shield will be all but clinched for the Five Stripes.
LAST WEEK: 2
HIGH: 1 | LOW: 7
Don't count out the Red Bulls, as they have a vital six-pointer against Atlanta to see if they can make the Shield race nearly neck-and-neck. The big talking point will be Bradley Wright-Phillips' suspension, and we'll see if Chris Armas' group can find someone to fill BWP's massive shoes for one very important night.
LAST WEEK: 5
HIGH: 4 | LOW: 18
FC Dallas just don't stop, as they get a big win on the road to strengthen their claim on top spot in the Western Conference. We've seen some slumps this season for MLS teams whose head coaches were linked to outside jobs -- with Oscar Pareja linked to the USMNT, will Dallas lose focus or keep going?
LAST WEEK: 6
HIGH: 3 | LOW: 17
A six-game unbeaten streak and results elsewhere move LAFC up in the Power Rankings. Bob Bradley set the bar for his team this year at 60 points -- not only an ambitious goal for a first-year team, but hovering around Supporters' Shield level just a few years back. Can they manage that lofty aim?
LAST WEEK: 4
HIGH: 1 | LOW: 15
Cross-conference road games are always a challenge, but Sporting's loss to the Union in Chester was a surprise, especially since Jim Curtin very heavily rotated his lineup. If it's a one-off loss, oh well, but it's a bit concerning for Kansas City to fall so flat with the top seed in the West on the line.
LAST WEEK: 9
HIGH: 6 | LOW: 22
Philly had the best week in the league with two wins — in two games where they were virtual underdogs. It's the kind of week that can give a team good vibes ahead of a U.S. Open Cup final, but getting over the hump to raise the first piece of silverware in team history won't be accomplished until it's in their hands.
LAST WEEK: 7
HIGH: 2 | LOW: 12
A mixed week for Columbus, who started hot in Portland before fading midweek, and then regrouping and posting a win over a hapless Rapids side. Four goals scored in the week is great, as Columbus have scored the fewest goals in the East to date, and that could come back to haunt them.
LAST WEEK: 3
HIGH: 3 | LOW: 2`
One loss after a nine-game winning streak: Well, it had to end at some point. Two losses in the same week after a nine-game winning streak: Well, this might be a concern. The Sounders have to get back on track quickly to actually clinch a postseason berth.
LAST WEEK: 8
HIGH: 8 | LOW: 23
Four games to go and the Impact have a virtual make-or-break showdown against D.C. United coming up. As ever, Remi Garde's team seems to be on a general ascent across the season, but there's still a real chance they won't be able to get to that No. 6 seed after 34 games.
LAST WEEK: 11
HIGH: 10 | LOW: 23
D.C. move up to their highest spot of the season while being on a bye. But they'll have to pick up wins to keep their playoff hopes alive, starting with the six-pointer against the Impact. With the most games left to go, the final month of the regular season will be very busy for United.
Previous: Idle | Next: vs. MTL on 9/29
LAST WEEK: 10
HIGH: 6 | LOW: 21
RSL's four-game unbeaten streak was snapped with a road trip to Georgia, and the road doesn't get much easier, as they'll head to rivals Sporting KC next. They could wrap up their Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs spot with another win or two.
LAST WEEK: 13
HIGH: 1 | LOW: 13
NYCFC continue to show some listless form, but they have yet another double-game week coming up, where points taken could put them firmly in the No. 3 seed. More importantly, this team may make the playoffs either way, but they need positive form heading into the postseason.
LAST WEEK: 12
HIGH: 2 | LOW: 18
Portland ended up on both sides of 3-2 results, and there was plenty of good and bad in both games. Like NYCFC, the Timbers look like they could turn it on at any moment, but they still haven't managed it lately, and that has to be a concern.
LAST WEEK: 18
HIGH: 6 | LOW: 18
Belief remains alive, as Dom Kinnear gets his team into a trademark 4-4-2 and — surprisingly for the Galaxy — implements a press in a must-win over the Sounders. The next showdown will be against another desperate side in Vancouver, but LA seem to have the momentum in their favor, for now.
LAST WEEK: 15
HIGH: 9 | LOW: 22
New England stay put after yet another draw, their third in four games. Matt Doyle mentioned the chopping and changing Brad Friedel has done recently in his weekend column -- changes were needed, but these have seemed somewhat haphazard, at least from the outside.
LAST WEEK: 14
HIGH: 1 | LOW: 21
Season over? The game at the Red Bulls, after their Campeones Cup disappointment, was always a tough task, but the playoffs now look out of reach for 2018. One of the other disappointments is how Jonathan Osorio's career year probably won't be remembered in the way it should.
LAST WEEK: 16
HIGH: 8 | LOW: 20
Speaking of disappointment, Vancouver got another dose of it as well with their late home loss against Dallas. Their game against the Galaxy is the desperation bowl, basically, and on the bright side, the Whitecaps have close to a .500 record on the road so far this year.
LAST WEEK: 19
HIGH: 14 | LOW: 23
Darwin Quintero is 31, so he should have at least a few good seasons left. Given the body of work he's put in MLS so far this year, the Loons will probably want to speed up their roster transformation to truly get the best out of him before he's past it.
LAST WEEK: 17
HIGH: 7 | LOW: 19
The Dynamo really could have used another win before the Open Cup final this week, but Orlando's "defend at all costs" approach stymied them. For all of the good vibes Philly have going into the final, the Dynamo have been home throughout and they only need their fearsome attack to come together for 90 (ok, maybe 120) minutes.
LAST WEEK: 20
HIGH: 11 | LOW: 23
Another decent result for Chicago, but too little too late for this team. A double-game week that goes their way could end up brightening the end of a difficult season for the Fire, and with a lot of questions surrounding the team heading into the offseason.
LAST WEEK: 21
HIGH: 17 | LOW: 23
That revival that the Rapids may have had in the late summer is gone, as they are on a five-game losing streak, worst form in the league in that span. Will Colorado stay the course in 2019 or retool their rebuilding project less than a year in, like San Jose ended up doing?
LAST WEEK: 23
HIGH: 12 | LOW: 23
Two losses for the start of the Steve Ralston era, so more of the same for San Jose, but in bringing in some players evidently in Mikael Stahre's doghouse and taking off the metaphorical shackles, they played fairly well. Of course, Orlando have played relatively well, too, but haven't shown progress.
LAST WEEK: 22
HIGH: 6 | LOW: 23
San Jose hold the "edge" in the wooden spoon but Orlando's arguably had a worse season. James O'Connor's arrival hasn't led to results, and a back-to-absolute-basics scoreless draw vs. Housoton gave Orlando some confidence in defense, but this team remains very much broken for now.