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: MIN +5; LA -4
LAST WEEK: 1
HIGH: 1 | LOW: 4
LAFC lose their fourth league game of the season to a Minnesota side that sat deep and countered like pros. The loss further bolstered Carlos Vela's MLS MVP case through his absence, but one wonders if other teams are going to pack it in, since it seems to be an effective strategy to stop them.
LAST WEEK: 2
HIGH: 2 | LOW: 18
The road swing to Vancouver didn't trip up NYCFC, who cruised to victory, but Heber's injury is a major worry. Dome Torrent's team is at a point where the attacking pieces are plugging in and playing well, but the Brazilian is a game-changer and they'll hope he's not going to be sidelined for long.
LAST WEEK: 4
HIGH: 2 | LOW: 20
The Union put together the best statement win in a non-playoff game in the Eastern Conference this season, and they're starting to demand more respect publicly, too. A bye week coupled with a visit from a possibly Vela-less LAFC could further burnish Philly's contender credentials if the home side prevails.
LAST WEEK: 3
HIGH: 1 | LOW: 19
Truthfully, Atlanta won the game they needed to in the week, it just happened to be outside MLS play, in the U.S. Open Cup final. Their loss to Philly was a slugfest, but it was a good game and the only question is if Atlanta will have a hangover from winning a trophy. Since they have a bye week coming up, that seems unlikely.
LAST WEEK: 7
HIGH: 1 | LOW: 11
Maybe the Sounders just need some adversity to dig deep? It's sure looking like it, as they've picked up seven points in their last three games, including an Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs seeding six-pointer win over the Galaxy. They need a few more wins to really settle as the No. 2 seed, but look like they're putting it together now.
LAST WEEK: 9
HIGH: 2 | LOW: 24
The Quakes are keeping pace in the West, too, and dispatched Orlando City with ease to further prove they're a playoff team this year. They get the weekend off coming up, but have a very tasty game coming up against RSL that could make or break each team's contender status heading into the playoffs.
LAST WEEK: 12
HIGH: 7 | LOW: 15
How do you like them apples? The Loons bounce back from a tough Open Cup final loss in the best possible way, by playing smart against LAFC and riding great performances from Mason Toye and Vito Mannone to victory. They're looking like a firm playoff qualifier, and could make waves in the postseason, too.
LAST WEEK: 5
HIGH: 5 | LOW: 20
Tough result for RSL, who still pushed Portland hard and only gave up a bomb from Diego Valeri on a momentary lapse. Their playoff cause looks good, and they're in the mix to be a contender, and that aforementioned showdown against San Jose next week could be very big, indeed, as a weathervane game for their prospects.
LAST WEEK: 6
HIGH: 6 | LOW: 23
The Revs are keeping their heads above water in the East, and are picking up results at a consistent clip. Still -6 in goal difference, they could use a big win or two to cut into that, just to improve their chances on the tiebreaker front if it came to that.
LAST WEEK: 11
HIGH: 2 | LOW: 24
Below the playoff line, the Timbers need to win and they did that. With a game (or two) in hand on the teams above them, they can easily move into a playoff spot...if they win. It's not guaranteed, but the pieces seem to be falling into place, as long as they can get those points in the homestretch.
LAST WEEK: 13
HIGH: 5 | LOW: 15
Dallas remain above the playoff line, but they're one of the teams looking down at Portland and Sporting trying to overtake them. A comprehensive win over Cincinnati helped, but with five games left, a mixed bag in terms of teams coming up, they'll have work to do to clinch a playoff berth.
LAST WEEK: 8
HIGH: 2 | LOW: 14
Same old, same old for the Galaxy, who follow a mixed performance with LAFC with a spirited outing that falls short to the Sounders. It's not quite a lottery week to week in predicting how they'll show up, but this LA side is definitely a wild card, one of the strangest we've seen in MLS.
LAST WEEK: 10
HIGH: 1 | LOW: 21
Speaking of wild cards, the Red Bulls' uncharacteristic lack of consistency looks to be pushing them into that territory, too. Fans calling for Chris Armas' job after a home loss to the new-look Rapids is pretty harsh, but New York seem to be effectively starting the playoffs in September.
LAST WEEK: 14
HIGH: 4 | LOW: 21
TFC's draw at New England could prove to be enormous come season's end, as it keeps them a point above the playoff line (coincidentally also a point above Montreal). Toronto will have fixture congestion to deal with coming up with the Canadian Championship final, so it will be interesting to see how they deal with that and league play.
LAST WEEK: 17
HIGH: 3 | LOW: 21
Sporting are saying there's a chance! Three wins in a row and making a run at a playoff berth. There's still a lot of work to do, as they have to make up five points and overtake at least two teams, but hey, they're giving it a shot and could catch someone out if they keep winning.
LAST WEEK: 16
HIGH: 13 | LOW: 24
The new manager bounce is alive for the Rapids, as they were terrific in Robin Fraser's debut against the Red Bulls. The rest of their schedule is tough, admittedly, but they can probably get a couple wins nonetheless if they play like they did at Red Bull Arena.
LAST WEEK: 20
HIGH: 3 | LOW: 20
United needed a win and they got it, a comprehensive victory that breathed life into their season. They only have four games left in their season, so they need to take care of business lest they get overtaken by teams with games in hand.
LAST WEEK: 15
HIGH: 14 | LOW: 21
Orlando aren't out of it, only four points below the playoff line in the East, but they seem to be hitting a brick wall in their season. If Nani has to miss time with an injury, it could go from bad to worse really fast if the Lions don't pick up a win soon.
LAST WEEK: 18
HIGH: 3 | LOW: 24
The breakout star of the Crew's season is Pedro Santos, but it's been interesting to see Caleb Porter use young defenders lately. Will any of them become a long-term piece for Columbus? We'll see what happens in the offseason, but perhaps these reps will benefit the players and team down the line.
LAST WEEK: 19
HIGH: 13 | LOW: 24
Przemyslaw Frankowski has had a season of ups and downs that mirrors his team's, but the Polish winger has something that can certainly be of use in MLS, something he showed in the road draw at Columbus. The big question, for him and his team, is if consistency will be coming to back up the bright spots.
LAST WEEK: 21
HIGH: 8 | LOW: 21
A very mixed week for Montreal, who got the needed win over Vancouver midweek before laying an egg against D.C. It seems the "consistently inconsistent" label this team has garnered has not gone away with the change in manager.
LAST WEEK: 22
HIGH: 14 | LOW: 23
And for the other team with a two-game week, it was all bad for Vancouver, who were eliminated from playoff contention with two losses. It's officially time to look to the future, evaluate players, and for those players to play for their jobs moving forward.
LAST WEEK: 23
HIGH: 2 | LOW: 24
The Dynamo couldn't hold back Sporting, even if it was a narrow loss, but on a seven-game winless run things are not looking good for Davy Arnaud's group. They're not officially eliminated but the club needs to plan for 2020 in earnest now.
LAST WEEK: 24
HIGH: 12 | LOW: 24
The other team officially eliminated from playoff contention this week, FC Cincy have some big decisions to make in key positions on their roster very soon, and will mostly be looking to avoid negative expansion team records in the final weeks of this campaign.