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: TOR +4; NYC, DC -3
LAST TIME: 4
HIGH: 1 | LOW: 11
The Sounders finally topple LAFC atop the Power Rankings, and fitting that they were the team to end the Black & Gold's stellar season, too. Full credit to Seattle for weathering injuries, international absences and a now-trademark lull in the season, only to come roaring back and win their second MLS Cup title.
LAST TIME: 1
HIGH: 1 | LOW: 4
Debates will rage over whether LAFC truly had a season for the ages without MLS Cup, and if the true culprit in their Western Conference Final loss was the Sounders or themselves. Those are valid questions, but wire to wire, LAFC had the most exciting season, and the motivation should be there for an MLS Cup run in 2020.
LAST TIME: 7
HIGH: 3 | LOW: 21
It's remarkable how far under the radar TFC were in hindsight, as they used a 13-game unbeaten streak to power them to MLS Cup. Another MLS Cup loss to Seattle will sting, but credit to the team for seemingly saving Greg Vanney's job and turning a season on the brink to a respectable one that came up just short.
LAST TIME: 3
HIGH: 1 | LOW: 19
History will look back at Atlanta's season positively, as they won their first U.S. Open Cup (and Campeones Cup), and advanced to the Eastern Conference Final. But expectations are sky-high in Atlanta, and with his feet under the table for a year, how will Frank de Boer manage egos and objectives? Should be fascinating to follow.
LAST TIME: 2
HIGH: 2 | LOW: 18
It's a shame that the final sight of the Dome Torrent vintage NYCFC was laying an egg, as the East's No. 1 seed, at Citi Field. The group seemed to be clicking and Torrent was largely vindicated for his decisions in 2019. All that said, NYCFC embody the "win now" ethos of MLS and global soccer better than anyone.
LAST TIME: 6
HIGH: 2 | LOW: 20
Was it the Union's best season ever? They didn't reach a final this year but in league play, it was certainly their best. In contrast to many teams' approaches, Philadelphia have been patient and it's paid off. But given the fine margins of MLS, they can't rest on their laurels, or else they'll be left in the dust in 2020.
LAST TIME: 5
HIGH: 3 | LOW: 15
It was also Minnesota's best season to date in MLS, and some vindication for the Loons' oft-discussed "three-year plan." Now a new three-year plan begins, and after a shuffling of responsibilities behind the scenes, it should be a fascinating offseason, especially with Darwin Quintero's exit confirmed.
LAST TIME: 9
HIGH: 5 | LOW: 20
RSL couldn't get past the eventual MLS Cup champions in the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs, but it was a quietly effective campaign for a team that had an at-times tumultuous season off the field. Credit to Freddy Juarez for keeping the squad focused after taking over, and thanks very much for the memories, Nick Rimando.
LAST TIME: 10
HIGH: 2 | LOW: 14
The Galaxy returned to the playoffs and won a postseason game, which is a good starting spot after the futility of the past few years. But did the Galaxy underachieve with Zlatan? There were clearly some mismatched parts, and Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Dennis te Kloese deserve more time to build a contender.
LAST TIME: 12
HIGH: 5 | LOW: 17
In a year full of exciting playoff games, FC Dallas probably played in the most exciting one right off the bat, and it was a good (if ultimately futile) showing in Luchi Gonzalez's first season in charge. FCD have oodles of potential, and with a few key additions, could be a true contender in no time, truly.
LAST TIME: 8
HIGH: 3 | LOW: 20
D.C. finished in the top half of the Power Rankings, but it still felt like a lost opportunity for a team that was so exciting in the second half of 2018. And now, they'll be working without their two biggest building blocks in Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta. Blank slate, new opportunities? It remains to be seen.
LAST TIME: 12
HIGH: 2 | LOW: 24
The Timbers lost their mojo down the home stretch and the uncertainty over Diego Valeri's future seemed to come out of nowhere, though it seems like he will be back at this point. It still feels like the long road trip to begin the season took a lot out of Portland and they never quite fully recovered.
LAST TIME: 13
HIGH: 1 | LOW: 21
2019 wasn't a vintage year for the Red Bulls, and several factors seemed to converge to a disappointing finish. At the same time, the last time RBNY finished in 6th in the East, they won the Supporters' Shield the following year. With some reinforcements, it wouldn't be a shock if they contend again next year.
LAST TIME: 15
HIGH: 6 | LOW: 23
It was a tale of two managers for New England, who looked like the worst team in MLS to begin the campaign with Brad Friedel and completely shrugged it off by the time Bruce Arena settled in. Arena was an ace at getting the most out of MLS roster rules with the Galaxy, and the Revs will look for similar skills to be deployed this offseason.
LAST TIME: 14
HIGH: 11 | LOW: 24
It was a similar story for the Rapids, who had a three-act play of a season. Anthony Hudson had no answers as Colorado started the season in terrible shape, then Conor Casey got the team believing in themselves again. After finishing the year in good shape with Robin Fraser, the future looks bright (really!) with some cap space.
LAST TIME: 17
HIGH: 2 | LOW: 24
The Quakes improved a lot in 2019, but collapsed down the stretch as the threadbare squad hit its limit in the final weeks. With Matias Almeyda back, expect some roster retooling and hopefully a couple big reinforcements to get back to the playoffs in 2020.
LAST TIME: 16
HIGH: 3| LOW: 24
The Crew's season was rather baffling in hindsight, with a good start and solid finish, and an awful middle. Perhaps Federico Higuain's season-ending injury hit them hard, although the rough patch was a total "when it rains, it pours" stretch. With Darlington Nagbe in and a new playmaker possibly joining, changes are coming.
LAST TIME: 18
HIGH: 13 | LOW: 24
Speaking of changes, there will be many for the Fire, who will have a new home, a new head coach and what's likely to be a very different roster, after the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Nemanja Nikolic and Dax McCarty have departed. After a rough 2019, Chicago needed a shake-up and they're getting it.
LAST TIME: 19
HIGH: 2 | LOW: 24
After a season in which the Dynamo demonstrated that progress year-over-year is not always assured for a team -- in 2018 they won the U.S. Open Cup -- Tab Ramos is the new head coach and it will be interesting to see how the former US U-20 boss will take to the club game. Houston have potential but have to make the most of it; a good challenge for Ramos.
LAST TIME: 20
HIGH: 8 | LOW: 23
Unless Jose Mourinho comes to North America this offseason, Thierry Henry is the biggest pure name in terms of MLS coaching hires and even though he's relatively untested, there's a lot to like about the hire on both sides. At minimum, Henry will help Montreal's recruitment of players significantly this offseason.
LAST TIME: 22
HIGH: 3 | LOW: 22
It's no question Sporting KC had the most disappointing season in the league relative to expectations, and missing the playoffs had to be a bitter pill for a team used to consistent quality. One expects there's plenty of stock being taken this offseason with an eye toward avoiding this spot next year.
LAST TIME: 21
HIGH: 14 | LOW: 23
Year One of the Marc Dos Santos era was rough, although there were moments of promise. With a sporting director appointed and lessons learned, the Whitecaps will aim to rebuild effectively, find consistency and perhaps round into a contender eventually.
LAST TIME: 23
HIGH: 14 | LOW: 23
It was another disappointing season for Orlando City, no question about it, although making a semifinal run in the U.S. Open Cup was a highlight. The first objective will be to get the right person installed as head coach, and work to change the culture around the club, a la Toronto FC's transformation earlier this decade.
LAST TIME: 24
HIGH: 12 | LOW: 24
From the outside it might seem puzzling that FC Cincinnati have committed to bringing back 24 of their players for 2020. While some of those players could be traded or waived down the line, even the best teams in MLS rarely retain 24 players year-to-year. Ron Jans started getting a tune out of FCC, but will that be enough in 2020?