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: NE, MTL +3; RBNY -4
LAST WEEK: 1
HIGH: 1 | LOW: 4
LAFC beat Atlanta United in a performance reminiscent of vintage 2018 LAFC, but coming off arguably their worst loss of the season holding on for a win is a good result. Seven of their final 12 games of the season are against teams currently above the playoff line, but are 8-1-3 so far this year in that context.
LAST WEEK: 2
HIGH: 2 | LOW: 24
Believe it or not, the Quakes have a credible claim to be a Top 2 team in the West when all is said and done. We said last week they're playing with house money this year in terms of expectations, and they seem set to clean up at the poker table come Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs time.
LAST WEEK: 3
HIGH: 2 | LOW: 24
The Timbers treated their clash against the Galaxy as a marquee clash and put together a masterful performance. Gio Savarese's gradual rotation policy is bearing fruit, as he's expanded his productive squad ready to perform when the time comes, and a double set against Minnesota on the road is their next big test.
LAST WEEK: 6
HIGH: 2 | LOW: 18
In the East, where it appears no team wants to grab the top spot and never look back, NYCFC appear to be in the best form of the field. They also have three to four games in hand on the competition, so their fourth-place standing is misleading. That said, will they be able to figure out the RioT up next against RSL?
LAST WEEK: 7
HIGH: 1 | LOW: 9
The Sounders keep grinding and get a win in steamy Houston. Jordan Morris has five goals and two assists in 15 appearances this season — a decent return after missing last season, but can he stay healthy and start scoring at a faster clip to solidify Seattle's playoff credentials this year?
LAST WEEK: 5
HIGH: 2 | LOW: 20
The Union have lost two of the last three and have only 10 games left in their regular season slate. In spite of that, they remain in first place in the East and are in a good spot. But they can't afford to slump through the end of the season, lest they fall in their first postseason hurdle, again.
LAST WEEK: 8
HIGH: 1 | LOW: 19
Atlanta traded haymakers with LAFC but couldn't get a result, a frustrating performance but the kind good teams can usually shrug off. But cracks continue to surface in the squad, with Leandro Gonzalez Pirez the most recent to openly complain about the coaching. One way or another, this is a red flag.
LAST WEEK: 4
HIGH: 1 | LOW: 21
Speaking of concern, Luis Robles has been honest in assessing Red Bulls' performances all season when asked, but his last dispatch — "We've become a little too complacent" — is a big worry for MLS's tightest band the last several years. If they don't win the mental battle, New York's gameplan effectively falls apart.
LAST WEEK: 12
HIGH: 9 | LOW: 23
In years past, the Revs could struggle but grit out a result at Gillette Stadium. Now, with game-changers Carles Gil and Gustavo Bou capable of turning games, the coach can complain about the overall performance but there is legitimate silk to go with the sandpaper of the hardworking roster, and it's working right now.
LAST WEEK: 9
HIGH: 8 | LOW: 15
A six-game unbeaten streak will be put on the line with a huge back-to-back, both at Allianz Field, coming up against Portland. In terms of posterity, the second of those two, a U.S. Open Cup semifinal, will be more important, but the Loons thrive on rhythm and can't afford to wave off the league match on Saturday.
LAST WEEK: 10
HIGH: 2 | LOW: 13
After their best performance of the season, LA couldn't follow it up in Portland and returned to the inconsistent form that has plagued them all year. The "wild card" factor could prove dangerous in a key game, but the issue is that it could swing to be a danger for either team. Hopefully Sebastian Lletget can stay healthy.
LAST WEEK: 11
HIGH: 5 | LOW: 15
Who is the frontrunner for MLS Goalkeeper of the Year? There's been very little talk, but a key candidate has to be Jesse Gonzalez, who has consistently saved his team this season, including in a scoreless draw against RSL. At 24, he's got tons of experience but still room for growth, too.
LAST WEEK: 13
HIGH: 3 | LOW: 13
There's been no real talk about any big transfers to come in but several months of games indicates D.C. needs help in the attack ASAP. The nature of pro soccer is that all careers are ultimately illusory but Wayne Rooney won't be around forever to run like crazy and carry the team every game.
LAST WEEK: 15
HIGH: 4 | LOW: 21
TFC bounce back with a win but they are below the playoff line and could struggle to get back up. Or, like Bobby Warshaw argues, they could be the best team in the East. Either way, TFC remain an enigma but another rumored transfer could help turn the tide in their favor.
LAST WEEK: 14
HIGH: 13 | LOW: 20
RSL have also fallen below the playoff line and may have a harder time jumping back up, given the strength of the seven teams ahead of them right now. Are we shaping up for another Decision Day presented by AT&T thriller involving their status? Stay tuned.
LAST WEEK: 19
HIGH: 8 | LOW: 20
The Bologna-to-Montreal pipeline has been pretty productive over the years, and the latest player to take that trek, Lassi Lappalainen, started off his MLS tenure in the best way possible. With Montreal foundering before their big win, it's all hands on deck for the rest of the campaign.
LAST WEEK: 17
HIGH: 14 | LOW: 21
The Lions were second-best at Gillette Stadium but the scoreline was deceiving, if it's any consolation. Up next, following their M.C. duties at MLS All-Star week, is a big game at home against FC Dallas. We'll see if Orlando experiences a collhangover after the festivities.
LAST WEEK: 16
HIGH: 13 | LOW: 24
The shine has come off the Rapids, who are winless in four and lost three of those games. We know Colorado aren't in the playoff chase this season, but this feels like a tipping point, whether they'll get back to playing spoilers or stumble through the end of the run.
LAST WEEK: 21
HIGH: 3 | LOW: 24
But look out, there's a revival in Central Ohio! The Crew have won their last two games after a putrid one win in 16 game stretch. They are firmly in spoiler territory but the life remains and they're digging deep. Now, can they do better than the win at Red Bull Arena and stop the flying Quakes at Avaya Stadium next?
LAST WEEK: 20
HIGH: 3 | LOW: 21
You can't argue with their record but very few teams get results when visiting Yankee Stadium and Sporting certainly didn't last week. Will Peter Vermes give more time to youngsters in the coming weeks, to get them ready for bigger roles in the future?
LAST WEEK: 18
HIGH: 2 | LOW: 21
Wilmer Cabrera's postgame remarks follow a...pattern, but his assertion that the contact on Seattle's winning goal would be a foul on the moon is one of the most entertaining lines of the season. They're still in the playoff race! But they need wins, like coming up against a struggling Chicago side, or that chase is over.
LAST WEEK: 22
HIGH: 14 | LOW: 23
Truthfully, the Whitecaps can feel unlucky not to have won in Minnesota over the Loons. But the "unlucky" train rolls on for Vancouver this season and there's still 10 games in their schedule. They need to do something to make some luck, especially with the Canadian Championship out of reach.
LAST WEEK: 24
HIGH: 13 | LOW: 24
Chicago got a draw but they're five games without a win and there's zero fluidity in attack on a consistent basis. They've also been victims of bad luck at times, but the more they are unable to convert gilt-edged chances, the less you can see many of these faces returning in 2020.
LAST WEEK: 23
HIGH: 12 | LOW: 24
FC Cincy lost again but the Google news alert came through and a reported coaching target of Ron Jans emerged. It's intriguing, to be sure, especially with international managers coming to grips with MLS better these days. Will he be the one to get the team fully on track on the field? We'll see, if he's hired.