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: POR, TOR, COL +2; RBNY -2
LAST WEEK: 1
HIGH: 1 | LOW: 4
LAFC did bounce back from their surprise home loss, but still rue the draw in Orlando, in spite of missing half their starters. Three games winless is the Black & Gold's longest such run of the year, and they have a tough game coming up against a Philadelphia Union side that are eager to face them. Buckle up!
LAST WEEK: 2
HIGH: 2 | LOW: 18
It took an early red card and a late penalty, but NYCFC maintained their winning streak and moved into first place in the Eastern Conference against the Revolution. With Heber out injured, the surprise impact of Jesus Medina, who has been a peripheral player, is a breath of fresh air for Dome Torrent at the moment.
LAST WEEK: 3
HIGH: 2 | LOW: 20
Philly were off in league play but had a feisty friendly against Pumas UNAM to keep the competitive juices flowing. Gearing up for a big home game against LAFC, they could be facing the league leaders at the perfect, time, and possibly topple the Power Rankings order if they can get a signature win on the weekend.
Previous: Idle | Next: vs. LAFC on 9/14
LAST WEEK: 4
HIGH: 1 | LOW: 19
The Five Stripes still have hope of reaching the top of the East, but they'll need some help. And don't overlook their upcoming opponent, Columbus, even if they're at the other end of the standings — much of the personnel has changed, but don't forget, the Crew have had some success at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Previous: Idle | Next: vs. CLB on 9/14
LAST WEEK: 6
HIGH: 2 | LOW: 24
The Quakes have a big double-game week against fellow likely Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs qualifiers. All things considered, they're still on a "house money" season, but these road games will be good practice for tough postseason games yet to come for San Jose.
Previous: Idle | Next: at RSL on 9/11; at NYC on 9/14
LAST WEEK: 5
HIGH: 1 | LOW: 11
Tough loss for the Sounders, but they were the team most shorthanded by the international break and it showed. Five more games to solidify playoff seeding, but probably more important for the Sounders, five more games to get the group back together and build momentum before the playoffs.
LAST WEEK: 7
HIGH: 7 | LOW: 15
Minnesota also had a friendly against a Liga MX opponent during their league bye week, and have two games coming up against Western Conference opposition. Eyes are firmly on the prize for the playoffs for the Loons, and they're looking good, but have work to do to wrap up that first postseason berth.
Previous: Idle | Next: vs. HOU on 9/11; vs. RSL on 9/15
LAST WEEK: 10
HIGH: 2 | LOW: 24
Week 27's last match may have been one of the most consequential in the Western Conference playoff chase, as a six-pointer for both teams flipped from a Sporting win to a late, late Timbers victory. The margins for most of the West remain tissue-paper thin, but the Timbers gave their cause a big boost.
LAST WEEK: 8
HIGH: 5 | LOW: 20
RSL took advantage of the bye week, and the time on the training field will likely do them good to get more work in with Freddy Juarez. Now, a big double-game week is ahead, against fellow playoff hopefuls in the West — this could be a season defining week in Utah.
Previous: Idle | Next: vs. SJ on 9/11; at MIN on 9/15
LAST WEEK: 9
HIGH: 6 | LOW: 23
Teams always have to play the game in front of them, but the 10-man Revolution just couldn't hold on to a lead for 80 minutes at Yankee Stadium, and they deserve the benefit of the doubt as a result. Even so, those aren't convertible into points, and the Revs will need a result in Orlando to keep pace above the playoff line.
LAST WEEK: 11
HIGH: 5 | LOW: 15
Dallas are above the playoff line, but most of the teams around them have a game in hand so their status remains precarious. If they can string together some more wins, they could be a very dangerous team come playoff time.
Previous: Idle | Next: at CHI on 9/14
LAST WEEK: 14
HIGH: 4 | LOW: 21
You could say that many teams have posted big wins on FC Cincinnati this season, but Toronto needed a big win and they got one, on the road, no less. But their September gauntlet continues with a double-game week in league play, with the Canadian Championship still looming. Can they handle it all?
LAST WEEK: 12
HIGH: 2 | LOW: 14
The Galaxy also have a pivotal double-game week after a week off, against teams below the playoff line. LA are themselves below the playoff line at the moment, so they have to win to get back in position for a playoff return, and each opponent could be pretty tricky in spite of their positions in the standings.
Previous: Idle | Next: at COL on 9/11; vs. SKC on 9/15
LAST WEEK: 16
HIGH: 13 | LOW: 24
Two-for-two in the Robin Fraser era, and things are looking good for the Rapids. Sure, the Sounders were very shorthanded, but a win is a win. Obviously they're playing with no expectations, and the offseason will be massive in terms of roster rebuilding, but there is a promising core in Colorado, no doubt.
LAST WEEK: 13
HIGH: 1 | LOW: 21
The Red Bulls had been reeling and a week off was likely what the doctor ordered. They only have one game on tap, but it's the cross-continental meeting in Seattle, and the unrest surrounding the team at the moment means the pressure will be on New York to get a result no matter the circumstances.
Previous: Idle | Next: at SEA on 9/15
LAST WEEK: 15
HIGH: 3 | LOW: 21
Is that curtains for Sporting's playoff quest? They're not mathematically eliminated but they need to make up at least six points with only five games left. We've seen miraculous finishes on Decision Day presented by AT&T before, but Sporting would need to run the table and get help, something they could get if they beat the Galaxy.
LAST WEEK: 17
HIGH: 3 | LOW: 20
D.C. have been in a slump for months and yet they remain above the playoff line, although by just five points at the moment. The initial attempts to give it one last go with this group before Wayne Rooney and possibly others depart hasn't worked, but there's still time to stoke a rally and finish strong. Will they do it?
Previous: Idle | Next: at POR on 9/15
LAST WEEK: 18
HIGH: 14 | LOW: 21
The Lions could have beaten LAFC, but instead the teams played to an entertaining stalemate. They only have four games left, and remain four points under the playoff line, and they also need a miracle (and a perfect record) to get into the postseason, so that draw could prove to be the backbreaker on their prospects.
LAST WEEK: 19
HIGH: 3 | LOW: 24
The Crew have lost just one of their last nine games, after losing 13 of their previous 15 games. It's low-key an impressive turnaround, considering the number of teams that have sleepwalked through seasons that go from bad to worse. Can they really turn heads with a result against Atlanta United? They've had a week to work on it.
Previous: Idle | Next: at ATL on 9/14
LAST WEEK: 20
HIGH: 13 | LOW: 24
The Fire are in the same territory as Orlando City, still technically in the playoff race, but with only four games left in the regular season, they need to be good and get help from the soccer gods. A win at home against FC Dallas could keep hope alive, or else the hope will fade from a disappointing season.
Previous: Idle | Next: vs. DAL on 9/14
LAST WEEK: 21
HIGH: 8 | LOW: 21
In contrast, Montreal are in better shape despite being below the playoff line, and they're facing FC Cincinnati on the weekend. But the teams above them have a game in hand and given their form, it's an uphill climb for the Impact to get back in the playoffs, too, although they could make it interesting.
Previous: Idle | Next: vs. CIN on 9/14
LAST WEEK: 22
HIGH: 14 | LOW: 23
In spite of a tough season, it's nice to see that the Whitecaps have a number of young Canadian internationals and with the CanMNT rising, it's raising the talent level of the 'Caps, too. There is bound to be more rebuilding in the offseason, but many of the bright spots for Vancouver this season have happened to be Canadian.
Previous: Idle | Next: vs. HOU on 9/14
LAST WEEK: 23
HIGH: 2 | LOW: 24
None of Houston's stars left in the transfer window, which is either a blessing in that they may stick around longer, or not, if they leave for less or have had their heads turned by reports from abroad. It's the time for Dynamo players to play for their jobs next season, and they'll have two games to showcase their play.
Previous: Idle | Next: vs. MIN on 9/11; at VAN on 9/14
LAST WEEK: 24
HIGH: 12 | LOW: 24
FC Cincinnati have not wrapped up the wooden spoon yet, as they could win out and surge ahead of Vancouver or Houston, but they have a hand on the distinction and after another heavy defeat, seem like that will be the story of their debut season in MLS.