Only MLS league games will be reflected in the rankings. Rankings are voted on by MLSsoccer.com editorial staff; words by Jonathan Sigal.
BIGGEST MOVERS: SJ +3; RSL, SEA -4
HIGH: 1 | LOW: 11
Would the Union have celebrated winning the Supporters’ Shield last weekend if they had Andre Blake in goal? It’s entirely possible, but instead they’re left heading into Week 23 with a far-stickier situation and in danger of missing out on silverware yet again.
HIGH: 1 | LOW: 6
We’ll reiterate what Greg Vanney has said in recent press conferences: When healthy, Toronto FC have a legitimate claim to being MLS’s top team. That was reinforced by Ayo Akinola returning last weekend with a goal, as the striker changes their entire dynamic for the better.
HIGH: 1 | LOW: 9
The Crew deserve plaudits for denying Philadelphia the Supporters’ Shield last weekend, though the lion’s share of credit goes to Eloy Room. He stood on his head repeatedly, and the in-form goalkeeper could do Caleb Porter's team wonders when playoff soccer comes around.
HIGH: 2 | LOW: 14
Portland are atop the Western Conference standings, but their injury woes in the final third jump off the page. Jaroslaw Niezgoda has torn his ACL and will miss the remainder of 2020, meaning they’re down the Polish striker and Sebastian Blanco. They have incredible depth, but will it be one hit too many?
HIGH: 4 | LOW: 23
The Lions quietly have back-to-back wins and Daryl Dike’s now scored in three straight games. Be sure to check out Charlie Boehm’s piece on the 2020 SuperDraft pick strengthening his US men’s national team case. Dike’s been really good, folks.
HIGH: 5 | LOW: 18
Sporting’s game last weekend got cancelled due to COVID-19, so their chance at three straight wins got thwarted. When Peter Vermes’ team returns, we’re intrigued by Johnny Russell potentially regaining his form. The Scottish winger finds himself in a seven-game goalless drought.
HIGH: 1 | LOW: 8
The Sounders slide down this week after losing for the second time in five games (1W-2L-2D). It’s not time for the 2019 MLS Cup winners to panic – they can still win the West, after all – but this is usually when Brian Schmetzer’s team is heating up, not cooling down.
HIGH: 1 | LOW: 15
COVID-19 cases meant LAFC didn’t play last weekend, though the 2019 Supporters’ Shield winners could cause plenty of trouble in the playoffs. When they’re at full strength and healthy, Bob Bradley’s team can play just about anyone in MLS off the pitch.
HIGH: 3 | LOW: 13
NYCFC are surging with three straight wins, and the latest included a hat trick from Taty Castellanos in the Hudson River Derby. The Cityzens look set for the East’s No. 5 seed, and the absence of a midweek game should let Ronny Delia's team freshen up.
HIGH: 8 | LOW: 18
The Revs snapped a three-game winless streak last weekend with a wet-and-wild 4-3 win over D.C. United, a result that was powered by a Teal Bunbury brace and Adam Buksa looking increasingly comfortable. But the big news is they have their three DPs back healthy for the first time since early July, meaning New England’s offense could really get clicking.
HIGH: 4 | LOW: 13
The Loons saw their weekend match against Sporting Kansas City cancelled, so they’re on 19 matches played. That leaves Adrian Heath’s group turning to points per game, which places them fourth in the Western Conference standings and hoping key players continue to regain full fitness.
HIGH: 7 | LOW: 18
Dallas are surging after a huge two-win week, one where they earned a playoff spot with a resounding 3-0 victory over Houston, their Texas rivals. Fall's early portions didn’t go well for Luchi Gonzalez’s team, but they're trending in the right direction before two road games.
HIGH: 13 | LOW: 26
Stretch it back to late September and Nashville have lost one of their last 10 games (4W-1L-5D). With a strong defensive foundation, they’re probably the most-likely team to grind out a 1-0 win – and that suits the expansion side just fine.
HIGH: 11 | LOW: 21
It’s not just that RBNY’s five-game unbeaten streak came to a close, it’s that they lost 5-2 against rivals NYCFC at Yankee Stadium. They have a playoff spot locked up, but that result could seriously impact momentum and seeding.
HIGH: 7 | LOW: 21
After being on the sidelines for a month, it was always going to take the Rapids a few games to rediscover their footing. That seemed to come in last weekend’s 3-1 win over Seattle, a performance that was reminiscent of their mid-September form.
HIGH: 15 | LOW: 25
The Fire have drawn three of their past four games, which leaves them in danger of not advancing to an Eastern Conference play-in game. They're in 10th place before a two-game week and looking to end a two-year postseason drought, so the stakes are high.
HIGH: 10 | LOW: 26
San Jose’s weekend match against LAFC got cancelled because of COVID-19 cases, so the Earthquakes couldn’t build off a Chris Wondolowski brace against Salt Lake. Instead, they’re left holding onto the eighth and final playoff spot out West, all after narrowly missing out in 2019.
HIGH: 14 | LOW: 21
With four losses in their last five games, the Impact still hold onto ninth place in the Eastern Conference standings. That has them poised to make the playoffs for the first time since 2016, but there’s no denying that Montreal aren’t trending in the right direction.
HIGH: 19 | LOW: 26
The Whitecaps are on the verge of missing the playoffs for the second straight year under head coach Marc Dos Santos. Blame probably doesn’t fall squarely at his feet if that happens, though, since the roster’s in need of a few upgrades.
HIGH: 11 | LOW: 20
Real Salt Lake finished third in the Western Conference last year, whereas now they’re out of the playoffs altogether. It’s a steep decline for a club that’s been through some off-field turmoil, plus counts their 25 goals scored among the lowest totals in MLS.
HIGH: 19 | LOW: 26
Consider Inter Miami’s playoff hopes on life support, with the expansion club falling short of expectations all year. Focus shifts to recent results, sure, but it’s worth remembering that they began the year with five straight losses, hemorrhaging points that counted all the same.
HIGH: 1 | LOW: 24
The good news is Atlanta are alive heading into Decision Day presented by AT&T. The bad news is they’ll have to win at Columbus to get into the playoffs, a task made more challenging by how the hosts are simultaneously pushing for the Supporters’ Shield.
HIGH: 14 | LOW: 26
D.C. United have denied odds down the stretch, but their luck may have run out in last weekend’s 4-3 loss at New England. That created an uphill climb to get the East’s 10th and final playoff spot, though it was always a steep hole to dig themselves out of.
HIGH: 6 | LOW: 25
The Galaxy fired head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto last week, yet their issues aren’t limited to that role. They're still alive in the Western Conference playoff chase, even if they face long odds during this two-game week.
HIGH: 8 | LOW: 25
Houston are eliminated from playoff contention, despite Darwin Quintero turning back the clock and Memo Rodriguez taking a big step forward. They simply weren’t up to snuff under first-year head coach Tab Ramos, winning once in their past 13 games (1W-7L-5D).
HIGH: 18 | LOW: 26
Two years in MLS, two years without playoff soccer. FC Cincinnati were officially eliminated from the postseason last weekend and now look ahead to 2021, winter transfer window and opening of their West End Stadium.