Power Rankings - Julian Gressel - Sean Davis
USA Today Sports

MLS Power Rankings: Atlanta, Red Bulls still duking it out for supremacy

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: LA +3; CLB -3

1

 
 

LAST WEEK: 1

HIGH: 1 | LOW: 7

Atlanta may hold the top spot in the standings, but the Red Bulls remain atop the Power Rankings yet another week, despite being down a point in the Supporters' Shield race. Truthfully, New York defeated Philly by the narrowest of margins, but they're still in the Shield hunt with a favorable matchup at home against Orlando in next week's regular-season finale.

Previous: Won 1-0 at PHI | Next: vs. ORL on 10/28

2

 
 

LAST WEEK: 2

HIGH: 1 | LOW: 7

Atlanta did what they needed to do to move closer to the Supporters' Shield and match the all-time single-season points record, albeit with an own goal handing them three points against Chicago. Miguel Almiron's absence, Josef Martinez going uncharacteristically quiet and Tata Martino's departure has to be concerning for Decision Day presented by AT&T, and beyond.

Previous: Won 2-1 vs. CHI | Next: at TOR on 10/28

3

 
 

LAST WEEK: 3

HIGH: 1 | LOW: 16

Sporting were one of three teams to win two games in Week 34, rolling to three-goal road victories over Vancouver and Dallas to surge into first place in the Western Conference. If they can beat LAFC on Decision Day, they'll be the team nobody in the West wants to meet in the playoffs.

4

 
 

LAST WEEK: 4

HIGH: 3 | LOW: 21

Of course, Seattle will have something to say on Sporting's claim as West favorites. The Sounders seem to have settled into a rhythm, and with Nicolas Lodeiro able to control games, Seattle have a real shot to advance to a third straight MLS Cup.

5

 
 

LAST WEEK: 7

HIGH: 5 | LOW: 23

The third team to win two games this week have become the darlings of MLS, with strong play week in and week out and officially completing a "worst-to-playoffs" run this year. The question with D.C. United is whether they can replicate the recent form on the road, but their on-field chemistry sure looks legit.

6

 
 

LAST WEEK: 6

HIGH: 3 | LOW: 17

LAFC broke the expansion team points record, but they'll celebrate that through gritted teeth after dropping two points at home to a team subsequently eliminated from playoff contention. They are capable of playing better than anyone, but their consistency is a huge concern for the playoffs.

Previous: Drew 2-2 vs. VAN | Next: at SKC on 10/28

7

 
 

LAST WEEK: 5

HIGH: 3 | LOW: 18

Perhaps the concern for Dallas is also consistency — a consistent slumping feeling heading into the playoffs. Their recent record isn't terrible (3-2-2) but they seem a step below the contenders right now. Will they roar to life when the playoffs arrive, or remain an enigma?

Previous: Lost 3-0 vs. SKC | Next: at COL on 10/28

8

 
 

LAST WEEK: 8

HIGH: 6 | LOW: 22

Yes, Philly lost, but they played New York very, very well. Perhaps their lack of a Top 20 scorer in MLS will keep them from really rising in the biggest games. But their midfield play remains strong, and a Decision Day win at Yankee Stadium will clinch a home Knockout Round game.

9

 
 

LAST WEEK: 10

HIGH: 2 | LOW: 18

The Timbers beat up RSL again, and are probably hoping for a way to face Mike Petke's side yet again, if RSL reach the playoffs. There's a chance they'll play the Sounders — the neutral's choice perhaps, but probably the kind of game neither Cascadia team would especially relish in the playoffs (until their team wins, of course).

Previous: Won 3-0 vs. RSL | Next: at VAN on 10/28

10

 
 

LAST WEEK: 13

HIGH: 6 | LOW: 18

LA are surging and the schedule is breaking in their favor, with RSL out of games and a battered Dynamo side on tap for Decision Day. If the Galaxy mess it up and miss the playoffs, it's going to be a colossal miss, but momentum is firmly on their side here.

Previous: Won 3-1 at MIN | Next: vs. HOU on 10/28

11

 
 

LAST WEEK: 11

HIGH: 8 | LOW: 23

The Impact are the "never say die" team of MLS this year, and their Canadian Classique win over TFC wasn't pretty but it was effective. They are currently on the outside looking in but could pass Columbus for the final spot in the East. Did you truly expect that?

Previous: Won 2-0 vs. TOR | Next: at NE on 10/28

12

 
 

LAST WEEK: 9

HIGH: 2 | LOW: 12

Columbus picked a bad time to slump, and their loss to Orlando means they couldn't wrap up the playoff berth in the penultimate week. Truthfully, they haven't looked great in some time, but the concern at this point is whether they'll be good on Decision Day. In their favor, they'll be facing a reeling Minnesota side.

Previous: Lost 2-1 at ORL | Next: vs. MIN on 10/28

13

 
 

LAST WEEK: 12

HIGH: 6 | LOW: 21

Well, that didn't go so well. One team had to be the odd one out with the uneven number of teams, but back-to-back losses against Portland sandwiched around a rousing win over New England leaves RSL holding onto a playoff spot by their fingernails and the Galaxy with a chance to win and blow right by them. Tough break.

Previous: Won 4-1 vs. NE; Lost 3-0 at POR | Next: TBD

14

 
 

LAST WEEK: 14

HIGH: 1 | LOW: 14

Unsurprisingly, NYCFC looked rusty after weeks off. In hindsight, a giant gap in play while the rest of the league is in action wasn't helpful for Dome Torrent's team. And while the team's performance hasn't been inspiring either, perhaps the schedule can be adjusted in the future to mitigate this in the future.

Previous: Lost 3-1 at DC | Next: vs. PHI on 10/28

15

 
 

LAST WEEK: 15

HIGH: 8 | LOW: 20

One point in a week when the Whitecaps needed six is not good, and they're now out of the running for the playoffs. The imminent departure of Alphonso Davies aside, it's worth wondering how much of a housecleaning Vancouver will do in the offseason. They do have some talent, but the pieces haven't fit for some time.

16

 
 

LAST WEEK: 16

HIGH: 1 | LOW: 21

TFC could have played spoilers for the the Impact and just weren't sharp enough, so will they step up to ruin Atlanta's party on Decision Day? You can't count them out altogether, but the defending champs really don't look up to the challenge this year.

17

 
 

LAST WEEK: 17

HIGH: 7 | LOW: 19

Another week, another loss for the Dynamo. They truly seem like they're playing out the string, so it's looking good for the Galaxy to pick up a win to get into the playoffs. But there's usually one "Huh?" result on the final day, and Wilmer Cabrera's men have as good a chance as any to take that mantle.

Previous: Lost 3-2 at SEA | Next: at LA on 10/28

18

 
 

LAST WEEK: 18

HIGH: 9 | LOW: 22

The Revolution get a few extra days of rest, but their season is down to spoiling Montreal's playoff aspirations. Teal Bunbury had a career year. Will he be able to build on this for 2019, or will it be the one-year peak for the forward?

Previous: Lost 4-1 at RSL | Next: vs. MTL on 10/28

19

 
 

LAST WEEK: 20

HIGH: 11 | LOW: 23

Chicago are playing better and, more than anyone else near the bottom of the standings, are the biggest "What if?" team of 2018. What if they had stayed healthy? What if they had added more impact players this season?

Previous: Lost 2-1 at ATL | Next: vs. DC on 10/28

20

 
 

LAST WEEK: 19

HIGH: 14 | LOW: 23

Minnesota United ended last season on a decent note, and while the middle of this season was better they have a very good shot of ending this season with an identical record and goals for/against total. Certainly looking forward to the third year of the three-year plan there.

Previous: Lost 3-1 vs. LA | Next: at CLB on 10/28

21

 
 

LAST WEEK: 23

HIGH: 6 | LOW: 23

Orlando rallied for an unlikely win — and a bit of good fortune in a season where they haven't had much. They now have a major spoiler opportunity on Decision Day against the Red Bulls. 

22

 
 

LAST WEEK: 21

HIGH: 17 | LOW: 23

Two clean sheets in two weeks is good for the Rapids, but it's too little too late at this point. Will they put up a good test at home against FC Dallas? It's a matchup that has been tricky for Dallas in the past.

Previous: Drew 0-0 at SJ | Next: vs. DAL on 10/28

23

 
 

LAST WEEK: 22

HIGH: 12 | LOW: 23

The wooden spoon is the Quakes' first since 2008. Would love to see more playing time for the youngsters against Seattle on Decision Day — maybe one of them will be the next Marky Delgado, a Homegrown starting out on a poor team who eventually blossoms into a national team player.

Previous: Drew 0-0 vs. COL | Next: at SEA on 10/28

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