Power Rankings - CJ Sapong
USA Today Sports

Power Rankings: Chicago Fire head to the basement

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: CLB +3; SEA, DC -2

1

 
 

LAST WEEK: 1

HIGH: 1 | LOW: 4

LAFC were up for their big game against the Galaxy...and they came out flat. It would be nice to see both L.A. teams facing off while playing their best, but there is a concern that LAFC may not be able to control their nerves in the big moments. Speaking of, they have another big game coming up, against Atlanta United.

Previous: 3-2 loss at LA | Next: vs. ATL on 7/26

2

 
 

LAST WEEK: 2

HIGH: 2 | LOW: 24

To be honest, the Earthquakes are playing well and the pressure is off them externally. It's a good spot to be in, and if they can continue to develop their unusual style, they can be nearly uncrackable even with plenty of game tape on them, based on Matias Almeyda's track record.

Previous: 3-1 win at VAN | Next: vs. COL on 7/27

3

 
 

LAST WEEK: 3

HIGH: 2 | LOW: 24

Just as the Timbers get used to open play or counterattacking soccer, they acknowledge they'll have to adjust to teams sitting back at Providence Park. It'll likely be the difference between a middle seed for the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs and a bye, and that could be very important, indeed.

4

 
 

LAST WEEK: 4

HIGH: 1 | LOW: 21

Mixed week for the Red Bulls, but with two road games picking up a win is pretty decent. With the likes of Philadelphia, NYCFC and Atlanta challenging for top of the East, the Red Bulls aren't assured top spot, but it's certainly not inconceivable they could end up at the top, again.

5

 
 

LAST WEEK: 7

HIGH: 2 | LOW: 20

Good win for the Union to bounce back from a tough road loss. Marco Fabian now has two goals in three games, starting all three, and he may finally get some run to get in full form. Of course, he's a player who has struggled with injuries most of his career, but it's the high risk-high reward proposition Philly knew coming in.

Previous: 2-0 win vs. CHI | Next: at MTL on 7/27

6

 
 

LAST WEEK: 6

HIGH: 2 | LOW: 18

NYCFC also bounce back from a loss with a win, this one a tricky road win in a venue they had never won before. Both Alexandru Mitrita and Heber have been strong at times for NYCFC, but the Brazilian has eight goals and three assists in 12 league games and looks like he can settle into a game-changing stint in MLS.

Previous: 2-1 win at COL | Next: vs. SKC on 7/26

7

 
 

LAST WEEK: 5

HIGH: 1 | LOW: 9

The Sounders' unbeaten home streak in league play is snapped, and by the team they least want to do that. Their next game, at Houston, certainly isn't a make-or-break proposition, but it's a big challenge if they want to stay near the top of the Western Conference with San Jose and, yes, Portland streaking up.

Previous: 2-1 loss vs. POR | Next: at HOU on 7/27

8

 
 

LAST WEEK: 9

HIGH: 1 | LOW: 19

Atlanta have a credible claim of best week in MLS after taking six points at home, in rather different ways. The perception that they may not be clicking remains, but they're three points out of first place in the East with a game in hand, and have the talent and experience to keep climbing.

9

 
 

LAST WEEK: 8

HIGH: 8 | LOW: 15

One thing you can credit Minnesota with at this point: They are grinding out tough results. They were disappointed not to win over RSL after taking a lead, but a point on the road is solid if you're taking care of business at home, and they're doing that, so it's a good result.

Previous: 1-1 draw at RSL | Next: vs. VAN on 7/27

10

 
 

LAST WEEK: 12

HIGH: 2 | LOW: 13

So where exactly has that LA Galaxy team been all season? If they played the way they did against LAFC every game, they'd be neck-and-neck in the Supporters' Shield race. Instead, they're nine points back. Regardless of why they haven't brought it every week, they really need to turn it up more regularly.

Previous: 3-2 win vs. LAFC | Next: at POR on 7/27

11

 
 

LAST WEEK: 10

HIGH: 5 | LOW: 15

Dallas' somewhat surprising win in Kansas City is seen by some to be the best result for any team in the league in Week 20. The voting panel still sees them right around the Top 10 but they could make a move on up in the standings and Power Rankings if they can keep piling up wins.

Previous: 2-0 win at SKC | Next: vs. RSL on 7/27

12

 
 

LAST WEEK: 14

HIGH: 12 | LOW: 23

The other team that has a claim on best week in MLS, you could argue that New England's double-win week was even better than Atlanta's, not because of the quality of the opposition but because they need wins more, and are now the hottest team in the league.

13

 
 

LAST WEEK: 11

HIGH: 3 | LOW: 13

Like the Red Bulls, it's a mixed week for D.C., but in the context of two road games a win is a solid return. On the other hand, their recent form is all over the place, and it remains hard to peg them in one direction or the other, although they have been slowly sliding down the Power Rankings for some time.

14

 
 

LAST WEEK: 13

HIGH: 13 | LOW: 20

Jefferson Savarino has been good lately, and there's been plenty of talk of the reported transfer interest he's drawing abroad. If he can see out the rest of the season in consistently good and productive form? Well, now we're talking, and he could lift RSL up with him in the process.

Previous: 1-1 draw vs. MIN | Next: at DAL on 7/27

15

 
 

LAST WEEK: 15

HIGH: 4 | LOW: 21

TFC are below the playoff line and their form all season has been a shrug emoji. Jacob Shaffelburg has been a good option on the wing since entering the lineup. Will he fire them into the playoffs and consistency? Not yet, he's only 19, but he may end up being a rare bright spot of the campaign if Toronto aren't careful.

16

 
 

LAST WEEK: 16

HIGH: 13 | LOW: 24

The Rapids stand pat after losing at home with 10 men. One part of their "shoots of hope" season is the amount of playing time given to young players: Seb Anderson, Sam Vines and "wily veteran" Cole Bassett. If things line up right, they could be a trio to build around in the future.

Previous: 2-1 loss vs. NYC | Next: at SJ on 7/27

17

 
 

LAST WEEK: 17

HIGH: 14 | LOW: 21

Orlando City also stand pat, after a tricky week where they got a point across two games. The improvement from years past remains but they aren't tracking to make the playoffs, and a suddenly tough game is on the horizon against the Revs before the MLS All-Star break.

18

 
 

LAST WEEK: 20

HIGH: 2 | LOW: 20

Well, the Dynamo aren't dead, as they turned the page on a bad home loss last week and a midweek calamity with a rousing road win against a soft Toronto side. They've now got the Leagues Cup to juggle, but the Dynamo haven't lost all hope of reaching the postseason yet...as long as they win more than they lose.

19

 
 

LAST WEEK: 18

HIGH: 8 | LOW: 20

The Impact drew the wrong time to play the reeling Crew, who put in their best showing in months to win in Columbus. Maybe the full tone doesn't come through on translation, but Remi Garde's comment of: "What annoys me are certain attitudes, behaviors and orders that are not respected," raises some eyebrows.

Previous: 2-1 loss at CLB | Next: vs. PHI on 7/27

20

 
 

LAST WEEK: 19

HIGH: 3 | LOW: 21

There are so few long-tenured managers in the sport nowadays that there's not really a blueprint for what Peter Vermes is going through. Is it time to make a change? That seems exceedingly harsh for a team that hasn't had a truly poor season for nearly a decade. But, he still has a big challenge in turning things around.

Previous: 2-0 loss vs. DAL | Next: at NYC on 7/26

21

 
 

LAST WEEK: 24

HIGH: 3 | LOW: 24

Just as we were putting dirt on Columbus' 2019 season they rise up, fist clenched, and find some oxygen for another week. They were the team most likely to limp all the way through the string, but if they can find traction after a four-point week, they can help demonstrate that there are still no easy outings in MLS for anyone.

22

 
 

LAST WEEK: 21

HIGH: 14 | LOW: 23

Vancouver's run is worst in the league at present -- winless in eight, five losses in a row -- but in spite of that the voting panel still see more promise than with the teams below them. They seem to be at risk of playing out the string if they can't find form soon, and the good vibes from Marc Dos Santos could be gone altogether.

23

 
 

LAST WEEK: 22

HIGH: 12 | LOW: 24

FC Cincy looked like they were finding themselves but two losses at home take them back down to earth. Our Google alert on Cincinnati's coaching search hasn't led to much lately, and while taking over in August or later may not be ideal, it could be an opportunity to provide an Almeyda-like entry into the club ahead of schedule.

24

 
 

LAST WEEK: 23

HIGH: 13 | LOW: 24

Chicago were poor in their loss to the Union, but more concerning was coughing up a lead midweek against the floundering Crew and settling for a draw. Looking at the talent, the stats and the performances, they have to be the most underachieving team in the league this year.

Series: 

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