MLS Power Rankings: Week 31

Black & Gold move up a couple spots this week

There was plenty of movement in the Power Rankings this week, none more than among Eastern teams challenging for league-wide bragging rights. As the playoff stretch hits its final week, take a look at how the latest rankings shape up.

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All match times for this week's games are ET; only MLS regular-season games reflected on schedule.

Rank Trending Last Club Comment

1

1

First LA’s gotta face down Motagua in Honduras, then they have to stare history in the eye at Houston. If they get a win over Motagua, they’re into the quarterfinalsd of the CONCACAF Champions League; if they get a win or a draw against the Dynamo, they become just the fourth team in MLS history to average two points per game.

  • Last Week: Beat Chivas USA, 1-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Sunday at Houston (7 pm, Galavisión)
  • Last Five: WWWLW
2

2

Seattle have already punched their ticket for the CCL quarterfinals and have already secured second place in the West. They also showed that “playing for pride” means quite a bit to this bunch. With a healthy Mauro Rosales back in the mix, they’re neck-and-neck with the Galaxy as favorites for the MLS Cup title.

  • Last Week: Beat San Jose, 2-1 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday at Chivas USA (10:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: WWLW

3

4

Even before the Thierry Henry red card, Sporting were clearly the better team this past weekend. They were moving the ball well in attack, pushing RBNY down the middle and generating chances. They still finish an achingly low percentage of those chances, however – and they need to focus on that or it could be a short postseason.

  • Last Week: Beat New York, 2-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday at D.C. United (7:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: LTWTW

4

6

They’ve won three of their last four, including a bruising, convincing 2-0 win at JELD-WEN Field — not an easy place to play. They're still unbeaten since Geoff Cameron was moved to central defense and they’ve got a pretty decent shot of finishing on top of the conference since the rest of the East’s best are on the road this week.

  • Last Week: Beat Portland, 2-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Sunday vs. LA (7 pm, Galavisión)
  • Last Five: TWWTW

5

3

They’ll feel the 1-1 draw at home to Toronto was a let-down, especially considering that they could have put themselves in the Eastern Conference driver’s seat with the win. Even so, this season has to be classed a smashing success for Peter Nowak and company. Sébastien Le Toux will need some help in the playoffs, however.

  • Last Week: Tied Toronto FC, 1-1 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Thursday at New York (8 pm, ESPN2/ESPN Deportes)
  • Last Five: TWTWT

6

8

Are they back? Kind of hard to say. The midweek win at Chicago was impressive, while the weekend result at home over Vancouver was what should be expected from any top team. They don’t look as tired as they did three weeks ago, which is a good sign, but they don’t look as potent as they did three months ago, which is a concern.

7

5

They’re one of only two teams in the league winless in five, and honestly, they would actually benefit from dropping out of the West’s top three and into first place in the wild card hunt. That would give them a home game and 90 minutes to get Kyle Beckerman and Javier Morales back onto the same page. If that happens, they’ll be a threat.

  • Last Week: Tied Colorado, 0-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. Portland (9 pm ET, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: LLLLT

8

7

They were the better team against RSL throughout much of the night last Friday, but their finishing has gone bye-bye. Everyone’s still waiting for Omar Cummings to get hot, which isn't happening, and for Caleb Folan to look dangerous for more than 10 or 15 minutes at a time. It looks like neither may be on the menu this year.

  • Last Week: Tied Real Salt Lake, 0-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday at Vancouver (7 pm ET, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: LLTWT

9

11

The Crew’s winless streak from August and September is a thing of the past now that Eddie Gaven and Emilio Rentería are both back and approaching full fitness. Add in the fact that Andrés Mendoza seems to be getting hot again and Dilly Duka has stepped up his game, and the Crew are as solid a bet to come out of the East as anyone.

  • Last Week: Beat New England, 3-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday at Chicago (8:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: LLLWW

10

10

Their post-USOC hangover lasted 180 minutes. And in the 181st, they scored twice and kept their faint playoff hopes alive. The task now is to beat Columbus by as many goals as possible while hoping the rest of the teams in the hunt – New York, Portland and D.C. – all manage to choke their chances away. Stranger things have happened.

  • Last Week: Lost to FC Dallas, 2-1 (HIGHLIGHTS), Beat D.C. United, 2-1 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. Columbus (8:30 pm ET, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: WWTLW

11

9

They could win at home against Philly and punch their own ticket to the postseason, but this side doesn’t seem to like doing things the easy way. Even with a loss, and especially with a draw, they’re a decent bet to back into the final wild card spot. Just like they did in 2008. Just sayin’.

  • Last Week:  Lost at Sporting KC, 2-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Thursday vs. Philadelphia (8 pm, ESPN2/ESPN Deportes)
  • Last Five: LWTWL

12

12

Who’d have thought that injuries to Ethan White and Dejan Jakovic are what would have all but ended United’s season? Perry Kitchen has had a good rookie season, but in both games last week, he showed why he’s not a central defender. Now they have to win two in row – something they haven’t done since June, 2009 – just to have a shot.

13

13

Ouch. Houston came into JELD-WEN and put a playoff-style beating on the Timbers, who couldn’t match the intensity the Dynamo brought to the proceedings. Everything points to them still being a year away from contending, though if they win out they’ve got a very good shot. Of course, nobody should expect them to win two straight on the road.

14

 

 

14

Kasey Keller showed everyone exactly why he’ll be remembered forever in US soccer circles. Chris Wondolowski did his best to spoil the party and one suspects he’d have been successful if he’d had a bit more help up top. Next year, the Quakes have to stay healthy and get smarter in central midfield in order to contend.

  • Last Week: Lost at Seattle, 2-1 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. FC Dallas (10:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: TTTWL

15

15

The Goats tested LA a few times and will always have class as long as Nick LaBrocca’s running the midfield and the Juan Pablo Ángel/Alejandro Moreno forward combo has legs, but their wingers overdribble and their central defense never recovered after the Heath Pearce injury. Had the Galaxy been sharper in the first half, this could have been a 4-0 throttling.

  • Last Week: Lost to LA, 1-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. Seattle (10:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: LTWTL

16

16

Very nicely worked goal by Ryan Johnson in the build-up to Tuesday’s CCL showdown with Dallas, which is the game that really matters. Toronto fans are justifiably upset about missing the playoffs for five years running, but making the CCL knockout rounds would be obvious validation of Aron Winter’s plan at BMO.

  • Last Week: Tied Philadelphia, 1-1 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. New England (12:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: WWLTT

17

 

 

18

The honest truth is they’re a better team with Long Tan in there. He moves better and plays the ball quicker than Eric Hassli, whose propensity to dally in possession makes it much easier to neutralize the ‘Caps’ speedy wingers. The other issue to deal with this offseason is keeping injury-prone vets Jay DeMerit and John Thorrington healthy next year.

18

17

They create chances in bunches and squander them at record pace. So it goes. The hope is that they keep faith with the Benny Feilhaber/Milton Caraglio/Diego Fagundez triumvirate, which should only get better with time. On the other side of the ball, they may simply need to add some new faces, because individual errors have just murdered the Revs in 2011.

  • Last Week: Lost to Columbus, 3-0 (HIGHLIGHTS)
  • This Week:  Saturday at Toronto FC (12:30 pm, MatchDay Live)
  • Last Five: LLLLL