What do we know after 21 weeks of the 2018 Major League Soccer season? The contenders are solidly entrenched, as are the teams at the bottom of the table. But it’s getting interesting in the middle with the LA Galaxy, Minnesota United FC and Toronto FC all climbing up our Power Rankings this week.
The Major League Soccer Power Rankings are created by averaging the rankings submitted by a committee of Pro Soccer USA’s editor and writers.
- (1) Atlanta United (13-4-5, 44 points): Josef Martinez netted another hat trick — his MLS record sixth — and has all but locked up the Golden Boot race after a 3-1 win over D.C. United.
- (2) New York City (12-4-4, 40 points): The Cityzens enjoyed the weekend off after three straight home wins in seven days. Now they try to pick up points in back-to-back road games — at Orlando and Seattle — in four days.
- (4) New York Red Bulls (12-5-2, 38 points): The Red Bulls patiently waited for their chance and pounced late as goals by Danny Royer and Bradley Wright-Phillips sunk the Revolution.
- (3) Portland Timbers (8-3-7, 31 points): Perhaps it was a U.S. Open Cup hangover, but the Timbers twice fell behind at home to Montreal. The good news for Giovanni Savarese’s squad is the response came twice and the unbeaten streak extends to 13 games.
- (6) FC Dallas (11-3-6, 39 points): A hot start against rival Houston — with Matt Hedges scoring inside the first minute — was enough for only one point for Dallas, which has just one loss in its last five.
- (7) Sporting Kansas City (9-5-6, 33 points): Like NYCFC, Sporting got some rest this past weekend. They’re third in the West and host Dallas in a spicy Saturday showdown.
- (5) Los Angeles Football Club (10-5-5, 25 points): We’re willing to give LAFC a mulligan for that 5-1 trouncing by Minnesota United that snapped a six-match unbeaten streak. It might have come at a perfect time with LA coming to the Banc.
- (9) LA Galaxy (9-7-4, 31 points): Here come the Galaxy, who shook off a one-goal halftime deficit to score three times after halftime and defeat the Union, 3-1, to extend their unbeaten streak to seven with their third straight win.
- (8) Houston Dynamo (7-6-6, 27 points): Wilmer Cabrera didn’t like the start. The response was good, and he really liked the second half of a 1-1 draw against FC Dallas as the Dynamo have just one loss in their last six.
- (11) Montreal Impact (9-12-1, 28 points): The Impact proved on Saturday they can get secure road points after winning five of their last six at Stade Saputo. They also move above the playoff line in the East.
- (10) New England Revolution (7-7-7, 28 points): Alarm bells are sounding in Foxborough as the Revs’ grip on a playoff position has started to loosen. The hope is that newly acquired defender/midfielder Cristhian Machado can offer some support to the back line.
- (12) Real Salt Lake (9-9-3, 30 points): RSL are in playoff position thanks to some promising play as of late. However, they’ll likely feel they could have gotten more out of hosting Colorado at home than just a 2-2 draw.
- (13) Columbus Crew SC (9-7-6, 33 points): Trailing by a goal late in the second half, Gyasi Zardes converted a controversial penalty kick and Wil Trapp unleashed a long-range banger in stoppage time for a stirring 3-2 win over Orlando City SC.
- (14) Seattle Sounders FC (5-9-5, 20 points): A second-half surge? Where have we heard that before. They’re healthy, Raul Ruidiaz has debuted and they’re unbeaten in their last four, including a solid 2-0 victory over Vancouver over the weekend.
- (16) Vancouver Whitecaps FC (7-9-5, 26 points): The 2018 season has officially hit the fork in the road for the Whitecaps with the transfer of rising star Alphonso Davies to Bayern Munich on Tuesday. The ‘Caps got plenty of coin in return, but how they spend those loonies will determine how well they’ll do in the second half of the season.
- (19) Minnesota United FC (9-11-1, 28 points): The Loons have won three straight games for the first time this season after stunning LAFC, 5-1, on Sunday. And, perhaps, just as remarkably, they are just two points behind the playoff line in the West.
- (21) Toronto FC (5-11-4, 19 points): The Reds got the job done in the first of massive back-to-back games against the Chicago Fire. Jozy Altidore and Victor Vazquez returned from injury, but can they bring TFC’s swagger back?
- (17) Chicago Fire (6-11-5, 23 points): The swoon is now four straight games and the Fire are leaking goals at an alarming rate, conceding a total of 12 times in those defeats. Nico Hasler arrived in a trade from TFC, but will that be enough?
- (18) Philadelphia Union (7-10-3, 24 points): It’s now three losses in their last four games as the Union looked out of sorts at home against LA. If they’re going to make a move on the fifth and sixth playoff spots in the East, the time is now.
- (20) Orlando City SC (7-12-1, 22 points): The statement from PRO (Professional Referee Organization) that a late penalty (which led to a Gyasi Zardes equalizer) was mistakenly awarded is little solace to the Lions, who can do their playoff hopes a world of good by getting a result against NYCFC Thursday at home.
- (15) DC United (3-8-5, 14 points): Zoltan Stieber scored early, but Josef Martinez struck for three unanswered in a 3-1 loss at Atlanta. Now, the Red Bulls come to Audi Field in a rivalry renewed Wednesday night.
- (22) Colorado Rapids (4-11-5, 17 points): The Rapids acquired Kellyn Acosta, who will certainly help solidify the midfield. But in doing so, they traded their top scoring threat in Dom Badji to FC Dallas. It’s on Yannick Boli and Giles Barnes to find their form if the Rapids have hopes of snagging a playoff spot.
- (23) San Jose Earthquakes (2-11-6, 12 points): The Quakes spent their week away from MLS play by playing Manchester United to a 0-0 draw at Levi’s Stadium. They’re hoping that can spark the end of a woeful 10-match winless run when they face Seattle at home Wednesday.
Pro Soccer USA writers Dylan Butler, Julian Cardillo, and Emily Olsen contributed to this report.