There appears to be some separation at the top of the Pro Soccer USA power rankings after Week 23.
LAFC remain the class of the league, making yet another second-half statement in a 4-2 win over the New York Red Bulls Sunday night. It wasn’t pretty, but the Philadelphia Union did enough to eek out a win over the Houston Dynamo to remain atop the East. Hot in pursuit of the Union is Atlanta United, which comes in No. 3 after an impressive 2-1 win over NYCFC.
As for the biggest movers this week, that honor is shared by the Seattle Sounders at No. 7 and the Chicago Fire at No. 17. Both moved up three spots, while the San Jose Earthquakes had the stiffest drop — also three spots to No. 6.
The Major League Soccer Power Rankings are created by averaging the rankings submitted by a committee of Pro Soccer USA’s editors and writers.
- (1) Los Angeles Football Club (17-3-4, 55 points): After a two-goal lead evaporated, LAFC regrouped at halftime and had a sensational second-half response in a 4-2 win over the New York Red Bulls. Carlos Vela led the way with a goal and two assists.
- (2) Philadelphia Union (13-7-6, 45 points): It was a clunky goal, but one that counts the same as a bicycle kick from outside the area as Jack Elliott’s 78th-minute goal was the difference in a 2-1 win over the Houston Dynamo.
- (4) Atlanta United (13-9-3, 42 points): Josef Martinez scored two more goals, Julian Gressel was a threat out wide and the Five Stripes imposed their will on NYCFC in a 2-1 win at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
- (7) Seattle Sounders FC (11-7-6, 39 points): Harry Shipp struck for a brace and Nico Lodeiro added the go-ahead goal in the 66th minute. But the Sounders settled for one point after conceding three minutes from full time.
- (6) New York City FC (10-5-8, 38 points): NYCFC ceded possession and played uncharacteristically long in the first half. Heber pulled the Cityzens to within a goal, but that came in the 81st minute. Too little, too late.
- (3) San Jose Earthquakes (11-8-5, 38 points): The Earthquakes suffered their second loss in the last 13 games when they dropped a 2-1 decision to the Colorado Rapids. Vako scored the lone goal for San Jose, a 62nd-minute equalizer.
- (5) Minnesota United FC (11-8-5, 38 points): The Loons had a seven-match unbeaten streak snapped Saturday, losing 5-3 to FC Dallas. Ethan Finlay struck for a first-half brace and Hassani Dotson added a 73rd-minute equalizer before Brandon Servania scored twice in the final five minutes.
- (6) New York Red Bulls (11-10-4, 37 points): After quickly conceding twice, the Red Bulls rallied to level Supporters’ Shield leaders LAFC 2-2 on goals by Cristian Casseres and Brian White. But set piece defending proved to be their undoing.
- (11) New England Revolution (9-9-7, 34 points): Michael Mancienne and Gustavo Bou scored first-half goals and, after conceding twice one minute apart midway through the second half, Carles Gil netted the dramatic equalizer in the 87th minute in a 3-3 tie with the Seattle Sounders.
- (9) Portland Timbers (10-9-4, 34 points): Marvin Loria and Jeremy Ebobisse struck for second-half goals after Sebastian Blanco opened the scoring in a 3-1 Cascadia Cup win over the Vancouver Whitecaps.
- (13) FC Dallas (10-9-6, 36 points): Ryan Hollingshead, Santiago Mosquera and Reggie Cannon scored first half goals and Servania struck for a late brace in a 5-3 win over Minnesota United.
- (10) LA Galaxy (12-11-1, 37 points): Zlatan Ibrahimovic set an MLS record with 14 shots, but only one was on frame and that was saved by Bill Hamid. Favio Alvarez scored the lone goal three minutes into the second half in a 2-1 loss to D.C. United.
- (14) D.C. United (10-7-9, 39 points): No LuchoRoo, no starting defensive midfielders, no subs, no problem. D.C. United battled defensively and took their chances on the other end with Lucas Rodriguez scoring the 73rd-minute winner.
- (12) Real Salt Lake (11-9-4, 37 points): It’s now five consecutive games without a loss and two straight wins for RSL, which defeated Sporting Kansas City 2-1 thanks to a goal in each half by Corey Baird.
- (15) Toronto FC (9-10-6, 33 points): Toronto FC squandered a chance to move above the playoff line in the Eastern Conference when they settled for a 1-1 home draw with Orlando City SC. Patrick Mullins scored the 77th-minute equalizer for the Reds.
- (16) Orlando City SC (8-11-6, 30 points): Benji Michel broke the scoreless stalemate in the 69th minute, but the Lions concede eight minutes later and settled for a 1-1 draw at Toronto FC ahead of a critical double-game week.
- (20) Chicago Fire (7-10-9, 30 points): For the second time this season the Fire have consecutive wins, beating the Montreal Impact 3-2. Bastian Schweinsteiger netted the winner two minutes from full time.
- (18) Montreal Impact (10-13-3, 33 points): The Impact rallied from a two-goal deficit to pull even on goals by Saphir Taider and Bacary Sagna, but they conceded the late winner and lost Nacho Piatti to another injury in the process.
- (17) Sporting Kansas City (7-10-7, 28 points): A screaming free kick by Johnny Russell in the 31st minute put SKC in front, but Felipe Gutierrez put a penalty kick off the post and Daniel Salloi was sent off in the second half for a harsh challenge on Damir Kreilach in a devastating defeat.
- (21) Colorado Rapids (7-12-5, 26 points): Kellyn Acosta scored one minute from halftime and Diego Rubio netted the winner in the 74th minute as the Rapids upset the Earthquakes 2-1 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
- (19) Columbus Crew SC (7-14-5, 26 points): Hell is Real and so are the nightmares Gyasi Zardes is having after coming agonizingly close to a late winner against FC Cincinnati. Instead, they settled for a 2-2 draw at MAPFRE Stadium.
- (22) Houston Dynamo (9-13-3, 30 points): The Dynamo have mastered the art of playing well enough to make the opponent sweat before conceding late. It happened twice in a pair of road losses to Eastern Conference opposition.
- (24) FC Cincinnati (5-17-3, 18 points): Darren Mattocks and Emmanuel Ledesma got FC Cincinnati off to a rousing start and staked the expansion side to a two-goal lead after 23 minutes. But Zardes and Pedro Santos responded as the Ohio rivals shared the points.
- (23) Vancouver Whitecaps FC (5-12-9, 24 points): The plus is Theo Bair scored a stunning 38th-minute equalizer for his first MLS goal. The bad news was the two goals conceded after halftime and a sixth loss in the last eight games.
Pro Soccer USA writers Dylan Butler, Chris Fuhrmeister, Robert Jonas, Emily Olsen and Joe Tansey contributed to this report.