We have entered the penultimate month of the MLS regular season and there’s plenty to play for in each conference.
The teams making the most noise from both conferences in Week 26 also made positive moves in the upper echelon of the Pro Soccer USA MLS Power Rankings. The Philadelphia Union jumped two spots to No. 2 following a 3-1 win over Atlanta United and Minnesota United stunned LAFC 2-0 at Banc of California Stadium to move up three spots to No. 5.
The team trending the wrong way in Week 26 was the LA Galaxy, who lost to the Seattle Sounders, 4-3, to fall five spots to No. 12.
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 (19-4-5, 62 points): Without Carlos Vela, who sat out with a hamstring injury, LAFC conceded twice in the first half and suffered a 2-0 loss to Minnesota United, their first home defeat of the season.
- (4) Philadelphia Union (15-8-6, 51 points): Doubters be damned. The Union proved worthy of first place in the Eastern Conference with a 3-1 win over Atlanta United at Talen Energy Stadium. Brenden Aaronson, Kacper Przybylko and Sergio Santos scored unanswered goals.
- (3) New York City FC (14-5-8, 50 points): Heber, Gary Mackay-Steven and Alexandru Mitrita scored for NYCFC, which defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1 at BC Place for their fourth consecutive win.
- (2) Atlanta United (15-10-3, 48 points): Josef Martinez struck again, extending his MLS consecutive goals streak to 13 games, but the Five Stripes conceded three times after halftime in a 3-1 loss at the Union.
- (8) Minnesota United FC (13-9-6, 45 points): Mason Toye unleashed his inner Cristiano Ronaldo with a pair of stunning first-half goals and Vito Mannone and Ike Opara did the job on the other end in a 2-0 win over LAFC at Banc of California Stadium.
- (6) Seattle Sounders FC (13-8-7, 46 points): After the smoke cleared from a flurry of goals in the final quarter hour, it was the Sounders standing tall, beating the LA Galaxy 4-3 in a thriller to move into second place in the West.
- (10) San Jose Earthquakes (13-10-5, 44 points): Magnus Eriksson scored in the third minute and Chris Wondolowski followed with two goals in a 13-minute span en route to a comfortable 3-0 win over Orlando City SC.
- (5) Real Salt Lake (13-11-4, 43 points): A turnover in midfield early in the first half proved to be critical as Diego Valeri capitalized to sink RSL at Providence Park.
- (12) FC Dallas (12-10-7, 43 points): Goals are coming in bunches for FC Dallas, which defeated FC Cincinnati, 3-1, at Toyota Stadium. It’s now 11 goals in three consecutive unbeaten matches.
- (9) New England Revolution (10-9-9, 39 points): Gustavo Bou provided the late drama for the Revs with a 86th-minute equalizer to cancel out Nicolas Benezet’s go-ahead goal for Toronto FC 13 minutes earlier.
- (13) Portland Timbers (12-11-4, 40 points): Valeri scored the lone goal in the 16th minute as the Timbers earned a 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake and moved to within two points of the seventh-place LA Galaxy.
- (7) LA Galaxy (13-12-3, 42 points): The Galaxy rallied from a two-goal deficit and leveled on goals by Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Uriel Antuna and again through Jorgen Skjelvik only to fall to the Sounders, 4-3, at CenturyLink Field.
- (15) D.C. United (11-10-9, 42 points): D.C. United snapped a three-game losing streak in a big way with Ola Kamara scoring a first-half brace with a Paul Arriola goal sandwiched between in a 3-0 win over the Montreal Impact at Stade Saputo.
- (11) New York Red Bulls (12-12-5, 41 points): There were ample scoring chances, but the execution in the final third was lacking and the home fans showed their frustration by showering down boos at the final whistle of a 2-0 loss to the shorthanded Colorado Rapids.
- (14) Toronto FC (10-10-8, 38 points): The Reds extended an unbeaten streak to four games with a third draw during that stretch, which puts them just above the playoff line in the East with six games to play.
- (16) Sporting Kansas City (10-11-7, 37 points): Johnny Russell doesn’t score with his head often, but when he does good things happen for Sporting Kansas City, which earned three huge points from a 1-0 home win over the Houston Dynamo.
- (18) Montreal Impact (11-15-4, 37 points): The Impact’s playoff hopes took a major hit Saturday night, conceding three first half goals without response in a 3-0 defeat to DC. United. Montreal are one point below the playoff line with just four games left.
- (21) Colorado Rapids (8-14-6, 30 points): What a night for young Jonathan Lewis, who scored a brace to help Tim Howard pick up a win, and clean sheet, in his first game back in his home state of New Jersey. The 2-0 win over the New York Red Bulls was also the first for new coach Robin Fraser.
- (19) Orlando City SC (9-13-7, 34 points): The Lions are still in the playoff chase in the East — four points below the line with five games to play. Wins are imperative, but it won’t be easy Saturday when LAFC come to Exploria Stadium.
- (17) Chicago Fire (8-12-10, 34 points): Time is running out for the Fire, who rallied to earn a 1-1 draw with Columbus Crew SC thanks to a stoppage-time equalizer by Przemyslaw Frankowski. But Chicago, four points out of seventh with four games left, needed all three points.
- (20) Columbus Crew SC (8-15-7, 31 points): The Crew were even more desperate for a win Saturday night and Pedro Santos put them on the right foot. But the 1-1 draw just might have killed their slim playoff hopes.
- (22) Houston Dynamo (9-15-4, 31 points): The Dynamo extended a winless streak to seven matches with a sixth defeat during that stretch, falling to Sporting KC, 1-0. Houston has won just twice since the middle of May.
- (23) Vancouver Whitecaps FC (6-15-9, 27 points): Yordy Reyna provided the only moment for the BC Place fans to cheer, but his sensational goal wasn’t enough to stave off another year without playoff soccer following a third straight defeat.
- (24) FC Cincinnati (5-20-3, 18 points): Emmanuel Ledesma scored in the 64th minute, but it was a largely cosmetic goal with FC Cincinnati in a 3-0 deficit at the time. It’s now seven losses in the last eight games without a win.
Pro Soccer USA writers Dylan Butler, Marco Cummings, Chris Fuhrmeister, Robert Jonas and Joe Tansey contributed to this report.