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Major League Soccer

Week 24 rankings: FC Dallas rising

Relive all the best action from around the league, including Fabian Espindola's long-range strike and Olmes Garcia's bicycle kick, in this week's edition of MLS Final Kick.

FC Dallas not only beat an elite Real Salt Lake team, but did so playing half the match with 10 men. The 2-1 win, thanks in part to the continued stellar play of forward Fabian Castillo, is enough to give FCD the top spot in this week's ESPN FC's Power Rankings.

1. FC Dallas (+2)

Playing a man down for half the match, FCD dug deep to beat Real Salt Lake 2-1. Fabian Castillo continued his rampant ways, scoring the eventual game winner, and Michel proved dangerous from set pieces again. This team looks more impressive with each passing week.

2. L.A. Galaxy (+2)

The 2-0 win over Vancouver was nice, with a Robbie Keane mishit somehow getting tucked away by Marcelo Sarvas. But the 4-3 comeback win in midweek over Colorado was even bigger, as L.A. twice came back from two goals down to prevail 4-3.

3. Seattle Sounders (+2)

Nothing soothes the soul quite like a win over your archrivals, and the Sounders got just that in a 4-2 win over Portland. Obafemi Martins was in electric form, delivering two goals and an assist. The Supporters' Shield isn't locked up yet, but things are looking better in Seattle.

4. D.C. United (+2)

Anyone who predicted DCU's 3-0 road hammering of Sporting Kansas City should move to Vegas immediately. United was full value for this win, but now Ben Olsen has a dilemma: Does he bring back the suspended Eddie Johnson and break up the highly effective forward pairing of Luis Silva and Fabian Espindola?

5. Real Salt Lake (-3)

Disappointment was the byword for RSL after losing 2-1 to 10-man FC Dallas. One would expect RSL to do better playing with an extra man, and while its approach work was often decent, the delivery from wide areas wasn't good enough.

FC Dallas earned this week's top spot in the Power Rankings after stunning RSL despite playing a half with 10 men.

6. Sporting Kansas City (-5)

Manager Peter Vermes rightly panned the performance of his back line in the home defeat to D.C. United, but the lack of pressure on the ball in midfield didn't help either. Can Vermes find some defensive reinforcements -- in particular at right back -- before the roster deadline?

7. New York Red Bulls (+2)

Bradley Wright-Phillips and Thierry Henry sounds like a law firm, or perhaps a buddy movie. This season it's meant a deadly goal-scoring combination for the New York Red Bulls, with the two forwards grabbing a brace each in the 4-2 win over Montreal. Wright-Phillips now has the single-season scoring record for New York with 20 goals.

8. Toronto FC (-1)

Conceding in stoppage time in the 2-2 tie with Chicago was bad enough. But losing defenders Steven Caldwell and Justin Morrow to injury could prove fatal. With Columbus, Philadelphia and New England all improving of late, TFC's spot in the postseason isn't looking as secure as it once did.

9. Philadelphia Union (+2)

Poor finishing has often undone much of what Andrew Wenger has done well during his career. Against San Jose he had all facets of his game working, and his two goals helped give the Union a 4-2 victory.

10. Columbus Crew (+2)

Justin Meram has as many goals this season (five) as he did in his three previous years combined. His recent run of form -- Saturday's tally against Houston was his third in three matches -- has been a big reason for the Crew's recent surge of 13 points in six games.

11. Vancouver Whitecaps (-3)

The Caps remain an enigma. Beaten last weekend for just the fifth team this season, Vancouver is in sixth place in the Western Conference thanks to 12 ties. Against L.A. the Caps looked second-best for most of the night, but the return of suspended midfielder Matias Laba should help next weekend against Portland.

12. Portland Timbers (-2)

Portland thought it had fixed it's defensive problems, but it was torched at home by Seattle, conceding four goals to the Sounders for the second time this season. A two-team race is brewing with Vancouver for the fifth and final playoff spot, and next week's game against the Whitecaps will be huge.

13. Houston Dynamo (No change)

No amount of midfield help can compensate for shoddy play from central defenders, which was abundant in the 3-0 loss to Columbus. The Dynamo have conceded 45 goals so far this season -- already the second-most in team history. The only year that was worse was the 2010 side, which failed to reach the postseason.

14. New England Revolution (+3)

The Revs won both on the field and off, beating Chivas 1-0 thanks to Lee Nguyen's goal and later prevailing in a blind draw to land U.S. midfielder Jermaine Jones. Given the lack of bite in the Rev's midfield, Jones could very well drive New England into the postseason.

15. San Jose Earthquakes (No change)

The Quakes have had worse weeks, but a road draw at Seattle and a 4-2 loss at Philadelphia will do little to improve San Jose's dwindling playoff prospects. The severe drop-off in form of defender Victor Bernardez is as puzzling as it is crushing for the Quakes.

16. Chicago Fire (No change)

The Fire tied for the 14th time this season, though this one will count as a point gained after Quincy Amarikwa equalized in the 90th minute. The Fire's failure to land Jermaine Jones will stick in Frank Yallop's craw for a while, no matter what he says publicly.

17. Colorado Rapids (-3)

The great unraveling continues for the Rapids. Despite leading twice by two goals, they fell 4-3 in a soul-crushing defeat to the Galaxy. With Drew Moor sidelined for the rest of the year with a torn ACL, there looks to be no way back for Colorado.

18. Chivas USA (No change)

The death spiral continues. The Goats' scoreless streak now stands at 456 minutes after the 1-0 loss to New England, this in a week when Chivas USA traded away one of its more creative players, Mauro Rosales.

19. Montreal Impact (No change)

The Impact actually scored two well-taken goals against New York, but couldn't find a way to stop Henry and Wright-Phillips. At least the CONCACAF Champions League has been kinder, with Montreal winning both games against Salvadoran side FAS.

Jeff Carlisle

Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC. He has covered the 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cups for ESPN in Germany, South Africa and Brazil, respectively. Follow him on Twitter @jeffreycarlisle.

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