N.Y. Red Bulls stay on top of MLS power ranks after impressive win
The top two teams didn't change, but this week's Power Rankings did see a bit of movement thanks to the continued good play of the New England Revolution and the slide of Sporting Kansas City. As the end of the regular season nears, a clear divide is opening up between the top-tier MLS sides and those that struggle to be convincing.
This Red Bulls team has an extra gear that previous Red Bulls teams never seemed to possess. It's a lower, rougher gear, and it helped them to a 3-2 win over Chicago on Friday night after going behind by two goals.
The Whitecaps rolled the Rapids in midweek at home 2-0, bouncing back from a bad trip to Houston the week before. Vancouver now holds a one-point lead in the Supporters' Shield race, something few would have predicted when the season began.
The hottest team in MLS, with five wins in a row. The Revs took apart Toronto FC on Sunday, showing killer instinct to win 3-1. It held on despite TFC cutting the deficit to one and threatening to take control of the game. With all hands available, as they now are, New England is a scary outfit.
After reeling off four straight wins, the Galaxy earned just a point in their last two. There's something to be said for containing the Montreal Impact's Didier Drogba in a goalless home draw, but LA's manager Bruce Arena won't be happy with the failure to score.
Kei Kamara cracked the 20-goal barrier for Crew SC in a 2-1 win over Philadelphia, becoming just the second Columbus player to score 20 goals in a season (Stern John was the other one). Kamara's total also guarantees that the Golden Boot winner will have scored more than 20 for the fourth consecutive season -- the first such streak in MLS history.
Michel's olimpico lifted FC Dallas to a 2-1 win over NYCFC, extending their winning streak to three games. In the past 11 matches, Oscar Pareja's team has won eight games and lost three.
Portland played to a goalless draw with Sporting on Wednesday and has Obafemi Martins to thank for not slipping out of the playoff spots on the weekend. The Timbers will have an advantage of rest and home field when the Red Bulls come calling on Sunday.
You know things are going poorly when a point on the road against the last-placed Colorado Rapids is a good result, especially when a win would have qualified you for the playoffs. But that's where United is at the moment, with Steve Birnbaum's late goal saving D.C. from a fourth straight defeat.
Another week, another Sounders performance marked by the contribution of Obafemi Martins. The Nigerian striker helped Seattle to a good road point at San Jose in a 1-1 result, pushing them ahead of Sporting and Portland in the West.
If Sporting had just lost in Orlando on Sunday, it would have been painful enough, but the sliding side took it on the chin in a dispiriting 3-1 loss that also saw Dom Dwyer red-carded in the closing minutes. Barring a reversal on the decision, Dwyer will miss Sporting's Friday night clash with FC Dallas.
After beating LA 1-0 at home two weeks ago, the Quakes have turned in two underwhelming performances at Avaya Stadium. San Jose followed up a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Union with a 1-1 draw with Seattle. With the playoffs hanging in the balance, the team needs to start winning at home again.
Although they didn't score against LA, the Impact will happily take the four points they earned this week. Turning their games-in-hand into points means holding on to a playoff spot in the East. Next up is a visit to San Jose on Wednesday, which will test Drogba's fitness as it will be his third match in 10 days.
13. Toronto FC (-1)
Toronto FC slips a spot after a humbling 3-1 home loss at the hands of the rampaging Revolution. That wouldn't be all that bad if it wasn't for the way the club lost. A simple lack of concentration and a failure to convert chances doomed the Reds.
No Kaka and no Darwin Ceren sounded like trouble for Orlando, but the Lions came out on top 3-1 at home when they faced a wounded and winded Sporting Kansas City. Brek Shea made a difference in his return to the field after a long injury layoff.
Juan Manuel Martinez made a difference for RSL, alongside the ever-influential Javier Morales, in a 3-1 win over Houston. The question for Jeff Cassar's side is whether it comes too late to save the season for the Western Conference's ninth-placed team.
Six points back, six games to go. Owen Coyle's first year as an MLS head coach comes down to a stretch run that requires the Dynamo to make up that gap, while simultaneously hoping a few other Western Conference teams fall flat.
The Rapids' three-game winning streak came to an end midweek against Vancouver, and an attempt to start a new streak came up short when they conceded late to United on Saturday in a 1-1 draw. That probably ends the team's impossible playoff dream, even though it is just seven points back of the final playoff seed.
The Union fell at home against Columbus 2-1, the second consecutive time they followed up a big away win with a crushing loss at home. The path to an unlikely playoff berth is nearly impossible without finding some success on their own turf.
It's indicative of the state of things for NYCFC that manager Jason Kreis pulled all three of the side's designated players in a 2-1 loss on the road at FC Dallas. The only silver lining came in the form of a good performance from Patrick Mullins in relief of David Villa.
No one does shootouts like the Chicago Fire. A week after falling in Montreal 4-3 to the Impact, the Fire watched a 2-0 lead evaporate on the road at Red Bull Arena. At least Frank Yallop's team is entertaining.
Jason Davis covers Major League Soccer and the United States national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @davisjsn.