As most teams in MLS near their halfway point to the 2016 regular season (or pass it, like Dallas and Kansas City, which have already played 18 games) few things have been settled. There are only a couple teams that look to be done (Chicago and Houston) and there hasn't been a runaway favorite, though Colorado is certainly the strongest contender for that distinction. Every team in the East, Chicago included, is still within shouting distance of playoff contention and there is no one on the Atlantic side of the country that has grabbed hold of any position of strength. The 2016 season's longest winning streak so far was just as long as its longest losing streak (four games in either direction), which were both achieved by the same team (New York Red Bulls).
Copa América is now over and the Euros are winding down. The Summer Transfer Window is soon to open, and in a few weeks' time European teams will be flying over to conduct meaningless mid-season friendlies against MLS squads the continent over. In other words, the MLS season is just now beginning in earnest.
1. Colorado Rapids (Last Week: 1)
First-place Colorado has extended its unbeaten streak to 11. For those counting, the all-time record unbeaten run in MLS belongs to the Columbus Crew of 2004-05 and FC Dallas of 2010, whose streaks ran up to 19 games, respectively. Also, don't look now, but Tim Howard has landed in MLS. That means if Pablo Mastroeni regrows his mustache, the Rapids will be strong contenders for the most pogonotrophic team in the league.
2. FC Dallas (Last Week: 3)
Dallas is tied for the most games played thus far this season, which I think plays right into their hands: The fewer the games on the back end, the fresher Dallas' young legs will be to run rabid in the playoffs.
3. New York Red Bulls (Last Week: 2)
The Bulls ended the longest winning streak in the league this season by losing at RSL midweek and drawing against C-Bus in Ohio. Still, the Artists Formerly Known as the Metrostars have jumped up to third in the Eastern Conference and remain high in these rankings because they are one of the few teams in MLS who have seen a victory in recent times.
4. Real Salt Lake (Last Week: 7)
The ageless RSL won at home midweek and lost on the road this weekend, but jump up to fourth this week because its competition for this spot hasn't snagged all three points in a very long time, not to mention the fellas from Sandy, Utah are in third place in the Supporters' Shield standings.
5. Portland Timbers (Last Week: 8)
Portland is now unbeaten in five games after the Timbers' come-from-behind win over Houston on Sunday. It's early yet to begin thinking of gathering momentum for the postseason, but after last year this team should know when to reach its peak.
6. Philadelphia Union (Last Week: 5)
Philly has gone 2-2-0 over its last four, but just because they've been inconsistent doesn't mean they've been boring. There were 22 goals scored in those last four Philly games, which is what I think the league needs more of. Give me all the 4-3 and 3-2 games you want, MLS.
7. Vancouver Whitecaps (Last Week: 9)
Vancouver won in Philly this weekend, proving yet again that the Caps are dangerous enough to make you think twice about their chances this season. Like their rivals from Oregon last season, the Caps will be a tough out come playoff time if they can get momentum going at the right time.
8. LA Galaxy (Last Week: 4)
LA has not won in seven games, which dates back to May 8. Robbie Keane should be returning soon, so expect that number to not grow much more.
9. San Jose Earthquakes (Last Week: 6)
A few weeks back I hounded FS1 and Cobi Jones for constantly pushing the narrative that San Jose-LA was an intense rivalry, and I've had some reconsideration. This can be a rivalry, but only when they play the games in the Bay Area. Whoever decided to annually play this game at Stanford Stadium looks really smart, because the Quakes fans that fill the place up really do a lot to bring the intensity to the "rivalry." In
Carson LA, some fans are apparently too busy to show up to the game, but not up north. If you ask me, they should only play this game in the Bay Area until LA fans show that they can bring the ruckus on the level of their NorCal counterparts.
10. Orlando City (Last Week: 12)
One week you're in the playoffs, the next you're out. Such is the life of Orlando City fans in 2016. Every point matters, and three points obtained in the 100th minute on Saturday night were good enough to bring the Lions up to 10th place in these power rankings.
11. Montreal Impact (Last Week: 11)
Our French Canadian friends were treated to a 2-2 draw at home to Sporting Kansas City, which saw Didier Drogba get an assist and draw a penalty. Can't wait until those plays make it into a Drogba YouTube highlight reel that the league will put together to go along with its cornucopia of Beckham highlight clips it's constantly dropping.
12. New York City FC (Last Week: 16)
NYCFC, as radio personality Mike Francesa so affectionately calls the Soccer Yankees, have crawled out of the punchline of jokes and moved into second place in the East on the heels of two straight victories. This team probably can't sustain anything resembling winning, and they absolutely have no chance to win MLS Cup, but in the East I think Pat Vieira will be upset to not make the postseason.
13. Sporting Kansas City (Last Week: 13)
Dom Dwyer scored two goals this week, which made me remember that he used to play for Orlando City. How did that guy ever end up in USL Pro?
14. Toronto FC (Last Week: 10)
A Bradley-less Toronto dropped one on the road at Orlando. Speaking of Michael Bradley, why does everyone's criticism of the national team seem to dwell on Klinsmann, but never call out Bradley for being awful in big games? He looks great in friendlies and select CONCACAF games, but God help us if we need him in a major tournament. Remember the last World Cup? Michael Bradley was downright awful, and this Copa América wasn't very different.
15. D.C. United (Last Week: 15)
D.C. won this week, which fooled some D.C. fans into thinking that they could actually win the MLS Cup with Lamar Neagle as one of the cornerstones of the attack. That's like going to prom with a giant pimple on your cheek and thinking you'll be elected King.
16. New England Revolution (Last Week: 14)
New England has gone 3-3-0 over its last six, which is a step up from drawing every game. Decisiveness is always a good thing.
17. Columbus Crew SC (Last Week: 18)
It's really funny to me that C-Bus has basically adopted its black unis for all situations because those blue, red and yellow strips are absolute garbage. Someone at Adidas has about 20 emails from the ownership group demanding that the classic yellow uniforms are reinstated next season.
18. Seattle Sounders (Last Week: 17)
I said in the preseason that I thought Sigi Schmid would get fired if the Sounders didn't produce, but I'm almost ready to change my mind. This season is starting to feel less like a disappointment and more like an anticipated rebuilding year. Seattle's activity in the transfer market next month will show whether they're expecting to win now, which will also decide Sigi's fate.
19. Houston Dynamo (Last Week: 19)
So apparently Owen Coyle landed at Blackburn? What, he didn't want to wait around for Roy Hodgson to leave the England job?
20. Chicago Fire (Last Week: 20)
Now that the Bulls have traded away Derrick Rose, maybe the Fire will become relevant in the Windy City...and my friends told me I'm very good at writing jokes.