The big news of the week was undoubtedly the Brett Farve-esque un-retirement of all-time scoring leader and MVP trophy namesake Landon Donovan, who will don the No. 26 for the LA Galaxy over the last six games of the season. As abbreviated a return as this may be, here's to hoping LD knocks the rest of this year out of the park and decides to come back for another full season go-around in MLS in 2017. No matter how you feel about the Galaxy and the treatment they get from the league, you've got to admit that MLS is just more fun with Donovan in it.
1. Toronto FC (Last Week: 4)
Sebastian Giovinco went down with an injury and it looked like Toronto might be limping its way into the playoffs. Little did we know that Jozy Altidore would decide to tap into that reservoir of potential that has kept him at the forefront of the USMNT over the last decade in ways that he only previously had with AZ Alkmaar a few years back. Jozy has six goals, all of which have come in the last month and a half in a span lasting eight games. Of those eight, Altidore has only failed to score in two. If Jozy plays like this and Giovinco maintains his Destroyer of Worlds form, TFC looks mighty hard to beat.
2. Colorado Rapids (Last Week: 7)
Colorado with a very in-character 1-0 win over Dallas this week, which propels them to the second spot. Despite having a makeshift attack, Pablo Mastroeni's team is never out of a game with Tim Howard and that defense.
3. FC Dallas (Last Week: 1)
In the span of 5 months, FCD can conceivably win U16/18 DA titles, a USOC, a Supporter’s Shield and an MLS Cup. Already have the first two.— Will Parchman (@WillParchman) September 12, 2016
So does this mean they are up for the quintuple?
4. New York City FC (Last Week: 3)
Frank Lampard scored again in the Bronx Blues' 3-1 loss at New England. To me, this loss said more about what New England might be brewing than anything about Patrick "Pat" Vieira's charges are up to.
5. New York Red Bulls (Last Week: 5)
Despite this troubling statistic, the Bulls are on an 11-game unbeaten streak, which is the second longest of the season to Colorado's 15-game streak earlier in the year.
6. LA Galaxy (Last Week: 11)
LA has won two of three after going winless in six and sits second in the Western Conference. Even on games played, LA and Dallas play each other twice over the last five games of the year, one home and one away, with LA hosting Dallas in the season finale, which could decide seeding in the ever-competitive West.
7. Real Salt Lake (Last Week: 2)
Last week I said that if Real Salt Lake wanted to announce themselves as true contenders, they would need to take at least four points from their Wednesday-Saturday split this week. They took one. It's not the end of the world, but it wasn't the statement week it could've been in Utah.
8. Portland Timbers (Last Week: 9)
Sometimes they win, sometimes they don't. Caleb Porter's team might be the most dangerous team that's trending toward the postseason simply because they are the most unpredictable. Still, the Dr. Jekyll version of Portland tends to show up more than the Mr. Hyde, so they likely won't move much higher than this spot as the year closes out.
9. Montreal Impact (Last Week: 6)
After Joe Bendik's snafu this week in trying to save that free kick, that's two goals gifted to Didier Drogba this season from opposing goalkeepers, by my count. As good as America ostensibly is at producing goalkeepers, there have been some seriously dumb moments this year from those boys between the posts. Case in point:
10. Philadelphia Union (Last Week: 11)
Despite not really feeling like a threat for the throne, Philly is just five points out of first place in the Eastern Conference.
11. Sporting Kansas City (Last Week: 8)
Allowing the Dynamo to come back and tie you at home is roughly the equivalent of the football player who drops the ball in celebration before actually crossing the goal line. You think you've got it in the bag, but really you don't (even though you should've).
12. Orlando City (Last Week: 13)
As impressive and exhilarating as that road win over Montreal was midweek, the Giovani dos Santos show that was the Lions' loss at LA was the opposite (Yes, I know that the second LA goal shouldn't have been a penalty. Yes, I know you're upset about that). Still, Orlando has shown some serious signs of life in recent weeks and is currently above the red line with a game in hand on the closest competition (New England).
13. New England Revolution (Last Week: 16)
Two huge wins in a row for the Revs over Colorado and NYCFC. If this is the beginning of a playoff push, that's a heck of a pair of opponents to start it off against.
14. D.C. United (Last Week: 12)
D.C. plays Chicago, Orlando, Columbus and Toronto in its next four. Could they win all four? Yes. Could they also lose all four? For certain. For those of us that hope for an entertaining playoffs this year, let's hope for the latter.
15. Seattle Sounders (Last Week: 14)
The Sounders haven't won in three games, which dates to that three-game winning streak that had everyone (me included) thinking they could be in for a late run to the postseason. If that's not the definition of a "blip on the radar," I don't know what is.
16. San Jose Earthquakes (Last Week: 15)
The Quakes are impotent offensively as they haven't scored three goals in a game since May 11.
17. Houston Dynamo (Last Week: 17)
Houston displayed some serious dynamism by coming back twice to tie SKC 3-3 on the road. While a good result, it didn't do much for Houston's 2016 fate. The Dynamo are 12 points out of the playoffs, the largest gap for any team.
18. Chicago Fire (Last Week: 18)
The mark of a good team? It's not losing while the opposition's best player is injured. Nope, definitely not that.
19. Vancouver Whitecaps (Last Week: 20)
Vancouver climbed out of the basement this week with a win over C-Bus. Despite that winless run of eight games they just ended, the Caps are just four points back of Portland for the last playoff spot out West.
20. Columbus Crew (Last Week: 19)
Just as I was getting excited about having Vancouver in the cellar dweller position, Columbus went and lost to the Caps, 3-1, to cement their status as 2016's biggest joke. Crew fans enjoyed giving us some crap here at TML on social media last season in response to when one of our match previews credited the Crew with "mid-table talent." I wonder how they would feel about that assessment now?