Goals were a little more difficult to come by for some teams in Week 31 of MLS play, with eight teams being held scoreless. Potential playoff previews between the Columbus Crew and Philadelphia Union in the East and Portland Timbers and FC Dallas in the West turned out to be defensive battles. Atlanta United was also blanked by the New York Red Bulls in a heavyweight match-up with Supporters’ Shield implications.
Meanwhile, D.C. United, Toronto FC, and the Seattle Sounders scored goals for fun with all three posting at least four in their respective games, keeping the playoff race in the middle of both conferences tightly contested.
Check out how last week’s results impacted this week’s Power Rankings:
1. New York Red Bulls (Last Week: 2)
The Red Bulls didn’t have either of their best players in Bradley Wright-Phillips or Tyler Adams but it was no problem for New York, which comfortably beat Atlanta in a crucial match for the Supporters’ Shield. It could have even been more convincing, but the Red Bulls could only convert one of their two penalties.
2. Seattle Sounders (Last Week: 4)
Seattle got back to its winning ways with a 4-0 demolition of Colorado. Raul Ruidiaz continued to prove he can be Seattle’s next great striker with a brace and it was a businesslike thrashing from the rest of the side.
3. Atlanta United (Last Week: 1)
One of Atlanta’s biggest criticisms is its ability to compete with the top Eastern teams when it matters most. Crumbling against the Crew in the playoffs last year was one thing, but in a match that could have nearly guaranteed the club its first trophy, the performance was embarrassing. United barely tested Luis Robles and constantly gave golden opportunities to the opposition and the Five Stripes were handed a deserved loss.
4. FC Dallas (Last Week: 7)
Dallas is officially in the playoffs come season’s end after a dull 0-0 draw in Portland. The Hoops’ offense did not come to play and only forced Jeff Attinella into one save on the night. FCD is quietly unbeaten in four matches, though that’s understandable given the team hasn’t exactly been firing on all cylinders.
5. Sporting Kansas City (Last Week: 6)
Sporting made Nick Rimando work to keep the match level, but couldn’t quite find the second it needed to take all three points and leapfrog FC Dallas at the top of the conference. It was a disappointing result given SKC looked like the better side for the majority of the match.
6. Philadelphia Union (Last Week: 3)
The Union were torched in the U.S. Open Cup final but managed to stop the bleeding for an away result in Columbus. A defensive battle resulted in a 0-0 draw, although the Union nearly had a goal courtesy of a Jonathan Mensah mistake. However, video review wiped it away, claiming Cory Burke committed a foul in the buildup.
7. Portland Timbers (Last Week: 8)
Luckily for Portland, Liam Ridgewell’s late red card didn’t negatively impact the result. Unluckily for the Timbers, their offense couldn’t positively impact the result either. Jesse Gonzalez smothered all three of their shots on goal and put Portland in a precarious position with the Galaxy and RSL lurking right behind in the table.
8. Columbus Crew (Last Week: 10)
Zack Steffen probably could have stayed home and Columbus still could have managed a clean sheet, but the Crew couldn’t get the necessary goal to take all three points at home. Andre Blake turned away both of Columbus’ best chances in the final minutes.
9. D.C. United (Last Week: 13)
D.C. has been an entirely different team since the opening of Audi Field. United carved the Montreal Impact to shreds, bagging five goals and managing to keep a clean sheet. Paul Arriola and Wayne Rooney both scored twice and the Black and Red staked their claim for the playoff spot that the Impact currently occupy. With two matches in hand and just two points shy of sixth, it almost seems certain.
10. Los Angeles FC (Last Week: 5)
In a completely MLS result, Western Conference competitor LAFC took its unbeaten streak to recently eliminated Chicago and got walloped. The first-year side’s high-powered offense couldn’t find the breakthrough until the game was well out of reach. LA is still in third, but a regular season conference crown might be out of reach.
11. LA Galaxy (Last Week: 14)
Maybe the Galaxy should have fired Sigi sooner. LA trounced Vancouver for its second 3-0 win in a row. The Galaxy made good on both of their opportunities from the spot and Zlatan Ibrahimovic slammed home a brace for an emphatic victory.
12. Vancouver Whitecaps (Last Week: 9)
The Caps have wilted down the stretch, having now lost three in a row. Vancouver had some good opportunities to keep the game within reach but couldn’t convert on its chances. Playoffs may be just out of reach as the collapse continues.
13. Minnesota United (Last Week: 17)
Angelo Rodriguez had an easy brace as the Loons defeated the Pigeons in Minneapolis. The Colombian was unmarked at the back post for his first and took advantage of sloppy defending to grab a second, which was all Minnesota needed for three big points.
14. Real Salt Lake (Last Week: 16)
It might not have been everything RSL hoped for, but a draw against SKC was enough to keep a playoff place in the West for now. Corey Baird struck early to take a lead and then was inches away from a brace to seal the deal but struck the woodwork. The Utah club is holding on by a thread but has just two losses in its last 11 matches.
15. Toronto FC (Last Week: 18)
Toronto isn’t going down without a fight after thrashing New England to the tune of 4-1. Sebastian Giovinco showed that he’s still capable of playing at an MVP level despite his team’s struggles. It may be a long shot for the reigning champs to make the postseason, but more performances like that will make off-season decisions for the front office difficult.
16. New York City FC (Last Week: 11)
Something is wrong in NYC. The Pigeons have locked up a playoff spot but have looked more mid-table than heavyweight in recent weeks. A 2-1 loss to Minnesota United was the latest setback for NYCFC, which has just two wins in its last 11 matches.
17. Chicago Fire (Last Week: 20)
Even though the Fire were officially eliminated from playoff contention before the weekend kicked off, Chicago was still going all out. Homegrown Djordje Mihailovic got things started within a half hour and the Men in Red dominated from then on, overwhelming high-flying LAFC, 3-1.
18. Houston Dynamo (Last Week: 19)
It was rough going for the Dynamo in the first half, but their explosive offense came through in the second. Mauro Manotas, Tomas Martinez, and Romell Quioto all scored to help Houston overcome a two-goal deficit at home and take all three points from San Jose.
19. New England Revolution (Last Week: 15)
New England is limping to the finish line. The Revs were routed by Toronto even after Cristian Penilla scored his 11th goal of the campaign. Brad Friedel would need to conjure a small miracle to make the postseason at this rate.
20. Montreal Impact (Last Week: 12)
The Impact had everything to play for in a six-point swing game against D.C. United. Montreal needed a win to stave off D.C.’s late charge up the table but fell well short. Horrific defending allowed five goals and Montreal’s offense couldn’t keep up. In fact, Ignacio Piatti and company couldn’t beat Bill Hamid despite taking 25 shots.
21. San Jose Earthquakes (Last Week: 21)
Chris Wondolowski inching closer to the league’s all-time goal record is about all the positives San Jose can take away. After a lucky own goal gave the Quakes a 2-0 lead, they collapsed in Houston. Poor goalkeeping from Andrew Tarbell and poor defending all around doomed San Jose.
22. Orlando City (Last Week: 22)
Orlando had the weekend off.
23. Colorado Rapids (Last Week: 23)
Colorado was dismantled by Seattle on the road. The match fell apart in the second half as the Sounders found the back of the net three times. Meanwhile, the Rapids could only trouble Stefan Frei once all night.