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The Mane Land MLS Power Rankings: Week 18

Blowouts and red cards dominated the headlines around the league.

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps at Philadelphia Union Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Soccer was back in full swing after a short World Cup break with 20 teams taking the pitch. In classic MLS style, red cards ruled the day as six players were handed their marching orders across four of the league’s matches. There were dominating performances in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and New York and drama reigned in the Midwest with late heroics. The playoff picture is shaping up as the league nears the halfway point.

Check out how all of the action affected this week’s power rankings:

1. New York Red Bulls (Last Week: 2)

Daniel Royer was sent off in the 27th minute but it didn’t matter for New York as the Red Bulls cruised to a 3-0 victory over FC Dallas. The home team never looked like it was at a disadvantage, picking apart Dallas’ young defenders. Jesse Marsch has his team flying, now unbeaten in three league matches.

2. Sporting Kansas City (Last Week: 1)

Daniel Salloi was the hero for SKC as the Hungarian forward was instrumental in all three of Kansas City’s goals. The home side’s late heroics saw off heated rivals Houston in the final minutes and secured its seventh straight match unbeaten to remain at the top of the West.

3. New York City FC (Last Week: 3)

The Domènec Torrent era started in style for NYCFC. Down a goal, the Pigeons fought their way back to a 2-1 victory over Toronto FC in a battle of Eastern Conference heavyweights. Jo Inge Berget’s slick back heel got the scoring started and the Norwegian finished off the comeback in the 68th minute with a well-placed shot to the bottom corner. Yankee Stadium remains a fortress.

4. Atlanta United (Last Week: 6)

United dominated possession and took 13 shots from inside the Timbers’ penalty area but could do no better than a draw against Portland. Julian Gressel weaved through traffic for Atlanta’s equalizer, but Tata Martino and company will need to do better if they want to hold on to the top spot in the East for long.

5. Portland Timbers (Last Week: 7)

Portland went toe to toe with Atlanta in Mercedes Benz Stadium and were unlucky not to walk out the victors with an excellent counterattacking game plan from Giovanni Savarese. Sebastian Blanco and Andres Flores both missed the go-ahead goal by inches but the Timbers will gladly take a point back to the Rose City.

6. Los Angeles FC (Last Week: 10)

No Carlos Vela, no problem for LAFC. The expansion side welcomed the Crew to Los Angeles and within the first eight minutes had a 2-0 lead. Norwegian forward Adama Diomandé has done well without the Mexican star and nearly had a brace on several occasions against the Crew. Bob Bradley has his team up to third in the West.

7. Columbus Crew (Last Week: 4)

Columbus was consistently on the back foot against LAFC, unable to control possession or create a quality opportunity in front of goal. The Crew succumbed to a blistering opening 10 minutes from the home side and were never able to fight their way back.

8. Houston Dynamo (Last Week: 8)

Houston capitalized on several mistakes from the normally sound SKC defense to jump out to a 2-0 lead courtesy of Mauro Manotas in the first half at Children’s Mercy Park. But the Dynamo couldn’t bury their chances in the second half and Sporting fought back. Eric Alexander was sent off in the dying minutes, just before Khiry Shelton’s dagger as Houston dropped all three points.

9. FC Dallas (Last Week: 5)

Even up a man, the Hoops couldn’t get anything going in Red Bull Arena. Luis Robles was hardly tested — though Jacori Hayes struck the crossbar in the second half — and Dallas couldn’t make the most of its possession in the final third and were out-hustled on the defensive end.

10. New England Revolution (Last Week: 12)

The Revs had the weekend off.

11. Philadelphia Union (Last Week: 16)

The rout was on in Chester as the Union crushed the Whitecaps 4-0 and got above the red line. Philadelphia’s attack is finally clicking behind Czech midfielder Bořek Dočkal, who had a brace over the weekend.

12. Toronto FC (Last Week: 11)

TFC remain a lowly 10th in the East as the season nears the halfway mark. Victor Vazquez’s chip over Sean Johnson had the Reds believing in a win in the first half, but the Toronto defense fell apart in the second half. With eight losses already, panic should start setting in for Greg Vanney’s men.

13. LA Galaxy (Last Week: 13)

LA got an extra weekend of World Cup break.

14. Montreal Impact (Last Week: 14)

Montreal has gotten just what it needed to get back on track with back-to-back wins against a floundering Orlando City side as Ignacio Piatti got back on the score sheet again. Now Remi Garde will have to see if his squad can do it against a team other than the Lions.

15. Chicago Fire (Last Week: 15)
MLS: Chicago Fire at Seattle Sounders FC
Katai has contributed a goal or an assist in each of Chicago’s last seven league matches.
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Fresh off knocking Atlanta out of the Open Cup, Chicago crossed the continent to take on the Sounders. Aleksandar Katai continues to be the star man up front for the Fire as his sixth goal on the season meant taking a result back to Chicago and inching closer to the red line.

16. Vancouver Whitecaps (Last Week: 9)

When it rains, it pours as the British Columbia side knows all too well. After going down 2-0 to the Union, Jose Aja was sent off for a soft foul in the box that was deemed denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity and a penalty to the hosts. Shortly after, Yordy Reyna committed a poor challenge again in the box, was also sent off with a second yellow card, and gave up another penalty.

17. D.C. United (Last Week: 17)

United got some extra rest after bowing out of the U.S. Open Cup.

18. Seattle Sounders (Last Week: 18)

Clint Dempsey’s equalizer in the second half put him into the record books alongside Fredy Montero as Seattle’s all-time leading scorer in the regular season. But it didn’t mean much other than getting the Sounders out of the basement in the West and up to 10th, still 11 points behind the playoff pace.

19. Real Salt Lake (Last Week: 20)

RSL had a great chance to close the gap on the top three in the West but couldn’t find the back of the net more than once. Damir Kreilach scored his third of the season but the combination of Andrew Tarbell and the woodwork frustratingly kept the home team at one.

20. Orlando City (Last Week: 19)

The free fall continues for the Lions, who have now lost seven straight with little light at the end of the tunnel. With a new manager supposedly on the horizon in the coming days, perhaps a new set of eyes could turn a talented side around.

21. Colorado Rapids (Last Week: 21)

The Rapids used every possible second of the match to secure victory over Minnesota United, including a lengthy look at video review to confirm Tommy Smith’s late header. It was Colorado’s first win since April 14.

22. San Jose Earthquakes (Last Week: 22)

With another draw, the Quakes’ win total remains at just two on the season, both against Minnesota. Danny Hoesen continued his great form with his eighth goal in 10 matches, but it wasn’t enough for San Jose.

23. Minnesota United (Last Week: 23)

An unlucky night for Minnesota meant yet another defeat. Edgar Castillo’s rocket saw the Loons’ first lead slip away, followed by Brent Kallman’s slip gifting a glorious chance to see their second lead disappear. Another late collapse — including Miguel Ibarra losing his head and being sent off — means more of the same for United.