MLS Power Rankings: LAFC, Philadelphia battle for Shield; playoff hopes dim for Revs, Sounders
Take a deep breath. It’s time for the international break, and everyone (except the LA Galaxy, San Jose Earthquakes, FC Cincinnati and Seattle Sounders — surprise!) gets to rest.
Let’s take a look at where we stand: Six teams are mathematically out of playoff contention, six teams have clinched playoff spots, LAFC has the No. 1 seed in the West. And three teams have a chance to win the Supporters’ Shield.
That leaves a few hundred ways for the season to end. This break couldn’t have come at a better time, but before we all try to reset our overwhelmed brains, let’s rank some teams.
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Previous Rating: 1
Next MLS Match: Oct. 1 vs. Charlotte, 5:30 p.m. ET
They … didn’t … score? Is it allowed? However, they also kept a clean sheet, so they returned from Atlanta with a point.
Previous Rating: 2
Next MLS Match: Oct. 1 vs. DC, 7:30 p.m. ET
Beating Chicago and New England shouldn’t be that hard, but we’re like, “Wow, you didn’t win much while getting the top two seed?” Stage of Montreal’s rise. Let’s fast forward to the playoffs and watch these guys cook.
Previous Rating: 3
Next MLS Match: Oct. 2 vs. Portland, 3 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN Deportes
The Black and Gold have two weeks left in pole position for the Shield after a draw in Minnesota and a win over Houston, but do you trust them to win their last two and hold off Philly?
Previous Rating: 5
Next MLS Match: Oct. 1 vs. Vancouver, 10 p.m. ET
He restricted Hani Mukhtar to just one goal this time and earned a point for his efforts.
Previous Rating: 4
Next MLS Match: Oct. 1 vs. Colorado, 3:30 pm ET
After a season full of games in which he controlled things but couldn’t close it out for full points, Dallas went to San Jose and stole a point in a match he spent on his heels. Look for Dallas to add a new entertainment tool to his belt.
Previous Rating: 8
Next MLS Match: Oct. 2 vs. Houston, 8:30 pm ET
Nashville will feel they deserved not one, but three points against Austin, but the point is good enough to put them in position for a home playoff game. Open the doors to these shiny GEODIS Parks for a playoff game and heat the place up a little.
Previous Rating: 7
Next MLS Match: Oct. 1 vs. Columbus, 7:30 p.m. ET
The hostile atmosphere at Yankee Stadium was too much for MLS’ best road team.
Previous Rating: 10
Next MLS Match: Oct. 2 vs. LAFC, 3 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN Deportes
Santiago Moreno’s 95th-minute equalizer was a joyous rush and yet the Timbers are as likely to miss the playoffs as they are to host a playoff game. How come every Portland fan isn’t permanently eliminated?
Previous Rating: 6
Next MLS Match: Oct. 1 vs. San Jose, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN+
A draw against LAFC and a loss to SKC extended their winning streak to six. Playing San Jose and Vancouver to end the season should solve those problems, but it could also be the road to an all-time elimination.
Previous Rating: 11
Next MLS Match: Oct. 2 vs. NYCFC, 1 p.m. ET
If they could have reversed the results and beat Atlanta and then lost to Toronto, they would have, but three points is three points.
Previous Rating: 14
Next MLS Match: Sept. 27 vs. Seattle, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN+
They won in Salt Lake and might get another win this week when the USMNT called up Jordan Morris, but left Brandon Vazquez at home for a Sept. 27 meeting with Seattle.
Previous Rating: 9
Next MLS Match: Oct. 1 vs. Galaxy, 10:30 pm ET
Losing Austin and Cincy is a big blow to their playoff hopes, but they are still within three points of Portland, who they play on the final day of the season. We’re just rooting for that to be a true play-in game for a playoff spot and pure chaos.
Previous Rating: 12
Next MLS Match: Oct. 1 vs. Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m. ET
Crews have scored 26 goals this season and, after conceding a late winner to Miami and a stoppage-time equalizer against Portland, 15 of them have come from the spot after the 75th minute. That’s the weather there.
Previous Rating: 17
Next MLS Match: Sept. 30 vs. Toronto, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+
Were their wins over Columbus and DC beautiful? Not really, but through the magic of do-it-all, hard-working Gonzalo Higuain, they are in position to make the playoffs.
Previous Rating: 15
Next MLS Match: Sept. 24 vs. San Jose, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN+
The Galaxy smoked in Vancouver but beat Colorado, so where does that leave them? With the season ending against Dynamo, in control of their own playoff destiny. fearsome.
Previous Rating: 19
Next MLS Match: Oct. 2 vs. Seattle, 5 p.m. ET
They defeated DC and Minnesota by a combined score of 7-1. A part of Willem, Agada, Eric Thomy, Gadi Kunda and Alan Pulido next season looks great right now, but will the salary cap allow it? Someone fire QuickBooks and find out.
Previous Rating: 13
Next MLS Match: Sept. 30 vs. Miami, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+
The problem with being an all-offense, no-defense team is that sometimes the offense doesn’t travel to Orlando and you lose 4-0 to mathematically be out of the playoffs.
Previous Rating: 23
Next MLS Match: Oct. 1 vs. Austin, 10 p.m. ET
Well, well, well, if it’s not the smell of cold pizza the morning after beating LA and Seattle to keep your playoff hopes alive.
Previous Rating: 16
Next MLS Match: Sept. 27 vs. Cincinnati, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN+
A loss to Vancouver ended their Cascadia Cup, and if the Sounders miss the playoffs, it could be because they took just three points from their regional rivals.
Previous Rating: 21
Next MLS Match: Oct. 1 vs. New England, 1:30 pm ET
Rules Addendum: If you keep the filly scoreless, you get three points even if you didn’t score yourself. Congratulations to Atlanta on those three points, to go along with three midweek threes to beat Orlando.
Previous Rating: 20
Next MLS Match: Oct. 1 vs. Philadelphia, 5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+
They won the road game! It was against devastating fire, but you don’t get the idea of how you win number 3.
Previous Rating: 22
Next MLS Match: Oct. 1 vs. Dallas, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+
Beat San Jose, whip through the Galaxy. The Rapids are making it pretty clear where they are in the MLS standings — bad, but not that bad.
Previous Rating: 24
Next MLS Match: Oct. 2 vs. Orlando, 1 p.m. ET
After winning the Campiones Cup and the Hudson River Derby, Nick Cushing finally had something to celebrate.
Previous Rating: 16
Next MLS Match: Oct. 1 vs. Atlanta, 1:30 pm ET
This Bruce Arena was special until it wasn’t. The Revs’ second-half surge has turned into a free fall after losses to Montreal (okay) and Houston (kind of unforgivable).
Previous Rating: 27
Next MLS Match: Oct. 2 vs. Nashville, 8:30 p.m. ET
The Dynamo may not be very good at actual football, but they look great at Penalty Fest, a new game they and the Revs invented midweek. Three penalties total, three points to Houston before losing to LAFC on the weekend.
Previous Rating: 26
Next MLS Match: Sept. 24 vs. Galaxy, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN+
A loss at Colorado and a draw against Dallas isn’t a bad week in comparison, but Houston had the guts to win a game and drop the Quakes into the West basement. rough
Previous Rating: 25
Next MLS Match: Oct. 1 vs. Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m. ET
A month ago they were in the playoff race. After losses to Montreal and Charlotte, they are mathematically out of the postseason and it’s a wonder it took this long.
Previous Rating: 28
Next MLS Match: Oct. 1 vs. Montreal, 7:30 p.m. ET
Loss to SKC and Inter? Bad. Only two more games left in this damn season? good