New York Red Bulls stay top of MLS Power Rankings, Vancouver second
On a weekend when plenty of the league's top teams failed to make the most of their opportunities, the New York Red Bulls proved to be the exception, beating Columbus 2-1 and keeping the top spot in ESPN FC's MLS Power Rankings.
1. New York Red Bulls (no change)
The Red Bulls bounced back nicely from last week's hiccup against Orlando by coming back to beat Columbus 2-1. Bradley Wright-Phillips hasn't been able to match last year's record-tying pace but 15 goals isn't a bad haul for a retooled side that now has the Supporters Shield in its sights.
2. Vancouver Whitecaps (no change)
Call it a crack in the granite. David Ousted's rare blunder led to San Jose's equalizer in a 1-1 draw. But the sight of Pedro Morales hobbling off just 18 minutes after coming on was the most depressing event of the night for the Caps.
3. LA Galaxy (no change)
The Galaxy coughed up a late equalizer in a 1-1 draw at Seattle and while it managed to clinch a spot in the playoffs, its odds of claiming the Supporters Shield have become considerably longer. That likely won't bother manager Bruce Arena too much. This team's recent history shows that they get it done in the playoffs, regardless of seeding.
4. New England Revolution (no change)
The Revs failed to clinch a playoff spot for the third time running thanks to their 3-1 capitulation at Chicago. Alarmingly, the goals were largely self-inflicted -- not a habit you want to get into with the playoffs looming.
5. Seattle Sounders (+1)
Chad Barrett's late goal salvaged a draw for Seattle against L.A., but the best news of the week was that Chad Marshall is expected to recover quickly from a scary neck injury that saw him taken away in an ambulance Wednesday. With Roman Torres out for the season, Marshall's role in the playoffs will be bigger than ever.
6. Columbus Crew (-1)
The Crew and its high-octane attack will no doubt be fun to watch come playoff time, but a defense that has recorded just one shutout in league play since May 1 will likely prevent a deep run. The latest instance of its defensive frailties came in a 2-1 defeat to the Red Bulls.
7. Sporting Kansas City (no change)
It wasn't quite Diego Maradona against England in the 1986 World Cup, but Krisztian Nemeth's mazy run and finish against Portland brought his Kansas City teammates to their feet and gave SKC three points. Combined with their U.S. Open Cup triumph on Wednesday, it was a banner week.
8. FC Dallas (+2)
There's no better way to clinch a playoff spot than to hammer your in-state rivals and FCD did precisely that against Houston, winning 4-1 on Sunday. David Texeira scored twice and Kellyn Acosta continues to mature before our very eyes, including a belter of a goal that put the game away. Not only is home-field advantage well within reach, but the Supporters Shield is a possibility as well.
9. Montreal Impact (no change)
September's hero turned into October's goat (at least for one game) as Didier Drogba's poor clearance led to Orlando's late winner. Montreal still controls its destiny, but it will have to get the job done away from home. Saturday's tilt in Florida was the first of four road games in a two-week span.
10. Portland Timbers (-2)
Kansas City's Nemeth broke Portland ankles and hearts in equal measure, but this latest loss was more about the Timbers' continued inability to convert chances. Their 31 goals on the season are the second lowest in the league. Now Portland's postseason margin for error has become even thinner.
11. Toronto FC (no change)
TFC is almost touching the first playoff berth in its history after beating Philadelphia 3-1. Sebastian Giovinco's record-setting season continued apace with his 21st goal. Even better, Jozy Altidore appears to be rounding into form.
12. Orlando City (no change)
The collective heart of the Lions is still beating thanks to a 2-1 win over Montreal, with unlikely hero Seb Hines netting the game-winner. Orlando still needs an enormous amount of help to make the playoffs, but a win next week against NYCFC will increase the pressure on Montreal.
13. D.C. United (no change)
The bleeding has finally stopped for DCU, which snapped its six-game winless streak with a heart-stopping 2-1 win over NYCFC. And it was the old partnership of Alvaro Saborio and Fabian Espindola who did the damage. If United can find a way to break its streak of slow starts, it could be dangerous come playoff time.
14. San Jose Earthquakes (no change)
The good news is that the Quakes are officially above the red line. The bad news is that they once again failed to get maximum points at home, this time against Vancouver. Could have been worse too, as a heavy touch late from the Caps' Kekuta Manneh enabled David Bingham's save and preserved a 1-1 draw.
15. Real Salt Lake (+2)
The importance of RSL's victory was matched by the quality of its goals in a 2-1 over Colorado, as the tallies by Joao Plata and Luke Mulholland were both of the golazo variety. Next up is a titanic match at home against Portland on Oct. 14 that is loaded with playoff implications.
16. Houston Dynamo (-1)
Houston's playoff hopes aren't dead, just mostly dead. But it's likely that not even Miracle Max will be able to come up with a pill to alter their postseason odds. The fact that Dallas swept Houston this year only pours lemon juice on the wound.
17. New York City FC (-1)
The soccer gods decided to have a dig at Jason Kreis as a former charge from his RSL days, Saborio, scored a stoppage time winner for D.C. United against NYCFC. Now New York is almost sure to miss the playoffs despite an impressive late-season revival.
18. Philadelphia Union (no change)
After a week that saw the Union drop the U.S. Open Cup final on penalties and the ousting of longtime CEO Nick Sakiewicz, the 3-1 defeat to Toronto was almost an afterthought. Roll on, 2016.
19. Colorado Rapids (no change)
The league's most invisible team was quietly eliminated from postseason contention with a 2-1 home loss to RSL even though it was enough to claim the Rocky Mountain Cup on goal difference. The Oscar Pareja era seems like it took place ages ago.
20. Chicago Fire (no change)
On a night when Ante Razov was inducted into the Ring of Fire, Chicago provided a ray of light with a 3-1 victory over New England. David Accam has quietly put together a 10-goal season and Harry Shipp looked sharp in a creative role. These are genuine reasons for hope heading into next year.
Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreyCarlisle.