New York Red Bulls still first, Vancouver second in MLS Power Ranks
The penultimate weekend of the 2015 MLS regular season settled some things, but left others up in the air. That means something of a shakeup in the Power Rankings, though no team -- not even the Red Bulls, who held on to the top spot -- seems entirely convincing with one week to go.
1. New York Red Bulls (no change)
Mike Grella's goal inside of 10 seconds had an element of luck to it, but there's nothing lucky about the contribution he's made to the Red Bulls' attack this year. With the Red Bulls' 4-1 win over Philadelphia on Sunday, New York locked up the top seed in the East and set up a chance at a second Supporters' Shield in three years.
2. Vancouver Whitecaps (no change)
The playoff bye is still in play for Vancouver heading into the final week of the season, but Carl Robinson's team will be disappointed with their missed chances in their 2-0 road loss to FC Dallas on Wednesday.
3. Columbus Crew (+3)
The 2-0 win against Toronto on Saturday got the Crew into the playoffs, but Gregg Berhalter's team will have to battle D.C. United for seeding on the final day of the season without two of their most important players, Kei Kamara and Federico Higuain, due to yellow card accumulation.
4. FC Dallas (+4)
Attention, Western Conference teams: Beware Mauro Diaz. The Argentine playmaker has been brilliant since returning to the lineup and might be the key to pushing a young team deep into the postseason. Diaz's one moment of sublime play, setting up David Teixeira's goal in a 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake, was enough to secure the top seed in the West.
5. Montreal Impact (+4)
The Impact put to bed any notion that their playoff fortunes will turn on a rivalry match against Toronto on the season's final day thanks to the 1-0 win at New England. Most of the focus in Montreal has been on Didier Drogba, but Ignacio Piatti reminded everyone why he was the club's best player before Drogba arrived.
6. Portland Timbers (+4)
What was that? After scoring just four times in their previous five games, giving rise to real concern about their offensive abilities with a playoff berth on the line, the Timbers dropped five in a fantastic second half against the Galaxy. Apparently, Fanendo Adi scores only in twos: the brace against LA was his fifth of the year.
7. LA Galaxy (-3)
More troubling than the Galaxy dropping just their second home game of the year on Sunday was the manner in which the Timbers tore the defense apart. Luckily for LA, Bruce Arena still has an incredible collection of attackers to make up for those deficiencies.
8. New England Revolution (-4)
At home in front of 40,000 fans, the Revs came up empty against the Impact. Last year's Eastern Conference champion is waiting 'til the end of the season to secure playoff qualification, though their goal differential makes it unlikely they'll miss out no matter what happens on decision day.
9. Seattle Sounders (-4)
Obafemi Martins might have to do it himself if the Sounders are going to measure up to expectations this year. Clint Dempsey doesn't look like himself, perhaps a sign that age and fatigue are starting to catch up to the U.S. international.
10. Sporting Kansas City (-3)
Despite throwing everything they had at the Quakes, SKC couldn't break through on the road in San Jose, losing 1-0 and thereby missing a chance to improve their place in the Western Conference. A game in hand (against last-place Colorado) means Sporting still has a chance to jump into second.
11. Toronto FC (no change)
Maybe it was natural that TFC suffered a letdown after Wednesday's playoff-sealing win over New York, but losing to Columbus at home means they're in danger of not hosting a playoff game -- something the soccer fans of Toronto richly deserve.
12. Orlando City (no change)
Orlando City's path to the playoffs is nearly impossible after their 2-1 defeat to NYCFC on Friday, but the fact that they even came close is due to the contributions of rookie Cyle Larin. He has 17 goals in 26 games, and it's worth wondering where Orlando City would be if he hadn't missed time on international duty with Canada.
13. D.C. United (no change)
Nothing like a game against a dead-in-the-water, last-place team with an interim manager to cure what ails you. United's four-goal explosion against Chicago not only puts them in position to finish second in the East but also provides a much-needed boost of confidence to an attack that has struggled for the better part of two months.
14. San Jose Earthquakes (no change)
The Quakes kept their playoffs hopes alive with a 1-0 win over Sporting KC on Friday night thanks in large part to the work of their defense. Full marks to Marvell Wynne, who stepped into the middle and covered for the suspended Victor Bernardez.
15. Houston Dynamo (+1)
The Dynamo couldn't hold a lead in the late stages against Seattle in Saturday's 1-1 draw, which means Houston will miss the playoffs for the second year in a row. This hasn't happened since the team arrived in Texas in 2006.
16. Real Salt Lake (-1)
Playing for nothing but pride to close a regular season will be a strange feeling for RSL. Their loss to FC Dallas on Saturday ended any chance at the playoffs -- and also ended a seven-year streak of reaching the postseason.
17. New York City FC (no change)
NYCFC is limping to the finish line in their first season. A flat, uninspired performance in Orlando means they'll finish no better than eighth in the Eastern Conference. How much will they have left against New England on decision day? They can play for pride, but it's an open question.
18. Philadelphia Union (no change)
The Union's difficult season got an extra dose of ignominy on Saturday when they allowed the fastest goal in MLS history to Mike Grella of the Red Bulls. What's worse is that it was the Union kicking off, not New York.
19. Colorado Rapids (no change)
The Rapids have a chance to play spoiler in their last two games of the year, on the road in Kansas City and Portland. The degree to which Colorado can rally will play a big part in seeding in the Western Conference.
20. Chicago Fire (no change)
After getting drummed by D.C. United, Chicago has a last-place finish, an interim head coach and major change coming next year -- including the possible departure of onetime MVP and hometown boy Mike Magee. If given a choice, the Fire might just choose to forgo their final match against New York altogether.
Jason Davis covers Major League Soccer and the United States national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @davisjsn.