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MLS Power Rankings: FC Dallas, LAFC finding form at the right time

Atlanta United remain top, but it's FC Dallas and LAFC who are making the right moves at the business end of the MLS season..

1. Atlanta United

Record: 19W-6D-5L
Week 29 ranking: 1

After a wild 4-3 win on the road in San Jose on Wednesday, the Shield leaders grabbed three points at home in clinical 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday. The gap at the top of the standings is now four points ahead of a clash with the New York Red Bulls next week.

2. New York Red Bulls

Record: 18-5-7
Week 29 ranking: 2

The Red Bulls did the job against Toronto FC in a 2-0 win, maintaining their gap with Atlanta for the Shield. The problem? Bradley Wright-Phillips received a controversial yellow card and will miss next week's 1-2 matchup.

3. FC Dallas

Record: 15-8-6
Week 29 ranking: 5

Matt Hedge's alley-oop header on a late set piece gave FC Dallas a win in Vancouver and vaulted the Texans back to the top of the table in the Western Conference. The lead over Sporting for the top spot is now two points.

4. LAFC

Record: 14-8-7
Week 29 ranking: 6

A sweaty effort at Banc of California Stadium led by two goals from center back Walker Zimmerman, his first two goals of year, delivered a 2-0 win over San Jose on Saturday.

5. Sporting Kansas City

Record: 15-6-8
Week 29 ranking: 3

Sporting fell 2-0 to a weakened Philadelphia Union side on the road in Chester, a surprising loss for a team sitting on top of the Western Conference standings at the beginning of the day. FC Dallas' win pushes Sporting back into second place.

6. Columbus Crew SC

Record: 13-8-9
Week 29 ranking: 7

The Crew earned a bit of confidence via a 2-1 win over Colorado at MAPFRE Stadium. Gyasi Zardes' 16th goal of the season and a goal and assist from Federico Higuain were the drivers of the victory, the type of home win Columbus has to have.

7. Seattle Sounders FC

Record: 13-5-11
Week 29 ranking: 4

The Sounders' abrupt -- and surprising -- end to their winning streak came via a somewhat fluky 1-0 loss to the Union on Wednesday. There was nothing fluky, however, about the 3-0 defeat at the hands of the Galaxy on Sunday night.

8. Real Salt Lake

Record: 13-6-11
Week 29 ranking: 8

Mike Petke's team was game for a difficult trip to Atlanta, but the woodwork and the heroics of Nick Rimando weren't enough. RSL will rue missing the few chances they had. Jefferson Savarino and Corey Baird will have better days.

9. Portland Timbers

Record: 13-8-9
Week 29 ranking: 10

The Timbers followed up a 3-2 home win over Columbus in midweek with a 3-2 loss on the road in Minnesota. An attempt to rotate his squad went awry for Giovanni Savarese -- leading to a pair of halftime substitutions as the club scrambled to come back.

10. Philadelphia Union

Record: 14-4-12
Week 29 ranking: 14

Four days after beating Seattle on the road and playing a rotated lineup ahead of Wednesday's US Open Cup final, the Union scored a massive 2-0 win over the West's top team. Striker Jay Simpson made his first start of the season and scored both goals.

11. New York City FC

Record: 14-8-8
Week 29 ranking: 9

The City club lost ground in the Eastern Conference standings after a draw with the Impact at Stade Saputo on Saturday. NYCFC missed a chance to clinch a playoff spot and is now in the danger zone for missing out on a home playoff game.

12. D.C. United

Record: 9-8-11
Week 29 ranking: 11

United renews their quest for the playoffs next Sunday with a massive six-pointer against Montreal.

13. Montreal Impact

Record: 12-4-14
Week 29 ranking: 13

The Impact need wins, not draws, but splitting the points with NYCFC on Saturday keeps the Quebec side in the mix for the playoffs. Michael Azira's first MLS goal -- in his 97th career appearance -- salvaged a result for Remi Garde's team.

14. LA Galaxy

Record: 11-8-11
Week 29 ranking: 17

Let's be careful calling it "hope," but the Galaxy's 3-0 domination of the Sounders on Sunday certainly keeps the club in play for a playoff spot in the Western Conference. Under Dom Kinnear, LA looked like a team with a newfound purpose.

15. Vancouver Whitecaps

Record: 11-7-11
Week 29 ranking: 12

Vancouver's set-piece defending let it down on Sunday night, as FC Dallas used two headed goals from restarts to win at BC Place. The playoff situation is fraught for the Caps, who dropped behind the Galaxy into eighth place in the West.

16. Minnesota United

Record: 10-3-16
Week 29 ranking: 19

A rampant first half -- including two goals from Romario Ibarra -- was enough for the Loons to earn a 3-2 win over the Timbers in Minnesota. Only a late (and questionable) red card for defender Fernando Bob took some shine off the victory.

17. New England Revolution

Record: 8-11-10
Week 29 ranking: 15

The maddeningly inconsistent Revs showed off that particular trait again on Saturday in a 2-2 draw with the Fire. Defensive miscues put New England behind early and then again late on Michael Mancienne's own goal, fating the home side to a split of the points.

18. Toronto FC

Record: 8-6-15
Week 29 ranking: 16

Toronto suffered the humiliation of losing the first Campeones Cup at home on Wednesday, then lost 2-0 to the Red Bulls on Saturday. The road to the playoffs is almost certainly closed now, setting up an interesting winter in Ontario.

19. Houston Dynamo

Record: 8-8-13
Week 29 ranking: 18

A goalless draw with the woeful Lions seems about right for the season Houston has had. The focus is squarely on Wednesday's US Open Cup final against Philadelphia.

20. Chicago Fire

Record: 7-7-15
Week 29 ranking: 20

The Fire showed a bit of fight on the road in New England and got what might have been the best performance of the year from Aleksandar Katai in a 2-2 draw. Chicago's chances of not finishing last got a bit of a boost with the point.

21. Orlando City

Record: 7-4-18
Week 29 ranking: 21

The Lions managed to keep the opponent out of the net for the first time since April but couldn't find a goal of their own. The point was the seventh earned in new head coach James O'Connor's 12 games in charge.

22. Colorado Rapids

Record: 6-6-17
Week 29 ranking: 22

No win on the road in Columbus for the Rapids, who remain tied with Minnesota and DC United for fewest road victories in 2018 (1). Colorado managed just three shots on the day, including Shkelzen Gashi's opportunistic free-kick goal.

23. San Jose Earthquakes

Record: 4-8-18
Week 29 ranking: 23

In a busy week following the change of coaches, the Quakes earned no points in games against Atlanta and LAFC. Interim boss Steve Ralston is going younger, something that could pay dividends for the club in 2019.

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