MLS Power Rankings: New York Red Bulls hold top spot, Real Salt Lake slide
With only a few weeks of the MLS regular season to go, NYRB hold the top spot in ESPN's Power Rankings, while Real Salt Lake fade at the wrong time.
Week 31 ranking: 1
Bradley Wright-Phillips returned to the Red Bulls lineup and helped aid in the chase for the Supporters Shield with a goal in a 3-1 win over the Quakes in San Jose. New York is peaking at the perfect time.
Week 31 ranking: 2
Tata Martino's team didn't let last week's humbling 2-0 loss in New Jersey carry over to a home match against New England on Saturday. The 2-1 win was darkened by a hamstring injury to Miguel Almiron that threatens Atlanta's playoff potential.
3. FC Dallas
Week 31 ranking: 3
The West leaders crept further ahead of chasing SKC thanks to a 2-0 win at home over lowly Orlando City. It took FC Dallas more than an hour to score despite a number of excellent chances in the first half.
Week 31 ranking: 4
The Sounders will hope to build on last week's easy win over Colorado with a Monday night tilt against the Dynamo at CenturyLink Field.
Week 31 ranking: 5
The expansion side officially locked up a playoff spot with a 3-0 win on the road in Colorado. Getting Adama Diomande back on the score sheet with a pair of goals, his first in three months, bodes well for the club's playoff chances.
Week 31 ranking: 6
Sporting slipped two points further behind FC Dallas for the top spot in the West after a 1-1 draw with the Galaxy in Kansas City. Peter Vermes might as well get his checkbook out after a postgame tirade about the referees.
7. D.C. United
Week 31 ranking: 8
United continued the charge to the playoffs with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Chicago on Sunday after that was led by -- who else -- Wayne Rooney. Rooney's two goals give him nine goals and seven assists in 16 appearances.
Week 31 ranking: 9
The Timbers played a fantastic game on the road in Utah, where Sebastian Blanco starred in a 4-1 win. Diego Valeri was also at his string-pulling best, setting up one goal and playing a key role in the attack all day long.
Week 31 ranking: 11
The Union took advantage of a porous Minnesota United defense to the tune of a 5-1 win over the Loons on Saturday in Chester that secured the club's place in the MLS Cup playoffs. It's already the best regular season in club history with two games left.
10. Real Salt Lake
Week 31 ranking: 6
RSL took it on the chin in a 4-1 home loss to Portland on Saturday, a loss that does drops the young side into sixth in the Western Conference. Mike Petke's team gave up the lead, and the game, in a three-minute stretch in the second half.
11. Columbus Crew SC
Week 31 ranking: 7
Columbus gave up the first goal at Stade Saputo and played directly into the Impact's hands in a 3-0 loss. VAR punished the Crew for Josh Williams' clear handball -- setting up Saphir Taider's 32nd minute opener.
12. LA Galaxy
Week 31 ranking: 12
The Galaxy could have pulled ahead of RSL for the last Western Conference playoff spot with a win but instead sit a point back after a draw in Kansas City. LA's improvement -- and reliance on Zlatan Ibrahimovic -- might be enough to get them in to the postseason.
13. New York City FC
Week 31 ranking: 13
NYCFC gets a few weeks off ahead of an Oct. 21 visit to DC to try to work out some of their recent kinks.
14. Montreal Impact
Week 31 ranking: 15
The Impact found their way back from their terrible 5-0 defeat in Washington last week with a big 3-0 win against the Crew. The math still favors D.C. in the race for the playoffs, but at least Montreal seems intent on making the United work for it.
Week 31 ranking: 18
The Whitecaps kept their slim playoff hopes alive with a satisfying 2-1 win at BMO Field over Toronto FC. Russell Teibert's first goal in five years came at a good time for the Caps, as they pulled within three points of the sixth spot in the West.
16. Minnesota United
Week 31 ranking: 14
The Loons went to Philly and got drilled by a pretty good Union team. The discussion in Minnesota at the moment is whether Adrian Heath and Manny Lagos have done enough good in 2018 to deserve a shot at the 2019 season.
17. Toronto FC
Week 31 ranking: 16
The defending champion is now only that, after a 2-1 loss to Vancouver on Saturday eliminated Toronto from the playoff chase in the East. The list of what went wrong is long and varied, and several big questions now loom in Ontario.
18. Houston Dynamo
Week 31 ranking: 17
Houston travels to Seattle on Monday night.
19. Chicago Fire
Week 31 ranking: 19
Chicago's role as Eastern Conference spoiler went unfilled in a 2-1 loss at Audi Field on Sunday. Whatever glimmers of hope exist for the Fire, it's hard to see them through the fog of such a disappointing season.
Week 31 ranking: 20
The Revs are meandering through the finish of the 2018 regular season under first-year head coach Brad Friedel. Saturday's 2-1 loss in Atlanta had New England looking mildly competent and not much more -- which is why it'll miss the playoffs.
21. Orlando City
Week 31 ranking: 21
Orlando is now officially eliminated from playoff contention after a 2-0 loss in Frisco against FC Dallas. Head coach James O'Connor's team suffers from the same malady as his predecessors: bright starts that lack goals, plus a leaky defense.
22. Colorado Rapids
Week 31 ranking: 22
The Rapids have thrown in the towel on 2018. After last week's 4-0 loss in Seattle, Colorado fell 3-0 at home against LAFC on Saturday. Thanks to the minus-7 over two weeks, no one has a worse goal differential than the Rapids.
Week 31 ranking: 23
Chris Wondolowski scored career goal No. 144 in San Jose's loss to the Red Bulls at Avaya Stadium. Wondolowski needs two goals in the Quakes' last two games to break the record in 2018.