Week 24 MLS Power Rankings
As the Clint Dempsey era in Major League Soccer officially began, the stars of the league rose to the occasion and shined brightly on the league's biggest stage.
Stars like Landon Donovan, Kei Kamara, and Federico Higuain all put on spectacular goalscoring displays this weekend.
As for how their respective clubs fared in this week's B/R MLS Power Rankings, you'll have to read on and figure out.
Every week, our MLS experts will rank each team from one to 19.
Each team will be given a point total for its specific ranking.
For example, the team that is ranked No. 1 is given 19 points, while the last-place team receives just one point.
We will compile the votes each week, and the team with the highest point total will be placed atop the power rankings.
Meet Our Voters
All statistics obtained from MLSSoccer.com
19. Chivas USA
Week 24 Result: Draw with Colorado, 1-1.
Chivas USA were lucky to escape Sunday night's match with a draw.
The Goats ended their match with Colorado with nine men, after Gabriel Farfan and Tristan Bowen were both sent off.
The point earned at the StubHub Center inched the club closer to the 20-point mark, they currently have 18.
18. D.C. United
Last Week's Ranking: 18
Week 24 Result: Loss to Philadelphia, 2-0.
With five homegrown players on the pitch by the time that the final whistle blew, D.C. United made a statement that they are playing for the future instead of the present.
In their loss to Philadelphia, Michael Seaton became the first player to enter a league match who was born after the inception of the league.
17. Toronto FC
Last Week's Ranking: 17
Week 24 Result: Loss to Seattle, 2-1.
For once, Toronto FC played a strong second half.
Despite their strong performance in the final 45 minutes, including a Jonathan Osorio goal, the defense of the Reds failed to step up in the first half, when they conceded twice.
16. San Jose Earthquakes
Last Week's Ranking: 15
Week 24 Result: Loss to Vancouver, 2-0.
San Jose's trip up north to Vancouver ended in a two-goal defeat at BC Place.
The loss ended the three-match winning streak of the Earthquakes, a streak which helped them get back into the playoff race.
In the Western Conference playoff race, the Earthquakes are just four points behind the Galaxy, but they sit in eighth place.
15. Columbus Crew
Last Week's Ranking: 16
Week 24 Result: Win over New York, 2-0.
Columbus delivered the surprise result of the weekend as they defeated the Red Bulls at home.
Federico Higuain delivered two goals for the Crew, including a Goal of the Year candidate in the 76th minute.
The win was just the second in eight matches for Robert Warzycha's club.
14. New England Revolution
Last Week's Ranking: 14
Week 24 Result: Loss to Sporting, 3-0.
Any time a club finishes their match with nine men, you expect them to be on the losing end.
That was exactly the case for the Revolution as both Dimitry Imbongo and Andy Dorman were sent off in the second half against Sporting Kansas City.
The loss was the second consecutive one for the Revolution as their playoff hopes begin to slide away from them.
13. FC Dallas
Last Week's Ranking: 12
Week 24 Result: Draw with Los Angeles, 3-3.
In a high-paced, frenetic match with the Galaxy, FC Dallas benefited from some poor officiating to earn a point.
Both of Blas Perez's goals in the second half should have been disallowed, but the assistant referee decided to keep his flag down.
The draw extended the club's winless streak to 10 matches.
12. Chicago Fire
Last Week's Ranking: 13
Week 24 Result: Win over Montreal, 2-1.
Chicago fared quite well without Mike Magee in the starting 11 on Saturday night.
A pair of first half goals lifted the Fire past the fading Impact at Toyota Park.
The surge toward the playoffs by the Fire will continue on Saturday against New England.
11. Montreal Impact
Last Week's Ranking: 10
Week 24 Result: Loss to Chicago, 2-1.
Montreal failed to make an impact on the pitch at Toyota Park on Saturday.
The second consecutive loss by Marco Schallibaum's club brought them down to fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
If they do not get their act together soon, the early-season stars of the East could be on the outside looking in with regards to the playoff race.
10. Houston Dynamo
Last Week's Ranking: 6
Week 24 Result: Loss to Real Salt Lake, 1-0.
Houston's four-match unbeaten run was halted on Saturday night by Real Salt Lake.
The loss occurred after a somewhat soft penalty was awarded to RSL in the first half.
The Dynamo will face another Western Conference foe, Seattle, at home on Saturday.
9. Seattle Sounders
Last Week's Ranking: 11
Week 24 Result: Win over Toronto, 2-1.
The Clint Dempsey Era started with a win over Toronto at BMO Field.
Dempsey entered the match earlier than expected in the 34th minute when Obafemi Martins pulled up lame with an injury.
As for his impact on the match. Dempsey had one shot on goal in 68 minutes of action.
8. Vancouver Whitecaps
Last Week's Ranking: 7
Week 24 Result: Win over San Jose, 2-0.
Vancouver's two best goalscorers, Camilo and Kenny Miller, powered the club past San Jose at home on Saturday.
The win helped the Whitecaps keep pace with Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference standings, who still retain a five-point gap between themselves and the Whitecaps.
7. Colorado Rapids
Last Week's Ranking: 5
Week 24 Result: Draw with Chivas USA, 1-1.
Well, at least Colorado did not lose to Chivas USA.
Against a nine-man Chivas side, the Rapids could only muster a draw in a match where they played with 10 men for 41 minutes.
6. Philadelphia Union
Last Week's Ranking: 9
Week 24 Result: Win over D.C., 2-0.
Powered by a Conor Casey double, the Union sped past D.C. at PPL Park.
While Casey did have a strong performance in front of goal, new signing Fabinho also starred in his first match starting at left-back.
The win boosted John Hackworth's club up into third place in the Eastern Conference standings, a position that puts them two points off of leaders Sporting Kansas City.
5. Los Angeles Galaxy
Last Week's Ranking: 8
Week 24 Result: Draw with FC Dallas, 3-3.
Bad defending and two unfortunate missed calls cost the Galaxy two points on Sunday night.
The Galaxy should have defeated FC Dallas behind a Landon Donovan hat-trick, but instead they left FC Dallas Stadium with a draw after two blown calls by the assistant referee on the last two FC Dallas goals.
Bruce Arena's club are holding on to fifth place in the Western Conference by the slightest of margins, and they must improve their play in all aspects of the game, starting with their clash with Real Salt Lake on Saturday.
4. Portland Timbers
Last Week's Ranking: 3
Week 24 Result: No Match Played
While chaos was erupting around them in the Western Conference standings, the Timbers had the week off.
They will get back into action on Saturday at home against FC Dallas.
3. New York Red Bulls
Last Week's Ranking: 1
Week 24 Result: Loss to Columbus, 2-0.
One week at the top was too much for the Red Bulls as they were caught off guard in their loss to Columbus.
Just a week after everyone was singing their praises, the Red Bulls failed to show up in a match that they should have won.
2. Sporting Kansas City
Last Week's Ranking: 4
Week 24 Result: Win over New England, 3-0.
It was all about Soony Saad and Kei Kamara in Sporting's win over New England.
The heart-shaped hands of Kamara flashed twice in celebration on Saturday as he scored on two towering headers.
With the win, Sporting regained the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
1. Real Salt Lake
Last Week's Ranking: 2
Week 24 Result: Win over Houston, 1-0.
Real Salt Lake finally got a call to go their way as they defeated the Dynamo.
Alvaro Saborio converted a first-half penalty that on the replay seemed a bit too soft to be given in the first place.
But given all of the bad calls that have gone against Jason Kreis' club, it is about time they got one to go in their favor.
The win also gave RSL the lead in the Supporters' Shield standings by two points over Sporting Kansas City.