Week 34 MLS Power Rankings

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistOctober 21, 2013

Week 34 MLS Power Rankings

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    Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

    With the Major League Soccer playoff race as intense as ever, every single match played over the weekend in North America meant something. 

    While the playoff picture was shaken up a bit by those results, the B/R MLS Power Rankings did not experience too much of a seismic shift. 

    Continue reading to find out who claimed the No. 1 spot this weekend. 

Criteria

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    Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

    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

    Joe Tansey (@JTansey90): World football featured columnist

    John D. Halloran (@JohnDHalloran): MLS and United States national team featured columnist

    Eduardo Mendez (@MendezFC): MLS featured columnist 

     

    All statistics obtained from MLSSoccer.com

19. D.C. United

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    Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

    Points: 

    Last Week's Ranking: 19

    Week 34 Result: Loss to Sporting, 1-0. 

    D.C.'s fate on Friday night against Sporting was sealed early on in the match as they conceded in the seventh minute. 

    Ben Olsen's side have not won since August 3, and they will look to change that as they attempt to play the role of spoiler against Houston on Sunday. 

18. Toronto FC

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    Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

    Points: 

    Last Week's Ranking: 17

    Week 34 Result: Loss to Chicago, 1-0. 

    Toronto suffered their second consecutive 1-0 defeat on Saturday at the hands of the Fire.

    The Reds have now lost four of their last five matches heading into their season finale with Montreal. 

17. Chivas USA

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    Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

    Points: 8

    Last Week's Ranking: 18

    Week 34 Result: No Match Played

    Chivas USA had off this weekend to prepare for their last two matches against Real Salt Lane and Portland, which will be played in a three-day span. 

16. Columbus Crew

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    Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

    Points: 12 

    Last Week's Ranking: 15

    Week 34 Result: Loss to New England, 3-2.

    Columbus' playoff dreams were dashed on Saturday night as they came out on the wrong end of a five-goal shootout with New England.

    The Crew were able to equalize twice, but a 76th-minute winner from Diego Fagundez kicked them out of the playoff race for good. 

15. FC Dallas

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    Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

    Points: 18 

    Last Week's Ranking: 16

    Week 34 Result: Win over Seattle, 2-0.

    Despite being knocked out of playoff contention last week, FC Dallas turned in a valiant performance at home against playoff-bound Seattle. 

    Matt Hedges and Michel were the goalscorers in Schellas Hyndman's second to last match in charge of the Hoops. 

14. Vancouver Whitecaps

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    Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Spor

    Points: 19 

    Last Week's Ranking: 9

    Week 34 Result: Loss to Colorado, 3-2. 

    The Whitecaps had a chance to ruin the playoff dreams of Colorado, but instead they came up short and let the Rapids virtually clinch a playoff spot. 

    In the loss, Camilo Sanvezzo kept alive his hopes of winning the Golden Boot as he scored his 19th goal of the season in the 75th minute. 

    Camilo sits one goal behind Marco Di Vaio and Mike Magee for the Golden Boot lead, and one has to think he will need to score twice against Colorado on Sunday to win the title outright. 

13. San Jose Earthquakes

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    Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY

    Points: 20 

    Last Week's Ranking: 14

    Week 34 Result: Draw with Los Angeles, 0-0.

    By failing to find the back of the net in the final California Clasico of the year, San Jose put themselves in a treacherous situation heading into the final week of the season. 

    The Earthquakes are technically not eliminated from the playoffs, but they will need to beat FC Dallas and hope that Colorado loses to Vancouver. 

    In order to qualify as the fifth seed in the West, Mark Watson's club also need to outscore Colorado by 12 goals. 

12. Philadelphia Union

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    Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

    Points: 22 

    Last Week's Ranking: T-10

    Week 34 Result: Loss to Montreal, 2-1. 

    Philadelphia conceded two second-half goals on their way to falling down to seventh place in the East. 

    Now behind New England and Houston by two points for the final playoff spot, the Union need to defeat Sporting at home and then hope a multitude of scorelines go in their favor to clinch a playoff berth.

11. Houston Dynamo

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    Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

    Points: 28 

    Last Week's Ranking: 6

    Week 34 Result: Loss to New York, 3-0. 

    It is clearly a lot harder to win at home this season than it was last season for Houston. 

    The Dynamo dropped points at BBVA Compass Stadium for the second straight week, and in the process they fell out of the top five in the East. 

    Houston has the identical record that New England has, but they are behind by 11 goals in the goal differential department. 

    The easiest scenario for the Dynamo to make the playoffs would be for them to defeat D.C. United and have New England drop points on the road in Columbus. 

10. Montreal Impact

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    Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

    Points: 31 

    Last Week's Ranking: 13

    Week 34 Result: Win over Philadelphia, 2-1.

    Montreal got a much-needed momentum boost with their home win over the Union on Saturday. 

    The victory by Marco Schallibaum's club erased a three-match losing streak and put them in pole position to earn third place in the East.

    All that is standing between the Impact and third place is a match against Toronto FC that they should have no problem winning.

9. Chicago Fire

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    Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

    Points: 34 

    Last Week's Ranking: 12

    Week 34 Result: Win over Toronto, 1-0. 

    The one man who has propelled Chicago to fourth place in the East, Mike Magee, kept their playoff hopes alive with a 64th-minute strike against Toronto.

    Magee's 20th goal of the season handed the Fire their third consecutive victory at this crucial juncture of the season. 

    To avoid all of the potential playoff clinching scenarios next week, the Fire need to take care of business against the Red Bulls, which is a big task given the recent form of the Supporters' Shield leaders. 

8. New England Revolution

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    Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

    Points: 35 

    Last Week's Ranking: T-10

    Week 34 Result: Win over Columbus, 3-2. 

    Diego Fagundez's 76th-minute strike handed New England a crucial lifeline in their quest to advance to the playoffs. 

    The Revolution, who have not lost in their last five matches, will head to Columbus on Sunday needing a win to stay ahead of Houston for the final playoff spot in the East. 

    Any other result in their final regular season match would land the Revs on the outside looking in depending on what Houston, Chicago and Philadelphia do next weekend. 

7. Seattle Sounders

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    Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

    Points: 36 

    Last Week's Ranking: 8

    Week 34 Result: Loss to FC Dallas, 2-0. 

    Seattle suffered their fourth straight defeat on Saturday, but yet somehow they still qualified for the playoffs. 

    To avoid playing in the play-in match as either the No. 4 or No. 5 seed, the Sounders must erase their losing ways and defeat the Galaxy on Sunday. 

    If they can not get a result, they may have to travel to Colorado for the play-in match depending on what the Rapids do against Vancouver. 

6. Colorado Rapids

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    Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Spor

    Points: 43 

    Last Week's Ranking: 7

    Week 34 Result: Win over Vancouver, 3-2.

    A brace from Gabriel Torres helped the Rapids take down Vancouver in their final home match of the regular season. 

    The Rapids should clinch a playoff spot next weekend regardless of their result because of the enormous gap in goal difference between themselves and San Jose in the battle for fifth place in the West. 

5. Los Angeles Galaxy

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    Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY

    Points: 47 

    Last Week's Ranking: 5

    Week 34 Result: Draw with San Jose, 0-0. 

    The Galaxy extended their unbeaten streak to three matches as they drew at home against San Jose. 

    In the process of earning the draw, the Galaxy clinched a playoff berth as they look to win their third consecutive MLS Cup. 

4. Sporting Kansas City

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    Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

    Points: 48 

    Last Week's Ranking: 4

    Week 34 Result: Win over D.C., 1-0.

    Sporting stayed alive in the Supporters' Shield race by taking down D.C. at home on Friday night. 

    Dom Dwyer's seventh minute strike handed the Peter Vermes' club their 16th win of the season. 

    To have a chance at winning the Supporters' Shield next week, Sporting will have to win at Philadelphia, and New York will have to slip up against Chicago. 

3. Portland Timbers

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    Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

    Points: 50 

    Last Week's Ranking: 2

    Week 34 Result: Draw with Real Salt Lake, 0-0.

    Portland played to a goalless draw at home with Real Salt Lake on Saturday in a heavyweight battle of the two best clubs in the West. 

    Heading into their match on Saturday with Chivas USA, the Timbers will know exactly what they need to do to clinch the No. 1 seed in the West because RSL plays their final match of the regular season on Wednesday. 

2. Real Salt Lake

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    Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

    Points: 52 

    Last Week's Ranking: 3

    Week 34 Result: Draw with Portland, 0-0.

    Real Salt Lake's match with Portland decided absolutely nothing in the race for the Western Conference title. 

    The Claret and Cobalt sit one point behind the Timbers for the top spot out West, and they will have to wait anxiously after their Wednesday match with Chivas USA to see what Portland can do against the bottom feeders of the West on Saturday.

    If RSL take care of business against Chivas on Wednesday, they will be guaranteed at least the No. 2 seed in the West when the playoffs begin next week. 

1. New York Red Bulls

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    Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

    Points: 57 

    Last Week's Ranking: 1

    Week 34 Result: Win over Houston, 3-0. 

    Once again, New York defied the history of their franchise and won when it mattered on Sunday in Houston.

    Powered by the fastest goal in MLS history, which was scored seven seconds into the match by Tim Cahill, the Red Bulls cruised to victory in Houston. 

    With one match remaining against Chicago at Red Bull Arena on Sunday, the Red Bulls need a win to clinch the Supporters' Shield title and the No. 1 seed in the East.