MLS Power Rankings: Seattle Sounders Reclaim No. 1 Spot
There were only five games in Week 16 of MLS, but a couple of teams impressed, especially the Seattle Sounders.
The Sounders moved to the top of the Supporters' Shield standings after their 3-0 win against FC Dallas on Saturday. The victory also catapulted Seattle into the No. 1 spot in this week's power rankings.
Expansion teams Orlando City SC and New York City FC were also winners this weekend, but how does that impact the rankings?
Here are the MLS power rankings after Week 15.
20. Chicago Fire (Previous: 20)
The Chicago Fire lost their third straight game after falling 2-0 to the New England Revolution. The Fire didn't have Joevin Jones, David Accam and Shaun Maloney, who were away on international duty, but it was still a lackluster performance from Chicago.
The Revolution kept the Fire in the game until Diego Fagundez opened the scoring in the 48th minute. New England took control from that point and never looked back.
The defeat and horrendous finishing keep Chicago rooted to the bottom of the rankings.
19. Colorado Rapids (Previous: 19)
The Colorado Rapids did not play this week, so they remain in the 19th spot.
Colorado has a jam-packed summer coming up, which begins with a match against FC Dallas on June 19. The Rapids will also face the likes of Sporting Kansas City, the Vancouver Whitecaps and Orlando City SC.
The Rapids are eight points behind sixth-placed L.A. Galaxy with three games in hand, so earning a result against an Orlando or Vancouver can get them back into the playoff race.
18. Montreal Impact (Previous: 16)
Saturday was not kind to the Montreal Impact. They lost 3-1 to the in-form New York City FC at Yankee Stadium due to some defensive lapses.
Montreal's back line was slow in reacting to NYCFC's crosses and through balls. The defenders were also crowded centrally, which allowed David Villa to score the opening goal. Wandrille Lefevre's gaff also cost the Impact.
The poor defensive display and misfiring attack move the Impact down to No. 18 this week.
17. Philadelphia Union (Previous: 17)
The Philadelphia Union had a bye this weekend which keeps them in 17th, but they will return to the pitch on Saturday against the L.A. Galaxy.
The Union were in decent form before losing to New York City FC last week, but are still just two points away from a playoff spot.
16. New York City FC (Previous: 18)
New York City FC are on a roll lately. The expansion side defeated the Montreal Impact 3-1 on Saturday, extending their unbeaten streak to a season-high three games.
David Villa and Mix Diskerud scored, plus the defense was consistent throughout the game, which has been rare this campaign.
The tremendous defensive performance and the clinical attack guide New York City to No. 16 after Week 16.
15. Real Salt Lake (Previous: 15)
Real Salt Lake stays at No. 15, but the team's form has been brutal recently. The 0-0 draw in the Rocky Mountain Cup against the Colorado Rapids last week could've resulted in a loss, but a missed penalty preserved the point.
RSL has a chance to regain its form versus the surging Sporting Kansas City on Saturday. SKC is one of the hottest teams in MLS at the moment, so it will be a stern test.
RSL is currently ninth in the Western Conference, but it's only four points away from a playoff berth with a couple of games in hand.
14. Houston Dynamo (Previous: 11)
The Houston Dynamo slip to No. 14 despite not playing this week, but they fell victim to the Columbus Crew and L.A. Galaxy drawing in their match. Orlando City SC's victory also contributed to the Dynamo's descent.
If Houston can knock off the in-form Portland Timbers on Saturday, that would move them back up, especially after the 4-2 win over the New York Red Bulls last week.
13. Columbus Crew (Previous: 14)
The Columbus Crew's winless skid continued on Saturday after drawing 1-1 with the L.A. Galaxy, but it was an encouraging display from the Crew.
Columbus' defensive frailties, mainly caused by suspension and injury, have contributed to this rut in recent weeks. The back line was still conceding too much space to the Galaxy, which was evident on Sebastian Lletget's goal, but the defenders shut up shop in the second half to earn a point.
The attack was in fine form once again, even though the Crew scored just one goal. Columbus had a few chances to take the lead in the second half and were threatening during the interval.
The free-flowing attack and the draw against the defending champions is reason enough to move the Crew up one spot.
12. San Jose Earthquakes (Previous: 9)
The San Jose Earthquakes also suffered during their week off. The Quakes slip from ninth to 12th due to the Columbus Crew, L.A. Galaxy and Orlando City SC picking up points.
Since L.A., Columbus and Orlando all occupy playoff spots after their games, the Earthquakes had to slip a few spots to accommodate for those results. They have a chance to make up that lost ground against the Seattle Sounders on Saturday.
11. L.A. Galaxy (Previous: 12)
The L.A. Galaxy are clinging to the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, which is a familiar spot for them. The Galaxy was in sixth place at this time last year and fifth at the end of June 2013.
The difference between then and now is the Galaxy's uninspiring attack. L.A. showed improvement in its 1-1-1 draw against the Columbus Crew on Saturday, but it still missed a couple of quality opportunities.
On the bright side, the defense was able to stay relatively compact throughout the match, which contributes to L.A. climbing to No. 11.
10. Orlando City SC (Previous: 13)
Kaka scored the decisive goal after a saved penalty to clinch a narrow 1-0 win for Orlando City SC over D.C. United on Sunday.
The D.C. players felt that the penalty called on Taylor Kemp for his foul on Pedro Ribeiro was harsh, but it was a silly tackle to make in that situation. Ribeiro had his back facing the goal and was not in a threatening position.
Orlando defeating one of the league's top teams is a huge achievement for the expansion side. The win also moved it into third place in the Eastern Conference, which guides the Lions into the top 10 in the power rankings.
9. New York Red Bulls (Previous: 8)
The New York Red Bulls had to make room for the triumphant New England Revolution, but the Red Bulls have a chance to recover with a win over the Vancouver Whitecaps.
New York is riding a four-game winless skid with three losses in that span. The Red Bulls have also slipped to fourth in the Eastern Conference and are in danger of falling out a playoff spot.
A win over one of the best teams in the Western Conference could reignite the team after a fantastic start to the campaign.
8. New England Revolution (Previous: 10)
The New England Revolution snapped their six-game winless skid with a 2-0 victory over the hapless Chicago Fire on Saturday.
Diego Fagundez scored his second goal in as many appearances and the Revolution attack in general was significantly stronger than in New England's match against the Portland Timbers.
Despite their poor run of form, the Revolution is still in second place in the Eastern Conference. They have played more games than most teams in MLS, but that win has kept them afloat and moves them into No. 8 in the rankings.
7. FC Dallas (Previous: 6)
FC Dallas had to face the No. 1 team in the Western Conference, the Seattle Sounders, without a couple of starters, but the Sounders were also depleted.
The Sounders took control of the game in the second half and never looked back. Dallas only tested Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei twice, which was disappointing even with the weakened lineup.
Dallas failed to take advantage of this game with the Portland Timbers on a bye, so both teams switch spots in the rankings this week.
6. Portland Timbers (Previous: 7)
The Portland Timbers move up one spot to No. 6 thanks to FC Dallas' loss to the Seattle Sounders on Saturday. Portland is still above Dallas in the Western Conference standings and are in better form, which is why the Timbers are sixth this week.
The Timbers have a chance to climb into the top five against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday.
5. Toronto FC (Previous: 5)
Toronto FC has won three games in a row and has lost just once in its last seven matches. The Reds slipped to fourth place after Orlando City SC's victory this past weekend, but TFC can recover against New York City FC on Saturday.
NYCFC has also shown dramatic improvement recently, so this should be an intriguing game.
4. D.C. United (Previous: 4)
It was not a great day for D.C. United against Orlando City SC on Sunday. Despite Bill Hamid saving a penalty, Kaka managed to bury the rebound and D.C. had a shout of their own in the first half.
Even though D.C. lost 1-0, United is still leading the Eastern Conference, which is why they remain at No. 4 for this week.
D.C. faces the New England Revolution on Sunday in a meeting between the top two teams in the East. It could make or break United's spot in the top five.
3. Vancouver Whitecaps (Previous: 3)
The Vancouver Whitecaps remain in third after a bye week. The Whitecaps have won two of their last three games, but have a tough test against the New York Red Bulls on Saturday.
Striker Octavio Rivero hasn't scored since May 9 against the Philadelphia Union. However, Vancouver is still finding ways to win despite their forward's struggles, which is necessary over the course of a long and grueling season.
2. Sporting Kansas City (Previous: 1)
There are few teams who are in better form than Sporting Kansas City at the moment. It seems unfair to demote SKC to No. 2 despite not playing, especially with its run of form.
However, due to the Sounders' emphatic 3-0 win over FC Dallas on Saturday night, SKC falls to second in the rankings this week.
1. Seattle Sounders (Previous: 2)
The Seattle Sounders are back on top of the power rankings after a brilliant performance against FC Dallas on Saturday. The 3-0 win also moved the Sounders to the top of the Supporters' Shield standings.
The Sounders played against a depleted Dallas squad, but the Sounders also had a couple of notable absentees. Midfielder Osvaldo Alonso was hurt, striker Obafemi Martins was on the bench and Marco Pappa was away on international duty.
Head coach Sigi Schmid also rotated his team to accommodate the U.S. Open Cup match against the Portland Timbers on Wednesday. Winning by a three-goal margin with those absences is a massive achievement.