MLS Power Rankings: Where Does Every Team Stand After Week 27?

Peter Galindo@@GalindoPWFeatured ColumnistSeptember 9, 2015

MLS Power Rankings: Where Does Every Team Stand After Week 27?

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    Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

    Only 10 of MLS' 20 teams were in action this week during the international break. However, Week 27 still produced some entertainment.

    Didier Drogba scored a hat trick in his first MLS start for the Montreal Impact. Elsewhere, Clint Dempsey returned to the Seattle Sounders lineup and scored a goal and assisted Obafemi Martins' strike in a 2-1 win against Toronto FC.

    Since half of the league wasn't in action, it gave the other teams an opportunity in this week's power rankings. As always, the following criteria determines every side's position:

    • Quality of opponent and performance
    • Recent form
    • Key absences
    • Remaining games in hand (if applicable)

    Here are the latest MLS power rankings.

20. Chicago Fire (Previous: 17)

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    Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

    The Chicago Fire were burned by the player they were reportedly pursuing. Didier Drogba scored a hat trick in his first MLS start as he led the Montreal Impact to a 4-3 win Saturday.

    There were still a couple of positives for the Fire. Gilberto earned his first goal for his new team, and the attack looked menacing throughout the match. 

    There have been few occasions when Chicago has produced a perfect performance on both sides of the pitch. This time, it was the defense that struggled. Drogba was given tons of space and was rarely marked. He capitalized on this and punished the Fire defenders.

    The Fire fall to No. 20 despite being just four points adrift of the playoffs. However, one win in their last six games and Montreal's matches in hand cannot be ignored.

19. Real Salt Lake (Previous: 19)

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    Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

    Real Salt Lake was one of 10 teams with a bye week. The Claret and Cobalt stay at No. 19, but their postseason streak is in jeopardy.

    RSL is currently eight points adrift of a playoff spot. The Eastern Conference's basement dwellers, the Chicago Fire, are only four points away. 

    However, the Western Conference is a lot tougher, and RSL is a victim of the competitiveness. As a result, their postseason hopes are quickly fading.

18. Orlando City SC (Previous: 18)

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    Orlando City SC's 3-0 loss to the New England Revolution extended the expansion side's winless streak to six games. Goalkeeper Tally Hall actually prevented a bigger blowout.

    Orlando has been outscored 17-2 over the six-game skid. Despite these damning statistics, the Lions are only two points away from the playoffs. However, the sixth-placed Montreal Impact have four matches in hand.

    This loss will increase pressure on the team. However, due to Kaka and Cyle Larin's absences, Orlando stays at No. 18 this week.

17. Philadelphia Union (Previous: 20)

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    Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

    The Philadelphia Union stunned the San Jose Earthquakes with a 2-1 win on the road Saturday evening.

    The Union have now lost just once in their previous six games. They're only a point away from the playoffs in the Eastern Conference, but the Montreal Impact have four matches in hand.

    Nonetheless, this was an impressive win. Not only have the Union improved defensively, they've also been more clinical in front of goal. Philadelphia scored twice from three shots on target versus the Earthquakes.

    A win over the previously in-form Earthquakes, coupled with the Union's recent form, lifts Philadelphia to No. 17.

16. New York City FC (Previous: 16)

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    Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

    New York City FC remains at No. 16 after a week off. Like the rest of the Eastern Conference teams outside of the top six, NYCFC is in serious danger of missing the playoffs.

    The expansion side faces five teams currently in a playoff spot over its final seven matches of the season. If NYCFC can end up qualifying for the postseason, it will be well-deserved.

15. Colorado Rapids (Previous: 15)

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    Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

    The Colorado Rapids appeared to be out of the playoff picture a few weeks ago. Now the Rapids are seven points away from a playoff spot with a game in hand over the sixth-placed Portland Timbers.

    The Rapids stay at No. 15 in the power rankings after they had a bye week. Colorado's next game will be a tough test on the road against the Vancouver Whitecaps Wednesday night. They return home Saturday to face D.C. United.

14. Houston Dynamo (Previous: 13)

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    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    The Houston Dynamo were also inactive last weekend and stay at No. 14 as a result. 

    Houston is five points away from a playoff spot with just seven games left. Their next match will be at home against Real Salt Lake on Saturday. A win could move the Dynamo within two points of sixth place.

13. Montreal Impact (Previous: 14)

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    Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

    Didier Drogba's first MLS start was as perfect a performance as a player can produce in this league.

    Drogba's hat trick led the Montreal Impact to a 4-3 win over the Chicago Fire. He also achieved a few notable accomplishments.

    After Frank Klopas was fired as head coach, Impact fans were almost split when voting on whether their team would qualify for the playoffs or miss them altogether. Montreal is still in control of their postseason fate following this victory.

    Laurent Ciman was suspended and the Impact still have games in hand over other Eastern Conference teams. For those reasons, Montreal moves up to No. 13.

12. San Jose Earthquakes (Previous: 11)

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    Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

    The San Jose Earthquakes turned heads in August after defeating three of MLS' best teams. However, September began with a whimper as the Earthquakes fell 2-1 to the Philadelphia Union on Saturday.

    San Jose controlled the first half, but didn't open the scoring until the 64th minute through a Chris Wondolowski strike. The Union stormed back thanks to a brace from substitute Conor Casey.

    The Earthquakes back line looked disorganized during the second goal. Casey was given too much space and easily scored off a header. On the other hand, San Jose's attack was wasting chances in the box all night.

    The loss prevented the Quakes from reclaiming a playoff spot. They're still just two points away, but this defeat against a weaker side means San Jose has to fall to No. 12 this week.

11. Seattle Sounders (Previous: 12)

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    Jennifer Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

    The Seattle Sounders defeated Toronto FC 2-1 on Saturday. It was the Sounders' third win in their last four games. Clint Dempsey returned and was involved in both goals as well. Order should be restored in the Pacific Northwest.

    However, the performance was worrying. The Sounders played a full-strength lineup while TFC was missing several starters due to international duty and injury.

    The Sounders were also aided by Toronto's wide-open style of play. The gap between the midfield and defense was huge, which allowed Seattle to score both of its goals.

    There's certainly room for improvement at the back. Seattle's defending was nonexistent during and after the corner for TFC's goal. Eriq Zavaleta somehow ran between numerous defenders and scored the tying goal off a free header.

    Earning a third win in four games and moving up to third in the Western Conference allows the Sounders to move up to No. 11 in the power rankings. However, they might not be as lucky in their upcoming matches.

10. Toronto FC (Previous: 10)

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    Jennifer Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

    Toronto FC nearly exited CenturyLink Field with a 1-1 draw against the Seattle Sounders. However, a late goal from Clint Dempsey left TFC empty-handed.

    Considering the personnel that were missing from Toronto, it was a valiant performance. Head coach Greg Vanney had just five substitutes as more than half of his usual starters were unavailable.

    Vanney's switch to a 3-4-3 backfired as the midfield exposed the defense to Sounders counterattacks, and the individual defenders were not experienced enough to anchor a three-man back line.

    The Reds stay at No. 10 despite the loss due to the number of players that were absent. They also have a game in hand over other playoff teams in the Eastern Conference.

9. Portland Timbers (Previous: 9)

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    Jennifer Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

    The Portland Timbers remain at No. 9, as the team wasn't in action last weekend.

    The Timbers are currently in sixth place in the Western Conference with seven games left. They only have a two-point lead with Sporting Kansas City coming to town Wednesday.

8. D.C. United (Previous: 8)

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    D.C. United is still on top of the Eastern Conference after its bye week, but their lead is getting smaller.

    The Columbus Crew and New York Red Bulls are within three points of D.C. for first place. The Red Bulls also have three games in hand over United. 

    D.C. will face the Colorado Rapids on Saturday. However, the Rapids will be playing on short rest as they play the Vancouver Whitecaps on the road Wednesday.

7. Columbus Crew SC (Previous: 6)

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    Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

    The Columbus Crew and FC Dallas were missing several players due to international duty. However, Dallas were slightly more depleted and crushed the Crew 3-0 on Sunday night.

    The Crew had an opportunity to open the scoring after 24 minutes when they earned a controversial penalty. Federico Higuain ended up blasting the spot-kick wide. 

    Roughly three minutes later, Dallas converted off a corner. It's not the first time this season that Columbus has struggled to defend set pieces.

    The bright side for the Crew is that this was their first loss since August 1. The bad news is the slip to No. 7 in the power rankings due to the New England Revolution's win.

6. New England Revolution (Previous: 7)

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    Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

    The New England Revolution thoroughly dominated Orlando City SC in a 3-0 victory Saturday night.

    Orlando City goalkeeper Tally Hall saved his team from total embarrassment, and it demonstrated just how incredible New England was on the night.

    Diego Fagundez recorded a goal and an assist in the victory. With playoffs beginning soon, Jay Heaps has a plethora of attacking options, which is a nice problem to have as a head coach.

    The Revolution are now unbeaten in six straight games, winning five in that span. They also have at least one game in hand over D.C. United and the Columbus Crew, which is why the Revs are now No. 6 in the power rankings.

5. Sporting Kansas City (Previous: 5)

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    Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

    Sporting Kansas City stays at No. 5 this week due to their inactivity in the previous round of games.

    SKC has lost three straight games, but they have a chance to move back up the standings with two matches this week.

4. FC Dallas (Previous: 4)

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    Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

    FC Dallas made history by starting five homegrown players in Sunday's 3-0 win over the Columbus Crew.

    One of those homegrowns, goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez, earned his second straight clean sheet. He was called into action when the Crew won a penalty and played a factor in forcing Federico Higuain to miss the spot-kick.

    Dallas struck just moments later off a corner from Atiba Harris. Columbus was threatening before the goal and continued the onslaught in the second half. However, the Hoops utilized their speed to score twice on the counter.

    Dallas has now won twice in a row, but that was preceded by three consecutive losses, including one against the Vancouver Whitecaps. For that reason, the Texas side stays at No. 4 in the power rankings.

3. Vancouver Whitecaps (Previous: 3)

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    The Vancouver Whitecaps remain at No. 3 in the power rankings with a match looming against the Colorado Rapids. 

    The Whitecaps trail the Los Angeles Galaxy by one point for first place in the Western Conference and in the Supporters' Shield standings. A victory will put pressure on the Galaxy later this week to keep pace with Vancouver.

2. LA Galaxy (Previous: 2)

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    The LA Galaxy are on top of the Supporters' Shield standings, and may stay there come the end of the season.

    The Galaxy will host the Montreal Impact this Saturday after a week off. With the Impact in desperate need of points, this will be a difficult match for the Galaxy. A win could help the team reclaim the top spot in the power rankings.

1. New York Red Bulls (Previous: 1)

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    The New York Red Bulls are still No. 1 after their week off.

    With just 25 games played, the Red Bulls can easily leap over D.C. United for first place in the Eastern Conference. However, Sporting Kansas City has recently proved that it's tough to have extra matches on the schedule.

    Their next match will be at home against the Chicago Fire on Friday. The Fire beat New York 3-2 on August 26, so the Red Bulls will be out for revenge this week.

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