MLS Power Rankings: LA Galaxy Slip After a Wasteful Outing
Week 28 in MLS was relatively straightforward. The New York Red Bulls, Vancouver Whitecaps and FC Dallas all earned wins, but the LA Galaxy failed to keep pace.
The Galaxy's draw against the Montreal Impact has given other teams the opportunity to pass them in this week's power rankings.
The following criteria will be used to determine each team's ranking:
- 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: 20)
The Chicago Fire scored multiple goals for the third time in four games, but it was the New York Red Bulls who emerged victorious 3-2 on Friday.
The Fire took the lead after Kennedy Igboananike won a penalty, which Jeff Larentowicz converted. David Accam then doubled the advantage just 12 minutes later. However, the defense capitulated once again and allowed the Red Bulls to score three unanswered goals.
This is usually the case with the Fire. They're excellent on one end of the pitch, but are mindless on the other side. Even if Chicago earned a point, it would've been a favorable result.
Chicago's winless skid now stands at three games. It also has a league-worst 27 points, which is why the Fire remain at No. 20.
19. New York City FC (Previous: 16)
Normally when a team's designated players are unavailable, they're desperately missed.
All three of New York City FC's star players were off the field against FC Dallas by the 66th minute. NYCFC lost 2-1, but the visitors were significantly stronger without David Villa, Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo.
Apart from Villa, none of NYCFC's designated players have made a positive impact. Lampard was his usual sluggish self and Pirlo looked isolated. The Italian is also defending more than he's used to, which is not his strongest attribute.
The result left New York City ninth in the table, slipping further away from the playoffs. This was the expansion side's fourth-straight game without a victory, which has led to their demotion in the power rankings.
18. Philadelphia Union (Previous: 17)
The Philadelphia Union's 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Columbus Crew was a cruel blow to their playoff chances. However, a five-minute lapse in concentration let down the Union.
On the other hand, Columbus goalkeeper Steve Clark pulled off a few spectacular saves to keep his team in the lead. Tranquillo Barnetta and Sebastien Le Toux each had a couple of opportunities.
This defeat keeps Philadelphia two points away from a postseason berth. With the Impact holding four games in hand, the Union appear powerless. This latest loss drops them to No. 18.
17. Colorado Rapids (Previous: 15)
The Colorado Rapids ended their week with a 1-1 draw against D.C. United on Saturday. The Rapids were coming off a 2-0 defeat on the road to the Vancouver Whitecaps on Wednesday.
Colorado's attack was lacking in many areas on Wednesday, especially finishing. Juan Ramirez was able to evade Vancouver's defenders, but scuffed a couple of shots. Eventually, the Whitecaps took advantage of a disorganized back line.
The Rapids responded well versus D.C., though. Bobby Burling caught goalkeeper Bill Hamid off guard with a shot through traffic on the opening goal. If it wasn't for another lapse in concentration in the 87th minute, Colorado might have picked up a win.
This defeat leaves Colorado at the bottom of the Western Conference. The Rapids faced two of MLS' best teams, but they were flat against the Whitecaps. That drops them to No. 17.
16. Houston Dynamo (Previous: 14)
The Houston Dynamo was dominated at home by Real Salt Lake. The visitors won 3-1 on Saturday night, which kept the Dynamo six points away from the playoffs.
The Dynamo struggled to contain RSL's attack, led by Javier Morales. Apart from a Brad Davis penalty and a couple of scattered chances, Houston was no match.
RSL and the Dynamo are now level on points in the Western Conference. Houston was missing three starting defenders, but the Claret and Cobalt were missing Chris Schuler. The Texan side has earned just one win in its last five matches, so it slips to No. 16.
15. Real Salt Lake (Previous: 19)
Real Salt Lake earned its second win in three games after defeating the Houston Dynamo 3-1 on Saturday.
Despite the loss of Chris Schuler, RSL's defense stayed relatively compact. However, it was the attack that stole the headlines.
Juan Martinez, the club's newest designated player, recorded his first MLS goal. His fellow Argentine, Javier Morales, scored one of his own and provided the assist for Martinez.
If this RSL attack can replicate these performances, it has a real chance at making the playoffs. The dominance up front and their superior form allows the Claret and Cobalt to pass Houston and move up to No. 15.
14. Orlando City SC (Previous: 18)
Orlando City SC was desperate for points on Sunday against another struggling side in Sporting Kansas City. The expansion side picked up a 3-1 win to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Kaka was absent, but it didn't deter Orlando. Adrian Winter opened the scoring after just three minutes via a free-kick. The hosts continued to press Sporting KC after Krisztian Nemeth equalized the game before the hour mark.
After Cyle Larin and Lewis Neal missed a pair of tremendous opportunities, two substitutes connected. Brek Shea returned and assisted Bryan Rochez to make it 2-1. Rochez then won possession before Winter added his second of the night.
Orlando City was resilient and head coach Adrian Heath made smart substitutions that paid off. SKC is still a strong side and it was a solid win, which is why Orlando deserves the No. 14 spot.
13. Montreal Impact (Previous: 13)
The Montreal Impact picked up a valuable road point against the LA Galaxy with a 0-0 draw on Saturday.
Montreal actually had a couple of opportunities to win this game. Didier Drogba managed to dribble his way into the Galaxy penalty area and almost scored an exquisite goal.
Andres Romero was, supposedly, offside early in the first half when he found the back of the net. However, he might have been level with LA's back line.
Nonetheless, a draw at the home of the defending champions is a great result. Montreal has also earned four points from two matches since Mauro Biello was named interim head coach. However, due to some poor finishing, the Impact stays at No. 13.
12. Toronto FC (Previous: 10)
Toronto FC suffered a 3-1 defeat against the New England Revolution on Sunday. Despite controlling the majority of the possession, TFC struggled to create quality scoring chances.
The Reds also failed to prepare for the Revolution counterattacks. Conceding space to New England is not a wise strategy. Coughing up possession near the goal isn't very effective, either.
TFC should still qualify for the playoffs, but back-to-back defeats and sloppy defensive performances has led to Toronto's demotion to No. 12 this week.
11. San Jose Earthquakes (Previous: 12)
The San Jose Earthquakes needed to defeat the Seattle Sounders to move back into a playoff position. They ended up settling for a 1-1 draw on Saturday night.
Fatai Alashe scored the opening goal off a Matias Perez Garcia free-kick and it appeared to be enough to claim all three points. However, the Sounders responded with a carbon copy of San Jose's strike.
The defending was questionable on both goals, but especially during the equalizer. The initial header could've been cleared and Obafemi Martins wasn't marked tightly enough.
A draw is still a decent result for the Earthquakes. San Jose's game in hand over the Sounders moves the team up one spot. However, the Quakes' failure to win their last two games means they have to stay below Seattle.
10. Seattle Sounders (Previous: 11)
The Seattle Sounders held the San Jose Earthquakes to a 1-1 draw on Saturday, but it was a costly point.
Center-back Roman Torres and striker Nelson Valdez both suffered injuries. Torres has since been ruled out for the season with a knee injury.
Seattle is still in fourth place with 42 points. Since the Sounders earned a point on the road and are unbeaten in three straight games, they are now in the top 10.
9. Portland Timbers (Previous: 9)
The Portland Timbers' winless skid now stands at three games after a 0-0 draw with Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday.
Despite losing just once in their previous six matches, the Timbers are still precariously close to the bottom-four spots in the Western Conference.
The Timbers were missing four of their usual starters in the heart of midfield and the back line versus SKC. It didn't faze Portland, who heavily outshot Sporting. Several crucial saves from goalkeeper Tim Melia kept the match level.
There's quality up front and the Timbers have a few scoring options. However, only the Colorado Rapids (26) have scored fewer goals than Portland's 29 this season. The team must improve in the final third if they hope to make the playoffs.
Due to the absences at the back and in midfield, Portland remains at No. 9 this week.
8. Sporting Kansas City (Previous: 5)
Sporting Kansas City had a few games in hand over half of the Western Conference as recently as Aug. 19. Since then, Sporting has failed to win a single match.
SKC's 0-0 draw with the Portland Timbers on Wednesday was the team's first point August 15. It was also the last time Sporting KC won an MLS game.
Goalkeeper Tim Melia was tremendous and earned a point for his club on Wednesday. However, he was absent on Sunday versus Orlando City SC. Jon Kempin replaced him and the team lost 3-1.
Melia likely wouldn't have made a difference. Sloppy individual mistakes from Kevin Ellis and the rest of the back line cost SKC a road point.
Five straight matches without a victory is abysmal form. Despite the losses of Melia and midfielder Roger Espinoza, SKC still moves down to No. 8.
7. D.C. United (Previous: 8)
D.C. United's 1-1 draw on the road against the Colorado Rapids seems like a poor result, but it was a solid performance.
D.C.'s defending was resolute. Apart from Bobby Burling's strike, which found its way through traffic, the back line was hard to break down.
The attack failed to impress for the most part. However, Fabian Espindola made an impact as he assisted Steve Birnbaum's equalizer. It's clear how much more lethal United is in the final third with the Argentinian in the lineup.
Playing at altitude and earning a point isn't poor. D.C. hasn't won since Aug. 8, but this performance was more encouraging. In addition, United is still tied for first place in the Eastern Conference, hence their promotion to No. 7 this week.
6. Columbus Crew (Previous: 7)
The Columbus Crew earned a 2-1 road win against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday. It was Columbus' third win in its last four matches.
Kei Kamara scored both goals in the victory. He now has a league-high 20 goals this season. However, Kamara wasn't the only standout from Saturday's win.
Right-back Harrison Afful, who assisted the second goal, was incredible. The Ghanaian's vision has been a huge help to the forwards since arriving this summer. Afful's goalkeeper, Steve Clark, deserves some plaudits as well for his fantastic saves.
The result gave Columbus third place in the Eastern Conference, just one point behind the New York Red Bulls for the top seed. The Crew's attack cannot be contained and their current form is solid enough to move them up to No. 6.
5. LA Galaxy (Previous: 2)
The LA Galaxy appeared to be the stronger side in their 0-0 draw with the Montreal Impact on Saturday. However, the Galaxy were far too wasteful in this game.
Robbie Keane, Gyasi Zardes and Sebastian Lletget all had great chances. The Impact did as well, but the Galaxy were playing at home and should have scored at least once.
Normally, a 0-0 draw wouldn't hurt LA. However, due to FC Dallas, the Vancouver Whitecaps and New York Red Bulls earning victories, the Galaxy had to slip.
The New England Revolution's incredible form and game in hand also made it impossible to keep them below the champions this week.
4. New England Revolution (Previous: 6)
The New England Revolution may not have executed as many passes as Toronto FC, but it was the most effective side in their 3-1 win on Saturday.
TFC had the vast majority of the possession and Sebastian Giovinco even pulled off this incredible sequence. However, the Revolution utilized their speed to expose Toronto's open and fluid system.
The Revs also pressed high up the pitch even after losing the ball. This hard work forced a turnover from Michael Bradley before the third goal.
New England is now riding a seven-game unbeaten streak. The Revolution also have a game in hand over the Columbus Crew and D.C. United, which is why they move up to No. 4.
3. FC Dallas (Previous: 4)
FC Dallas asserted itself as a Supporters' Shield candidate with a 2-1 win over New York City FC on Saturday.
This victory wasn't as dominant as the 3-0 win against the Columbus Crew. However, Dallas was still able to rip apart NYCFC's midfield and back line on several occasions.
With everyone fit, Dallas is one of MLS' strongest teams. The Hoops have now won three games in a row and have a game in hand over the Vancouver Whitecaps and LA Galaxy. For that reason, the Texan side moves up to No. 3.
2. Vancouver Whitecaps (Previous: 3)
For 73 minutes, it appeared as if the Vancouver Whitecaps were going to split points with the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday. Then Cristian Techera emerged from the shadows.
Techera collected the ball on the right flank, looked up and picked out Octavio Rivero for the opening goal. It was Rivero's first strike from open play since May 9 versus the Philadelphia Union.
Techera then buried a goal of his own two minutes later. He showed great composure in the box as he kept the ball at his foot under pressure before firing past goalkeeper Clint Irwin.
This win was a great response to the 2-0 defeat against the Houston Dynamo in the last match. It also lifted the Whitecaps to the top of the Supporters' Shield standings.
However, due to the New York Red Bulls' games in hand, the Whitecaps only move up to No. 2.
1. New York Red Bulls (Previous: 1)
The New York Red Bulls are still No. 1 after a narrow 3-2 win over the Chicago Fire on Friday.
New York was down 2-0 in the first half, but came storming back to claim the victory. It was a resilient effort from the Eastern Conference leaders.
Wingers Mike Grella and Lloyd Sam couldn't be contained. They were key for the Red Bulls and it showed in the win. As long as they're fit, New York appears to be unstoppable.