MLS Power Rankings: Red Bulls finish on top

They started their late-season push too late to contend for the Supporters’ Shield they won last year, yet by closing out the regular season by winning a fourth straight game the New York Red Bulls held onto first place in Soccer America's MLS Power Rankings. FC Dallas, the Supporters’ Shield winner, finished second in the rankings.

Rival New York City FC blasted Columbus to overtake Colorado for third place and D.C. United, one of several teams to rest many of its regulars, held onto fifth despite losing to Orlando City.

Oct. 23
Colorado 1, Houston 1. Highlights
New York City FC 4, Columbus 1. Highlights
Orlando City 4, D.C. United 2. Highlights
L.A. Galaxy 0, FC Dallas 0. Highlights
New England 3, Montreal 0. Highlights
Philadelphia 0, NY Red Bulls 2. Highlights
Seattle 2, Real Salt Lake 1. Highlights
Sporting KC 2, San Jose 0. Highlights
Toronto FC 3, Chicago 2. Highlights
Vancouver 4, Portland 1. Highlights

Only league results are factored into the Power Rankings, which include a team’s record in parentheses and its rank last week.
1. NY RED BULLS (16-9-9), 1. With his 24th goal, Bradley Wright-Phillips captured the Golden Boot, and with his 19th assist Sacha Kljestan finished on top in that category. Alex Muyl got just his second goal since May 21 to seal the win as NYRB finished off the season on a 16-game unbeaten run and its league-best 11th shutout.

2. FC DALLAS (17-8-9), 2. The point gained at StubHub Center enabled FCD to match last year’s total of 60 points and this year that was enough to capture the Supporters’ Shield. At 4-1-3 in its last eight games, FCD is in good form. Head coach Oscar Pareja left Mauro Rosales out of the starting lineup, and so the guessing continues as to whether Rosales will replace injured playmaker Mauro Diaz once the playoffs commence.

3. NEW YORK CITY (15-10-9), 4. Off the bench, Frank Lampard earned two assists in his return and NYCFC scored three quick goals to blow open a game tied at 1-1 in the 75th minute. A goal and assist by David Villa upped his numbers to 23 and four, respectively. Keeper Erik Johansen posted six saves in his MLS debut. The No. 2 seed in the East will be tough to beat.

4. COLORADO (15-6-13), 3. Midway through the second half, after DP Shkelzen Gashi equalized, fellow DP Jermaine Jones got into a game for the first time since July 6 and landed his only shot on goal. The Rapids cranked up the attack and outshot Houston, 20-8, which is an excellent playoff tune-up for the league’s best defensive team.

5. D.C. UNITED (11-10-13), 5. United played mostly reserves in Florida with an eye on the Knockout Round. Rookie Julian Buescher, making just his third start, assisted on both goals and has done enough this season to earn some postseason minutes in the right situation. Kennedy Igboananike got his first United goal since being traded by Chicago, and veteran Alvaro Saborio netted his sixth in just 890 minutes of play.

6. SEATTLE (14-14-6), 7. Goals by Alvaro Fernandez, his first since rejoining the Sounders this season, and Cristian Roldan polished off the playoff push successfully. Nicolas Lodeiro absorbed several punishing hits, as did Roldan, as the Sounders recovered from conceding an almost immediate equalizer to close out their eighth win in the last 14 games. They ride a lot of momentum into the playoffs, yet also took advantage of a favorable schedule. Only five of those games were against playoff teams.

7. TORONTO FC (14-9-11), 6. TFC recovered sufficiently from a five-game winless streak to post a 3-2 comeback victory in which Sebastian Giovinco, in his second game back after recovering from quadriceps and adductor strains, connected on a penalty kick and assisted on another goal. But he went the full 90 minutes and faces a quick turnaround for the Wednesday Knockout-Round game against Philly. The first home playoff game in TFC history should be a memorable occasion, but Sunday’s win was its only BMO win of the last six at home.

8. LA GALAXY (12-6-16), 8. A lineup laden with backups managed just five shots overall and only one on goal but one of backups, Landon Donovan, went the full 90 for the first time since 2014. The Galaxy controlled 65.5 percent of possession yet was outshot, 13-5. A history of strong playoff showings not withstanding, the Galaxy probably can't reach MLS Cup without contributions from Steven Gerrard, Robbie Keane, and Gyasi Zardes, who are all battling injuries.

9. SPORTING KC (13-13-8), 10. Big guns Benny Feilhaber and Graham Zusi got the goals after a crucial defensive play by Matt Besler and two saves by Tim Melia kept San Jose off the board. SKC is a very average 2-2-3 heading into the playoffs and has beaten only the Quakes in the past two months.

10. NEW ENGLAND (11-14-9), 12. With virtually zero chance of making the playoffs, the Revs at least turned up the heat and got a well-deserved win. An excellent free kick by Diego Fagundez opened the scoring and he also assisted on a goal by Kei Kamara after Juan Agudelo had tallied his seventh of the season. The Revs won five of their last seven games but still accumulated only 42 points, and in any case, tying for sixth place and losing out on a tiebreaker is a major disappointment.

11. MONTREAL (11-11-12), 11. The Impact left Didier Drogba out of the18-man squad and brought Ignacio Piatti and Dominic Oduro off the bench. It has lost four of eight since beating TFC Aug. 27 and though that was a road win, Montreal needs to regroup quickly for its Knockout Round game at RFK on Wednesday.

12. PORTLAND (12-14-8), 9. The winless away season (0-11-6) ended brutally and raised more questions about what happened to the fortitude and character that carried the Timbers to a title in 2015. True, they fell behind early to a sensational strike into the top corner but seldom looked as fierce as their dire situation demanded.

13. COLUMBUS (8-14-12), 13. Crew SC collapsed in the final quarter of an hour to end a bad season on a bad note. Ola Kamara equalized with his 16th goal of the season set up by Justin Meram’s career-best 13th assist. Let the inquest begin.

14. ORLANDO CITY (9-11-14), 16. The Lions took advantage of United’s backups to win a second straight game in front of 30,022 fans. Kaka led the way with a goal and two assists, and Kevin Molino also marked both categories to end his first full MLS season on 11 goals and eight assists. For head coach Jason Kreis, the real work starts now.

15. REAL SALT LAKE (12-12-10), 14. RSL went pointless in Seattle for the sixth straight game despite firing back quickly with a Luke Mulholland equalizer in the fourth minute after falling behind in the third. Joao Plata looked incredulous when he was substituted; head coach Jeff Cassar brought on Javier Morales, Juan Martinez, and Yura Movsisyan -- perhaps as a playoff tune-up -- in the second half. With no wins in the last seven games a Wednesday date at StubHub Center looks ominous, but not impossible.

16. HOUSTON (7-14-13), 15. The season ended fittingly for the Dynamo, with a good effort against a top team rewarded by an Andrew Wenger goal, the only score registered in the last three games. Under interim head coach Wade Barrett Houston posted a 4-7-9 record. For the second time in the last three years this winter will be one of transition.

17. PHILADELPHIA (11-14-9), 17. Returning to the playoffs after a four-year absence couldn’t feel much worse. The Union failed to win any of its last seven games and at home lost a third straight to the Red Bulls. C.J. Sapong, Tranquillo Barnetta and Brian Carroll played as subs and Chris Pontius didn’t play at all. Philly heads into the Knockout Round blanked in its last two games.

18. VANCOUVER (10-15-9), 20. It took a long time, but a trade for Giles Barnes finally paid off when he scored the first two goals of a rout that destroyed Portland’s playoff hopes and claimed the Cascadia Cup on goal difference. Among the many issues to be addressed during the offseason; the ‘Caps went 2-4-4 in the last 10 home matches.

19. CHICAGO (7-17-10), 18. Two of the few bright spots for the Fire this season. Michael de Leeuw and John Goossens, scored at BMO Field and another, Arturo Alvarez, earned his career-high ninth assist. Alvarez also tied his personal best of five goals. David Accam led the team with nine goals

20. SAN JOSE (8-12-14), 19. A few early chances for Chris Wondolowski weren’t converted as the Quakes struggled to their 11th shutout of the season and finished with a league-low 32 goals. Wondo still hit double-digits in goals (12) for a record seventh straight season but he’ll by 34 next year and needs at least two reliable partners in 2017.
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