No movement at the top or bottom after the last two rounds of league play...
1. New York Red Bulls (no movement)
- 51 points, 1st in Eastern Conference
- 3rd in Supporters' Shield race
- Last result: RBNY 3-2 Philadelphia
Seattle would be top of this list but for the fact that RBNY won its last game and is now unbeaten in its last 14 MLS outings. That form would make the Red Bulls the run-away Shield winners and consensus pick for best team in the league, but for the fact the team started the season so badly that it needed to be exceptional to get back into the race for MLS silverware by the end of the year.
2. Seattle Sounders (no movement)
- 44 points, 5th in Western Conference
- 8th in Shield race
- Last results: Seattle 1-0 Chicago; Vancouver 1-2 Seattle
The Sounders have won four in a row and seven of their last 10 to make an improbable leap into the Western Conference playoff race. Barring an unlikely collapse in form, Seattle will be in the playoffs and it will be the team no one wants to play.
3. D.C. United (up three places)
- 43 points, 5th in East
- 11th in Shield race
- Last results: DC 3-0 Columbus; TFC 1-2 DCU
A three-game winning streak has put DCU squarely in control of its destiny with regard to making the playoffs. The most recent of those wins - over TFC in Toronto - suggests DC's form might also be sufficient to give it some traction in the post-season.
4. Colorado Rapids (up five places)
- 54 points, 2nd in West
- 2nd in Shield race
- Last results: Rapids 1-0 Portland; Houston 2-3 Rapids
The Rapids are now unbeaten in five and have won their last two league games, putting themselves in position to take the Supporters' Shield if they can win their remaining three matches. The coming week brings two games - against San Jose and Portland - that will decide if Colorado is the favorite to win the Shield heading into the last week of the regular season.
5. New York City FC (up three places)
- 51 points, 2nd in East
- 4th in Shield race
- Last result: Houston 0-2 NYCFC
Still not going away. Only four teams are mathematically capable of winning the regular-season title, and NYCFC is one of them. It is also one of just three left that can win the Eastern Conference - a more realistic goal. It will become favorite to win the East if it can win its next game, on the road against DCU.
6. FC Dallas (up one place)
- 56 points, 1st in West
- 1st in Shield race
- Last result: FCD 1-0 LA
After going three games without a win, FCD had let a number of teams dream of stealing in to win the Supporters' Shield - but Dallas seems to have woken up and decided it would like the trophy after all. Beating LA shut down one alleged challenger for the silverware that is still FCD's to lose. Colorado could yet take the Shield by winning its remaining games, but Dallas clearly isn't ready to give up the regular-season title yet.
7. LA Galaxy (down three places)
- 48 points, 3rd in West
- 6th in Shield race
- Last result: FCD 1-0 LA
The Galaxy may yet be the team that decides the fate of the Supporters' Shield, but the loss to Dallas determined that the Shield won't be going to LA this year. Bruce Arena isn't thought to care about much other than winning MLS Cup, so he won't be distraught about missing out on the regular season title. But the Galaxy only has one point from its last three games. If form doesn't pick up soon, LA will be limping into the playoffs and out of the top 10 of this list.
8. Toronto FC (down three places)
- 49 points, 3rd in East
- 5th in Shield race
- Last results: TFC 0-0 Orlando; TFC 1-2 DCU
A team that hasn't won any of its last four games - its last four home games, no less - really has no place in the top 10 of these Power Rankings. It is an act of extreme charity to keep TFC this high on the list, after the team coughed up its hold on the Eastern Conference with a string of sub-par performances on home ground.
9. Columbus Crew (up one place)
- 35 points, 8th in East
- 17th in Shield race
- Last results: DCU 3-0 Columbus; Columbus 3-0 Chicago
The Crew has a very remote chance of making the post-season, made more remote by the fact all three of its remaining games are on the road. And the team's loss to DC put Columbus back in its place: it is a not-great team that has found some good form recently. That form - three wins in its last four games - might not be enough to carry the Crew to the post-season, but it may yet prove to be the undoing of either or both of the MLS New York clubs. RBNY and NYCFC must play Columbus before the end of the regular season, and points dropped to the Crew may decide which of the two NY teams finishes above the other in the league this year.
10. New England Revolution (up one place)
- 39 points, 7th in East
- 14th in Shield race
- Last result: Revs 3-1 KC
After slipping up against Columbus, New England righted its playoff challenge by taking three points from Kansas City. The Revs will need to keep winning to have any hope of a post-season place.
11. Montreal Impact (up five places)
- 44 points, 4th in East
- 9th in Shield race
- Last results: IMFC 3-1 San Jose; Orlando 0-1 IMFC
Turns out Montreal is interested in making the playoffs. L'Impact hadn't posted consecutive wins in the league since April, but picked a good time to find some consistency. It now has a mathematical shot at finishing third in the East, and is a solid favorite to make the playoffs. These Power Rankings are wary of Montreal's persistent inconsistency, so L'Impact hovers outside the top 10 for at least one more week.
12. Houston Dynamo (down nine places)
- 32 points, 10th in West
- 19th in Shield race
- Last result: Houston 0-2 NYCFC; Houston 2-3 Colorado
The air came out of Houston's balloon fast. The Dynamo challenged Colorado in the only game of Week 31, but the loss revealed Houston's late-season resurgence as too little, too late. The club is bottom of the West and its remaining games are simply a chance to ruffle the feathers of some of the teams above it in the standings (Seattle, LA, and Colorado).
13. San Jose Earthquakes (up five places)
- 37 points, 8th in West
- 15th in Shield race
- Last result: Montreal 3-1 SJ; SJ 2-1 RSL
This ranking is giving San Jose way too much credit for a home win over lackluster RSL, but those three points did keep the Quakes playoff hopes alive - at least until it plays the Rapids in Colorado on October 13.
14. Sporting Kansas City (down one place)
- 43 points, 6th in West
- 10th in Shield race
- Last result: New England 3-1 KC
KC should make the playoffs, since the teams that might stop it from doing so (Portland and San Jose) don't seem nearly consistent enough to reach up the standings and take Sporting's post-season place away. But KC has won two of its last eight games, which is why Portland and San Jose still have hope of reaching the playoffs, and why Kansas City is kicking around near the bottom of the Power Rankings.
15. Portland Timbers (down three places)
- 41 points, 7th in East
- 13th in Shield race
- Last result: Colorado 1-0 Portland
Back-to-back losses have dropped Portland to the wrong side of the red line that separates playoff contenders from also-rans. Worse, those losses were both on the road. The Timbers haven't won a road game in MLS all season, and they still have one away-day ahead of them. Getting a result in Vancouver on the last day of the regular season could well be the requirement for Portland to make the playoffs and get a shot at defending its MLS Cup title.
16. Philadelphia Union (down two places)
- 42 points, 6th in East
- 12th in Shield race
- Last result: RBNY 3-2 Union
Philly has shown enough recently - tying TFC in Toronto and getting close to taking something out of a trip to Red Bull Arena - to suggest it can finish the season on a high note. The Union has two home games left to consolidate its position as a playoff-bound team and position itself as an awkward post-season opponent in the East.
But right now, it is simply a team that hasn't won a game since August.
17. Real Salt Lake (down two places)
- 45 points, 4th in West
- 7th in Shield race
- Last result: San Jose 2-1 RSL
A five-game winless run ended RSL's longshot at the Supporters' Shield, or even a top-two finish in the Western Conference. Instead, the team is languishing at the bottom end of these Power Rankings, as the worst good team in MLS at the moment.
18. Vancouver Whitecaps (down one place)
- 35 points, 9th in West
- 16th in Shield race
- Last result: Vancouver 1-2 Seattle
With hindsight, the wheels came off the 'Caps season back in May: since Portland ended a three-game Vancouver winning streak on May 22, the Whitecaps have won three league games. And it has only one league win in its last 12 attempts. The club does at least CONCACAF Champions League for consolation: it will head to the quarterfinal round of the 2016-17 edition of CCL as one of the top seeds in that tournament.
19. Chicago Fire (no movement)
- 27 points, 10th in East
- 20th in Shield race
- Last results: Seattle 1-0 Chicago; Columbus 3-0 Chicago
The only thing keeping Chicago off the bottom of this list is that there is no compelling reason to let Orlando rise. And the Fire's three-game losing streak is comprised entirely of road games. Chicago's next couple of matches are at home, where all it has to play for is pride and the need to offer its fans a reason to come back next year.
20. Orlando City (no movement)
- 35 points, 9th in East
- 18th in Shield race
- Last results: TFC 0-0 Orlando; Orlando 0-1 Montreal
Zero goals and one point from its last two games saw Orlando slump out of the playoff race. All it can do now is play spoiler for the playoff hopes of Philadelphia and (maybe) DCU - its remaining opponents - and plan for a better 2017. Firing Adrian Heath mid-season made results worse, not better: OCSC had 20 points from 16 games up to Heath's departure on July 6; the team has accumulated 15 points from the 16 league games played since.