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MLS Power Rankings, Weeks 32 and 33: DC United takes top spot, Philadelphia Union hits bottom

DC's form has become impossible to ignore, even by Once A Metro.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Change at the top and the bottom of the Power Rankings heading into the last week of the regular season.

1. D.C. United (up two places)

  • 4th in Eastern Conference
  • 8th in Supporters' Shield race
  • Last result: DC 3-1 NYCFC

Sorry, RBNY: those nail-biting wins you're specializing in at the moment aren't a convincing display of power. DCU has the longest winning streak in the league heading into Decision Day (four games) and has done its part to decide the Eastern Conference title by beating two erstwhile contenders in back-to-back games.

2. New York Red Bulls (down one place)

  • 54 points, 1st in East
  • 3rd in Shield race
  • Last result: RBNY 3-2 Columbus

That 15-game unbeaten streak isn't nothing, it's just that it has looked a little shaky almost every week recently.

3. FC Dallas (up three places)

  • 59 points, 1st in Western Conference
  • 1st in Shield race
  • Last result: FCD 2-1 Seattle

Has Dallas snapped out of a mini-slump in time to grab the Shield? We'll find out. But two wins in a row send FCD into the last game of the regular season needing just a point to clinch its second major trophy of the year.

4. Seattle Sounders (down two places)

  • 45 points, 5th in West
  • 9th in Shield race
  • Last results: Seattle 0-0 Houston; FCD 2-1 Seattle
Losing on the road to the best team in the league is not disastrous, and Seattle should be confident about its chances of clinching a playoff place that looked out of reach at the end of August. The Sounders host spiraling Real Salt Lake on Decision Day.

5. Colorado Rapids (down one place)

  • 57 points, 2nd in West
  • 2nd in Shield race
  • Last result: Colorado 2-1 San Jose; Portland 1-0 Colorado

Lost control of the Shield race with the 1-0 loss in Portand, but still favorite to finish the season with 60 points, and that could be enough to clinch the title. Unfortunately, it will also be enough for Dallas to clinch the title. If the Shield-race leaders can get a point in LA, then the Rapids are out of luck, whether they beat Houston in their last match or not.

6. LA Galaxy (up one place)

  • 51 points, 3rd in West
  • 5th in Shied race
  • Last result: Houston 0-1 LA

The LA Times declared Houston the reason MLS doesn't need to consider implementing a relegation system, so it is possible that the Galaxy's win over the Dynamo didn't just consolidate LA's hold on third place in the Western Conference, but also kicked away the last barrier MLS had against pro/rel.

7. New York City FC (down two places)

  • 51 points, 2nd in East
  • 4th in Shield race
  • Last result: DCU 3-1 NYCFC

Soundly beaten by DC United, but hanging on to a place in the top 10 because DCU is soundly beating a lot of teams these days.

8. Portland Timbers (up seven places)

  • 44 points, 7th in West
  • 12th in Shield race
  • Last result: Timbers 1-0 Rapids

Beating Colorado isn't easy, but the Timbers held their nerve and held serve to prolong their hopes of making the playoffs to the final game of the regular season.

9. Toronto FC (down one place)

  • 50 points, 3rd in East
  • 6th in Shield race
  • Last result: Montreal 2-2 Toronto

Five games now without a win for TFC. The team has slumped out of the Eastern Conference title race, but is still guaranteed a top-three finish in the East. In isolation, a high-scoring draw on the road is good playoff preparation - you just have to ignore the winless home stand that preceded it.

10. Columbus Crew (down one place)

  • 36 points, 9th in East
  • 18th in Shield race
  • Last results: Chicago 2-2 Crew; RBNY 3-2 Crew

Threatened to fight back from three goals down against RBNY in Red Bull Arena. It didn't happen, but the Crew clings on to a top-10 spot mostly because there weren't a great many positive results in Week 33.

11. Montreal Impact (no movement)

  • 45 points, 5th in East
  • 10th in Shield race
  • Last result: IMFC 2-2 TFC
In the playoffs and still in with a shot at fourth in the East if it can beat the Revs in New England and get a favor from Orlando against DC.

12. Chicago Fire (up seven places)

  • 31 points, 10th in East
  • 20th in Shield race
  • Last results: Fire 2-2 Crew; Fire 2-1 Revs
Solid week for the Fire: eliminated both Columbus and New England from the playoffs in back-to-back games.

13. New England Revolution (down three places)

  • 39 points, 7th in East
  • 14th in Shield race
  • Last result: Chicago 2-1 Revs
If anything, the Revs are overvalued by this ranking: they were bounced out of playoff contention by Chicago. Chicago; the worst team in the league.

14. Sporting Kansas City (no movement)

  • 44 points, 5th in West
  • 11th in Shield race
  • Last result: RSL 0-0 KC
KC's recent form - one win in its last six - isn't great, but if it can beat San Jose at home in its last game of the season, it will be in the playoffs for sure. And if it can't, it doesn't deserve to be in the post-season.

15. Orlando City (up five places)

  • 38 points, 8th in East
  • 16th in Shield race
  • Last result: Philly 0-2 Orlando
Jason Kreis might stick around in Orlando if he can keep getting results like this.

16. Houston Dynamo (down four places)

  • 33 points, 10th in West
  • 19th in Shield race
  • Last results: Seattle 0-0 Houston; Houston 0-1 LA
If its picking a side, the LA Times really needs to find a better argument against pro/rel in MLS than this up-and-down-but-mostly-down Dynamo team.

17. San Jose Earthquakes (down four places)

  • 38 points, 8th in West
  • 15th in Shield race
  • Last results: Rapids 2-1 SJ; SJ 0-0 VWFC
Bouncing back down the rankings after one point from two games ended any hope of making the playoffs.

18. Vancouver Whitecaps (no movement)

  • 36 points, 9th in West
  • 17th in Shield race
  • Last result: San Jose 0-0 VWFC

Not even good or bad enough to make a move in the rankings. The 'Caps remain stubbornly irrelevant.

19. Real Salt Lake (down two places)

  • 46 points, 4th in West
  • 7th in Shield race
  • Last result: RSL 0-0 KC
It's not even possible to say with confidence that RSL will make the playoffs, though it will take a number of results to go against it on Decision Day for the fourth-placed team in the West to drop to seventh. The current six-game winless streak has threatened to turn a pretty good year bad.

20. Philadelphia Union (down four places)

  • 42 points, 6th in East
  • 13th in Shield race
  • Last result: Union 0-2 OCSC

The Union is going to the playoffs, but not in the sort of form that provides much reason for confidence about its chances. With one round left to play, Philadelphia has the joint longest winless streak in MLS (six games) and just lost to Orlando - rooted to the bottom of these Power Rankings until it had the good fortune to go to Chester - at home.