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MLS Power Rankings, Week 19: A week of mediocrity

It was an up-and-down week for most teams in MLS.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rapids may just be one of the strangest sports teams in America right now...

1. Colorado Rapids (up two places)

  • 37 points, 2nd in West
  • 2nd in Shield race
  • Last result: Colorado 1-0 KC

... but they still sit at first in our Power Rankings, after another solid, if unspectacular win over Sporting Kansas City. Defensive solidity and the ability to find goals from all over the field have given the Rapids the highest points-per-game average in the league. What one could once pass off as a fluke can be ignored no longer, apparently Pablo Mastroeni is a genius. The Rapids are for real, get used to it.

2. NYCFC (up three places)

  • 33 points, 1st in Eastern Conference
  • 3rd in Shield race
  • Last result: Montreal 1-3 NYCFC

It pains me to do this, but the fact is New York City FC are good this year. They are not DC United of the late 90's. They are not the '98 Chicago Fire. They are not the Galaxy in the prime of the Beckham years. They are not even Real Salt Lake of 2009-2012, but they are a good team.

Their holes are numerous and their flaws glaring at times, but in a weak Eastern Conference, they are good and more importantly, they are somewhat consistent.

3. LA Galaxy (up one place)

  • 32 points, 3rd in West
  • 4th in Shield race
  • Last result: LA 1-0 Houston

The LA Galaxy really scare me sometimes. As a New York Red Bulls fan, the Galaxy's ability to mesh starpower with one of the best coaches in the league, all while having half a dozen prime teenage talents under contract really is scary. They were a fantastic team yesterday (yesteryear), they are a pretty darn good team today (as their charge up the table shows), and they are better positioned to be a great team for the next ten years than anyone else in Major League Soccer.

4. FC Dallas (down three places)

  • 40 points, 1st in Western Conference
  • 1st in Supporters' Shield race
  • Last week's result: Seattle 5-0 FC Dallas, FC Dallas 3-1 Chicago

Oscar Pareja does not care about goal differential, but these Power Rankings do! Dallas remains at first place in the West and in the Shield race thanks to a 3-1 win over Chicago but being routed 5-0 by Seattle cannot be easily forgotten. Dallas is still a fantastic team and are the likely favorites in MLS this year, but they certainly have had a few real head-scratching performances this year.

5. Portland Timbers (up one place)

  • 29 points, 6th in West
  • 8th in Shield race
  • Last week's results: Portland 1-1 Montreal, Portland 3-1 Seattle

In a congested week Portland managed to emerge relatively unscathed. In fact, they were one of only three teams who managed to bring four points out of this week. Portland looked lively against Seattle in their derby win, and while they struggled out of the gate this year, one can still see the remnants of the team that brought home MLS Cup last fall.

6. Vancouver Whitecaps (up four places)

  • 29 points, 5th in West
  • 7th in Shield race
  • Last week's results: Vancouver 2-0 RSL, Vancouver 2-2 Orlando

A tie against hapless Orlando City is not a great look, but the fact is four points out of six is not half bad. The Whitecaps are certainly a work in progress, but with Canadian internationals Marcel De Jong and David Edgar joining the team to shore up the defensive half, they look to be on track. A star striker would make them one of the most dangerous teams in MLS. Now it's just up to them to find one.

7. New York Red Bulls (up nine places)

  • 28 points, 3rd in East
  • 9th in Shield race
  • Last week's results: RBNY 2-0 Orlando, Union 2-2 RBNY

Of the three teams to come out of this past week with four points, the New York Red Bulls were the only team to gain any on the road. Despite the draw in Philly feeling like a loss, with head coach Jesse Marsch saying as much, the fact is the Red Bulls are a lot better off than they were a week ago. The team's defense is a problem and the attack is not exactly dazzling either, but if reinforcements do arrive RBNY may well break into a sprint down the stretch.

8. Philadelphia Union (up one place)

  • 30 points, 2nd in East
  • 5th in Shield race
  • Last result: Union 2-2 RBNY

A draw at home is not a great result for the team theoretically challenging NYCFC for Eastern Conference supremacy. However, those around them seem to have done much, much worse. With the summer transfer window now open and Maurice Edu getting closer and closer to full health, the Union are only getting better.

9. Montreal Impact (down two places)

  • 26 points, 4th in East
  • 11th in Shield race
  • Last week's result: Portland 1-1 Montreal, Montreal 1-3 NYCFC

Wins are few and far between for Montreal at the moment. Realistically they should be lower on this list, but this parity-filled league just doesn't have anyone able to take their place at the moment.

Montreal had their moments against NYCFC, but they thoroughly deserved to lose that game. They also thoroughly deserve to be dropping down this list if they don't find their form soon. The potential is there, but the execution is most certainly not.

10. New England Revolution (up one place)

  • 23 points, 6th in East
  • 14th in the Shield race
  • Last result: Revs 0-0 RSL

An average performance from an average team earns the Revs a promotion in a league and week riddled with disappointments and unfulfilled potential. Considering how bad the Revolution's defense has been at points this year, a draw and clean sheets against an offense as dynamic as Salt Lake's has to be considered a victory.

While most teams would consider a scoreless draw at home an opportunity lost, most teams are not the New England Revolution. As it stands the Revolution are tied for last in the league with a -7 goal differential while also giving up the fourth-most goals in the league at 33. So is to say a clean sheet is a job well done. Where is that AJ Soares guy hanging out anyways?

11. Real Salt Lake (down three places)

  • 30 points, 4th in West
  • 6th in Shield race
  • Last week's results: Vancouver 2-0 RSL, RSL 0-0 NE

RSL needs that fabled incoming centerback, sooner rather than later. Since the beginning of the winter transfer window, Salt Lake GM Craig Waibel has been talking about the theoretical incoming international centerback that would make Salt Lake a finished product. While Justen Glad has certainly come a long way in that time, the addition has yet to materialize.

As Real Salt Lake appears to be stuttering around the midpoint in the year, it is an addition that could really turn around Salt Lake's performances. Either that or a time machine to make Javier Morales five years younger.

12. Chicago Fire (up five places)

  • 17 points, 10th in East
  • 20th in Shield race
  • Last week's results: Chicago 1-0 SKC, Dallas 3-1 Chicago

My soft spot for the Chicago Fire continues to show. For starters, despite Dallas' horrid display at Seattle earlier in the week, one could not blame any team for losing in Dallas. No matter what the result was in Seattle, Chicago faced a much stronger and a very motivated FCD on Saturday. Add oto that Chicago's abysmal away record over the last three years and it is understandable why this result was practically a forgone conclusion.

However, it is the other result this week that pushes Chicago up five places in these Power Rankings. A 1-0 win is nothing to scoff at, even though Sporting Kansas City has been having a lackluster season. The Fire are 3-2-0 in their last five games, they are on the way up, granted they couldn't have gotten much lower.

13. Sporting Kansas City (down eleven places)

  • 28 points, 7th in West
  • 10th in Shield race
  • Last week's results: Chicago 1-0 KC, Colorado 1-0 KC

Just when one may be led to think SKC had turned a corner, this week happened. Two goalless performances led to two losses and as such Kansas City plummets down the rankings. From the pinnacle of consistency in MLS over the last few years, Sporting Kansas City has fallen dramatically, hence the pinballing around these Power Rankings.

14. San Jose Earthquakes (up six places)

  • 25 points, 8th in West.
  • 12th in Shield race
  • Last result: Quakes 2-1 TFC

After losing back-to-back games the Earthquakes turned around and overcame Toronto FC to get back in the win column. The Earthquakes have some long-term issues surrounding Designated and aging players, especially at centerback, but at the moment they appear to be supremely average. Congratulations, you're a Dominic Kinnear team!

15. Seattle Sounders (up three places)

  • 20 points, 9th in West
  • 17th in Shield race
  • Last week's results: Sounders 5-0 Dallas, Portland 3-1 Seattle

Seattle's thorough dismantling of the best team in the league would mean a lot more if they didn't turn around and get thoroughly abused by Portland in a rivalry match. And if Oscar actually cared about goal differential. Clint Dempsey is back from international duty, and if he can play consistently and create a real partnership with Jordan Morris then Seattle will likely be climbing these rankings in the weeks to come.

16. Toronto FC (down two places)

  • 24 points, 5th in East
  • 13th in Shield race
  • Last week's results: Columbus 1-1 TFC, San Jose 2-1 TFC

A tie with a Columbus team that is struggling to be even a shadow of its former self and a loss to an average San Jose means Toronto is falling down the rankings. Injuries and call-ups have decimated Toronto this year, but there looks to be a light at the end of that tunnel. Jozy Altidore is supposedly almost healthy, and his hold-up play should allow Sebastian Giovinco to find his form. If Alex Bono can recapture the heroics of his Syracuse career, then Toronto should be turning this ship around.

17. Columbus Crew (up three places)

  • 18 points, 9th in East
  • 19th in Shield race
  • Last week's results: Columbus 1-1 TFC, Columbus 1-1 DC

Good news: the Columbus Crew managed to score two goals this week! Bad news: they have not won in MLS since late May. Good news: they didn't lose this week! Bad news: still didn't win either. Worse news: this is all kind of embarrassing when one looks at the heights of last season that Columbus has fallen from.

18. Houston Dynamo (down one place)

  • 18 points, 10th in West
  • 18th in Shield race
  • Last result: LA 1-0 Houston

Whisper it: Houston isn't good, but it's not their fault. It at least not the players/coaches fault. Owen Coyle was handed a mediocre roster and made a poor team out of it. Now that Wade Barrett's in charge he's managed to make an average roster look average. Job well done!

However, that doesn't make Houston any good. Houston will need a roster rebuild to truly be competitive any time soon considering their team of aging veterans, journeymen, and Will Bruin.

19. Orlando City (down 6 places)

  • 22 points, 8th in East
  • 16th in Shield race
  • Last week's results: New York 2-0 Orlando, Vancouver 2-2 Orlando

Jason Kreis may be incoming, but even his coaching heroics may be too much to turn around this club anytime soon. With rumors abound about front office incompetence and infighting, as well as hideous on-field displays, unless Kreis can seemingly divinely heal Kaka this team could be in for some hurt as the season winds on.

20. D.C. United (down five places)

  • 22 points, 7th in East
  • 15th in Shield race
  • Last result: Columbus 1-1 DCU

Is there a more boring team in Major League Soccer than D.C. United? ....... What? Sorry, I just fell asleep thinking about it.