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MLS Power Rankings, Week 29: New York Red Bulls back on top

And it's time to really worry about Orlando.

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Some of the less-good teams in the league are finding the strength for a late-surge toward the playoffs, and it is wreaking havoc on the Power Rankings.

1. New York Red Bulls (up five places)

  • 48 points, 1st in Eastern Conference
  • 2nd in Supporters' Shield race
  • Last result: RBNY 1-0 Montreal

That 13-game unbeaten streak looks very impressive when it has a win at the end of it. Dropped leads and points have held RBNY off the top of the league standings and these rankings, but it hasn't lost a match in MLS since July 3.

2. Seattle Sounders (up seven places)

  • 38 points, 7th in Western Conference
  • 11th in Shield race
  • Last result: LA 2-4 Seattle

Seattle beat a Shield contender, convincingly, in its own back yard this week. And when you look at the Sounders' recent form, you realize they have lost just one of their last nine games in MLS - and won five of those. As long as Seattle remains mathematically capable of making the playoffs, it is the team no one in the league wants to play.

3. Houston Dynamo (up five places)

  • 32 points, 10th in West
  • 18th in Shield race
  • Last result: Houston 3-1 Portland

Back-to-back wins over playoff-contending opponents: the Dynamo is in its best form of the season. Sadly, it is probably too little to late for Houston's own post-season ambitions, but it looks likely to wreck a few of its opponents' dreams before the regular season is over.

4. LA Galaxy (down three places)

  • 48 points, 3rd in West
  • 6th in Shield race
  • Last result: LA 2-4 Seattle

Would have fallen further, but it isn't obvious which team is fit to take the Galaxy's place in the top four of this list.

5. Toronto FC (down one place)

  • 48 points, 2nd in East
  • 3rd in Shield race
  • Last result: TFC 1-1 Philadelphia

On the one hand, there must be respect for the fact TFC has won seven of its last 11 league games, and lost just once in that stretch. On the other, it can't be ignored that the team has now had to fight back for a draw at home in two consecutive games, and has just two points from its last three matches in its own stadium.

6. D.C. United (up four places)

  • 37 points, 6th in East
  • 13th in Shield race
  • Last result: DC 4-1 OCSC

Yes, putting four goals past Orlando is not a big deal at the moment. But just one loss in its last 10 games is a solid achievement, and DC has scored 16 goals in its last five matches. If it is able to convert that scoring power into points: it will be a top-five team on this list before the playoffs begin.

7. FC Dallas (down one place)

  • 53 points, 1st in West
  • 1st in Supporters' Shield race
  • Last result: RSL 0-0 FCD

This list is giving FCD too much credit for being top of the table and favorite to win the Shield. The main reason there is still a Shield race at all is because Dallas has picked up only two points from the last nine available. One more week without a win, and it will probably have a true fight for the Shield on its hands. So we'll give it one more week to snap out of its funk, or drop out of the top 10.

8. New York City FC (up three places)

  • 48 points, 3rd in East
  • 4th in Shield race
  • Last result: NYCFC 4-1 Chicago

Say what you like about NYCFC (and we do; believe me, we do), it is the highest-scoring team in MLS at the moment. It needs to be, because it also has the second-worst defense in the league, but those 55 goals scored have kept NYCFC in the race for the Eastern Conference title - and in with a shot at the Shield - despite that leaky back line.

9. Colorado Rapids (down four places)

  • 48 points, 2nd in West
  • 5th in Shield race
  • Last result: Vancouver 3-3 Rapids

Vancouver was a goal and a man down after 57 minutes, and a goal and a man down in injury time - and still got a point off the Rapids. This week's performance was not a convincing demonstration of power.

10. Columbus Crew (up three places)

  • 32 points, 9th in East
  • 19th in Shield race
  • Last result: Crew 2-0 Revs

Columbus has now beaten New England twice in the last month or so; ergo, Columbus is better than New England; ergo, Columbus must be above New Englad on this list: Power Rankings logic.

11. New England Revolution (down nine places)

  • 36 points, 7th in East
  • 14th in Shield race
  • Last result: Crew 2-0 Revs

Helluva fall from second on last week's list, but that is what happens when you lose to one of the worst teams in the league - a team that therefore proved that the last time it beat you wasn't a fluke.

12. Portland Timbers (down nine places)

  • 41 points, 6th in West
  • 10th in Shield race
  • Last result: Houston 3-1 Timbers

The Timbers have yet to win a league game on the road this season. This week's loss to Houston was a reminder of the effect of Portland's dire road form: it's threatening to drag the defending MLS Cup champion out of post-season contention. And the Timbers will play two of their remaining three games away from home.

13. Sporting Kansas City (up three places)

  • 43 points, 5th in West
  • 8th in Shield race
  • Last result: San Jose 1-2 KC

A clutch win for KC, who started a three-game road trip this week and started it the right way - with three points. Not just three points, but three points taken from one of the teams that was hoping to steal KC's playoff place. One more win is probably all Sporting needs now to guarantee itself a post-season.

14. Philadelphia Union (no movement)

  • 42 points, 4th in East
  • 9th in Shield race
  • Last result: TFC 1-1 Union

A tie in Toronto is a good result, but it was also the Union's fourth consecutive game without a win. It still has a points cushion over the teams below it in the East, so no need to panic about missing out on the playoffs - yet.

15. Real Salt Lake (down three places)

  • 45 points, 4th in West
  • 7th in Shield race
  • Last result: RSL 0-0 FCD

Sure, not losing to Dallas is a solid result. But RSL has now gone three consecutive games without scoring and four straight without a win. It is decelerating rapidly.

16. Montreal Impact (down one place)

  • 38 points, 5th in East
  • 12th in Shield race
  • Last result: RBNY 1-0 IMFC

It is starting to feel significant that Montreal was the last team in MLS to lose to Orlando (the team at the bottom of this list). L'Impact has one point from its last four games. If form doesn't turnaround very soon, Montreal will not be playing in the post-season.

17. Vancouver Whitecaps (up one place)

  • 35 points, 8th in West
  • 15th in Shield race
  • Last result: VWFC 3-3 Colorado

Scoring three goals against the Rapids is impressive, but conceding three goals at home is not. The Caps haven't won at home since July, and that is why they won't be in the playoffs this year.

Vancouver still has a mathematical chance of making the post-season. But even winning the three games remaining in its regular season doesn't guarantee a playoff place, and nothing about the team's current form (one win in its last 11 league games) suggests it might be capable of winning out from here.

18. San Jose Earthquakes (down two places)

  • 34 points, 9th in West
  • 16th in Shield race
  • Last result: SJ 1-2 KC
Six games since their last win, the Quakes might not even have the consolation of not being bottom of the West for much longer.

19. Chicago Fire (down one place)

  • 27 points, 10th in East
  • 20th in Shield race
  • Last result: NYCFC 4-1 Chicago

Look at that: Chicago is bad again.

20. Orlando City (no movement)

  • 34 points, 8th in East
  • 17th in Shield race
  • Last result: DC 4-1 Orlando

OCSC isn't out of the hunt for the playoffs just yet, but it has now lost three in a row, and shipped four goals in each of those defeats. This is a bad time of year for any MLS team with post-season ambitions to be cratering.