19. D.C. United – League records for all-time futility creep ever closer after yet another loss. To Chivas USA, no less.
18. Toronto FC – The Reds came close early on the West Coast but eventually succumbed in a 4-0 loss at Portland.
17. Columbus – After an initial win under interim manager Brian Bliss, the Crew settled back into what they probably are now, a team that just doesn’t have enough to make the playoffs. The Crew fell in Kansas City, 3-0.
16. Chivas USA – Erick “El Cubo” Torres has seven goals this year! His latest was the game-winner Sunday against D.C. United. What might the Goats have done if they had their exciting, young summer arrival all year?
15. Chicago Fire – Mike Magee ended his short personal scoring drought, hitting No. 15 for the season, but a late own goal did in the Fire in a 2-1 loss at Seattle.
14. Houston Dynamo – The Dynamo defense is in a very bad place, having recently conceded five to Montreal and then having given up four at home over the weekend to New York. At home!
13. Vancouver Whitecaps – The Whitecaps are 1-5-2 since mid-summer, and Saturday’s 3-1 loss in Dallas pushed Martin Rennie’s team further down in the standings. Oh, and the schedule ahead is pretty unkind, too.
12. FC Dallas – Schellas Hyndman’s team is hanging in there. Two sensational goals, including Mauro Diaz’s game-winner and Jair Benitez’s goal of the week highlighted the Red Stripes’ valuable 3-1 win over visiting Vancouver.
11. New England Revolution – Matt Reis’ fifth-minute ejection in Sunday’s loss to Montreal put the Revs behind the 8 ball quite early. The Impact eventually earned a 4-2 win at Gillette Stadium. (Which was resplendent with real grass for this one!) Diego Fagundez did get his 10th goal of the year for the Revs.
10. San Jose Earthquakes – The Earthquakes just keep climbing the Western standings, now level with fading Vancouver in the tight, playoff-chasing pack. Shea Salinas had the second half game-winner in Sunday’s late 1-0 victory over Philadelphia, the league’s Round 28 nightcap.
9. Philadelphia Union – What a frustrating night for Philly fans, forced to stay up late Sunday to watch their team, and then forced to watch their team unable to exploit 10-man San Jose for about half an hour in a 1-0 loss to the Earthquakes.
8. New York Red Bulls – The Red Bulls attacked defined efficiency in a 4-1 win at Houston. That’s two wins in a row for Mike Petke’s up-and-down bunch.
7. Portland Timbers – What a difference Will Johnson and Diego Chara make, now back on the field for Caleb Porter’s team. The Timbers got two late goals in a 4-0 romp over Toronto.
6. Seattle Sounders – Two wins at home recently minus Eddie Johnson and Clint Dempsey were a bit of a struggle, but it was “mission accomplished” nonetheless. Chicago actually supplied the own goal winner (but off of Zach Scott’s zippy, centering pass) in a 2-1 weekend triumph over Chicago.
5. Montreal Impact – These are the games that make us call Montreal a legitimate MLS Cup contender, a 4-2 win over 10-man New England. Yes, the Revs were short-handed for 85 minutes, but any two-goal win on the road has some merit. Marco Di Vaio scored twice to regain his league leadership, now with 17 goals.
4. Colorado Rapids – In fairness, the LA Galaxy was missing all three DPs. Still, Oscar Pareja’s young team got the job done, a 1-0 win in Southern California that was a sure shape-shifter in the tight MLS West playoff positioning jostle. Edson Buddle (pictured above) had the game-winner against his old team.
3. LA Galaxy – The youngsters just couldn’t get it done as a side missing Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane and Omar Gonzalez fell to Colorado, 1-0, at the StubHub Center. All three should be available to join the team in the nation’s capital, where big road points are there to be had in Round 29 against the league’s doormat, D.C. United.
2. Sporting Kansas City – Benny Feilhaber ran the midfield show once again as Sporting KC made easy work of the Columbus Crew. Matt Besler and Graham Zusi return soon to Sporting Park as the schedule sets up favorably for Peter Vermes’ team through the remainder of September.
1. Real Salt Lake – Jason Kreis’ team had a week off before three Western Conference matches that will define how far this balanced team of young and experienced can go in 2013: matches at Seattle and Vancouver, and a home contest against San Jose (as September comes and goes with just three MLS contests).