2015 Major League Soccer power rankings, Volume IV: Big swings as Seattle, KC climb high


Just when you were ready to credit parity for the steady stream of new faces near the top, a couple of familiar faces have staked their claim to the summit of our Power Rankings.

This year, we’re only assessing the bunch every three weeks or so, which should provide more movement than a week-to-week assessment. And, with MLS being MLS, we are seeing some gigantic swings in form.

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On the positive side, Seattle, Sporting KC and Toronto FC are finding their preseason promise, while some clubs are continuing to provide plenty of head-scratching (What’s happened, Red Bulls?).

It’s also starting to look like this veritable “everybody makes the playoffs” set-up will make sure teams are in the race for a long, long time. New York City FC has won a single game this season, but is just a pair of wins from the sixth spot in the East. Only one team, Colorado, is more than a win out of the playoffs in the West. Ugh. Or Cool. Guess it depends which team you favor.

Here’s the new batch, different from the old batch. Check out the previous PR’s here.

source:  1 UP 4 Seattle Sounders: Looking a lot more like championship contenders after a 6-1-1 run dating back to April 18. The only blemishes? A thrilling 3-2 loss to Columbus and a draw with our No. 2 side. Gutty late win after coming back against New York this weekend. And they’ve added a new playmaker.
source:  2 UP 12 Sporting KC: A 12-place jump?!?! That takes something special, and Sporting had been drastically under-performing until recently. Was it an adjustment to the Western Conference? Maybe, but went unbeaten through four contenders including a 4-0 thumping of our last No. 1: FC Dallas. And how about Krisztian Nemeth?!?
source:  3 UP 1 Vancouver Whitecaps: Up one almost by default (see the Revs’ reasoning below for more detail). Dropped six ugly points to Seattle and Colorado before rebounding against Real Salt Lake. We’re giving credit for past performance here, but not for much longer. Winnable stretch ahead.
source:  4 DOWN 1 New England Revolution: Just four points from five matches is pretty maddening, and likely deserves a drop from No. 3, but it was a weird month at the top of the rankings. New England drew for all four of those points, including against Toronto, DC and L.A. We’ll give the reigning East champs a few weeks before dropping them. Jay Heaps wasn’t pleased with their 2-2 draw against L.A. in an MLS Cup rematch.
source:  5 DOWN 2 DC United: Stopped bleeding with a win over Philadelphia after stretch of one point through three matches. It’d be nice to see something more from Ben Olsen’s boys in the next three matches: Chicago, Toronto and Orlando.
source:  6 DOWN 5 FC Dallas: Anyone else wondering if Oscar Pareja’s bunch is destined to alternate championship and basement form for multi-week stretches in perpetuity? What did we just see against Sporting KC, Montreal and RBNY?
source:  7 L.A. Galaxy: Quality tests ahead with Vancouver and Columbus, and seven points from nine have Bruce Arena’s bunch primed for a PR jump if they can snare consecutive results (like the 2-2 draw salvaged at Foxborough this weekend).
source:  8 UP 8 Toronto FC: No Jozy, no problem. The Reds have begged us to blame their early struggles on the road-heavy start to the season, and now we’re interested in believing them. A thumping of San Jose and a take down of Portland has TFC 4-1-1 in its last six, and poised to jet up the board with a four-match run through DC (twice), Montreal and NYC. MLS Team of the Week member Sebastian Giovinco is looking like an MVP candidate.
source:  9 UP 1 San Jose Earthquakes: Just one loss in six for Dominic Kinnear’s bunch, which celebrated Chris Wondolowski’s 100th MLS goal in style. Kinnear knows how to navigate an MLS season, and it’s easy to see the Quakes continuing to improve, or at least holding their form.
source:  10 UP 1 Portland Timbers: Wins over Colorado and DC have the Timbers on an upward swing after consecutive losses. In law of averages news, the Timbers have just one draw since April. You can’t tie forever.
source:  11 DOWN 5 New York Red Bulls: That New York Derby win was fun, and hopefully the memories will last for a while, as its their only win since April 17 and came against an NYCFC team that looks quite poor.
12 DOWN 4 Columbus Crew: Still waiting for the Crew we were promised by retaining a lot of talent. Wasting a red-hot start by Kei Kamara and largely wasting an easier stretch of schedule. Montreal and Philly are next.
source:  13 DOWN 1 Houston Dynamo: The 13 spot is simply Houston being victims of a numbers game and a nine-game stretch on the results map we find hard to ignore. Could be a swing team in our next PRs by dealing well with RBNY, Portland and Dallas.
source:  14 UP 1 Chicago Fire: Are they unbeaten or three, or winners of just one in five? Chicago looks improved, and posted a convincing 3-0 win over Montreal.
source:  15 UP 3 Montreal Impact: The Impact have played just eight matches and face a six-match June — thanks, CONCACAF Champions League — that will get the Impact closer to the rest of the pack in terms of matches played, but how about points? Looking at the opponents, you’d like to see Montreal come away with 9-10 points from June.

16 DOWN 7 Real Salt Lake: Can’t figure them out at all. Losers of three of four, and looking for a real boost. After Colorado on Sunday, there’s a real tough three-match stretch that could put their season in a precarious spot.
source:  17 DOWN 4 Colorado Rapids: Was it all a mirage of form? Four-straight draws and a win over Vancouver have ceded way to losses to Portland and Seattle. There’s no shame in that, but it’s still a schedule with one win since April 10’s triumph over Dallas.
source:  18 UP 1 Philadelphia Union: A two-match losing streak which included a pair of clean-sheet wins only boosts the Union two spots? Sadly yes, and with Columbus, NYC, L.A. and Seattle ahead, the Union will travel a tough road.
source:  19 DOWN 2 Orlando City SC: Unbeaten in three, and looking to use a manageable stretch of schedule to climb back into the playoff picture. This goal, however, was really nice.

20 New York City FC: Jason Kreis has a couple ties in recent weeks, but still has just one win as NYC’s manager. With Philadelphia and Montreal on the books, Kreis and company need to manufacture some wins, but won’t have Mix Diskerud (USMNT duty).