2015 Major League Soccer Power Rankings, Volume VIII: Playoff Edition

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There’s only need for eight spots on our Power Rankings after Portland, Seattle, Montreal and DC dispatched with their knockout round opponents over the last 36 hours.

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So who is coming into the final few weeks with the best chance to come out on top and win the MLS Cup? Surely the teams which go into the next round with more rest than their opponents should be favored, but in what order?

Note: This was way harder than expected.

RANKING Up/Down
source: 1 UP 4 FC Dallas: Well, well, well… Oscar Pareja’s bunch hasn’t lost since the calendar found October. They have home-field advantage, but can they beat a team they’ve yet to beat this season in Seattle (1L-1T)?
source: 2 New York Red Bulls: I’m done betting against Jesse Marsch and any iteration of the RBNY, even if their postseason history isn’t much of anything. Things feel different now. Dax McCarty’s star could explode during these playoffs.
Seattle Sounders logo 3 UP 8 Seattle Sounders: Remember when Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins were out injured and Seattle was playing poorly? They aren’t any more, on both counts. Sure, the Sounders will have to overcome using their legs for 90 more minutes than FCD, but Seattle hasn’t lost to the Texas side this season.
source:
4 Vancouver Whitecaps: Carl Robinson’s side has been poor down the stretch, and form is a big part of the playoffs. That said, a week off and a Cascadia Cup rival will have spirits high. The Caps went 1W-2T against the Timbers this season. Over two legs, it feels right to favor the Canadian club.
source: 5 UP 1 Columbus Crew: Berhalter’s bunch shutout Toronto and DC to leap into second place, and those playoff-type atmosphere in the Crew’s room will benefit it moving forward. But they slip to No. 5 because Montreal’s looking downright deadly. Toss up over two legs here.
500px-Montreal_Impact_(MLS)_logo 6 UP 10 Montreal Impact: Mauro Biello is pushing all the right buttons, but it’s important to note that it’s not difficult to push the “having Didier Drogba” button. Four-straight wins when it mattered, and three of them were shutouts.
Portland Timbers logo 7 UP 7 Portland Timbers: Won three-straight to earn the No. 3 seed, and needed every ounce to beat Sporting KC in the knockout rounds. Is there enough in the tank to beat Vancouver for the first time this year, and do it over two legs?
source: 8 UP 1 DC United: An old-school rivalry rolls onward with DC vs. NY, albeit with a few different faces. The sides were very even this season. Can DC pull an upset?