It’s Week 34 of the MLS Regular Season. The end is nigh and plenty of teams are already looking forward to next season. Here are the Power Rankings.
It’s Decision Day Week in MLS and the Week 34 Power Rankings have been filled mostly with obituaries. Some teams have already started throwing dirt on the casket of the season, while some teams, Real Salt Lake, are just merely half-cadavers on Halloween Weekend.
Even FC Dallas is looking more zombified, regular-season pretender than overzealous playoff contender. NYCFC has a chance, much like ladies running upstairs have a chance of outmanoeuvring Micheal Myers. The Nordecke and Terminus Legion are looking lethargic while the Blue Hell is the most positive group in MLS.
Here are the Week 34 MLS Power Rankings.
Bottom of the Barrel
San Jose EarthQuakes 4-20-9
Last week: 0-0 vs Colorado Rapids
Last rank: 22
Wondolowski may have a couple years left as a 70th minute sub to poach a goal, but is that really how he wants to break the record? San Jose needs a youth movement, and there is only so much Wondolowski can teach the kids in the Quakes talent pipeline. The Quakes head into the offseason with the burden of a Wooden Spoon award yoked around the necks of the old era. New coach Matias Almeyda has his work cut out for him. The Quakes have finished with the worst record more times than any other club.
Orlando City SC 8-21-4
Last week: 2-1 W vs Columbus Crew
Last rank: 23
Sane returned and so did the backline’s confidence. That did not necessarily lead to the win, but it did lead to not carrying another loss into the offseason. Sutter has been decently average, which has been enough to stand out for OCSC recently. The front office needs to rethink the talent acquisitions, as Justin Meram and Dom Dwyer were underwhelming signings, to be kind. A goal differential of minus-30 is the worst in the league.
Chicago Fire 8-18-7
Last week: 1-2 L @ Atlanta United
Last rank: 21
If everything went right for the FIre, their ceiling was likely the sixth spot in the East. Not everything broke their way this season but there is reason for optimism. Bastian Schweinsteiger is a top-notch reader of the game and Nemanja Nikolic is capable of being a lethal Golden Boot contender. It’s the middle of the equation that is lacking. Dax McCarty is past it while Katai needs more support in the midfield attacking spaces.
Minnesota United 11-19-3
Last week: 1-3 Loss vs LA Galaxy
Last rank: 20
Minnesota will likely finish above three former MLS Cup winning teams this season. Yes, it’s a stretch but it’s about the only way to feel good about the season. For every promising signing, there was a Cristian Martinez trade to LAFC. In season three, the Loons trade in a college football stadium for a proper home. To expect to contend without making drastic changes to the defense would be indefensible, however,
Colorado Rapids 7-19-7
Last week: 0-0 @ San Jose EarthQuakes
Last rank: 19
Maybe Tim Howard and the backline aren’t washed up or being washed out of the league. Or maybe the Rapids have just had a couple of good weeks against bad teams. San Jose and Colorado played to a 0-0 tie and neither team looked very threatening. Badji and FC Dallas come to Colorado to close out the season. Can the Rapids find one thing to do well in the final game? Will Acosta and Castillo be back next season? This team has too many questions and not enough answers from head coach Anthony Hudson.
New England Revolution 9-13-11
Last week: 1-4 Loss at Real Salt Lake
Last rank: 18
Teal Bunbury, we hardly noticed you this season. While Bunbury may have had a great season, his development has plateaued and his USMNT career will be spent on the fringes. That mirrors the Revolution’s season on the fringes of contention and catastrophe. Matt Turner was a revelation in goal, Bunbury found his niche, but Brad Friedel did little more than set a bland tone in year one in charge. The offseason approach will speak volumes about what Friedel learned about off-field management this season.
Houston Dynamo 9-16-8
Last week: 2-3 Loss vs Seattle Sounders
Last rank: 17
The Dynamo failed to defend set pieces against Seattle and the season slogged on in the 2-3 loss at home. Houston has to find a way to be relevant in the city, and being relevant in the CCL competition would go a long way. The other big Houston teams have made big splashes recently. The Dynamo cannot let the goodwill of a U.S. Open Cup win go to waste like this season has.
Toronto FC 9-18-6
Last week: 0-2 Loss @ Montreal Impact
Last rank: 16
Toronto should play the kids and let the expected starters for the CONCACAF Champions League fixtures get an early offseason vacation. Alex Bono needs to regroup now that his contract is settled. Auro Jr and Altidore both have nagging injuries that need to be rested. Chris Mavigna also needs some time off and TFC needs to find proper replacements so that the core group is not pressed into action every week. The reserves could not tread water this season while the starters made a CCL run.