MLS Week 34 Power Rankings – Obligatory obituaries

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MLS, Zlatan Ibrahimovic

CARSON, CA – SEPTEMBER 29: Zlatan Ibrahimovic #9 of Los Angeles Galaxy celebrates his 2nd goal during the Los Angeles Galaxy’s MLS match against Vancouver Whitecaps at the StubHub Center on September 29, 2018 in Carson, California. The Los Angeles Galaxy won the match 3-0 (Photo by Shaun Clark/Getty Images)

Middle of the Road

15

NYCFC 15-10-8

Last week: 1-3 Loss @ DC United
Last rank: 14


How can NYCFC cope if David Villa goes down in the playoffs? Will Domenic Torrent make it through the offseason or will locker room mutiny force the ownership’s hand? D.S. United was also remade midseason and NYCFC was run off the pitch by Rooney and Acosta. On present form, NYCFC will be a quick playoff out.

14

Vancouver Whitecaps 12-13-8

Last week: 2-2 @ LAFC
Last rank: 15


Vancouver was on the brink. Then it bust. A big loss and a tepid tie have eliminated the Whitecaps from playoff contention. Alphonso Davies is soon off on a European adventure, while Vancouver must embrace a new day without its young star and while adapting to a new coaching style. There is hope, but also some head-scratching moments for Vancouver this season.

13

Real Salt Lake 14-13-7

Last week: 0-3 Loss @ Portland Timbers
Last rank: 12


With their season on the line, Real Salt Lake was easily cut down by the Timbers in a 3-0 loss. Now first in the clubhouse with 49 points from 34 games and a minus-3 goal differential, no one is crying foul for Mike Petke’s men. Early-season losses like the 1-5 home defeat to LAFC and late season dud’s like last week mean Real Salt Lake may have done enough to squeak into the playoffs but not enough to trouble any real contenders.
12

Montreal Impact 14-15-4

Last week: 2-0 Win vs Toronto FC
Last rank: 13


Montreal has fumbled away the last few games, and their playoff position, before beating Toronto last week. Now the Impact have to win to even have a chance. Remi Garde did well in his first season, but he needs to find more ways to free up Ignacio Piatti.
11

L.A. Galaxy 13-11-9

Last week: 3-1 Win @ Minnesota United
Last rank: 11


Zlatan is never a sleeper or dark horse candidate, until he entered the MLS MVP race. The shell of the Houston Dynamo’s season corpse visits LA for a trick or treat style game. It could be so easy the Galaxy trick themselves into overconfidence, or it could be a treat that the Galaxy get to face a third-choice Dynamo team that is already on vacation. Galaxy must have points to embrace and enjoy the playoff experience for Zlatan.
10

Columbus Crew 13-11-9

Last week: 1-2 Loss @ Orlando City
Last rank: 9


As long as the Crew are staying in Columbus and have a chance to make an MLS Cup run, they’ll stay in tenth place for the power rankings. A win against Minnesota is enough to see the Crew play an elimination game but a tie may mean an early exit after looking all but assured of a playoff spot weeks ago.
9

Philadelphia Union 15-13-5

Last week: 0-1 L @ New York Red Bulls
Last rank: 8


Philadelphia played the better half of New York to a tough 1-0 result, but a loss is a loss nonetheless. The Union get to face off against NYCFC at Yankee Stadium. A win means a home playoff game. A loss means another trip to NYC or Washington DC. The Union need the home adrenaline since they lack a consistently reliable scorer.

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