The Sounders' cold streak has come at an inopportune time with the playoffs approaching.
Cal Sport Media via AP
Week 33 MLS Power Rankings
New York Red Bulls (15-9-8) This is not a typo: The Red Bulls control their own Supporters' Shield destiny and can land the first major piece of silverware in club history by finishing off the season with wins over Houston and Chicago. Regardless, the club has already cemented its berth in the playoffs, so there is margin for error, but with seeding and trophy pride on the line, expect the Red Bulls -- unbeaten in six matches -- to go all out.
Real Salt Lake (15-10-7) RSL spent the weekend on bye, watching as Portland snatched first place in the Western Conference with its win over Seattle. RSL and Portland go head-to-head for a final time, with Jason Kreis' side maintaining bragging rights thus far from both regular season and U.S. Open Cup action. A third win in four meetings for RSL would put the club in pole position for first place in the West, considering it closes the season against Chivas USA.
(13-5-4) The Timbers sit in first place following a cathartic statement 1-0 victory over Seattle in their final Cascadia Cup clash of the year (at least in the regular season). Kalif Alhassan's goal provided the difference as Portland overcame the absence of Diego Valeri to thwart the rival Sounders, leapfrog RSL by a point and pull even with New York on points for first place in the Supporters' Shield hunt.
Sporting Kansas City (15-10-7) Sporting KC cemented a playoff berth with its 0-0 draw with Houston and Philadelphia's draw with D.C. ensuring a top-five place regardless of how the season ends. The Supporters' Shield is still in reach for the club, which also must focus on the CONCACAF Champions League. Sporting KC faces a group-deciding game against Olimpia sandwiched between its two final regular season games against D.C. and Philadelphia.
LA Galaxy (14-11-6) LA spent the weekend on bye, but it will spend more time worrying over the health and fitness of Omar Gonzalez and Robbie Keane, who had to pull out of their World Cup qualifying matches with hip and ankle injuries, respectively. The Galaxy will need to be at full strength for games against three desperate opponents -- Montreal, San Jose and Seattle -- with a playoff berth yet to be secured.
Colorado Rapids (13-10-9) Despite goal-line heroics from Clint Irwin and Drew Moor, Colorado conceded an icebreaking goal to San Jose and fell 1-0 at Buck Shaw Stadium in its midweek clash to leave just enough hope for San Jose and Vancouver of snagging a playoff berth away from the Rapids. Colorado sits in fifth place, a point clear of the Quakes and three clear of the Whitecaps -- against whom they finish the season with two consecutive games.
Seattle Sounders (15-11-6) What plagued the Sounders at the futile beginning of the season has come back to haunt them again as the 2013 campaign closes. Seattle is still almost assuredly going to make the playoffs, but going five games without a win -- including three straight losses in which it was outscored 10-2 -- is hardly the way Sigi Schmid's side wants to close out the regular season.
Houston Dynamo (13-10-9) Playing without internationally deputized Oscar Boniek Garcia and Jermaine Taylor, the Dynamo held serve at home against Sporting Kansas City, playing to a 0-0 draw. Will Bruin's early chances were either denied or missed, but the Dynamo managed to extend their unbeaten streak to five games before a headlining showdown against New York this weekend.
Philadelphia Union (12-10-10) Jack McInerney could not have picked a more opportune time to end his scoring slump. McInerney's stoppage-time goal against D.C. was his first since June 1 and ensured the Union did not drop all of the points against last-place United. Instead, Philadelphia is level with Chicago and Montreal on points, though both have an edge in the wins tiebreaker. With a matchup against Montreal up next, all is there for the taking for John Hackworth's side.
Chicago Fire(13-12-7) The Fire raced out to a 3-0 lead in Dallas before holding on for a valuable 3-2 victory. Mike Magee's MVP candidacy grew with his goal and assist, and he is now level with Marco Di Vaio atop the Golden Boot standings. Winners of two straight, the Fire are barely in fifth place and could use three points from their clash with Toronto FC to potentially ease some of the pressure off their season finale against Supporters' Shield hopeful New York.
New England Revolution (12-11-9) Captain Jose Goncalves put the Revs on his back Saturday, helping the club overcome an awful injury to Saer Sene by capturing a valuable 1-0 victory over the Montreal Impact. Goncalves' goal and marking of Marco Di Vaio helped the club move to within a point of Montreal, Chicago and Philadelphia in the standings. New England will need to take care of business against Columbus in the final two games while getting a little help to sneak into the playoffs.
Montreal Impact (13-11-7) What has happened to Marco Schallibaum's side? The Impact are reeling at an awful time, with Saturday's loss to New England extending the club's winless run to five games (0-4-1). As a result, what appeared to be a surefire playoff berth has yet to be clinched, and Montreal is in some danger of missing out with upcoming games against LA and Philadelphia to determine plenty.
San Jose Earthquakes(13-11-8) The Goonies have not said die yet and are on the cusp of completing a season-long battle to climb back into playoff positioning. San Jose's midweek 1-0 win over Colorado -- its third triumph in a row -- brought the sixth-place Earthquakes to within a single point of the Rapids and LA Galaxy. San Jose and LA square off in a California Clasico with plenty on the line this weekend.
Vancouver Whitecaps(12-11-9) Improbable Cascadia Cup champions, the Whitecaps put themselves in position to snare a playoff spot late by torching the Sounders at BC Place behind Kekuta Manneh's improbably hat trick. With two remaining games against the Rapids, Vancouver can sneak into a postseason berth for a second straight season, but it will need to reverse the scoreline from the clubs' other meeting this season, which Colorado won 2-0.
Columbus Crew(12-15-5) Columbus comes off a bye week ready to take on the Revolution in consecutive games to close the season. Mathematically, Columbus has not been eliminated just yet, but the realistic chances of the club securing a postseason berth are minuscule. However, it can at least play spoiler and take the Revs down as well in their home-and-away clashes.
FC Dallas (10-11-11) Kenny Cooper did what he could to keep FC Dallas' faint playoff hopes alive, but the club has nobody to blame but itself for falling behind 3-0 at home to Chicago with its season on the line. Officially eliminated from playoff contention, FCD is left wondering what could have -- and perhaps should have -- been after starting the season 7-1-3 and looking like a bona fide contender.
Chivas USA (6-18-8) The Goats were off following a 5-0 drubbing to the LA Galaxy the week before, and they don't play again until Oct. 23 when they try to prevent Real Salt Lake from claiming the Supporters' Shield. The following week, in the season finale, they'll try to do the same to the Portland Timbers. Either way, it's a brutal way to end an altogether brutal campaign.
Toronto FC (5-16-11) The Reds were on a bye week and have long been out of the playoff picture, but they can have a major say in who makes the postseason from the Eastern Conference with games against Chicago and Canadian rival Montreal remaining on the docket. After conceding their Canadian championship crown to Montreal this season, it surely would provide TFC with a bit of joy to potentially keep the Impact out of the playoffs.
D.C. United (3-22-7) D.C. was oh so close to spoiling the Philadelphia Union's night and snapping its latest winless stretch, but a late equalizer forced the team to settle for a 1-1 draw as that winless streak continued to 10 games. The U.S. Open Cup champs close out the season with two nationally televised games against tough opponents, with them needing a win over either Sporting KC or Houston to avoid setting a new mark for fewest wins in a season.
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