By Avi Creditor
October 21, 2013
Red Bulls coach Mike Petke could deliver hardware to both his club and himself in the next week.
Mike Stobe/Getty Images
Week 34 MLS Power Rankings
New Rank Old Rank Team
1 1 New York Red Bulls (16-9-8)
Red Bulls fans are a result away from seeing the empty trophy case at Red Bull Arena receive its first entry. Compared to all of the scenarios and stipulations surrounding other teams, things are rather straightforward for New York: Following a 3-0 triumph at Houston, the Red Bulls can collect the Supporters' Shield with a win in their season finale at home against the Chicago Fire.
2 2 Real Salt Lake (15-10-8)
Nick Rimando made known his intentions to seal up a Goalkeeper the Year award with his showing late in RSL's 0-0 draw against Portland, one that cemented the club's long-earned place in the playoffs. RSL finishes up its season against Chivas USA while fighting for seed positioning before heading back into contention for another trophy following its U.S. Open Cup disappointment.
3 3 Portland Timbers (13-5-15)
Portland is heading to the playoffs for the first time in its three-year MLS existence, with Seattle's loss to FC Dallas prior to Saturday's 0-0 draw with Real Salt Lake sealing the deal. Caleb Porter's side can cement first place in the Western Conference with a win over Chivas USA on Saturday and still has an outside shot at the Supporters' Shield, provided that New York and Sporting KC slip up in their respective finales.
4 4 Sporting Kansas City (16-10-7)
Sporting KC's hopes of snatching the Supporters' Shield are still alive following a 1-0 victory over D.C. United. USL PRO goal machine Dom Dwyer scored the lone tally Friday night, and if the Red Bulls lose or draw against Chicago, Sporting KC would collect the Shield with a win in Philadelphia. Prior to that, though, the club must focus on its CONCACAF Champions League clash with Olimpia on Wednesday, with advancement to the knockout stage on the line.
5 5 LA Galaxy (15-11-7)
The Galaxy did not get the result they were hoping for, but Sunday's 0-0 draw with San Jose was enough to clinch the 15th postseason berth in club history. Landon Donovan remains tied with Jeff Cunningham for the MLS all-time lead in goals, taking his tally of 134 with him to Seattle to face Clint Dempsey and the Sounders in next Sunday's star-studded season finale.
6 6 Colorado Rapids (14-10-9)
Colorado has all but clinched a playoff spot following a vital 3-2 win over Vancouver. Fresh off World Cup qualifying disappointment with Panama, Gabriel Torres turned the page with an excellent showing and a game-winning goal, one that has the Rapids on the verge of postseason return. The club can afford to lose its season finale and still make the playoffs as long as it does not somehow score 12 fewer goals than San Jose.
7 7 Seattle Sounders (15-12-6)
The Sounders clinched a playoff spot, but not on their own volition. A 2-0 loss at FC Dallas was the club's fourth consecutive defeat, as doubt continues to rise regarding the club's postseason chances. Clint Dempsey remains without a goal as he plays through a shoulder injury, and the overall lack of sharpness remains astounding. In order to avoid playing in the wild card round, Seattle needs a win over LA in their anticipated season finale.
8 10 Chicago Fire(14-12-7)
The Fire are quite alive heading into the final week of the season, and it is no surprise that the club has Mike Magee to thank for that. His Panenka penalty kick provided the difference in a 1-0 win over Toronto FC that has the club currently in fourth place in a muddled mess of an Eastern Conference. Simply put, a win in New York would seal the deal for Chicago, while anything else requires scoreboard watching and prayers.
9 11 New England Revolution (13-11-9)
Diego Fagundez is the Little Engine That Could that is driving the Revs back to the postseason. The 18-year-old's latest goal netted three gigantic points for New England, which can clinch a playoff berth with a second straight win over the Columbus Crew in its season finale. Fagundez's numbers aren't as gaudy as those of Mike Magee or Marco Di Vaio, but he certainly merits a place in the MVP conversation alongside the two 20-goal scorers.
10 12 Montreal Impact (14-12-7)
Two ends of the player spectrum helped the Impact come from behind to inch closer to the club's first MLS playoff berth. 37-year-old Designated Player Marco Di Vaio's 20th goal brought Montreal level with Philadelphia, while 21-year-old Homegrown Player Karl Ouimette's late header won it, as the Impact snapped a six-game winless streak at the perfect time.
11 8 Houston Dynamo (13-11-9)
The Dynamo might not even get a chance to play their way to a third straight MLS Cup final. A 3-0 home dud against New York has left Houston needing a win and some help just to crack into the postseason party. Fortunately for the Dynamo, they get last-place D.C. United in the season finale, but a three-point haul will need to be paired with a slip-up by Montreal, Chicago or New England to keep Dom Kinnear's side alive.
12 9 Philadelphia Union (12-11-10)
The Union had the lead on Montreal in a game the club just had to have, but a pair of second-half concessions, including one in the final minutes, left the club with no points and little hope of making the playoffs. Now Philadelphia needs a result against Supporters' Shield-chasing Sporting Kansas City and a boat load of help to avoid missing out on the postseason for the second straight season.
13 13 San Jose Earthquakes (13-11-9)
The Goonies are on expiring life support. San Jose needed a three-point haul at LA on Sunday night, but the scoreless draw left the Earthquakes needing a win and a Colorado loss while making up a goals scored deficit of 12 to sneak back into the postseason. In other words, it's not happening. San Jose's horrid start wound up being too much to overcome, but interim manager Mark Watson did plenty to stake a claim to the permanent coaching job after taking over for Frank Yallop.
14 14 Vancouver Whitecaps (12-12-9)
All that potential on that roster, and Vancouver will still miss out on the playoffs. Needing a result in Colorado, the Whitecaps fell 3-2 to get eliminated from postseason contention. Not even another Kekuta Manneh wonderstrike or Camilo goal could keep the club alive heading into the final weekend. The 'Caps return home for a farewell finale instead of a potential playoff coronation ceremony.
15 16 FC Dallas (11-11-11)
FC Dallas gave manager Schellas Hyndman a send-off present, defeating Seattle 2-0 in his final home game on the bench before stepping aside. The result did not come without some serious eyebrow raising, as infighting between Jackson and David Ferreira at the end of the first half raised plenty of questions about the club's internal issues. Matt Hedges and Michel put the attention back on the field, though, with goals that salvaged some pride heading into the final game of the season.
16 15 Columbus Crew (12-16-5)
Columbus' faint playoff hopes were extinguished in New England, despite a goal and assist each from Dominic Oduro and Aaron Schoenfeld. The Crew can exact some payback by topping the Revs in their season finale and preventing them from making the playoffs, but the tall task facing interim manager Brian Bliss after taking over for Robert Warzycha proved to be too much to complete.
17 17 Chivas USA (6-18-8)
Chivas USA was off this weekend, but the rested side will have a chance to have a big say in how the Western Conference seeding shakes out with final games against Real Salt Lake and Portland remaining this week. The Goats have taken a combined one point off of both of those sides in their four meetings thus far though and will be hard pressed to cause either motivated side to slip up.
18 18 Toronto FC (5-17-11)
A questionable penalty call left Toronto FC on the wrong end of yet another result, with the club falling 1-0 to Chicago. The Reds are fighting to the end though, and they can still have a say of sorts in the final week with a clash against Montreal. It would take a series of results for the Impact to miss the playoffs and ensure no Canadian presence in the postseason, but a loss to TFC is the biggest piece of that puzzle.
19 19 D.C. United (3-23-7)
D.C. is another poor result away from becoming the new standard for MLS regular season futility following Friday night's 1-0 loss at Sporting Kansas City. There is more incentive to get a win in the season finale than just avoiding the dubious section in the league record book though. D.C. could prevent the Houston Dynamo -- the club that ended D.C.'s playoff run last season -- from making the playoffs again with a shock win at RFK Stadium.

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