MLS Power Poll: Week 26 and the top 5 changes

It’s time for my weekly MLS Power Poll, the only MLS Power Poll that recognizes that arbitrarily ranking teams means nothing in the grand scheme of things and is done just to spark debate and not attach importance to the reporter’s ego.

1. Atlanta United (16-4-6)

Last week: 1.

Result: 2-1 win at Orlando.

With eight games remaining, just two against playoff teams, Atlanta United has a chance to obliterate the single-season points record of 69 set last year by Toronto.

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How they got here: LWWWWDWWWLWLDWDWDWLWDWWDWW.

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2. New York Red Bulls (16-6-4)

Last week: 2.

Result: 2-2 draw at NYCFC and 1-0 win against D.C. United.

The Red Bulls are the only team in MLS that can stop Atlanta United, I think.

How they got here: WLWLWLWWWWDLDWWWLWWWLWWDDW.

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3. Sporting KC (13-6-6)

Last week: 5.

Result: 2-0 win vs. Minnesota United.

Four consecutive wins and Sporting KC is pressuring Dallas.

How they got here: LWWDWWDWLWWDDWDWLLDLLWWWW.

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4. Dallas (13-5-7)

Last week: 3.

Result: 1-1 draw at Houston.

Dallas has fallen out of the race for the Supporters’ Shield, but it can still win the West.

How they got here: DWDDWWLDWDWWWWLWWLWDWLLWD.

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5. NYCFC (14-6-6)

Last week: 4.

Result: 2-2 draw vs. New York Red Bulls.

A draw after being reduced to nine players because of a two red cards is a good result, but it may mean an end to Supporters’ Shield hopes and open the door a crack for Columbus to challenge for the third spot.

How they got here: WWWDWWDLWLDWLWDWLWWWWLDWLDD.

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6. Columbus (11-8-7)

Last week: 6.

Result: 1-1 draw at Chicago.

Now is the time to see what Gregg Berhalter will do to prepare for the playoffs because the Crew are in, and likely locked into the fourth seed.

How they got here: WWDWLLLDWDWWWDDDLLWLLWWWLD.

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7. L.A.F.C. (12-7-7)

Last week: 7.

Result: 1-1 draw at L.A. Galaxy.

LAFC seems a lock to make the playoffs in the West, but if it sells Laurent Ciman, what will happen to an already creaky defense.

How they got here: WWLLWWWDWDLDLWWWDWDLDLLWWD.

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8. Philadelphia (11-11-3)

Last week: 9.

Result: 1-0 win vs. New England.

Three consecutive wins – the last not without some odd moments – has the Union the likely fifth team from the East practically locked into a playoff spot.

How they got here: WDLDLLWLLWWDWLWLLLWLWLWWW.

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9. Seattle (11-9-5)

Last week: 10.

Result: 1-0 win at Portland.

Seattle is getting hot at the right time, but I’m still not sure of their playoff bonafides.

How they got here: LLLDWLDWLLLWLDLWDDWWWWWWW.

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10. Real Salt Lake (12-10-5)

Last week: 13.

Result: 6-0 win at Colorado.

Consecutive wins and, but Real Salt Lake’s playoff spot isn’t safe.

How they got here: DLWLWLWLLWLWWWLDLWWLDDWDLWW.

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11. Montreal (10-14-3)

Last week: 8.

Result: 3-1 loss at Toronto.

Montreal needs to at least two more wins in its remaining seven games.

How they got here: LLWWLLLLWLLLLWLWWWWLWDLDDWL.

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12. Portland (10-7-7)

Last week: 11.

Result: 1-0 loss vs. Seattle.

Four consecutive losses and it appears that teams have figured out how to beat the Timbers’ bunker. 

How they got here: LLDDLWWWWWWDDDWWDDWWLLLL.

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13. L.A. Galaxy (10-9-8)

Last week: 12.

Result: 1-1 draw vs. LAFC.

Whoa, the Galaxy have lost whatever it was they had going. 

How they got here: WLDWLWLLLLWWLDWDDWWWDWLDDLD.

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14. Vancouver (10-9-7)

Last week: 14.

Result: 3-2 win at San Jose.

The Whitecaps beat San Jose, which provides no info as to whether they are actually playoff-worthy.

How they got here: WWLDWLLLWLDDDDWWLLWLLWDWDW.

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15. Toronto (7-12-6)

Last week: 19.

Result: 3-1 win vs. Montreal.

Some people think Toronto will take the final playoff spot in the East. I don’t. Schedule is too tough.

How they got here: LLWLLDWLLWLWDLLLDLLWWDLDW.

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16. D.C. United (7-10-6)

Last week: 16.

Result: 1-0 loss at New York Red Bulls.

D.C. United had every chance to snatch at least a point in New York, but failed to do so. Now, it must see if it can win against Philadelphia and Atlanta United, each of which are red hot.

How they got here: DLDLLWLLWDLDLDWLLWDWWWL.

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17. Minnesota United (9-15-2)

Last week: 15.

Result: 2-0 loss at Sporting KC.

Well, the Loons are winless in their past five. This team just can’t handle prosperity.

How they got here: LWWLLLLWWLLDWLLLWLWWWLLDLL.

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18. Houston (7-11-7)

Last week: 17.

Result: 1-1 draw vs. Dallas.

The Dynamo are done in the West.

How they got here: WLDLDWLWDWWLLWLDWDLLLLLD.

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19. New England (7-10-8)

Last week: 18.

Result: 1-0 loss at Philadelphia.

Winless in its last eight and showing nothing on offense that will turn around its spiral.

How they got here: LWDWWLDWDWLDDWDDWDLLLDLLL.

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20. Colorado (6-14-6)

Last week: 20.

Result: 6-0 loss vs. Real Salt Lake.

OK, the Rapids are done for the remainder of the season. 

How they got here: LDWDWLLLLLLLLDWWLLDDLWWDLL.

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21. Chicago (6-15-6)

Last week: 21.

Result: 1-1 draw vs. Columbus.

It’s hard to explain what has happened to this team, but it’s easy to see that they are slow and methodical.

How they got here: LLDWLWDLWLLWLWDDDWLLLLLLLLD.

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22. Orlando City (7-16-2)

Last week: 22.

Result: 2-1 loss vs. Atlanta United.

Four points from their last 16 matches. Four.

How they got here: DLLWWWWWWLLLLLLLLLWLLLDLL.

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23. San Jose (3-14-8)

Last week: 23.

Result: 3-2 loss vs. San Jose.

Can San Jose and Colorado be relegated, with Charleston and Indianapolis moving up?.

How they got here: WLLDDDLLLWDLLLLDDDLLLDWLDL.

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