MLS Week 10 Power Rankings: Atlanta United and Red Bulls heating up

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The two Eastern Conference powers are coming around after rough starts to the 2019 season

It was a tough week for the powerhouse teams in Los Angeles and a very good week for the two biggest surprises of the 2019 MLS season so far.

The Houston Dynamo topped FC Dallas in the latest installment of the Texas derby, boosting their points-per-game average to the highest in the league in the process. The Philadelphia Union continued their impressive form by demolishing the New England Revolution to hold onto first place in the Eastern Conference.

The LA Galaxy saw their unbeaten run halted, though even in Saturday's 3-2 loss to the New York Red Bulls you could see the quality of a team that's only going to get better. LAFC dropped points for the second straight week, and saw its league-leading attack held without a goal for the first time this season.

It was a rough week for LA teams, but it has been a brutal month for Ohio teams, with FC Cincinnati and the Columbus Crew both mired in long losing streaks. In fact, the Ohio teams haven't registered a single point since April 7.

Turnarounds continue for last year's MLS Cup finalists. Atlanta United's 3-0 thrashing of Sporting Kansas City makes it three wins in four for the reigning MLS Cup champions, while the Portland Timbers posted their third straight win in Saturday's victory at Real Salt Lake. You can add reigning Supporters' Shield winners New York Red Bulls to that list of 2018 powerhouses starting to turn things around. The Red Bulls have won two straight, including Saturday's impressive win against the LA Galaxy. Making their mini-streak more impressive is that it has come without attacking stars Bradley Wright-Phillips and Kaku.

Here are Goal's MLS Power Rankings after week 10 action:

  1. #1 Los Angeles FC (7-1-3)

    The vaunted LAFC attack has suddenly gone cold, with Saturday's 0-0 draw in Chicago leaving Bob Bradley's side with one goal in two matches. Possession and chance creating aren't the problem though, and the upcoming trip to struggling Columbus could be just what LAFC needs to get going again.
  2. #2 LA Galaxy (7-2-1)

    The Galaxy played well enough to beat the Red Bulls, but some poor finishing and lax defending doomed them to their first loss of the season with Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the lineup. The loss may have spoiled Guillermo Barros Schelotto's birthday, but the Galaxy still look like a team that should rebound quickly, and a midweek visit to Columbus will offer more for Schelotto than just a touching reunion with his former club.
  3. #3 Houston Dynamo (6-1-1)

    Deserved winners of the season's first Texas derby, the Dynamo used their counterattack effectively to punish a normally stingy FC Dallas defense. Memo Rodriguez continues to put together a breakout season, showing that the Dynamo don't have to rely solely on Alberth Elis to create chances.
  4. #4 Philadelphia Union (6-3-2)

    The Union got a taste of first place in the East and don't look like they plan on letting go any time soon. Saturday's mauling of New England was impressive, and Kacper Przybylko has settled into the striker the Union needed. That's good news considering they'll be without Cory Burke for at least three months.
  5. #5 Toronto FC (5-2-1)

    Perhaps the Omar Gonzalez transfer rumors were all TFC needed to get a strong performance out of Chris Mavinga. Whatever it was, Mavinga played his best game of the year, and helped TFC top Orlando City. With Jozy Altidore close to returning, Toronto could be primed for a surge in the standings, assuming their defense can find some consistency.
  6. #6 D.C. United (6-3-2)

    The attack awakened in Saturday's win after managing just one goal in its past three matches. Luciano Acosta played his best game of the season, with D.C. looking as comfortable as it has since adopting its 3-4-3 formation. Bill Hamid's late blunder shouldn't take away from the fact he's been playing very well and should still be in the mix for a USMNT Gold Cup roster spot.
  7. #7 Seattle Sounders (5-1-4)

    The reunion with Osvaldo Alonso went as expected, with the Sounders and Alonso's Minnesota United settling for a draw. Raul Ruidiaz's return to the starting lineup was put off, and the Sounders attack continued to struggle to match its early-season form with the Peruvian healthy. Seattle is winless in four matches, and will need a fully-fit Ruidiaz to knock off surging Houston on Saturday.
  8. #8 FC Dallas (5-3-2)

    Dallas did create some chances, and did win the possession battle in its Texas derby loss to Houston, but transition defending looked to be a weak spot for Luchi Gonzalez's squad. Dallas clearly missed Paxton Pomykal's energy, with Pablo Aranguiz delivering another lackluster performance. The New York Red Bulls hit Toyota Stadium on Saturday, and Dallas' attack is going to have its hands full against one of the league's best defenses.
  9. #9 Minnesota United (4-3-3)

    Adrian Heath probably feels like the Loons let some points get away in Saturday's draw with Seattle, a match Minnesota United played well enough to win. The team's defensive turnaround continues, limiting Seattle to just one shot on goal (which just happened to be Cristian Roldan's long-range stunner). The biggest bright spot was the play of Jan Gregus, who is looking like a stellar signing at the moment. Up next is a trip to Chicago, where Minnesota will look to post its fourth road win of the season.
  10. #10 New York City FC (3-1-6)

    Dome Torrent's men started their month-long road swing in style, with a big win in Montreal that also served as Maxi Moralez's best match of the season. The dimininutive playmaker hasn't looked like his team-MVP self in 2019, but he looked sharp against Montreal's tough defense, which is a welcome sign for an NYCFC side embarking on a tough road trip. Up next is a visit to the LA Galaxy, and NYCFC's defense will be tested as it copes with the injury absence of young standout James Sands.

  11. #11 Montreal Impact (5-4-2)

    The magic that made Montreal's defense impenetrable in April disappeared quickly in the Impact's May opener. The real issue wasn't the back line as much as it was Montreal's midfield being throughly outplayed by NYCFC's midfield. Remi Garde's men have done well to compete without Ignacio Piatti, but the attack needs him back to be a consistent threat. A tricky week lies ahead with road games against the New York Red Bulls and an FC Cincinnati side that just fired its coach.
  12. #12 Portland Timbers (3-5-1)

    Goalkeeper Steve Clark put on the Superman cape and helped the Timbers earn a big win that could have easily been a loss given how many chances Real Salt Lake created. Portland completed the signing of Brian Fernandez, which should help bring some consistency to its attack. Up next is a visit to the Vancouver Whitecaps in a match that will be a good test for Portland's defense, which is still searching for its first shutout of the season. 
  13. #13 Atlanta United (3-3-2)

    Josef Martinez finally broke out of his slump, scoring twice and looking dangerous in Sunday's win against Sporting Kansas City. Ezequiel Barco made his final match before the Under-20 World Cup a memorable one, but with the Argentine departing Atlanta will need to replace his creativity. Defensively, Miles Robinson had a stellar showing, while Michael Parkhurst put in a good shift at left back. Wednesday's home match against Toronto FC will be a good test to see how Atlanta handles Alejandro Pozuelo, and to see if Martinez can build on his big game.
  14. #14 New York Red Bulls (3-4-2)

    Beating the LA Galaxy without Bradley Wright-Phillips and Kaku is the kind of result that can transform a season. Marc Rzatkowski provided the attacking spark the Red Bulls needed, while the defense held up relatively well against the Galaxy's dangerous attack. Kaku returns from suspension at the perfect time, with a busy week ahead against tough defenses Montreal and FC Dallas.
  15. #15 San Jose Earthquakes (3-5-2)

    Cristian Espinoza's red card made Saturday's win against FC Cincinnati tougher than it needed to be, with Nick Lima continuing to impress as he settles into his left back role. Matias Almeyda should be concerned that his attack has managed just one goal in two matches, but a road trip to take on New England's shaky defense could be the perfect slump-buster.
  16. #16 Orlando City (3-4-3)

    The Orlando City defense showed its vulnerability in Saturday's 2-0 loss to Toronto FC, which isn't a good sign with a match against surging Atlanta United up next. The Lions did create chances against Toronto FC, but poor finishing doomed them, as did the struggle of their fullbacks to deal with TFC's wingers.
  17. #17 Columbus Crew (4-6-1)

    The Crew are mired in a five-match losing streak, with Saturday's 3-1 loss to D.C. United signalling a new bottom. The roster shuffling has begun, with the Crew shipping off Justin Meram and Lalas Abubakar and acquiring David Guzman and David Accam. Those moves should help in the long term, but probably won't help this week during a brutal set of home games against the LA Galaxy and LAFC.
  18. #18 Sporting Kansas City (2-3-4)

    Sporting KC ran into an Atlanta United side finding its form, while coping with a devastating rash of injuries. Winless in five, SKC faces another tough challenge with a road trip to face D.C. United, which isn't a great matchup for a team playing without Matt Besler and Roger Espinoza. The good news for Sporting KC fans is that fan-favorite Benny Feilhaber has been re-acquired, but the midfielder won't help the team's sudden defensive troubles.
  19. #19 Real Salt Lake (3-6-1)

    Real Salt Lake had the possession advantage and double the shots that Portland had, but managed just one goal in Saturday's 2-1 loss to the Timbers. The good news is Sam Johnson has scored three goals in four matches, but the RSL attack has still struggled to find consistency. The Rocky Mountain derby clash with Colorado could be just what the doctor ordered to get Mike Petke's attack rolling.
  20. #20 Chicago Fire (2-4-4)

    Home draws don't often feel like victories, but earning a point against LAFC felt like a win for a Chicago Fire side that has had its defensive issues this season. Perhaps the recent acquisition of Francisco Calvo provided some motivation for Chicago's defenders. The Fire will need to show more attacking quality on Wednesday against New England, while a stiff test awaits on Saturday against Minnesota United.
  21. #21 Vancouver Whitecaps (2-5-3)

    The Whitecaps have been waiting for Fredy Montero to show his best, and it finally came in Friday's 3-2 win against Colorado. Montero's goal and assist were a sign of the production they've been missing, and while doing it against Colorado isn't exactly a sign of future success, it could be the match that gets Montero going. Streaking Portland visits BC Place on Friday in a match Marc Dos Santos' team needs if its going to be serious about climbing into contention.
  22. #22 New England Revolution (2-7-2)

    New England delivered an embarrassing display in Saturday's 6-1 loss to Philadelphia. The Revs defense has allowed a jaw-dropping 13 goals in three matches, meaning Brad Friedel needs to shake up his lineup again. If the Revs don't put on a respectable showing against the Chicago Fire on Wednesday then Friedel could be the next MLS coach given the boot.
  23. #23 FC Cincinnati (2-7-2)

    The Alan Koch era is over in Cincinnati and it shouldn't come as a surprise. His penchant for playing players out of position, coupled with a setup that was yielding very little in attack doomed him to an early exit. A home match against Montreal won't be an easy matchup for Cincy's struggling attack, but the coaching change should lead to a better lineup setup.
  24. #24 Colorado Rapids (0-8-2)

    The defensive issues continued for the Rapids in their first match after Anthony Hudson's firing, but Conor Casey did oversee a better overall effort. What was clear from their loss to the Whitecaps is that a coaching change alone isn't going to help the Rapids climb out of the Western Conference basement.