MLS Week 11 Power Rankings: Galaxy keep sliding, Union still climbing

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Katharine Lotze
One of the hottest teams in MLS continues to falter while the Eastern Conference leaders keep setting the pace

The LA Galaxy have gone from the hottest team in MLS to one of the coldest, while the Philadelphia Union have succeeeded in keeping their own hot streak rolling

That's what has the Galaxy and Union heading in opposite directions in the latest Goal MLS power rankings, with the Union reaching a new high after an impressive road win against Toronto FC. The LA Galaxy's defensive struggles continued in their third straight loss, while their attack also stalled out, marking the first time all season the Galaxy were shut out at home.

The Union's 2-1 road win against Toronto FC helped Jim Curtin's squad stay in first place in the East, extending their winning streak to thiree matches and unbeaten run to five.

The only team in the league with a longer winning streak is Atlanta United, which posted a pair of shutout victories to climb up the East standings and extend their winning streak to four matches. The reigning MLS Cup champions suddenly find themselves just six points out of first place in the East, with two games in hand.

Out West, the Vancouver Whitecaps are quietly start to climb out of a rough start to the season, posting their second straight victory by topping Cascadia rival Portland.

Here are Goal's MLS Power Rankings after week 11 action:

  1. #1 Los Angeles FC (8-1-3)

    The LAFC attack finally got back to its high-flying ways in Saturday's romp over the Columbus Crew, and it was Carlos Vela and Mark-Anthony Kaye once again leading the charge. LAFC fans should be thrilled to hear Carlos Vela turned down a Gold Cup call-up from Mexico, while Bob Bradley has to be overjoyed at his team's rock-solid defense in recent weeks.
  2. #2 Philadelphia Union (7-3-2)

    If you weren't buying the Union's strong start to the saeason, then Saturday's win on the road against Toronto FC should have converted a few more skeptics. Forward Kacper Przybylko is looking like a dream signing while goalkeeper Carlos Miguel Coronel has stepped in admirably in place of injured Andre Blake and Matt Freese. Another tough test looms though, with Seattle visiting Talen Energy Stadium on Saturday.
  3. #3 Seattle Sounders (5-1-4)

    Cristian Roldan has turned into a full-fledged attacking weapon after his latest wonder goal, but Brian Schmetzer would probably rest easier if his attacking players started contributing to the score sheet. Raul Ruidiaz returned to the starting lineup, and getting him back to his best will be key to reviving the Sounders attack. Defensively, Seattle's ability to neutralize Alberth Elis was impressive, but the back-line will face a tougher challenge against Philadelphia, a team with a much more balanced attack.
  4. #4 D.C. United (7-3-2)

    Paul Arriola's winner provided a deserved result for a D.C. side that outplayed Sporting KC on the night. Ben Olsen won't be too upset at his team's inability to finish chances, part of which was down to some outstanding saves by SKC goalkeeper Tim Melia. He was probably happier seeing his four-man defensive setup post a shutout. A tough week awaits, with road games against Toronto FC and the Houston Dynamo.
  5. #5 New York City FC (4-1-6)

    Unbeaten in five, and winner of three straight on the road, NYCFC has suddenly gone from starting slow to looking like a force under Dome Torrent. Heber continues to impress as the striker the team needed, while James Sands returned to the starting lineup to help the defense keep Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the Galaxy off the scoreboard. Up next is a trip to Chicago to take on a Fire side that has shown signs of improvement.

  6. #6 Atlanta United (5-3-2)

    Remember when Pity Martinez was being pouty and there were real concerns about whether Frank DeBoer was losing his grip on the team? Four shutout wins later and suddenly Atlanta United is looking like a champion, with a defense that has adapted well to a shift to a four-man defense with Michael Parkhurst at left back, and an attack that has kept rolling despite Ezequiel Barco leaving for the Under-20 World Cup. Hector Villalba looks like a player determined to take full advantage of his latest opportunity to start. Tough road games against Vancouver and the New York Red Bulls loom this week.
  7. #7 LA Galaxy (7-5-1)

    The Galaxy sorely missed Jonathan Dos Santos in both of their losses last week, particularly the 2-0 defeat against NYCFC. The Galaxy defense saw Giancarlo Gonzalez earn his first start, but that wasn't enough to keep NYCFC from creating chances. The recent loaded schedule could be taking its toll, particularly on Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who could probably use a rest at this point. MLS might grant him that rest in the form of a suspension for his throat grab on Sean Johnson, but with winless Colorado up next at home, the Galaxy probably won't mind that so much.
  8. #8 Houston Dynamo (6-2-1)

    The Dynamo's over-reliance on Alberth Elis hurt Houston against a Seattle side that did well to neutralize the Honduran speedster. Neither Tomas Martinez or Memo Rodriguez could get going, leaving the Dynamo attack toothless, managing just one shot on goal. The Dynamo defense limited Seattle's attack, and can't take too much blame for Cristian Roldan's wonder goal. That defense will be tested this week, with home dates against Portland and D.C. United.
  9. #9 Toronto FC (5-3-1)

    If you needed a reminder of why Toronto FC was desperate to add a central defender in the recent transfer window, Saturday's loss to Philadelphia provided it. Chris Mavinga and Laurent Ciman were abysmal against the Union, which had to sting after TFC missed out on landing Omar Gonzalez in the transfer window. Getting Jozy Altidore back in action is a positive sign, but they need him in the starting lineup and at full strength, with a busy week ahead including matches against D.C. United and Real Salt Lake.
  10. #10 FC Dallas (5-4-2)

    Luchi Gonzalez's side missed an opportunity in Saturday's loss to the New York Red Bulls, facing an opponent that rested most of its starters. FC Dallas created some chances, but has now managed just two goals in three matches. Paxton Pomykal and Edwin Cerillo are leaving for the Under-20 World Cup, while the defense has begun to show signs of vulnerability. That's not a good sign with a pair of matches against Los Angeles FC up next on the schedule.
  11. #11 Montreal Impact (6-5-2)

    It was a mixed bag of a week for the Impact, earning a valuable road win against the Red Bulls, but then falling flat against FC Cincinnati. Fatgue may have played a part in the Cincy loss but the reality is the Impact didn't yield that many chances to the expansion side, but also didn't convert their own. Montreal will be facing another team that recently underwent a coaching change in New England, an opponent the Impact need to beat if they're going to be taken seriously as an East contender.
  12. #12 Minnesota United (4-4-3)

    Saturday's loss to the Chicago Fire was as forgettable a performance as the Loons have delivered this season. The attack sputtered and the defense struggled to deal with the Fire attack. Making things worse was having to watch Francisco Calvo help another team to a shutout shortly after being run out of Minnesota. The Loons attack is the real concern at the moment, having failed to register a multi-goal performance in their past four matches. A home date against struggling Columbus could help cure that slump.
  13. #13 New York Red Bulls (4-5-2)

    Chris Armas' squad followed up a disappointing midweek home loss to Montreal with an impressive road win against FC Dallas that came courtesy of a mostly-reserve lineup. It provided a reminder of the sort of depth the Red Bulls boast, and seeing out-of-favor Michael Murillo respond with his best match of the season had to be encouraging. Aaron Long's hamstring injury is a cause for concern, especially with a home match against red-hot Atlanta United up next on the schedule.
  14. #14 Chicago Fire (4-4-4)

    It was a bittersweet week for the Fire. They looked very sharp in posting a pair of impressive victories, but also lost playmaker Nico Gaitan to a hamstring injury that could keep him sidelined for several weeks. Veljko Paunovic still has to be encouraged by his team's defensive improvements, and the seemless transition Francisco Calvo has made since arriving from Minnesota United. A tough schedule lies ahead, starting with a road trip to San Jose in a match the Fire need to win before a brutal stretch of matches against NYCFC, D.C. United and Atlanta United.
  15. #15 Columbus Crew (5-7-1)

    Another team that endured a roller-coaster week. Last Wednesday's win against the LA Galaxy was a desperately-needed result, but then the Crew followed that up by looking flat in a 3-0 loss to LAFC. Losing six of seven will sap the confidence out of any team, but this Crew squad has been underperforming for weeks. A road trip might not be the worst thing right now, with trips to Minnesota United and Colorado up next.
  16. #16 Portland Timbers (3-6-1)

    Friday's loss at Vancouver had to sting, especially considering the Timbers could definitely have come away with at least a point, but Gio Savarese can build on the positives of that performance. Sebastian Blanco continues to look dangerous while the arrival of Brian Fernandez should provide a major boost to the attack. Visits to Houston and Philadelphia are up next, meaning two more tough tests before the Timbers finally get to return to Providence Park.
  17. #17 Real Salt Lake (4-6-1)

    Don't look now but Real Salt Lake has won two of three on the road after beating Colorado, 3-2, in their Rocky Mountain Derby clash. Sam Johnson continues to play well, scoring his fourth goal in five matches. Johnson will be looking to keep that going against a shaky TFC defense on Saturday.
  18. #18 Vancouver Whitecaps (3-5-3)

    Fredy Montero is heating up, and so are the Whitecaps after their 1-0 win against Portland. The Vancouver defense continues to look solid, but having Montero find his form suddenly makes the Whitecaps a handful for anybody. Of course, the Whitecaps must now face streaking Atlanta United, as Montero tries to snap their four-match shutout streak.
  19. #19 San Jose Earthquakes (3-6-2)

    It isn't often that a team has a 3-1 edge in possession and comes away losing by a multi-goal margin, but the Earthquakes managed that in Saturday's 3-1 loss to New England, which snapped San Jose's four-match unbeaten run. Matias Almeyda can't be happy with the defensive breakdowns that allowed the Revs to win, particularly the poor play of his wingers. Up next is a visit from the Chicago Fire, but Nico Gaitan's injury should make it an easier assignment for the Earthquakes.
  20. #20 Orlando City (3-5-3)

    A 1-0 loss to Atlanta United without Nani in the lineup isn't the worst result, but the Lions are suddenly in a three-match winless slide and James O'Connor is starting to look like a coach who could be the new leading candidate to be the next MLS coach replaced after the recent firings of Alan Koch and Brad Friedel. The struggles of the Orlando City attack are the real concern these days, with the defense having improved after some early-season struggles. Can Dom Dwyer snap his six-match goal drought? Orlando City needs him to, especially with a tough match against Seattle up next on Wednesday.
  21. #21 Sporting Kansas City (2-4-4)

    The winless rut is up to six matches now for SKC, and Sunday's loss to D.C. United provided little to be excited about besides Tim Melia's performanced in goal. Sporting KC's midfield has long been a strength, but it was outplayed by D.C., and looked plain flat, even with the insertion of recently re-acquired Benny Feilhaber. If there's a bright side, it's that Sporting KC's next three matches are at home, starting with a visit from Vancouver.
  22. #22 FC Cincinnati (3-7-2)

    it wasn't tough to predict that Cincinnati would respond well to the firing of Alan Koch, but interim coach Yoann Damet still deserves some credit for helping the expansion side look miles better than it has in a good while. We shouldn't expect a magical turnaround just yet though, and it seems more likely that Cincinnati hires a high-profile replacement for Koch than turning to the 29-year-old Damet. Either way, FC Cincinnati looks to be in better shape now than a week ago.
  23. #23 New England Revolution (3-8-2)

    The Bruce Arena era has begun in New England after the recent firings of Brad Friedel and Mike Burns, and the Revs have already responded well to Friedel's departure with their 3-1 win against the San Jose Earthquakes. Arena will need some time to put his stamp on the team, but it's a safe bet he will shake things up for a team with some good attacking pieces.
  24. #24 Colorado Rapids (0-9-2)

    The good news for the Rapids is their attack keeps scoring goals, but the bad news is the defense keeps leaking them. Surrendering three goals to Real Salt Lake at home had to feel a bit like rock bottom, and things don't get any easier as the Rapids prepare for a road trip to take on an LA Galaxy slide looking to shake off a slump.