A brief look at all 19 teams in MLS, ranked from top to bottom, based on each club's current form.
The Earthquakes continue to be the class of the league, grabbing points in every game but three since July 1. The San Jose team leads its closest Western Conference foes by seven points with less games played compared to every team currently in the playoff positions except Seattle. This week: vs. Chivas USA, Sept. 2.
Sporting have seemingly regained its early-season form over the last few weeks, registering three wins and a draw in MLS play, as well as winning the U.S. Open Cup Final. One of the few remaining teams that can challenge San Jose for the Supporters Shield, Sporting is rounding into form at the right time. This week: vs. Toronto FC, Sept. 1.
These Red Bulls look quite different from the team that visited Rio Tinto Stadium back in March, having undergone multiple roster changes. Chasing both of the top two teams, but not by much, the question for many around the league is whether the Red Bulls can keep up this form and win its first championship ever. This week: at D.C. United, Aug. 29.
The Sounders have found their offensive game recently, scoring 15 goals in their last five league games, with Eddie Johnson and Freddie Montero finding the back of the net multiple times. The Seattle club will hope this form continues through CONCACAF Champions League and the MLS playoffs, where the Sounders will hope to advance past the first round for the first time since being an expansion team in 2009. This week: at Caledonia Aug. 30 (Champions League), and at FC Dallas, Sept. 2.
For a team that looked like it might miss the playoffs early this season, the Galaxy has rebounded and shown exactly why they are the defending champs. One loss in the last 10 games across all competitions (at Seattle on Aug. 5) is the only blemish on the Galaxy record since back-to-back losses on June 30 and July 4. This week: vs. Puerto Rico Islanders, Aug. 28 (Champions League) and vs. Vancouver, Sept. 1.
Real Salt Lake finally got a result in MLS play with a 0-0 draw at Philadelphia over the weekend. Even with a recent run of games that are undoubtedly less than the Claret and Cobalt expect from themselves, RSL holds onto a top-six ranking because the team is still in a playoff position despite fielding the regular starting lineup only a few games all season long. This week: vs. D.C. United, Sept. 1.
As recent as the end of July, the Dynamo looked like one of the best teams in the entire league. Only one win in the month of August in MLS play leaves “the Orange” looking up the standings at Sporting and New York. Only three of the remaining eight games are against teams that currently occupy playoff positions, so expect the Dynamo to make another push towards the top of the standings. This week: at Olimpia, Aug. 30 (Champions League) and at Chicago, Sept. 2.
Another team that just keeps getting results and could be looking for a late season push, the Fire got nine total points out of a possible 12 in August. Chicago’s place in the final standings will come down to games against the other top teams in the East. If they can get wins in those games, the Fire could finish near the top of the East. This week: vs. Houston, Sept 2.
United are another team that has looked great at times during the season, but with only two wins in the last month and a half, the United has dropped in the standings. The team has some tough games upcoming, so Ben Olsen’s squad needs to start getting results again. This week: vs. New York, Aug. 29 and at Real Salt Lake, Sept. 1.
The Whitecaps have improved a lot in only the second MLS season, but after four losses in their last five games, the Canadian team is in danger of missing the playoffs. The Whitecaps playoff hopes rest on the results they can earn for the rest of the season, but with three huge road games remaining (at Los Angeles, FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake), Vancouver could find themselves on the outside looking in if they lose all three of those games. This week: at Los Angeles, Sept. 1.
Not many MLS fans could have seen this coming, but shrewd roster moves have put the expansion Impact on the verge of a playoff spot in the club's first year as an MLS team. Currently only one point out of fifth place, and riding a seven-game unbeaten streak dating to July 18, the Impact must improve away from home if it is to make the playoffs. The club has a record of 1-10-2 on the road so far and faces four of the final six games away from Stade Saputo. This week: at Columbus, Sept. 1.
Dallas is finally healthy and playing as many fans expected it would, even making a push for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The squad still faces an uphill battle after not registering a win in any competition over a three-month span dating from April 14 to July 14. Four of the Texas-side's final games are against the top teams in the West; draw or lose those games and playoff hopes are essential over. This week: vs. Seattle, Sept. 2.
The Crew has had plenty of challenges this MLS season, including the sudden death of rookie Kirk Urso on Aug. 5. Since that tragedy, the team has been in good form. Without a loss in four straight matches, the Crew may have the easiest road to the playoffs, with six remaining games against non-playoff teams (including four at home). This week: at Philadelphia, Aug. 29 and vs. Montreal, Sept. 1.
The Goats appeared to be on the right track a few weeks ago, but the normally stout defense of Robin Fraser’s side has been shredded recently, giving up 13 goals total over three of the last five games. The playoffs are probably out of reach for Chivas at this point, but the squad can still have an effect on the playoff positioning of other teams. This week: at New England, Aug. 29 and at San Jose, Sept. 2.
The wheels have fallen off in Commerce City in Oscar Pareja’s first season in charge. Injuries have definitely played a part in the team's struggles, but a team can’t expect to make the playoffs when losing six straight games during the month of July. Only two years removed from an MLS Cup title, fans and ownership will expect some sort of turnaround over the final eight games of the season or Pareja may find himself on the hot seat entering 2013. This week: at Portland, Aug. 31.
The Revolution were in a playoff spot at the beginning of July, but things have gone south since then. One draw and seven losses since July 8 have essentially ended the Revs playoff hopes for this season. The squad is obviously looking toward next season and beyond, made evident by the trade of captain Shalrie Joseph a few weeks ago. This week: vs. Chivas USA, Aug. 29 and vs. Philadelphia, Sept. 1.
The Union have the most games remaining and can theoretically make up ground in the standings, but the product that has been put on the field in recent weeks doesn’t lend much optimism. Even after a mid-season coaching change, the team appears to still be suffering on and off the pitch. This week: vs. Columbus, Aug. 29 and at New England, Sept. 1.
Portland also fired a head coach earlier this year, but the coaching staff seems to be the least of the Timbers issues. The squad has won only one time since the change and has been badly out-played in many of the games since as well. Rumors of a permanent head coaching hire are circulating, and for Timbers Army, this season probably can’t end soon enough. This week: vs. Colorado, Aug. 31.
After setting an MLS record by beginning the season with nine straight losses, TFC also fired its head coach. The replacement has done an admirable job even if the position in the standings doesn’t necessarily reflect any success. The Reds did retain the Canadian Championship and guarantee themselves a spot in next year’s CONCACAF Champions League competition and have begun to improve on-field play, but that is the only bright sides in a dismal MLS campaign for Toronto. This week: at Sporting Kansas City, Sept. 1.