MLS Power Rankings: New England still on top as Nashville stumbles and Atlanta continues to climb

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Adam Buksa nets equalizer in 62nd minute for New England (0:41)

New England ties Columbus at 1-1 with a goal for Adam Buksa in the 62nd minute. (0:41)

New England and Seattle continue their reign atop the order, but second-year side Nashville SC has slipped from its ascent. Meanwhile, Gonzalo Pineda's Atlanta United is quickly becoming a team to be feared as the MLS postseason looms.

Find out where your team sits in our Week 20 Power Rankings.


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1. New England Revolution

Previous ranking: 1

Next MLS match: Sept. 25 at Chicago Fire, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN+

New England manager Bruce Arena was left fuming after a 1-1 draw against Columbus, one that the Revs utterly dominated but couldn't close the deal. New England still remains in full control of the Supporters' Shield race. -- Carlisle

2. Seattle Sounders

Previous ranking: 2

Next MLS match: Sept. 26 at Sporting Kansas City, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN+

The Sounders lead the West in points per game (1.88) but sit a point behind first-place Kansas City after a 1-0 loss to Real Salt Lake on Saturday. It's a big week for Seattle, which plays Club Leon in the Leagues Cup final on Wednesday before traveling to SKC. -- Bonagura

3. Colorado Rapids

Previous ranking: 3

Next MLS match: Sept. 25 vs Toronto FC, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Despite getting just two points from two games this week, the Rapids are just two points back of first-place Kansas City with a game in hand. In a 1-1 draw with Vancouver on Sunday, Colorado welcomed back Younes Namli and Diego Rubio from injury, with Namli making his first appearance since May. -- Bonagura

4. Sporting Kansas City

Previous ranking: 5

Next MLS match: Sept. 26 vs. Seattle Sounders, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Sporting Kansas City put Minnesota to bed early on Wednesday in a 4-0 win as Khiry Shelton, Daniel Salloi, Johnny Russell and Cameron Duke all scored. The win puts SKC ahead of Seattle on points atop the Western Conference, but the Sounders have a game in hand. -- Bonagura

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SKC thrashes Minnesota in 4-0 win

Four different players find the net for Sporting Kansas City in a comfortable win against Minnesota United.

5. Atlanta United FC

Previous ranking: 6

Next MLS match: Sept. 25 at Philadelphia Union, 3:30 p.m. ET

Ezequiel Barco is a man on fire, as his goal and assist in a 3-2 over D.C. United gave him six tallies and five helpers in his past nine games. Marcelino Moreno has been doing his bit as well, as his mazy run set up George Bello for the eventual game winner. With seven wins in eight games, Atlanta is looking like a team no one will want to face in the postseason. -- Carlisle

6. Nashville SC

Previous ranking: 4

Next MLS match: Sept. 22 at Inter Miami, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

On the occasion of his 300th regular-season MLS appearance, C.J. Sapong bagged his 81st goal in league play, but that wasn't enough to avoid a 2-1 defeat to Toronto. Nashville's road form had been better of late, but this result shows there are still improvements to be made in that area. -- Carlisle

7. Philadelphia Union

Previous ranking: 8

Next MLS match: Sept. 25 vs. Atlanta United, 3:30 p.m. ET

Whatever hangover remained from their midweek exit in the CONCACAF Champions League, the Union got over it quickly in beating Orlando 3-1. The win vaulted Philadelphia back among the playoff places, and it has at least one game in hand on most of the other playoff contenders as well. -- Carlisle

8. New York City FC

Previous ranking: 9

Next MLS match: Sept. 22 at New York Red Bulls, 8 pm ET; ESPN+

Keaton Parks often flies under the radar compared to the likes of Maxi Moralez and Valentin Castellanos, but he has quietly put together a solid season with NYCFC, and his first-half equalizer proved to be one of the turning points in New York's 2-1 road win over FC Cincinnati. -- Carlisle

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Keaton Parks scores in NYCFC's win vs. Cincinnati

Keaton Parks scores a goal in New York City FC's 2-1 win vs. FC Cincinnati.

9. Orlando City

Previous ranking: 7

Next MLS match: Sept. 25 at New England Revolution, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN+

The Lions are scuffling after a pair of defeats to Montreal and Philadelphia. Their defense is in shambles as well after conceding 10 goals in three games, and now Antonio Carlos is suspended after his late ejection. At least Nani is set to return from his own one-game ban. -- Carlisle

10. CF Montreal

Previous ranking: 17

Next MLS match: Sept. 25 at Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Wilfried Nancy likely won't get too many Coach of the Year votes, but the fact that Montreal is in fifth place in the Eastern Conference after a six-point week speaks to the job the first-year manager has done. Djordje Mihailovic notched his 11th assist of the season against his former club. -- Carlisle

11. Portland Timbers

Previous ranking: 15

Next MLS match: Sept. 25 at Real Salt Lake, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

The Timbers are unbeaten in five and climbed to fifth in the Western Conference with a 2-1 win against LAFC on Sunday night. It was a pivotal win for Portland, which is inching closer to the fourth-place LA Galaxy and the first-round home game that comes with that spot. -- Bonagura

12. Minnesota United

Previous ranking: 9

Next MLS match: Sept. 25 vs. Houston Dynamo, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN+

A brace from Emanuel Reynoso and another goal from Ethan Finlay gave the Loons a 3-0 home win against the LA Galaxy, as they bounced back from a 4-0 midweek loss at Kansas City. The results leave Minnesota seventh in the West, a point ahead of LAFC with a game in hand. -- Bonagura

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Minnesota United FC vs. LA Galaxy - Game Highlights

Watch the Game Highlights from Minnesota United FC vs. LA Galaxy, 09/18/2021

13. Inter Miami CF

Previous ranking: 11

Next MLS match: Sept. 22 vs. Nashville SC, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN+

None of the traits that Inter Miami displayed during a six-game unbeaten streak -- defensive solidity, discipline, opportunistic finishing -- were on display in a 4-0 defeat to the Red Bulls. While the 38th-minute ejection of Nicolas Figal didn't help, Miami was being outplayed in all phases even before then. It's a wake-up call for Phil Neville's side. -- Carlisle

14. San Jose Earthquakes

Previous ranking: 13

Next MLS match: Sept. 25 vs. LAFC, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN+

The Earthquakes trailed 3-1 at Austin on Saturday before a three-goal onslaught led to an important 4-3 win. Javier Lopez bagged two goals, just three days after he scored a hat trick, as the Quakes fell 4-3 to RSL. -- Bonagura

15. D.C. United

Previous ranking: 14

Next MLS match: Sept. 25 vs. FC Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m., ESPN+

The Black and Red made a game of it against surging Atlanta -- with highlight-reel goals from Felipe Martins and Edison Flores -- but ended up falling short in a 3-2 defeat. Injuries meant that DCU had a short bench with two fewer subs than normal. Having a week until its next league fixture should offer some time to heal up. -- Carlisle

16. Vancouver Whitecaps

Previous ranking: 16

Next MLS match: Sept. 25 vs. FC Dallas, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN+

One of the few teams in the league that played just once this week, the Whitecaps drew 1-1 with Colorado to stay within striking distance of the playoff line in ninth place. A bad giveaway from the Rapids led to a beautifully taken goal from Brian White late in the first half. -- Bonagura

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Damir Kreilach's header fuels Real Salt Lake to victory

Damir Kreilach heads the ball off a cross into the back of the net in Real Salt Lake's 1-0 win vs. Seattle Sounders FC.

17. Real Salt Lake

Previous ranking: 18

Next MLS match: Sept. 25 vs. Portland Timbers, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Real Salt Lake's 1-0 win against Seattle on Saturday could end up as a crucial three points in the playoff race. The goal from Damir Kreilach sent RSL into sixth place and gives them a three-point cushion over eighth-place LAFC. -- Bonagura

18. LA Galaxy

Previous ranking: 10

Next MLS match: Sept. 26 at Austin FC, 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Taking just a point from two games against Houston and Minnesota isn't exactly what the Galaxy were hoping for this week, as they saw their winless streak reach six games. After spending most of the season near the top of the standings, the Galaxy are at risk of falling out of the top four and beginning the playoffs on the road. -- Bonagura

19. LAFC

Previous ranking: 18

Next MLS match: Sept. 25 at San Jose Earthquakes, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Brian Rodriguez and Jose Cifuentes both missed badly on great chances in front of goal in a 2-1 loss at Portland on Sunday. The loss saw the Black and Gold finish the week in eighth place -- out of playoff position. LAFC, which has been without Carlos Vela for a month, had run off three straight wins before the loss. -- Bonagura

20. New York Red Bulls

Previous ranking: 22

Next MLS match: Sept. 22 vs. New York City FC, 8 p.m. ET; ESPN+

After winning just once in their previous 11 games, the Red Bulls delivered a comprehensive performance in a 4-0 walloping of Miami, with their press in particular smothering the Herons. Fabio delivered two goals, and homegrown midfielder Omir Fernandez was everywhere in the victory. -- Carlisle

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Inter Miami CF vs. New York Red Bulls - Game Highlights

Watch the Game Highlights from Inter Miami CF vs. New York Red Bulls, 09/17/2021

21. Houston Dynamo

Previous ranking: 23

Next MLS match: Sept. 25 at Minnesota United, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN+

It's not going to save Houston's season, but the team has taken seven points from its past three games -- with wins against the other two clubs in Texas. -- Bonagura

22. Columbus Crew

Previous ranking: 24

Next MLS match: Sept. 25 vs. CF Montreal, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

The Crew had hobbled goalkeeper Eloy Room to thank for preserving a 1-1 draw against New England, as the Curacao international delivered some gutty saves late. Combined with a midweek 2-1 win over the Red Bulls, things are looking a bit better in Columbus, although it's still four points outside the playoff places. -- Carlisle

23. FC Dallas

Previous ranking: 20

Next MLS match: Sept. 25 at Vancouver Whitecaps, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN+

The Luchi Gonzalez era in Dallas is over. After guiding the club to the playoffs in his first two seasons since being promoted from academy director, Gonzalez was fired after a 3-2 loss to rival Houston. The club remains a source of exciting American prospects, but it hasn't translated to on-field success, with Dallas languishing in 11th place. -- Bonagura

24. Chicago Fire

Previous ranking: 21

Next MLS match: Sept. 22 vs. New England Revolution, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN+

The 2-0 loss to Montreal had to hurt for the Fire. Not only did the slim chances of a postseason place recede even further, but DPs Gaston Gimenez and Ignacio Aliseda were left home for a violation of team rules. Oh, and former prodigy Djordje Mihailovic was one of the architects of their defeat, too. -- Carlisle

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Montreal surges into fifth after shutting out Chicago

Romell Quioto scores as CF Montreal hands the Chicago Fire their fifth loss in six games.

25. FC Cincinnati

Previous ranking: 25

Next MLS match: Sept. 25 at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

A pair of defeats to Atlanta and NYCFC halted what little momentum Cincinnati had generated following last week's win over Toronto. FCC will feel hard done by in terms of the New York result after having a goal disallowed and then conceding a penalty, but so it goes when you're one of the league's worst teams. -- Carlisle

26. Toronto FC

Previous ranking: 27

Next MLS match: Sept. 25 vs. Colorado Rapids, 8 pm ET, ESPN+

A ray of sunshine peeked through Toronto's brutal season with a surprising 2-1 win over Nashville. Much-maligned defender Omar Gonzalez volleyed home the game winner, giving TFC its first win since July 25. -- Carlisle

27 Austin FC

Previous ranking: 26

Next MLS match: Sept. 26 vs. LA Galaxy, 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Make it five straight losses for Austin, which is seven points back of 12th-place Houston and nearly assured a basement finish in its debut season. The 4-3 loss to San Jose was especially painful considering Austin led 3-1 at halftime. -- Bonagura