1. D.C. United – 44 pts. | BYE; this week: at Colorado Rapids
Despite having a bye week, D.C. United remain at the top of the conference, with the New York Red Bulls nipping at their heels. D.C.’s next test comes on Saturday, as it heads west to face the Colorado Rapids for the first time this season. Colorado currently sits in ninth in the West, but United are 3-4-2 in inter-conference competitions this season.
2. New York Red Bulls – 42 pts. | BYE; this week: vs. Chicago Fire
New York can smell the first spot in the East, but only four points separate the top four teams. Not only is a win over the Chicago Fire necessary for the Red Bulls to have a chance of advancing in the standings, they have added fuel to avenge a 3-2 road loss in Chicago just two weeks ago. With an 8-2-2 record at Red Bull Arena, the odds are in New York’s favor.
3. Columbus Crew SC – 41 pts. | 3-0 loss vs. FC Dallas; this week: at Philadelphia Union
Crew SC is putting Sunday’s 3-0 loss to FC Dallas in the rearview mirror as it hits the road to PPL Park on Saturday, where a hungry Union squad awaits, sitting just one point below the playoff line. The Black & Gold are feeling confident on the road as they’ve won three of their last four matches in opponents’ stadiums.
4. New England Revolution – 40 pts. | 3-0 win vs. Orlando City SC; this week: at Toronto FC
New England had a successful Saturday at home, shutting out Orlando City SC 3-0 and extending its League-best unbeaten streak to six matches. The Revs will face off against Toronto FC on Sunday, a club they’ve drawn with and defeated this season. However, New England will have to leave the comfort of Gillette Stadium, where it only has one loss this season, and travel to Toronto for the third meeting between the clubs.
5. Toronto FC – 37 pts. | 2-1 loss at Seattle Sounders; this week: vs. New England Revolution
Like most clubs around the League, Toronto FC felt the sting of international call-ups, missing Jozy Altidore, among eight other Reds that have seen the pitch this season, as well as an injured Sebastion Giovinco. Eriq Zavaleta leveled the score at one in Seattle, but his header wasn't enough as Clint Dempsey capitalized on a loose ball in the 77th minute to lead the Sounders to a 2-1 victory. Toronto FC hosts New England on Sunday for a chance to even the clubs’ point tallies in the East.
6. Montreal Impact – 31 pts. | 4-3 win vs. Chicago Fire; this week: at LA Galaxy
Didier Drogba’s impact was certainly felt in Montreal Saturday night. The striker started his first match for his new Blues. Oh yeah … and he scored a hat trick, becoming the first player in League history to do so within his first two matches. Chicago stuck with the Impact, taking the lead in the 59th minute on a Kennedy Igboananike header from a Harry Shipp corner kick. But, Drogba responded with the equalizer and game-winner to bring Montreal above the cutoff line, into playoff contention.
7. Philadelphia Union – 30 pts. | 2-1 win at San Jose Earthquakes; this week: vs. Columbus Crew SC
Philadelphia is still very much in the playoff race heading into Week 28. After earning a 2-1 road win in San Jose, coupled with Chicago and New York City’s losses, the Union have moved up to seventh in the Eastern Conference, just one point behind Montreal. However, the Impact had a slow start to the season, so they still have four games in hand. This makes Philly’s upcoming home match against Crew SC even more imperative, which will be tough, considering Columbus’ recent road success.
8. Orlando City SC – 29 pts. | 3-0 loss at New England Revolution; this week: vs. Sporting Kansas City
Orlando City SC fell behind with three minutes remaining in the first half at Gillette Stadium and couldn’t recover. The Lions pushed their efforts forward with time winding down in the second half, spurring two New England counterattack goals in the final 10 minutes of the match. Orlando remains winless in its last six matches, dropping another two spots in the East from last week. The Lions will face Sporting Kansas City this week, another club fighting for points in a tight playoff race in the West.
9. New York City FC – 28 pts. | BYE; this week: at FC Dallas
New York City FC is looking to turn the page in its first September match this weekend at FC Dallas. This is the first-ever meeting between the two teams. Dallas is coming off a 3-0 road win in Columbus, while NYCFC is trying to snap out of a three-match winless spell. With only seven weeks remaining in the regular season, NYCFC needs to start gaining ground for a shot at making the playoffs.
10. Chicago Fire – 27 pts. | 4-3 loss at Montreal Impact; this week: at New York Red Bulls
Despite scoring three goals on the road, Chicago is coming out of another week empty-handed. The Fire battled back from a 1-0 deficit in Montreal and took a 2-1 lead, but suffered defeat at the hands Didier Drogba. This week’s task at hand won’t be any easier as the Fire will face a well-rested, second place New York squad, that’s looking to avenge Chicago’s recent victory. Perhaps Trinidadian defender Daniel Cyrus will make his first appearance in Chicago’s backline, in the hopes of a road result.