The MLSsoccer.com gods (Matt Doyle, Alicia Rodriguez, etc) collectively chose the New York Red Bulls as the #1 team in MLS starting in Week 31 with the Power Rankings, but it took until the last match of the season for the standings to reflect the same.

Final MLS Power Rankings 2018: Red Bulls on Top with Shield

Since the last version of this column, the Red Bulls rattled off four straight wins, scoring seven times and conceding only once. Winning the Supporters’ Shield by only two points meant each and every result throughout the season was needed to take the title, but the proverbial “six-pointer” against Atlanta United on September 30th was the crucial step towards the leapfrog experienced during Week 34 as Toronto downed Atlanta 4-1. This cleared the way for the Red Bulls to hoist their third shield in six years after a 1-0 triumph over Orlando City SC on Sunday evening.

Here is how the regular season rankings closed out (change from Week 34 in parentheses):

  1. RBNY (no change)
  2. Sporting KC (+1)
  3. Seattle Sounders (+1)
  4. Atlanta United (-2)
  5. DC United (no change)
  6. LAFC (no change)
  7. FC Dallas (no change)
  8. Columbus Crew (+4)
  9. Philly Union (-1)
  10. Portland Timbers (-1)
  11. NYCFC (+3)
  12. Real Salt Lake (+1)
  13. LA Galaxy (-3)
  14. Vancouver Whitecaps (+1)
  15. Montreal Impact (-4)
  16. Houston Dynamo (+1)
  17. Toronto FC (-1)
  18. NE Revs (no change)
  19. Chicago Fire (no change)
  20. Minnesota United (no change)
  21. Colorado Rapids (+1)
  22. Orlando City (-1)
  23. SJ Earthquakes (no change)

Kudos to Atlanta for the run they made in only their second season, but it took a record-breaking season in order for the Red Bulls to claim the Shield. 22 wins, 14 home wins, 71 points. They also only gave up 33 goals in 34 matches. The only other team with less than 40 was Seattle Sounder (37). It’s a good bet that these two teams could be in the finals since “defense wins championships”.

The Red Bulls have a first round bye and will travel to either Columbus, D.C. or Philadelphia on November 4th, before hosting their opponent at Red Bull Arena on November 11th. Bring on the postseason!

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