MLS power rankings

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2019 MLS Power Rankings, Vol. I

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We are bringing a bit of science to our Major League Soccer power rankings this year, but only a bit.

While dubious items like momentum and look will still play a role in where the MLS sides arrive in our rankings, we’re going to consider some items rather unique to the league:

  1. Away record – The league is infamous for difficulty to win across the country
  2. Defense – MLS’ goals-per-game rate of 3+ makes it one of the most offense-forward leagues in the world.
  3. Schedule congestion – Are you playing twice when others around you are barely breaking a sweat?

So with all teams providing us six-matches or more for sample size, it’s time we mix it up with our first MLSPRs of 2019.

24. Colorado Rapids — Twenty-three goals allowed in eight matches. 0-2-2 at home, 0-4 away. The clear No. 24.

23. New York Red Bulls — Big changes coming to Red Bull Arena?

22. New England Revolution — There isn’t an impressive enough win to overshadow losses to Cincinnati and Atlanta.

21. Atlanta United — It’s messy, real messy, in the post-Almiron and Tata era.

Frank De Boer (Photo by Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images)

20. Vancouver Whitecaps — Struggles were expected under a new coach with a big roster flip, so patience should be in long supply especially considering the recent defeat of LAFC (which included a blanking of Carlos Vela). Also worth noting the ‘Caps drew Seattle.

19. Portland Timbers — Still yet to play at home, so getting the benefit of the doubt from us despite a 1-5-1 start.

18. San Jose Earthquakes — Two wins in three could signify an early turned corner.

17. NYCFC — With five draws, are you the pessimist who says, “Only one win,” or the optimist who counters, “Only one loss?”

16. FC Cincinnati — Not quite the tire fire expected by those doubting the acumen of FCC’s lineup. The hope has to be that consistency will come with familiarity.

15. Chicago Fire — Unbeaten in four with NYCFC/Montreal litmus tests next.

14. Minnesota United — Three away wins already and have played just once at home.

13. Orlando City SC — Nani putting together some big performances, but no signature win yet.

12. Real Salt Lake — Streaky side ends four-match losing run by beating Orlando and Cincinnati.

11. Columbus Crew — The defensive record is very impressive under new coach Caleb Porter with just eight goals conceded in eight games. They’ve also only scored eight in a firepower-driven league.

Even on the doorstep, goals have been scarce for Columbus (Eric Albrecht/The Columbus Dispatch via AP)

10. Montreal Impact — The 3-0 loss to Philly stings.

9. Philadelphia Union — The only loss in six is courtesy a cross-country trip to face Zlatan and The Galaxy, which is also a good name for a new band. They could tour with Jem.

8. Sporting KC — We’re here to proffer this long, CONCACAF Champions League-congestion considered leash to Peter Vermes. He’s earned it.

7. DC United — Even in MLS, we didn’t think we’d see an early 1W-2L-1T stretch, albeit with Rooney taking a red and sitting one out.

6. FC Dallas — Excited for the first Texas Derby in two weeks time.

5. Houston Dynamo — First loss of the season comes courtesy a trip to the Galaxy. Forgivable.

4. Toronto FC — Pozuelo is the truth.

3. Seattle Sounders — Carlos Vela at home is understandably where their undefeated season went for death.

2. LA Galaxy — Have allowed two goals in their last four matches, and that’s with new signing Giancarlo Gonzalez only making a token appearance.

1. LAFC — Bob Bradley doesn’t relent, having ridden Carlos Vela to wins of 4-1, 5-0, 4-0, and 4-1 (again) already this season.

MLS Power Rankings — Week 26: Cup rematch’s collision course

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Are we headed for an MLS Cup Final rematch for the first time since 2012?

Toronto FC remains red-hot, and 2016 champions Seattle Sounders have joined the Reds as teams in fine form.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

It’s been some time since we last visited the Power Rankings, and there are some huge movers.

Two preseason favorites are in the Bottom Six, while one team has shot up 11 spots and into the Top Five.

Here are PST’s latest MLS Power Rankings as we head into another busy weekend:


TEAM RANKING (Last Wk)

22 (20)

 

 

21 (18)

 

 

20 (15)

Colorado Rapids: Last win came July 1,

Orlando City SC: Let’s focus on the people of Central Florida instead of talking about their soccer club: Stay safe from the storm, Orlando.

 

LA Galaxy: The 3-0 win over Colorado, of course, ends a 9L-1T run. Need to scour the Earth for a third and fourth Dos Santos.

19 (21) Minnesota United: The Loons aren’t great, but have two wins in four and have you seen the bunch behind them?
18 (12) Philadelphia Union: Similar to D.C., the Loons have gone winless in five. The only saving grace? They host D.C. on Saturday.
  17 (3) FC Dallas: Like Sporting KC last season, the teams we deem the deepest in the league each Spring should bribe us to rescind the label.
16 (19) New England Revolution: There aren’t too many road heroes in MLS, but New England’s mark is especially deflating: zero wins, 10 losses, three ties. Coastal problems: Only San Jose has lost as many away days.
15 (22) DC United: See what happens when you sign good players? The Black-and-Red have three-straight wins, but still sit eight points back of sixth.
14 (17) San Jose Earthquakes: A good sextet of matches has the Quakes in the thick of the West’s playoff race. Marco Urena and Vako Qazaishvili are an under-appreciated duo.
13 (4) Chicago Fire: Saturday’s win at Montreal was just its third result since July 5, with only two wins in the bunch.
12 (14) Montreal Impact: Losers of two in-a-row since four-match win streak.
11 (5) Houston Dynamo: One loss in eight matches since July 1, but just three wins. Matches-in-hand on playoff rivals help the cause.
10 (13) Vancouver Whitecaps: Unspectacular but consistent, the ‘Caps haven’t lost back-to-back matches since March 18.
9 (7) New York Red Bulls: The 3-2 derby loss to NYC kickstarted a five-match downturn following four-match win streak.
8 (8) Atlanta United: The good? Just one loss since late June. The bad? Yet to win over last six weeks.
7 (8) Portland Timbers: We wouldn’t suggest betting on these fellas, for better or worse, but 4W-1L-2T since June 23, and the only loss was in Toronto.
6 (11) Columbus Crew: Unbeaten in four and angling for a home playoff match ahead of this weekend’s SKC test.
5 (16) Real Salt Lake: Nearly as hot as TFC, the Utah set may miss the playoffs thanks a horrible start and matches-in-hand for Vancouver, Houston, Dallas, and San Jose. If that happens, the West will exhale.
4 (5) Sporting KC: Losers of two of three, both on the road. A warning: SKC has only played three road matches in last eight, drawing the third.
3 (2)   New York City FC: Without Villa, Ring, and Herrera, Patrick Vieira’s men found a way past Sporting KC on Thursday.

2 (9) Seattle Sounders: Since losing at NYCFC on June 17, have six wins and five draws.
1 (1) Toronto FC: Since Sept. 7, 2016, Toronto is 22W-6L-12T, and their last loss came July 1. One of those losses came in PKs in the MLS Cup Final. The Reds are really, really good.

MLS Power Rankings — Week 9: Sporting KC goes top, TFC makes big leap

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It’s been a back-and-forth path at the top of the Power Rankings for FC Dallas, and although they’re still unbeaten there’s just one club that’s been a little bit better than them as of late.

Meanwhile, Toronto FC continues its ascent up the MLS Power Rankings ladder after picking up its third straight victory, while one team at the bottom of the East is struggling mightily to capture its first win of 2017.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]


[ MORE: Last week’s MLS Power Rankings ]

TEAM RANKING (Last Wk)

22 (22)

 

21 (21)

 

20 (20)

Philadelphia Union: It’s becoming of a “when” than an “if” there will be wholesale changes coming in Chester.

Colorado Rapids: The Union’s winless run has garnered great attention across MLS but Pablo Mastroeni’s side hasn’t won since opening day.

Montreal Impact: After an impressive comeback against the Union, the Impact laid an egg at home against the Whitecaps. Seven points through eight games isn’t what anyone expected from this side.


19 (19) Minnesota United: The Loons are going to experience many ups and downs in their inaugural season. Last week was a down.
18 (18) LA Galaxy: The Galaxy are winless their last three and have scored just once in that span. It’s been difficult for anybody not named Romain Alessandrini to find the back of the net.
17 (12) Real Salt Lake: They’ve allowed six goals in the last two matches, which doesn’t bode well for an attack that struggles to find goals of its own.
16 (16) New England Revolution: The good news for the Revs is they haven’t lost in the last three games. The bad is that they haven’t won either.
15 (17) Vancouver Whitecaps: Carl Robinson’s group are beginning to find their footing this season but they cannot continue to alternate wins and losses if they want to keep a playoff spot in the congested Western Conference.
14 (11) Houston Dynamo: A loss on the road to Toronto isn’t the end of the world but these are the types of matches that separate the good from the great.
13 (15) D.C. United: It wasn’t the prettiest performance at times but D.C. picked up a solid win down in Atlanta and scored three in the process. 
12 (13) Seattle Sounders: The defending champs looked dead in the water against the Revs, at home no less, but the Sounders put on an absolute show in the dying minutes and proved they’re still an elite side.
11 (10) Columbus Crew: In all honesty it was a poor showing from the Crew against NYCFC. Up two goals at home, yet the hosts fell apart in a big way to a New York City side that was without David Villa.
10 (14) San Jose Earthquakes: Their win in Minnesota snapped a six-match winless run. Hopefully this gives the Quakes a wake-up call before the Sounders and other awaken in the West.
9 (5) Atlanta United: Not the showing you’d expect from this side at home but at least Josef Martinez is nearing a return.
8 (6) Chicago Fire: Dax didn’t get the result he wanted in his welcome back to Red Bull Arena but his side did muster up more chances than the Red Bulls.
7 (9) New York Red Bulls: 
6 (7) New York City FC: Consistency is key for the Bronx side. They showed how good they can be against the Crew… even without David Villa. Now, they must back up that performance on Sunday when they welcome Atlanta to town.
5 (2) Orlando City: Certainly wasn’t a terrible week for the Lions, but they showed there’s still a bit of a gap between them and TFC.
4 (4) Portland Timbers: A road draw against Dallas when they only had two shots on goal. Caleb Porter will take that result every time.
3 (8) Toronto FC: Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore are each at five goals right now, and that spells trouble for the rest of the league. TFC has won three straight and they’ve got their sights set on the top of the East.
2 (1) FC Dallas: Have to give credit where credit is due. This is the only unbeaten side remaining in MLS, but there’s one club that’s just been a little bit hotter at the moment.
1 (3) Sporting KC: Wins over RSL and the Red Bulls have Peter Vermes’ side atop our Power Rankings in Week 9…. and deservedly so. Just three goals allowed in nine matches.

MLS Power Rankings — Week 5: Three teams remain winless to start

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It’s still too early to start eliminating teams from playoff contention but we’re starting to get a feel for which MLS clubs are the real favorites in 2017.

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Three teams remain winless to start the season, but Minnesota United isn’t one them. The Loons picked up their first win in convincing fashion against Real Salt Lake, however, the Montreal Impact, Philadelphia Union and RSL haven’t been so fortunate. Check out PST’s updated power rankings below:


TEAM RANKING (Last Wk)

22 (19)

 

21 (21)

 

20 (22)

Real Salt Lake: The Loons picked apart the RSL backline time and time again last Saturday, and now this team is just one of three in MLS without a win.

DC United: Ben Olsen’s group finally got off the snide against the Union but there are still a lot of questions about D.C. moving forward.

Minnesota United: Baby steps, right? The Loons have their first win and better yet, they aren’t in last in the West. It’s clear this team can score goals at times but they still need to improve upon keeping them out.

19 (18) Philadelphia Union: The Union have a lot of talent on the roster but Jim Curtin should be feeling some early pressure to pick up results as his side sits at the bottom of the East.
18 (16) Montreal Impact: Key injuries have plagued the Impact so far, including those to Ignacio Piatti and Laurent Ciman.
17 (17) Chicago Fire: Bastian Schweinsteiger‘s debut was just about everything you could want as a Fire fan, except for the result.
16 (15) New England Revolution: Back-to-back results for the Revs has the club in better spirits. All the makings are there for an explosive attack but Jay Heaps’ backline still features a few questions that need answering.
15 (14) LA Galaxy: The Zlatan rumors continue to swirl and his services could surely benefit the struggling side over the summer.
14 (10) San Jose Earthquakes: A late red card to Victor Bernardez and allowing the early lead to slip away will be disappointing for the Quakes but they showed plenty of life against NYCFC.
13 (15) Vancouver Whitecaps: The Caps proved they could still post some impressive offense without Kekuta Manneh but their CCL exit midweek could sting for awhile.
12 (13) Sporting Kansas City: Peter Vermes’ side have still allowed just one goal through four weeks. Now, they just need to start finishing their chances up top.
11 (11) Colorado Rapids: The Rapids face a tough test Sunday night when they head to Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City.
10 (8) Orlando City: The Lions suffered their first defeat of the season against Columbus but Kaka should be nearing a return for Jason Kreis’ group.
9 (4) New York Red Bulls: Jesse Marsch’s side sat on the wrong side o a few calls in Houston but the Dynamo simply outclassed the reigning Eastern Conference champions last Saturday. Time to regroup for the Red Bulls.
8 (9)
Houston Dynamo: This attack continues to fly high and Erick Torres leads the charge. The Dynamo have scored the second-most goals in MLS through five weeks and are currently doing so without Romell Quioto.
7 (7) Seattle Sounders: There were opportunities to crack the scoresheet against Atlanta but in the battle of the early-season heavyweights a 0-0 scoreline should be pleasing for both clubs.
6 (5) Toronto FC: It was a struggle at times for TFC to get things going against Sporting KC but a scoreless draw won’t be something Greg Vanney and co. dwell upon. After all, this team is still unbeaten.
5 (6) New York City FC: The Bronx club bounced back after allowing an early goal to the Quakes and Tommy McNamara’s ability to contribute off the bench should have Patrick Vieira very pleased.
4 (12) Columbus Crew: Greg Berhalter’s men have found a rhythm and they have the top spot in the Eastern Conference to show for their efforts.
3 (3) Atlanta United: A quality road draw against the Seattle Sounders should have Atlanta confident through the opening five weeks, especially as the newcomers continue to play without Josef Martinez.
2 (2) Portland Timbers: A late equalizer only handed the Timbers a point at Providence Park but Caleb Porter’s still sit atop the West.
1 (1) FC Dallas: Out of action last weekend in preparation for their CCL clash with Pachuca, Dallas will now have its full attention on MLS after falling just short of the tournament final.

MLS Power Rankings — Week 4: Only six teams in action

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With the international week taking center stage, only six MLS sides found themselves on the field while the world’s brightest stars represented their respective countries.

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The Columbus Crew have turned around their form of a season ago through the opening four weeks, including last week’s win over the Portland Timbers, while Minnesota United continues to suffer from “New MLS team syndrome.” Check out PST’s updated power rankings below:


TEAM RANKING (Last Wk)

22 (21)

 

21 (22)

 

20 (21)

Minnesota United: Shortly after picking up their first point in MLS play, the Loons went out and laid an egg in New England, bringing their goals conceded total to 18 thus far.

DC United: Ben Olsen’s side is still the only team in MLS without a goal.

New England Revolution: it seems as though every team that plays Minnesota is going to have their fun, and the Revs took full advantage with a five-goal outburst at Gillette Stadium.

19 (20) Real Salt Lake: Mike Petke is the man in charge now in Salt Lake City, but can he do anything different than what Jeff Cassar did?
18 (17) Philadelphia Union: DC United looms and it would be the right opportunity to kickstart the Union’s season after a slow opening three weeks.
17 (16) Chicago Fire: The Fire haven’t been bad but they also haven’t been great considering the offseason moves. In an Eastern Conference that looks like it’ll be closely-contested throughout, the Fire cannot afford to drop too many points.
16 (15) Montreal Impact: It may not solely be losing Didier Drogba during the offseason, but the Impact don’t look like themselves at the moment.
15 (14) Vancouver Whitecaps: Kekuta Manneh is gone and the CCL is on the horizon after this weekend’s clash with the Fire.
14 (13) LA Galaxy: The five-time champions will look to keep their unbeaten road record alive when they head to Vancouver.
13 (12) Sporting Kansas City: With only one goal allowed three games, Sporing KC must turn its attention to its underperforming attack, which has two goals so far.
12 (19) Columbus Crew: Greg Berhalter’s men picked up a big 3-2 win over the Portland Timbers in Week 4, and the addition of Kekuta Manneh could be a game-changer for an already strong attack.
11 (11) Colorado Rapids: One of two teams out of action this week after rescheduling with FC Dallas, who is readying itself for CCL play.
10 (10) San Jose Earthquakes: A trip to New York City on Saturday presents a good early season test for the Earthquakes. The Quakes lost their lone meeting at Yankee Stadium in 2015, by a score of 3-2.
9 (9) Houston Dynamo: It’s been a solid start for Quioto and the Dynamo attack, but the club has to sure some things up defensively if it wants to win games more comfortably.
8 (8)
Orlando City: The Lions are one of four unbeatens through four weeks, and a trip to Columbus will prove how legitimate Jason Kreis’ side is.
7 (7) Seattle Sounders: With a red-hot Clint Dempsey returning from international duty, it’ll be exciting to see how the Sounders fare against newcomers Atlanta.
6 (6) New York City FC: Patrick Vieira appears to have a better backline on his hands at the moment, however, NYCFC’s attack has been 
5 (5) Toronto FC: A little slow out of the starting gates, but with all three matches on the road, the 2016 runners’ up will gladly take five points.
4 (4) New York Red Bulls: RSL defended and defended and defended some more, but the Red Bulls still couldn’t put one past Matt VanOekel.
3 (3) Atlanta United: A Friday night test in Seattle will be a good gauge of where this club is at early in the season, but boy have they been exciting to watch so far.
2 (1) Portland Timbers: The 2015 champs faced a very game Crew side and didn’t come out on top but there’s no shame in it considering Columbus’ recent form.
1 (2) FC Dallas: With no match over the weekend, the Texas side continues to prepare for its CONCACAF Champions League second leg against Pachuca.