Power Rankings

MLS Power Rankings: Check out the initial order for 2020

Power Rankings - 2020 preseason - lead image

Only MLS league games will be reflected in the rankings. Rankings are voted on by MLSsoccer.com editorial staff; words by Jonathan Sigal.




HIGH: 1 | LOW: 1

The Sounders return much of their MLS Cup-winning starting XI from a season ago, and they've added Brazilian midfielder Joao Paulo and Colombian center back Yeimar Gomez Andrade to the mix. Until proven otherwise, they're the crème de la crème of the MLS hierarchy for 2020. Plus, a Round of 16 exit from the Concacaf Champions League should keep their legs more fresh for the regular season ahead.

Previous: - | Next: 3/1 vs. CHI



HIGH: 2 | LOW: 2

By most metrics, LAFC's Supporters' Shield-winning season in 2019 was just silly. They set an MLS record for points (72) and goal differential (plus-48), all while Carlos Vela put up video-game like numbers (34 goals, 15 assists) at forward. There are some key losses –  the true impact of departing center back Walker Zimmerman remains to be seen – but the Black & Gold have also reloaded with several shrewd signings. 

Previous: - | Next: 3/1 vs. MIA



HIGH: 3 | LOW: 3

NYCFC's long coaching search for life after Dome Torrent eventually landed on Ronny Deila, a Norwegian who brings success from his time at Celtic and a crazy story of stripping near-naked during his time at Valerenga. Yes, you read that last part right. He has a ready-made roster to work with, too, one that oozes familiarity after earning a club-record 64points last season.

Previous: - | Next: 3/1 at CLB



HIGH: 4 | LOW: 4

Expectations are still sky-high in Atlanta, even if this offseason saw the heartstrings of Five Stripes' fans pulled every which way amid roster turnover. But the club's attacking triumvirate of Josef Martinez, Pity Martinez and Ezequiel Barco could be scary good if they're all healthy and in form. They won U.S. Open Cup and Campeones Cup titles in 2019, too, meaning Atlanta has three trophies in two years.

Previous: - | Next: 2/29 at NSH



HIGH: 5 | LOW: 5

The Reds are coming off their third MLS Cup appearance in four years, and logic says Alejandro Pozuelo could be even better in 2020 now that he's logged a true offseason. But it looks like new winger Pablo Piatti could be weeks away from his debut, and there's the long-term ankle injury Michael Bradley is coping with. The good news is they have plenty of depth and a cadre of youngsters waiting to impress. 

Previous: - | Next: 2/29 at SJ



HIGH: 6 | LOW: 6

As you may have heard by now, the Galaxy landed Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez this offseason, in part to fill the Zlatan-sized shoes left behind by the Swedish superstar. So, Galaxy fans are hoping some magic erupts when you add El Tri's all-time leading scorer to a front three with Cristian Pavon and Aleksandar Katai. As for that defense? Let's toss a TBD on there. 

Previous: - | Next: 2/29 at HOU



HIGH: 7 | LOW: 7

The Union took most of MLS by surprise in 2019, plus got their first playoff win in club history. That led to the likes of Kacper Przybylko, Jamiro Monteiro and Kai Wagner growing from relative unknowns to pretty, pretty good. Philadelphia also gets it done with youth, so there's a #PlayYourKids element to watch for as well.

Previous: - | Next: 2/29 at DAL



HIGH: 8 | LOW: 8

Last year was pretty special for the Loons, as they opened Allianz Field and brought in a defensive corps – hello Vito Mannone, Ike Opara and Ozzie Alonso – that stop the bleeding and propelled the club's first MLS playoff berth. Mannone's gone, though, and has been replaced with former LAFC 'keeper Tyler Miller, who enters the side alongside a 25-goal-promising forward in Luis Amarilla. In all, there's a lot for Minnesota fans to be excited about.

Previous: - | Next: 3/1 at POR



HIGH: 9 | LOW: 9

It's year No. 2 of the Caleb Porter and Tim Bezbatchenko era in Columbus, and their offseason endeavors (stretching back to the last Secondary Transfer Window, even) have drawn plenty of applause. The headliners from the winter are Lucas Zelarayan and Darlington Nagbe, a pair of midfielders who could turn the Crew from a playoff outsider to contender. Now, it's time to back up the hype. 

Previous: - | Next: 3/1 at NYC



HIGH: 10 | LOW: 10

FC Dallas got in on the Liga MX import fun this offseason, but forward Franco Jara won't arrive until July. Until then, it's seeing how a youthful squad does in its second year under head coach Luchi Gonzalez, plus with the additions of midfielder Thiago Santos and winger Fafa Picault. Can one of the club's US men's national team youngsters take a big leap? 

Previous: - | Next: 2/29 vs. PHI



HIGH: 11 | LOW: 11

Your eyes won't be deceiving you when watching the Timbers – there really are lookalike brothers out there. They're none other than midfield staple Diego Chara and new DP winger Yimmi Chara, who's been brought in alongside forwards Jaroslaw Niezgoda and Felipe Mora to boost the offense. Perhaps party time will return to the Rose City after much of 2019 revolved around the renovations at Providence Park.

Previous: - | Next: 3/1 vs. MIN



HIGH: 12 | LOW: 12

Carles Gil, last year's MLS Newcomer of the Year, is out for this weekend's game against Montreal with a foot injury, meaning fans will have to wait to see the Spaniard link up with fellow DPs Gustavo Bou and Adam Buksa. That trio could shred defenses apart, and there's also optimism around goalkeeper Matt Turner and what a full season under head coach/sporting director Bruce Arena could entail. But those hopes are also cautioned by questions in central midfield and center back, where the team stands on less firm ground.

Previous: - | Next: 2/29 at MTL



HIGH: 13 | LOW: 13

The first full season under head coach Freddy Juarez awaits, and it's further a new era now that longtime goalkeeper Nick Rimando has officially retired. RSL have also added former Italy national team winger Giuseppe Rossi after a lengthy free-agent spell, which is a head-turning signing if nothing else. They're starting in the West's second tier, though perhaps Juarez can get the most of his Homegrown-heavy team.

Previous: - | Next: 2/29 at ORL



HIGH: 14 | LOW: 14

Speaking of new eras, life after Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta is here for D.C. United, and a wrench was tossed into the equation when Paul Arriola went down with a long-term knee injury in preseason. The good news is D.C. landed Edison Flores and Julian Gressel this offseason, so their attack isn't exactly spiraling out of control. In fact, they could truly flex their muscle at times – even if the star power has dissipated.

Previous: - | Next: 2/29 vs. COL



HIGH: 15 | LOW: 15

The RBNY ethos tends to involve a motto that the team is the star, and they'll certainly need to lean upon that in 2020. Five (arguably six) starting-caliber players are gone from last year's team, and no offseason addition aside from winger Josh Sims truly jumps off the page. The word about Chris Armas' side that comes to mind is "unpredictability." 

Previous: - | Next: 3/1 vs. CIN



HIGH: 16 | LOW: 16

Flash back a year, and the Rapids were entering their first season under Anthony Hudson. We all know how that ended up, and now Robin Fraser enters a similar spot with a roster that, at least on paper, should push for a playoff spot in the Western Conference. If you're wondering who their difference-makers will be, No. 10 Younes Namli comes to mind, as does center back Lalas Abubakar

Previous: - | Next: 2/29 at DC



HIGH: 17 | LOW: 17

Boy, where to start with the storylines for San Jose heading into 2020? A second year of Pelado-ball under Matias Almeyda is about to begin, and it's also legendary forward Chris Wondolowski's final year as a professional. Those two jump off the page, but all that'll matter this fall is whether or not playoff soccer returns to Earthquakes country after last year's late-season collapse.

Previous: - | Next: 2/29 vs. TOR



HIGH: 18 | LOW: 18

Ladies and gentlemen, they got him. Meme reference aside, Sporting Kansas City are feeling pretty good about the addition of Alan Pulido at the No. 9 role after years of will-they-or-won't-they discussions for a marquee signing at that position. But the Mexican striker's influence could mean little if Sporting's aging core doesn't step up and the team's defense doesn't rebound from allowing a Western Conference-worst 67 goals in 2019.

Previous: - | Next: 2/29 at VAN



HIGH: 19 | LOW: 19

Welcome to MLS, Miami. The seven-year wait for David Beckham's project in the Magic City has reached its crescendo, and now it's time for the games to truly matter. High hopes surround what this expansion team could accomplish in 2020, though we won't truly know until the Diego Alonso-led squad actually plays. 

Previous: - | Next: 3/1 at LAFC



HIGH: 20 | LOW: 20

After years of impressing as head coach of the US U-20 team, Tab Ramos has returned to his MLS roots for an identical role with the Dynamo. Those in H-Town will be hoping that leads to the club's glory days returning, though it was a relatively-quiet offseason aside from adding attacking difference-maker Darwin Quintero.

Previous: - | Next: 2/29 vs LA



HIGH: 21 | LOW: 21

The biggest story in Montreal is the arrival of head coach Thierry Henry, who will be looking to prove that his brief tenure in charge of AS Monaco was an anomaly and not the norm. It's also life after Ignacio Piatti for the Impact, whose big names are really just Saphir TaiderBojan and Orji Okwonkwo. In simple terms, there are a lot of questions lingering at the moment.

Previous: - | Next: 2/29 vs. NE



HIGH: 22 | LOW: 22

The Fire have a new coach in Raphael Wicky and a dozen new players, a group that's spearheaded by a trio of DPs in forward Robert Beric, winger Ignacio Aliseda and midfielder Gaston Gimenez. Oh, and there's the move to downtown Solider Field and overall club rebrand. Unfamiliarity seems to envelop this storied club.

Previous: - | Next: 3/1 at SEA



HIGH: 23 | LOW: 23

Keeping with the trend of new coaches in the Power Rankings' bottom tier, the Lions now have former FC Dallas boss Oscar Pareja at the helm as they hope their sixth MLS season prompts the club's first playoff appearance. Will that, plus a busy offseason led by adding midfielder Junior Urso and goalkeeper Pedro Gallese, be enough to vault the Cardiac Cats in another direction?

Previous: - | Next: 2/29 vs. RSL



HIGH: 24 | LOW: 24

Vancouver finished bottom of the Western Conference last year and as runner-up in the Wooden Spoon race. Neither designation is exactly one a club desires, though landing forward Lucas Cavallini could solve some of their goal-scoring woes. That's the crown jewel of another busy offseason under head coach Marc Dos Santos, who has ample work ahead.  

Previous: - | Next: 2/29 vs. SKC



HIGH: 25 | LOW: 25

Early consensus, at least from afar, is Nashville's expansion season will lean more towards the likes of Minnesota and FC Cincy than LAFC and Atlanta – although likely not with the record-setting defensive woes the first pair encountered. Now, it's all about the newcomers proving the doubters wrong, with midfielder Hany Mukhtar and defender Walker Zimmerman their two lynchpins.  

Previous: - | Next: 2/29 vs. ATL



HIGH: 26 | LOW: 26

FC Cincinnati starts the 2020 Power Rankings right where they finished last year's: bottom of the barrel. It's felt like one step forward two steps back for the Orange and Blue during their MLS era, with Ron Jans' departure meaning the club will have four coaches (interim or permanent) in just over a year unless interim leader Yoann Damet gets the gig full-time. The club's supporters will also be hoping a retooled attack will spark a new chapter, as forwards Yuya Kubo and Jurgen Locadia lead the charge alongside midfielder Siem de Jong.  

Previous: - | Next: 3/1 at NY