Power Rankings

Power Rankings: Atlanta United make huge leap, Portland Timbers drop after Week 19

What a week in MLS. LAFC lost on a preventable goal, Columbus lost, Austin got shut out, Josef Martinez scored and Nashville went down a goal early in a game at home. It was truly a week unlike any other.

No Twitter Spaces this week, but more soon from Andrew Wiebe and the gang.

Disclaimer: The Power Rankings are voted on by the entirety of the MLSsoccer.com editorial staff. You should probably be gently made fun of if you still think the actual rankings are made by just one person. Like Dave from Minnesota who jumped in my mentions to complain about the Loons rankings. Well, Dave. You’re going to feel a lot better about it this week. Even if you clearly don’t read the disclaimer. Anyway, if I had my say I would have dropped them 30 spots just for Dave. Because I’m personally determined to ruin the sanctity of the most sacred tradition in sports: The Power Rankings. If that upsets you, think about the fact Tom Bogert once said “I don’t get The Shawshank Redemption, couldn’t he have just explained he didn’t do it?”. Anyway, you should really recognize that the stakes have never been lower.

Another week, another win for the best team in the league. Tajon Buchanan returned to his hometown to score a gorgeous headed goal, and the Revs responded to a late equalizer from Toronto by scoring moments later on a Gustavo Bou penalty that momentarily gave him the Golden Boot presented by Audi lead. They picked up another three points without Carles Gil and seem just fine despite missing the best playmaker in the league for all of August so far. They're 12 points ahead of anyone else in the Eastern Conference and six points ahead in the Supporters’ Shield race. It’s getting harder and harder to imagine anyone catching them at this poi...OH GOD WHAT IS THAT…

Previous: 2-1 win at TOR | Next: 8/18 vs. DC

So. Seattle look healthy.

After a couple weeks of starting varying amounts of children each game and only taking four points from five games, Seattle put out a mostly full-strength lineup in both their games – minus Nouhou and Stefan Frei – and were able to sub in Nico Lodeiro and Will Bruin as reinforcements.


Y’all, what happens when Seattle turns into Second Half of the Season Seattle when they already were record-breakingly good in the first half of the year? They haven’t even started incorporating Young Money signing Léo Chú into the team yet. I guess the good news is there’s no way they could add anyone else by the end of the seas…

Well. It’s been fun. Might as well eat some Arby’s and watch the Jimmy Medranda goal until this is all over.

Previous: 6-2 win at POR | Next: 8/18 at DAL

Ok, might have gotten carried away with Seattle there. Let’s not forget Sporting KC are still on top of the conference. And as long as Daniel Salloi and Alan Pulido are around to find the back of the net like they did against FC Dallas, they’re going to be extremely involved in the Supporters’ Shield race the rest of the way. Let’s not forget this team took it to a sorta full-strength Sounders team at Lumen Field just a couple of weeks ago. It’s important to have a memory like a steel trap when it comes to these things.

No, I don’t remember SKC playing a Leagues Cup game against Club Leon. Why do you ask?

Previous: 2-0 win at DAL | Next: 8/18 vs. POR

NYCFC hang tight at No. 4 this week after a solid 2-0 win over Inter Miami. They’re unbeaten in six now and 12 points back of New England in the Eastern Conference with a couple of games in hand. There’s a chance they make this interesting down the stretch. Especially if Taty Castellanos continues his "top class" form.

For most of the year, Castellanos has been somewhat spectacularly underperforming his expected goals numbers. No one in the league has had a higher differential between the chances they’ve had and the chances they’ve finished. Of course, to have that high a differential, you have to be finding a lot of chances. He’s leading the league in expected goals and expected goals plus assists. Even with that disparity, Taty still has eight goals and six assists on the season. And he could be better. If he’s finally found a way to start finishing at a level near where his expected goals numbers say he should be, then NYCFC are going to be absurdly ruthless the rest of the way.

Previous: 2-0 win vs. MIA | Next: 8/18 at PHI

Another week without Chicharito, another week where it didn’t seem to really matter in the end. The Galaxy picked up an extremely impressive win on the road in Minnesota this week. Probably their best win this season. And they did it with a rotated lineup while missing Chicarito and Sebastian Lletget.

I keep expecting this team to fall off. Their defensive numbers are still far from encouraging. But Greg Vanney keeps putting them in positions to win and they’re starting to incorporate new pieces like Dejan Joveljic into the team while playing some really pretty soccer no matter who’s on the field. Jonathan Klinsmann went superhuman, too.

Previous: 1-0 win at MIN | Next: 8/17 vs. COL

The Rapids dropped a spot in the voting this weekend for no other reason I’m guessing besides LA looking good against a better team. Colorado still took care of business, though. Like they do every week. The Rapids cruised past Houston in a 3-1 win and still have two games in hand on the three teams above them in the West. Two straight wins would put them even on points and games with SKC up at the top.

And if they feel raw about being bumped down a spot by a random collection of writers and editors voting on how “good” a team is with nothing to really anchor them to any sense of consistency, they can always just go out and beat LA tonight (10:30 p.m. ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+) and get their first win over one of the top-three teams in the West this season.

Previous: 3-1 win at HOU | Next: 8/17 at LA

Well then, Nashville. If Seattle hadn’t done a madness on Portland and Tigres, we’d probably be talking about the Golden Boys as the team of the week. They pummeled D.C. United in a 5-2 win that pushed them to third in the Eastern Conference. Their win over D.C. is honestly more impressive than Seattle’s. D.C. are simply a better team and Seattle used a cavalcade of bangers to reach their slightly more impressive final scoreline.

Comparison aside, Nashville should feel phenomenal about this win. And it gives them another bit of cushion as they prepare for the upcoming batch of road games waiting on the horizon.

Previous: 5-2 win vs DC | Next: 8/18 vs. ORL

Nothing MLS-wise from the Lions this weekend, but that Leagues Cup loss to Santos Laguna was kind of a bummer. They’ll be hoping for a little more luck in the finishing department when they head to Nashville on Wednesday night.

Previous: Bye | Next: 8/18 at NSH

Sometimes you find a dollar on the ground. Sometimes you hit every red light. Sometimes you get bumped up two spots in the Power Rankings by a rotating cast of voters even after a home loss. Such is life, I guess.

Previous: 1-0 loss vs. LA | Next: 8/17 at SJ

Everyone would have been happier if things had gone just slightly better at Estadio Azteca on Thursday night in CCL against Club America. But, like the good folks at Extratime say, the free space for MLS in Concacaf bingo is “Disappointment.” And, well, here we are again.

Previous: Bye | Next: 8/18 vs. NYC

The week after they reach their highest ranking of the year, they get clobbered and fall back three spots. It happens. The good news is Edison Flores is back and the underlying numbers still love D.C. United. The bad news is the underlying numbers can’t account for injuries. Center back Steve Birnbaum got hurt in this one and D.C.’s injury report is suddenly getting pretty long again.

Previous: 5-2 loss at NSH | Next: 8/18 at NE

Just another week of Montréal taking all three points after converting a 98th-minute, game-winning penalty they got to take three times after the goalkeeper came off his line early the first two times. THEY CAN’T KEEP GETTING AWAY WITH IT.

Anyway, Montréal are still in a playoff spot despite picking up just four points in their last six games. It would have been two points without a little luck. They need to correct a bit here and soon. Because…

Previous: 2-1 win vs. RBNY | Next: 8/18 at CIN

Here come the Five Stripes. It seems the increasing optimism around Atlanta has made its way to the MLSsoccer.com editorial staff as well. Since interim manager Rob Valentino took over, Atlanta have taken eight points from five games and suddenly look like they’ve remembered that they’re allowed to try and score when they have the ball.

They weren’t spectacular against LAFC this weekend, but that doesn’t necessarily matter if Josef Martinez is back to finding the net. He’s scored three times in his last three games and looked exponentially more explosive than he did at the beginning of the season.

Now Atlanta get to bring in DP winger Luiz Araujo and a new manager in Gonzalo Pineda, who seems eager to continue the culture of positivity and attacking freedom that Valentino has instituted overnight. This team isn’t nearly as talented as Atlanta’s teams of the past, but the ability is clearly there to push for a playoff spot the rest of the way.

Oh, and since Matt Doyle refuses to acknowledge it, Marcelino Moreno is third in the league in American Soccer Analysis’ goals added metric and first among attacking players. Could he make better decisions in transition scenarios? Yes. Am I going to attempt to get the internet to bully Matt into believing in Marcie anyway? Also, yes.

Previous: 1-0 win vs. LAFC | Next: 8/18 vs. TOR

The win over Austin is nice, but Bobby Wood’s goal celebration with his family is even better.

Anyway, RSL are one of five teams in the West that actually have a positive goal differential. 

Previous: 1-0 win vs. ATX | Next: 8/18 vs. HOU

LAFC’s Catastrophic Mistake of the Week for MLS Week 19 goes to Jesus David Murillo for nearly defending a long ball over the top, but instead having it graze off his leg and roll perfectly into the path of Ezequiel Barco, who then laid the ball off for Josef Martinez to score an easy game-winning goal. This has been LAFC’s Catastrophic Mistake of the Week. Tune in next week for probably something pretty close to the exact same thing. 

On a related note, LAFC are in eighth place in the West and have a goal differential of negative two.

Previous: 1-0 loss at ATL | Next: 8/21 at VAN

Nothing doing this week for FC Dallas against SKC. Understandable. Hopefully they’ve regrouped to prepare for Seattle tomorrow and Houston over the weekend.

Previous: 2-0 loss vs. SKC | Next: 8/18 vs.SEA

They did score twice against Seattle. And Sebastian Blanco scored one of those goals. And it will help a lot if he continues to look a lot like the pre-ACL tear version of himself. And they really weren’t that badly outplayed this weekend. But, you know…

The Timbers are still in a playoff spot. But their goal differential is negative 10, they’ve given up more goals than any team in the conference and their expected goals allowed total is second-worst in the league.

Previous: 6-2 loss vs. SEA | Next: 8/18 at SKC

Spent a good 20 minutes deciding whether or not to post the full Caleb Porter quote about the media and the Power Rankings. I’ve decided not to post it. But I will keep bringing it up in each Power Rankings until either Columbus win a game again or Crew Cat sends me a signed headshot. This is called leverage, y’all.

But, yeah, that’s four straight losses for Columbus now. This one came against Chicago. And the underlying numbers still strongly dislike the Crew. As always though, none of this matters when you can stare at your reflection in MLS Cup each night and forget about the troubles of the current world.

Previous: 1-0 loss at CHI | Next: 8/18 at RBNY

A 0-0 draw against Vancouver isn’t spectacular. However, eight games without a loss for the Quakes is pretty close. If they can make it through their upcoming three-game stretch against Minnesota, LA and Colorado, it will be. 

The Quakes are just one point out of a playoff spot in the West.

Previous: 0-0 draw vs. VAN | Next: 8/17 vs. MIN

The Fire got a nice win against Columbus, but most importantly they got another shutout. They’ve allowed just two goals over their last four. Uncoincidentally, they have eight points over those last four games. 

It’s just enough to trick someone into thinking they’ve figured out how to stop shooting themselves in the kneecap defensively until they inevitably kick the ball off their own player and into their own net in a game or two and go right back to shipping two goals a game. That’s right, Chicago. I’m not falling for it this time…..although, maybe, just maybe, this time they’ve really changed. And they are only six points out of a playoff spot. Maybe...

Previous: 1-0 win vs. CLB | Next: 8/18 at MIA

The New York Red Bulls earned a draw against CF Montréhaahksaadfa...sorry let me try that again.

The New York Red Bulls earned a draw against CF Montréhaahksaadfa...sorry let me try that again.

The New York Red Bulls lost to CF Montréal.

Previous: 2-1 loss at MTL | Next: 8/18 vs. CLB

Five! Straight! Draws!

Six straight is the league record. I’ve never been more confident in a team’s ability to break a record.

Previous: 0-0 draw at SJ | Next: 8/18 at ATX

Only last in the conference in goals scored. That’s not the worst kind of last.

Previous: 2-0 loss at NYC | Next: 8/18 vs. CHI

That’s three straight losses for Houston now. Things are starting to look pretty bleak when the biggest win you’ve had in a while is me deciding I couldn’t beat up your mascot in a fight.

Previous: 3-1 loss vs. COL | Next: 8/18 at RSL

Cincy stayed at home and jumped two spots in the Power Rankings. The moral of the Power Rankings, as always, is “Never try.” 

Previous: Bye | Next: 8/18 vs. MTL

They’re last in the West now in both points and goals scored. I’m not sure how much reinforcements like Sebastian Driussi and Moussa Djitte are going to help. But it needs to be a lot. 

Previous: 1-0 loss at RSL | Next: 8/18 vs. VAN

Toronto FC are the first team to 40 goals allowed. They're also winless in four games.

Previous: 2-1 loss vs. NE | Next: 8/18 at ATL