Power Rankings

Power Rankings: Atlanta United, Minnesota United level up in Matchday 4

Power Ranknigs - Matchday 4 - 2024 season

What a week in MLS. Seattle Sounders FC lost a key player to injury. Columbus Crew scored a late winner. Chicago Fire FC allowed a late winner. Austin FC struggled at home. It was truly a week unlike any other.

The Power Rankings are voted on by around 20 MLS writers, editors and personalities and are not solely the fault of the column’s author. The 2024 MLSsoccer.com Power Rankings Committee regrets the errors in this week's Power Rankings and promises to rank your team higher next week in exchange for a one-time subscription to MLSsoccer.com Power Rankings+.

The Crew took their time with things this week. But why rush if you can still get your work in before the deadline?

Mo Farsi’s 100th-minute winner on Saturday clocked in as the latest in club history.

Previous: 2-1 win vs. CHI | Next: 3/16 vs. RBNY

Someone finally took the hint and realized you have to make sure Inter Miami are triple-ultra-mega-dead before you can rest on your laurels. Nashville SC were not that team despite playing very well against the Herons in midweek Concacaf Champions Cup action. Luis Suárez made sure of that.

But CF Montréal eventually figured it out against a heavily rotated Miami side on Sunday in a 3-2 loss for the Herons. Playing in CCC is hard. You can’t out-talent the laws of nature in MLS, especially when your set-piece defense might be a genuine problem.

Garth Lagerwey said it this offseason and I’m going to say it now: Atlanta United have a plus starter at every outfield position. That means they finally, mercifully have a center-back and central-midfield pairing that can compete at a high level. Here’s a taste of what that looks like when it’s all working together.

When you have an attack as talented as Atlanta’s and the players behind them to keep things steady, they’re going to wear you down. New center backs Stian Gregersen and Derrick Williams have looked excellent through two games and new No. 6 Bartosz Slisz looks like he’s getting more comfortable by the minute. A CCC-weary New England side didn’t have a chance here. They won’t be the last team to get run over in Atlanta.

Previous: 4-1 win vs. NE | Next: 3/17 vs. ORL

Man, at this point, is anyone else thinking when new manager Eric Ramsay arrives he should kick his feet up in his new office and refuse to touch anything with this team for fear of breaking it?

He could pop out from time to time and say things like “Great work!” and “Keep doing what you’re doing!” and then head back inside. It sounds like a nice way to collect a paycheck on a team with seven points through their first three games despite missing their most critical player in Emanuel Reynoso.

(That being said, you probably aren’t going to win too many road games where you allow 4.0 xG and only create 1.0 xG for yourself. The vibes are good, though.)

Previous: 3-2 win at ORL | Next: 3/16 vs. LAFC

No, I’m not entirely sure how Cincy ended up below Minnesota. But I guess it is fair to reference how the Loons have more points than the reigning Supporters' Shield winners.

Cincinnati played D.C. United to a 0-0 draw on Sunday after a painful 1-0 loss at home to CF Monterrey in CCC action. The loss is one thing, but Cincy left a ton of chances on the table. Even worse, Brandon Vazquez didn’t miss his chance against his old team.

Previous: 0-0 draw vs. DC | Next: 3/17 at NE

A road trip to Nashville didn’t quite go to plan, but the Galaxy still bulldozed their way to a 2-2 draw despite going down 2-0 to a heavily rotated team. Sometimes, when you have that much talent in attack, you can brute force your way to a point. And any road point is a good point.

Previous: 2-2 draw at NSH | Next: 3/16 vs. STL

Portland are atop the Western Conference standings after three games thanks to this:

It’s still hard to be too sold on this team, but it’s also the Western Conference. Amid a collection of about 12 teams with no discernible differences, the Timbers have found a bit of separation from the pack. They have as good a chance as anyone else at staying there. That chance should get even better if their reported move for Club América forward Jonathan Rodríguez goes through.

Previous: 2-1 win at NYC | Next: 3/16 at HOU

No snow on Saturday, but LAFC still couldn’t find the back of the net in a 0-0 draw against Sporting KC.

Previous: 0-0 draw vs. SKC | Next: 3/16 at MIN

It might be too late to get in on the ground floor, but you should still consider buying some Red Bulls stock while you can.

They’re doing all of the typical Energy Drink Soccer things that keep their floor perpetually high, but having Emil Forsberg and a healthy Lewis Morgan in the lineup has their ceiling as high as it’s been since 2018. Forsberg has 100% looked the part as New York’s biggest DP in quite some time and Morgan has quietly been outstanding every full season he’s played in MLS. There’s a ton of upside here.

Previous: 2-1 win vs. DAL | Next: 3/16 at CLB

Their matchup in Philadelphia got postponed due to rain. That’s probably just fine with them right now. New DP Pedro de la Vega (hamstring) joined their lengthy early season injury list last week that will keep him out for the next 6-8 weeks.

Montréal did what nobody else has this year: They survived a late push from Inter Miami. Their 3-2 win in Fort Lauderdale gave them their seventh point in three road games. They’re halfway through their six-game road trip to start the season and already have more road wins than some teams will earn all year.

Yeah, Inter Miami rotated heavily, but seven points from a three-game road trip is unreal in MLS. They’re not just surviving their most difficult stretch of the season, but they’re thriving. And, my goodness, does Matías Cóccaro’s mustache look amazing. It’s been a perfect start to Laurent Courtois’ first season in charge.

Previous: 3-2 win at MIA | Next: 3/16 at CHI

The Union had plenty of chances to break through against Pachuca on Tuesday, but couldn’t find the net in a 0-0 CCC draw. They need an impressive road performance tonight to advance. They at least got a bit of rest beforehand after their match with Seattle got postponed.

St. Louis were the better team in Austin last weekend, but needed a stoppage-time equalizer from Célio Pompeu to earn a road point. Even when your opponent scores twice on their only two shots on target, a road point is a good point.

Previous: 2-2 draw at ATX | Next: 3/16 at LA

I was at a family gathering and felt bad about asking to put this game on the TV until this happened. So. Thanks, Lorenzo.

I don’t know how replicable that particular shot is week over week, but Toronto are seemingly much more difficult to play through and much more focused so far in 2024. They have seven points through three games and have yet to allow a goal. It won’t win you the Supporters' Shield or anything, but being stout defensively and keeping things close until Insigne does something cool isn’t a bad way to go about things at all.

Previous: 1-0 win vs. CLT | Next: 3/16 at NYC

D.C. United went to Cincinnati without Christian Benteke and earned a road point. You take that all day.

Benteke should be back from a groin injury soon (hopefully).

Previous: 0-0 draw at CIN | Next: 3/16 vs. MIA

The Whitecaps got the job done on the road against a struggling San Jose side in a 2-0 win over the weekend. There’s not much more to say when a team takes care of business.

Previous: 2-0 win at SJ | Next: 3/16 at DAL

SKC maybe deserved better than earning a road point at LAFC. They put together a solid defensive effort and had chances. Instead, they joined the long list of teams playing to 0-0 draws as they find their footing early in the year.

Previous: 0-0 draw at LAFC | Next: 3/16 vs. SJ

FC Dallas ran into a good Red Bulls side on the road and came up short. It happens. But overall it feels like they might need a moment to find their way. They changed their system this offseason and haven’t quite looked sharp yet while playing out of their new back three. It’s probably fair to assume injuries have played a key role as well. Let’s give them a few more games to get it together.

Previous: 2-1 loss at RBNY | Next: 3/16 vs.VAN

Lorenzo Insigne ruined a decent effort at stealing a point on the road against Toronto. But Charlotte fans can take solace in the fact the first of their two new DP signings is on the way.

Previous: 1-0 loss at TOR | Next: 3/16 at NSH

It’s worth mentioning again: If you think you have defeated Inter Miami, you should triple-check, just to make sure. Nashville had their chances to do that in CCC last week and didn’t get it done. The Zombie Herons came back to equalize late and take control of the tie.

Nashville followed that up by losing another 2-0 lead to the Galaxy on Sunday and may be missing Walker Zimmerman for a moment due to injury. Jacob Shaffelburg deserved better last week.

Previous: 2-2 draw vs. LA | Next: 3/16 vs. CLT

I don't believe RSL are the 21st-best team in MLS, but this is what happens when you lose at home in the Rocky Mountain Cup (last happened in September 2020).

Previous: 2-1 loss vs. COL | Next: Bye

It seems incredibly unlikely Orlando are the 22nd-best team in MLS, but this is what happens when you scuff multiple chances at taking a lead on Tigres in CCC and then lose to Minnesota at home via multiple avoidable defensive mistakes.

Still, Orlando played relatively well in a 0-0 draw against Tigres and out-created Minnesota 4.0 xG to 1.0 xG while Duncan McGuire is out here doing things like this:

The Rankings Committee may have been a bit heavy-handed dropping the Lions this low. 

Previous: 3-2 loss vs. MIN | Next: 3/17 at ATL

Throw a late CCC loss to Columbus on the pile of things that have gone wrong for Houston to start the year. Maybe they’ll find redemption tonight as they travel to face the Crew for Leg 2?

Previous: Bye | Next: 3/16 vs. POR

After a not-nearly-as-bad-as-it-seemed loss to Portland on opening weekend, Colorado have bounced back by picking up four points in their last two games and beating their arch-rival. The Rapids simply outplayed RSL in a 2-1 win over the weekend.

Previous: 2-1 win at RSL | Next: 3/16 at SEA

What if it’s one big elaborate decade-spanning performance art piece?

Previous: 2-1 loss at CLB | Next: 3/16 vs. MTL

The Revs blasted Alajuelense in CCC action midweek and then looked like a tired CCC team against Atlanta on Saturday. They’ll probably be fine, but more CCC games are on the way. You can only bury yourself so deep in MLS before you’re doomed. They have no points through three games.

Previous: 4-1 loss at ATL | Next: 3/17 vs. CIN

Austin earned a point against St. Louis this weekend. Those count even when you’re not the better team on the day.

Previous: 2-2 draw vs. STL | Next: 3/16 vs. PHI

New York City FC took a gut-punch loss at home to Portland. Nick Cushing's squad has the talent, but can they put it together?

Previous: 2-1 loss vs. POR | Next: 3/16 vs. TOR

The Earthquakes have no points and a negative-5 goal differential through three games.

Previous: 2-0 loss vs. VAN | Next: 3/16 at SKC