Same as last week, none of this is my fault. Multiple MLS writers and voices voted in these rankings. I did not make them. However, Andrew Wiebe, Matt Doyle and some special guests, including yours truly had some hot debates over on Twitter Spaces.
Take a listen to the audio below and check out MLSsoccer.com and Matt Doyle's Twitter feed every Tuesday at 11 am ET to see the new Power Rankings and hear the full breakdown on Twitter Spaces.
Once again, the stakes have never been lower. To the rankings.
LAFC crept closer to the top spot, but Columbus had a high enough degree of difficulty with Concacaf Champions League during the week and Philadelphia on Sunday to stay up. Another draw and an LAFC win, though, and Columbus could finally be knocked out of this coveted and completely arbitrary top spot that there are quite literally no benefits to acquiring. Dream big, LAFC. Dream big.
Previous: 0-0 draw vs. PHI | Next: Bye
No Diego Rossi and (oops) no Carlos Vela didn’t seem to bother them too much. They picked up a typical LAFC win under atypical circumstances and now you get to hear Big MLS Media talk about how they haven’t even reached their final form for the next week.*
*Please note: I definitely tried to do a bit here where I switched out LAFC for Las Vegas Lights and went “OOPS! Accidentally substituted them out” and then I would have nudged everyone next to me just to let them note how good the bit was. Unfortunately, my editors are getting really good at letting me down gently.
Well hey, would you look at that. I’ve said this elsewhere on The Mothership, but just to drive it home: Turns out that even if you lose three starters from an MLS Cup team ... you still have eight starters from an MLS Cup team. The Sounders still have quality everywhere and their transition to a 3-5-2 felt a little more than seamless. They’re even playing kids like Josh Atencio now and watching them contribute. They are a hydra and we are doomed to keep pretending the universe has cut off the final head into infinity. The rumors of Seattle’s death have been greatly exaggerated and there is nothing, NOTHING, past, present or future that you can do to rectify the situation…….
Also, lol did y’all see Nouhou??? Nouhou’s so great. I love Nouhou.
Another team who advanced in CCL but didn’t score on the weekend. That’s the kind of effort that will ... keep you in the exact same spot as last week.
However, giving up two goals in the first 11 minutes to Chicago then coming back to grab a draw despite giving up two actual goals on 2.3 xG? That? That’s the kind of thing that bumps you up a spot in the Power Rankings.
I’m not quite sure how these things work either. But to New England’s credit, they did come back. And are still pretty darn talented. And they didn’t lose 1-0 to Vancouver.
This team did. This team lost 1-0 to Vancouver.
Not the greatest start to the MLS season, but all the MLS teams in CCL started pregaming just a little too early for this weekend and probably should have just stayed in and taken a nap instead of going out with everyone else.
It was a draw, but you know, kind of a win. Look, I think we can all agree that at the very least it gave us an opportunity to mention Josef Martinez in the first sentence for fun. And that’s the real win. Or something. I don’t know.
From Matt Doyle’s Sunday column…
For context, RBNY generated a league-leading 117 possessions per game last season, as per Second Spectrum tracking data. In this game they had 134, and Sporting had 151! That’s a 30% increase over the typical, already frenetic Red Bulls game from last season.
That directness led to two goals in two minutes and a nice opening weekend road win for Peter Vermes’ team. They jumped three spots.
Boy this team sure is good defensively. Another clean sheet for this good-at-defense team. And as we all know, there are no other parts to soccer besides good defense. If there were some other opposite fense to soccer – an o-fense, if you will – it probably wouldn’t matter anyway. In no way, would this team not have the personnel available to successfully execute that concept.
It definitely would not take months of a season to jell and possibly multiple transactions to eventually get the team to execute that concept at an equal level to that of the previous manager. And it’s not like they sent their most successful executor of that concept to Austin for some GAM during the offseason.
Anyway, this team is good at defense.
Something something intentionally getting thumped to drop in the Power Rankings something something underdogs something something a bunch of people already beat me to this joke.
Minnesota dropped five spots this week. 1.25 spots for each goal they allowed to Seattle.
In my Power Ranking rankings, Toronto had my favorite week in the power rankings. It’s not often a team possibly have their best win and worst loss of the year all in the first week of the season but my goodness do I respect it when they do.
Toronto – and their press that faltered big time against Montréal – should be back to normal soon after a week of rest. Maybe. They’re probably just going to continue to be as confusing as possible the rest of the year, honestly. I think we should all just embrace that they may be first and last in the rankings at some point this year. Maybe in the same week.
Nashville basically did exactly what New England did. But against Cincinnati instead of Chicago. However, they allowed their first two goals in 12 minutes instead of 11... So...yeah, considering bonus points for time, 13 seems about right. They should run the “pretend to cross it but actually be shooting” play more.
The Colorado Rapids played a soccer game this weekend. FC Dallas were there.
The Galaxy jumped three spots this week, but Chicharito is the real winner. He proved that through the power of persistence, endearing Instagram workout posts and basic human vulnerability that you can win over pretty much anyone. Even Power Rankings writers. The worst of us. I’m a big fan after last week.
Really though, if Greg Vanney really has finally figured out how to unlock Chicharito by ... doing what everyone said for months that someone needed to do to unlock Chicharito and play a second striker that allows him to do Chicharito things, the Galaxy are a surefire playoff team. Not a genuine contender mind you, but a playoff team for sure.
Chicago opened a year filled with hope and optimism about a possible step forward for a team that greatly underperformed their underlying analytics in 2020 byyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy doing pretty much the exact same thing they did all last year but in the span of like the first 27 minutes of their game against New England.
They opened the game by scoring one of the team goals of the season, scoring again and then almost immediately blowing a two-goal lead. As soon as they figure out the whole “don’t allow goals when you’re winning so you can actually win the game” thing, the league is in trouble.
Ronny Deila mentioned in the offseason that he thought the team just didn’t have dudes to compete yet, and then the dudes went out and lost to D.C. to open the season. So yeah, pretty good way to drop four spots in the power rankings.
A big five-spot jump in the Power Rankings for a solid opening-day win where they didn’t create a ton but got the job done anyway. A MASSIVE bump to Hernan Losada in the coaching style rankings for making sure to wear this jacket on his first day out.
(D.C. United: What do I have to do to get you to send me this jacket? I will write an entire article on the history of Talon the Eagle. Every week will be late 90’s week on MLSsocccer.com. Whatever I have to do. Hit me up.)
Last week, Houston came out of the gate at 24. I wrote this…
Houston are going into Tab Ramos’s second year, still have Darwin Quintero, still have Memo Rodriguez, added Tim Parker, added some classic MLS “Oh yeahhh, I like him” guys in Fafa Picault, Joe Corona, Derrick Jones and Maxi Urruti to the depth chart and just generally seemed to do pretty OK. They have some DP spots open, yet despite that, seem to have a surprising amount of talent returning...Be honest, there are way more “more than halfway decent at soccer” guys on this team than you thought. It’s a strong 24 in my opinion. I’m not saying this is a team that creeps into a top-10 spot at any point this year. But a top-15 spot? Could happen.
They immediately handled San Jose and jumped up to 19th in Week 1. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
CF Montréal heard the power rankings talking bad about them. After starting the year ranked last, they came out and thumped Toronto and Djordje Mihailovic told critics to put their money where their mouth is. Of course, this couldn’t have been directed at me because Djordje read last week’s preamble where I explained how none of the rankings are actually my fault and if you really think abou — what? What’s that? I wrote out a long, clunky bit about the team struggling after getting out of a relationship with someone too hot for them last week? I deserve to be tossed into every fountain in Montréal? Arcade Fire released a single-song album on a mediation app just to get back at me? OK, yeah, that’s all fair.
I’m still pretty here for the chip on their shoulder and for Montréal to run the table this year, though.
The Whitecaps set up camp in Salt Lake City and became the first team to win a home game there since October when Real Salt Lake beat ... Portland. In fact, Portland hasn’t won at Rio Tinto since May of 2019. Maybe the secret to Vancouver being number two in Cascadia is in Utah?
Losing at your own game (see: Sporting Kansas City) is a solid way to drop four spots in the power rankings.
Still, Caden Clark remains very high in the Talented American Soccer Teenager power rankings.
Another week with your feet off the floor. Goals from your two biggest signings (Brenner, Luciano Acosta) in the first 12 minutes of their Cincinnati careers. Yeah, you could say life’s pretty good up in the clouds.
Well dang, this is harsh. I thought Miami looked pretty decent.
WELL DANG. THIS IS HARSH.
Goodness, y’all. My friends at Major League Soccer soccer dot com have shown they have extremely high standards for expansion teams playing their first-ever game against a top-two team in the league. I feel like I should apologize on behalf of Austin for not living up to those standards. Perhaps next time instead of simply looking competent, cohesive and promising for game one, they should try winning 5-0. Like a real team does. Maybe then Austin could crack the top-24 as the MLSsoccer.com writers sit around filling out their Power Rankings while wearing a house robe and smoking the finest cigars next to a roaring fire in the parlor room. I hope that their monocles stay in place while they read this.
(I put them 20th.)
Turns out losing to Houston and still appearing shaky defensively is a really good way to drop 10 spots in the power rankings.
Poor ole RSL didn't even do anything this week and still got bumped down to the bottom spot just for sitting there and watching. If you ever see a group of MLS writers and personalities get into a fight please do not become a bystander, you are in considerable danger.
Previous: Bye | Next: at MIN on 4/24