What a week in MLS.
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. However, it should be noted that this week I let my votes be cast by my elderly neighbor Ruth, who spends most of her time gardening, completing jigsaw puzzles and placing far too much emphasis on a team’s ability to use build-up play through the middle to create high probability chances in Zone 14 even though some of the best teams in the world use width in their build-up play to work inwards and disrupt backlines. Poor, delusional Ruth. But I let her vote anyway. Because I’m personally determined to ruin the sanctity of the most sacred tradition in sports: The MLS Power Rankings. Anyway, you should really recognize that the stakes have never been higher._
They’ve kept that pace despite missing Carles Gil to injury for the last month and missing Matt Turner and Tajon Buchanan this weekend to national team duty. DP forwards Gustavo Bou (injury) and Adam Buksa (international duty) were out as well. Well, Gil returned in the 66th minute of this one, and Turner and Buchanan will be back soon. So. They should actually improve.
However, the back end of their schedule isn’t kind. They get NYCFC this week after losing 2-0 to the Pigeons two weeks ago. Including that matchup, their last 10 games include six matches against teams above the playoff line. They’re also 14 points ahead of everyone else in the East. And 10 points ahead of Seattle in the Supporters’ Shield race. They could cruise the rest of the way if they really wanted to and feel pretty good about at least finishing first in the conference. Points records and Shields are nice, but we know that the Revs of all teams will be singularly focused on MLS Cup long-term.
Maybe don’t be too surprised if the points record doesn’t change hands this year. Do be extremely impressed that we’re even talking about it.
I’m not sure where reportedly “Making another team pay for the head coach from another team that you’re taking to be an assistant for your team” ranks on the GM Power Move Power Rankings, but I imagine it’s pretty high.
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Going to give you $50 in totally unredeemable and inherently worthless MLSsoccer.com Doyle Dollars if you can tell me the leading scorer for the Colorado Rapids, MLS’ second-best team on points per game. It’s Michael Barrios, a very good player who Dallas gave away for infuriatingly little. He has five goals.
It’s emblematic of what I would call “Colorado’s whole deal.” An MLS castaway doing just enough damage to contribute as a smaller part of a whole made entirely of MLS castaways doing just enough damage to contribute as a smaller part of a whole that is largely walking the league. They keep winning. They keep winning on the road. And may just end up making a lot of tweets and takes about them not having enough firepower to win MLS Cup look really stupid in the end.
I mean probably not. But you sure won’t find any of those kinds of takes from me. Because I deleted all of them just in case. And that’s the biggest compliment I can give.
Nashville rolled past NYCFC this week. It happens to the best of us. But man, the Golden Boys look like an absolute machine right now. In the last four games, they’ve blasted D.C. United 5-2, crushed NYCFC (a late goal made that scoreline look more palatable), ended Atlanta’s four-game winning streak and took a point from Orlando. The underlying numbers still love them and they simply look a step ahead of nearly every other team right now.
Hany Mukhtar is a big part of that. He pulled the strings this weekend in midfield and added two more goals for his troubles to bring himself to an absurd tally of 10 goals and eight assists this season. Only Daniel Salloi has as many goal contributions this season. It’s time to start including him in MVP talks. And it’s time to start considering any reasons to count out Nashville as MLS Cup contenders at this point are reaching at best.
Is...is it happening again?
Listen folks, I’ve been on the internet and the internet is telling me SKC have a bit of a history of fading down the stretch in Major League Soccer seasons. In the last four games, Sporting have three points from three draws and an absurd loss to an LAFC team legitimately missing double-digits players currently on their roster and Diego Rossi. That loss is inexcusable. But draws to Portland, Minnesota and Colorado at least seem understandable. What’s maybe not entirely understandable is that Peter Vermes has used one sub or fewer in the last five games. Things like that make concerns about SKC’s ability to hold up over the final few weeks here feel genuine.
Even with some longevity concerns, I’m personally not ready to say they’re washed and an inevitable backslide due to tired legs and lack of depth has arrived. Not yet. Dips in form happen to teams that aren’t New England.
Now, if they lose to Chicago on Saturday...
Hey! Goals! That’s good! Nearly blowing a 2-0 lead to Columbus is less good, but scoring three times so we’re not talking about that is good!
The Lions’ 3-2 win over the Crew marks the first time they’ve scored more than one goal in a game since July 30 against Atlanta. Like I said, probably not great that they let Columbus equalize after being up 2-0, but they got the job done in the end. That’s been Orlando’s MO the entire year really. And I don’t quite know why they’re not getting more credit for it.
It’s not like their underlying numbers are saying they’re actually secret trash or anything. And, come on, they’ve only lost once in their last nine games. It’s maybe just that they aren’t performing in the way we expected? Orlando haven’t quite put the same high octane attack together as last season for various reasons, including injuries and conscious tactical decisions. That’s less fun. But it’s been effective enough for now. The question I guess then is if “effective enough” will make a playoff run possible in the end.
I just want to see the Lions tear someone apart again. A consistent presence from Daryl Dike will help with that of course, but they haven’t beaten a team by more than a goal since June 22. In fact, of Orlando’s 10 wins this season, just two have come by more than one goal. It’s a real “C’s get degrees” attitude and I’m just not sure this team should be taking philosophy advice from UCF students.
NYCFC were missing four guys to international duty, but they were far from depleted against Nashville. They just got smacked by a team also missing four guys to international duty. Four players I’d argue are far more crucial to Nashville’s success.
I keep waiting for more from this team and it’s starting to feel like it may not be coming.
Minnesota lost to Columbus 45-31 in a wait, hold on, might be mixing some things up here...
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Y’all ever hear this? It’s deeply not good and I love it like a child.
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Y’all ever hear this? It’s deeply not good and I love it like a child.
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The Union got Kessler’d this weekend. It happens. But it really is time to start being concerned about Philly.
Failing to score and losing against a team playing with 10 men from 14 minutes on, Kessler or not, international players missing or not, New England or not, shouldn’t happen. They’re still in fifth in the East for now. But Montréal and D.C. have a game in hand and would overtake them in the standings with a win. From there, they aren’t exactly a lock to hold onto the seventh spot. Inter Miami, all the way down in 10th, have two games in hand on the Union and can be equal on points with two wins. Things are really starting to get dangerous for Jim Curtin and company.
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Ah, yes, the new manager...uh...continuation of an already solid run of form.
The Whitecaps picked up their fourth straight win and stayed unbeaten over their last 10 games. They’ve lost once since June 26. And now they’re in eighth place in the West, just one point behind RSL.
I’m not sure how much there is to it all other than the fact they’ve only given up 10 goals over their 10-game unbeaten streak. A steady defense and now the addition of a potentially outstanding DP playmaker in Ryan Gauld can take you a long way.
A second straight road win is a second straight road win. Even if it comes against Houston. And a second straight clean sheet for the worst defensive team in the Western Conference is still a second straight clean sheet. Even if it comes against Houston. And a goal and assist for the suddenly very hot Felipe Mora is still — you know what, you probably get it.
RSL piled on 25 shots, nearly three expected goals worth of chances and three actual goals against Dallas. They’re still above the playoff line and still have one of just five positive goal differentials in the conference. Does that mean they’ll be in a playoff spot at the end of the year? I absolutely have no idea, the West actively hurts my brain at all times of the day.
You might be tempted to look at LAFC’s 4-0 win over SKC while missing quite literally a starting XI's worth of players, plus the likely-gone-for-good Diego Rossi, and try and take something away from it. Don’t. You might be tempted to look at LAFC’s league-leading expected goal differential and take something away from it. Don’t. Trust me. Stop trying to think about it. Just go eat some Arby’s, think about how little control we have over an infinite and expanding universe, and then move on to being happy about Mamadou Fall having the night of his life so far.
Atlanta United got down so bad about one loss they went out and got a dog. The post-Heinze era is wild.
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It’s brutal out west. The Quakes lost for the first time in 10 games and ended up in 10th place in the West and four points below the playoff line. There are worse things than coming up just short to the Rapids, though. The way things are going in the West, we could look up and see the Quakes on the edge of the playoff line by the end of next weekend.
I mentioned it earlier, but just to mention it again, Inter Miami have two games in hand on fifth place Philadelphia and can equal them on points if those two games in hand turn into two wins in hand. With Columbus and Toronto up next, that’s not necessarily unlikely. It bears repeating the only team in the league with an easier schedule the rest of the way might be Atlanta.
We’re eight games on from a certain manager taking the Power Rankings too seriously. In those eight games, Columbus have three points. Never take the Power Rankings too seriously.
The original Chicago Fire was started by Mrs. O’Leary’s cow, who, in 1871, was visited by a time traveler who informed her the 1998 Chicago soccer team would be the best expansion team of all time. The cow, either excited or confused or unable to comprehend English, kicked a lantern over and set Mrs. O’Leary’s barn on fire along with the entirety of the city.
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This guy wrote a list out of the greatest thing about every single New Jersey town. I can’t access the article, but I have to assume Caden Clark was the answer for Harrison.
Either Caden Clark or that time they did a casting call for The Sopranos there. That was cool too, I bet.
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It's now 16 straight without a win. To offer a silver lining: Fafa Picault has a team-leading 6g/4a in 21 games since joining from FC Dallas. He's quietly been pretty good.
It could not be worse.
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