What a week in MLS.
Atlanta United fired their manager mid-season, Dallas sent a talented young player to Europe and Seattle lost. It was truly a week unli — Wait, really? Seattle actually lost? Huh. For the first time in a while I guess it was truly a week unlike any other.
Be sure to listen to Matt Doyle, Andrew Wiebe and an assortment of guests discuss the Power Rankings each week at 11 am ET on Twitter Spaces. Listen to them analyze this week's top 10 below.
Disclaimer: The Power Rankings are voted on by the entirety of the MLSsoccer.com editorial staff. You should probably be lightly made fun of if you still think the actual rankings are made by just one person. The only thing I personally did was secretly alter the votes on purpose to make your team look worse so their confidence would be shaken and they’d lose every game from here on out. Except for the time I put Montréal last in the preseason rankings and made them so mad that they turned out to actually be good at soccer. Because I’m personally determined to ruin the sanctity of the most sacred tradition in sports: The Power Rankings. Because even though I’m not actually Tom Bogert aka @TomBogert on Twitter, Tom Bogert made me do it. Anyway, you should really recognize that the stakes have never been lower.
Always knew they were overrated.*
*eventually going to lose a game with the team depleted to the point of having to bring up multiple emergency signings
In the lead-up to the Revs’ 1-0 win over Atlanta United Saturday, Adam Buksa said this: “I want to play in every game. That’s my goal. If you want to hear that I accept my role on the bench, I respect every coach’s decision, but my goal is to play every game. I don’t like being on the bench, so I’m doing everything I can to convince our coaching staff to put me in the starting 11.”
On Saturday, he got a little closer to convincing them. This sliding touch is so nice that Atlanta just kind of sat back and appreciated it as he stood up and slid the ball over to Gustavo Bou.
The Revs weren’t spectacular against Atlanta. But they certainly didn’t need to be. They used Buksa and Bou at the top of a 4-4-2 diamond and just had too much talent on the field for the Five Stripes. We’ll see if they continue to put that pairing up top going forward. Frankly, it seems pretty terrifying. It may be more terrifying that a diamond with Buksa and Bou up top with Carles Gil spearheading the diamond might not be their best lineup.
Sporting KC took the week off to try and figure out how to work “free trips to Venice for life and a few of those sweet as heck kits” into a transfer deal.
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The Union had been sputtering a bit lately. But after a three-game road trip where they grabbed just two points, they returned home and found a late winner against D.C. United despite some general weirdness that included a rain delay with eight minutes left in the game.
Almost every XI Philly puts out is excellent and can beat any team in the league, but new signing Daniel Gazdag’s performance at the top of the diamond had to be encouraging. If he can continue to improve as he settles into his role, the team will too. That’s a scary thought for everyone else in the East.
I don’t want to alarm anyone, but an MLSsoccer Dot Com writer is about to advocate for an LAFC team on the verge of returning to contender status in the Western Conference. I know what you’re thinking, but I feel like I at least deserve a pass for saying at some point they might just keep staying in seventh place in the West because they’re the seventh best team in the West and that’s all there is to it unless they stayed healthy and found some consistency. I said this. I promise. But the thing is, they’re staying relatively healthy and being relatively consistent.
Carlos Vela played the full 90 for the third straight game and scored the winner this weekend in an LAFC victory over RSL. LAFC have won three straight, four out of their last five and are even on points with Colorado in the fourth spot in the West. And, per usual over the last couple of years, their expected goals numbers indicate a team that’s better than the results they are earning. They’re third in the league on expected goal differential behind Nashville and SKC.
They’ve still got to earn a little more trust before anyone declares them “back” or “elite” or whatever sports buzzword we’re picking. But they are starting to get results. And there aren’t many teams that are going to be able to stop them when they get rolling.
The Lions have one point from the last three games with Philadelphia and NYCFC up next. Philadelphia will be Orlando’s third opponent currently above the playoff line and NYCFC will be their fourth. You could count their two games against the Red Bulls who are technically in eighth place but tied for seventh on points, but you probably don’t want to do that if you’re an Orlando fan. Two of the Lions’ three losses this season came in those games.
They’ve been good so far and will continue to be good. But it kind of seems like they’re just now about to start really being tested.
The Galaxy could have taken over the second spot in the West but, ya know, there’s the whole “Lost to Vancouver” thing.
Last week’s Power Rankings focused on LA’s ability to succeed even when they’re missing Chicharito. This week is gonna focus on the total opposite of that when they’re missing Chicharito plus Efrain Alvarez, Jonathan dos Santos and Sebastian Lletget. Apparently, when you’re missing that much, you lose to the worst team in the conference coming into the week. It also doesn’t help when whoever is left doesn’t put in the effort to make up for everyone who’s gone.
“I just think tonight I thought we got casual because we thought the game was going to be easier than it ultimately did. And it costs us,” Greg Vanney said.
Nashville came into the weekend somewhat heavily underperforming their expected goals numbers. By the time Hany Mukhtar’s third goal went in at the 16-minute mark, they had done some astounding regressing to the mean.
Their 5-1 win over the Fire has the Golden Boys tied for third in the Eastern Conference and second in the conference on goals scored. Their identity as a team that’s solid defensively and nothing else is quickly dissipating and just to make sure it stays that way, they’re about to integrate their club-record signing, Ake Loba, into the team. Things are very, very good in Nashville right now.
The Rapids picked up a point against San Jose this weekend and are still just hanging out well above the playoff line. Colorado keeps being a good team that’s good and that’s all there really is to say about them now and may be all there really is to say about them for a while.
STOP. GIVING. AWAY. FREE KICKS. TO THE TEAM. WITH. LUCAS. ZELA. RAYAN.
I’m torn between celebrating this team coming back from being down two goals twice or ragging on them for being down two goals twice to Cincinnati in the first place. Instead, I’ll zoom out a bit and praise this team as the positive surprise of the season. Wilfried Nancy has done an outstanding job and this team should get even more comfortable as they start to return back home.
I feel like I say it every week now but it’s a good reminder: The numbers and the eye test both say Montréal aren’t going to fall apart any time soon. With two-thirds of the season to go, this looks like a playoff team. Not bad for a group that started preseason at the bottom of the Power Rankings. As far as I can tell, it’s the first time in history the Power Rankings have ever been wrong about anything ever.. A true accomplishment.
They got outshot 21-6 and the xG ended up at 2.1 to 0.7 in favor of NYCFC. But I guess none of that matters if the opposing team decides to give away a free kick anywhere within 35 yards of the goal to the team with Lucas Zelarayan on it.
In the nine games since their four-game losing streak to open the season, the Loons have earned 18 points and have ended the longest unbeaten streak to begin a season in MLS history. They’re starting to look a lot more like the team we thought they could be and Bebelo Reynoso hasn’t truly gotten going yet. Adrian Heath is going to run out of bulletin board material soon.
Providence Park returned to full capacity and Portland earned three points after picking up just four in their last five. A late shift to a 4-4-2 from a 4-2-3-1 helped Jeremy Ebobisse find the winner on a solid weekend for the Timbers.
They’re still just one point off the playoff line.
Real Salt Lake have won two games since May 7 and both of those games came against Vancouver. This is going to be the blurb for Real Salt Lake until they beat somebody other than Vancouver.
The Dynamo took the week off to watch tape of Real Salt Lake so they could learn how to beat Vancouver tonight.
Previous: Bye | Next: 7/20 at VAN
Austin FC took the week off to prepare to break Seattle’s unbeaten streak before Minnesota went and ruined everything.
Previous: Bye | Next: 7/22 vs. SEA
I remain convinced all you have to do to adequately manage a team like Toronto is put the extremely talented players out there in the positions they’re supposed to play and not actively have your tactics interfere with them being extremely talented. That can be harder to figure out than expected, but so far through their first two games without Chris Armas, they’ve taken four points against two of the league’s top teams.
They aren’t anywhere close to fully righting the ship yet. But it should theoretically be easier to do that with this team than almost any other. I mean, have you seen Yeferson Soteldo?
Cincinnati scored four goals for the first time in club history!
The Whitecaps pulled off one of the upsets of the year by point differential. It’s a good win even if LA were a bit “missing all of their most crucial players”.
Two-straight games without a loss is one way to look at the last two San Jose games.
It took you longer to scroll down to find Chicago than it took for Mukhtar to score three goals against Chicago.