What a week in MLS. Chicago changed their coach, Cincinnati won by one goal and Josef Martínez scored in a game involving Atlanta. It was truly a week unlike any other.
In case you forgot, the Power Rankings are voted on by about 15 different people. It's not just one person making the call here. Although I did break two ties at my own discretion this week. A good rule of thumb in life is to take immeasurable power and seize it when you have the chance. Yes, heed my advice.
I think we can forgive LAFC for picking up their first MLS loss of the season the same week they make the Concacaf Champions League final. They’ll face Liga MX’s Club León on May 31 and June 4 for the title of best team on the continent, and LAFC seem like a clear favorite at this point. They’ve been that good. Not just lately, but for the better part of over a year now.
Previous: 2-1 loss at SJ | Next: 5/13 at RSL
The Revs kept rolling in their first match since Dylan Borrero’s season-ending ACL injury, cruising past Toronto at BMO Field. Just another nice and easy three points that’s become the norm in New England. The Revs are the most consistent team in the Eastern Conference right now and, even without Borrero, it’s hard to see them stumbling too much for too long anytime soon.
Previous: 2-0 win at TOR | Next: 5/13 at MIA
Luciano Acosta sent home an Olimpico, Álvaro Barreal added Cincy’s second goal of the night against D.C., and that was that. The Garys kept pace with New England atop the league standings and picked up their seventh one-goal win of the year. They still aren’t running folks off the pitch, but they keep getting the job done. Especially at home. They’re 6W-0L-0D at TQL Stadium this year.
Previous: 2-1 win vs. DC | Next: Bye
Things are going well.
Nashville are playing excellent (maybe even attractive???) soccer, the underlying numbers like them just as much as New England, Hany Mukhtar gave everyone a head start before jumping into the Landon Donovan MLS MVP race, they’re getting results and there’s reason to believe they might be a whole lot better in the near future if they get the Aké Loba replacement right. This could easily be the best Nashville team so far.
Previous: 3-0 win vs. CHI | Next: 5/13 at DC
I think supporters in Seattle would have conceded some rough results might be on the way. I don’t think anyone expected any of the results to be like this. Handing Sporting KC their first win of the season in your home stadium is… not great.
In general, it’s been a weird one for Seattle as of late. They got thumped out of nowhere against Portland, did enough to get by Minnesota, played to a scoreless draw against RSL and then did whatever they did against Sporting KC, which for some reason involved a 4-4-2 setup at the start of the game.
Don’t get me wrong, this is still a great team that’s atop the Western Conference table. They’re just clearly hitting their first rut of the year. Seattle tend to drag themselves out of these things though.
Previous: 2-1 loss vs. SKC | Next: 5/13 at HOU
Since Matchday 1, the Earthquakes have shown signs of taking a leap forward this season. But they still needed to put it all together during a signature win to confirm it.
WATCH: Unbeaten no more! San Jose knock off LAFC before 45k+ fans
Not only did they go ahead and take down LAFC to hand them their first loss of the season, but Cristian Espinoza also won the head-to-head battle vs. Dénis Bouanga to lock in his place in the MVP discussion. They’re very much for real, even if there are admittedly still some concerns about depth and the backline as a whole. Either way, this is the best Quakes team since 2012 (and it’s not really close, is it).
Previous: 2-1 win vs. LAFC | Next: 5/14 at LA
The Union lost in the CCL semifinals to LAFC, but they’re still trending upward when it comes to MLS play and pulled out a 1-0 win at Red Bull Arena last weekend. I know we’ve seen it plenty of times, but my gut call right now is they won’t be quite as derailed by a deep CCL run as we’ve seen other teams be in the past. The underlying numbers are good. They’re still healthy. And a Jim Curtin team with this much cohesion and continuity doesn’t seem like the type to be stuck in the mud long.
Previous: 1-0 win at RBNY | Next: 5/13 at COL
An off-ish week for St. Louis thanks to inclement weather. They were tied 0-0 with FC Dallas after 50 minutes before the game got postponed to a TBA date.
Previous: Abandoned at DAL | Next: 5/13 at CHI
The Crew took the week off to regroup after a 2-1 loss to Inter Miami. They’ll look to get back on track against Orlando this weekend.
Previous: Bye | Next: 5/13 vs. ORL
Is this it? Are NYCFC just going to continue to be one of the league’s most frustrating teams and that’s that?
They’ve followed up their impressive win over FC Dallas with losses at Toronto and Charlotte. Yeah, road games are hard. But they’ve straight up underperformed in back-to-back weeks. It still feels like this is one of the best teams in the league, but it might be a little longer than we thought before they start to put it all together. Especially with some of their issues in central defense right now.
Previous: 3-2 loss at CLT | Next: 5/13 at RBNY
Atlanta United fans have found their way back to panic mode after four straight performances that have looked a little too much like…well, Atlanta United. Let’s be real, they’ve been a mediocre team just as long as they’ve been a great team at this point. It’s understandable though after falling to an Inter Miami team starting two homegrown teenagers in midfield. That’s far more deflating and indicative of their overall issues than giving up two goals to Josef. The roster, especially in midfield, just isn’t there yet.
The Five Stripes are a pretty good team and nothing more at this point. It’s not exhilarating stuff. But it’s also not a bad place to be in the early stages of Garth Lagerwey’s tenure.
Previous: 2-1 loss at MIA | Next: 5/13 vs. CLT
Much like San Jose, we’ve been saying for a while around here how the Whitecaps are a team to keep an eye on. Largely because the underlying numbers love Vancouver. FBRef has them third in expected goal differential per 90 and American Soccer Analysis has them fourth in the league in expected points per game. That’s in the league. Right up there with LAFC, Seattle, Cincy and a surprise team to be named later.
They don’t quite have a signature win like the Quakes got last weekend, but you have to think it’s coming soon. Along with handfuls of points. They’ve won three of their last five and haven’t lost since March 4 against, well, the Quakes. It’s not always perfect and there’s still some learning to do when it comes to effectively closing out games, but the Whitecaps are for real.
Previous: 3-2 win vs. MIN | Next: 5/13 at POR
An off-ish week for FC Dallas thanks to inclement weather. They were tied 0-0 with St. Louis after 50 minutes before the game got postponed to a TBA date.
Previous: Abandoned vs. STL | Next: 5/13 at ATX
Houston came out of the weekend with a frustrating 0-0 draw against RSL. It felt like they created some decent chances, but the majority of those chances got blasted over the bar.
Could be worse though. Houston are sitting fifth in the West on points per game.
Previous: 0-0 draw vs. RSL | Next: 5/13 vs. SEA
D.C.’s three-game winning streak came to an end at TQL Stadium. Five other teams have tried to get a point at TQL Stadium this year and all have failed. Probably not much reason to worry there.
Previous: 2-1 loss at CIN | Next: 5/13 vs. NSH
Uhhhhh if there’s any team that wasn’t panicking before and actually needs to start panicking, it might be the Lions. They’ve lost four of their last seven, with those four losses coming to Charlotte (eek), Nashville (totally acceptable), D.C. (not great…) and Montréal (I know they’re playing better lately but…).
Just like last year, the underlying numbers have them at the bottom of the middle of the pack and, just like last year, it feels like they’re just getting by. After a busy offseason (that kind of feels more like it was more busy work than actual progress at this point), that shouldn’t be taken well.
Previous: 2-0 loss at MTL | Next: 5/13 at CLB
That’s back-to-back weeks with braces for strikers, and, uncoincidentally, back-to-back wins. In a week where they lost midfielder Jean Mota for most of the season to injury, that didn’t seem likely. But Inter Miami are finding a way right now. Will that continue? It doesn’t honestly seem all that likely. But full credit to them for working through a tough set of circumstances.
Look, what I’m really trying to say is, Build The Statue.
Previous: 2-1 win vs. ATL | Next: 5/13 vs. NE
We now take you in the Power Rankings from Josef Martínez scoring on his old team to Kevin Cabral scoring on his old team. It’s up to you to decide which moment was objectively more hilarious (#VoteCabral) but, either way, that had to feel so, so good for Cabral.
Even better, it had to feel good for the Rapids. They’d been avoiding losses for a while, but not grabbing many points. They’re undefeated in their last seven now and have two wins in that stretch. That’s not enough to have them above the West's playoff line, but it’s still an excellent collection of results for a team that seemed set to struggle.
Previous: 3-1 win at LA | Next: 5/13 vs. PHI
The Loons fell short in a tough road game against Vancouver. Other than that, totally normal week for Minnesota UniteDEAR GOD, IT CAN’T BE
I had absolutely no faith Emanuel Reynoso would ever be back at Minnesota United, but here we are. That’s an incredible boost for the Loons…if he can work his way back into the team’s good graces. I’d imagine there’s a ways to go before that happens. We’ll see how long it takes. And if he actually improves a team that had to learn how to get points without him (even if they haven't lately).
Previous: 3-2 loss at VAN | Next: 5/13 at SKC
This team is disappointing. I know that’s blunt, but it’s the truth. They’ve done nothing but be disappointing for a while now.
They have too much talent to be this much of a bummer. They were totally outmatched at home against the Revs last weekend and are currently sitting one point ahead of Chicago and three points ahead of the Red Bulls, both of whom parted ways with their managers on Monday. Even with Lorenzo Insigne back in the lineup, other injuries are now taking a toll.
Previous: 2-0 loss vs. NE | Next: 5/13 at MTL
The Timbers looked like they put together enough for three points, but Will Bruin equalized in stoppage time for Austin. Per FBRef, the Timbers are second to last in expected goal differential per 90. They found out last week that midfielder David Ayala will join Eryk Williamson on the season-ending injury list. Yet, somehow, they’re sitting ninth in the West.
They’re…they’re somehow going to make the playoffs…aren’t they?
Previous: 2-2 draw vs. ATX | Next: 5/13 vs. VAN
Another win! They took down Orlando City last weekend. And that’s now four wins on the season if you’re keeping track.
Things aren’t suddenly great for this team or anything, but full credit to them for pulling out of the gutter they looked destined for at the beginning of the season. Having Romell Quioto back seems to be pretty useful, huh?
Previous: 2-0 win vs. ORL | Next: 5/13 vs. TOR
RSL grinded their way to a 0-0 draw at Houston. That’s all anyone really needs to say about that.
Previous: 0-0 draw at HOU | Next: 5/13 vs. LAFC
Friends, family, folks: It is unfortunately time to check where we are on the Fire Feeling Flow Chart.
I can see it → Oh, no → Oh, yikes, no → Well, maybe → Nope → But let’s just… → Oh, ok immediate no on that → But what if they tweak this → This looks better! → OH NO. THEY GOT ME AGAIN → No. → I’m not falling for that → No, forever. → Offseason → I can see it.
Ok, yeah, they got absolutely clobberthumped by Nashville last weekend. It’s not like things were going well. But I don’t get dumping Ezra Hendrickson. Given this club’s history, what makes you think the next guy will be different? It’s almost like…and stay with me here…the manager doesn’t matter nearly as much as the roster. And the roster, in my view, isn’t and hasn’t been good enough to win in Chicago consistently.
By all accounts (and a couple of personal interactions), Hendrickson is a well-liked and well-respected guy. I don’t expect the flow chart to be any different after this.
Previous: 3-0 loss at NSH | Next: 5/13 vs. STL
I’m a bit surprised Charlotte didn’t move up a little higher after a big win over NYCFC that featured a brace from new DP striker Enzo Copetti. They’ve made things so much simpler (and better) with Karol Swiderski behind Copetti, and it’s paying off. At least in attack. There are some…let’s call them serious concerns with the backline and defense as a whole right now. No team has allowed more xG and more actual Gs.
Previous: 3-2 win vs. NYC | Next: 5/13 at ATL
Nothing is exactly clicking right now. But hey, they didn’t lose in Portland and Jon Gallagher is continuing to build upon what’s already a career season.
Previous: 2-2 draw vs. ATX | Next: 5/13 vs. DAL
Gerhard Struber is gone.
The good news for the Red Bulls (and especially new head coach Troy Lesesne) is the “new manager bounce” should manifest simply because New York were set for a proregression to the mean anyway. Per FBref and ASA, they’re first in the East in expected goal differential per 90. The underlying numbers love New York. Even if the standings have them in last.
Does that mean their entire season will be fixed and they’ll comfortably make the playoffs and everything will be fine? I don’t know. Seems like maybe too big of a turnaround. But it at least seems like better results will be on the way.
Previous: 1-0 loss vs. PHI | Next: 5/13 vs. NYC
A win! A real, live win! You too can make dreams turn into reality if you just believe!
Previous: 2-1 win at SEA | Next: 5/13 vs. MIN
They might have broken Chicharito.
Previous: 3-1 loss vs. COL | Next: 5/14 vs. SJ