Power Rankings

Power Rankings: New England, LA Galaxy soar, Columbus slump after Week 5

What a week in MLS. Seattle won, Chicharito scored, teams who may not actually be that great blamed their struggles on playing in Concacaf Champions League a couple of weeks ago and Columbus failed to score. It was truly a week unlike any other.

As you read through the rankings, check out Extratime's Matt Doyle, David Gass and guests from across MLS discussing this week's top 10 below.

Disclaimer: As always, none of this is my fault. The Power Rankings are voted on by the MLSsoccer.com editorial staff, which may or may not technically include me. Anyway, you should really recognize that the stakes have never been lower. To the rankings. Unless you just want to save yourself some time and read this instead.

Brian Schmetzer stared out from the window of his ivory tower. The sun had just begun to crest over the barren wasteland. It used to be just land. But anyone who lived comfortably could challenge his empire. And so he laughed as it rotted and as those who dared to speak against him were removed from the scenery he now looked over.

“You can’t keep getting away with this,” the man in the shackles said.

Schmetzer turned. He stepped aside from the window.

“And yet,” he said as he paused to push up his glasses. “I do.”

Schmetzer’s guards defenestrated the man from the now-unoccupied window. Nouhou high-fived him before returning to a warm bowl of spicy teriyaki chicken and rice. Celine Dion is there.

Entry from Brian Schmetzer’s dream journal, written in third-person for some reason – May 9, 2021*

(*You know, I thought we’d be a few months in before the only way I could entertain myself by describing Seattle as an unstoppably ruthless force came through fake dream journal entries. But here we are.)

The Revolution drew with Philadelphia midweek and then took out Columbus over the weekend in a pair of Audi MLS Cup Playoff rematches. Now if they just beat Seattle, I’m like 81% sure they’re the 2020 MLS Cup champions. It will help them earn that title if Adam Buksa builds on his second goal of the season and keeps getting frustrated at everyone asking if he’s frustrated about not scoring enough.

The Union have eight points through the first 3/17ths of the season. Not exactly Supporters’ Shield pace again, but it’s enough to make them the most successful CCL team so far during the regular season. That’s along with, ya know, being the most successful CCL team so far during CCL.

Somewhere along the way here they’ve decided to ask and answer the question “If the midfield is the part that survives the crashes, why don’t they make the entire plane out of the midfield?” They added yet another talented attacking midfielder last week in Hungary’s Daniel Gazdag.

Another Chicharito goal and another win. We’re moving out of “it’s just a hot start” into the area of soccer analytical purgatory that’s right before we can all begin to unironically say “The Galaxy are back!” Greg Vanney has done a heckuva job.

Previous: 2-0 win vs. ATX | Next: 5/22 at POR

The Lions kind of feel like they’re just playing with their food right now. This group hasn’t matched the intensity of last year’s at really any point. Which is understandable considering that last year felt like an exorcism of the previous five. Now the demons have left their body and they’re just trying to figure out what life is like after the fact. Like, that girl from that Exorcist movie had to go back to school at some point, ya know? Way less exciting.

They’re the only team other than Nashville (!) and Seattle to not have a loss. They’ve been good. They can be better. I imagine Daryl Dike will have some thoughts about that.

NYCFC put up nearly two more expected goals than Toronto and still ended up with a 1-1 draw. Unlucky and probably not as detrimental to their case as the three-spot drop they incurred in the Power Rankings because of it. But hey, that’s the Power Rankings for you. There’s nothing more important. So you have to bring it every week or some writer is going to take out the fact that they’re a writer on you.

Previous: 1-1 draw vs. TOR | Next: 5/22 vs. CLB


Previous: 2-0 win at SJ | Next: 5/22 vs. LA

Man, when SKC are on, they’re one of the best in the league. When they’re off, they’re getting shut out by Houston. Right now, that pattern is good enough for third in the Western Conference.

Oh wow, look. The MLS writers put LAFC ninth despite them being in last place in the Western Conference. I bet you, a casual MLS watcher, wants to complain about that. But what you, a casual, don’t understand about LAFC that MLS writers do is that two years ago they were really good. So. In your face. It’s like you didn’t even consider, you clearly uninformed person you, that they finished seventh in the conference last season. That’s only like six whole spots from first. And how many teams even get that close? Like, four?

This team is great, just trust us. In fact, I retroactively make them number one in the Power Rankings. What are you gonna do about it? Only be good enough to pick up one win this season and have that one win come against an expansion team?

Previous: 2-0 loss at SEA | Next: 5/22 vs. COL

The Rapids have already gone from preseason MLS Cup darkhorse to irrelevance back to MLS Cup darkhorse in like five weeks. It’s genuinely impressive. As are their three straight wins.

Previous: 3-1 win vs. HOU | Next: 5/22 at LAFC

Within a nine-day span last season, San Jose lost to Seattle and Portland by scores of 7-1 and 6-1, respectively. I would say losing to those teams 3-0 on aggregate over four days in 2021 is an improvement. Life is about incremental improvements. It also might be about figuring what to do when teams feel pretty comfortable sitting deep against you, but mostly the incremental improvements.

Nothing says jumping NINE SPOTS more than a midweek win over a team that dropped 11 spots and then a draw that involved your goalkeeper accidentally scoring on himself by punting the ball off Jesus Medina’s head (don’t worry, the ref overruled that one). Those are all hallmarks of a team on the rise.

Columbus fell 11 spots. It’s maybe the biggest free fall of the season so far except for the time we decided San Jose should be disbanded for losing in Week 1 to a slightly below-average Houston team. This one feels a little more deserved.

Columbus, including CCL, have three wins. Two against Real Esteli and one against D.C. United. They’re tied with Toronto at five points through five games. They’ve been shut out in four of their games. It’s real ugly right now. Matt Doyle says he isn’t panicking. CCL and injuries and all that. And I’m not panicking either. I’m just maybe a bit weary of all the teams we have that are “too talented to be down for long.”

The Crew maybe won’t come close to reaching the heights we thought they could in preseason, and that should be more than enough to be disappointed in the 2021 edition of this team. Even if they’re still set up to make a push back to the top of the East at some point this season. For now, they should feel pretty rough.

Good thing they still have a nice shiny MLS Cup trophy to cry into.

Sports are about not losing. And plenty of movies have taught us that winning isn’t everything. Nashville are one of three undefeated teams left. They’ve only won once. Seems like Nashville are the best team. Once again, the Power Rankings come up short.

Previous: 0-0 draw at RSL | Next: 5/23 vs. ATX

Just another quiet week in Atlanta capped off by an easy three points.

Previous: 1-0 win vs. MTL | Next: 5/23 at SEA

We could talk about RSL’s 0-0 draw with Nashville or we could watch a bunch of go-karts lose traction. 

That’s what I thought.

Previous: 0-0 draw vs. NSH | Next: 5/22 at DAL

RBNY couldn’t quite keep up with Philadelphia this week. The good news is that Dru Yearwood averaged a yellow card nearly every seven minutes in this one. Analytics folks will say that’s unsustainable but I like to consider myself a dreamer, ya know?

Previous: 1-0 loss at PHI | Next: 5/22 at NE

Ok, looks like it’s time to come back down to Earth a little bit. Expansion life is tough.

Austin are still three games away from their first game at Q2 Stadium and in the midst of the toughest part of their schedule. Life is probably going to be pretty tough for a good second here. But it’s still pretty easy to see them getting better as the year goes on just like Nashville did last season. Don’t forget, they still have a DP to add to a team that looks advanced beyond their years tactically even if you maybe don’t want to look too closely at the xG those tactics have produced so far...

Previous: 2-0 loss at LA | Next: 5/23 at NSH

I’m not sure who it’s a commentary on when a team wins 3-2 on the road and they still drop two spots.

Anyway, Gonzalo Higuain is really starting to look like that Gonzalo Higuain guy we kept hearing about. Miami are a whole lot scarier when he’s firing, even if you maybe shouldn’t be too sold on that backline right now.

You know, I feel bad for hitting back last week at the Wish.com bit Montréal tried to pull on the completely undeniably correct and serious MLSsoccer.com Power Rankings. And all in all, it was a pretty good week for Montréal. New striker Bjorn Johnsen got off the mark with a brace against Inter Miami and then they looked set to get a valuable point on the road against Atlanta until ... MARCELINO MORENO SCORES RIGHT AT THE 94TH MINUTE? That’s a tough one to take, no getting around that fact.

That’s two straight wins for the Loons if you’re keeping track. Not particularly outstanding wins, but they were wins. You’ll absolutely take that after the start they’ve had. Which… hey, when is the part where we talk about how Minnesota have more points than LAFC, Columbus and Toronto? Is it now? I just want to check here. Now is definitely the time we talk about this, yes? Just let me know when we’re supposed to talk about that.

Previous: 1-0 win vs. VAN; 1-0 win vs. DAL | Next: Bye

I’m starting to get worried. This team should at least be way more fun, even if they shouldn’t necessarily be too much better. Watching Dallas is a bit of a slog right now. Which… hey, is now the part where we talk about how they have the same amount of points as LAFC, Columbus and Toronto, a better goal differential than each, and more goals than LAFC and Columbus? Is that now?

Previous: 1-0 loss at MIN | Next: 5/22 vs. RSL

The Dynamo remain pretty OK. Being pretty OK sometimes means getting knocked around by Colorado for a little while. It also means picking up a nice win against Kansas City in the same week. Just pretty OK.

Still waiting on that first open-play goal from Vancouver.

D.C. United didn’t “win” but they largely outplayed Orlando on Sunday. It gave Hernan Losada enough confidence to call the Lions out for “parking the bus.”

“If there is a team that played to win,” Losada said, “it was D.C. United.”

There’s something magical about dying heroically instead of living. Losada would rather have the rocket explode than make the jump across the canyon. And that’s an attitude you can respect, even if you probably shouldn’t copy it. Who knows, maybe D.C. will make it across one day and step out of the rocket, rip off their shirts and show off the completely chiseled bodies Losada has demanded. It’s going to be spectacular either way.

Four straight losses is rough, and so is Chicago’s defense right now. They’ve gotta patch things up back there to start climbing out of the Power Rankings basement.

Previous: 1-0 loss at DC | Next: 5/22 vs. MIA

TQL Stadium really is a nice stadium. Now, Cincy just need to put a winning team in it.

Previous: 3-2 loss vs. MIA | Next: 5/22 at MTL