Reminder: Hit up Twitter Spaces every Tuesday at 11 am ET to hear Andrew Wiebe, Matt Doyle and an assortment of guests discuss why your team should be higher/lower. Hear the discussion on this week's top 10 below.
MLS Power Rankings: Week 4 (Top 10 Analysis)
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, the stakes have never been lower. To the rankings.
I just want everyone to acknowledge that we’re still underrating Brian Schmetzer. Can we at least acknowledge that? We don’t have to suddenly start talking about him like we should be naming the MLS Cup trophy after him, but ... maybe the Western Conference trophy? Let’s normalize talking about Brian Schmetzer being underrated so much that he becomes overrated. He’s earned it and is still earning it.
Anyway, if Seattle cruise past LAFC and San Jose this week, maybe we just call it a year and spend our newfound free time picking up some new hobbies. Personally, I’ve always wanted to learn how to write quality soccer analysis.
Columbus became one of two MLS teams in Concacaf Champions League to win the weekend after a tournament game. Shockingly, that’s only their first league win of the season. Now they hit a stretch of Toronto, New England, NYCFC and Toronto again. The Crew have gotten a bit of a pass for a few lackluster performances compared to other CCL teams, mostly because of their potential. Now, without the burden of CCL, we’ll see if they round into the form we’ve all been expecting.
How dare we not put them first after two of their players NEARLY DIED ON THE FIELD SIMULTANEOUSLY.
Fortunately, both players fully recovered moments later and NYCFC went on to earn a road point in Orlando. They out-created the Lions for most of the game and have generally been solid. Personally, not sold on them at three. But I am sold on them being a little better than Ronny Deila thought they were at the beginning of the year, especially if Taty Castellanos can continue scoring at this blistering rate. He’s got four goals in four games.
Philadelphia, along with Columbus, were the only other CCL team to win a weekend game after the continental tournament’s first two rounds. The difference is, they’re also the only MLS team to still be in CCL. Oh, and they're reportedly adding an attacking midfielder. They haven’t missed on midfield signings lately. Must feel good to be the Union.
Another week, another stunning goal from Nani. Now they just have to figure out how to get the rest of the team going. We haven’t seen the Lions at their scariest so far this year.
Nashville figured out how to not go down 2-0 at home again at the absolute wrong time for New England. The Golden Boys outplayed them. It happens. It’s probably not an indication of any larger structural flaws or anything. Unless...
LAFC have lost three of their last four against the Galaxy and we still have no idea when Carlos Vela is going to be back and is now the time to remind everyone that they did in fact finish seventh in the Western Conference last season?
I mean ... no. Not really. But it probably shouldn’t be pushed all the way to the back of your mind. Just saying.
This is their lowest spot in the rankings this year. Seattle are waiting for them on Sunday. They can soothe some possible worries if they become the first team this year to take down the Sounders.
Wondo remains a weapon unlike any other. The rest of San Jose’s weapons seem pretty good so far, too. They’ve got both Seattle and Portland this week, though. Those weapons are about to get their biggest test of the year.
The Galaxy aren’t just pretty good now. They might even be (extremely) likable. I knew things were changing rapidly these days but ... man. Not sure I prepared myself for this.
Last weekend’s win over LAFC will feel like a major step forward for a team that’s already well ahead of schedule on their leaps and bounds in year one under Greg Vanney.
Something about how Portland got a second chance in the voting this weekend and then bricked it off the post. I dunno, I’m workshopping it. I’ll get back to you quicker than Diego Valeri’s second penalty when I figure it out.
You know, Nashville’s pretty good when they don’t let the other team score twice to start the game. And even when they do, they still come away with points. They’ve only lost four times in the last 20 games (all competitions) and they just handled the best team they’ve played this season with relative ease.
Austin gave Sporting a scare and their “fight or flight” response kicked in. After going down 1-0, they crushed Austin for nearly the entire game before breaking through late. The final xG tally ended up at 3.7 to 0.8, and it was headed that way before Alexander Ring’s red card.
It feels strange to remind everyone that the team that won the Western Conference last year has a whole bunch of pieces that should scare everyone else, but this team has a whole bunch of pieces that should scare everyone else. They don’t feel long for the 10-20 tier.
Don’t even remember who they played or if they won, just gonna keep watching the Rubio Rubin goal again and only focus on Rubio Rubin being better than everyone. I think they played Not Rubio Rubin United SC or something. I don’t know. Ooh, look, the Rubio Rubin goal!
GOAL: Rubio Rubín, Real Salt Lake - 43rd minute
You ever meet one of those kids who got told a lot they were “wise beyond their years”? You know, that kid who eventually became an English major and is now making bad art in a house that has more dirty plates than cats and more cats than usable plates? Well, right now Austin are that kid. And fortunately for them, soccer is nothing like life or your friend Jacob.
They’ve shown up in the first few games with a tactical ability beyond their years. Sporting got the better of them this week, but they’ve continually put themselves in positions that will lead to the kind of consistent results that will put them well on the LAFC, Atlanta, Nashville side of the expansion team spectrum and not ... well, the other one.
At some point during the Red Bulls’ win last weekend over Toronto, they forced a giveaway in midfield, found Daniel Royer on the wing in transition and Royer played an early cross that nearly found a runner in the box. Against every fiber of my being, I relaxed and smiled and felt happy to see the Red Bulls look like the Red Bulls for a moment.
They seem to already be progressing under Gerhard Struber and although there are definitely still bumps in the road coming, at least they’re coming instead of New York slowly rolling backward away from them.
The Rapids could have scored their three goals early and let Minnesota score a couple late and maybe the Loons could have come away from this week talking about moral victories or how they didn’t lose, they just ran out of time or something. Instead, they let Minnesota score twice before scoring three of their own just to make it hurt more.
Lewis Morgan is the best player in club history. I’m not sure if that’s necessarily a good thing considering the overall makeup of Inter Miami, but I am sure that more people outside of Miami and Atlanta should be aware of how good he’s been.
I kept staring at Dallas while writing this the way Matt Doyle told me I should – lights off, scotch in hand, three candles lit, the soundtrack from Cabaret playing in the background – and thinking “I feel like they should be better so far, why are they not better?”
To be fair, looking at their so-early-it’s-almost-pointless-to-look-at-xG numbers so far, they are eighth in expected goals for. They also happen to be sixth in expected goals allowed. Maybe they’ll tighten up a bit defensively soon and we’ll see the team we expected to be a certain playoff contender. Also, ya know, it would help if their Designated Players started contributing in major ways. You should probably know that by now, though. It’s like FC Dallas analytical free space.
Well, well, well look who dropped six spots after getting a draw on the road on short rest after playing midweek in CCL. That’s some good Power Rankings right there. Honestly, it’s a bit harsh, but it’s not too far away from the truth. This is a mid-tier team for now. The good news for Atlanta is that Brek Shea didn’t score on them for a third-straight game and that Josef Martinez scored an MLS goal for the first time in 564 days. He says he’s still not quite back to 100%, but he’s still dropping quotes at an elite level.
“Chicharito scores bad goals and people say he’s a crack. I score and it’s the defender’s fault,” Josef said when asked about Ryan Shawcross standing and watching from a comfortable distance as Josef turned and scored a goal Ryan Shawcross probably didn’t think he was capable of.
The Whitecaps started the year against Portland, Toronto, Colorado and Montréal. They took seven points from those four games. That’s as solid a start as you can ask for. Although maybe you could politely hint at them getting a goal or two from open play. All five of their goals so far have come from penalties or set pieces.
Toronto created all of 0.3 expected goals against the Red Bulls. They got bumped down a spot for every tenth of xG they created in a 2-0 loss to the team that recently fired the Reds’ current head coach.
Nothing in Toronto seems pretty right now. They’ve got one point through three games. However, they’ll get a chance to regroup over the next few weeks with no CCL filling out their midweek schedule. Which means they’ll get a chance to really integrate a couple of shiny new pieces in Yeferson Soteldo and Kemar Lawrence. Maybe they’ll even get healthy eventually.
This team has too much talent to be down for long.
Is that the line we’re going with for now? Because we can’t just openly say we’re kind of pessimistic about this thing under Chris Armas? Like, I just wanted to make sure I’m on the narrative we all agreed on at the meeting. My mic is still on?
Houston have five points. This puts them equal or better than LAFC, Portland, Minnesota, Dallas, Atlanta, Columbus, Philadelphia, Toronto and more and oh no my head is hurting, like really hurting. This league is a lot to take in sometimes.
Montréal couldn’t buy a goal against Vancouver. Perhaps they should see if Wish.com has any available. Hey we're all friends here and seriously, it's still been a much better start to the season than most experts predicted.
D.C. United scored three times this week.
Adrian Heath brought on a defender late in their game with the Rapids. The score was 2-2.
“Well, at that stage, I thought we were gonna lose the game,” Heath said. “As it proved we did.”