As always, this is not my fault. The Power Rankings presented by Sorare are voted on by a collection of MLSsoccer.com editors, writers and personalities. That group does include me, but I’m only like one-tenth of the problem here. Besides, there are like five teams at this point who are actually “good” and like three teams who are actually “bad”. We’re hilariously deep into this to see such small margins, but that’s where we’re at – 27 weeks in and this thing is somehow more rudderless than ever.
Gareth Bale finally made his first start and it all could have gone a little better. After back-to-back losses, LAFC’s chances at a points record and maybe even the Supporters’ Shield feel like they’re on far shakier ground than anyone expected a couple of weeks ago. LAFC might be dealing with a classic scenario of having to decide between playing their best 11 players and putting out their best XI the rest of the way. As of now, I’m not convinced at all that their best XI includes Bale.
And now those lineup decisions might become even more difficult after the addition of Cristian Tello to the team. It’s not really likely, but just throwing it out there: What if, what if, LAFC end up making things just a little too complicated too late in the season?
Whoooooooooooooooooo boy, y’all.
It may not make a difference in the end for Austin's place in the standings, but they’re two-for-two on taking LAFC to the woodshed this season. Now, some of you might point to Austin only earning 1 xG to LAFC’s 1.6 xG as a sign the Verde & Black got a little luck on Friday. But that’s the MO of Austin’s entire season! If you keep repeating the magic trick over and over it’s not magic anymore, it’s just a thing you know how to do.
Does that go against everything you should believe about chance creation and soccer in general? Yes. Yes, it does. But we all learned months ago not to count out Austin because they’re the protagonists of 2022 and because of Sebastian Driussi and because of…uh…just like general vibes. LAFC will be praying not to see them in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.
Good soccer team is good. I don’t know what else you want me to add to CF Montréal’s season at this point after an easy 2-0 win over Chicago. Maybe it’s that Wilfried Nancy is arguably your Sigi Schmid Coach of the Year and Montréal basically have a home playoff spot wrapped up?
The Loons officially jumped FC Dallas for the third spot in the West after a comeback win against Houston this weekend. Considering how good Minnesota have been, that should be that. The top three spots in the West are almost entirely settled at this point and, improbably, Minnesota have earned their way there after one of the most impressive and instantaneous turnarounds you’ll see.
Unfortunately though, center back Bakaye Dibassy will be out the rest of the way after picking up a long-term injury (ruptured quadricep tendon). That may just lower their ceiling considerably.
Turns out winning MLS games at home can be extremely beneficial. New York’s fourth home win of the season this weekend all but sealed a home playoff spot. The Red Bulls are now cruising toward their 13th straight playoff appearance.
Once again: That’s more like it, y’all.
The Coyotes mollywhopped Vancouver this weekend and it feels like a lot of the worries of a couple of weeks ago are evaporating before our eyes. Nashville are trending upward at the right time and may even have a home playoff spot in their sights. The lesson, as always, is to make Dax McCarty so disappointed in you that he feels he has to yell at you in a press conference to get your attention.
That being said, Nashville aren’t in the clear yet. They face Austin twice and both LA teams over their final six games.
Yikes. When you’re broken, you’re broken. I don’t know what the fix is and I’m not sure anyone in the Bronx does either. NYCFC are limping down the stretch with an anvil attached to them. They’ve lost four of their last five. FOUR OF THEIR LAST FIVE HAVE BEEN LOSSES.
This Dallas team is good, but it’s so hard to feel anything beyond general contentment with their performances this season. I keep waiting to get excited about what they’re doing or for them to put a string of results together that indicates they might have another gear – yet they just keep picking up perfectly pleasant points. Someone is going to settle down with FC Dallas and be as happy as they need to be. But they’re not going to be anywhere beyond that.
Playing passes from midfield that cut out…uh…every single defender is a great way to endear yourself to your new teammates. With Puig playing passes like that and LA a point above the line with two games in hand on their two closest competitors, it’s starting to feel like the Galaxy are going to be safe come Decision Day (Oct. 9) this time.
Orlando just keep winning. Nothing tangible really suggests they should be. But the whole team seems to have decided every game will be decided on their terms without the interference of non-existent things like “math.” Although, to be fair, even that is starting to favor them a little more as of late and certainly favored them this weekend against NYCFC. Either way, the Lions have turned into one of this year’s most resilient teams and it’s a credit to them and Oscar Pareja that they’ve been able to manufacture wins at any time and place.
It feels delightfully on brand for this team that they’re going to make the playoffs thanks to brute force, and it will be even more on brand when they almost certainly beat a team or two they aren’t supposed to once they get there. Not bad for a rebuilding year.
Yeah, Steven Moreira’s 96th-minute equalizer was great and a noteworthy moment in an increasingly excellent Hell is Real rivalry.
But, once again, Cucho stole the show. And for the record: Don’t throw things at players, ever, full stop. Seriously.
That’s three straight draws for Columbus. They still have a game in hand on everyone else, but it’s not unfair to be a bit worried about their playoff status now. Their schedule sets up nicely the rest of the way, but three points are going to become necessary sooner rather than later.
RSL just keep chipping away, picking up points and biding their time until they can beat one or two or three of the league’s best teams in the playoffs and we can all pretend we’re surprised that it’s happening.
They had some grievances with one offside call, in particular, this week. However, Moreira’s 96th-minute equalizer came unaided. As good as FC Cincinnati have been, it seems like they just aren’t going to find the luck (or defensive stability) to make these last few weeks gentle on Cincy fans’ nerves.
They’re still in a decent position in the standings, though (8th in East). In the end, it’s still very difficult to imagine a top seven in the East that doesn’t include a team with Brandon Vazquez, Brenner and Luciano Acosta.
To say Portland needed that would be a bit of an understatement.
With a critical win over their archrival, the Timbers haven’t quite salvaged their season, but they have kept it alive. Being alive is a struggle though. And the rest of the schedule is going to amplify that. Portland will face Austin, Atlanta, Minnesota, Columbus, LAFC and RSL to close out the season.
Toronto probably have to take about 13 points from their last six games. It’s a tough schedule and that’s a big ask. But, I mean, just look at what they can do in attack. We can’t call them dead until they’ve been in the ground for a few days.
If the Herons are going to make the playoffs, they’ll have to avoid picking up reds like this.
Look, I’ll just say I’ve seen it given before.
Anyway, they didn’t pick up the win in New York. But at least Gonzalo Higuain is up to hit a free kick from atop the box as hard as he possibly can into the back of the net once a season or so. With Alejandro Pozuelo unavailable against Columbus on Wednesday in a massive six-pointer, Phil Neville’s team needs to dig deep.
The Revs are still reeling from injuries at the worst possible time. At least Gustavo Bou got back on the field on Sunday. Now they need Giacomo Vrioni and Dylan Borrero back ASAP, and for Ismael Tajouri-Shradi to debut. The attack needs a boost, and quickly.
Ok. Yep. It’s officially Time To Worry About The Sounders. Unless you already started doing that. Which, yeah, fair enough.
But after their loss at Portland this weekend and the announcement Cristian Roldan will be out for a while with an injury, the Concacaf Champions League winners are hanging on by a thread to their playoff hopes. The Sounders are now six points behind sixth-place RSL with seven games to go.
That was…definitely one way to get three points against the worst team in the league. Atlanta United are alive. For now. Philadelphia loom in the distance, a mountainous figure too large to comprehend, too real to dream of, and too frightening to accept.
Colorado aren’t out of it completely yet. But, uh, that’s not exactly how you go about climbing up the standings. Let’s just move on.
Toronto FC and the Italian men’s national football team got the better of them on Saturday. It’s getting to be about that time to look towards making their year-two bump as big as possible. Right now, there’s a lot of work to do with this roster to match Austin, Nashville and other second-year teams that have taken the great leap forward.
Vancouver got blasted by Nashville and their goal differential is all the way down to -17. And yet they’re still in ninth place and not all that far from the playoff line. It certainly didn’t help, but the Whitecaps aren’t finished yet. Not entirely.
They’ve won three of their last four and it would have been four of four if they didn’t blow a 3-1 lead at Austin. They were a collapse away from being equal on points with Colorado and just one point behind Seattle. Considering where they were, that’s a major accomplishment.
The Fire’s 2-0 loss to CF Montréal may have unofficially started the countdown clock on the end of their season. Chicago have made the playoffs twice since 2010.
The Earthquakes didn’t have it against SKC. They’ve dropped to 13th in the West.
Houston are now in last place in the West and likely looking at a key offseason.
D.C. United nearly had it against Atlanta. Nearly. But…man it’s not pretty right now. 2023 is so close yet so far away.