What a week in MLS. Home teams thrived, road teams struggled, and St. Louis CITY SC overpowered a recent expansion team. It was truly a week unlike any other.
As always, the actual rankings are not my fault. Something like 15 people voted on these and we took the average. Just remember we’re only two Matchdays into this thing and they don’t start becoming important until next week. That’s when the Power Rankings start counting toward the secret formula that determines which teams make the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.
Remember when Seattle went on a record 13-game unbeaten run to start the season in 2021? I’m not saying that’s going to happen again, but Seattle have started the year with similar bad intentions. They’ve bullied their first two opponents and haven’t even gotten Raúl Ruidíaz into the starting lineup yet. Not that that’s really been a concern. Heber has immediately thrived in Rave Green and the whole team has come out of the blocks firing on all cylinders.
With no Concacaf Champions League to worry about this year and both LAFC and Philly dealing with extra games, how crazy is it to start thinking about the Sounders as Supporters’ Shield favorites?
Very. It’s two games in. But still, they look terrifying.
Previous: 2-0 win vs. RSL | Next: 3/11 at CIN
They were thumping Portland until they weren’t, but they thumped Portland so much at the beginning that, when they stopped the thumping, they still had enough to win 3-2.
Anyway, they (at least for now) solved their lack of Chicho Arango by allowing Carlos Vela and Kwadwo Opoku to do false nine things and it came off well. Probably as well as it ever has for LAFC with that particular tactic. For most of the game they looked very much like the reigning champs and a team primed to make a deep CCL run.
There was also this.
Previous: 3-2 win vs. POR | Next: 3/12 vs. NE
The Union didn’t have their best game on Saturday and were doomed by two stunners. It’s MLS. This happens from time to time. Especially when the Power Rankings suggest the week prior how the Union may “break the goal differential record.” Anyway, Philly will move on quickly from that one. A somewhat manageable CCL bracket is waiting for them on Tuesday.
Previous: 2-0 loss at MIA | Next: 3/11 vs. CHI
Four points through two games is a solid haul for a team with raised expectations. Now, I’m just sitting here waiting for the three-headed hydra of Brandon Vazquez, Brenner and Luciano Acosta to fully wake up.
Previous: 0-0 draw at ORL | Next: 3/11 vs. SEA
HOLY DEAR GOODNESS, ROBERT TAYLOR. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE???
Taylor’s AT&T 5G Goal of the Year candidate and Corentin Jean’s long-distance opener powered Inter Miami over a full-strength Union side in the upset of the weekend. Now, I could be a nerd and talk about expected goals (xG) or whatever… OR I could just tell you the Herons have six points through two games and are wholly deserving of that.
Previous: 2-0 win vs. PHI | Next: 3/11 at NYC
I don’t think anyone wants to talk about last Saturday’s RBNY-Nashville game longer than we need to.
Previous: 0-0 draw at RBNY | Next: 3/11 vs. MTL
Just a massive, massive game for those of us who watched Dylan Borrero for like five games last season and said loudly on the internet how he looked like a future star. Borrero opened the scoring and helped with a secondary assist later as New England cruised to a 3-0 win over Houston.
It’s also wild this never happened before 2023:
Previous: 3-0 win vs. HOU | Next: 3/12 at LAFC
It took a moment to find the net against CF Montréal, but they found it in style once they did.
That’s a much-needed three points for the Verde & Black, plus an encouraging clean sheet with Alexander Ring filling in at center back. CCL awaits on Tuesday.
Previous: 1-0 win vs. MTL | Next: 3/11 at RSL
I don’t think anyone wants to talk about the RBNY-Nashville game longer than we need to. (Dante Vanzeir made his debut late in this one.)
Previous: 0-0 draw vs. NSH | Next: 3/11 at MIN
It’s four points from two games, but for anyone hoping the Lions would be a little more entertaining this year…well, it hasn’t happened so far. Orlando are still waiting to create a goal worth of non-penalty xG and, in fact, have the league’s lowest total non-penalty xG through two games. That includes the teams that just started their season last Saturday.
Now, that means literally nothing in the long term. They rotated relatively heavily on Saturday to prepare for CCL. They may click in the next few games and all will be fine. On top of that, Orlando have had the unenviable task of starting the year against RBNY and FC Cincinnati. But for anyone hoping a busy offseason would bring instant change in attack, they’ll be waiting a little longer.
Previous: 0-0 draw vs. CIN | Next: 3/11 at DC
Jesús Ferreira just despises the Galaxy. Just outright spiteful stuff from him every time they play it seems like. He scored a brace against LA for the second straight year and Dallas responded very nicely after last week’s strugglebus in attack, rightfully earning a 3-1 win. For whatever reason, the best version of Nico Estevez’s Dallas side always pops up against the Galaxy.
WATCH: Jesús Ferreira brace! USMNT striker finds form for FC Dallas
Previous: 3-1 win vs. LA | Next: 3/11 at VAN
Lucas Zelarayán did that thing where he gets hot and becomes pretty much the best player in MLS for like 45 minutes at a time. Savor these moments when they happen because my goodness are they fun to watch.
WATCH: Lucas Zelarayán brace! Columbus Crew star finds his groove
The question, as always, is how consistently Columbus will get this version of Zelarayán. It tends to come and go in waves. It feels like Wilfried Nancy may just be able to get the best out of him and this Crew team pretty often though. Especially if Alexandru Matan and Mohamed Farsi keep putting in praise-worthy performances.
Previous: 2-0 win vs. DC | Next: 3/11 at TOR
St. Louis have been the new kid who shows up to school, immediately becomes the starting quarterback, starts dating the prom queen, and takes over as the probable valedictorian. It’s exciting at first, but folks are going to start getting jealous if they keep it up. For now, I think everyone can appreciate the fact we’re seeing a team come in with an instant tactical identity, instant impact players like João Klauss and Eduard Löwen, and find instant success.
The 2009 Seattle Sounders were the last expansion team to win their first three games, and while St. Louis have a long way to go before reaching that level of inaugural-season success (writ large), they look legitimately dangerous through their first two games.
Previous: 3-1 win vs. CLT | Next: 3/11 at POR
Atlanta didn’t get the result they wanted, but they looked far, far better in attack. The kind of varied and continued off-ball movement we saw Saturday will go a long, long way once new DP striker Giorgos Giakoumakis and winger Derrick Etienne Jr. are fully plugged into the starting lineup. Both looked dynamic in limited minutes and Atlanta have looked much more controlled and assured through two games.
Previous: 1-1 draw vs. TOR | Next: 3/11 at CLT
Our first introduction to the 2023 Galaxy started off fine enough. Dejan Joveljic found the net in his first replacement start for the injured Chicharito and all seemed well. Then Dallas took off and scored three goals in about a 20-minute span. That’s at least better than the three goals in 12 minutes they allowed last year in their first meeting with Dallas. Sometimes a team has your number.
Previous: 3-1 loss at DAL | Next: 3/11 at SKC
NYCFC couldn’t hold onto a lead at Chicago, but the week can still be classified as a major success in The Bronx. James Sands returned from Rangers and Santiago Rodriguez is back as well. The Pigeons’ starting XI suddenly looks a whole lot scarier (they still need a true No. 9 though).
Previous: 1-1 draw at CHI | Next: 3/11 vs. MIA
Timbers Game Type 3 is, of course, the “Roman candles attached to a ceiling fan” variation of Timbers Game Types. We mostly got there after the Timbers went 3-0 down and roared back into the game with two second-half goals. There’s a lot to complain about in Portland’s first 60 minutes, but they recovered well enough in the end against one of the league’s best. It helps, of course, that Evander scored his first MLS goal.
Previous: 3-2 loss at LAFC | Next: 3/11 vs. STL
Nothing much to report from a 0-0 draw in Colorado. SKC piled on shots, but only generated 0.7 xG worth of chances. They’re playing without all three of their DPs (Johnny Russell, Alan Pulido and Gadi Kinda), and are still looking for their first goal of the year.
Previous: 0-0 draw at COL | Next: 3/11 vs. LA
The Quakes responded from a tough Matchday 1 loss and earned a 2-1 win over the Whitecaps with two late goals of their own. Jeremy Ebobisse has scored in each of the first two matches and I remain bullish on him and the Quakes in 2023.
Previous: 2-1 win vs. VAN | Next: 3/11 vs. COL
The Sounders didn’t let RSL hang around this time. Doesn’t seem like many teams will be keeping pace with Seattle this year, so I wouldn’t worry much, RSL fans.
Previous: 2-0 loss at SEA | Next: 3/11 vs. ATX
The Loons got a week off to celebrate their Matchday 1 win at FC Dallas.
Previous: Bye | Next: 3/11 vs. RBNY
Toronto didn’t have Lorenzo Insigne available due to injury, lost Adama Diomande early in their match against Atlanta due to a hamstring issue, then lost his replacement (Ayo Akinola) to another hamstring issue later in the game. For a team that really, really needed to be healthy, things could be better. Even still, they pulled out a point in Atlanta thanks to a little magic from Federico Bernardeschi.
Previous: 1-1 draw at ATL | Next: 3/11 vs. CLB
The Black-and-Red had a slight let-off after last week’s dramatic ending, losing 2-0 in Columbus. Sometimes you just run into the Super Saiyan version of Lucas Zelarayán and call it a night.
Previous: 2-0 loss at CLB | Next: 3/11 vs. ORL
Enzo Copetti got on the scoresheet for the first time, but Charlotte still struggled to create consistent chances at St. Louis CITY SC’s homecoming. They were probably never getting much in front of that crowd, but nobody in Charlotte will be happy with The Crown’s performance through the first two games.
Previous: 3-1 loss at STL | Next: 3/11 vs. ATL
They were poised to earn a point in Austin before Maxi Urruti capped a vicious counterattack in the 88th minute. For now, Montréal are still waiting for their first point(s) under Hernan Losada.
Previous: 1-0 loss at ATX | Next: 3/11 at NSH
The Rapids are still waiting on their first goal of the season after a 0-0 draw with SKC. Darren Yapi, an 18-year-old homegrown/US youth international striker, looks promising though.
Previous: 0-0 draw vs. SKC | Next: 3/11 at SJ
In their first performance of the year, Chicago came back to take a point from NYCFC. You take what you can get, right? Unfortunately that point came with a handful of early substitutions. Federico Navarro and Jairo Torres both exited with injury concerns.
Previous: 1-1 draw vs. NYC | Next: 3/11 at PHI
That’s back-to-back losses where Vancouver went up relatively early and then lost the lead (and the game) with two relatively late goals allowed in quick succession. I don’t know what it means exactly, but, once again, Vanni Sartini’s team is in danger of another slow start.
Previous: 2-1 loss at SJ | Next: 3/11 vs. DAL
Was that relatively impressive Matchday 1 display at Cincy a mirage for Ben Olsen’s new-look group? The Revs rolled them, 3-0, and now they’re off until a Matchday 4 home opener.
Previous: 3-0 loss at NE | Next: 3/18 vs. ATX