Disclaimer: The Power Rankings are voted on by the entirety of the MLSsoccer.com editorial staff. The rankings are not created by me. I did not personally do this. You should probably be lightly made fun of if, weeks into doing this, you still think the actual rankings are made by just one person. I just wrote some blurbs. Be mad at me for those.
None of this is my fault. Kind of. I technically did have a vote. Either way, you should really recognize that the stakes have never been lower.
Check out the video below as Andrew Wiebe, Matt Doyle and guests from around the league join Twitter Spaces to scrutinize this week's top 10.
Now to the rankings.
Is there a crack in the armor?? IS IT TIME TO PANIC???
But what if I told you the Seattle Sounders only created 0.9 xG ... over the last two games. That looks even worse considering those last two games have come at home against Atlanta United and Austin FC. Probably nothing to worry too much about yet and they did take a point from both, but it’s not exactly the way you want to be trending. Is there a chance, a chance, Seattle came out throwing punches in a way no one expected, caught everyone off guard and now everyone is adjusting?
Still probably no. Maybe something to keep an eye on though.
This week the New England Revolution basically did one of those videos where someone throws a basketball from the top of a stadium until it goes through the hoop. They took 25 shots before finally scoring on their 26th and final shot against FC Cincinnati.
The Philadelphia Union somehow tricked the Portland Timbers into forgetting about large human Kacper Przybylko on set pieces multiple times and put three on the Timbers from dead ball scenarios. I’m not sure any team delights in piling on the biggest teams in the league more. When they get their chance on national TV they don’t want to beat you, they want to maim you emotionally.
Philly are undefeated since advancing to the Concacaf Champions League semifinals.
When you can convince the universe to immediately pay you back for a fluky 2-1 loss the very next week you’re truly blessed. New York City FC have been excellent and are just taking the very first steps in integrating young DP Talles Magno into the team.
Gianluca Busio. That’s all I’ve got. That’s all you need.
The LA Galaxy put last week’s loss behind them and got past the San Jose Earthquakes. They needed a San Jose own goal and a standout performance from Jonathan Bond in goal to get all three points, but they created plenty of chances of their own and keep looking increasingly threatening on the wing as Kevin Cabral settles in.
I’m still not completely convinced Cabral and Samuel Grandsir are spectacular, but they certainly offer more on the wing than the rest of the roster and for now, that’s enough.
However, LA continue to worry me defensively. Here are the teams with a higher rate of expected goals allowed right now per American Soccer Analysis: Cincinnati, the Houston Dynamo ... and that’s it. Probably not great for San Jose and Portland that they’re just barely in front of the Galaxy, but we’ll get to both of them soon. The Galaxy are going to have to sort things out at the back eventually if they want to stay in the league’s top tier.
Orlando City's lack of chance creation this season finally caught up to them. I have no idea why this team looks so toothless this season and it’s ... actually ... hold on, let me check something ……... OK, yeah, per American Soccer Analysis’s goals added metric Mauricio Pereyra and Chris Mueller are actually pretty much actively taking goals by being on the field. Mueller especially has struggled this year. I have no idea why he’s suddenly regressed, but it’s hard to watch right now for Orlando fans.
There are two bits of good news here though. The first is that Silvester van der Water looks capable and eager to pick up some of the slack on the wing. The second is Orlando will get Nani back from suspension after the break, should get Alexandre Pato back from injury and could, in theory, also have Daryl Dike back as well. I’d imagine this team would look slightly improved with a striker on the verge of a $20 million-plus deal to Europe.
The Colorado Rapids thumped FC Dallas this weekend and have taken four of their last five since losing to Austin. They’ve objectively been good. If we’re going to be picky though (we are!) and take a look at their strength of schedule over those five games, it’s not exactly a gauntlet. Wins against the Vancouver Whitecaps, Minnesota, Houston and Dallas can get you to the playoffs, but not much further than that. We’ll find out pretty soon after the break if Colorado can hang with the league’s best. They’ll take on Cincinnati first, but then get Sporting Kansas City and Seattle back to back.
Man, the injuries are just absolutely brutal right now. Hopefully some time off helps get some folks back out on the field. It would be tough if they were simply missing Diego Chara, but they’re missing Chara, two DPs, two goalkeepers and five other players right now. That being said, the rest of your players should be able to figure out that they need to mark 6-foot-4 Kacper Przybylko on set pieces.
Portland may be hurting for a while this season, but would you be surprised at all if they got healthy later in the year and made a run?
HAS THIS EVER HAPPENED TO YOU? YOU’RE UP 2-0. YOU’RE HAPPY. YOU THINK YOU’RE ABOUT TO WIN. AND SUDDENLY ... OHHHH NOOOOO!
I’M A PERSON WITH AN UNDESERVED PLATFORM ON THE INTERNET AND I’M HERE TO TELL YOU TODAY YOU CAN FIX ALL YOUR PROBLEMS WITH ONE SIMPLE TRICK. YES FOR $9.95 PLUS SHIPPING AND HANDLING I CAN TELL YOU to stop going up 2-0 on Nashville ohmygod. Why has no one learned yet? Try winning 1-0 or something.
The Golden Boys are still undefeated after coming back from 2-0 to earn a point for the third time this year.
This is getting better. Right?
I mean they finally scored a goal from open play for the first time all year so that’s certainly an improvement. The Lucas Zelarayan game against NYCFC may have been enough to provide a spark. They took care of Toronto FC and now they’ve just got to continue that momentum out of the break here and things will start to feel a little more normal at the Columbus Crew. Maybe they’ll even start creating enough to quit being last in the league in expected goals by a pretty significant margin.
Sometimes you play well and win. Sometimes you play poorly and win. Sometimes you play pretty meh and almost win anyway until your keeper punches the ball off another player and into his own net. These things happen.
Combining last year with this year (29 games), this team has been on a 46-point full season pace. That would put them, on average, at about seventh place. I know what we want this team to be and I know what we think this team could be. But I dunno, just to be a pessimist here, maybe they’re just this team?
They’re fifth in expected goal differential this season which indicates the results should improve but, also ... maybe they’re just this team? There just hasn’t been much that indicates they’re too much better or are going to become much better than that 46-point pace. I know others on the MLSsoccer.com editorial staff are staying strong here, but I’m losing faith.
An amateur mistake to go up 2-0 against Nashville, but it happens. What will really be frustrating for the Five Stripes is the fact that in the two best games they’ve played this year, they’ve imploded in the second half. This one felt a little flukier than their second half against Philadelphia though, and as long as they continue to work toward playing an entertaining brand of soccer, people in Atlanta should be happy. For the time being anyway. I’m holding strong in my belief that an uptick in entertainment will be followed pretty quickly by an uptick in results. Especially if Miles Robinson continues to turn into one of the best passing center backs in the league right before our eyes.
After a string of tough losses (and a little bad luck), Wilfried Nancy and Montréal got back on track with a 1-0 win over Chicago. After eight games, they’re still hanging out in a playoff spot for now. The best news though is they’ve locked down Nancy for another year. He’s already made a solid impression around the league and he’ll get a chance to build on an unexpectedly solid start.
Y’all might not wanna look yet, but with each passing week, the Red Bulls grow just a little bit more Red Bulls. I keep insisting this is happening each week and I’ve never been more convinced. If I had to make up a Red Bulls win in my head, I’d say “A player you wouldn’t expect scored a banger and a kid with a lacrosse player name scored from like three feet away oh and also it came against Atlanta.” The two out of three they got this week is pretty solid. I’m all in on what Gerhard Struber is doing here, especially as they work in new signings. That is at least until they go from plucky upstarts back to winning the Supporters’ Shield on 65 goals from inside the six-yard box.
It looked like the Dynamo were going to take a point or three from Kansas City again but Busio and company got the better of them. They’ll get a chance to regroup against a mid-table opponent when they come back out of the break.
The Quakes love to stack up results. They went from winning three in a row to losing four in a row. If they had maybe mixed those up a little more I think people would be a little more optimistic about this team’s outlook right now. The most discouraging thing for them though is that all four of those losses came against what are probably the four best teams in the West. There are worse teams to lose to of course, but this is the year San Jose wanted to and felt they could break into that group. It’s clear there’s still work to do.
They are creating chances at a pretty high rate at the very least. The Quakes are second in the league in expected goals created.
They had one (1) shot on goal this week. All because a dude punched a ball into one of their players. They scored on this “shot.” This is practically a miracle and they should be higher in these rankings just for earning a point through divine providence.
When Hernan Losada’s CrossFit Box gets rolling they can take off on folks. They obliterated Inter Miami this week and looked fit doing it. The stamina to really trounce a team like that is impressive since none of them have been allowed to eat a carb in weeks (probably).
Overall though, Losada has this team heading in the right direction. A D.C. fan came across my timeline this weekend just to praise this team for being fun. I hadn’t really considered the year so far a blast, but then I remembered that emotions are relative and that compared to (the) last (10) year(s) this team probably feels like skydiving without a parachute with a Mountain Dew IV plugged into your veins. That’s genuine progress and it’s exciting to see that feeling turn into results.
A point on the road against Seattle should feel dang good. Los Verdes aren’t close to finished with their almost hilariously brutal first-half schedule, but they can take a lot of confidence going forward after only allowing about half a goal worth of xG against the league’s best team.
I mean ... they didn’t have the worst week in MLS.
Matt Doyle had a lot more to say about Toronto’s week/season here.
In 2018, Michael Barrios finished as the 11th-best winger in the league per American Soccer Analysis’s goals added metric. He finished 15th in 2019. Now, here is a list of the wingers who finished with a higher g+ in 2020: Cristian Pavon, Diego Rossi, Jordan Morris, Darwin Quintero. That’s four players. Four players were more effective on the wing last year. So we can figure he’s somewhere in the top-15 among wingers in a league stacked with quality players on the wing.
Barrios scored a banger this weekend. Barrios plays for Colorado, the team that played Dallas. He plays against Dallas because Dallas traded him away for an international spot and an improved spot in the SuperDraft.
Anyway, Dallas are last in the West right now.
Yeah, not a great week for Miami. D.C. United hadn't scored more than a single goal in a game since the opening weekend of the season, but then just came into Fort Lauderdale and ran all over Phil Neville's side. Good news is hey can look forward to an easier time after the international break when they go up against ... oh that's right, D.C. United.
The Whitecaps got this week off which means they’ll have almost a month between games to figure things out.
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Technically they have the lowest points per game in the league.
Technically they don’t have the lowest points per game in the league!