Before diving into this Heineken Rivalry Week thought exercise, a real quick Power Rankings Power Rankings.

  1. MVP Power Rankings
  2. Rivalry Name Power Rankings
  3. Power Rankings
  4. Power Rankings Power Rankings.

There. Undeniable. 

Anyway, Power Rankings and rivalries and rivalry names are all extremely subjective and almost entirely made up, but so is our general investment in any sporting event. So let’s just all relax and agree that I’m right about every single one of these and that it’s going to be literally impossible to argue against them. So. Don’t. 

Some of these names were taken from memory or with help from people smarter than me. The rest were taken from a Wikipedia page entitled “MLS Rivalry Cups.” Just remember that we’re basing this on the name itself and less on the context of how intense the rivalry is.

14
Atlantic Cup
D.C. United & New York Red Bulls

Leave it to D.C. United and the Red Bulls to think that they have domain over the entire Atlantic Ocean.

13
Pioneer Cup
Columbus Crew & FC Dallas

Maybe I missed something in history class and feel more than free to let me know if I got this wrong on Twitter (check in with TomBogert for all complaints), but are we really considering Columbus, Ohio and Dallas, Texas places known for pioneers? Or even a pioneering spirit? If this was a rivalry between “Independence Missouri Oxen FC” and “Sporting Died of Dysentery”, I would have a bit more understanding. It’s honestly not the strangest one Dallas is associated with, though (and it’s really about the late Lamar Hunt).

12
Brimstone Cup
FC Dallas & Chicago Fire FC

The Brimstone Cup comes in at 12 on the Power Rankings because hahahahaha what? Ok, so like, is the bit here ... no it has to be, I’m not going to ask questions. The bit here is that you have the Fire and Brimstone. I refuse to believe otherwise. Which is perfect for this rivalry because people forget that Puritan minister Cotton Mather once said in one of his famous 1692 sermons, “Luchi Gang is trash and the 1998 Chicago Fire are the best expansion team of all time.”

11
Heritage Cup
Seattle Sounders & San Jose Earthquakes

Both teams do in fact have heritage. I feel like we’re making progress here.

10
Canadian Classique
CF Montréal & Toronto FC

I’ve checked and both of these teams are indeed in Canada.

9
Cascadia Cup
Seattle Sounders, Portland Timbers & Vancouver Whitecaps FC

I’ve checked and all three of these teams are indeed in the Cascadia region of North America. That’s slightly more specific than the entirety of Canada, so it bumps them up a spot in our very serious and official rivalry name power rankings.

8
New York Derby
New York City FC & New York Red Bulls

An even more specific geographic reference. This one is really all about bragging rights for New York City, a metropolitan area that covers 6,720 square miles. Manhattan itself is just 22.82 square miles. Bonus points for precision here.

The most important question: Is it red or blue? Depends on who you ask.

7
Texas Derby
FC Dallas & Houston Dynamo FC (welcome, Austin FC!)

I know what you’re thinking. And I checked. Texas is in fact smaller in square mileage than Cascadia. However, what sets it apart is that it’s far more fun to say. Also, I know it’s dumb, but I just want to go on record as pointing out that the new addition of Austin FC to this group allows for us to call this the “Texican Standoff." Three teams with metaphorical guns pointed at each other? It just works. Trust me.

6
California Clasico
LA Galaxy & San Jose Earthquakes

Yes, California is a smaller and more specific geographic region than Texas. Yes, Cali Clasico is far, far more fun to say than the rest of these. They make the jump to number six this time. At least for today’s rivalry name power rankings.

5
Rocky Mountain Cup
Colorado Rapids & Real Salt Lake

The Rocky Mountain Cup at least has the guts to separate itself from the boring geographic names. And it has the common sense to actually, you know, make sense. Denver is certainly in the Rocky Mountains and Salt Lake City has mountains that are rocky near it, although there appears to be some intense debate about whether or not the nearby Wasatch Range of mountains is actually a part of the Rockies or, in fact, on the eastern edge of the Basin and Range region instead. That may never be truly solved, but I assure you the discourse itself is so deeply enthralling that it almost seems like the fun would end if we ever made a final decision.

Anyway, the Rocky Mountain Cup joins a mixed list of Rocky Mountain things such as Rocky Mountain High (pleasant), Rocky Mountain spotted fever (not as pleasant) and Rocky Mountain oysters (unclear).

4
Nicest Rivalry in Sports
Minnesota United FC & Sporting Kansas City

Honestly, the name alone is enough to make this a legitimate rivalry. It’s a blast just imagining the concourses at these games. An endless parade of "Ope, let me squeeze on by you." It did drop a spot to fourth in this edition, but keep an eye out for the latest update in our hourly rivalry name power rankings.

3
El Trafico
LA Galaxy & LAFC

It’s good. Yes, it’s dumb. Yes, it doesn’t really make any sense to call a game “The Traffic.” But it’s also funny and almost universally recognized and loved. Everything we do in sports is made up and kind of dumb. It’s ok to not take the name of a game seriously. If anyone tells you otherwise, they’re probably taking themselves too seriously, ya know? 

These are the same people who have already skipped over this entire article to go complain about MLS having Heineken Rivalry Week when they don’t have 150 years of history established yet. Just furiously hammering away on their keyboard that “rivalries don’t matter unless players from both teams died from sepsis at the Battle of Verdun.” 

El Trafico rules because it’s fun and sports should be fun and anyone who says otherwise is wrong.

2
Hell is Real
FC Cincinnati & Columbus Crew

This name is the best kind of local connection. The kind where no one outside the area knows what the heck it means but everyone inside it does. It’s beautifully executed, unique, kind of weird, kind of metal, and the best name we have in MLS. I wish more games had something like this.

I genuinely hope that Atlanta United and Charlotte consider naming any potential rivalry they have after the giant peach AKA “The Peachoid” in Gaffney, South Carolina right next to I-85. More rivalries named after strange yet meaningful cultural landmarks, please.

It’s almost as perfect as...

1
Trillium Cup
Columbus Crew & Toronto FC

When you think Columbus and Toronto, you think Trillium. There’s nothing else that comes to mind. It’s so ubiquitous that when James Cameron came up with the name for the nearly unobtainable substance that the marines were trying to take from the Nauvoo in Avatar, the highest-grossing movie of all time, that he called it “Trillium.” Probably didn’t even know he was doing it.

You know it. You love it. Long live trillium.

It’s so good, it jumped 10 spots in this edition of the rivalry name power rankings. But check back in 10 minutes for the latest edition to see where it lands. Until then, here’s an instructional video.

Pure hatred. Pure Trillium.