A few teams have made some big changes that are showing up on the field over the past two weeks. Wilfried Nancy seems to have figured out how to get the most from the Crew, and Chicago, San Jose and Houston have also gone from struggling to soaring. And while Vancouver probably still has some work to do, they may have found their scoring touch which, when added to their tough defense and overall mentality, might lead to a similar run.
1. Los Angeles FC (Previously 1)
An argument could be made that Cherundolo’s side is really in a class all by itself. A 3-0 win over Austin is just another example of how dominant they really are.
2. FC Cincinnati (3)
Pat Noonan has his players humming along and probably playing at their highest level in their short history. While we have questions about how good Philadelphia really is, a 1-0 win over the Union is another good result.
3. Seattle Sounders (4)
Yeah, this is the Sounders we are used to seeing. The only thing that is off about it is typically, the Sounders play like this in the back half of the season, but often enough they do this for most of a season. 2023 might be another of the same.
4. New England Revolution (5)
Early on we had some questions about the Revs. Then they suffered some injuries. And yet they are rocking and rolling. Their 4-0 win over Montreal is not their first dominant win of the year.
5. Columbus Crew (10)
This is the team we thought we would have seen eventually from the Crew. A 2-0 win at D.C. United is just another example of who they might be for most of the season.
6. St. Louis City SC (2)
Reality finally came to Missouri. Make no mistake, St. Louis is definitely an amazing story and will be a very good team in MLS in 2023, but they are not in that top tier. Losses to Minnesota and then at Seattle show us that.
7. Atlanta United (11)
Like New England, we probably underestimated this team due to some offseason issues and some transitions, but they are definitely playing well and a danger to whoever they play. Their most reason match was a 1-1 tie at NYCFC.
8. Minnesota United (7)
A win over St. Louis in Missouri made it clear that the Loons are not just fighting to stay above mediocrity, but a 2-1 loss to Chicago on the road was a stumble.
9. Nashville SC (8)
A 2-0 win at Orlando confirmed our faith in their roster, but then a 0-0 to Toronto says they aren’t consistently hitting on all cylinders.
10. Orlando SC (6)
The aforementioned loss to Nashville is not a good sign. They didn’t play this past weekend so we have to wait until this weekend to see how they respond.
11. FC Dallas (15)
Their home tie to Portland two weeks ago had to sting, giving up a goal late, but you know what washes away those feelings? Winning on the road, and Estevez’s club did just that in Miami – holding onto a 1-0 lead unlike what happened with the Timbers. If FCD can play like that on the road more often this year than last year, watch out.
12. San Jose Earthquakes (21)
A big move here because after seeing how their opponents have turned out, and the overall results, we had them too low. Going cross country to get a 1-1 tie against the Red Bulls is a solid result.
13. Houston Dynamo (18)
Have they figured some things out? Almost certainly, and their 3-0 over the Galaxy is a sign that they are definitely good enough to beat bad teams.
Okay? We Guess?
14. New York City FC (9)
There is more quality on their roster than these results show, but rosters don’t win games. NYC has had too many stumbles, and a 1-1 home tie against Atlanta is just another Exhibit.
15. New York Red Bulls (13)
We thought that maybe their offense might get going a little while back, but a 1-1 home tie to San Jose tells us not just yet.
16. Chicago Fire (23)
Looking back over their results, they are definitely better than we thought, with a 2-1 win at Minnesota a strong example of who they are and can be. Well done, Ezra!
17. Philadelphia Union (12)
They came into the season with a strong resume and then started with a good result, but it’s been unsteady to bad ever since. There have been too many losses like their most recent 1-0 loss at Cincinnati.
18. Austin FC (16)
We had questions as this season started, and those questions seem to be coming to fruition. In some ways, a 3-0 loss at LAFC isn’t all that awful, but compare this to what FCD did there – down a man for most of the game, they came within minutes of salvaging a 1-1 tie.
19. Inter Miami (14)
My goodness, did we overreact to their Week 2 win over Philadelphia… Ouch. All they have done since is lose games, including their most recent 1-0 loss at home to Dallas, a team who has often given up goals that cost them points.
20. Vancouver Whitecaps (24)
They have started to find their scoring, so they could make the same kind of move that Houston or Chicago has. The 5-0 win over Montreal that preceded this last weekend’s 1-0 win over Portland is a good sign for the Whitecaps, but considering the opposition, we hesitate to move them too much.
21. Real Salt Lake (19)
After a lot of awkward and not-good results, RSL took care of business against Charlotte. After giving up their opening goal, Mastroeni’s players responded with three unanswered.
22. Colorado Rapids (29)
For a team that looked so inept for the first part of the season, their last three results have been encouraging, with the 1-0 win on the road at Sporting a possible breakthrough match.
23. Toronto FC (26)
We are not sure what we have with TFC. Their opening loss to D.C. is just ugly with how the rest of the season has gone, but they ahve gotten a few results here and there, and a road tie against Nashville is above average.
Not Good At All
24. LA Galaxy (17)
Sorry, but the talent on the roster means nothing if you can’t score and can’t get results. And while Houston is better than we thought, they aren’t LAFC, so a 3-0 loss in Texas is a bad look.
25. Sporting Kansas City (22)
Just bad. This team is just bad. Their home loss to the Rapids is two ships heading in opposite directions.
26. CF Montreal (20)
They are just falling apart at this point. Their 5-0 loss to Vancouver followed up by a 4-0 loss to New England is just awful.
27. Portland Timbers (25)
Like the Galaxy, the talent on the roster means nothing if you keep losing, and losing to the Whitecaps is not a sign things might turn around.
28. Charlotte FC (27)
An exciting comeback to tie Toronto two weeks ago gave Crown fans a little hope, but then they went to Utah and got brought back to reality with a 3-1 loss.
29. D.C. United (28)
Despite a few results here and there, D.C. have been who we thought they would be. Rooney’s rants about refereeing after their 2-0 home loss to the Crew is not a good sign for their future.
“typically, the Sounders play like this in the back half of the season” – Please don’t take this personally, but this is a good example of the power of narrative to create a self-perpetuating “truth”. It’s become kind of a cliche for MLS commentators to make this observation about the Sounders during their matches, but it it hasn’t been true since the 2018 season. The following are the seasonal point splits for the Sounders over the past four campaigns:
Year First Half Second Half
2019 29 27
2020 21 18
2021 32 28
2022 26 15
Seattle has remained one of the oldest teams each year and i suspect their older players are wearing down a little as the season progresses. Last year was exceptionally pronounced but it wouldn’t surprise me to see the same pattern again this year.