The Original MLS Power Rankings for the week of February 27, 2024

The start of a Major League Soccer season is crazy with all the new players trying to fit into their new teams, battling other teams with their own new players, and there just is no way to project how good they will be.

Getting some actual results is a wonderful thing, but let’s remember that it is only one set of games. Home teams are often highly favored to win unless we are talking about a team that played in a mid-week match – and then a tie is pretty likely. Sometimes, it is the outliers who give us something to talk about.

As you look at the various results, think about team cohesion, the quality of additions, and integration. Where was the game? And don’t forget, it’s one game, just one game.

Throw in the Champions League effect and look for the clubs that can handle it – and the ones who can’t.

So as the You Tubers say, “let’s get into it.”

Top Tier

1. Columbus Crew

The 2023 MLS Cup Champions came out and got a 1-0 win against a good Atlanta side in one of the few good performances for a top team, although they were one of the few top teams who didn’t play midweek.

Cucho Hernández got the Crew off to a good start in 2024. (Courtesy Columbus Crew)
Cucho Hernández got the Crew off to a good start in 2024. (Courtesy Columbus Crew)

2. FC Cincinnati

Going into the weekend, as they were playing a Toronto side that was out of this world poor last year and didn’t add much in the offseason, we thought this might get ugly, but it was a 0-0 tie, in all likelihood because of the CCL.

3. Los Angeles FC

Steve Cherundolo’s side looked the part as they gave Seattle more than they could handle – and the Sounders were one of the teams that most see as a contender for the West.

4. Inter Miami

They started the season with a dominating 2-0 win over RSL, and then went to Los Angeles and salvaged a 1-1 tie against a revitalized Galaxy group. While there will be questions about their overall health, right now Messi and Miami are top tier and might be the best team in the league.


5. St. Louis City SC

Another mid-week participant, St. Louis played Real Salt Lake in Utah. It was tge team’s second road game of the year and they played to a 1-1 tie.

6. Philadelphia Union

A mid-week game and a 2-2 game with an improved Chicago side does not give us a lot to judge them on, other than they didn’t cave.

7. Seattle Sounders

This location might be a little harsh as they were on the road against LAFC and only lost by a goal, but early season matches lend themselves to this dynamic.

8. Atlanta United

It will be interesting to see how they play going forward. A 1-0 road loss to the Crew is nothing to be ashamed of in 2024’s MLS.

9. Orlando City

Another top team who played CCL, the Lions ended up with a 0-0 tie against what we think will be a poor Montreal team so let’s look to next week before jumping to conclusions.

Probably Good

10. Nashville SC

For long stretches, Nashville looked second-best at home against the Red Bulls. Now, like the Fire, this New York team might be markedly improved, but also, Nashville lost enough in the offseason that they might have lost a step on the whole.

11. FC Dallas

One of the most intriguing teams to play this weekend, Dallas was without a LOT of talent. Then again, they were playing San Jose, a team that did not light up the transfer market to acquire talent either, but still a team good enough to hurt you if you were sloppy or careless – which happened – but Dallas responded with 2 goals to take all three points.

FC Dallas players celebrate Asier Illarramendi's goal against San Jose (FC Dallas Communications)
FC Dallas players celebrate Asier Illarramendi’s goal against San Jose (FC Dallas Communications)

12. Portland Timbers

The Timbers are a casualty of the lack of clarity with early season results. Are they this good, or is Colorado still as bad as they had been? The biggest margin of victory all weekend, but is that because Portland are on the same upward trajectory from last year?

13. New England Revolution

Another CCL team, and one that played what could be an improved D.C. United team, on the road, and down a man early to a red card. But D.C. was bad last year and didn’t seem to add that much, but the Revs lost 3-1. Maybe this is harsh, we will see.

14. Real Salt Lake

Pablo Mastroeni’s side had a rough schedule to deal with – playing at Miami and then at St. Louis – and while they fell to Inter by a score of 2-0, they salvaged a tie in St. Louis rather than fell apart.

15. Houston Dynamo

Is Sporting Kansas City better than expected, or did Houston succumb to the CCL effect? A 1-1 tie doesn’t tell us a lot.

16. Los Angeles Galaxy

Of all the teams on this list, the Galaxy may be the one who makes the largest jump in quality, and this spot may be low. They came out against Miami and played strong soccer, and yet as often happens, Messi found a way to tie it late.

17. Vancouver Whitecaps

It is tough to figure out Week One results – even harder if the team doesn’t play.

18. Chicago Fire

Like the Galaxy and Red Bulls, Chicago could be much improved. The Union are good enough that a 2-2 road result could say a lot about the Fire’s improvement.

Possibilities of Talent

19. D.C. United

The Fire were SO bad last year, and New England was on the road after playing in CCL mid week, and then the red card. Too many variables. Then again, give them credit for taking full advantage.

20. Sporting Kansas City

Like D.C., this may be too low, but our sense is that the age and health issues that plagued SKC last year still remain. Then again, 1-1 at Houston is not a bad result.

21. Minnesota United

In a way, we want to give the Loons credit, but it was at Austin, who didn’t really add much to their poor 2023 Roster.

22. CF Montreal

They very well could be better than they were in 2023, but on the road against a tired Orlando side, it is tough to make too much out of their 0-0 tie.

23. Charlotte FC

For a team that only really changed coaches in the offseason, it is hard to give them too much credit, but a 1-0 win over another team – even NYCFC – is something. At least it wasn’t another home tie.

24. New York Red Bulls

The Red Bulls may be better than their rankings right now. They gave Nashville a lot to defend and did it on the road. RB just didn’t find the winner.

25. San Jose Earthquakes

At FC Dallas, they took an early lead on a counter, but then gave up the lead in the first half and the match-winner at the death for 2-1 loss.

26. New York City FC

For a team that on paper should be better, they just weren’t – and haven’t been. A 1-0 loss at Charlotte is just not who they should be, but it is who they currently are.

NYCFC get ready for the 2nd half against Charlotte FC. (Courtesy NYCFC)
NYCFC get ready for the 2nd half against Charlotte FC. (Courtesy NYCFC)

27. Toronto FC

I don’t remember the last time Toronto wasn’t in the bottom group. A road tie against a great Cincinnati team – mid-week CCL or not – is at least something.


28. Austin FC

For a team that in 2022 had it all going, they are finding that chemistry lasts only so long and that at some point, Jimmies and Joes are better than Xs and Os.

29. Colorado Rapids

We believed. We really did. But 4-1 is no way to start the season if you want to prove you changed from last year, even if it was at the Timbers.

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