The Original MLS Power Rankings for the week of March 19, 2024

“My give up.” – Jar Jar Binks

No, not really, but wow are there a lot of teams in flux right now. Who is TFC? Minnesota? D.C.? And what in the wild wild world of sports happened in Chicago?

Yes, we know some teams are consistently good, and some teams are consistently bad, but the vast majority of teams are all over the place and it is not easy to project their current power. But as a famous scoundrel once said, “That’s the real trick, isn’t it?”

Top Shelf

1. Columbus Crew (Previously 1)

This one is easy. A 3-0 demolishing of a good New York Red Bulls team is pretty clear. Some are projecting that the Crew is at a whole different level, and that is possible – just remember that LAFC started that way last year, only to be overtaken by Cincinnati for the majority of the season.

2. FC Cincinnati (2)

Speaking of FCC, a road win is always good, even if it is a 2-1 win over a Revolution side that seems to just not care about MLS Regular Season games right now.

3. St. Louis City SC (3)

They almost stole one in Los Angeles as the Galaxy had to score very, very late to tie the game, and this is a solid Galaxy side.

St Louis City is on a roll.
St Louis City is on a roll.

4. Inter Miami (5)

A win at D.C. United – again without Messi – is a sign Miami will be able to succeed even when they do not have all of their starters. It was also a good bounceback from their loss to Montreal.

5. Atlanta United (6)

Atlanta seems to be hitting on all cylinders right now, the latest being a 2-0 win over Orlando. Maybe part of it is the opponents, but they seem doing what they want.

6. CF Montreal (4)

This is the last team that we feel we have a handle on, at least at this end of the spectrum. They take a little hit because they lost in Chicago, but the nature of it seems more random than a pattern. Up 3-1, a (deserved) red card unsettles the side as the Fire push as hard as they can, and three goals later they lose 4-3. Crazy and probably not going to happen often.


7. Philadelphia Union (7)

It is hard to knock a team that goes on the road and gets a tie, even against a bad team like Austin, but it is also hard to move them up.

8. Minnesota United (15)

One of the teams we were wrong about to start the season, the Loons have it together. Coaching matters, and has made a clear difference here. They beat LAFC 2-0, which may be a sign Cherundolo’s side may not be what we thought they were, but they don’t suck. Minnesota might be even better than this.

9. LA Galaxy (9)

Fighting back to tie against a top team like St. Louis shows this Galaxy team is not the same as in past seasons. That was a fun 3-3 slugfest.

10. Portland Timbers (8)

It was a road game in Houston and they only lost 1-0, so let’s not overreact. On the other hand, that is not keeping pace with the other teams above them.

11. Real Salt Lake (14)

They did not play but moved up because teams that were ahead of them, frankly, wet the bed. Maybe RSL is not this good but they don’t have the kinds of losses the other teams around them suffered this weekend.

Who Are You?

12. Houston Dynamo (17)

At the top of this group is Houston, who probably are a good team as their 1-0 win over Portland shows, but there have been enough questionable results that we have questions. Odds are, with the Dynamo, much of this comes from having to play Concacaf Champions League.

13. Seattle Sounders (11)

They opened the season with a gritty game against LAFC, but since then their results have been inconsistent and LAFC have not been as good as expected. The injury to their key off-season acquisition hurts a lot.

Seattle is struggeling, but we got to be honest, the kits are amazing.
Seattle is struggling, but we got to be honest, the kits are amazing.

14. New York Red Bulls (13)

On the whole, the Red Bulls are much better than last year, but their game against the Crew shows work remains.

15. Vancouver Whitecaps (21)

Their home tie against Charlotte may have sent the wrong message as they then won their next two – both on the road, both by two goals, but also against two teams that are proving to be very, very bad. Most recently, they beat FC Dallas 3-1 and looked like they were the better team by a large margin.

16. Los Angeles Football Club (10)

This may be unfair to their talent, but it is not unfair to their results. On the road RSL beats them 3-0, Sporting ties them 0-0 at home and then they lose 2-0 to Minnesota. Nope, that is not the standard this team has maintained for several seasons.

17. Nasvhille SC (16)

Maybe they are stabilizing some with their 2-1 win over Charlotte. They fall one spot as Houston and Vancouver jumped them.

18. D.C. United (12)

At first, we hesitated to get too excited about a win over the Revs who had played much of the game down a man, but then they went on the road and tied Portland and Cincinnati – two quality teams. But New England has continued to fall to pieces and then they got smoked by Inter, 3-1, at home. They are probably better than last year, but not as good as they appeared to be.

19. Sporting Kansas City (20)

They won, 2-1, but it was at home against San Jose, so it’s hard to put much stock in it. Other results don’t give us much more information to work with.

20. Toronto FC (19)

We wanted to believe, we really did. But then they played at New York City and lost 2-1. That doesn’t mean they are trash again, but the Cinderella turnaround? Not so much.

21. Chicago Fire (22)

So there are times when the Fire look dangerous – and did they ever turn that up to 11 on Saturday after the red card. They could coalesce and be really good, but we haven’t seen it consistently enough yet.

22. Orlando City SC (18)

Maybe it is CCC, maybe it is the opposition (Montreal, Miami, Atlanta, and Minnesota) but Oscar Pareja has his work cut out for him. They get Austin at home next, so there is their chance to show something.

23. Colorado Rapids (23)

Another of the teams that scream, “Who are you?!?” the Rapids go to Seattle and steal a point. They have improved from last year, but they still have gaps in their lineup.

24. New York City FC (28)

Finally, a result they can take confidence in. NYC beats what had been a tricky Toronto side, 2-1. Is this the result that helps unlock their talent?


25. New England Revolution (26)

It is entirely possible that this is all about the grind that is the CCC, but the results in league play are just bad, with them losing 2-1 to Cincinnati last weekend.

26. Austin FC (27)

At least it wasn’t a loss. Wolff’s side earned a 2-2 tie against the Union, but this is not the sign of a team turning things around.

27. FC Dallas (24)

The team has much more talent than this, but so much of it is either injured or in the wrong positions. A team desperately in need of center backs, central midfield depth, and players who understand and can play wingback, Dallas fell to Vancouver 3-1 in a game where the visitors looked in complete control for long stretches.

Sebastian Lletget blocks a shot against the Vancouver Whitecaps at Toyota Stadium, March 16, 2024. (Matt Visinsky, 3rd Degree)
Sebastian Lletget blocks a shot against the Vancouver Whitecaps at Toyota Stadium, March 16, 2024. (Matt Visinsky, 3rd Degree)

28. Charlotte FC (25)

They went on the road and lost, 2-1, to Nashville – a team that has not been as strong as in past seasons.

29. San Jose Earthquakes (29)

A 2-1 road loss at SKC is not how you get off the bottom of the rankings, folks. Just in case you were wondering.

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