The Original MLS Power Rankings for the week of March 26, 2024

Last week we acknowledged a lot of craziness in the way MLS was playing out, and this week is not a lot better, but we do still have more results to look at and try to project from. The good news is things typically do work themselves out – it just takes a little longer with some teams.

By the way, when we write “Who are you?” we hope you hear it as the line from the original Michael Keeton Batman movie.

Top Shelf

1. FC Cincinnati (Previously 2)

In a way, a 1-0 home win over NYC is not an earth-shattering result, but compared to the rest of the teams in this grouping, it was the best result.

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FC Cincinnati are enjoying themselves. (Courtesy FC Cincinnati)

2. Columbus Crew (1)

They lost, 2-0, at Charlotte in large part due to a red card that was more a moment of poor technique than a result of the home side putting the Crew under pressure, but the Crown did make Columbus pay for it.

3. St. Louis City SC (3)

A back-and-forth affair saw St. Louis get the tying goal in the 70th minute, but they couldn’t find a winner against D.C.

4. CF Montreal (6)

This may be too much of a jump, but the other teams in front of Montreal dropped points in ways that don’t really fit in this group.


5. Philadelphia Union (7)

Union went to Oregon and just mugged the Timbers, scoring three before Portland could claw one back. Between the opponent, it being on the road and the distance travelled, that is impressive. Need to see a little more before bumping them up.

6. Minnesota United (8)

They didn’t play last week, but like Montreal, the teams ahead of them didn’t maintain the pace.

7. Los Angeles Galaxy (9)

A very impressive road win in Kansas City. Sporting had taken a 2-0 lead into the half, and the Galaxy came out and scored three goals between the 72nd and 80th minutes.

8. Altanta United (5)

Maybe it was just one result? Maybe Toronto is just better than we think. And it was on the road, but you drop when you lose 2-0.

9. Real Salt Lake (11)

Maybe the loss to Colorado was just a rivalry game because most of their other results have been very good, including their 2-1 win at Vancouver.

10. New York Red Bulls (14)

This team is hard to figure. Smoking Miami a week after getting smoked by Columbus? Definitely a “Who are you?” team, even when the win was 4-0 over Inter.

11. Inter Miami (4)

Is this too harsh? This might be too harsh. But you lost 4-0 for your second loss in three games, Inter.

12. Houston Dynamo (12)

If we are being honest, this is probably too low, but none of their wins pop off the page. Even this 1-0 win in Colorado is against a not-great Rapids side.

13. Los Angeles FC (16)

There they are! That is the team we expect LAFC to be – pasting the visitors 5-0. It was Nashville, which is a separate comment, and it was just one game, but signs of life as they say.

14. Portland Timbers (10)

Just when we thought the Timbers had a little something-something going, they get popped by Philly. Really good teams don’t lose 3-1 at home.

15. D.C. United (18)

Another “Who are you?” team, this time they went to St. Louis and stole a point with their 2-2 tie.

16. Toronto FC (20)

Another home win, this time 2-0 over Atlanta, makes us think they are serious about being something different this year. How serious remains to be seen, but their early success wasn’t just a few games strung together.

We Have Questions

17. Seattle Sounders (13)

It hurts to lose your fancy new international playmaker, but it is a little surprising to see Seattle fall this far. And while it was a 3-2 loss on the road, San Jose is bad bad bad this year. Give them credit for working back from being down 2-0 but still, the Earthquakes are not who you want to lose to in early 2024.

18. Vancouver Whitecaps (15)

A 2-1 home loss to RSL – after scoring the opening goal no less – is not how you keep moving up.

19. Orlando City (22)

Maybe they are shaking off a rough start to the season and a CCC hangover? Or maybe Austin is just bad. Either way, 2-0 is a respectable win.

20. Chicago Fire (21)

Not a bad result to steal a point from Foxboro with a 1-1 tie.

21. Nashville SC (17)

This is a team that looks like it was built on defense, but what little offense they had is struggling and their defense is folding under the weight. That kind of group against LAFC is going to get hurt – and they did.

Nashville SC did not fare well against LAFC. (Courtesy Nashville SC)
Nashville SC did not fare well against LAFC. (Courtesy Nashville SC)

22. Sporting Kansas City (19)

This is a good example of why we don’t move teams that get wins against bad teams as much as some suggest – because then they play a good team and lose at home. The rebuild continues in Kansas.

23. New York City FC (24)

See Kansas City, Sporting. They beat Toronto last week but couldn’t follow it up, losing 1-0 to Cincinnati, albeit on the road.

Not Good Bob

24. Colorado Rapids (23)

Kind of a “Who are you” team, except we kind of know – they just might not be as bad as they were last year, as a 1-0 home loss to Houston reminds us.

25. San Jose Earthquakes (29)

Give Luchi et al some credit – they scored two – and then the Sounders came back to tie it. Really bad teams fold at that point, but San Jose found the winner.

26. Charlotte FC (28)

They beat the Crew, 2-0, full credit for that. But was that because it was at home? With a man advantage for 70 minutes? If they can follow this up, they will have our attention.

27. New England Revolution (25)

There are a number of teams in MLS this year where coaching has had a positive effect. The Revs are the other side of that coin. A 1-1 home draw to the Fire is not how you turn things around.

28. FC Dallas (27)

It is entirely possible this is too low, but considering who they have lost to, who they have beaten, and how they have played. We just can’t put together a cohesive argument they should be higher other than their roster, and that just isn’t good enough.

Petar Musa charges forward against the Vancouver Whitecaps at Toyota Stadium, March 16, 2024. (Matt Visinsky, 3rd Degree)
Petar Musa charges forward against the Vancouver Whitecaps at Toyota Stadium, March 16, 2024. (Matt Visinsky, 3rd Degree)

29. Austin FC (26)

With two ties against good teams, we thought you had turned things around, Josh. Apparently not. At least this loss was on the road against Orlando – a team with solid ability.

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