The Original MLS Power Rankings – Late Sept

Since our last Rankings, a lot has happened. Some coaches have been fired and on the other end, the top has definitely solidified. In between, the race for the playoffs is definitely on and it’s going to be interesting to see which teams continue to trend in the right direction, and can any of the teams going the wrong way turn themselves around?  

New England Revolution. (CREDIT DAVID SILVERMAN)

Top Shelf

1. New England Revolution (Previously 3).

There aren’t many games against the other top-tier clubs to gauge if the Revolution is truly number one, but overall they have the best results. How much of this is the difference between the conferences as the bottom of the East is much softer than the bottom of the West (See Dallas’ 3-3 tie at NYC, for example) remains to be seen, but Arena has the Revs with the best record and best points per game despite losing Gil for a period of time.

2. Seattle Sounders (2).

Seattle remains a top team but has stumbled enough that its tough to push them ahead of the Revs, especially with things like the loss at RSL.

3. Colorado Rapids (4).

Lots of ties but they remain ahead of SKC who had some surprising losses.

4. Sporting Kansas City (1).

A 4-0 loss to LAFC gives us pause more than a home loss to Seattle.


5. Nashville SC (7).

Since they got their feet under them at about a third of the way through the season, the Tennessee club has steadily risen. They are clearly at the top of this group.

6. Portland Timbers (11).

The Timbers seem to be hitting their stride and showing the potential that we always saw in this roster. Watch out because if they continue, they can easily join that top tier and make a real run.

7. Philadelphia Union (10).

They rise as much because of the poor play of other teams as their own success.

8. Minnesota United (9).

Now we see the impact of that early season struggle as they can’t afford some of the back and forth that comes deep in a season as injuries and wear and tear make getting on a run more difficult.

9. New York City FC (5).

Some surprising results give us some concern, including that 3-3 tie with FC Dallas – one of the teams truly falling apart in the West.

10. Orlando City (6).

Overall the Lions seem in good shape, but four straight losses is never good. Hopefully, for Orlando fans, Pareja can find a way to get them back on track.

11.  LA Galaxy (8).

“This team is not consistent enough to challenge for the top tier.” And now they hit a really bad run – five winless, the last a 2-0 loss at Austin! – and this may be a team in real trouble.

Middle of the Road

12. D.C. United (13).

This team may be rising, but they are probably only rising to the top of this tier as often when they play better teams, they fail, whereas they consistently beat teams like Chicago and Cincinnati.

13. Real Salt Lake (12).

What did their coach do? Did he really leave to be an assistant in Seattle? Either way, some inconsistent results see them drop slightly.

14. Atlanta United (19).

“Do we have our turn-around?” Absolutely. This is a team with the talent to move up into the next tier and is definitely on a run.

Atlanta United takes on Philadelphia Union. (PHILADELPHIA UNION, ANDREW ZWARYCH)

15. CF Montreal (17).

A mixed bag, but mostly improvement and good results. A loss to Columbus holds them back.

16. Vancouver Whitecaps (16).

Another team making improvements since a coaching change.

17. Los Angeles FC (21).

LAFC had been on a run until their last two results, which saw them lose to Portland and San Jose, both on the road.

18. Columbus Crew (20).

They seem to have righted the ship some, but now the typical mix of results isn’t enough to get them back to where they probably should be.

19. San Jose Earthquakes (14).

They are treading water in a sea where they need to be moving. If they want to do something this season, they need to start trending up more.

Lots of Questions and/or Concerns

20. Houston Dynamo (23).

New ownership and the firing of GM Matt Jordan probably gave everyone in the organization reason to give their best, and we are seeing improvement from many.

21. Inter Miami (24).

Miami has finally started to show some progress. It is likely too little too late for 2021, but at least it happened.

22. New York Red Bulls (18).

“We hesitate to move them up based on the win over the Crew, but it’s what the results tell us.” We had good reason for hesitation, and the games since our last ranking bear that out.

23. FC Dallas (15).

“Dallas is what they are this year – talented enough that when healthy can challenge most teams, but with enough fragility and issues that they can’t do it consistently enough.” Too many injuries, too much inconsistent play and very poor performances on the road doomed Luchi and FC Dallas. Now it’s probably too late to turn the ship around for 2021, but let’s see what Marco can do.

24. Chicago Fire (25).

They just never got things going in 2021, and now they don’t really have time to change that.

25. Austin FC (22).

A surprising win over the Galaxy doesn’t overcome the poor performances that preceded that victory.

McKinze Gaines
McKinze Gaines. (Courtesy Austin FC)

26. Toronto FC (27).

A few signs of life but overall this team is a shell of itself.

27. FC Cincinnati (26).

Another fired coach and another doomed season.

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