The Original MLS Power Rankings – October 23, 2020

The more that things change, the more they stay the same, even in 2020. Some teams have clearly shown they have the talent and the cohesion to stay at the top, and then there is the spectrum that falls away from there.

A few teams, though, have been shockingly up and down. Take San Jose and the LA Galaxy. At times, both have looked fantastic, and at others, simply awful. With 26 teams now, it is harder to hide the big movers. It is also harder to stay on top or make significant moves in terms of a team’s place in the standings.

The number of games, though, has made it hard to find a good break in games to give you a good snapshot, but we will keep trying.

Atlanta United midfielder Jürgen Damm #22 dribbles the ball during the first half of the match against Toronto FC at Rentschler Field in Hartford, CT, on Sunday, October 18, 2020. This is part of the first phase of the continuation of MLS’ 25th season. (Photo by Jacob Gonzalez/Atlanta United)

Top Shelf

1. Toronto FC (Previously 1)

Nothing has changed our opinion here. Greg Vanney has his team playing well enough that no one really comes close. They are almost in a bracket by themselves, but they do have some close games.

2. Seattle Sounders (3)

Some pretty good wins over some mediocre teams here, but the quality of wins and quality of opponents has them jumping Portland.

3. Portland Timbers (2)

Beating up on the LA Galaxy is not really showing us much. Almost had the win in Seattle but allowed the Sounders the late tie.

4. Philadelphia Union (5)

A loss to Toronto on the road is not anything to lose sleep over, and they are quality against their other opponents.


Djordje Mihailovic rounds Tim Melia on his way to goal. (Courtesy Chicago Fire FC)

5. Columbus Crew (4)

A road tie at Dallas is ok but a home loss to Montreal is not ideal.

6. Orlando City (7)

While they are not running at the same pace as the top tier, they are hanging with those in the second group.

7. New York City FC (6)

Losses to New England at home and on the road to Columbus are not what you want to see.

8. Minnesota United (9)

Steady but not spectacular results from The Loons as they beat a poor Cincinnati side, tie at Nashville and at home to Houston.

9. Sporting Kansas City (10)

Most of their games see them beating teams they should.

10.  Los Angeles FC (12)

These are more like the results we expected to see from LAFC – wins at RSL and against Seattle.

11. FC Dallas (8)

“This will be a challenge for Luchi Gonzalez to handle the squad rotation, something previous FC Dallas coaches struggled in ways that seemed to be more than most MLS clubs.” The results have been inconsistent and frankly show signs of a lack of cohesion.


12. New England Revolution (13)

Signs of progress? Wins at NYC and at Montreal are good. Pair that with competitive games against Toronto and Philadelphia and this is a team that feels like it might move up.

13. Colorado Rapids (15)

“[B]ut then they had a COVID outbreak…” and haven’t played since. Its kind of hard to judge them, so this could be a very fluid situation.

14. San Jose Earthquakes (22)

What a turnaround. Granted, it appears the Galaxy is on a real skid, but they also beat Vancouver and tied Seattle. This is more like the team we expected this season. On the other hand, we don’t really trust big moves much, so this may just be a hot streak.

15. New York Red Bulls (17)

“[T]hey definitely deserve to move out of the basement.” And they followed that up with some other results that confirm that move was warranted. The move up is more a reflection of other teams falling back, but this is definitely the right grouping for NYRB.

16. Nashville SC (23)

A few weeks back we asked, “Maybe there is something brewing in Tennessee.” In our last rankings, it hadn’t seemed like much, but then they followed that up with some other solid to good results.

Randall Leal celebrates his goal against FC Dallas, October 20, 2020. (Courtesy Nashville SC)


17. Montreal Impact (18)

A win at Columbus is a good result for the Impact, but a lot of the other results are marginal or not good. Work remains in Quebec.

18. Vancouver Whitecaps (19)

Beating RSL and LAFC is better than the Whitecaps have been doing, so that’s progress.

19. Real Salt Lake (14)

Not a good few weeks for RSL as they lost to LAFC at home, at Seattle, and at Vancouver before beating Portland.


Federico Higuain takes a free kick against Montreal Impact. (Courtesy Inter Miami CF)

20. Chicago Fire (20)

The games are competitive, but you don’t move up with ties and losses and a home win over a really poor D.C. United team.

21. Los Angeles Galaxy (11)

“Surely it’s not this simple, is it? Without Chicharito in the lineup, the Galaxy was tearing the league apart. With him, they were at times average, but of late, they tied an awful San Jose team and lost three in a row after that.” Uhm, yeah. It’s that simple and it’s that bad. That hot streak the Galaxy went on? Gone. We really regret moving them up so far, so fast. This is a good example of why we don’t usually do that.

22. Houston Dynamo (16)

Very poor results for Tab et al.  Maybe the talent is there, but mostly they are just not competitive.

23. Atlanta United (25)

In this realm, a 4-0 win moves you up. But not much.

24. Inter Miami (24)

Maybe their results were a little better than Atlanta, but not enough to overcome the gravitas of their overall season.

25. FC Cincinnati (21)

The bottom really has fallen out now. They are back to their old ways, and that ain’t good folks.

26. D.C. United (26)

Every year it seems there is one team that just can’t get it together. In 2020, that’s D.C. United.

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