The Original MLS Power Rankings – Week Four 2021

Last week’s rankings saw some volatility as the league continues with the early season seismic results and the schedule gave us more clarifying games. This weekend gave us even more, so there are more adjustments but they are less about corrections and more about accurate pictures of where teams are and, more importantly, where they are headed.

The Galaxy are, in fact, for real, although how real remains to be seen. So is San Jose. Minnesota is in big trouble, and so might be is Portland.

Top Shelf

1. Columbus Crew (Previously 1).

A solid win over a poor D.C. team keeps them at the top. We will be watching to see if our faith in their roster plays out now that they are not in CONCACAF anymore.

Lucas Zelarayan shoots for goal against DC United, May 8, 2021. (Courtesy Columbus SC)

2. Seattle Sounders (3).

Anyone making the argument that their CV should have them at the top is not wrong, and that may happen soon. Right now, though, the depth of Columbus says a lot to us.

3. Los Angeles FC (2).

It was one game, and on the road no less, so we hesitate to drop Bradley’s group too much, but maybe the results aren’t as good as we thought they were.

Quality

4. New York City FC (5).

Yes folks, NYC is good. A road tie at Orlando confirms that this iteration is very solid.

5. Philadelphia Union (7).

On one hand, a win over Chicago is not anything to celebrate as a major accomplishment but it does support our view that the Union’s results this season are a result of juggling international play.

6. Sporting Kansas City (8).

On one hand, they took advantage of a red card – so is it that big of a deal? On the other hand, they took advantage of a red card – how often do you see a team fail to do so? Especially when Austin had been playing so well on the road.

7. Portland Timbers (6).

A home loss is never a good thing, but it was to Seattle, and it wasn’t a blowout. As such, the drop is minor for now, but they will have to start showing better quality to stay at this level. We maintain the roster talent is there, but the results have to follow.

8. Toronto FC (4).

We may have been wrong about Toronto… We are going to watch them closer and there may be a larger adjustment in their future. Like Portland, we believe in their talent, but the results have not been representative.

9.  LA Galaxy (11).

“This weekend, that is against LAFC – good luck!” No luck needed. A solid victory indicates Chicharito and Vanney are turning the Galaxy into a very respectable team.

10. Nashville SC (13).

A string of ties had given us pause, but a 2-0 win over New England sure is a clear sign Dax McCarty has his side playing well. Would it be hard for FC Dallas fans to hear how good of a captain Dax has been? Yeah, I think it would.

Nashville SC’s home match against New England Revolution on May 8 at Nissan Stadium. Nashville won 2-0 on goals by CJ Sapong and Alex Muyl. (Courtesy NASHVILLE SC)

11. New England Revolution (9).

It was a road loss to a good team but that’s not confidence building.

12. Atlanta United (10).

A road tie is what you do when you are good, and Atlanta got that.

13. San Jose Earthquakes (16).

“This team is definitely better than we thought, but how much better will be shown when they travel to RSL.” And a road win solidifies that the Earthquakes – at least for now – are quality. And man, Wondolowski just seems to keep doing that thing.

14. Colorado Rapids (14).

That opening tie in Dallas and the surprise loss to Austin were not pretty, but since then Fraser has his team doing that winning thing. Granted, The Loons are in freefall, and they did let them score twice, but they got the victory.

15. Orlando City (15).

Orlando may be better than this, but they have to find ways to win at home, even against good teams like NYC, if they are going to move up.

16. Real Salt Lake (12).

This isn’t so much of an “oops, we moved them way too much last week” as it is “they are good, but they got beat at home.”

Solid

17. FC Dallas (17).

“Is Houston legit or not? Can Dallas keep it together? We find out tomorrow afternoon.” Houston is ok, we think. This was more Dallas failing to play to a level than the Dynamo doing what the Rapids did on opening day.

Houston Dynamo FC keeper Marko Marić stops Jáder Obrian, May 8, 2021. (Matthew Visinsky, 3rd Degree)

18. New York Red Bulls (20).

There may be a significant adjustment coming for this team as they beat Toronto rather soundly this past weekend. It was a TFC tired from international play, but still.

19. Vancouver Whitecaps (22).

“What can they do to Montreal?” Win. It was a home win, but still, a good win against a team that isn’t trash.

20. Austin FC (18).

“They travel to Kansas City, so that should tell us more.” But for a red card, that game was headed to a tie, but red cards happen, and Austin couldn’t find a way to save the tie. But they did make SKC earn it. This may be too low for the expansion team.

21. CF Montreal (19).

It appears our early impressions of CFM were right, but that opening weekend may have muddied the water.

22. Minnesota United (21).

“This could be problematic if they don’t turn things around fast.” Another week, another loss, although they did score twice, so that is an improvement. Now they host FC Dallas – a team that has had its own road issues – so maybe they can snap out of things.

23. Houston Dynamo (24).

In some ways, this feels too low but we keep looking for actual results to justify a move up and they don’t come.

24. Inter Miami (23).

“[T]hey are going to have to prove it.” The win over the Union appears to be an aberration. The talent remains, but the chemistry does not.

Lots of Questions and/or Concerns

25. D.C. United (25).

“Beat NYC, good result.” Downhill ever since. (Still true.)

26. Chicago Fire (26).

Thank goodness for Cincinnati, we guess?

27. FC Cincinnati (27).

Geoff Cameron better be in really good form.

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