The Original MLS Power Rankings – week of March 12, 2024

Last week we talked about volatility, and this week raised the bar. We still don’t have enough games to pin teams down firmly, but there are obviously trends.

Highlighting this, what should we make of Dallas who missing pieces handled San Jose then lost 2 straight? Or Toronto. My goodness, in some ways we could argue they should be in the top tier, but they aren’t the only team to beat New England.

Top Shelf

1. Columbus Crew (Previously 3)

This is not the dominant team that will destroy all comers that we have seen at the top of MLS the past few seasons, but they are the best of this tier and have shown real composure. Goal called back at the almost death? No problem – come right back down and score one there was no question about.

It's all smiles for the Crew in 2024. (Courtesy Columbus Crew)
It’s all smiles for the Crew in 2024. (Courtesy Columbus Crew)

2. FC Cincinnati (2)

We are giving them credit for D.C. being good and getting a result despite a mid-week game. We are probably right about that but watch this space.

3. St. Louis City SC (4)

Like the other teams here, St. Louis showed grit to get the road tie. They had such a shots-on-goal advantage that we are surprised they didn’t give up with a “just not our day” mentality so many teams fall prey to.

4. CF Montreal (17)

Now this is a team we were very wrong about. Three road games, a tie against Orlando, then wins at Dallas and Miami? They seem very much hitting on all cylinders.

5. Inter Miami (1)

What was that? Were they surprised Montreal was as good as they turned out to be? Is Messi that important? (Probably.) But as strong as they looked last week, this weekend’s game showed them to be mortal.

6. Atlanta United (6)

Maybe New England is just really bad? Maybe United was unlucky in starting the season against the Crew? Right now, Atlanta looks good enough to be here.


7. Philadelphia Union (5)

Maybe it’s a bit harsh to drop them despite not completing their game, but the other teams looked better overall.

8. Portland Timbers (9)

This was a composure game. New York City had a lot of the ball and used it to create a lot of pressure, but it didn’t matter. The Timbers found a way to not just get a point, but steal the win. This may be too low for them.

9. Los Angeles Galaxy (10)

More proof that the Galaxy has solved a lot of its overall problems from the past few seasons, they got a road tie at Nashville. Granted, the lads from Tennessee aren’t on the top of their game, but they are solid enough that getting a tie there is legit.

10. Los Angeles FC (8)

At times, LAFC looked like they were back to being LAFC this year. But not all of the time, and definitely not this weekend. Sporting does not suck the way they did for much of 2023, a home tie to them is not a good result.

11. Seattle Sounders (11)

Their game was not completed so no real movement.


12. D.C. United (14)

Another week, another result we frankly did not expect. A new coach can make a significant difference. This time it was a 0-0 at Cincinnati.

13. New York Red Bulls (15)

Same as D.C., the right coach can unlock some things. Also, they probably added their straw that stirs the drink and it is working well early. They took it to a disjointed and injured FC Dallas side for much of the game, winning 2-1.

14. Real Salt Lake (7)

It is possible that the Rapids are much better than we give them credit, but a home loss is not a good look, no matter how Mastroeni’s team had looked in previous weeks.

15. Minnesota United (18)

This is a team we could very well have way too low, but there are serious questions about Austin and now it is not clear if Orlando is as good as we thought they should be, but another road win is impressive.

16. Nashville SC (13)

A 2-2 home tie to the Galaxy may not prove to be that bad of a result as the season progresses, but right now the lads from Tennessee are not playing well enough to stay where they were last season.

17. Houston Dynamo (16)

No MLS match, not much to say.

18. Orlando City (12)

Based on the offseason changes, it seemed like the Lions might slip back some from their hot streak to end 2023, but this is a rough set of matches.

19. Toronto FC (24)

If we are being honest – and we try to be – we really thought TFC dropped the ball in the offseason, but their results so far have been anything but bad. Certainly not as bad as 2023. The latest is a 1-0 win over Charlotte.

20. Sporting Kansas City (21)

There are signs this team is better than last year, and maybe they are even better than we give them credit right now. A 0-0 tie at LAFC is not a bad result at all.

21. Vancouver Whitecaps (25)

Let’s be clear – San Jose is really struggling to start the season, but a 2-0 road win in MLS is still a good result for the Caps.

22. Chicago Fire (20)

Is it harsh to judge the Fire for losing at the death in Columbus? Maybe. Another team we will watch closer over the next few weeks.

We Have Questions

23. Colorado Rapids (29)

This may be the highest we have placed them in years. We may have the Rapids too low, or the win at RSL was a rivalry game where Sports Happens. That Portland match looked awful, but maybe it was just one game?

24. FC Dallas (19)

Right now things are not clicking. What is more problematic is that the solutions don’t seem to either make sense (Montreal) or are so patchwork that how could they work (Red Bulls). This may just be bad timing of a new system and injured players.

Sebastian Llerget and FC Dallas took on New York Red Bulls in the rain. (Courtesy FC Dallas)
Sebastian Llerget and FC Dallas took on New York Red Bulls in the rain. (Courtesy FC Dallas)

25. Charlotte FC (23)

Beating NYC was great, and getting a tie at Vancouver was good, but then losing at Toronto makes us wonder if the first 2 results had as much to do with the opposition as Charlotte’s play.

Very Poor

26. New England Revolution (22)

The talent is there, but this seems like the inverse of teams like Montreal, Toronto, D.C., and the Red Bulls, where a new coach is not helping. A 4-1 beating at the hands of Atlanta, albeit on the road, is not a good look, especially after their loss to D.C. on opening day.

27. Austin FC (26)

When we saw the result, we initially thought Austin might be moving up, but then we looked deeper and my goodness. At home they were outshot 17-4, with an 8-2 disparity in shots on goal. This team has issues.

28. New York City FC (28)

Seems to be that NYC is the 2023 Galaxy – the talent has some level of competency, but the results on the field just aren’t there.

29. San Jose Earthquakes (27)

Losing on the road on opening day at the death is understandable, but then they lose 2 at home to the Galaxy and last week to Vancouver?

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