The original MLS Power Rankings – Week 16

A more settled week, although not necessarily settled lineups as there are still international absences, gives us some solid results to work with. Due to some struggles at the top, we have a new No. 1, and some teams that looked like they were getting out of their bad form showed that it was more of a short run than a real change.

Top Shelf

1. New England Revolution (Previously 3).

“Do they really have just bunches and bunches of bad teams on their schedule? Maybe, but they get the results.” And when you have both Sporting and Seattle losing at home to teams currently out of the playoffs, those results put them at the top.

2. Sporting Kansas City (1).

You could make an argument that Dallas is a talented team that has been disjointed and injured, but still, they have struggled so much on the road you had to think if Sporting was who they should be, they would at least find the tie. Nope.

3. Seattle Sounders (2).

“Hitting a bit of a skid.” Actually, they may be ready for a significant fall. The Sounders’ form of late has been sub-par and if they don’t show something soon, they may be dropping more precipitously.

Quality

4. Colorado Rapids (4).

We don’t get the sense they are about to jump to the next tier, but they sure are at the top of this one.

5. New York City FC (5).

It doesn’t happen often, but NYC will at times show its full potential against good teams. Beating the Crew 4-1 is a good example of that.

6. Nashville SC (8).

Watch out. This seems to be a team that has built a foundation and has since developed the tools to win games now. It is not clear what their ceiling is, but their floor seems to get higher every week.

Nashville SC earns a 1-1 road draw against Toronto FC on August 1 at BMO Field in Toronto, Ontario. (Courtesy NASHVILLE SC)

7. Columbus Crew (7).

After lots of progress, Porter et al took a punch to the face in New York. It is likely not the end of their growth, but it probably will sting for a few weeks. Knowing Caleb (from a distance, not personally) he will put that sting to good use.

8. Orlando City (9).

This team is good. Very good. Some of the results are surprising both good and bad. Not sure we would call a home win over a completely out of sorts Atlanta team is either, but it solidifies their CV as a good team.

9. Minnesota United (11).

“Here we go. This is the Loons we expected to see this season. We need more consistency to move them up much faster, but yes, this is what we thought they would be.” Two road ties against LAFC and Vancouver solidify this.

10.  LA Galaxy (12).

Does it mean something when they can get this kind of a result against a good side without Chicharito? Yes. Yes it does.

11. Portland Timbers (6).

We are starting to have some very real questions about the Timbers. Not that they are awful – clearly they are not – but maybe the depth is lacking? Or focus/drive? Either way, this team is not as good or as deep as others ahead of them.

Middle of the Road

12. Philadelphia Union (10).

“The results are ok until you look at who they played. It’s hard to move them up when they beat D.C. and Miami.” And then they get tied by Chicago at home.

13. Real Salt Lake (14).

Salt Lake is definitely solid, but do not seem to have the ability to consistently win against better teams.

14. Los Angeles FC (13).

A home tie to Minnesota says clearly that Vela alone is not enough to get them back to where they were.

15. D.C. United (19).

A road tie at Cincinnati shows that United is still solid.

16. New York Red Bulls (16).

Could things change for the Red Bulls? Maybe, but a home loss to the Revolution is a pretty clear sign that it isn’t happening soon.

17. Houston Dynamo (15).

Previously – “Two road ties against bad teams is what teams here need to do.” But then they need to beat RSL at home, which the Dynamo failed to do.

Teenage Hadebe, Houston Dynamo FC vs. Real Salt Lake at BBVA Stadium, July 31, 2021. (Courtesy Houston Dynamo)

18. FC Dallas (24).

Have they figured things out? We hesitate to say completely yes, but this team now has wins over the New England Revolution, Portland Timbers, Los Angeles Galaxy, and Sporting Kansas City, mostly with that kind of a lineup.

19. San Jose Earthquakes (22).

“Three ties are not bad, but they are not “move em up” great.” Beat Seattle on the road, though, definitely is “move ’em up.” And remember, this team has had stretches of very good play.

Lots of Questions and/or Concerns

20. Austin FC (17).

“Consistently falling short.” almost as if they put their all into winning on the road early in the season and now they are out of gas.

21. CF Montreal (18).

“…and yeah, Montreal isn’t the trash they were earlier this year.” Then they go and lose at Miami… SMDH.

22. Vancouver Whitecaps (20).

“Nice little turnaround as they beat the Galaxy, tie Houston (albeit at home), and get a road tie at LAFC. Still concerns though.” Being tied at home by Minnesota is not what this team needs to be doing.

23. FC Cincinnati (21).

“A run of bad results is very ungood.” Add a home tie to D.C., which is better but not fantastic.

24. Atlanta United (23).

“A coaching change may or may not be what they need, but they do need something.” They need a new gaffer, pronto.

25. Chicago Fire (26).

“So we thought the Fire had something there, then they reverted to form and couldn’t even beat D.C. (tie) or Toronto (loss) at home.” No, a road tie to the Union is not a huge victory

Chicago Fire FC at Philadelphia Union, August 1, 2021. (Courtesy Chicago Fire)

26. Toronto FC (25).

A home tie to Nashville shows work remains. It’s not an awful result, but it’s not great either.

Probably Still Awful

27. Inter Miami (27).

They beat … Montreal … at home. Yay? Could this be a turnaround? Yes. But it also could be what in Wall Street is called a Dead Cat Bounce. It’s a bit of an awful term, but Miami has been pretty awful so it fits.

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