MLS Power Rankings: Toronto takes down Philly to claim top spot
The reign of the youth-oriented Philadelphia Union atop the MLS Power Rankings lasted just one week, with a veteran-laden Toronto FC taking the reins at the top of the league — a position they’ve seemingly held for the past five seasons. Who else moved up and down our order in the past seven days?
Previous ranking: 2
Next MLS match: Wednesday at New England, 7:30 p.m. ET
Toronto emerged victorious from the meeting of the two best teams in MLS, topping Philadelphia 2-1 on Saturday. MVP candidate Alejandro Pozuelo scored the winner with less than 15 minutes remaining, giving him four goals in his past four games.
Previous ranking: 4
Next MLS match: Wednesday at Atlanta, 7 p.m. ET
Orlando extended its club-record unbeaten streak to nine games after a 3-1 win over the Red Bulls, leapfrogging Philadelphia in the table and finding itself just two points off the lead of the race for the Supporters’ Shield.
Previous ranking: 3
Next MLS match: Wednesday vs. Montreal, 7:30 p.m. ET
Columbus responded to defeat at the hands of Toronto with a 2-2 draw in Dallas, that point being enough to keep the Crew on top of the league table, but only on goal differential after dropping seven points in the past three weeks.
Previous ranking: 1
Next MLS match: Wednesday vs. Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m. ET
The Union fell three places since last week’s edition of Power Rankings following their defeat in Toronto, just their second since play resumed following MLS is Back. The other team to beat Philadelphia in that span? Columbus.
Previous ranking: 5
Next MLS match: Wednesday at LA Galaxy, 10:30 p.m. ET
With Colorado sidelined by a COVID-19 outbreak, the Timbers got the weekend off. Jeremy Ebobisse, Felipe Mora and Jarosław Niezgoda have all contributed up top. Who will be Gio Savarese’s go-to striker when the playoffs start?
Previous ranking: 6
Next MLS match: Wednesday vs. Salt Lake, 10 p.m. ET
Joao Paulo probably won’t get many Newcomer of the Year votes given his position, but he’s become a mainstay in the Sounders midfield, scoring in the 3-1 win over Vancouver. The win also featured the always pleasing assist-via-the-back-deflection by Jordan Morris.
Previous ranking: 7
Next MLS match: Wednesday vs. D.C. United, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN+
Alexandru Mitrita has scored all four of his goals in 2020 in the two games since Heber was lost to an ACL injury, with NYCFC netting seven times in those contests, having scored just four goals in its previous five games.
Previous ranking: 8
Next MLS match: Wednesday vs. Toronto, 7:30 p.m. ET
The Revs were shut out for the sixth time in 16 games in 2020 in their scoreless draw in Nashville. Of playoff contenders, only the two New York clubs have been kept off the score sheet as many times.
Previous ranking: 9
Next MLS match: Wednesday at Houston, 8 p.m. ET
Blowing a lead twice at home, even against a quality team like Columbus, will stick in Luchi Gonzalez’s craw.
Previous ranking: 14
Next MLS match: Tuesday at Nashville, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+
It may have only been Cincinnati, but the Loons still needed this 2-0 victory, and Kei Kamara was able to net his first for his new club from the penalty spot. While Jose Aja and Bakaye Dibassy have filled in admirably for Ike Opara, the continued absence of the 2019 Defender of the Year remains a concern.
Previous ranking: 10
Next MLS match: Wednesday vs. LAFC, 9 p.m. ET
The Rapids are in a bad way, and it has nothing to do with what’s happening on the field. In fact, they would probably prefer it be performance-related. But a total of 16 positive COVID-19 tests — including four players — has raised concerns that extend well beyond the field.
Previous ranking: 16
Next MLS match: Wednesday at Colorado, 9 p.m. ET
It’s tempting to say LAFC got back on track with a 3-1 road win over Real Salt Lake, but they’ve shown such signs of resurgence before, only to take steps back. At the least, Brian Rodriguez showed the kind of finishing ability Bob Bradley has been craving, and Bradley Wright-Phillips continues to repay his manager’s faith.
Previous ranking: 11
Next MLS match: Wednesday vs. Miami, 7 p.m. ET
The Red Bulls’ pair of 4-1 wins to close out September appear to have been an aberration after the 3-1 defeat to Orlando has seen them lose four of their past seven.
Previous ranking: 12
Next MLS match: Tuesday vs. Minnesota, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+
Nashville are level on points with Atlanta and Montreal for the final playoff place out of the East, but they’re six goals behind Atlanta in the goals-for tiebreaker. The 0-0 draw at New England won’t help with the latter, with the expansion side scoring more than a single goal just once all season.
Previous ranking: 13
Next MLS match: Wednesday at Seattle, 10 p.m. ET
Aaron Herrera continues to look the part at right-back, but other than that, there wasn’t a whole to be cheery about in RSL Land, as they suffered a 3-1 defeat at home to LAFC. RSL continue to miss that ability to finish off plays in the attacking third.
Previous ranking: 18
Next MLS match: Wednesday vs. Chicago, 8:30 p.m. ET
Welcome back, Alan Pulido and beyond the two goals, the cascade effect of his return was clear to the rest of the Sporting Kansas City side. Peter Vermes will no doubt be pleased to even the head-to-head score with longtime friend and Houston manager Tab Ramos.
Previous ranking: 21
Next MLS match: Wednesday vs. Vancouver, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+
The Quakes are showing signs of life, winning their second in a row with a 2-1 over the loathed Galaxy. With a very winnable game at home against Vancouver on tap, San Jose could find itself inside the playoff places by this time next week.
Previous ranking: 24
Next MLS match: Wednesday vs. Orlando, 7 p.m. ET
Atlanta scoring four goals in a win would’ve been no surprise in any of its first three seasons in the league, but that’s not the case in 2020. The only thing more shocking than the 4-0 win over D.C. were the goal scorers: Jon Gallagher, Brooks Lennon and Adam Jahn.
Previous ranking: 19
Next MLS match: Wednesday at Kansas City, 8:30 p.m. ET
Early last month, we called for Chicago to get more out of DP striker Robert Beric. He’s only gone and scored in each of the Fire’s past five games, including Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Montreal.
Previous ranking: 20
Next MLS match: Wednesday at Columbus, 7:30 p.m. ET
The draw with Chicago snapped Montreal’s four-game losing streak. For a team averaging 1.38 goals per game this season, trading for a raw-but-gifted striker in Mason Toye to be molded by Thierry Henry is an exciting (and necessary) gamble.
Previous ranking: 17
Next MLS match: Wednesday vs. Dallas, 8 p.m. ET
There’s no sugarcoating it: The Dynamo are struggling mightily, having gone six games without a win. Houston is struggling to break teams down and looked especially vulnerable in transition against SKC.
Previous ranking: 22
Next MLS match: Wednesday at San Jose, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+
Think things can’t get any worse for the ‘Caps after the 3-1 defeat to Seattle? The fact that Lucas Cavallini will be suspended for Wednesday’s tilt against San Jose qualifies. It would be a stretch to call that match a must-win, but taking any points off the Quakes would help Vancouver’s slim playoff hopes.
Previous ranking: 23
Next MLS match: Wednesday vs. Red Bulls, 7 p.m. ET
Only Montreal have conceded more goals than Miami in the Eastern Conference, and that’s not likely to improve following Luis Robles fracturing his arm in stoppage time during the 3-2 loss to NYCFC.
Previous ranking: 15
Next MLS match: Wednesday vs. Portland, 10:30 p.m. ET
The Galaxy are now in last place in Western Conference, level on points with Vancouver. And for all of the criticism directed Chicharito’s way, it’s LA’s defense — with nine goals conceded in the past four matches — that is letting the team down.
Previous ranking: 25
Next MLS match: Wednesday at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m. ET
Cincinnati has scored two goals in its past 10 matches following the 2-0 defeat in Minnesota, collecting three points in that stretch. As Mad Men’s Pete Campbell once said, “Not great, Bob!”
Previous ranking: 26
Next MLS match: Wednesday at NYCFC, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN+
Only Nashville and Cincinnati have scored fewer goals than D.C.; only Miami, Montreal, Houston, LAFC, Vancouver and San Jose have conceded more; only Cincinnati, Vancouver and San Jose have a worse goal differential. No matter how you look at it, D.C. is right at the bottom of the league.