MLS Power Rankings: Toronto remains No. 1


For the second week in a row, Toronto FC is on top of MLS Power Rankings, thanks to a pair of clean sheets and a pair of wins from second- and third-choice forwards. Further down the order, Columbus experienced another hiccup in a trying monthlong stretch. And several teams have had to sit idle as positive COVID-19 cases affect a handful of clubs across the league. Jeff Carlisle and Austin Lindberg delve into the weekly states of all 26 clubs.

Previous ranking: 1

Next MLS match: Wednesday vs. Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m. ET

In a double gameweek for most of the league, Toronto showed off its depth, getting goals from Ayo Akinola and Patrick Mullins in a pair of 1-0 wins over New England and Cincinnati. Contributions from those two will be necessary for the remainder of the regular season, with manager Greg Vanney confirming Jozy Altidore will miss the next four to five weeks with a hamstring injury.

Previous ranking: 4

Next MLS match: Wednesday at D.C., 8p.m. ET

While Brenden Aaronson’s potential move to FC Salzburg has firmly shone the spotlight on Philadelphia, the Union have conceded just seven goals in 12 games since returning from the MLS is Back Tournament — including wins over Cincinnati and Montreal in the past week. Such stingy defense should earn 21-year-old center-back Mark McKenzie, linked with his own move to Europe this winter, more accolades of his own.

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Previous ranking: 5

Next MLS match: Wednesday at Salt Lake, 9:30 p.m. ET

Diego Chara’s reputation in MLS isn’t that of an assist man, but twice in the past month — and for the first times in his MLS career — he recorded two helpers in a game. The victim both times? The San Jose Earthquakes. The Timbers have now won five consecutive matches.

Previous ranking: 2

Next MLS match: Wednesday vs. NYCFC, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Orlando’s match against Columbus on Sunday was postponed after the Lions confirmed a first-team player tested positive for COVID-19. A midweek scoreless draw in Atlanta keeps Oscar Pareja & Co. firmly in a playoff place, and they now hold a game in hand over their rivals following Sunday’s postponement.

Previous ranking: 6

Next MLS match: Wednesday vs. Colorado, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN+

After beating Real Salt Lake in midweek, the Sounders missed a month’s worth of great chances in the 3-1 loss to LAFC. Whether that’s down to heavy legs or missing personnel, it’s a defeat that will sting given how well Seattle has played of late.

Previous ranking: 8

Next MLS match: Wednesday at Montreal, 7:30 p.m. ET

Matt Turner made seven saves to earn the Revs a big 2-1 win over NYCFC on Sunday, after falling 1-0 to Toronto last week, as they continue their quest to qualify directly for the MLS Cup playoffs and avoid the play-in round that will pit the seventh through tenth seeds against one another.

Previous ranking: 7

Next MLS match: Wednesday at Orlando, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

New York City lost Heber to a torn ACL, then announced that Alexandru Mitrita has left on loan through the 2021 season, leaving the Bronx side’s once deep and versatile attack looking a little lean. Ronny Deila’s team put four past D.C. in their first game without the 25-year-old designated player, only to stumble 2-1 against New England in their second game back at Yankee Stadium in 2020.

Previous ranking: 3

Next MLS match: Wednesday at Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m. ET

The former Supporters’ Shield leaders lost for the second time in three games, and were forced to sit with the discomfort of defeat a little longer, having Sunday’s game in Orlando postponed after two of the club’s soccer operations staffers tested positive for COVID-19.

Previous ranking: 12

Next MLS match: Wednesday at Vancouver, 10 p.m. ET

With a depleted lineup, LAFC needed some depth players to step up against Seattle, and got just that with Danny Musovski scoring twice, Francisco Ginella adding a golazo and Jordan Harvey making some vital defensive plays. LAFC paid a heavy price, however, with injuries to Mark-Anthony Kaye and Andy Najar.

Previous ranking: 16

Next MLS match: Wednesday at Dallas, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

SKC made hard work of disposing of 10-man Nashville, but Peter Vermes’s side got the job done for its third win in a row. Johnny Russell continues to be the team’s MVP — he assisted on Gerso Fernandes’s equalizer — and got some help this time from Erik Hurtado.

Previous ranking: 9

Next MLS match: Wednesday vs. Kansas City, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Some nights, the ball just doesn’t want to go in. So it proved in last Wednesday’s defeat against Houston when FCD failed to score from a season-high 28 shots. Last weekend’s postponement due to Minnesota’s positive COVID-19 tests means that redemption will have to wait.

Previous ranking: 10

Next MLS match: Wednesday vs. Chicago, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN+

The Loons became the latest MLS team to be bitten by COVID-19, resulting in last weekend’s postponement. A midweek scoreless draw at Nashville marked the third time in the past six games that Minnesota has failed to score.

Previous ranking: 13

Next MLS match: Wednesday at Toronto, 7:30 p.m. ET

It cost them $75,000 in General Allocation Money, but after a preposterous dispute with Minnesota over the rights of Caden Clark, the Red Bulls finally landed the 17-year-old attacker. The Barcelona Residency Academy product quickly demonstrated what all the fuss was about, scoring the winner in the 1-0 victory in Atlanta on the day his signing was announced.

Previous ranking: 11

Next MLS match: Wednesday at Seattle, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN+

It’s four games postponed and counting for the Rapids because of the team’s COVID-19 outbreak, placing considerable doubt on whether Colorado gets all of its scheduled games in. There’s also the significant matter of five players and 12 staff now infected.

Previous ranking: 14

Next MLS match: Wednesday at Houston, 8 p.m. ET

Nashville’s four-game unbeaten run came to an end with a 2-1 defeat in Kansas City. All that’s keeping Music City out of a place in the play-in round is a dismal goals-for record, but a game in hand could prove decisive in the expansion side’s quest for a place in the postseason.

Previous ranking: 19

Next MLS match: Wednesday at Minnesota, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN+

The Fire have points in five of their past seven — their loss at Kansas City offset by a win over D.C. — as Raphael Wicky’s side have quietly moved into a play-in place.

Previous ranking: 17

Next MLS match: Wednesday at LA Galaxy, 10:30 p.m. ET

After a three-game winning streak — including Wednesday’s win over Vancouver — San Jose reverted to type a bit, with some mental lapses and physical errors contributing to a 3-0 loss at Portland. It’s the teams behind it that San Jose has to worry about. A win at the Galaxy this Wednesday should give the Quakes some daylight in the playoff race.

Previous ranking: 18

Next MLS match: Wednesday at Miami, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Other than the 4-0 dismantling of hapless D.C. earlier this month, Atlanta hasn’t scored in its past three contests, extending to a scoreless draw with Orlando and a 1-0 loss to the Red Bulls. The Five Stripes are fast approaching eight months since star striker Josef Martinez suffered a torn ACL.

Previous ranking: 23

Next MLS match: Wednesday vs. Atlanta, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Is the tide turning on South Beach? Miami has won two straight, Gonzalo Higuain scored his first goal for the club and will soon be joined by older brother Federico Higuain after Inter acquired the 35-year-old attacker from D.C. on Saturday.

Previous ranking: 20

Next MLS match: Wednesday vs. New England, 7:30 p.m. ET

A 2-1 victory over Supporters’ Shield-contending Columbus came as something of a surprise, considering Montreal had been winless in five, and the Impact then turned around and fell by the same scoreline to Philadelphia.

Previous ranking: 17

Next MLS match: Wednesday vs. Nashville, 8 p.m. ET

The Dynamo got a badly needed win over Dallas in midweek, despite Mauro Manotas‘s red card, but couldn’t sustain it against Miami, even as goalkeeper Marko Maric delivered some big saves.

Previous ranking: 22

Next MLS match: Wednesday vs. LAFC, 10 p.m. ET

Michael Baldisimo didn’t get credited with an assist, but the substitute was involved in both of Vancouver’s goals in a critical 2-1 over RSL. Having high-priced forward Lucas Cavallini get on the scoresheet will bring a smile to Marc Dos Santos’s face as well after getting pummeled by San Jose earlier in the week.

Previous ranking: 15

Next MLS match: Wednesday vs. Portland, 9:30 p.m. ET

After losing their third game in a row, manager Freddy Juarez was blunt in identifying his team’s main weakness, that being the lack of an effective striker. RSL have now scored just 11 goals in their past 10 games.

Previous ranking: 24

Next MLS match: Wednesday vs. San Jose, 10:30 p.m. ET

The Galaxy’s game against Colorado was postponed, and manager Guillermo Barros Schelotto welcomed the break after his team imploded defensively against Portland to the tune of six goals conceded. LA now has last place in the Western Conference all to itself.

Previous ranking: 25

Next MLS match: Wednesday vs. Columbus, 7:30 p.m. ET

It’s been 455 minutes since Cincinnati scored a goal. That’s it. That’s the tweet-. (OK, this isn’t a tweet, but you get the idea.)

Previous ranking: 26

Next MLS match: Wednesday vs. Philadelphia, 8 p.m. ET

A 4-1 defeat to NYCFC was the last straw for the D.C. United hierarchy, removing Ben Olsen from his post as manager less than 24 hours later. No new-manager bounce was forthcoming, though, with United on the losing end of a 2-1 scoreline in Chicago.

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