Who’s up, who’s down? Each week, Philly Football Daily’s MLS contributor Noah Barnes ranks the ten hottest clubs in MLS based on results, performances, and however else Barnes attempts to justify positioning in his column, In Form.
MLS Power Rankings Matchweek 7
It’s that time of the week again. It’s time to break down the biggest results around Major League Soccer, to see who is In Form.
It was another exciting weekend of MLS action, with great games and shock results.
I think that, technically speaking, this is Matchweek 8, but a lot of teams have only played six or seven games, so who really knows? All that really matters are the rankings, so let’s get right to them and this week’s edition of In Form.
1. New York City Football Club
New York City Football Club suffered their first loss of the campaign, against the Portland Timbers, narrowing their lead at the top of the Eastern Conference to just a point.
Yes, hope of another invincible season for Patrick Vieira might be gone, but they still have all the qualities of a side that has what it takes to compete for silverware later this season.
I see this particular result as a small blip in an otherwise brilliant season, although they have some legitimate competition below them in Atlanta United.
2. Atlanta United
A win against LA Galaxy at the weekend means it is now six games unbeaten for Atlanta United, and another clean sheet means it is now their third in that same span of matches.
Atlanta has sured things up in the back since that disastrous Opening Day blowout to the Houston Dynamo, and has only conceded four goals since then. This, coupled with a string of explosive and offensive performances by top goalscorer Josef Martinez, has led The Five Stripes on an impressive unbeaten run.
United still sit second in the Eastern Conference behind NYCFC, but after the Cityzens dropped dropped three points at the weekend, Atlanta is now just a point back and with a game in hand, too.
3. Sporting Kansas City
Sporting Kansas City solidified their spot on top of the Western Conference with a massive 6-0 win against Vancouver Whitecaps this past weekend. Sporting also further solidified their spot as one of the top-three sides in MLS, in my opinion.
It’s Sporting’s third clean sheet in four games, and although they were helped by two Vancouver red cards, Peter Vermes’ side will still be more than happy.
SKC has stepped up defensively, too, and they continue to dominate going forward. Kansas City totaled a remarkable 34 shots at the weekend and has been finding the net habitually.
Sporting certainly look the side to beat out in the West.
4. Los Angeles Football Club (+2)
MLS’ newcomers are averaging an impressive three goals a game this season, a stat that has seen them hover in and around the top spot in the Western Conference for most of the season so far.
However, the problem with this LAFC side lies in the back.
If the goals ever dry up, they are in serious trouble defensively. Fans saw that for themselves in respective losses to rival LA Galaxy and Atlanta United. However, LAFC appeared to turn the corner last week, with a clean sheet against Vancouver.
It may be concerning that they let up three goals at the weekend to a considerably weaker Montreal Impact. On the plus side, LAFC scored five and Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi continue to light up the league going forward.
5. Columbus Crew
A point against the red-hot New England Revolution may seem like a decent result to Columbus Crew SC fans, a result that may have stopped Columbus’ skid that they have endured these past few weeks.
But, in reality, it means that the Crew have picked up just one point from their last four, and have dropped to fifth place in the Eastern Conference.
I know it is strange to have a fifth place side this high in the rankings, and maybe I value their wins early in the season too highly. But, either way, this is a team whose goals have dried up and could very easily continue to plummet in the In Form rankings next week.
6. New England Revolution (+2)
New England has cooled off a bit, since their run of three wins in four.
However, after that run, the Revs now sit fourth in the East and have turned many heads so far this season, including mine. So far, New England has looked like a team that will eventually be solid on both sides of the ball, and the emergence of players like Teal Bunbury and Cristian Penilla is promising.
New England’s investments in Diego Fagundez and Juan Agudelo are also paying off, and I could see the Revs continuing to fight for a playoff spot later this year.
7. Vancouver Whitecaps (-3)
Usually, I would feel bad dropping a team by three spots in one week, but a 6-0 drudging to another Western Conference side in Sporting leaves me with no choice for Vancouver.
I have faith that this team can and will turn it around, but they need to get out of this bad spell of form fast. Carl Robinson’s side has now lost three straight, and have only netted once in that span.
After an impressive start to the season, the lack of goals is concerning for this team, and they need to find their goalscoring form soon. With both Cascadia rivals Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers picking up wins at the weekend, the battle for the region may just be heating up as well.
8. Orlando City SC (+1)
Orlando City SC have now won four in a row after knocking off San Jose Earthquakes at the weekend, and they continue to mount a quiet, but solid, start to this current campaign.
After a considerably sluggish start, this current run of wins has propelled the Lions to third in the East, although it will be tough to keep pace with the top two sides. However, Orlando has been grinding out wins like clockwork, as three of their last four have been by a less-than-fashionable one-goal margin.
Defensively, this could be a concern when they face considerably better clubs, but for the moment, three points is three points.
9. LA Galaxy (-2)
Statistically, LA Galaxy are looking more and more like a mid-conference side, as they are dominant against weaker sides, but have failed to pick up a win against any of the top clubs.
A win in the El Trafico derby was impressive, but that was weeks ago. If anything, this is further evidence that the Galaxy do not have everything figured out, organizationally speaking, just yet.
Los Angeles certainly has the talent to get past smaller sides, but it was made evident, at the weekend, that they struggle against top-teams like Atlanta United. While I think the addition of Zlatan Ibrahimovic has helped the side with depth and talent, the ego he brings might be detrimental to the organization of the club.
10. FC Dallas (N/A)
FC Dallas were, in my opinion, considerably quiet, after what I thought to be a prominent start to the season. Dallas, who has settled for draws against mid-table sides, now appears to have turned the corner, however, as winners of its last two.
Dallas remains the only unbeaten team in MLS, with 12 points from six games, which is good enough for third place in the Western Conference.
Dallas has tough fixtures coming up against NYCFC and LAFC, respectively. But, if they can pick up results in either of these fixtures, I think that FC Dallas can prove they are a legitimate side in MLS this season.
Check back at the end of next Matchweek to see who’s up, who’s down, and of course, who’s In Form. In the meantime, let me know what you think of my Top-10 on Twitter. Cheers.