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In Form — Barnes’ MLS Power Rankings: Matchweek 9


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 9:

Wow. Just, wow. It has been another exciting week of Major League Soccer, with some intriguing and massive results, as well.

Naturally then, readers should expect some big shuffles to my weekly MLS Power Rankings this week. So, enough talk, let’s get right to it then, shall we? Time to kick off this week’s In Form.

1. Atlanta United (+1)

Before I get too in depth, it must be said that the process of ranking this week’s top-three was nearly impossible; the following three clubs are, in my opinion, about as even as it gets.

Now, with that being said, Atlanta United get the top spot this week, despite a midweek loss to Sporting Kansas City.

Before its loss, Atlanta was on an eight-game unbeaten run after defeating Chicago Fire at the weekend. A bevy of good results saw the Five Stripes leapfrog New York City Football Club to go top of the Eastern Conference.

I think, with all their attacking talent, United could stay there for quite a while.

2. Sporting Kansas City (+2)

Now talk about a statement win.

After an expected victory at the weekend against the Colorado Rapids, Sporting Kansas City scored a MASSIVE 2-0 victory on the road, in Atlanta. Sporting were helped by an early red card to Atlanta keeper Brad Guzan. 

Peter Vermes’ side added to their impressive scoring tally while keeping yet another clean sheet. SKC seem to have sorted out their early-season defensive issues, and they now sit comfortably atop the Western Conference.

It is no wonder that Vermes is being rumored to take over the United States National Team job.

3. New York City Football Club (-2)

It feels so, so wrong dropping New York City Football Club two slots after a loss. Nevertheless, it is how things panned out after this week.

That said, NYCFC did fall, or endure rather, in a 4-0 drudging to rivals New York Red Bulls over the weekend. It was a derby game in which they, well, simply failed to ever get off the coach.

Still, there is not a doubt in my mind, or anyone’s mind to be fair, that Patrick Vieira’s team is good. If Maxi Moralez can keep up the superb form he has been in so far, this team will go far.

And, if anything, the result to New York shows that, in fact, this NYCFC team is human. It’s going to be a dogfight for the top-spot in the Eastern Conference all. season. long. Especially come playoff time.

4. Los Angeles Football Club (-1)

Los Angeles’ new boys Los Angeles Football Club stayed in the race out West, with a tough, but deserved, draw against FC Dallas. LAFC followed that result up with a road victory against Minnesota United.

Currently, the newest club in the City of Angels are flying high, sitting second in the Western Conference and four points behind first-placed Sporting. And, with two games in hand as well, LAFC seem primed for a playoff run in the back two thirds of the season.

However, a slight concern for the club is the fact that Mexican international Carlos Vela appears to have cooled off in the past few games. Fortunately, it does not seem to have impacted their goalscoring, as other players have stepped up.

5. Orlando City SC (+2)

So this Orlando City SC team is for real, and they have since proven me dreadfully wrong from my early-season predictions.

After yet another win over the weekend against Real Salt Lake, Orlando sits third in the Eastern Conference and a point behind NYCFC with a game in hand. A win over the weekend lengthens their winning-run to six games.

However, there is still plenty of concern for the Floridian side, given that they have yet to play a top-side since their earlier defeat to NYCFC.

But, if marquee players like Dom Dwyer can keep up their impressive form, there is no reason, at least in my mind, to think the Lions can’t as well.

6. Columbus Crew SC

A win against the Philadelphia Union this past weekend seems to signal a partial return to form for Columbus Crew SC, as they are currently unbeaten in four games with two wins to their name in that span.

Even batter, forward Gyasi Zardes was able to get back on the scoresheet, which is something that is, perhaps, more important for the team going forward.

Crew SC still have a ways to go, in my opinion, to vie for the top-spot in the Eastern Conference, especially given the caliber of teams above them. But, at the very least, a win ensures they move back into fourth for the time being.

7. New England Revolution (-2)

A 4-0 defeat to Montreal Impact at the weekend shows that, for as good as the New England Revolution have been at times this season, they still have a ways to go in order to seriously compete.

It’s the type of result that emphasizes the importance of breakout forward Teal Bunbury to the Revs this season; when he goes quiet, the rest of the team does, too.

Still, its only the Revs second loss since Opening Day. New England has shown its fans that there is some great football for fans to look forward to for the rest of the current MLS campaign.

8. New York Red Bulls (+1)

New York is Red, no?

New York Red Bulls stamped their name and are demanding some R E S P E C T  after a BIG New York Derby victory over the weekend, defeating NYCFC by four goals to nil.

And, with the win, NYRB move one spot in my MLS Power Rankings. Despite their position in this week’s In Form, I could realistically see the Red Bulls continue their ascension, as they make up the games they missed due to the CONCACAF Champions League.

On that note, NYRB seem to have taken their exit from that competition personally, as they now have two wins in two since their exit.

9. FC Dallas (+1)

FC Dallas posted another draw at the weekend, which puts them at four on the year.

However, the fact Dallas was able to hold an electric LAFC attack to just one goal speaks volumes about this team going forward. Dallas has dropped just one contest so far, which is certainly a positive, but they will need to start winning games soon to stay competitive in what is churning up to be a tough Western Conference this season.

10. Vancouver Whitecaps Football Club (-2)

Honestly, the only thing keeping Vancouver Whitecaps in my power rankings is their standing in the Western Conference.

Remarkably, the Canadian club remains third in the West. However, this is likely to change soon, as they are level on points with Dallas, despite having played two more games.

Last week, I thought the Whitecaps had righted the ship with a victory against RSL, but a loss to Minnesota this past weekend has all but proven me wrong. It’s the type of result that shows the Whitecaps are hapless in front of net. VWFC have now recorded a paltry three goals in five matches.

If this does not change soon, there is no chance the ‘Caps will stick around the In Form rankings.

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.