MLS: Week 5 Power Rankings: Expected Value – Oh dear Atlanta United

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 13: Josef Martínez of Atlanta United lament during the match between Atlanta United and Monterrey as part of the CONCACAF Champions League 2019 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on March 13, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 13: Josef Martínez of Atlanta United lament during the match between Atlanta United and Monterrey as part of the CONCACAF Champions League 2019 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on March 13, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota United
VANCOUVER, BC – MARCH 02: Carlos Darwin Quintero (25) of Minnesota United (left) celebrates his goal with Rasmus Schuller (20) of Minnesota United at BC Place on March 2, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Christopher Morris – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images) /

Long Shots with Life

13. Colorado Rapids (0-3-2) 

The Colorado Rapids are not the most likely of this bunch to even make the playoffs. However, they do have the greater potential payout due to the odds and the underperforming talent on the roster. Anthony Hudson’s decision to concede the wings to Houston was perhaps the worst coaching decision of the weekend. Sure, other teams took a worse beating than the Rapids, but this result could have been avoided had Hudson not come out with a poor gameplan.

14. Philadelphia Union (2-2-1)

The offseason acquisition of Designated Player, Marco Fabian, proved to the fans that the Philadelphia Union were serious about making a playoff run, not just an obligatory also-ran appearance. Jim Curtin is now under real pressure to produce. His team lacks discipline far too often. Fabian already has served a red card suspension. Sure, a 2-0 road win against the upstart expansion side makes the record seem respectable. However, the Union have yet to impress anyone’s eye test. David Accam has been more effective than any of the higher paid Union players. That is both outstanding and worrisome.

15. Minnesota United (2-2-0) 

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Minnesota United are soon headed home with their sails full of the winds of positivity. This is the most composed, most organized Minnesota team ever assembled. Wins in the first weeks guaranteed that United would christen their new home with upper mid-table aspirations well within reach. Dampening spirits, though, is news that Darwin Quintero could be out a few weeks with a groin injury. 

16. Real Salt Lake (1-3-1) 

Having spent a good half-decade serving as the soccer version of a gatekeeper or glorified tomato can in boxing or UFC cards, Real Salt Lake is now an underrated MLS club. Mike Petke is a sturdy and tough coach, who usually produces disciplined and organized teams capable of frustrating great teams and methodically handling the lesser MLS squads. Now, linchpin Kyle Beckerman has lost more steps in midfield than hair in a barber shop. The rest of the team is seemingly in a race for most red cards in a season. Nevertheless, they are still dangerous.

17. Vancouver Whitecaps (0-3-1) 

The Vancouver Whitecaps had their chances to snatch three points but missed close-range opportunities. If not for great goalkeeping by Maxime Crépeau, Marc dos Santos has a foundation showing it can support a greater structure of club success. The season’s first point was earned by keeping the Seattle Sounders off the scoresheet. But for a points total worthy of a playoff spot, the Whitecaps need to start finishing chances. VAR cannot be to blame for every missed opportunity.

18. Atlanta United (0-2-2) 

There is hope in Georgia, sure. Atlanta United have a talented roster built behind reigning MLS MVP Josef Martinez. However, the honeymoon period is over for Frank de Boer. His team is yet to win a game and the fans’ patience is withering. The Five Stripes opened as a favorite, but the odds are long that the low value bet pays off. Atlanta is looking at a slog of a season that matches the water logged 2-0 loss in Columbus. The team has had too many competitions and too little time, with delays and disruptions mounting, to believe they will find that championship form from last year’s fantastic campaign. Atlanta has a few weeks off to get right. The time is needed.

19. Montreal Impact (2-2-0)

Without Ignacio Piatti, the Montreal Impact are simply atrocious and the players know it. Losing 7-1 in any condition raises concerns in a league built with parity in mind. This drubbing away from home shows the players never had any faith in a result without Piatti and played like the game was hardly worth the effort.

20. Chicago Fire (1-2-1) 

The Chicago Fire have won a game in which they did not have a player register a goal. It is hard to feel too confident, even if Chicago did keep the New York Red Bulls attack at bay for a full game. Chicago has the top-end talent to play winning, attractive soccer. Perhaps manager Veljko Paunovic is taking a slow build approach to the season, playing safe in defense and keeping matches close. That approach could have the Fire’s MLS Cup hopes burning brighter later this season. More likely, Paunovic is a limited manager, who, as a safe hire, is following the company line has been employed through loyalty more than merit. How else could fans explain away the contract extensions for Paunovic and Nelson Rodriguez this winter? Their fates, and all benefit of the doubt, rest on Nicolas Gaitan taking the Fire into a top-five spot in the East.