After what felt like forever, MLS returned at the weekend with 13 exciting matches. But what has the opening weekend done to our Power Rankings?
The first weekend of the new Major League Soccer season, and new decade, threw up some interesting results, storylines, and the debut of two new MLS expansion franchises, Inter Miami and Nashville SC. Neither side was able to take a victory on their debut, but they showed signs of promise amid record-breaking crouds.
The major talking points at the top of the table were as to whether Los Angeles FC and the Seattle Sounders would prove they were ready to go once more. Last year’s record-breaking side only scored once, but they were able to get the win, while the reigning champions needed a late winner to take the three points from their first clash of 2020. It might not have been too convincing from either team but both started their campaign how they would have wanted to by getting three points on the board from their opening fixture.
Elsewhere, there were wins for the Colorado Rapids and Montreal Impact, with both sides aiming for much better campaigns compared to 2019, while Toronto FC and LA Galaxy, both teams high on the Power Rankings, ended their opening fixtures with draws. There were big road wins for both Sporting Kansas City and Minnesota United, which has seen both sides rise up the rankings from their respective preseason standings, while Eastern Conference winners New York City FC started the defence of their title with a defeat on the road in Columbus.
Take a look at the rest of our Power Rankings here and decide whether you agree with our thinking or not.
26. Inter Miami CF (=)
Due to preseason preparations and what looked like a lack of depth in their first ever MLS squad, Inter Miami came into the season as the worst-ranked team. And that is where they stay after their first competitive fixture,
The Pink and Black lost out in a tight affair with the record-breaking Los Angeles FC as they failed to score, something that might become a worry if that continues through their next few games. They came close, but they were not good enough on the day to stay with last year’s Supporters’ Shield champions.
Next fixture: Saturday 7 March, 2:30pm ET @ D.C. United
25. Vancouver Whitecaps (-2)
The Vancouver Whitecaps were the worst team by some distance in the Western Conference in 2019, and after one game, it looks like that could be the case again in 2020. They lost 3-1 at home to Sporting Kansas City, the side who finished just one place above them at the end of the regular season last term.
Goals from Alan Pulido, Gadi Kinda and Erik Hurtado put the Whitecaps to the slaughter, with momentary respite after a Jake Nerwinski equaliser on the half-hour mark. They had less possession and fewer shots, despite being on home soil. This looks like it could be a long year for Vancouver fans.
Next fixture: Saturday 7 March, 9pm ET @ LA Galaxy
24. FC Cincinnati (+1)
Having been the worst team in the league by far after a horrendous season in 2019, in which they only recorded 24 points in 34 regular-season matches, FC Cincinnati came into this campaign as the second-lowest ranked team in our MLS Power Rankings.
However, they move up a spot following a solid performance against New York Red Bulls. Yes, they may have lost, but they were expected to. They pushed the home side all the way though, with goals from Allan Cruz and Jurgen Locadia seeing them come up just short, ultimately losing 3-2. More performances like that, especially with more possession than their hosts, and FC Cincinnati will rise in 2020.
Next fixture: Saturday 7 March, 6pm ET @ Atlanta United
23. Nashville SC (+1)
The second of the two expansion sides, Nashville SC, came into this weekend knowing they faced a tricky task against Atlanta United in their debut match in the league, but they showed themselves well and have moved up one place because of it.
They originally sat above two sides because of their offseason acquisitions, and it was one of those that scored their first-ever goal in MLS. Walker Zimmerman, who they signed from LAFC just prior to the start of the campaign, scored the equaliser, though they lost 2-1. There are promising signs, though, from Tennessee’s first-ever top flight team.
Next fixture: Sunday 8 March, 6pm ET @ Portland Timbers
22. Orlando City SC (=)
Orlando City are still waiting for their first-ever postseason appearance, but their results have been getting progressively worse ever since their expansion in 2015. Last year, they finished 11th in the Eastern Conference.
Their first match of 2020 saw them play out a goalless draw with Real Salt Lake. It was quite a dull game with only three shots on target in the 90 minutes, but it is a step in the right direction for Orlando as they failed to keep many clean sheets last season.
Next fixture: Saturday 7 March, 8pm ET @ Colorado Rapids
21. Chicago Fire (=)
Remaining at 21 on MLS Multiplex’s Power Rankings after the opening round of fixtures are the Chicago Fire following their narrow defeat to Seattle. There were worries about how the club would go on without Bastian Schweinsteiger and Nemanja Nikolic among others, but they performed well on Sunday.
Although they were out-shot and had less possession, the Fire took the lead at CenturyLink Field through Robert Beric’s strike just moments after the half-time interval. They eventually lost out to the Sounders following a 93rd minute Jordan Morris strike, but there were promising signs for Chicago who are building an entirely new team.
Next fixture: Saturday 7 March, 12:30pm ET @ New England Revolution