MLS: Power Rankings – Seattle on top ahead of MLS Is Back

MLS, Seattle Sounders (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
MLS, Seattle Sounders (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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MLS, Seattle Sounders
MLS, Seattle Sounders (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

With less than a week to go until the start of the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando, we provide you with the MLS Power Rankings.

Only four teams have 100% records from the opening two games of the 2020 Major League Soccer campaign. Two of those teams failed to make the postseason last year, in Colorado Rapids and Sporting Kansas City. 2018 MLS Cup champions Atlanta United and their fellow expansion side from the season before, Minnesota United, are the other two.

Two of those teams, in Sporting and Minnesota, are the only sides to have scored more than four goals in all of MLS this season, while it is SKC who top the Supporters’ Shield rankings. The pair will face off against each other in Group D in MLS is Back this month.

At the other end of the table, four teams are yet to open their points accounts for the season. Both Nashville SC and Inter Miami are without a point from their opening two fixtures in the top flight of American soccer, New York City FC sit bottom of the Supporters’ Shield standings are the only team yet to score in the league so far this season, while FC Cincinnati are also without a point thus far.

But has much changed from those power rankings we put together in mid-March? Find out below in the MLS Multiplex MLS Power Rankings.

NASHVILLE, TN – FEBRUARY 29: Detail view of a Nashville SC scarf held by a fan before the match against the Atlanta United at Nissan Stadium on February 29, 2020, in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN – FEBRUARY 29: Detail view of a Nashville SC scarf held by a fan before the match against the Atlanta United at Nissan Stadium on February 29, 2020, in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /

26: Nashville SC (-2)

Dropping down two places and into the basement spot on our Power Rankings ahead of the MLS is Back Tournament at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando are one of the two expansion sides, Nashville SC.

Walker Zimmerman has been the bright spark for the side from the Music City, after his blockbuster trade from Los Angeles FC, and he scored their only goal so far in 2020, in a 2-1 defeat to Atlanta United on the opening weekend.

Realistically, though, their chances of making it out of Group A and into the knockout stages come from their opening match of the tournament. They face Chicago, who are going through a serious rebuilding process, and anything less than three points would see them struggle to make it to the last 16.

Group Matches: Group A – vs. Chicago Fire (July 8, 10:30pm ET), vs. Philadelphia Union (July 14, 8pm ET), vs. Orlando City (July 20, 9am ET)

25: Inter Miami CF (+1)

Taking the higher place of the two expansion sides are Inter Miami, who have moved off the bottom spot of the list for the first time this season, as they play in their home state during the MLS is Back Tournament.

Although they failed to take any points from their opening two Major League Soccer matches back in March, they only lost both by a single goal, and against LAFC and D.C. United, that is no mean feat, especially for one of the newest teams in the league.

With striker Julian Carranza returning from injury for the tournament after missing those two league games, IMCF will have another option at the head of the field. Games against the struggling Orlando and Chicago could give Diego Alonso’s side a real chance of making it through from the six-team Group A.

Group Matches: Group A – vs. Orlando City (July 8, 8pm ET), vs. Chicago Fire (July 14, 9am ET), vs. Philadelphia Union (July 19, 10:30pm ET)

24: FC Cincinnati (+1)

Moving up one spot, and now sitting ahead of both the new expansion sides for 2020 are last year’s new-boys, FC Cincinnati, who have sealed the right signatures over this suspension period.

The Orange and Blue had introduced head coach Jaap Stam to the group in his first coaching role in MLS, while they have been able to extend Jurgen Locadia’s stay in Ohio through to June 2021, so they have a real striking option.

Although they will face a tricky time of it in Group E, Cincy will have hopes of making it through to the knockout stages. They start with the Hell is Real rivalry clash against the Crew, before facing Atlanta and the New York Red Bulls, the two sides they narrowly lost out to at the start of the campaign. They know they can go toe-to-toe with the big boys, it is just a case of getting over the line.

Group Matches: Group E – vs. Columbus Crew (July 11, 10:30pm ET), vs. Atlanta United (July 16, 9am ET), vs. NY Red Bulls (July 22, 8pm ET)

23: Vancouver Whitecaps (=)

Marc Dos Santos might have started to turn things round in Vancouver, but the Whitecaps remain near the bottom of our Power Rankings, staying in 23rd spot prior to MLS is Back this month.

The Canadian side managed to come away from LA with a gutsy victory over the Galaxy, thanks to Tosaint Ricketts’ match-winner on the second weekend, but that did come after a resounding defeat at home to Sporting KC on the opening day.

If dos Santos can get this team moving in the right direction, then there is an outside chance of qualifying for the knockout stages, but tough tests against San Jose and Seattle could define their tournament.

Group Matches: Group F – vs. FC Dallas (July 9, 10:30pm ET), vs. San Jose Earthquakes (July 15, 10:30pm ET), vs. Seattle Sounders (July 20, 10:30pm ET)

22: San Jose Earthquakes (=)

The San Jose Earthquakes come into MLS is Back knowing they have to sort out their defensive frailties, having conceded seven times in their first two league matches back in March, despite both games being at home.

They had to fight back from a two-goal deficit to rescue a point against 2017 MLS Cup champions Toronto FC, before being blown away by Minnesota United, who put five past Matias Almeyda’s side on the second weekend of the season.

If they can sort those defensive issues, then there are goals going forward, with the likes of Chris Wondolowski, Cristian Espinoza, Valeri Qazaishvili and Danny Hoesen all in their ranks. They start with a tricky test against Seattle. Another blowout in that one and any hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages could disappear as confidence wanes.

Group Matches: Group F – vs. Seattle Sounders (July 10, 10:30pm ET), vs. Vancouver Whitecaps (July 15, 10:30pm ET), vs. FC Dallas (July 20, 8pm ET)

21: Chicago Fire (-1)

If there was one team in the league that epitomises the word ‘rebuilding’, it would be the Chicago Fire under new head coach Raphael Wicky, as the franchise could only manage a single point from their opening two matches of the regular-season four months ago.

They were unlucky not to get a point from their season-opener against MLS Cup champions Seattle Sounders, but they then came from behind to secure their first point fo the campaign against New England a week later.

Four key men, including three new signings in Luka Stojanovic, Brosi Sekulic and Ignacio Aliseda, are all yet to start a game for the Fire in 2020, so there could be some integration early in this tournament. Matches against Nashville and Inter Miami could give the Fire a chance of qualifying from Group A.

Group Matches: Group A – vs. Nashville SC (July 8, 10:30pm ET), vs. Inter Miami (July 14, 9am ET), vs. New York City (July 19, 8pm ET)