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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LA Galaxy, Javier Hernandez
LA Galaxy, Javier Hernandez (Photo by Shaun Clark/Getty Images) /

10: New York Red Bulls (=)

Having gotten rid of several of their elder statesman, the New York Red Bulls will come into the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando with one of, if not, the youngest squads available, and that could help with a run of thick and fast games in searing heat.

After taking four points from their opening two regular-season matches back in February and March, the Bulls are in a good starting position in the Eastern Conference as they go into this mini-tournament, but it could be a tough group to get out of.

They will have to get the better of Atlanta United and Columbus Crew, along with a second clash of the year against FC Cincinnati, having won the opener 3-2, if they are to get out of Group E, one of the tougher groups on paper.

Group Matches: Group E – vs. Atlanta United (July 11, 8pm ET), vs. Columbus Crew (July 16, 10:30pm ET), vs. FC Cincinnati (July 22, 8pm ET)

9: LA Galaxy (-1)

Dropping down a place but remaining inside the top ten are five-time MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy, who are still looking for their first league victory of 2020, following a defeat and a draw in their opening two games.

After losing out to Vancouver in their season-opener,  the Galaxy then drew with Houston, a side they will face in Group D in Orlando this month. Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez is yet to get off the mark, but the Mexican striker knows where the goal is.

Although the Galaxy will be without Jonathan dos Santos, after the midfielder underwent hernia surgery just prior to the tournament, there is a good chance that this squad can get out of Group D and deep into the knockout stages, and with the possibility of more than one ‘Trafico’ to come.

Group Matches: Group D – vs. Portland Timbers (July 13, 10:30pm ET), vs. Los Angeles FC (July 18, 10:30pm ET), vs. Houston Dynamo (July 23, 8pm ET)

8: Philadelphia Union (+3)

One of the biggest movers on our Power Rankings are the Philadelphia Union, thanks to depth and youth in their squad, which will pay dividends in the heat of Florida as games come thick and fast.

Philly may have only taken a single point from their opening two matches of the regular season back in March, but they had to come from behind three times against reigning Supporters’ Shield holders Los Angeles FC to do so. If you can do that, you can get a result against anyone, right?

The Union are in Group A, the only six-team group in the tournament, but have a favourable draw, as they face the two 2020 expansion sides in their three matches. Get a result against New York City FC, and you could see the Union top the group after their clashes with Nashville and Inter Miami.

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

7: New York City FC (=)

The Sky Blues may well be bottom of the Supporters’ Shield standings following their opening two defeats back in March, but you can paper of those, and they remain one of the top contenders going into the MLS is Back tournament.

New York City FC lost out to Columbus Crew after playing only three of the 90 minutes with a full complement of players, after Maxime Chanot was sent off. They were also just nine minutes away from a point in Toronto, and they have now added more attacking threat to their squad.

The arrival of Uruguayan midfielder Nicolas Avecedo, who has already played seven times for his country’s U23 team, despite being just 21 years of age, shows intent from the Sky Blues. Expect them to push to at least the last eight, and if not beyond.

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

6: Sporting Kansas City (=)

The second of those four teams who won both of their opening two regular-season fixtures are Sporting Kansas City, and they sit atop the Supporters’ Shield standings going into the MLS is Back tournament in Orlando this month.

Those victories were not against top opposition, but you can only beat what is in front of you, and the addition of Alan Pulido to Sporting’s attacking line showed that they mean business for 2020.

SKC are in the toughest of all six groups in Orlando and will have to face two of the other three teams who have a 100% record from their opening two matches, in Minnesota United and Colorado Rapids. The game against the Loons comes first, and a victory there will give this squad a lot of confidence to go deep into the knockout stages.

Group Matches: Group C – vs. Minnesota United (July 12, 8pm ET), vs. Colorado Rapids (July 17, 8pm ET), vs. Real Salt Lake (July 22, 9am ET)