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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TORONTO, ON – MARCH 07: Omar González #44 of Toronto FC celebrates a goal by Ifunanyachi Achara #99 that was eventually ruled offside during the first half of an MLS game against New York City FC at BMO Field on March 07, 2020, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON – MARCH 07: Omar González #44 of Toronto FC celebrates a goal by Ifunanyachi Achara #99 that was eventually ruled offside during the first half of an MLS game against New York City FC at BMO Field on March 07, 2020, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

5: Minnesota United (-2)

They scored eight times in their opening two matches of the regular season, and are one of just four teams with a 100% win record prior to the suspension of the league, but Minnesota United drop down two places because of the absence of the 2019 MLS Defender of the Year.

Ike Opara will miss the MLS is Back tournament through injury, with the American international staying behind to continue rehabilitation ahead of a condensed regular-season which is expected to follow this mini-competition in Orlando.

The Loons also drop a couple of places because they are in Group B, arguably the hardest group in the tournament. As well as Minnesota, both Sporting KC and Colorado Rapids won their opening two fixtures back in March, and the Loons will have to play them both, along with Real Salt Lake, in their three group games at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports.

Group Matches: Group C – vs. Sporting KC (July 12, 8pm ET), vs. Real Salt Lake (July 17, 10:30pm ET), vs. Colorado Rapids (July 22, 10:30pm ET)

4: Los Angeles FC (-2)

Last year’s record-breakers drop down two places for one reason and one reason only. Much like Minnesota United are without one of their best players, Los Angeles FC could be without 2019 MVP and single-season goalscoring record holder Carlos Vela, as the Mexican is debating whether to travel to Orlando for the tournament.

It is reported that the Black and Gold star will miss the tournament due to his partner being pregnant, and he does not want to risk contracting COVID-19 before returning home.

Without him, Diego Rossi, Latif Blessing and Adama Diomande, along with one of the franchise’s newest additions, Bradley Wright-Phillips, will be expected to chip in with the goals in the Mexican’s absence. They face a ‘Trafico’ as well, but you would still expect the Black and Gold to make it out of Group D.

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

3: Atlanta United (+2)

A team who have lost their star man through injury move up two places on our Power Rankings? Surely not? Well, Atlanta United are that team, as their strength in depth matches anyone in the league.

The Five Stripes lost 2018 MVP Josef Martinez to an ACL tear in their season opener against Nashville but managed to win both of their first two matches in the regular season, one of just four sides to do so.

The centre-half pairing of Miles Robinson and Franco Escobar are now both fully-fit as well, and with the emergence of Emerson Hyndman in midfield alongside Eric Remedi, the club has a great spine to it. Barco, Pity and Jahn is an exciting front three that could cause chaos in this group, which sees them face off against FC Cincinnati, the Red Bulls and the Crew in a tricky quartet.

Group Matches: Group E – vs. NY Red Bulls (July 11, 8pm ET), vs. FC Cincinnati (July 16, 9am ET), vs. Columbus Crew (July 21, 8pm ET)

2: Toronto FC (+2)

Moving up two places to take the No.2 spot before MLS is Back are 2017 MLS Cup champions Toronto FC, despite having a tricky trip to face in Group B of the upcoming tournament.

The unprecedented treble-winners of three years ago may have lost a couple of players since, but they are still one of the strongest organisations in the league, and they started the regular-season with two draws, but remain unbeaten.

They did so without the injured Michael Bradley, the heart of their midfield. The American is now fit ahead of the tournament, and although they have lost Ifunanyachi Achara to a season-ending ACL injury, the firepower of Alejandro Pozuelo, Jozy Altidore and Jonathan Osorio is enough to make any defence in the league worry.

Group Matches: Group B – vs. D.C. United (July 10, 8pm ET), vs. Montreal Impact (July 15, 8pm ET), vs. New England Revolution (July 21, 9am ET)

1: Seattle Sounders (=)

Keeping top spot going into the MLS is Back tournament are the Seattle Sounders, who are aiming to keep the defence of their 2019 MLS Cup crown in shape, having started the season with a win and a draw from their opening two matches.

Four points from six to start the campaign back in March, and they did so with star player Nicolas Lodeiro even making an appearance. With the Uruguayan now fully fit, the Sounders will be a match for anyone in this tournament.

The Rave Green will face off against San Jose, FC Dallas and Vancouver Whitecaps in the group stage, with the second of those three teams having major issues on the way in, with at least nine positive tests for COVID-19 on the eve of the tournament. Expect Seattle to go deep in MLS is Back.

Next. MLS is Back: Top 5 teams to win tournament. dark

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