MLS is Back: Power Rankings after the group stages

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MLS, Columbus Crew, Youness Mokhtar

MLS, Columbus Crew, Youness Mokhtar (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The group stages of MLS is Back are in the books, and we now know the teams who have made it into the last 16. But how has it affected our Power Rankings?

Two sides never made it to the MLS is Back Tournament, eight have now been knocked out after the group stages, and 16 remain in the competition.

There were shocks and surprises as the group stages came to an end, with the likes of Atlanta United, the New York Red Bulls, and the LA Galaxy all failing to qualify. Instead, the Columbus Crew are the only side to have won all three group matches, while FC Cincinnati surprised the league by qualifying, too.

Several teams have made a move of at least four places, in both directions. Those who are out of the tournament have slipped, while those that had been languishing on the Power Rankings and are through to the last 16 have made the jump up.

Here are our Power Rankings following the conclusion of the group stages of MLS is Back!

REUNION, FLORIDA – JULY 23: Cristian Pavon #10 of Los Angeles Galaxy looks dejected after a match between Los Angeles Galaxy and Houston Dynamo as part of group F of MLS Is Back Tournament at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on July 23, 2020, in Reunion, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

26. Nashville SC (=)

One of two sides who did not play in the tournament, Nashville SC remain bottom of the pile.

 

25. FC Dallas (=)

Ten FC Dallas players and a member staff contracted the COVID-19 virus before the tournament. They remain in 25th position in our Power Rankings.

 

24. Inter Miami (=)

Three games, three defeats for expansion side Inter Miami in MLS is Back, and they have now lost all five games in 2020 by just a single goal, after two close losses at the start of the regular season back in February and March.

Their final group game saw them lose out to New York City FC in the basement battle in Group A. Both sides had gone into the fixture having lost their first two group games in the tournament, but it was the Sky Blues that came out victorious.

A single goal from Ismael Tajouri-Shradi was enough for Ronny Deila’s men to take the victory to keep their hopes of qualification alive, while Miami will have to go back to the drawing board for when the regular-season picks up following the conclusion of the tournament.

 

23. Chicago Fire (-4)

After grabbing a big win over the reigning MLS Cup champs Seattle Sounders in their opening group match, the Chicago Fire then went and performed below-par against San Jose, losing out 2-0 in their second match in Group B.

Goals from Cristian Espinoza and Chris Wondolowski condemned the Fire to defeat, before they then lost to the same scoreline against Vancouver Whitecaps, with Yordy Reyna and Cristian Dajome the scorers in the final match in the group.

The second 2-0 loss saw the Whitecaps move ahead of the Fire in the final Group B standings, and it is the Canadian side that take the wild-card spot, while Chicago are one of the eight teams to have been knocked out of the competition.

 

22. Houston Dynamo (-4)

Going into their final match in Group F, the Houston Dynamo knew that a win would see them into the knockout stages as one of the wild-card teams at worst, but they were only able to draw 1-1 with the Galaxy, as both teams fall out of the tournament.
It was all going well for the Texan side, as former Minnesota United midfielder Darwin Quintero scored a lovely free-kick in the 17th minute, and they held onto the lead for the next 70 minutes or so. However, a 90th-minute penalty from Cristian Pavon saw both teams eliminated.

The Dynamo finish third in Group F with two points from their three games and miss out on qualification to the knockout stages of the tournament. In the bigger picture, Houston have just three points from their first five games of 2020, and Tab Ramos will have to pick his players up for when the regular season gets back underway.

 

21. LA Galaxy (-5)

After two poor performances to start the MLS is Back tournament off, the LA Galaxy came into their final group match against Houston knowing they had to win by at least three goals if they were to go through to the knockout stages.

However, without Javier Hernandez and Jonathan dos Santos they never stood a chance, and their attacking output was low all game. The Californian side fell behind to a 17th-minute free-kick from Darwin Quintero, and never looked like getting back into it.

They got a penalty in the 90th minute, which Cristian Pavon scored, meaning Houston’s route to the knockout stages also ended with a 1-1 draw. The Galaxy sit bottom of the Eastern Conference, with just two points from five games. More is needed from the five-time MLS Cup champions.

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