The MLS Power Ranks have the Portland Timbers and Orlando City look good heading back into the season.
The regular-season return is almost upon us, following a successful campaign with the MLS is Back tournament, but who tops the MLS Power Rankings ahead of the first weekend back?
Both Portland Timbers and Orlando City have made substantial moves up the rankings after reaching the final at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex earlier this month, with the former taking the spoils after a 2-1 victory over the ‘home’ side.
Elsewhere, the likes of Minnesota United and Philadelphia Union outperformed pre-tournament expectations, while Atlanta United and New York Red Bulls were among those who failed to even make it out of the group stages, and saw themselves plummet down the rankings throughout the first round of the competition.
Two teams did not take part in the tournament, as several players from both FC Dallas and Nashville SC tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Since the end of the MLS is Back tournament, the two sides have faced off twice, bringing their total regular season matches played to four, just one behind the rest of the league.
Once again, 26 teams will be vying for post-season berths, with Columbus Crew leading the league in points, as MLS tries to get back to some form of normality. Here are our Power Rankings ahead of the first full slate of MLS games since early March.
MLS Power Rankings: 26. Inter Miami CF (-2)
Five games, five defeats. It has not been the ideal start for Inter Miami CF in their first season in the league. With the COVID-19 pandemic splitting up those defeats as well, you could argue that this is one of the worst debut seasons ever in professional sports.
They sit bottom of the Supporters’ Shield standings, and our Power Rankings because of it, but the signing of Blaise Matuidi from Paris Saint-Germain shows a single of their intent, and that could be the first step on their rise up the table. They face an in-form Orlando City this weekend, with the Lions coming off the back of reaching the final of MLS is Back last week.
This Week’s Fixtures: vs. Orlando City SC (Saturday 22, 8 pm ET)
MLS Power Rankings: 25. Nashville SC (+1)
One of two teams to have missed the MLS is Back tournament due to the COVID-19 pandemic were Nashville SC, in what is one of the oddest starts to a professional sports franchise to date. However, they have fought back well.
Since the end of the tournament in Orlando, the expansion side has faced FC Dallas twice, taking four points from those two fixtures, including grabbing their first win in MLS. They currently sit in 11th in the Eastern Conference but face a tricky task against a reeling Atlanta United on Saturday evening.
This Week’s Fixtures: @ Atlanta United (Saturday 22, 7 pm ET)