MLS Progress Report 3: June international break

Mar 12, 2022; Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA; Inter Miami CF defender Damion Lowe (31) runs with the ball during the first half against Los Angeles FC at Inter Miami CF Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 12, 2022; Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA; Inter Miami CF defender Damion Lowe (31) runs with the ball during the first half against Los Angeles FC at Inter Miami CF Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports /
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Portland Timbers
The Timbers have some room for improvement /

C/D Tier

Portland Timbers (11th West)

Previous Grades: C, C-

Latest Grade: D

Average: D+/C- midpoint

How do you win a game 7-2 and still only get a D? By following it up with losses in the next three games, and with two of them being against San Jose Earthquakes and Inter Miami. Those are two clubs Timbers fans expected their team to be better than this season, and the longer this goes on, the likelihood that this core of players stays together in 2023 decreases.

Seattle Sounders (10th West)

Previous Grades: D+, D

Latest Grade: C+

Average: D+/C- midpoint

San Jose Earthquakes might’ve done the Seattle Sounders a favor knocking them out of the U.S. Open Cup. While past Sounders squads have boasted the depth required to compete on multiple fronts, the class of 2022 certainly has cup fatigue. Since focus has shifted solely to MLS, the Sounders have won 3 of their last 4 games. They still don’t look like a top tier MLS team, but don’t be surprised if they do once the playoffs roll around.

C Tier

Charlotte FC (8th East)

Previous Grades: C-, C

Latest Grade: C-

Average: C-

Charlotte FC have done alright for themselves as an expansion side at this point of the MLS season. They’ve been in a lot of close games, picking up points against good teams but losing some games in ways nobody wants to. In their most recent outing, they were up 1-0 against the Sounders until the 72nd minute. At that point, they conceded 2 goals to lose 2-1. Those are growing pains, but a habit you don’t want to form.

New England Revolution (11th East)

Previous Grades: D, C-

Latest Grade: B-

Average: C-

Had the Revs gotten wins over Crew and/or Atlanta instead of draws, their grade would be higher. Still, flashes of last season’s juggernaut are starting to emerge again. There is top tier MLS talent in every position group in this squad, so like the Sounders, maybe they’ll start getting back to that level. How they’ll manage Matt Turner’s departure to Arsenal this summer will be key.

Inter Miami (7th East)

Previous Grades: F, C

Latest Grade: B

Average: C-

A far cry from the star driven team we are used to seeing from Inter Miami, but that’s not always a bad thing. Inter Miami wouldn’t be the first team to see more success with a more balanced roster, and led by Leonardo Campana who should be on that Ecuador World Cup roster, they are starting to find their form and be competitive in the league.

Chicago Fire (14th/Last East)

Previous Grades: A-, C

Latest Grade: F

Average: C

Freefall is the best word to describe what’s going on with the Chicago Fire lately. The only positive is that it hasn’t cost Xherdan Shaqiri his spot in the Switzerland national team ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, but then again Shaqiri could be playing in Tahiti and still be getting caps.

Minnesota United (8th West)

Previous Grades: B+, B

Latest Grade: D-

Average: C+

The positives? Drawing against the Galaxy and beating FC Dallas. The negatives? Losing every other game during this period. While not totally damaging as they are tied on points with Houston Dynamo and Colorado Rapids vying for that 7th playoff spot, that’s simply not good enough for their standards.

Colorado Rapids (9th West)

Previous Grades: B, C+

Latest Grade: C

Average: C+

Completely contrasting results home and away merits an average C grade for the Colorado Rapids. Rapids are one of three Western Conference teams without an away win yet this season (the others being San Jose Earthquakes and Sporting Kansas City). That’s not a good sign for a team projected to play on the road should they make the MLS Cup Playoffs.

Nashville SC (6th West)

Previous Grades: D+, B-

Latest Grade: B

Average: C+

Aside from a surprise loss to the Houston Dynamo (who were reduced to 10 men for 55 minutes), Nashville had a solid month picking up wins and draws. There’s nothing like moving into a new stadium and it feels like home right away. With Walker Zimmerman leading the defense and Hany Mukhtar leading the attack, Nashville might be in 6th right now but it’s a crowded field from 2nd to 6th and they can make their way further up.

CF Montreal (3rd East)

Previous Grades: F, B+

Latest Grade: A-

Average: C+

A 4-1 statement win over Orlando City and a 4-3 thriller victory against FC Cincinnati show just how good CF Montreal can be at peak performance. Performances from USMNT outsider looking in Djordje Mihailovic are among the catalysts for these noteworthy results. They lost close encounters to Nashville and RSL but their ascension to 3rd in the Eastern Conference has surpassed all expectations and their fans should be proud.