MLS Power Rankings — Week 1

Here we are! The new season is upon us and I cannot be more excited that I can watch MLS matches again. I wanted to sit down and do my take on the power rankings for the league, starting with the first weekend’s matches.

As always, power rankings are subjective. This is 100% just me talking for the sake of talking. If you disagree, I encourage you to go find a forum and post your objections.

  1. New York Red Bulls — While battling in CCL, they managed a 1 – 1 draw away at Columbus. I still hold them atop the league for my first Power Rankings.
  2. LA FC - Los Angeles FC stole the victory in the final moments of their game, and I think this team is going to be a real contender this season.
  3. Seattle Sounders FC - 4 – 1 at home. Sure, it was against Cincinnati, but they showed hints at what the league can look forward to from a healthy Sounders roster.
  4. DC United — Defeating Atlanta 2 – 0 is no small feat, and they deserve to feel very good about it. They looked solid.
  5. Atlanta FC — Losing on the road is fairly common in MLS. Losing on the road, while resting some starters for CCL, is to be expected. But being the only team shutout to start the season, especially as the reigning MLS champions, hurts. I’m going to dip their power rankings, and I look forward to being shown how wrong I was when Atlanta comes roaring back. 
  6. Sporting KC — They looked good, going to get a point on the road visiting LA FC, only to have it stolen the last moment. Were it not for the upward movement of LA FC, Seattle and DC United; KC would probably be top 3 had they gotten the draw.
  7. Columbus Crew - Drawing NYRB at home is nothing to scoff at, but it also isn’t anything that is going to dramatically move the needle in terms of rankings.
  8. Portland Timbers - Playing in the coldest MLS game ever is an achievement unto itself. But a 3 – 3 draw against Colorado leaves me questions about their defense.
  9. LA Galaxy — LA managed to grab the win at home, and thus not bringing shame to their newly installed Beckham statue. But this team wasn’t convincing for me and has to work to solidify their plan going forward.
  10. Toronto FC — If you had asked me where I thought Toronto would be before last weekend’s game, I would have said 15ish. But their win on the road, with Michael Bradley netting a brace, has made me reconsider. Perhaps the remnants of the “best MLS team ever”™ might have more life than we thought.
  11. NYCFC - With David Villa in Japan, many wondered how this team would evolve. Drawing on the road is good. Drawing with Orlando is less impressive.
  12. Houston Dynamo - Many, myself included, expect Houston to rise in the league’s estimations this season. But drawing at home against RSL leaves me uninspired and not seeing their power rising. Yet.
  13. Minnesota United — If you had Minnesota winning their first game on the road in Vancouver on your bingo card, congrats. I didn’t. With their offseason signings I expected them to be more competitive this season (Ozzie Alonso in the midfield all but guarantees that for any MLS team.)
  14. FC Dallas — I had these guys picked as a winner in their first match. I was disappointed. New England are no powerhouse, Dallas should have dispatched them early.
  15. Philadelphia Union — Toronto surprised them and they never recovered their footing.
  16. Montréal Impact - One of the three road winners in week 1, theirs was over San Jose. I am hoping to see Remi Garde’s side form into a more convincing squad in the coming weeks.
  17. Chicago Fire — In many ways Chicago had the upper hand in their match against LA. They scored first. They led in shots, passing accuracy, and possession. But the Galaxy found two goals to take the lead. Also Ousted looked excellent this match, despite giving up two.
  18. Colorado Rapids — Drawing 3 – 3 at home against Portland. Perhaps Colorado are the sleepers of the Western Conference.
  19. Real Salt Lake - RSL struggled to find the net this game, taking 14 shots and only sinking one in the 93rd minute playing against the 10-player Houston. They will need to do better than that this season.
  20. New England Revolution — Well. These guys managed a draw in Dallas after Carles Gil’s tying goal in the 57′. Gil is going to have to carry this team. 
  21. Orlando City SC — Oh Orlando. Adding Nani should be a help this season, but you certainly aren’t looking like a major threat. Or a minor threat.
  22. Vancouver Whitecaps — They might as well be the second expansion side of the season. They are going to be rebuilding and might sink like a rock in the western conference.
  23. San Jose Earthquakes - Losing at home against Montréal, San Jose’s coach Almeyda said “[T]here is a light that is coming, and we’ll have to turn over and work, that’s the only way to get out of this situation.” I will be eager to see this work happen.
  24. FC Cincinnati — Welcome to MLS Cincinnati. You’re going to have to work your asses off this season. You don’t have owners who spend like Atlanta or LA FC. You’re much closer to the Minnesota side, and that is a fine thing to be. But it’s going to be a rough transition as you try to find your footing and place in the league. Have fun at Atlanta next week!

Watch These Matches for the week of Feb. 4

Monday, Feb. 4

  • West Ham United vs. Liverpool (Premier League) — Liverpool sit only two points ahead of Manchester City after their win today, they need to win at London Stadium to maintain their lead or else they risk losing the top spot this coming weekend.

Tuesday, Feb. 5

  • Borussia Dortmund vs. Werder Bremen (DFB Pokal) — Top of the Bundesliga vs. the middle of the pack. However Werder Bremen have Josh Sargent, and Dortmund potentially have Pulisic. Could we see two of America’s rising stars face off?

Wednesday, Feb. 6

  • Everton vs. Manchester City (Premier League) — Man. City are chasing Liverpool and depending how they did, this could be the match where Manchester take the top of the league. Can they?
  • Barcelona vs. Real Madrid (Copa del Rey) — An El Classico on the road to the top of the cup? Yes please.
  • Aberdeen vs. Rangers (Scottish Premier) — #3 vs. #2 facing off. 

Saturday, Feb. 9

  • Atlético Madrid vs. Real Madrid (La Liga) - We have an El Classico immediately followed by the Madrid derby. If you haven’t seen it, you should really check out this Derby Days that explores this Spanish rivalry.
  • Parma vs. Internazionale (Serie A) — Parma managed to draw the talent laden Juventus. Can they also upset against Milan’s side?
  • Melbourne Victory vs. Perth Glory (A League) — Top two in Australia face off this weekend.

Sunday, Feb. 10

  • Tottenham Hotspur vs. Leicester City (Premier League) — Having lost to Manchester United, Leicester are looking to bounce back. Can they do it against the Spurs?
  • Manchester City vs. Chelsea (Premier League) — #2 vs #4. Fireworks. Lots of fireworks.
  • Utrecht vs. PSV (Eredivisie) — Two of the top in the Netherlands face off, can Utretcht give PSV their first loss of 2019?

Watch These Matches for the week of Jan. 28

Another week of the beautiful game for us all to sit back and enjoy. From Scotland to Mexico, and even an International friendly. Should be a good week.

Monday, Jan. 28

  • İstanbul Başakşehir vs Kasımpaşa (Turkish Super Lig) — Istanbul has opened a 6 point lead on the nearest chaser, and Kasımpaşa sits in fourth, nine points behind them. A win here would tie them for 2nd, and prevent Istanbul from opening a wider gap.

Tuesday, Jan. 29

  • Arsenal vs. Cardiff City (Premier League) — Arsenal sit in fifth. Cardiff City in 18th. Not exactly close. But both teams are fighting to progress. A win for Arsenal ties Chelsea. A win for Cardiff City could mean that they escape relegation (assuming Newcastle doesn’t beat Manchester City.)

Wednesday, Jan. 30

  • Tottenham Hotspur vs. Watford (Premier League) — Watford continue to put up good games, as they chase the leaders. Spurs though have their challenges ahead of them with Kane injured and Son playing for his national team.

Thursday, Jan. 31

  • Union Berlin vs. Koln (Bundesliga 2) — Koln were Bundesliga mainstays until they got relegated. Koln are #2 in the second league, fighting to make their way back into the league.

Saturday, Feb. 2

  • USA vs. Costa Rica (World Friendly) - Our second look at the US Men’s squad under the new coach as they face Costa Rica. We’ll be curious to see how they look.
  • Bayer Leverkusen vs. Bayern München (Bundesliga) — Casual fans, or those unfamiliar with the German league might assume these two teams were in the same city given the presence of ‘Bayer’ and ‘Bayern’ — but no, Leverkusen and Munich (Munchen) are nearly 300 miles apart. Bayer is named for the pharmaceutical company Bayer, while Bayern comes from the name of the region Munich is in.
  • Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Borussia Dortmund (Bundesliga) — Fifteen points separate them, Eintracht sits at 30 points while Dortmund leads the league with 45. Dortmund has won four of their last five where Eintracht Frankfurt have only taken 7 points out of their last five matches. A win for Dortmund gives them a commanding nine point lead over the chasing Bayern München (pending the outcome of their match vs. Leverkusen.)
  • Monaco vs. Toulouse (Ligue 1) — The great Thierry Henry had tried to turn Monaco around, taking on a monumental challenge as his first coaching job. And, well, it hasn’t gone well. He has been removed as the team tries to save their season again. Toulouse is not a powerhouse, so perhaps Monaco can turn it around here.

Sunday, Feb. 3

  • Manchester City vs Arsenal (Premier League) — Do I need to explain why to watch this? Well, as a Tottenham supporter I can tell you it’s so I can see Man. City beat them.
  • Real Madrid vs Deportivo Alavés (La Liga) — Real Madrid sit in third, and Alaves is four points and two spots behind them. Madrid are in good form as they rejoin the hunt for the top of the league.
  • Roma vs. Milan (Serie A) — Two legendary teams of Italy, Roma needing to earn that fourth rank to try and play in Champions League rather than Europa league.
  • Olympique Lyonnais vs PSG (Ligue 1) — PSG all but has this league clenched barring a catastrophic run of games, but Lyon are also in great form as they have not lost a game since the beginning of December.

Watch These Matches for the week of Jan. 21

Another week of the beautiful game for us all to sit back and enjoy. From Scotland to Mexico, and even an International friendly. Should be a good week.

Wednesday, Jan. 23

  • Kilmarnock vs. Rangers (Scottish Premier) — We don’t easily get the Scottish games here in the US, but #2 vs. #3.

Thursday, Jan. 24

  • Tottenham Hotspur vs. Chelsea (English League Cup) — Two British powerhouses face off in the second leg of their match. Going into it, Tottenham is up 1 – 0.

Friday, Jan. 25

  • Manchester United vs. Arsenal (FA Cup) — One day after we see Tottenham vs. Chelsea, we get this matchup. Olé has turned Man United around and made them fun to watch.

Saturday, Jan. 19

  • Milan vs. Napoli (Serie A) — Two top teams in Italy facing off.
  • Werder Bremen vs. Eintracht Frankfurt (Bundesliga) — Two middle-of-the-pack teams in Germany face off. In addition tune in to see if the up and coming American, Josh Sargent can notch another goal in his early Bundesliga career.
  • Cruz Azul vs. Tijuana (Liga MX) — We are early into the Clausura for Mexican football and both of these teams need to start earning points.

Sunday, Jan. 27

  • USA vs. Panama (World Friendly) - Panama got the last spot in the 2018 World Cup after the US failed to qualify. This is a little bit of going full circle as we introduce the world to the next era of the US Men’s Team.
  • Juventus vs. Lazio (Serie A) — Historically, Juventus have a dominant performance in this series. Will they notch another win over Lazio?
  • Crystal Palace vs. Tottenham Hotspur (FA Cup) — Crystal Palace are struggling to climb in the Premier League while Tottenham fights for the shield. Can Palace get a win over the Spurs for the FA Cup?
  • Feyenoord vs. Ajax (Eredivisie) — Two of the top Dutch clubs face off!
Header photo by unsplash-logoTom Grimbert

Watch These Matches for the week of Jan. 14

Monday, Jan. 14

  • Manchester City vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers (Premier League) — Wolves upset the Spurs a few weeks ago 3 – 1, can they make a similar upset against City?

Wednesday, Jan. 16

  • Juventus vs. Milan (Supercoppa Italiana) — Two Italian powerhouses face off in Italy for their national cup.
  • Saint-Etienne vs. Olympique Marseille (Ligue 1) — #5 vs #6 in the league. Both sitting outside the Europa league for the finish of the league. Saint-Etienne moves into position with a win, Marseille with a win joins the three-way tie for 4th, determined by goal differential.

Friday, Jan. 18

  • Hoffenheim vs. Bayern Munich (Bundesliga) — Hoffenheim need to turn their ship around, they have drawn their last five league games. This match is going to be a tough one, as Munich are firing on all cylinders. That said, they did manage to defeat Bayern the last time they hosted them. So it should be an interesting match.

Saturday, Jan. 19

  • Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Leicester City (Premier League) — As of this writing, the Wolves are in 9th place in the league. However the distance from there to 7th is a single win. If they didn’t get that win by upsetting City then they can that win against the #7 team themselves.
  • Arsenal vs. Chelsea (Premier League) — #5 vs #4 derby!
  • Sevilla vs. Real Madrid (La Liga) - Real Madrid have floundered and dropped to 5th in the league. Here they face the #3 Sevilla, who have them by 3 points and ten goals in goal differential. A win here moves them to 4th and betters their position to try and chase down their city rivals Atletico.
  • RB Leipzig vs. Borussia Dortmund (Bundesliga) - Two of my favorite teams in the league face off, it should be a fun match for all.

Sunday, Jan. 20

  • Napoli vs. Lazio (Serie A) - Two storied Italian teams face off! I predict a Napoli winner but Lazio should make it interesting.
  • Guadalajara vs. Toluca (Liga MX) — Two of the top teams in Mexico face off. Historically it’s a fairly even series with a slight edge to Toluca, but Guadalajara are at home and are in slightly better form given their last five games.
  • Fulham vs. Tottenham Hotspur (Premier League) - Fulham are in dire straits and they need to start pulling off some unexpected wins if they have any hope of avoiding relegation. This would be one such unexpected win as they face #2 Tottenham. But they are at home and stranger things have happened.