Three weeks in, the MLS season is in full swing.
Story lines have begun to emerge that could encapsulate the entire season…
Will Portland be the best attacking team in the league? Are Atlanta contenders or pretenders? Is another team slated to dethrone Colorado as the be defensive team in MLS? Can Schweinsteiger help Chicago rise from the ashes of longstanding disappointment?
Teams are starting to show what they can do given a stretch of games, giving more weight to wins and losses. And that means more pull in where you rank among the other teams in the league.
Here are the MLS rankings for Week 3:
1. FC Dallas ⇔
Result: 2-1 win over New England, 2-1 over Pachuca (CCL)
The win over the Revs might not have been the most impressive performance, but considering Dallas had already played during the week (and won) against Pachuca in the Champions League, they’ll take the win.
Up next: at Pachuca – Champions League (4/4)
2. Portland Timbers ⇑ 3
Result: 4-2 win over Houston
The Timbers keep winning and keep climbing the rankings. After dispatching undefeated Houston, and scoring another four goals, its fair to ask: is there a limit to how far the front six can take Portland?
Up next: at Columbus (3/25), vs. New England (4/2)
3. Toronto FC ⇔
Result: 2-0 win at Vancouver
The Reds picked up their first win of the season, scoring twice after the Caps went down a man. Toronto may end up being one of the best teams defensively in 2017, even when they play three in the back.
Up next: vs. Kansas City (3/31)
4. Seattle Sounders ⇔
Result: 3-1 win over NYRB
Not a bad way to celebrate your championship banner unveiling. Jordan Morris and Dempsey both got on the score sheet, and the Sounders got over the first win hump. Extra kudos to Harry Shipp, who scored his first goal and seems to fitting in nicely with the Rave Green.
Up next: vs. Atlanta (3/31)
5. New York Red Bulls ⇓ 3
Result: 3-1 loss at Seattle
Seattle might be one of the toughest places to play, so don’t read to much into the loss. New York still seems to lack the ability to control box to box, and while Bradley Wright Phillips makes them deadly in transition, they look flat during possession stretches.
Up next: vs. Salt Lake (3/25), at Houston (4/1)
6. Sporting Kansas City ⇔
Result: 2-1 win over San Jose
Its tough to figure out what exactly happened late in Sporting’s win over the Quakes. Whether SKC let down their guard after the second goal, leading to San Jose’s score, or not, Kansas City still look like a force to be reckoned with in 2017.
Up next: at Toronto (3/31)
7. Atlanta United ⇑ 6
Result: 4-0 win over Chicago
Wow. This Atlanta team looks like the real deal. I’m not quite ready to crown them kings of MLS just yet, or even kings of the Eastern conference for that matter. Blowout wins over Chicago and Minnesota are one thing. The real test comes against the reigning MLS champs next week.
Up next: at Seattle (3/31)
8. New York City ⇔
Result: 1-1 tie with Montreal
After throwing down the hammer against DC, New York looked a little sluggish over the 90 minutes against Montreal. Rodney Wallace seems to be acclimating well though, and if he keeps it up, that’s quite the addition to David Villa-Jack Harrison-Maxi Moralez.
Up next: vs. San Jose (4/1)
9. Colorado Rapids ⇓ 2
Result: 2-2 tie with Minnesota
The Rapids have been one of the best home teams over the last season, so how they managed to lose out on three points to the MLS newcomers who’d lost both games so far, I still don’t know. Luckily, they have a few weeks to figure things out. There seems to be a Jermaine Jones-size hole in the midfield.
Up next: Byes the next two weeks
10. Houston Dynamo ⇓ 1
Result: 4-2 loss at Portland
Houston was a runaway train to start the season. However, the Dynamo were derailed by Portland, arguably the only hotter team through the first two games than Houston. Can’t give up four goals and win many games, but the Dynamo sure gave it the old college try.
Up next: vs. NYRB (4/1)
11. Montreal Impact ⇔
Result: 1-1 tie at NYCFC
Its very possible that the Impact tie more games than they win in 2017. This week though, it was Montreal playing the role of “comeback kids” as Dominic Oduro scored an equalizer midway through the second half. Defensively, this team can absorb waves of attack like no one else.
Up next: at Chicago (4/1)
12. Orlando City ⇑ 3
Result: 2-1 win over Philadelphia
2-0 to start the season, and tied atop the Eastern conference… all without Kaka? Orlando still has a way to go, but Jason Kreis seems to have the Lions headed in the right direction.
Up next: at Columbus (4/1)
13. LA Galaxy ⇓ 1
Result: 2-1 win at Salt Lake
LA were on the verge of dropping their first three games of the season after RSL took the early lead. But a red card to Kyle Beckerman in the late stages of the first half bailed them out. The Galaxy scored twice in the second half to pick up their first win of 2017.
Up next: at Vancouver (4/1)
14. San Jose Earthquakes ⇓ 3
Result: 2-1 loss at Kansas City
The Quakes definitely took a step back this week, and will want to put the loss against SKC behind them. David Bingham experienced the ultimate goalkeeper nightmare, and the offense didn’t do much until stoppage time. Going on the road next week against City, things aren’t getting any easier.
Up next: at NYC (4/1)
15. DC United ⇓ 1
Result: 2-0 loss to Columbus
Oye. DC United look utterly lost on the field. Despite controlling possession, shots, and most other attacking stats, they finished with zero goals for the second straight week. DC could very well drop 6-7 spots next week if come out that flat against Philly too.
Up next: vs. Philadelphia (4/1)
16. Real Salt Lake ⇔
Result: 2-1 loss to Los Angeles
Not a good week for RSL. No one in the West likes to lose at home to LA. But the Jeff Cassar firing, who was still running Jason Kreis’ system, may even things out for them. It was surprising to see the triggered pulled this early in the season, but Real fans are hoping there’s no where to go but up.
Up next: at NYRB (3/25), at Minnesota (4/1)
17. Columbus Crew ⇑ 3
Result: 2-0 win at DC
A solid road win for the Crew knocks them out of the basement of the power rankings. Did they score both there goals off penalty kicks? Yes. Was it against a DC team who can’t seem to keep teams from scoring? Yes. But they’ll gladly take the win after starting the season winless.
Up next: vs. Portland (3/25), vs. Orlando (4/1)
18. Vancouver Whitecaps ⇓ 1
Result: 2-0 loss to Toronto
Freddy Montero said it best… “I believe in the process.” The Caps have a solid core of youth players and DPs, but things haven’t quite come together yet. No need to panic for Vancouver, but the first few results haven’t been reassuring.
Up next: vs. Los Angeles (4/1)
19. New England Revolution ⇔
Result: 2-1 loss at Dallas
The Revs got off to a dream start against Dallas after Lee Nguyen gave New England the early lead. But, like much of 2016, the Revolution couldn’t hold on and gave up a pair of goals just six minutes apart in the second half. New England could be heading for similar results if they don’t clean things up in the back.
Up next: vs. Minnesota (3/25), at Portland (4/2)
20. Chicago Fire ⇓ 2
Result: 4-0 loss at Atlanta
Just when you think the Fire have it figured out, they lay an egg like they did against Atlanta this weekend. On the bright side, the addition of Bastian Schweinsteiger in the middle could open up a lot of things for guys like David Accam and Nemanja Nikolic. But we’ll have to put a pin in that one.
Up next: vs. Montreal (4/1)
21. Philadelphia Union ⇓ 1
Result: 2-1 loss at Orlando
Going back to last season, the Union are still riding a 10-game, winless streak, and a big part of it is the offense. CJ Sapong is off to a good start, with two goals in three games, but if he doesn’t keep that scoring pace up, Philly might be in for a long season.
Up next: at DC (4/1)
22. Minnesota United ⇔
Result: 2-2 tie at Colorado
Colorado doesn’t score many goals, so this week was a nice reprieve for Minnesota. But good on the Loons for scoring twice against a very good defensive team in the Rapids to pick up their first MLS point.
Up next: at New England (3/25), vs. Salt Lake (4/1)