A week full of international qualifiers and friendlies left MLS with a shorter schedule than usual. However that didn’t mean a lack of story lines from players and teams in the league…
Petke at the helm with RSL, LA and Atlanta losing key players to injury, and Clint Dempsey back to his scoring ways dominated the headlines this cycle.
Here are the Power Rankings for Week Four:
1. FC Dallas ⇔
Nothing this week for Dallas, but a seeing Ryan Hollingshead doing some training after his accident is a feelgood story we can all get behind.
Up next: at Pachuca – Champions League (4/4)
2. Toronto FC ⇑ 1
Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore both played significant roles in the US getting back into the World Cup Qualifying picture. If those two can sync up with the ever presumptive MVP Sebastian Giovinco, Toronto will be in good shape this season.
Up next: vs. Kansas City (3/31)
3. Seattle Sounders ⇑ 1
Clint Dempsey scored four goals in two World Cup Qualifying games for the US and Major League Soccer is on high alert. If Dempsey starts tallying at the same rate, there’s no defense in the league that can stop the Sounders.
Up next: vs. Atlanta (3/31)
4. Portland Timbers ⇓ 2
Result: 3-2 loss vs. Columbus
After three dominant performances to open the season, the Timbers took their first step back. In a rematch of MLS Cup 2015, Portland fell on the road, where they were historically bad in 2016. No need to panic, but the Timbers need to realize scoring without defending will only get you so far.
Up next: vs. New England (4/2)
5. Sporting Kansas City ⇑ 1
Graham Zusi may not be the right back that US fans want, but in a 1-1 draw in Panama in picking up a crucial point, he’s the right back that they needed.
Up next: at Toronto (3/31)
6. New York Red Bulls ⇓ 1
Result: 0-0 tie with Salt Lake
A lack luster performance against RSL makes it two weeks in a row New York has looked flat.
Up next: at Houston (4/1)
7. New York City ⇑ 1
In the most New York thing ever, NYCFC now have a scarf with pigeons on it.
That has to count for something… right?
Up next: vs. San Jose (4/1)
8. Atlanta United ⇓ 1
Atlanta have been dominant on the attack so far this season, but that could change with the loss of Josef Martinez. The striker has five of Atlanta’s 11 goals in 2017, and with Martinez scheduled to be out 4-6 weeks, United could see a drop off in production.
Up next: at Seattle (3/31)
9. Colorado Rapids ⇔
Two solid performances for the US in goal by Tim Howard are great for both USMNT and Rapids fans. Defensively, Colorado is one of the best in the league, and Howard is a big reason why.
Up next: Bye
10. Houston Dynamo ⇔
Defender Adolfo Machado took the throw in for Panama that lead to the lone goal the USMNT gave up this past week. And it was a beauty of a throw at that.
Up next: vs. NYRB (4/1)
11. Montreal Impact ⇔
Laurent Ciman hasn’t looked like the commanding centerback he has in year past. But an international game with Belgium may be just the jump start he needs.
Up next: at Chicago (4/1)
12. Orlando City ⇔
After starting the season undefeated with two wins, Cyle Larin and company just want to know when they can get back on the field again!
Up next: at Columbus (4/1)
13. San Jose Earthquakes ⇑ 1
Anibal Godoy looked good during spells on the ball during Panama’s game against the US. The midfielder has had a hot start to the season and could be key to San Jose making a run.
Up next: at NYC (4/1)
14. Columbus Crew ⇑ 3
Result: 3-2 win vs. Portland
Big win for the Crew, following up their first victory of the season last week against DC. Portland has been red hot to start 2017, but Columbus veterans Federico Higuain, Justin Meram and Ethan Finlay all showed up for the Crew, with Niko Hanson scoring a late game-winner.
Up next: vs. Orlando (4/1)
15. LA Galaxy ⇓ 2
Sebastian Lleget’s injury was disappointing for USMNT fans, after watching the LA midfielder put in a solid game for the US against Honduras. But the 4-6 month loss is disastrous for Curt Alfono and his team going forward.
Up next: at Vancouver (4/1)
16. Real Salt Lake ⇔
Result: 0-0 tie with NYRB
The Mike Petke hire is a step in a new (and good) direction for RSL.
Up next: at Minnesota (4/1)
17. New England Revolution ⇑ 2
Result: 5-1 win vs. Minnesota
At this point, we can take five-goal wins against Minnesota with a grain of salt. Nevertheless, three points is still more than zero (at least that’s what I’ve been told). The real test for the Revs will come this weekend against a no doubt angered Timbers side.
Up next: at Portland (4/2)
18. DC United ⇓ 3
After their last two performances, the best thing for DC this week was that they didn’t have to play at all. But they’re still feeling the repercussions of two scoreless defeats.
Up next: vs. Philadelphia (4/1)
19. Chicago Fire ⇑ 1
All hail Schweini.
Up next: vs. Montreal (4/1)
20. Vancouver Whitecaps ⇓ 2
The Caps had a strong showing for Costa Rica in their World Cup Qualifier, as Kendall Waston got on the end of a Christian Bolano’s corner to bring the Ticos level with Honduras. If Waston can keep out of trouble, he’s a more than formidable centerback.
Up next: vs. Los Angeles (4/1)
21. Philadelphia Union ⇔
Alejandro Bedoya didn’t feature as much with the national team as he has in the past, but the US look considerably more settled in the substitution action he got late in the game. Now if that could just translate over to the Union…
Up next: at DC (4/1)
22. Minnesota United ⇔
Result: 5-2 loss at New England
Yikes. Wow. Ugh. Oye.
It’s early, but at this point most people have run out of vague descriptive words for Minnesota’s play. The Loons don’t appear to be trending up anytime soon, especially with the defense having conceded 18 goals in the first four games.
Up next: vs. Salt Lake (4/1)