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SBI MLS Power Rankings (Week 3)

Photo by Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

The last week of play ahead of the international break saw a mixed-bag of results for the top teams in the power rankings.

There’ll be movement at the top and bottom, as several teams earned their first wins of the year, including the LA Galaxy, Toronto FC, Sporting Kansas City, and the Columbus Crew. Meanwhile, others, like the Houston Dynamo and New York Red Bulls, suffered their first loss of the new campaign,.

A few teams remain mired in the realm of the winless, including Real Salt Lake, who dismissed head coach Jeff Cassar after the team’s loss, and D.C. United, who have yet to score a goal this season. On the other end of the spectrum, just a pair of teams remain perfect on the year: the Portland Timbers and Orlando City.

Most teams will enjoy a week off during the break, but six will remain in action next weekend.

Here is a closer look at this week’s SBI MLS Power Rankings:


1.  (Last week: 1) FC DALLAS (2-0-1)

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 LAST WEEK: Beat New England Revolution, 2-1, on Saturday.


OUTLOOK: Common traits in champion-caliber teams are depth and the ability to win ugly matches. FC Dallas has displayed both of those traits, with a draw while heavily rotated last week and by battling back against the Revolution this week to earn a come-from-behind 2-1 victory. An early goal from Lee Nguyen was erased by Maxi Urruti, who’s hot streak continued with a match-winning brace.


2. (3) PORTLAND TIMBERS (3-0-0)

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LAST WEEK: Beat Houston Dynamo, 4-2, on Saturday.

THIS WEEK: at Columbus Crew on Saturday.

OUTLOOK: The Timbers emerged victorious in distinct fashion in an early season battle of top teams, dispatching the upstart Dynamo, 4-2, at home. After Diego Valeri scored the opener, the Dynamo battled back to take a lead just before halftime. But Valeri would record his brace early in the second half to equalize before David Guzman and Fanendo Adi pulled through for the Timbers win. The early league-leaders continue play during the international break, facing the Columbus Crew next weekend.


3. (7) SEATTLE SOUNDERS (1-1-1)

Seattle Sounders FC Logo

LAST WEEK: Beat New York Red Bulls, 3-1, on Sunday.


OUTLOOK: If Toronto FC’s first win felt like a lifted weight, the Sounders were simply flying on Sunday. After the raising of their championship banner, the Sounders snapped the Red Bulls 18-match unbeaten streak in their home debut in 2017, earning a big 3-1 victory. Jordan Morris was strong for the Sounders, earning a penalty kick that Clint Dempsey converted early on before scoring the winner himself in the second half. The win could boost the Sounders into looking like their late-2016 counterparts, and the rest of the league should be wary.


4. (6) TORONTO FC (1-0-2)

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LAST WEEK: Beat Vancouver Whitecaps, 2-0, on Saturday.


OUTLOOK: Finally, Toronto FC have their first win of the year, 2-0, over the Vancouver Whitecaps. Despite missing Sebastian Giovinco due to injury, TFC suddenly find themselves in the thick of things with five points through three matches. Jozy Altidore stepped up in a big way, firing a goal and assist four minutes apart to make the difference as the Reds set themselves up to build on their success after the break.


5. (2) NEW YORK RED BULLS (2-1-0)

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LAST WEEK: Lost to Seattle Sounders, 3-1, on Sunday.

THIS WEEK: vs. Real Salt Lake on Saturday.

OUTLOOK: Just like that, the 18-match unbeaten streak comes to an end. The Sounders punched below their weight in the first two matches of the year, but bounced back to the Red Bulls’ misfortune in match three. After a second-half equalizer from Bradley Wright-Phillips, the Red Bulls couldn’t stop Jordan Morris and Harry Shipp from taking the lead back for the Sounders. The Red Bulls are one of the few teams in action during the international break, taking on lowly Real Salt Lake after their dismissal of head coach Jeff Cassar.


6. (9) ATLANTA UNITED (2-1-0)


LAST WEEK: Beat Chicago Fire, 4-0, on Saturday.


OUTLOOK: If you haven’t yet noticed Atlanta United, you may want to start watching. A week after their brutal 6-1 beat-down of Minnesota United, Atlanta put on another show by dousing the Chicago Fire, 4-0. Star striker Josef Martinez put up another brace to match last week’s hat-trick, and Atlanta promptly made his loan from Torino a permanent transfer. A Brandon Vincent own-goal and a second-half finish from Hector Villalba rounded out the scoring, leaving Atlanta as big winners again.


7. (4) HOUSTON DYNAMO (2-1-0)

Houston Dynamo Logo

LAST WEEK: Lost to Portland Timbers, 4-2, on Saturday.


OUTLOOK: Nobody expects to go undefeated, and a loss to the red-hot Timbers really isn’t so bad for the Dynamo. Though they fell, 4-2, at Providence Park on Saturday, the Dynamo held the lead entering the second half, showing they really are here to compete with the best this season. They’ll have a week to recuperate with the international break, but should be pleased with their strong start to the season despite the loss.


8. (5) NEW YORK CITY FC (1-1-1)

NYCFC logo

LAST WEEK: Tied Montreal Impact, 1-1, on Saturday.


OUTLOOK: A draw in fact, Saturday’s result certainly felt like a loss to NYCFC, who missed several big opportunities against the Impact. Rodney Wallace continues to make a big impact, scoring his second goal of the year, but NYCFC couldn’t hold out as Dominic Oduro leveled proceedings in the second half. Missed clear-cut chances from Jack Harrison and Maxi Moralez proved the difference, leaving things at 1-1 at the final whistle.


9. (12) SPORTING KANSAS CITY (1-0-2)

Sporting Kansas City Logo

LAST WEEK: Beat San Jose Earthquakes, 2-1, on Saturday.


OUTLOOK: After two lifeless draws to open the year, Sporting Kansas City finally got on the board with their first win of the season, albeit in ugly fashion. After Benny Feilhaber scored a wonderful goal from distance to give Sporting KC the lead, a David Bingham gaffe in goal for the Quakes increased the advantage to two. This proved enough, as Florian Jungwirth’s late goal was not enough to prevent Sporting KC from earning a victory.


10. (8) SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (2-1-0)


LAST WEEK: Lost to Sporting Kansas City, 2-1, on Saturday.


OUTLOOK: After two impressive, gritty wins to open the year, the Earthquakes ended up beating themselves against Sporting KC on Saturday. After Benny Feilhaber opened the scoring in the first half with a wonderful strike, goalkeeper David Bingham made a brutal error when he allowed an easy save to slide between his legs and redirect into the net for an own goal. If not for that error, Florian Jungwirth’s last-minute goal would’ve tied things up, but instead was simply stat-sheet padding.


11. (13) ORLANDO CITY (2-0-0)


LAST WEEK: Beat Philadelphia Union, 2-1, on Saturday.


OUTLOOK: While two games is a small sample-size, Orlando City should be encouraged by the early signs of their season. Young star Cyle Larin recorded a brace to defeat the Union, 2-1, on Saturday, making it three goals in two matches for the Canadian striker. Even better, the wins came without Kaka, as he exited early in the first match of the year, proving this team is more than just it’s star DP.


12. (15) LA GALAXY (1-2-0)

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LAST WEEK: Beat Real Salt Lake, 2-1, on Saturday.


OUTLOOK: The LA Galaxy can finally celebrate their first win of the season after losing their first two at home. After an early Yura Movsisyan goal put Real Salt Lake ahead, two second-half efforts from Dave Romney, via a beautiful volley, and Emmanuel Boateng got past Nick Rimando and stole three points on the road for the Galaxy. Helping the Galaxy was the sending off of midfielder Kyle Beckerman for RSL. While not a solution of all of the team’s issues, it’s a step in the right direction.


13. (10) COLORADO RAPIDS (1-1-1)

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LAST WEEK: Tied Minnesota United, 2-2, on Saturday.


OUTLOOK: After a classic 1-0 victory  and a disappointing 1-0 loss via own goal, the Rapids were surely hoping to earn three points at home against lowly Minnesota United, and so a draw feels like a loss. Dominique Badji gave the Rapids an early lead before goals from Kevin Molino and Christian Ramirez turned things around. A second-half equalizer from Marlon Hairston was enough to earn the draw, but after Justin Davis was sent off for Minnesota in the 70th minute, the Rapids surely wanted more.


14. (16) MONTREAL IMPACT (0-1-2)

Logo Impact MLS

LAST WEEK: Tied New York City FC, 1-1, on Saturday.


OUTLOOK: The Impact were lucky to escape several missed opportunities from NYCFC, but a lucky point on the road is still a point well-earned. After surrendering a first-half lead to a Rodney Wallace goal, the Impact battled back in the second half via a goal from Dominic Oduro and held on for their second point of the season. The Impact will hope to perform better and earn their first win of the year after the international break when they take on the Fire.


15. (20) COLUMBUS CREW (1-1-1)


LAST WEEK: Beat D.C. United, 2-0, on Saturday.

THIS WEEK: vs. Portland Timbers on Saturday.

OUTLOOK: Another team able to celebrate their first win of the year, the Crew dispatched woeful D.C. United in a 2-0 victory on the road. Two penalties from Federico Higuain and Ola Kamara narrowly avoided the grasp of Bill Hamid to make the difference for the visitors. The back three for the Crew did a spectacular job holding off the DCU attack, particularly homegrown rookie Alex Crognale, who made several key stops. They’ll face a much tougher challenge over the break as they welcome the red-hot Timbers.


16. (14) CHICAGO FIRE (1-1-1)

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LAST WEEK: Lost to Atlanta United, 4-0, on Saturday.


OUTLOOK: While 4-0 is not an ideal scoreline to be on the wrong end of, the Fire shouldn’t be too down to lose to an Atlanta team that is doing their best to establish themselves as legitimate contenders. After an early sending off of Johan Kappelhof in the 11th minute, the Fire were forced to go with 10 men the rest of the way and were unexpectedly dominated. Still, not a bad start to the year for the Fire, who will be bolstered by the arrival of big-name DP Bastian Schweinsteiger in the coming weeks.


17. (11) PHILADELPHIA UNION (0-1-2)


LAST WEEK: Lost to Orlando City, 2-1, on Saturday.


OUTLOOK: This is not the start that the Union envisioned for 2017. After two draws against Canadian opponents, the Union went south to Orlando and promptly fell to the Lions thanks to a Cyle Larin brace. The Union will have a week off to turn things around due to the break, but they should be encouraged by the hot-streak of C.J. Sapong, who scored in his second straight match.


18. (19) VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (0-2-1)

Vancouver Whitecaps FC Logo

LAST WEEK: Lost to Toronto FC, 2-0, on Saturday.


OUTLOOK: The Whitecaps looked as strong as anyone after their CCL quarterfinals victory over the Red Bulls, but have started their MLS campaign in slow fashion. After a season-opening draw with the Union, the Whitecaps have dropped two straight. The Whitecaps will look to settle themselves over the break and return as a more cohesive unit, as the quality they displayed in their CCL match has been lacking so far.


19. (17) D.C. UNITED (0-2-1)

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LAST WEEK: Lost to the Columbus Crew, 2-0, on Saturday.


OUTLOOK: Something is drastically wrong in the capital. D.C. United has lost two straight after a scoreless draw to open the season, but almost more importantly, has yet to score a single goal on the year. The hottest team of the second-half of 2016 has been struggling through the absence of midfielder Luciano Acosta, but his return didn’t help matters as the team went scoreless again in match three. Two penalties from the Crew proved the difference, leaving DCU with just a point on the year.



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LAST WEEK: Lost to FC Dallas, 2-1, on Saturday.

THIS WEEK: vs. Minnesota United on Saturday.

OUTLOOK: The Revs were hoping for better results in their second match of the year after last week’s cancellation, but two second-half goals from Maxi Urruti overrode Lee Nguyen’s early efforts and the visitors fell, 2-1. The Revs will be in action over the international break, and will hope to turn their fortunes around against struggling Minnesota United, as they finally play their home-opener.



21. (21) REAL SALT LAKE (0-2-1)

RSL Logo

LAST WEEK: Lost to the LA Galaxy, 2-1, on Saturday.

THIS WEEK: at the New York Red Bulls on Saturday.

OUTLOOK: After surrendering the first victory of the year for the Galaxy, Real Salt Lake will hope they’ve reached their low-point of the season. An early goal from Yura Movsisyan wasn’t enough to overcome the sending off of Kyle Beckerman, which allowed the Galaxy to battle back for a 2-1 victory. The loss resulted in the firing of head coach Jeff Cassar, and now the team must visit the Red Bulls amid the chaos.


22. (22) MINNESOTA UNITED (0-2-1)


LAST WEEK: Tied the Colorado Rapids, 2-2, on Saturday.

THIS WEEK: at the New England Revolution on Saturday.

OUTLOOK: Minnesota United showed great spirit on Saturday, as they bounced back from last week’s debilitating defeat to earn their first ever point on the road in Colorado. Goals from Kevin Molino and Christian Ramirez were enough, as the Loons held on after Justin Davis was sent off in the 70th minute. They became the first team to score two goals in Colorado since late-2015, showing that this team does have the talent to compete. They’ll hope to build on their success in New England this weekend.


  1. The best stories thus far are Dallas and Atlanta. Hoping Dallas can do the business in CCL and can’t wait to see Atlanta in Mercedes Benz stadium.

    DCU? What is going on?

  2. Saw Grant Wahl on Twitter contemplating starting a “tiers” rankings every so often when discussing his ambition rankings. I’ve seen Chad Ford use the concept very well with NBA draft prospects. Maybe once a month something like:

    Tier 1 Cup Contenders: Portland, Seattle, TFC, Dallas

    Tier 2 Playoff Teams:

    Tier 3 Non-Playoff Teams:

    Tier 4 Wooden Spoon Contenders: MinnU

  3. I started off thinking OK, I agree. Then I get to Colorado behind LA, yeah that is wrong.

    But……Chicago in 16th after losing 4-0, after being the worst team in the league, after being the worst team in the league?

    That might be a little optimistic.


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