by Zack Lambert
September 16th, 2020
26. San Jose Earthquakes (DLDLL)
San Jose have fallen by the wayside this season in a bit of a shocking fashion. Their past three losses have come at a combined score of 15-4 and tied for the leading scorer on the team is Chris Wondoloski with two goals. He’s 37. San Jose have just three points in seven matches this season.
25. FC Cincinnati (LLDDL)
In ways, Cincinnati is even worse than San Jose, but they get the nod because, despite the same number of points, Cincinnati only have a -9 GD while SJE have a -14. However, Cincinnati have just four goals this season. Four. That’s not something that’s acceptable by any standard.
24. Vancouver Whitecaps (LWLLL)
Vancouver have only pulled results from two matches this season, winning twice and losing five times. There are a couple players who are having nice seasons defensively, but that doesn’t get you wins now.
23. Chicago Fire (DLDLW)
Chicago, unlike a lot of teams in the Eastern Conference, aren’t having too many issues with attacking, scoring nine goals. However, the goals are coming at the wrong times as they’ve only pulled one win with three draws and four losses. The European talent is nice and the youth project is coming along well, but there aren’t results with them.
22. DC United (LDWLL)
Back to the scoring problems. DC have just six goals this season and only two of them are from forwards. It’s true that the MLS is a fast league with a disproportionate amount of good attackers, but DC is missing out on that. The loss of Rooney seems to be leaving a bigger impact than imagined and the top of the formation need to improve rapidly.
21. Portland Timbers (LWLDL)
Portland is one of those teams suffering from some really good attackers paired with very mediocre defenders. Diego Valeri, Felipe Mora, and Eryk Williamson have all been reliable on the attack, but the whole back line is very sketchy. The fullbacks can’t defend and there’s really only one decent center half on the team.
20. Inter Miami CF (LWDDL)
Beckham’s club is rising through the ranks and now sit at two wins all time, the first over Orlando and the second over Atlanta. Things are going to improve with Gonzalo Higuain and Balise Matuidi joining from Juventus to pair with the scintillating play of Rodolfo Plizzaro.
19. Los Angeles FC (WLLWL)
There’s been quite the dropoff for one of MLS’s best teams in 2019 as Carlos Vela and company are playing quite poorly. The Mexican national is playing decent football, but the rest of the team is suffering. Diego Rossi is scoring but that’s about it, the young guys are proving they’re young, and the defense isn’t reliable. Things turned around very quickly for LAFC.
18. Real Salt Lake (LWLDD)
Racist ownership aside, Real haven’t been going through the best times this season. Their win over LAFC was a nice shot of confidence but having it sandwiched between 4-0 and 5-0 losses probably don’t feel great. RSL need to find a groove and stay level, they’re too volatile and unpredictable right now.
17. New England Revolution (LWLDW)
Despite not being in a position to make the playoffs, the Revolution are starting to play a lot better. They’ve pulled seven points from their last four with the scoring beginning to pick up. What I don’t like is the concentration of goals from just two players, Teal Bunbury and Gustavo Bou, who have scored 75% of the goals this season.
16. New York Red Bulls (WLLDL)
Red Bulls have fallen off a bit after a nice start to the season with two losses to Philly and a loss to DC in their recent matches. The defense has been disappointing in the true aspect of that word, but they have been consistent in helping the attack score goals.
15. Nashville SC (WDDWL)
Nashville is proving to be the better of the two expansion teams this season and especially currently as they’ve earned results in their last four matches and are a win away from going top of the league. Granted, they’re not even in a playoff spot right now and need to add a more consistent scorer, but it’s tough to argue with where they stand.
14. Minnesota United (LWWLL)
Yeah, yeah, a dominant win over RSL and a shorthanded win over Dallas are both impressive, but all those goals don’t put you over teams that win more games. Minnesota’s 17 goals have only earned them four wins and four losses in eight matches. SO while the attack is good, the team needs to find a consistent point where they can be more than an all-or-nothing type of team.
13. Atlanta United (LLDDL)
The mighty have fallen as the injury of Josef Martinez has sent the club into a bit of a turmoil. Since the pandemic began they haven’t been able to find a groove or get into a winning streak and have won only a single match since the return. The two most recent losses have been humiliating, to Nashville and Miami, 4-2 and 2-1 respectively.
12. Colorado Rapids (WDDDL)
Colorado sit 6th in the West and currently boast one of the better defenses in the MLS, but their goal scoring needs to improve. They did just win a match 5-0, but if you take that away they’ve scored just eight times in six matches. A team of their quality and needs to step up and score more with the possibility of contention.
11. Orlando City (WDDWW)
There aren’t many hotter teams in the MLS right now than Orlando City as they’ve earned 11 points from their past five matches, but they haven’t done much in terms of league play past that. They only have 12 points on the season and a defense that’s vulnerable in their own third.
10. New York City FC (WDWWW)
Sure, the NYCFC wins haven’t been the most impressive in the world leading up to today, but they’ve been wins, and you have to still beat the bad teams. A scandanavian pairing at the fullback positions have been the most effective form of offense lately, and a welcome one considering how poorly the club were playing to start the season.
9. FC Dallas (WLDWD)
It might not seem right that Dallas is above NYCFC, but Dallas has been consistent all season and they can compete with everyone, not just the slammer clubs. I would like to see a few more young players making an impact for the club outside of Reggie Cannon but as long as they’re ready within a couple years it should turn out just fine.
8. Montreal Impact (WLWLW)
Thierry Henry’s team have been making strides recently, granted not once that are strung together, but strides nonetheless. The victory over Toronto was impressive and 13 points in seven matches is a pretty nice change of pace for the Canadian side. The forwards are scoring, the defenders are disarming, and there seems to be a real attacking midfielder on the team in the form of Saphir Taïder.
7. Sporting Kansas City (WLDDL)
SKC sit tied for the top of the West with 14 points, but compared to the two teams ahead of them, they’re a game behind. The distribution of wealth has kept Kansas City afloat and even though their play has dropped since the beginning of the season, they’re still in position to make a nice run.
6. Houston Dynamo (LDWWW)
As some of the best teams in the MLS do, Houston have found success by throwing relentless waves of attackers at defenses and sorting out the bodies later. They have dropped in form the past two matches, but big wins over Dynamo and SKC are very convincing in terms of the team’s quality.
5. Toronto FC (WLLWW)
Canada’s best team has been dominating not on attack or defense, but in the way that many European sides do: in the midfield. Alejandro Pozuelo is a constant threat around goal and the passing is very consistent. Toronto make very few mistakes and don’t reward other teams with easy goals.
4. Seattle Sounders (WLDWW)
Seattle are right back around the top where they’re always so comfortable by winning three of their last five, including an utter evisceration of the Earthquakes. Ruidiaz and Morris have been assassins at the top of the formation while the defense has helped create the largest goal differential in the MLS.
3. Philadelphia Union (WWLWW)
Despite, in my opinion, a lack of goals and some subpar general passing, Philly has done very well to keep themselves afloat in the “MLS’s Best Team” conversation. Luckily the defense has been really consistent and the younger players are working really well in the first team.
2. Columbus Crew (DWWDL)
The Crew, the MLS’s second best team in terms of points, has been curiously short of goals with just eleven in eight matches, but have found the opportune moments to score them, earning four wins and three draws. Gyasi Zardes has been the best scorer with five of the team’s total and really good ball control has allowed the midfield to control the tempo.
1. LA Galaxy (DWWWW)
The Galaxy are back on top! Not of the league, but they are the hottest team in the sport. They’re scoring at a decent rate and defending really well. They seem to have found a real one in Julian Araujo at right back and the usual suspects are playing very good football. The possession and passing stats are of a team who might not even be in the playoffs, but the Galaxy are winning games and it doesn’t really matter how you do it, as long as you come out on top.