by Zack Lambert
September 30th, 2020
Rankings are retro September 28th but more recent games will be included in form and discussion.
26. San Jose Earthquakes (DDLLW) (Even)
San Jose did beat LAFC the night of the 28th, but their form prior to that match shows us nothing but problems. The team have lost three of their last five and the defense has allowed 18 total goals in those losses. Many players have earned minutes this season for San Jose and less than a handful have made a positive impact.
25. DC United (DLDLL) (-3)
DC United are one of three teams still sitting on single digit points for the season with nine. A tremendous lack of scoring leaves a United defense completely out in the cold, not a good thing in a league lopsided with attacking talent. Some of the defenders have actually rated well on the season but there’s only so much an individual performance can do in a 22 man game.
24. FC Cincinnati (LLWDL) (+1)
The 1-0 victory over Red Bulls marked a high point for the young team in their dreary opening season, but things have fallen back to harsh realism as the team drew and lost their next two, the loss a 4-0 scoreline to NYCFC. The lack of attacking prowess is startling considering how the MLS is put together.
23. Inter Miami (WLWLL) (-3)
Miami now has a few wins on their season and so we can be sure the team has a pulse, but a pair of recent losses to Red Bulls and Philadelphia have the team reeling. Rodolfo Plizzaro has been stellar on the season and Gonzalo Higuaín and Blaise Matuidi have begun making an impact, but the team has work to do before they become true contenders.
22. Vancouver Whitecaps (LWWLL) (+2)
Canada’s western-most team have been hit or miss this season, drawing only a single time in all of their matches this season. Ali Adnan has been very good as a left wing back but the rest of the defense, especially centrally, will need to step up if there are hopes to salvage the season.
21. Chicago Fire (LDLWW) (+2)
A pair of wins, one on the evening of the 28th, have the Fire slowly climbing up the Eastern conference table. The Fire were able to down Atlanta United and, surprisingly, the Houston Dynamo. Robert Berić, Fabian Herbers, and Đorđe Mihailović have been key proponents in the recent victories as all three are scoring and contributing to goal fairly consistently.
20. Los Angeles FC (LWLWL) (-1)
Despite a decent start to the season, LAFC have fallen to become a pillar of inconsistency. The only streaks they’ve put together in recent months have been two game losing streaks. The goals are there as the young core continues to pound away, but one of the worst defenses in the league is compromising those exorbitant goal numbers. The offense seems for real, but unfortunately the defense does too.
19. Real Salt Lake (WLLWD) (-1)
The victories over the LA teams have been something of a saving grace for the team marred in controversy, but the Utah side have struggled against the better teams in the West. Damir Kreilach has been the talisman for the team but a possible change in ownership in addition to the ridiculous statements from said owner have the team in an unstable place.
18. Minnesota United (WLDLD) (-4)
Minnesota kicked off this season as one of the hottest teams in the country, but post-pandemic break and post-tournament they’ve really struggled to find their footing. Trinidadian playmaker Kevin Molino has helped to keep the team afloat whenever he can with five goals and a pair of assists while Robin Lod is doing the same with his five and one, but the quality of central defending often has the team reeling.
17. Portland Timbers (LDWWW) (+4)
Portland bottomed out a bit and played really poor football for about a month, but three straight wins have the Oregon team back in business. Diego Valeri has returned to form but the back line still has a ton of work to do. The fullbacks have been ineffective and the central defenders are beaten regularly.
16. Nashville SC (DWLWD) (-1)
The better of the two expansion teams have regressed ever so slightly and still sit just below the middle of the pack. While still in playoff contention, they’re really struggling to produce goals. Fortunately the defense is one of the top units in the West and Walker Zimmerman, Aníbal Godoy, and Dax McCarty have been great in the team’s inaugural season.
15. Atlanta United (LLLWL) (-2)
With both Martínez players away from the team, Pity permanently and Josef with injury, Atlanta have begun to fall back down the rankings again. The losses come in bunches and to teams that probably shouldn’t be causing issues for a team of their quality. The precipitous fall can be attributed to nearly every level of the organization.
14. New York Red Bulls (LWLWW) (+2)
The goals have been flowing for the Red Bulls in a way that’s slightly uncommon for this season’s version of the Eastern conference. The team are playing a very modern version of football with streaking wing backs aiding the attacks while some good pivots are helping the defense shut down counter attacks.
13. Sporting Kansas City (DLWLL) (-6)
Kansas City were a team like Minnesota which started the season very well, but a recent run of poor form has the team moving back to a less desirable place in the rankings. They’re suffering from the classic 2020 western dilemma where you can score as much as you might like but can’t defend for your life. The team scored in bunches when it was needed earlier this season but the well seems to be running dry on both sides of the ball now.
12. Montreal Impact (WLLLL) (-4)
Thierry Henry’s side had risen to a very good spot in the East before a terrible strike of form hit the team. Red cards and flatly awful defense have begun to run rampant and they’ve begun to free fall down the table. The Canadian side have very few answers as they’ve haven’t managed more than a single goal in those four losses.
11. Colorado Rapids (DWLWW) (+1)
After a miserable restart to the season Colorado have plucked points in six of their last seven. Their last four matches have been beatdowns with three wins, two of which were 5-0, while their loss to Dallas was a 4-1 event. Cole Bassett has been phenomenal at just 19 years old and is truly leading the charge back into the playoffs.
10. Houston Dynamo (DLDLD) (-4)
Draws to Nashville and Minnesota along with losses to Dallas and Chicago have the Dynamo on their back foot. The three game winning streak that ended earlier this month seems years in the past with goals seeming to become more and more elusive as the season progresses. Darwin Quintero seems to be one of the few players keeping their composure in recent run.
9. New England Revolution (WLDWW) (+8)
Some impressive wins and generally better play has New England back up towards the top of the table. It’s rare for an MLS team to perform to their skill level game in and game out but the Revolution have been able to do something along those lines recently. Their most recent win has the team back into the playoffs and a single game out of 5th in the conference.
8. NYCFC (DWDLW) (+2)
NYCFC are another team who have managed to keep up with their own skill level as they’ve only been downed by Toronto in recent matches. Despite a lack of goals Maxime Chanot and Sean Johnson have both elevated their play to a new level at the back of the formation and their great defending has kept the team alive through the drought.
7. FC Dallas (WWWLD) (+2)
A couple of dropped points in recent matches doesn’t take away from the important win streak that Dallas posted against Houston, Colorado, and Sporting. The loss to Atlanta was a surprise but the goals have been flowing for Dallas from Franco Jara and Santiago Mosquera. Their version of team football helps them overcome many teams who are more reliant upon individual skill.
6. LA Galaxy (WWDLL) (-5)
A four game win streak was unable to mitigate a poor run in which the Galaxy have only been able to claim a single point from nine. The team haven’t scored in three matches while their win streak saw two or more goals in each match. It’s likely that Pavón and Lletget are just suffering a poor run of form but it’s been crippling as the team have fallen completely out of the playoff positions.
5. Seattle Sounders FC (DLWWL) (-1)
The Sounders picked up a couple of wins against San Jose and LAFC which aren’t really that impressive, but the losses to the Timbers speak very loudly. When it rains it seems to pour for Seattle, but beating the poorer teams has become an issue for the team. Whether it’s just bad luck or playing down to the opposition, Seattle need to figure it out if they plan to stay on top of their form.
4. Columbus Crew (WDWWL) (-2)
A lovely match which resulted in a loss to Columbus aside, the Crew have played very good football recently. The team have picked up very important points that have them competing with the best teams in the East. Gyasi Zardes and Pedro Santos have played tremendous attacking football and the second best scoring defense in the MLS are powering the team.
3. Orlando City (DWWWD) (+8)
Clearly few teams have been playing better football than Orlando City in recent weeks as they’ve only missed out on points completely twice since the restart. Recent wins over Miami, Chicago, and Sporting have the team competing with a congested top of the East. City have been using a high powered offense to simply outscore teams as their defense just does its best to keep up.
2. Philadelphia Union (WWWDW) (+1)
Philly are the top scoring team in the East and their dominance in recent matches has those qualities on display. However, while the offense does churn out goals the team is still balanced. Andre Blake is a rock in the net and affords the defense the ability to move up the field and play a more direct, attacking style of football.
1. Toronto FC (LWDWW) (+4)
With Toronto as the top seed, it’s fair to call Philadelphia 1b. Neither team has shown any sort of faults recently but Toronto do lead the entire MLS in points so they deserve the nod. Pozuelo and Akinola are in ridiculous form right now and the East is beginning to look like they’re holding the league champions in their ranks.