MLS Power Rankings Week 10: FC Dallas reclaims top spot; Toronto FC on the rise
- FC Dallas remains unbeaten through eight games, while Orlando City fell twice on the road to drop from its perch in the Eastern Conference–a place now held by Toronto FC.
You can count on some surprising results in a league as even as MLS nearly every week. But even by that standard, Week 10 of 2017 was something special. Three of the top four sides in last week’s rankings lost in Week 10, by scores like 3–0, 4–0, and 2–0, and Orlando City, which used a four-game winning streak to reach the top spot, promptly lost twice to vacate its place at the top and make way for the last remaining unbeaten.
Needless to say, there was a little bit of movement this those rankings this week in response to the results.
Orlando’s four-game win streak was used as justification for knocking FCD out of the top spot, but that proved to be the wrong call, based on this past week's evidence. Dallas returns to the top spot, thanks not just to Orlando’s terrible week but also FCD’s own 3–0 win away from home at Real Salt Lake. Maxi Urruti had a double, FC Dallas is still unbeaten, all is back as it was before.
While most of MLS’s favored sides experienced uneven (if not downright terrible) weeks, Toronto FC showed once again that it deserves to be placed in the category of elite teams. On Wednesday, the club took down the league’s hottest team (Orlando) at home, then went on the road and got what must have been a cathartic 1–0 win over Seattle in a 2016 MLS Cup rematch. That makes it four straight wins for TFC, with Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore stepping up with at least one goal in each of those games.
Results turned suddenly against the Lions after their four-game win streak. The midweek 2–1 loss at Toronto isn’t a huge shock, but the 4–0 loss at Houston is, even given Houston’s immensely-talented front line. For as ridiculously good as Orlando has been at home, it needs to figure out how to get consistent results on the road, where it is now 1–3–0 on the year.
Atlanta United may have come into the league with a similar amount of gusto as NYCFC, but New York’s bluer half showed how much difference a couple of years in MLS makes with a 3–1 win. David Villa scored again, but just as important for NYCFC are the contributions made by its less-heralded players–like Rodney Wallace, who scored again on Sunday, or newcomer Yangel Herrera, who was solid again in the middle of the park.
It was a bit of a mixed bag this week for Sporting KC. On Wednesday, Peter Vermes selected his first-choice lineup against a Red Bulls team that was resting many key starters, and won 2–0. On Sunday, Vermes replaced a few pieces along the back line and paid the price, losing at Minnesota United by that same 2–0 score. SKC was considered to be a fairly deep team. Perhaps that impression was mistaken.
On a brutal week for favored teams (even by MLS standards), Portland fell 3–0 away from home at San Jose. These looked like last year’s Timbers, who managed to go the entire season without ever winning away from home. This year’s squad isn’t quite that hopeless–it already has a win away from home–but it'll need to bounce back on Sunday when it hosts Atlanta United.
The Dynamo have been incredible at home so far this season, and they kept that form going with a 4–0 win over Orlando City. Better than just about anyone in the league, the Dynamo get key scoring contributions from their wide players, which is part of how they were able to score so many goals without the services of Erick “Cubo” Torres, who was ruled out after entering the league’s concussion protocol.
The Red Bulls dropped most of their impact starters for a midweek trip to Sporting Kansas City, and they paid the price with a 2–0 loss. That might have been digestible if the Red Bulls had won their next game against Philadelphia, but instead they suffered one of the most surprising results on a weekend full of them–a 3–0 loss to the league’s last winless team. Jesse Marsch will want to forget this week quickly.
Columbus scored on New England early and didn’t let up in a 2–0 home victory over the Revolution. Ola Kamara continues to be a reliable scorer, netting his sixth goal of the season and notching an assist on Federico Higuain’s tally later in the match. That win snaps a two-game losing streak, but the club faces a big midweek test as Toronto FC visits Mapfre Stadium.
Nobody doubts Atlanta United’s attacking chops, but it’s the club’s defense that has gotten it into trouble the last couple of weeks. It was clearly an issue in Sunday’s 3–1 loss to NYCFC, though Carlos Carmona’s rocket volley was a pretty good consolation goal. Atlanta will have its hands full this weekend against Portland, the top scoring team in the league.
The Sounders had a chance to re-stamp their authority over Toronto FC in a rematch of last season's MLS Cup final, but instead Brian Schmetzer lost at home for the first time in his tenure as Seattle’s manager. Seattle played decently in this game, but fell to a Jozy Altidore PK. It'll have to rebound on a trip to Chicago on Saturday.
After a subpar start to the season, the Whitecaps are currently on a nice little 4–2–0 run in their last six games. Friday’s 1–0 win over Colorado saw Brek Shea return from a knee injury in a substitute appearance, and then score the game-winner for his first goal of the year. Shea has a ways to go before he gets back to the form that made him a name to fear in MLS, but a goal on his return is a pretty decent way to start down that road.
The Fire nearly added a road win to its collection of impressive results, but it let a 2–0 lead slip in a 2–2 draw against the LA Galaxy. Even more frustrating: both of LA’s goals came on set pieces, as opposed to any especially impressive, “hold your hands up and accept it” type plays that the Galaxy have been known for in recent years. The Fire haven’t won in three games, but they’ll get a chance this weekend when they host the defending champion Sounders.
After six games with a win, the Earthquakes have responded with two straight wins in the last two weeks. Saturday’s 3–0 win over Portland is easily the team’s most impressive result of the season, not just because of the three goals scored but also for the shutout of the league’s highest-scoring team. Chris Wondolowski has always been a bit streaky as a scorer, but he had two in the win, and Florian Jungwirth looks like one of the better under-the-radar newcomers in MLS this season.
For a team so often maligned for being old, Montreal’s youth has really stepped up in the last few games. Last week it was Anthony Jackson-Hamel, and this week it was 18-year-old Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla who broke through with a superb individual goal in a 1–0 win over D.C. United. The Impact will have a chance to get consecutive wins for the first time this year on Saturday at Columbus.
A superb individual goal sent D.C. United to a 1–0 loss at Montreal, but the team did show some attacking spark and could easily have snatched a draw had Luciano Acosta’s second-half chance not hit the crossbar. However, a longer-term worry will be the health of Bill Hamid, who was a late scratch with an injury. The goalkeeper has saved a number of points for D.C. over the years.
There’s no doubt about it–the recent trade that brought Sam Cronin and Marc Burch to the Loons has played a huge role in turning this team around. That much was on display in Sunday’s 2–0 win over Sporting Kansas City, in which the team looked more in control than it ever has before in MLS. The Loons, maligned for the defense early on, have only allowed one goal in their last three games.
We’re 10 games into the season, and it's still hard to know exactly what is ailing the Revolution. The team played decently enough in Saturday’s 2–0 loss to Columbus, but simply couldn’t finish its chances. After last week’s implosion in Seattle, it sometimes seems like this team simply lacks heart. What it doesn’t lack is rash challenges: Je-Vaughn Watson should see yet another suspension for foul play after his ridiculous clothesline on Niko Hansen, for which he somehow only received a yellow card.
At long last, a win! The Union took their time to get their first three points of the year, but they did it with aplomb in a 3–0 home win over the Red Bulls. Fresh off his star turn in a viral, Fresh Prince-inspired video, C.J. Sapong scored his first career hat trick and is looking more and more like he should be Jim Curtin’s target striker of choice. Philly will have a chance to move further out of the hole with another intra-conference matchup against D.C. United this weekend.
It says a lot about the state of the Galaxy’s season that a 2–2 draw at home can be seen as a big positive step forward, but that’s exactly what it was. Down 2–0 to Chicago, the Galaxy dug in and manufactured two goals from set pieces, which at least shows that the ability to grind out ugly results is there. How often will this squad be able to replicate that kind of effort, though? And will Jermaine Jones' injury hamper the squad?
Playing without goalkeeper Nick Rimando and midfielder Kyle Beckerman for the second straight week is bad enough, but RSL also missed center back Chris Schuler after a disciplinary committee suspension and started without Joao Plata for this weekend after the playmaker arrived late to practice earlier in the week (though he did eventually get on the field). Given all that, a 3–0 loss to FC Dallas at home maybe isn’t as shocking as it would be otherwise, but it’s still not a good look for a team that desperately needs to turn things around. RSL has now lost three straight and let in three goals in each of those games.
The numbers say it all. Five straight losses. Six losses in seven games. Zero wins since the first game of the year. A 0.62 goals per game average, by far the worst in the league. An attack that generates an unbelievably-low 2.13 shots on target per game (Vancouver, the second-to-last ranking team in the league, generates 3.22 shots on target per game). Yikes.