MLS Power Rankings: Matchday 5

Another week of MLS action is in the books. Another week of inevitabilities, like Nashville playing in a single-goal game, Klauss getting a tidy assist from an opposing center back, Atlanta United shipping six goals, and Jordan Morris scoring four goals in a game to take his place as the rightful king of the U.S. Men’s National Team.

Anyway, here’s how the model works:

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  1. Points per game – 30%
  2. Goal difference – 15%
  3. Form in last five games – 15%
  4. Expected goal difference – 12.5%
  5. Strength of schedule – 12.5%
  6. Home and away form – 12.5%
  7. Goals added – 2.5%

Matchday 5 power rankings

1ST. Louis CITY SC14.14
3Seattle Sounders11.67
4FC Cincinnati7.88
5Atlanta United6.06
6New England Revolution5.87
7Nashville SC5.66
8Columbus Crew5.16
9Chicago Fire4.51
10Philadelphia Union4.05
11Orlando City SC3.90
12Minnesota United3.89
13Houston Dynamo3.66
14Toronto FC3.51
15New York Red Bulls3.34
16FC Dallas3.11
17San Jose Earthquakes2.96
18New York City FC2.56
19Austin FC1.62
20Inter Miami CF1.43
21Vancouver Whitecaps0.90
22DC United0.35
23LA Galaxy0.20
24CF Montréal-0.02
25Charlotte FC-0.67
26Real Salt Lake-1.46
27Portland Timbers-1.98
28Sporting KC-2.03
29Colorado Rapids-2.42

St. Louis City bullied RSL en route to a fifth consecutive win. Let’s get this out of the way. You can be both lucky and good. Sure, CITY (you have to yell “City!”, those are the rules) have been the beneficiaries of a season’s worth of bad back passes, but they’re taking their chances well. They have a clear identity, good pieces, and have won their first five matches with a casual +11 goal differential. That’s ridiculously impressive.

Perhaps more impressive was Denis Bouanga. The LAFC DP played 90 minutes for Gabon in Franceville on Thursday, took a 13 hour plane flight on Saturday, got to the stadium an hour before kickoff, and scored an 84th minute winner. LAFC are also very good. They technically drop a spot in the rankings, but that’s only down to St. Louis’s form.

Seattle Sounders thumped Sporting KC 4-1 on the road. With Raúl Ruidíaz on international duty and Héber injured, Jordan Morris started at the no. 9 position. He scored four goals to push Seattle into third place. Sporting KC are on the other end of the spectrum, dropping six spots. Only Colorado Rapids have a worse ranking. They’ve scored two goals all season. It’s not too early to be concerned.

FC Cincinnati got a really strong 1-0 win on the road in Nashville, moving into first place in the Eastern Conference and fourth place in the power rankings. They’re undefeated, get consistent production from their front three, and they defend really well. They’re firmly a contender.

For Nashville SC, preseason concerns were borne out in the loss. They defended well, but had no ideas once they went behind. They took just two shots in 51 minutes after conceding. Two shots! Hany Mukhtar looks dangerous but still hasn’t scored. Nashville made just one attacking signing in the winter window, and look set for another season of Mukhtar carrying the attacking load. Their starting striker on the night hasn’t scored in 25 matches, and there’s not a single game-changing attacking option off the bench. Concern is valid. Fortunately for Nashville in the rankings, their strong underlying numbers prop them up. They won’t have the same luxury in the table.

The most surprising result was Columbus Crew‘s 6-1 dismantling of Atlanta United. The Crew scored with every shot they put on target, finding the net five times in the second half. Wilfried Nancy has implemented a clear identity and is getting immediate production from young players. They looked really, really good. Atlanta United, missing a ton of players on international duty, looked really, really bad.

I may or may not publish the Matchday 6 power rankings next week. Tbd on that one. If you have complaints, DM those to @ChrisIvey865. He genuinely enjoys it.

Author: Ben Wrightis the Director of Soccer Content and a Senior MLS Contributor for Broadway Sports covering Nashville SC and the US National Team. Previously Ben was the editor and a founder of Speedway Soccer, where he has covered Nashville SC and their time in USL before journeying to Major League Soccer since 2018. Raised in Louisville, KY Ben grew up playing before a knee injury ended his competitive career. When he is not talking soccer he is probably producing music, drinking coffee or hanging out with his wife and kids. Mastodon

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