MLS Power Rankings: Matchday 8

FC Cincinnati and Seattle Sounders both got stomped. Unexpected. Sporting KC got stomped and the Galaxy lost to LAFC. Expected. Thanks for checking back in for the Matchday 8 power rankings.

As a refresher, here’s how the OPI 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 8 Power Rankings

Let’s start with the most unexpected result. Seattle Sounders topped last week’s rankings, and were beaten 4-1 by Portland Timbers, who were the second-worst team in last week’s model. In my opinion, this has been the best rivalry matchup in MLS for the last decade plus, and the Timbers reminded the league of that fact, despite the disparate trajectories of the two sides.

I don’t expect it to be a season-changing loss for Seattle – they’ll bounce back and will keep pushing towards the top of the Western Conference standings. But for Portland, this is the type of win that can turn a season around.

Slightly less surprising was St. Louis CITY SC’s 5-1 demolition of FC Cincinnati, who entered the match atop the Supporters’ Shield standings. Sure, there were extenuating circumstances before the match, but St. Louis shook off the two hour weather delay and performed. Cincinnati didn’t.

The underlying numbers from the blowout gave Cincinnati reason for optimism. They won the xG battle 1.68 to 1.49, and while the scoreline was embarrassing, the performance doesn’t really point to huge systemic issues. Like Seattle, I expect they’ll be fine.

Vancouver Whitecaps continue to hang around in the top 10. I’ve honestly been a bit surprised at how much the model likes them. But they haven’t lost in their last five league matches and just got a solid road point against Austin FC. It’s still surprising to see them ranked sixth by the OPI and just 15th in the Supporters’ Shield standings, but don’t be surprised to see them push up the table.

Nashville SC gave up two goals in the first 25 minutes against NYCFC, doubling their goals conceded on the season and putting them in a hole. Hany Mukhtar pulled a goal back, but it was too little, too late for the ‘Yotes. Their league-best defense had kept them in the Top 10, despite some poor results, but their lack of consistent attacking production is becoming a worry. Hany Mukhtar has done it all for two and a half years. He needs help.

Thanks for tuning in. Make sure to check back next week to see how the plot against your team is going.

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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