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MLS Power Rankings: Seattle No.1 after Week One, LA teams in top six


Well, MLS is back for 2021, and the opening weekend saw no shortage of drama, superb goals and big results. New team Austin FC opened the year with a debut defeat, LA Galaxy got two goals from Chicharito (remember him?) to beat a retooled Inter Miami, and the Columbus Crew battled to a 0-0 draw with Eastern Conference rivals Philadelphia. However, the biggest result of the first round might be Seattle’s huge 4-0 shellacking of Minnesota on Friday night to set the tone for their latest MLS Cup quest

Get caught up with the weekend’s action and see where your team sits in our Week One Power Rankings.


Previous ranking: N/A
Next MLS match: Saturday, April 24 at LAFC, 6 p.m. ET (ESPN/ESPN Deportes)

The most lopsided scoreline of the opening weekend belonged to Seattle, which throttled Minnesota United, 4-0. The Sounders have yet to finish lower than fourth in the Western Conference in their 12-year MLS existence, and there’s no reason to believe this will be the year that changes. — Bonagura

Previous ranking: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, April 24 vs. Inter Miami, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

In a battle between the reigning Supporters Shield winners and current MLS Cup holders, the Union walked away the happier side leaving Columbus with a 0-0 draw on the road. Andre Blake was in midseason form for Philly, making several big saves to preserve the point. — Carlisle

Previous ranking: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, May 1 at CF Montreal, 3 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

If Blake was sharp, Eloy Room wasn’t too shabby either in goal for the Crew, though their lack of rhythm in the attacking third was a different story. That’s bound to improve as the season goes on. — Carlisle

Previous ranking: N/A

Next MLS match: Friday, April 23 vs. Orlando City, 7:30 p.m. ET

Even with a depleted roster, SKC found a way to come back from a 1-0 deficit to win 2-1 at the Red Bulls, as 19-year-old John Pulskamp became the youngest goalkeeper to win an MLS match since Bill Hamid in 2010. Nine homegrown players were part of SKC’s matchday squad, too. — Bonagura


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Previous ranking: N/A

Next MLS match: Sunday, April 25 vs. New York Red Bulls, 5:30 p.m. ET

Perhaps the most encouraging start of the season belongs to the Galaxy. Not just because they were able to erase a 2-1 deficit to win 3-2 at Inter Miami, but because Chicharito scored twice, equaling his total in 12 appearances last season. If he can be the consistent scoring threat he was signed to be, it would solve a lot of the issues that plagued the team last year. — Bonagura

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1:30

Javier Hernandez scores twice and Sacha Kljestan nets the winner in the LA Galaxy’s 3-2 win vs. Inter Miami.

Previous ranking: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, April 24 vs. Seattle, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN Deportes

The Black and Gold were without the reigning Golden Boot winner, Diego Rossi, and Carlos Vela exited after 22 minutes, but LAFC found a second-half goal from new acquisition Corey Baird and a stoppage-time insurance goal to spoil Austin’s MLS debut. The injuries to Rossi and Vela are both minor and it’s likely both are available against the Sounders. — Bonagura

Bradley on Vela: ‘I jumped the gun’ with LAFC star’s fitness

Previous ranking: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, April 24 at Nashville FC, 2 p.m. ET

Djordje Mihailovic has long been a breakthrough talent in waiting. On Saturday against Toronto, he showed signs that he’s able to make the kind of impact long predicted. Beyond the goal he scored, he was arguably the best player on the field in a 4-2 win. — Carlisle

Previous ranking: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, April 24 at New England, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

Some games are won with slick technical play, others through energy and disrupting the opposition. DCU’s first win under Hernan Losada fell in the latter category as they beat NYCFC 2-1. Given the lengthy injury list, the new DC manager won’t mind one bit. — Carlisle

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Brendan Hines-Ike winds up from distance and scores an amazing goal vs. NYCFC on his D.C. United debut.

Previous ranking: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, April 24 at Portland, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

The Dynamo opened the season about as well as they could have hoped, completely outplaying San Jose in the first half in what would finish as a 2-1 win. Goals from Memo Rodriguez and Maximiliano Urruti provided enough cushion to repel San Jose’s late charge. — Bonagura

Previous ranking: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, April 24 at Toronto (in Orlando), 3 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

A header from Lucas Cavallini in the 49th minute provided the winner for the Whitecaps and punctuated the final game of the weekend. After missing the playoffs the past three seasons, can they end the streak? — Bonagura

Previous ranking: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, April 24 vs. Chicago, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

The Gabriel Heinze era got off to a positive start with a 0-0 road draw against rivals Orlando. While Josef Martinez made it back onto the field, the attack does have some kinks to work out. — Carlisle

Previous ranking: N/A

Next MLS match: Friday, April 23 at Sporting Kansas City, 7:30 p.m. ET

The Lions’ 0-0 draw against Atlanta wasn’t quite the start that Orlando hoped for, but the sight of Alexandre Pato hobbling off with a right knee injury was certainly sobering. Will it change the calculus in terms of transferring Daryl Dike? — Carlisle

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1:15

Chicago takes a 2-0 lead inside 11 minutes, but New England roars back to secure a point in its season opener.

Previous ranking: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, April 24 at DC United, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

The first 11 minutes were a nightmare for the Revs as they went two goals down to Chicago, but Bruce Arena’s side rallied impressively and nearly walked away with a victory. A 2-2 draw away from home to start the season isn’t too bad at all. — Carlisle

Previous ranking: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, April 24 at New York City FC, 1 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

The good news is that Lucho Acosta and Brenner were as advertised, but after going 2-0 up, FCC had to defend for its life and settled for a 2-2 draw. Good thing that goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton was strong enough to keep it level. — Carlisle

Previous ranking: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, April 24 vs. CF Montreal, 2 p.m ET

NSC showed plenty of attacking verve (32 shots!) though it took Randall Leal’s “shross” to salvage a 2-2 draw with Cincinnati. Gary Smith will be hoping that the real NSC is the one that dominated the last 80 minutes. — Carlisle

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An unbelievable curling finish from Randall Leal brings Nashville SC level with FC Cincinnati after trailing 2-0.

Previous ranking: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, April 24 vs. Austin FC, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

With Sam Vines sidelined due to injury, the Rapids deployed Kellyn Acosta at left-back and kicked off the season with a 0-0 draw at FC Dallas. The game didn’t necessarily illustrate this, but the Rapids have elevated expectations after last year’s run to the playoffs in Robin Fraser’s first year as head coach. — Bonagura

Previous ranking: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, April 24 at San Jose, 3.30 p.m. ET

For those expecting FC Dallas to rely heavily on the products of its vaunted academy to start the season, it didn’t happen. Midfielder Paxton Pomykal made his long-awaited return from injury as a 69th minute sub and 18-year-old forward Ricardo Pepi got a late cameo, though Dallas failed to generate much in the attack. — Bonagura

Previous ranking: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, April 24 vs Houston, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

After punching their ticket to the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals with a 5-0 (7-2 agg) win against Honduran side Marathon in midweek, Portland never found a rhythm in a 1-0 loss to Vancouver Sunday night in Salt Lake City to open their MLS campaign. — Bonagura

Previous ranking: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, April 24 vs. Vancouver, 3 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

Fatigued from its midweek exertions in the CONCACAF Champions League, TFC was lethargic from the get-go in losing 4-2 to Montreal. The Reds will no doubt get better once the likes of Alejandro Pozuelo, Jozy Altidore and Chris Mavinga get back on the field, though some squad rotation would help too. — Carlisle

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Victor Wanyama scores in Montreal’s rout of Toronto FC in its MLS season opener.

Previous ranking: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, April 24 at Minnesota United, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN+

RSL was the lone team not to take part in the opening week, but the team received good news when it was revealed forward Bobby Wood will join the squad earlier than was originally expected after Hamburg SV terminated his contract. — Bonagura

Previous ranking: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, April 24 at Atlanta, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

The Fire played a home game in front of fans for the first time since 2019, but the Fire’s defensive frailties — especially on set pieces — are all too familiar as they coughed up a two-goal lead against New England. At least Robert Beric got off to a good start with a goal and an assist. — Carlisle

Previous ranking: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, April 24 vs FC Cincinnati, 1 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

After an encouraging first 20 minutes, NYCFC got knocked out of its stride and couldn’t quite get it back in losing 2-1 to D.C. United. Will be interesting to see if Alfredo Morales, back from Europe, can help in that regard once he starts getting more minutes. — Carlisle

Previous ranking: N/A

Next MLS match: Sunday, April 25 at LA Galaxy, 5:30 p.m. ET

Enjoy Caden Clark while you can, folks. It seems like all he does is score golazos, including the Red Bulls’ tally on Saturday. Alas for New York, the rest of the team didn’t do enough to make the lead stand up, losing to Kansas City. — Carlisle

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0:44

Caden Clark opens the 2021 MLS season with another stunning finish, but the Red Bulls lose 2-1 to Sporting KC.

Previous ranking: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, April 24 vs. FC Dallas, 3:30 p.m. ET

San Jose’s poor first half in their 2-1 loss to Houston was reminiscent of some of its nightmare performances last year, but the Quakes grew into the game as the second half progressed. Paul Marie’s brilliant curling strike cut the lead in half in the 74th minute before Chris Wondolowski squandered a tap-in that would have split the points. — Bonagura

Previous ranking: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, April 24 at Philadelphia, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

A dream day turned into a nightmare for Miami, blowing two leads in losing 3-2 to the Galaxy. Gonzalo Higuain finally showed some Designated Player pedigree with a goal and an assist, but he was outdone by Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez. Miami’s midfield needs to last longer than an hour, too. — Carlisle

Previous ranking: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, April 24 at Colorado Rapids, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

Austin didn’t get the result it was hoping for in its maiden MLS game, but the 2-0 loss against LAFC — which doubled as a head coaching debut for Josh Wolff — was an encouraging display of what could be to come. It didn’t result in many quality chances, but it’s notable while trying to understand Austin’s style of play to note that it had 55.8% possession against an LAFC team known for dominating possession. — Bonagura

Previous ranking: N/A

Next MLS match: Saturday, April 24 vs. Real Salt Lake, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN+

After advancing to the Western Conference finals last year, Minnesota United entered the season in the group of teams with legitimate MLS Cup ambitions. A 4-0 loss to start the year has a way of instantly dialing back expectations. — Bonagura



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