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2019 MLS Power Rankings, Vol. I

Seattle Sounders FC v Los Angeles FC

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 21: Stefan Frei #24 of Seattle Sounders is unable to stop Carlos Vela #10 of Los Angeles FC as he scores a goal during the second half of a game at Banc of California Stadium on April 21, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Getty Images

We are bringing a bit of science to our Major League Soccer power rankings this year, but only a bit.

While dubious items like momentum and look will still play a role in where the MLS sides arrive in our rankings, we’re going to consider some items rather unique to the league:

  1. Away record - The league is infamous for difficulty to win across the country
  2. Defense - MLS’ goals-per-game rate of 3+ makes it one of the most offense-forward leagues in the world.
  3. Schedule congestion - Are you playing twice when others around you are barely breaking a sweat?

So with all teams providing us six-matches or more for sample size, it’s time we mix it up with our first MLSPRs of 2019.

24. Colorado Rapids -- Twenty-three goals allowed in eight matches. 0-2-2 at home, 0-4 away. The clear No. 24.

23. New York Red Bulls -- Big changes coming to Red Bull Arena?

22. New England Revolution -- There isn’t an impressive enough win to overshadow losses to Cincinnati and Atlanta.

21. Atlanta United -- It’s messy, real messy, in the post-Almiron and Tata era.

Monterrey v Atlanta United - CONCACAF Champions League 2019

MONTERREY, MEXICO - MARCH 06: Frank De Boer, coach of Atlanta United, gives instructions during the quarterfinals first leg match between Monterrey and Atlanta United as part of the CONCACAF Champions League 2019 at BBVA Bancomer Stadium on March 06, 2019 in Monterrey, Mexico. (Photo by Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Getty Images

20. Vancouver Whitecaps -- Struggles were expected under a new coach with a big roster flip, so patience should be in long supply especially considering the recent defeat of LAFC (which included a blanking of Carlos Vela). Also worth noting the ‘Caps drew Seattle.

19. Portland Timbers -- Still yet to play at home, so getting the benefit of the doubt from us despite a 1-5-1 start.

18. San Jose Earthquakes -- Two wins in three could signify an early turned corner.

17. NYCFC -- With five draws, are you the pessimist who says, “Only one win,” or the optimist who counters, “Only one loss?”

16. FC Cincinnati -- Not quite the tire fire expected by those doubting the acumen of FCC’s lineup. The hope has to be that consistency will come with familiarity.

15. Chicago Fire -- Unbeaten in four with NYCFC/Montreal litmus tests next.

14. Minnesota United -- Three away wins already and have played just once at home.

13. Orlando City SC -- Nani putting together some big performances, but no signature win yet.

12. Real Salt Lake -- Streaky side ends four-match losing run by beating Orlando and Cincinnati.

11. Columbus Crew -- The defensive record is very impressive under new coach Caleb Porter with just eight goals conceded in eight games. They’ve also only scored eight in a firepower-driven league.

Timbers Crew Soccer

Columbus Crew defender Jonathan Mensah (4) and midfielder Artur (8) are unable to score against Portland Timbers goalkeeper Jeff Attinella (1) and defender Larrys Mabiala (33) in the first half of an MLS soccer game in Columbus, Ohio, Saturday, April 20, 2019. (Eric Albrecht/The Columbus Dispatch via AP)


10. Montreal Impact -- The 3-0 loss to Philly stings.

9. Philadelphia Union -- The only loss in six is courtesy a cross-country trip to face Zlatan and The Galaxy, which is also a good name for a new band. They could tour with Jem.

8. Sporting KC -- We’re here to proffer this long, CONCACAF Champions League-congestion considered leash to Peter Vermes. He’s earned it.

7. DC United -- Even in MLS, we didn’t think we’d see an early 1W-2L-1T stretch, albeit with Rooney taking a red and sitting one out.

6. FC Dallas -- Excited for the first Texas Derby in two weeks time.

5. Houston Dynamo -- First loss of the season comes courtesy a trip to the Galaxy. Forgivable.

4. Toronto FC -- Pozuelo is the truth.

3. Seattle Sounders -- Carlos Vela at home is understandably where their undefeated season went for death.

2. LA Galaxy -- Have allowed two goals in their last four matches, and that’s with new signing Giancarlo Gonzalez only making a token appearance.

1. LAFC -- Bob Bradley doesn’t relent, having ridden Carlos Vela to wins of 4-1, 5-0, 4-0, and 4-1 (again) already this season.

Follow @NicholasMendola