Photo courtesy of Mitchell Leff | USA TODAY Sports
Let us start off easy, shall we? The defending champions will find themselves out of the rankings this week simply because there are better teams. But speaking off better teams, are we smelling trouble brewing for a particular LA club? Is the Philadelphia attack really that good? All these questions and more will be answered below.
10. Inter Miami FC (Last week: #8)
Just as the Red Bulls climbed, Miami has fallen to our final spot. Now this is not a bad thing, especially when Gonzalo Higuain is showing why he was signed in the first place. But this team lacked discipline and it shows how important Pozuelo is on the pitch for Miami. Without him, they were in disarray and quickly lost control in the midfield which allowed the Red Bulls to get some comfort to ultimately slam the door shut on any sort of Miami comeback.
9. Orlando (Last Week: N/A)
Welcome to the top-10, Orlando. I am sorry it has taken me so long to get the Lions here, but a three-game win streak will allow you to jump aboard. Oscar Pareja has this team functioning the best I have seen in his tenure. Three straight wins along with hosting the US Open Cup Final must feel good going into this final stretch of matches.
8. FC Dallas (Last week: #7)
I get that Columbus drew and got to keep their spot in the rankings, but this FC Dallas side has not been themselves as of late. They seem to be lacking the spirit down the stretch and other clubs will feast on that. I get Jesus Ferreira is having a sensational season, but who is going to back him up? Arriola is not providing the best service as of late and there does not seem to be the same urgency as the ball starts coming back their direction. Dallas needs three points bad, especially with how tight the Western Conference is starting to get.
7. New York Red Bulls (Last week: #9)
Here is the team I was raving about a few weeks ago. After a little bit of a skid these last few weeks, the Red Bulls found themselves a comeback win in what was a bizarre match that saw both teams play with 10 men. Regardless of that, the Red Bulls used the exposed space and former Inter Miami man, Lewis Morgan, showed why he was the young talent Miami should have kept and sold one of their illegal DP’s.
6. Columbus Crew (Last week: #6)
Columbus does things the Porter way and get another draw which is not typically great, especially against your in-state rival. But in the grand scheme of things, it keeps you just above the enemy in the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Columbus have feasted on having Cucho Hernandez this summer and what an important signing he has been. Their big struggle that will need to get fixed is figuring out how the defense can get more physical because two big players in Miazga and Vazquez found the back of the net against you.
5. Montreal (Last week: #5)
As I was about to say bye to boy Djordje, I realized his contract was not about to end till January. So my original concerns of Montreal were squashed by the fact that this team is going to be a sleeper going into playoffs. Which they shouldn’t be. Romell Quioto looks as good as he did in his first few seasons with Houston. Wanyama finally has found himself settled in a more comfortable midfield position and unlike Minnesota, they have posted back-to-back shutouts.
4. Minnesota United (Last Week: #4)
A win is a win. They cannot all be pretty like the one against Austin but 2-1 over the worst team in the Western Conference is not all that bad. The midfield for Minnesota has been able to dictate the flow of matches as of late which is allowing Reynoso and Amarilla to expose the spaces on the opposing backlines. The main fix I want to see from Minnesota is to solidify that backline. They are allowing only a goal in their last couple of matches but one less goal makes those matches two shutouts.
3. Austin FC (Last Week: #2)
Austin FC putting on a show. My goodness this a team to be watching. They are playing beautiful soccer and Driussi is sensational. Fagundez has shown to be a powerhouse signing and now that Austin FC have put some supporting characters around him, he no longer has to be the star he had to be in Austin’s inaugural season. They swept the season series against LAFC and sit six points behind the crucial number one playoff spot in the Western Conference.
2. LAFC (Last Week: #1)
Just as shocking as 12 goals scored in two matches, LAFC losing two straight? That is almost unheard of. But sure enough, Austin put the pedal to the metal and dismantled LAFC. LAFC have the talent, but they simply do not have grit. This is a team full of superstars who are not used to comebacks. So, if you can jump out in front, it will be hard for them to climb that mountain. LAFC have been exposed twice now and it is time for damage control if they want to claim Supporters Shield and have that bye-week for MLS playoffs.
1. Philadelphia Union (Last Week: #3)
Uh… that happened….again. Philadelphia are legit and have a right to challenge for the Supporters Shield just as LAFC does. But my goodness, 12 goals scored in the span of two matches? Daniel Gazdag really is that guy but the Union are a scary team. Not only are they winning by large margins, but they’re not being scored on either. Granted these wins aren’t against playoff caliber teams but still… wow.