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Lines in the Sand : Week 10 Power Rankings

In which we parse out what’s going on around the league and see who’s rising, who’s falling, and who’s Coloradoing.

MLS: Sporting KC at Minnesota United FC Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

I think I mentioned earlier this season on how the Kansas City teams that I’ve known since my migration (so full disclosure, I transplanted to KC from Minnesota 10+ years ago) have often kept the season “interesting” by beating tough teams, often comfortably, while struggling and stumbling over teams they should be out right.

Perhaps some of that comes to player rotation and depth, or perhaps that’s just how it is for every team at some level and I’m just experiencing some kind of confirmation bias. In any case, I’ve often thought of MLS teams (and, really, any sports teams) as falling into “good”, “average”, and “poor” tiers, with perhaps the one or two outliers on the top being considered “great” and the bottom ones being “Cleveland Browns”.

Where I’m going with this is that, while Sporting Kansas City losing to Minnesota United was somewhat frustrating, it’s perhaps not surprising. But objectively, I don’t think one ought blow up a season over one result. I still believe SKC belongs in the “good”-tier, and Minnesota in the “poor”. Moreover, I think Sunday’s result speaks more towards Minnesota having corrected some of their early season struggles then it does Sporting Kansas City being worse than they seem (giving up more than one goal in a game was going to happen at some point, and it happening in an away game with a modest change in starting XI isn’t all that surprising).

So, objectively I think we can say “Okay, that happened” and move on. Other things happened too, like Philadelphia winning a game! As above, this is an incremental thing, so I’m not sure I’d get too excited/alarmed anyway.

Actually, going back to my first paragraph about the Kansas City teams I’ve known over the last decade, I look to the Curt Onalfo tenure, then look to the current state of the LA Galaxy, then shrug and move on with my life.

But while we’re being objective, let’s see how much last week’s matches really changed things, per my handy dandy Power Ranking spreadsheet. Side bar: I swear I really need to sit down one day and find a way to fully automate these things. Not because it’s especially difficult, it just seems like the kind of thing that would lend itself to automation.

Week 10 Power Rankings

Rank Team Points Wins Losses Draws Trend
Rank Team Points Wins Losses Draws Trend
1 Portland Timbers 17 5 3 2
2 Orlando City 18 6 3 0
3 FC Dallas 18 5 0 3
4 Sporting Kansas City 18 5 2 3
5 Columbus 16 5 4 1 down
6 New York City FC 16 5 3 1 up
7 Houston Dynamo 16 5 3 1
8 New York Red Bulls 16 5 5 1
9 Toronto FC 19 5 1 4 up
10 Chicago Fire 12 3 3 3 down
11 Atlanta United 11 3 4 2 down
12 DC United 11 3 4 2
13 San Jose Earthquakes 15 4 3 3 up
14 New England Revolution 19 2 4 4 down
15 Vancouver Whitecaps 13 4 4 1 up
16 Seattle Sounders 10 2 3 4 down
17 Real Salt Lake 8 2 6 2
18 Minnesota United 11 3 5 2
19 LA Galaxy 9 2 5 2
20 Montreal Impact 9 2 3 4
21 Colorado Rapids 4 1 6 1
22 Philadelphia Union 7 1 4 4

So Kansas City stay in the top four. Portland hang on to the #1 spot (barely, I personally feel it should be, and likely will be, Dallas’s next week). I’d note that this was cranked out without Toronto’s midweek win, and they were already trending upward. While the slow start hurt them, recent results generally have them moving in the direction of the table most people expected they would. Philly still in the bottom but Colorado is really making a case that they belong there, with LA giving them a run for their money. Minnesota at three wins looks to be on the up and up too now that the early season results are starting to fade away.

Saturday’s match against Orlando City will be a big one for both teams coming off losses, especially so for a Kansas City team going in without team leading scorer Dom Dwyer. Would we be happy with a road point? I generally am at this point in the season, but dropping the result against Minnesota has me wondering if pulling out all the stop and going for three may be wise.