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  • Writer's Cortez

MLS 2022 Power Rankings

Image provided by USA Today Sports

Tomorrow the MLS will kick off the earliest start to a season yet. We saw new records being set and crazy upsets in the playoffs. The cherry on top was a barn burner MLS Cup finals, with one of the greatest stoppage-time goals in an MLS Cup. Here is how we think your favorite teams rank going into the 2022 MLS Season.

1. New England Revolution

Despite not winning their coveted first MLS Cup, New England had the best season out of any other team from both conferences. Not only did they win the Supporters Shield, but they also just narrowly edged out LAFC’s 2018 record for most points in a regular season (73). With the Revs keeping their core roster, and Bruce Arena at the helm, this looks like the start of a golden age for the Revs.

2. New York City FC

I don’t think anyone saw this coming. Despite making a top-four finish in the regular season, New York was not on my radar for potential contenders. I fully expected a Seattle-New England MLS cup, but this surprised me almost as much as Salt Lake making it past the first round. This proves that New York can perform in high-stakes games and that they should be considered contenders for a second MLS Cup.

3. Seattle Sounders

It’s safe to say that Seattle is the most consistent team in the MLS. Since they became a part of the MLS back in 2009, the Sounders have not missed the playoffs. Seattle still has its core roster and key players, so I really don't expect them to get anything less than a Western Conference Finals appearance. Honestly, I’d probably be bored as a Seattle fan since I know that Raúl Ruidíaz, Jordan Morris, and the rest of the Sounders were going to bring me another successful season. (Let’s ignore Seattle’s first-round exit to RSL)

4. Portland Timbers

Whenever I think of Portland, I think of a team that looks like Seattle has similar results to Seattle, and is in the same general region as Seattle. But the Timbers just aren’t Seattle. Portland has always been in the shadows of their rivals, due to their inconsistency at times. The Timbers had a great run in the playoffs and regular season but just fell short to a New York team that was on fire. While they did lose their goalkeeper Steve Clark, and their defense is lacking on manpower due to numerous injuries, Portland is still good at one thing: Scoring goals. They have Yimmi Chara and Sebastian Blanco for that. I’m not saying that they’ll make it to the Finals again, but I’d be optimistic if I was a Portland fan.

5. Philadelphia Union FC

Philidelphia Union is a good football team. Yes, they’ve never won an MLS cup but they have been pretty consistent for the past few seasons. Going into 2022 Philadelphia lost a few key players like striker Kacper Przybylko and Jamiro Monteiro, but still have some depth in their midfield. They also have some promising homegrown academy players, and it’s always exciting to see young players flourish in the MLS, especially if you’re a fan of national team soccer. Philadelphia just needs to prove they are a playoff team.

6. Sporting Kansas City

Kansas is missing their Excalibur. Their not-so-secret weapon Alan Pulido is out for the foreseeable future with a knee injury. But a team’s success does not come down to one player. Johnny Russell is an incredible goal scorer as well (he caused enough problems for me as a Galaxy fan last season). I think we can excuse their loss to Real Salt Lake in the playoffs, Seattle lost too. If they start off the season hot, they will only get stronger once Pulido is healthy.

7. Nashville SC

Nashville joined the MLS 2 years ago and has been on fire ever since. They made the playoffs both times and went undefeated at home last season. They made it to penalties against Philadelphia, only to send the balls flying into the hands of the ball boys. Moving on, Nashville managed to sign free agent Sean Davis, which provides more midfield playmaking potential. One thing to note is Nashville’s migration to the Western Conference, due to Charolette FC joining the Eastern Conference. Will the competition be harder for Nashville, and how will they deal with the constant long trips? It’s going to be interesting to see.

8. Colorado Rapids FC

The MLS 2021 Decision Day was one of the most exciting decision days we’ve ever had. While Minnesota, LA Galaxy, and Salt Lake were fighting tooth and nail for the last spots in the playoffs, Colorado quietly stole the top seed in the West from Seattle, by demolishing LAFC 5-2. Colorado, unfortunately, lost 2 key players Kellyn Acosta and Cole Basset. I’d be a little nervous if I were a Rapids fan, but they did receive Mark Anthony-Kaye from LAFC, who is a great player despite LAFC’s performance last season. Don’t expect another number 1 seed, but don't sleep on Colorado anymore.

9. Atlanta United FC

It’s always good to see players return from an injury and have a good comeback season. Josef Martinez scored 12 goals last season after suffering a season-ending ACL tear in the 2020 season opener. Sure 12 goals aren’t anything to write home about but not bad after 2 knee surgeries. Atlanta also managed to break a league record… by signing Thiago Almada for 16 million dollars. If Martinez keeps his preseason form and Almada lives up to the hype, I think it’s safe to say that Atlanta United is back.

Image provided by USA Today Sports

10. LA Galaxy

I’m going to preface this, yes I am biased. But hear me out, I have a good reason for this. Despite not making the playoffs for 2 years in a row, the LA Galaxy is looking the most promising in it has looked a long time. Mark Delgado and Douglas Costa are two great replacements (and I’d even go as far to say upgrades) from Sebastian Lleget and Jonathan Dos Santos. Kevin Cabral received a lot of flak last season for his failure to finish goals but has looked great in the preseason. Julian Araujo and Efrain Alvarez are only getting better by the day and are so exciting to watch. Chicharito was just 2 goals shy of winning the golden boot. But, he played a whole 1000 minutes less than Castellanos. Last season was a rebuilding period, and now this season, the Galaxy looked polished and ready to win.

11. Orlando City SC

Orlando fans are still recoiling from the loss of Darry Dike, Nani, and Chris Mueller. Losing so much attacking power is tough, but Orlando responded by acquiring Facundo Torres for a whopping $7.5 million from the Urugyuan side of Penarol and another Uruguayan midfielder Cesar Araujo. Let’s be honest, these aren’t upgrades from Dike and Nani, but it doesn’t mean all hope is lost for Orlando. They’ve always been a resilient team, so predict Orlando to clinch another playoff berth this season.

12. Columbus Crew SC

2 seasons ago, The Crew was MLS cup champions. Last season, they were pretty much eliminated from playoffs before decision day events started. They kept most of their core roster intact, so as long as no injuries happen, they should at least make the top 7, right? Nevertheless, it’s always a treat to watch Lucas Zelarayan score incredible goals, so I’ve got my popcorn ready and I’m hoping Columbus put on a good show.

13. New York Red Bulls

Honestly, not much to say about the unimpressive Red Bulls. If I were a Red Bulls fan, I’d just be embarrassed that my main rivals, who don't have their own soccer-specific stadium and don’t even play in New York City, won a cup before me. Get ready for another bottom-seed playoffs berth for the Red Bulls.

14. LAFC

I think a good metaphor for the Los Angeles Football club right now is a wounded giant. LAFC has all the talent they need for an MLS cup. Vela, Kellyn Acosta, Brian Rodriguez, and Cristian Arango. My only concern is the coach. Bob Bradley is gone, and the front office decided to hire former manager of USL team Las Vegas Lights, Steve Cherundolo, who had a 6W-3D-23L in 2021. Hopefully, he can breathe some life into the weakened LAFC team, and lead the team to its full potential.

15. Minnesota United

Minnesota is another consistent team that is ultimately not incredibly entertaining to watch as a non-fan. They made the playoffs again but didn’t make it past the Timbers first round. They also lost Ozzie Alonso and have a lackluster midfield, so who knows where the Loons are ending up this season (Probably still making playoffs somehow.)

16. CF Montréal

Speaking of boring, probably the most boring team in the MLS is CF Montréal. (I said boring, not the worst, so don’t get it twisted). Montréal hasn’t really done anything since their rebrand from Montréal Impact a few years ago, except winning the Canadian championship and getting first rounded in the Concacaf Champions League. They did get Alistair Johnson from Nashville and have Key Kamara too, so they look decent going into the new season.

17. Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Vancouver does not have a bad roster. They have playoff team talent with the likes of Brian White and Ryan Gauld. All they have to do is secure a playoffs seed higher than 6th and maybe people will start taking them seriously.

18. Real Salt Lake

If you watched last season’s playoffs, you’re probably wondering why RSL is so low. Let’s just say that their playoff run was something of a Mi*key Mo*se run. There’s no way you can convince me that RSL is better than Kansas City and the Seattle Sounders. They also lost Albert Rusnak, who gave them 11 goals and assists last season. For the amount that David Ochoa talks, I better be proven wrong.

19. Toronto FC

Yes, Toronto did gain some serious firepower during the offseason. Bob Bradley, Lorenzo Insigne, and Carlos Salcedo look promising for the struggling club. But 2 players don’t make a team, it’s up to Bradley to pick up the broken pieces of the once great club and restore Toronto to its former glory. I don’t doubt that Lorenzo Insigne can score goals, but Toronto’s defense is so abysmal every game is going to end 5-4 with Insigne scoring a hat trick, and still losing.

20. D.C. United

Even though I’m not a fan, it hurts to see the 2nd most decorated club in the MLS down so terribly. Losing Paul Arriola isn’t helping their case either, and there aren’t many new signings that look capable of dragging D.C. out of the mud. Perhaps their Designated Player Taxi Fountas will revitalize a struggling team midway through the season.

21. FC Dallas

I bet if Dallas kept their homegrown players for a few seasons rather than shipping them off to Europe, they would have an MLS cup by now. No more Pepi means no more explosive young energy that he brought. Dallas did get Paul Arriola and Alan Velasco for a lot of Pepi money, so hopefully, Velasco can replace the void left by Ricardo Pepi.

22. San Jose Earthquakes

Unless this is a winning season, I think this is the last dance for Matias Almeyda. San Jose struggles from a lack of talent, and Cade Cowell being their best player is not enough to save San Jose from their playoff drought. At least I get to watch Cade Cowell be an athletic freak on the pitch as he runs circles around defenders.

23. Chicago Fire FC

I’m a fan of Mexican football, so I was excited to see Jairo Torres coming from Atlas FC, the reigning Liga MX champions. Torres, along with a new manager should be able to feed the dying Fire, but perhaps a bigger rebuilding is required. Also, I think we can all agree their new logo is atrocious.

24. Inter Miami CF

David Beckham is punching the air right now. One of the most expensive teams, and so much talent on Inter Miami, only to have embarrassing results. I don’t know how Phil Neville still has a job.

25. Houston Dynamo FC

I always become optimistic for a team when I see a new manager join, but their new signings aren’t too bad either. I hear rumors that Hector Herrera could be coming, and Sebastian Ferreria is already here. It won’t happen immediately, but Houston probably won’t get bottom 3 this season.

26. Austin FC

Last season proves that you can mess with Texas. All three Texas teams at the bottom, and new expansion teams Austin and rock bottom. At least they’re not Cincinnati, right?

27. Charlotte FC

Not much information about Charlotte, but they have about zero notable talent, so I’m not super stoked about their chances this season. They can’t be worse than Cincy.

28. Cincinnati FC

3 wooden spoons in a row, hardly any new signings. Enough said.

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