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MLS Week 4 Power Rankings

By Taylor Smith in Sports
| March 21, 2017 12:00 am PDT
MLS Power Rankings Feature

After three weeks of the MLS season, the league will take a break this weekend for international play. We’ve already had our fair share of surprises in the early going, including an unbeaten start for the Timbers and a goal-scoring frenzy for expansion Atlanta United.

How do the league’s 22 clubs shape up after three weeks?

1. Portland Timbers (3-0-0)

Portland look every bit like a side hungry to prove that 2016 was an anomaly. Led by a terrifying front six featuring Fanendo Adi and Diego Valeri, the Timbers have gotten out to an encouraging 4-2 start, with the latest victory an impressive 4-2 triumph over Houston.

They’ll look to keep the unbeaten start rolling this week in Columbus.

2. Atlanta United (2-1-0)

Things aren’t supposed to be this easy for expansion clubs. ATL cruised to a second consecutive easy 4-0 victory over Chicago Fire over the weekend, and they’ve now scored a league-leading 11 goals in just three games.

It’s early, but this absolutely looks like a club to be reckoned with in the east. They’ll face a stiff test this week when they travel to Seattle to take on the defending MLS Cup champs.

3. FC Dallas (2-0-1)

FCD wasn’t quite at their best in the home opener against New England on Saturday night, but they still had enough in the tank to pull out a 2-1 victory. Fatigue could be a factor for them moving forward as long as they remain alive in the CONCACAF Champions League.

They’ll have some time off, though, as they won’t hit the pitch until April 4th for their second CL leg against Pachuca of Liga MX.

4. Houston Dynamo (2-1-0)

The Dynamo suffered their first setback of 2017 at Portland, but Providence Park is quite the tough place to play. Both Erick Torres and Romell Quioto found the score sheet for the third time in three games.

Houston will be back home for the third time in four games on April Fools’ Day against New York Red Bulls.

5. Orlando City (2-0-0)

The Lions have been able to survive Kaká’s absence to this point, making it two wins in two since the Brazilian star man went down in the season opener. Cyle Larin has scored in both games thus far, he’s one of three Orlando City players to be named to the MLS Team of the Week after both games this season.

The Lions will be off until taking on the Columbus Crew on April 1st.

6. New York Red Bulls (2-1-0)

After winning each of their first two, New York suffered its first defeat of the season in the hostile environment of Seattle on Sunday night. The Red Bulls were level with the Sounders midway through the second half before Jordan Morris and Harry Shipp scored to give Seattle a 3-1 victory.

Jesse Marsch will be looking for answers to solve New York’s offense woes. One of the league’s most potent offensive clubs last season has struggled to generate many clear chances through three games in 2017.

7. San Jose Earthquakes (2-1-0)

San Jose was another team to suffer its first loss of the season when they were beaten 2-1 at Sporting KC over the weekend. The Quakes’ offense screeched to a halt after scoring four goals over the first two games, as they generated just five shots and scored once against Kansas City.

The Earthquakes will have their work cut out for them in two weeks when they head up to Yankee Stadium to square-off with NYCFC.

8. New York City FC (1-1-1)

Speaking of NYCFC, they were held 1-1 by Montreal on Saturday afternoon. Despite taking a 1-0 lead into the half on a Rodney Wallace strike, they conceded a Dominic Oduro strike in the second half as the teams shared the spoils. Wallace has now scored twice and added an assist in his first three games with his new team.

9. Toronto FC (1-0-2)

Despite being without former league MVP Sebastian Giovinco, Toronto was finally able to get into the win column by going into Vancouver and earning a 2-0 victory. Giovinco (thigh) will train this week and hopes to be back in the mix on March 31st when TFC hosts Sporting KC for their 2017 home opener.

10. Seattle Sounders (1-1-1)

After dramatically scratching out a point at Montreal last week, the defending MLS Cup champions finally returned home to beat New York, 3-1. Harry Shipp, who was acquired from Montreal over the winter, certainly looked right at home in the Sounders’ midfield on Sunday evening.

We’re in store for a doozy in a couple of weeks when high-flying Atlanta take their show back on the road and visit Seattle coming up on March 31st.

11. Sporting Kansas City (1-0-2)

After a pair of scoreless draws to open the year, Sporting KC nearly had themselves a clean sheet 2-0 victory before San Jose scored in stoppage time on Saturday. A set piece wonderstrike from Benny Feilhaber to give KC an early lead was likely the best goal you’ll see all week.

Now that they’ve finally found the back of the net, KC will head to Toronto in a couple of weeks to take on TFC.

12. Chicago Fire (1-1-1)

The Fire made some headlines late on Monday night when it was announced that they have acquired talented German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger from Manchester United. The World Cup champion will join the Fire immediately and will make a whopping $4.5 million this season.

This likely completes the reshaping the Chicago midfield has undergone in recent months. Schweinsteiger will likely slot into a No. 10 role in front of fellow newcomers Dax McCarty and Juninho. Does the 32-year-old have anything left in the tank? We’ll see.

13. Columbus Crew (1-1-1)

On the heels of a dismal effort in Houston last week, Columbus picked itself up off the floor and stormed their way to a 2-0 win at RFK Stadium over DC United on Saturday. Both of the Crew’s goals came from the penalty spot, but three points is three points.

14. Colorado Rapids (1-1-1)

Colorado endured a disappointing performance on Saturday when they were held to a 2-2 draw by expansion Minnesota United at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Despite a stellar defensive record in home games over the last year-plus, the Rapids allowed more than one goal in a home game for the first time since October of 2015.

Failing to earn all three points against a team with such massive defensive holes as MNUFC has to be disappointing for Colorado. They’ll now face a lengthy layoff before getting back into action on April 9th against Sporting KC.

15. LA Galaxy (1-2-0)

After back-to-back disappointing losses at home, LA Galaxy got their first three points of the year by going into Salt Lake City and beating Real, 2-1. The Galaxy took advantage of Kyle Beckerman’s sending off just before halftime, getting goals from Dave Romney and Emmanuel Boateng to notch the road W. Boateng has now scored five times for the Galaxy all-time, and all five have come against RSL.

16. Montreal Impact (0-1-2)

The Impact are perhaps the league’s best counterattacking side, and that quality showed itself in the team’s impressive 1-1 draw at NYCFC. Despite the home side dominating possession and getting more shots off, the Canadians defended smartly and took advantage of their opportunities on the break.

17. Real Salt Lake (0-2-1)

RSL’s struggles continued on Saturday when they were beaten 2-1 at home by LA Galaxy. Yura Movsisyan’s header in the 18th minute was the team’s first goal of the 2017 season, but they were unable to hold off the Galaxy following Beckerman’s aforementioned dismissal.

Real were issued six yellow cards in the game, and they’re going to have to be more disciplined if they plan on eventually rebounding from this rocky start.

18. Philadelphia Union (0-1-2)

A 2-1 loss at Orlando stretched Philadelphia’s winless streak to 10 games dating back to last season, but there are reasons to be encouraged by their start to this campaign. They nearly earned a point when Ilsinho nearly scored in stoppage time, but his strike hit the post essentially as time expired.

The Union will try to earn their first win in a while in a couple of weeks at Columbus.

19. Vancouver Whitecaps (0-2-1)

For the second week running, Vancouver was undone by an untimely red card. Just one week after a red card to goalkeeper David Ousted led to the Whitecaps blowing a 2-0 lead in San Jose, defender Brek Shea picked up a pair of yellow cards in quick succession against Toronto. TFC went on to score twice after Shea was sent off, sending the ‘Caps to a second consecutive discouraging, shorthanded defeat.

20. DC United (0-2-1)

Three games in, DC United are still looking for their first goal of 2017. That’s hard to believe considering how dominant they looked offensively at the end of last season, but they played fairly well despite losing to Columbus over the weekend. The attack looked better with Luciano Acosta in the mix for the first time this season, but it wasn’t enough.

After 270 minutes on the season, DC United are still without a goal.

21. Minnesota United (0-2-1)

MNUFC earned themselves a gutty point in a tough environment in Denver over the weekend, and they deserve praise. After allowing a whopping 11 goals through their first two games, the expansion side was able to hold a very solid Colorado club on the road.

Kevin Molino converted a penalty in the 50th minute, which is the second goal in three games for the midfielder.

22. New England Revolution (0-2-0)

Despite going up against a Dallas squad facing fatigue with fresh legs of their own, the Revs were beaten 2-1 on the road on Saturday evening. Lee Nguyen scored from the penalty spot for the team’s first goal of the year, but ultimately they were unable to hold on against one of the league’s tougher sides.

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