MLS Next Pro Power Rankings: Top 10
Week 2 has come and gone. Time to see who's on top.
Welcome to the second Power Rankings of the season. Our top team stays unchanged, due to a bye week, but some teams were making their move up the rankings. Plenty of teams can make a valid argument to be ranked far higher, but it’s a crowded field and will take many more weeks to separate the pretenders from the contenders.
On to the rankings:
#10. Colorado Rapids 2 (2-0-0, 6 points) Rapids 2 have a strong argument for why they should be ranked much higher. Rapids 2 traveled to Houston Dynamo 2, one of the top MLS Next Pro teams last season, and also the stingiest defense in the league that year. Yasuke Hanya, out of the University of Massachusetts, played the hero for Rapids 2, as he tied the game up in the 87th minute and would get an assist on the extra time game winner.
#9. San Jose Earthquakes 2 (2-0-0) Earthquakes 2 jumped out to an early 2-0 lead (via goals in the 10th minute and 30th minute) on the road against Timbers 2 and held on for the 2-0 victory. San Jose played excellent team defense down the stretch, allowing only 1 shot on goal the entire match.
#8. Minnesota United FC 2 (2-0-0) Loons 2 were having a rough time at last year’s Western Conference finalist St. Louis City FC 2. Loons 2 found themselves down 1-0 going into the second half when good fortune smiled upon them in the 64th minute. 17-year-old SLC FC 2 defender, Josh Maher, received a red card after his second yellow card of the match. It was all Loons 2 after that, as they scored three unanswered goals in a 3-1 victory.
#7. New England Revolution 2 (2-0-0) Despite being dominated at home for the majority of the match by New York City FC 2, Revs 2 found themselves tied 1-1 late in the match. 18-year-old Esmir Bajraktarevic, a Revolution Home Grown player, would clinch the victory for Revs 2 with his dramatic 89th-minute winner.
#6. Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 (1-1-0) After trailing early at Los Angeles FC 2, Whitecaps 2 would tie the match up before the half. Whitecaps 2 would then survive a late red card to midfielder Vasco Fry to earn a 1-1 draw before winning the extra point on PKs by a 3-2 score.
#5. Chicago Fire 2 (2-0-0) No team had a more impressive win this past weekend than Chicago. The Fire 2 found themselves down to 10 men and tied 0-0 at halftime, and their fortunes looked bleak. Despite being down to 10 men, Chicago Fire 2 would score two unanswered goals for a 2-0 victory over visiting Toronto FC 2. Fire 2 have scored 5 goals in their first two matches, all by different players. Take a closer look at their attack, and you will find attacking midfielder Luka Prpa pulling all the right strings. Luka was without a club last season after having played in the USL Championship for 2 seasons. A year later, Prpa is the architect behind one of the league’s best attacks, accounting for 3 assists in 2 matches.
#4. Orlando City B (2-0-0) Orlando City B dominated with an impressive 2-1 victory over visiting Huntsville City FC. Both goals were scored by Orlando City Home Grown Alex Freeman. For those of you who are not familiar with Freeman, this 18-year-old Right Back is a rising star in the USMNT youth team ranks and clearly a difference-maker at this level.
#3. Tacoma Defiance (1-1-0) Tacoma had the best attack in the Western Conference last season, so it should be no surprise that they find themselves leading the league in goals scored just 2 weeks in (tied at 6 with Loons 2). Last week, Tacoma hosted the hapless Real Monarchs and dismantled them by a 5-0 score. The main threat for Tacoma’s vaunted attack is 24 year old Paul Rothrock, a striker who started last season for Toronto FC II, scoring 7 goals for TFC II. This season, Rothrock has 3 assists, despite only starting 1 match, and subbing into the other one.
#2. North Texas SC (2-0-0) North Texas SC traveled to the Los Angeles Galaxy II and earned a 1-0 victory. NTXSC is now only 1 of 2 teams to win 2 matches on the road (Loons 2 the other) and only 1 of 2 teams yet to concede a goal (Earthquakes 2 the other). Last season, NTXSC had one of the top attacks in the league, so if the attack finds its 2022 form, this will be one scary team.
#1. Columbus Crew 2 (0-1-0) The Capybaras had a bye but will face a real challenge next week in the form of red hot Chicago Fire 2.
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