MLS: Taking stock at the international break -- all 27 teams ranked

It seemed like yesterday MLS just started the 2021 season. After seven weeks, it will take a rare two-weekend break to coincide with the extra long FIFA window (May 31-June 15)

MLS will be off until June 18, allowing teams to get rested and integrate new players signed during the primary transfer window, which closes on Tuesday.

The break is a convenient time to rank the 27 teams ...

1. Seattle (5-0-3). The Sounders have only allowed three goals in eight games and none from open play (two direct free kicks and one penalty kick). Since stepping in for injured Stefan Frei, Stefan Cleveland has allowed just one goal in three games.

2. New England (5-1-2). The Revs were all over FC Cincinnati on Saturday but managed just one one goal in their 1-0 win, Polish striker Adam Buksa's third goal in three games. The big three -- Carles Gil, Gustavo Bou and Buksa -- has combined for seven goals and five assists.

3. LA Galaxy (5-2-0). The Galaxy is already one win away from matching its 2020 season total. A league-high seven goals by Javier Hernandez has a lot to do with it. But equally important has been the coaching of Greg Vanney.

4. Sporting KC (5-2-1). Sporting leads the league with 15 goals, five by Mexican international Alan Pulido, who is off to play for El Tri in the Concacaf Nations Cup final four.

5. Philadelphia (4-2-2). The Union, the only MLS team through to the semifinals of the Concacaf Champions League, also has the best record of the five MLS teams entered in this year's regional club competition.

6. Nashville SC (2-0-5). Nashville SC is the only team to have beaten the Revs; three of their ties came after they recovered from 2-0 deficits, most recently at Atlanta United on Saturday.

7. NYCFC (3-2-2). Ronny Deila termed the 2-1 win at LAFC on Saturday the biggest win in his two seasons as head coach.

8. Columbus (3-2-2). After a slow start -- just three goals in their first five games -- the defending champions have earned back-to-back 2-1 wins. Saturday's win over Toronto FC included Gyasi Zardes' first goal of the season.

9. Colorado (4-2-1). Six Americans have started at least five games: William Yarbrough in goal, Sam Vines, Auston Trusty and Keegan Rosenberry on backline and Kellyn Acosta and Cole Bassett in midfield.

10. Orlando City (3-1-3). The Lions' 3-0-3 start was their best in seven seasons in MLS.

11. Atlanta United (2-1-4). An encouraging result -- 1-1 at Seattle -- was followed by a very disappointing one. The Five Stripes had to settle for a 2-2 tie at home with Nashville SC on Saturday after allowing a pair of Hany Mukhtar goals in the last 10 minutes.

12. Real Salt Lake (2-1-3). Rubio Rubin leads RSL with four goals and parlayed his fast start into a call-up to the Guatemalan national team, which is preparing for its final two games of the first round of World Cup 2022 qualifying in Concacaf.

13. CF Montreal (3-3-2). On March 8, assistant coach Wilfried Nancy was handed head coaching duties following Thierry Henry's departure. After just seven games, his option for the 2022 season was picked up. Declared sporting director Olivier Renard, “I am confident for the future."

14. Portland (3-4-0). Given the injuries they have dealt with, nine points in seven games for the Timbers is pretty good.

15. NY Red Bulls (3-4-0). The average age of the starters in Saturday's 2-1 win over Orlando City was just 22.7.

16. Houston (3-3-2).
The Dynamo is unbeaten at home, but winless on the road through eight games, matching its form of recent years.

17. D.C. United (3-5-0). United not only won at Inter Miami (3-0) but got big games from Ola Kamara (two goals) and Paul Arriola (goal and an assist).

18. LAFC (2-3-2). Below the .500 mark and below the red line? No one would have expected that from LAFC, one of the preseason favorites. Nor would have anyone figured that Carlos Vela would still be without a goal.

19. San Jose (3-5-0). After a fast start, the Earthquakes have hit a wall. Not for the first time under Matias Almeyda. They've had plenty of chances but managed to score just one goal during their current four-game losing streak.

20. Inter Miami (2-4-2). How did Miami respond less than 24 hours after MLS came down hard with sanctions for widespread violations of roster rules in 2020? Not well. It fell behind D.C. United two goals after 21 minutes and never recovered. The fans who turned out for the first full-capacity game at DRV PNK Stadium were not happy.

21. Austin FC (2-4-1). Like the three Canadian teams, Austin FC has also opened on the road. But after seven away games, it will return from the international break  to play San Jose on June 19 in its first match at new Q2 Stadium.

22. Minnesota United (2-4-1). The Loons have not been shy about spending money in the offseason, signing Argentine forward Ramon Abila, French forward Adrien Hunou and Argentine winger Franco Fragapane. Hunou finally debuted on Saturday, while the Loons were still trying to get Fragapane cleared to play.

23. Vancouver (2-4-1). Life is getting back to normal for most MLS teams -- six games over the weekend drew more than 10,000 fans, including more than 40,000 in Atlanta and 20,000 in Kansas City -- but not the three Canadian outfits. The Whitecaps confirmed last week that they will play their home games at RSL's Rio Tinto Stadium through July.

24. FC Dallas (1-3-3). No MLS team is doing a better job of producing talent for export. The latest examples: 17-year-old Justin Che, who was called up to the U.S. national team after spending the second half of the German season on loan at Bayern Munich, and 18-year-old Dante Sealy, who is training at PSV. But has FC Dallas left the cupboard bare? Just two Homegrown players started in the 3-0 loss at Colorado on Saturday.

25. Toronto FC (1-4-2). The Reds are a mess. The first order of business: resolve the Jozy Altidore situation. The 31-year-old forward was told to train on his own following an argument with head coach Chris Armas.

26. Chicago (1-5-1). The Fire has scored only four goals, three by Luka Stojanovic.

27. FC Cincinnati (1-4-1). The 1-0 loss to the Revs was very discouraging. It came a week after FC Cincinnati rallied to beat Montreal. And it fell despite starting all three Designated Players -- Luciano Acosta, Brenner and Jurgen Locadia -- for the first time.

Photos: Jane Gershovich/Sounders FC, Nashvile SC, Inter Miami.

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