MLS NEXT Pro Power Rankings: Matchweek 1


The first MLS NEXT Pro Power Rankings have arrived after a thrilling opening weekend of action.

A total of nine clubs earned regulation victories this past weekend including Tacoma Defiance, LAFC2, and Ventura County FC (previously named LA Galaxy II). Inter Miami II, New York Red Bulls II, and Orlando City B were among the regulation winners in the Eastern Conference while debutants Carolina Core FC and Chattanooga FC both earned two points respectively.
Here is a closer look at MLS NEXT Pro's Top 10 Power Rankings following Matchweek 1:

10.)  Chattanooga FC

MLS NEXT Pro debutants Chattanooga FC were pegged back twice in their season opening match vs. Huntsville City FC but walked away with two points in a shootout win. Taylor Gray and Alex McGrath both found the back of the net for the hosts while goalkeeper Jonathan Burke made seven saves. It was a positive start to the season for Chattanooga FC, who has a busy week ahead of U.S. Open Cup and league play. 

Last Match: 3-2 shootout win over Huntsville City FC
Next Match: vs. FC Cincinnati 2 on Saturday, March 23.

9.) Sporting KC II

One of MLS NEXT Pro’s dynamic attacking units kick-started their 2024 season in style.

Sporting KC II used second-half goals from Roberto Avila and Pau Vidal to earn a 2-1 road win over Houston Dynamo 2. Avila, who joined from Dynamo Dos this winter, scored against his former club while SKC’s 2023 leading goalscorer Vidal also netted his first tally of the new campaign. Both will be tough to stop as the 2024 campaign pushes forward.

Last Match: 2-1 win at Houston Dynamo 2
Next Match: vs. Ventura County FC on Sunday, March 24.

8.) Ventura County FC

Newly-renamed Ventura County FC also forced their way into the win column on Matchweek 1. Riley Dalgado and Axel Essengue both got on the scoresheet as VCFC defeated The Bay FC (formerly Quakes II) 2-1. Wins were hard to come by for Galaxy II in 2023, but an opening weekend result should do wonders for the squad’s confidence.

Last Match: 2-1 win vs. The Bay FC
Next Match: at Sporting KC II on Sunday, March 24.

7.) Philadelphia Union II

Marlon LeBlanc’s Philadelphia Union II squad walked away with three points at Subaru Park, edging Toronto FC II by a 2-1 scoreline. Despite conceding first to Jesus Batiz, Union II rallied back in the second half and used goals from Francis Westfield and Edward Davis to defeat their Canadian visitors. Man of the Match David Vazquez also excelled offensively, assisting once from his wide position.

Last Match: 2-1 win vs. TFC II
Next Match: vs. New England Revolution II on Sunday, March 24

6.) Colorado Rapids 2

Winning on the road is tough in any league but Colorado Rapids 2 defied those odds on Matchweek 1. Erik Bushey’s men defeated St. Louis CITY2 by a 2-1 scoreline, thanks to Marlon Vargas’ first goal of the season and an own goal from Gabriel Mikina. Offseason acquisition Alec Diaz registered one assist while Sebastian Anderson and Michael Edwards shined defensively. 

Last Match: 2-1 win at St. Louis CITY2
Next Match: at Tacoma Defiance on Sunday, March 24

5.) Orlando City B

Another Eastern Conference club that impressed on Matchweek 1 was Orlando City B. OCB erased an early deficit on the road at ATL UTD 2, eventually pulling out a 3-2 result at Fifth Third Bank Stadium. Jhon Solis, Yutaro Tsukada, and Colin Guske all netted goals for Manuel Goldberg’s squad. Favian Loyola, Alex Freeman, and Nabi Kibunguchy were among the returning starters. 

Last Match: 3-2 win at ATL UTD 2
Next Match: at Huntsville City FC on Friday, March 22

4.) Inter Miami II

Federico Higuain’s Inter Miami II squad used a late winning goal to pick up three points at home on Sunday. Leonardo Afonso’s 83rd minute winner proved to be the difference as Inter Miami II defeated NYCFC II 3-2. Santiago Morales and Afonso both found the back of the net in the opening 12 minutes before an NYCFC II surge forced Afonso to play the hero before the final whistle. 

Last Match: 3-2 win vs. NYCFC II
Next Match: at New York Red Bulls II on Sunday, March 24

3.) New York Red Bulls II

New York Red Bulls II picked up where they left off in 2023 by earning a shutout victory on the road at Columbus Crew 2. Goals from Wikelman Carmona and Roald Mitchell, paired with two assists from Ibrahim Kasule was all Red Bulls II needed to grab a first three points of 2024. AJ Marcucci earned his first clean sheet of the year as well, after missing parts of last season through injury.

Last Match: 2-0 win at Columbus Crew 2
Next Match: vs. Inter Miami II on Sunday, March 24

2.) Tacoma Defiance

New head coach, same deadly attacking corps. 

Tacoma Defiance picked up a statement win on Matchweek 1, defeating reigning MLS NEXT Pro Cup winners Austin FC II 3-1 at Parmer Field. Stuart Hawkins, Faysal Bettache, and Raul Miglietti all found the back of the net as Herve Diese’s squad grabbed three important points on the road. Now a tough home showdown with Colorado Rapids 2 approaches on Matchweek 2.

Last Match: 3-1 win at Austin FC II
Next Match: vs. Colorado Rapids 2 on Sunday, March 24.

1.) LAFC2

Leading the league in goals scored and goal differential are always a positive start point for any clubs beginning their new season. That’s exactly what LAFC2 did in their 4-1 home triumph over MNUFC2 this past weekend. Luis Muller led the way with two goals and one assist while Leonardo Flores and Matthew Evans also found the back of the net. 

Last Match: 4-1 win vs MNUFC2
Next Match: vs. Houston Dynamo 2 on Sunday, March 24