MLS NEXT Pro Top 10 Power Rankings: Matchday 4

There is plenty of time left to go in the MLS NEXT Pro season, but we are starting to see some trends emerge.

Matchday 4 saw plenty of upsets, including three teams claiming their first wins of the season, which shook up the standings. It also saw the defending champions celebrate their 2023 homecoming in style.

As always, the staff collaborated to produce a fresh set of Top 10 Power Rankings following Matchday 4 action.

Here is a closer look at MLS NEXT Pro's Top 10 Power Rankings:

Rapids 2 are a perfect four-for-four to open the MLS NEXT Pro season and seem to be getting stronger as it goes. After opening up the campaign living on stoppage-time winners, Erik Bushey's men have won their last two outright and earned their first clean sheet of the season on Sunday.

A fun stat to watch: Winger Yosuke Hanya is the only player to score in each of the first four MLS NEXT Pro matchdays. The 24-year-old has already equaled his 2022 total in 13 fewer appearances and looks to be working on a breakout season.

Last Match: 2-0 win at Earthquakes II
Next Match: vs. St Louis CITY2 on Sunday, 4/23

Expansion woes are not a thing for ATXFCII. In Matchday 4, they were the only team with a flexed schedule and were dominant in both games. On Wednesday, Austin FC II bested North Texas SC 3-0 and beat St Louis CITY2 2-0 on Sunday. That's two clean sheets in five days - not easy to do. Opening day hero Valentin Noël has emerged as their target man; with four goals, he is tied for first in the early Golden Boot race picture.

Everything is clicking for Brett Uttley's side so far this season.

Last Match: 2-0 win vs. St Louis CITY2
Next Match: at LA Galaxy II on Sunday, April 23

MNUFC2 suffered defeat for the first time this season on Sunday but still boasts one of the best early-season resumes in the league.

Opening up the 2023 season with six consecutive road matches is no easy task, and MNUFC2 is still one of the best in the West despite surrendering an early lead to North Texas SC in Matchday 4. They will see Whitecaps FC 2 and Austin FC II in the next two Matchdays before their home opener against Chicago Fire FC II on May 7. 

Last Match: 2-1 loss at North Texas SC
Next Match: At Whitecaps FC 2 on Sunday, April 23

Crown Legacy FC has been the class of the expansion field in the Eastern Conference this year, and Sunday marked a three-game winning streak. A rainy night in Matthews, North Carolina, didn't dampen CLFC's red-hot form that carried them to a 3-0 win over Inter Miami II.

A tall task awaits when they take on Columbus Crew 2 on Sunday, which sets the stage for a potentially massive statement win.

Last Match: 3-0 win vs. Inter Miami II
Next Match: vs. Columbus Crew 2 on Sunday, April 23.

There's no way around it: Matchday 4 was one to forget for OCB. On the one hand, they suffered their first defeat of the season, which gave regional rival Atlanta United 2 their first win of 2023. On another, and addressing the bigger picture, star goalkeeper Javier Otero had to leave the game early with an injury. If Otero has an extended absence, it factors out one of the brightest young stars in MLS NEXT Pro.

Still, OCB has one of the most potent attacking lines in the league and remains a strong playoff candidate if it can bounce back this weekend.

Last Match: 3-1 loss at Atlanta United to
Next Match: vs. NYCFC II

The champions make their 2023 MLS NEXT Pro Top 10 Power Rankings debut at number six.

A hearty 3-0 win over former Eastern Conference-leading New England Revolution II was a strong showing on their 2022 MLS NEXT Pro Cup banner unveiling celebration. The win also made back-to-back victories for Crew 2 and elevated them to fourth place and, at large, to climb in the Eastern Conference ranks.

One item from Sunday's win that cannot be overlooked is Jacen Russell-Rowe's return. The 2022 MLS NEXT Pro MVP contributed a stunning goal that maintained his position as the all-time leading scorer and a rude awakening to future opponents, thinking he would only be playing with the Columbus Crew's first team exclusively this season.

Last Match: 3-0 win vs. Revs II
Next Match: at Crown Legacy FC on Sunday, April 23

And here is where Revolution II shake out after the road loss to Crew 2.

Maybe it was the occasion, perhaps the deployment of several Crew 2 first-teamers throwing off the scouting report, but a 3-0 loss is uncharacteristic based on what Revs II have shown so far this season, as it was the first time they were shut out. Ultimately, it was not a costly loss as they are still in second place in the East and very much in the driver's seat of their playoff destiny.

A return home always makes for a favorable bounce back, and the expectations remain high for the New Englanders looking ahead.

Last Match: 3-0 loss at Crew 2
Next Match: vs. New York Red Bulls II on Friday, April 21

North Texas SC is back in the power rankings after snapping a two-game losing streak against MNUFC2, which came into Choctaw Stadium looking unbeatable.

A see-saw run of form lands NTSC in fourth place in the West after Matchday 4, and historically, they have proven to be a team that will appreciate that and makes the most of it in the weeks ahead.

Last Match: 2-1 win vs. MNUFC2
Next Match: vs. Real Monarchs on Friday, April 21

The largest margin of victory in Matchday 4 came from Sporting Kansas City II.

A 4-0 win on the road over Real Monarchs secured back-to-back successes and has Sporting KC II unbeaten in their last three matches. In their victory over Monarchs, SKCII had two nominated goals for Goal of Matchday 4, including the eventual winner by Lucas Rosa.

Last Match: 4-0 win over Real Monarchs
Next Match: at FC Cincinnati 2 on Sunday, April 23

Back-to-back losses have Fire II on the cusp of falling out of the Top 10 Power rankings, but their first two wins can't exactly be unseen quite yet.

They were on the wrong end of a thriller on Sunday and will travel to ATL UTD 2 this weekend in what will be a tie-breaker in terms of their momentum.

Last Match: 2-1 loss to Philadelphia Union II
Next Match: at ATL UTD 2 on Saturday, April 22