Connect with us


The Mane Land MLS Power Rankings: Week 32



Goals were a little more difficult to come by for some teams in Week 31 of MLS play, with eight teams being held scoreless. Potential playoff previews between the Columbus Crew and Philadelphia Union in the East and Portland Timbers and FC Dallas in the West turned out to be defensive battles. Atlanta United was also blanked by the New York Red Bulls in a heavyweight match-up with Supporters’ Shield implications.

Meanwhile, D.C. United, Toronto FC, and the Seattle Sounders scored goals for fun with all three posting at least four in their respective games, keeping the playoff race in the middle of both conferences tightly contested.

Check out how last week’s results impacted this week’s Power Rankings:

1. New York Red Bulls (Last Week: 2)

The Red Bulls didn’t have either of their best players in Bradley Wright-Phillips or Tyler Adams but it was no problem for New York, which comfortably beat Atlanta in a crucial match for the Supporters’ Shield. It could have even been more convincing, but the Red Bulls could only convert one of their two penalties.

2. Seattle Sounders (Last Week: 4)

Seattle got back to its winning ways with a 4-0 demolition of Colorado. Raul Ruidiaz continued to prove he can be Seattle’s next great striker with a brace and it was a businesslike thrashing from the rest of the side.

3. Atlanta United (Last Week: 1)

One of Atlanta’s biggest criticisms is its ability to compete with the top Eastern teams when it matters most. Crumbling against the Crew in the playoffs last year was one thing, but in a match that could have nearly guaranteed the club its first trophy, the performance was embarrassing. United barely tested Luis Robles and constantly gave golden opportunities to the opposition and the Five Stripes were handed a deserved loss.

4. FC Dallas (Last Week: 7)

Dallas is officially in the playoffs come season’s end after a dull 0-0 draw in Portland. The Hoops’ offense did not come to play and only forced Jeff Attinella into one save on the night. FCD is quietly unbeaten in four matches, though that’s understandable given the team hasn’t exactly been firing on all cylinders.

5. Sporting Kansas City (Last Week: 6)

Sporting made Nick Rimando work to keep the match level, but couldn’t quite find the second it needed to take all three points and leapfrog FC Dallas at the top of the conference. It was a disappointing result given SKC looked like the better side for the majority of the match.

6. Philadelphia Union (Last Week: 3)

The Union were torched in the U.S. Open Cup final but managed to stop the bleeding for an away result in Columbus. A defensive battle resulted in a 0-0 draw, although the Union nearly had a goal courtesy of a Jonathan Mensah mistake. However, video review wiped it away, claiming Cory Burke committed a foul in the buildup.

7. Portland Timbers (Last Week: 8)

Luckily for Portland, Liam Ridgewell’s late red card didn’t negatively impact the result. Unluckily for the Timbers, their offense couldn’t positively impact the result either. Jesse Gonzalez smothered all three of their shots on goal and put Portland in a precarious position with the Galaxy and RSL lurking right behind in the table.

8. Columbus Crew (Last Week: 10)

Zack Steffen probably could have stayed home and Columbus still could have managed a clean sheet, but the Crew couldn’t get the necessary goal to take all three points at home. Andre Blake turned away both of Columbus’ best chances in the final minutes.

9. D.C. United (Last Week: 13)

D.C. has been an entirely different team since the opening of Audi Field. United carved the Montreal Impact to shreds, bagging five goals and managing to keep a clean sheet. Paul Arriola and Wayne Rooney both scored twice and the Black and Red staked their claim for the playoff spot that the Impact currently occupy. With two matches in hand and just two points shy of sixth, it almost seems certain.

10. Los Angeles FC (Last Week: 5)

In a completely MLS result, Western Conference competitor LAFC took its unbeaten streak to recently eliminated Chicago and got walloped. The first-year side’s high-powered offense couldn’t find the breakthrough until the game was well out of reach. LA is still in third, but a regular season conference crown might be out of reach.

11. LA Galaxy (Last Week: 14)

Maybe the Galaxy should have fired Sigi sooner. LA trounced Vancouver for its second 3-0 win in a row. The Galaxy made good on both of their opportunities from the spot and Zlatan Ibrahimovic slammed home a brace for an emphatic victory.

12. Vancouver Whitecaps (Last Week: 9)

The Caps have wilted down the stretch, having now lost three in a row. Vancouver had some good opportunities to keep the game within reach but couldn’t convert on its chances. Playoffs may be just out of reach as the collapse continues.

13. Minnesota United (Last Week: 17)

Angelo Rodriguez had an easy brace as the Loons defeated the Pigeons in Minneapolis. The Colombian was unmarked at the back post for his first and took advantage of sloppy defending to grab a second, which was all Minnesota needed for three big points.

14. Real Salt Lake (Last Week: 16)

It might not have been everything RSL hoped for, but a draw against SKC was enough to keep a playoff place in the West for now. Corey Baird struck early to take a lead and then was inches away from a brace to seal the deal but struck the woodwork. The Utah club is holding on by a thread but has just two losses in its last 11 matches.

15. Toronto FC (Last Week: 18)

Toronto isn’t going down without a fight after thrashing New England to the tune of 4-1. Sebastian Giovinco showed that he’s still capable of playing at an MVP level despite his team’s struggles. It may be a long shot for the reigning champs to make the postseason, but more performances like that will make off-season decisions for the front office difficult.

16. New York City FC (Last Week: 11)

Something is wrong in NYC. The Pigeons have locked up a playoff spot but have looked more mid-table than heavyweight in recent weeks. A 2-1 loss to Minnesota United was the latest setback for NYCFC, which has just two wins in its last 11 matches.

17. Chicago Fire (Last Week: 20)

Even though the Fire were officially eliminated from playoff contention before the weekend kicked off, Chicago was still going all out. Homegrown Djordje Mihailovic got things started within a half hour and the Men in Red dominated from then on, overwhelming high-flying LAFC, 3-1.

18. Houston Dynamo (Last Week: 19)

It was rough going for the Dynamo in the first half, but their explosive offense came through in the second. Mauro Manotas, Tomas Martinez, and Romell Quioto all scored to help Houston overcome a two-goal deficit at home and take all three points from San Jose.

19. New England Revolution (Last Week: 15)

New England is limping to the finish line. The Revs were routed by Toronto even after Cristian Penilla scored his 11th goal of the campaign. Brad Friedel would need to conjure a small miracle to make the postseason at this rate.

20. Montreal Impact (Last Week: 12)

The Impact had everything to play for in a six-point swing game against D.C. United. Montreal needed a win to stave off D.C.’s late charge up the table but fell well short. Horrific defending allowed five goals and Montreal’s offense couldn’t keep up. In fact, Ignacio Piatti and company couldn’t beat Bill Hamid despite taking 25 shots.

21. San Jose Earthquakes (Last Week: 21)

Chris Wondolowski inching closer to the league’s all-time goal record is about all the positives San Jose can take away. After a lucky own goal gave the Quakes a 2-0 lead, they collapsed in Houston. Poor goalkeeping from Andrew Tarbell and poor defending all around doomed San Jose.

22. Orlando City (Last Week: 22)

Orlando had the weekend off.

23. Colorado Rapids (Last Week: 23)

Colorado was dismantled by Seattle on the road. The match fell apart in the second half as the Sounders found the back of the net three times. Meanwhile, the Rapids could only trouble Stefan Frei once all night.


Reflecting on Eight Years with The Mane Land

A look back over my time with The Mane Land (so far).



Nick Leyva, The Mane Land

As of last week, I have been a contributor at The Mane Land for eight years. That’s longer than I’ve ever been at any of my actual jobs in my life. There are literally only a couple of people who have been with the site longer, but I’m still amazed at how long it’s been. This is not to say I’m going anywhere, but rather I wanted to take the opportunity to look back at the past eight years, and look ahead to the future.

Unlike some, I didn’t come to be a supporter of Orlando City until it was announced that the club was joining MLS. At the time, I was contemplating picking a club to follow in MLS, but being in Tallahassee, there were no nearby options at that time. I considered FC Dallas and D.C. United, given the two were geographically closer in proximity to me than any others. Fortunately, it was literally while I was considering my options that the announcement was made regarding Orlando City’s jump to MLS. It was an easy decision.

As I do in many aspects of my life, I immediately started researching my new club, which led me to the content being produced by The Mane Land. There was also an article on the site titled “Join The Mane Land Staff.” I had often over the years internally bemoaned that I rarely used my Bachelor’s degree in English, and the desire to write welled up in me so much that I emailed the staff. 

In response, one of our former editors, Andrew Marcinko, contacted me and said “I think your voice would be a great fit on TML.” He asked me to submit a Fan Post (those went away with our presence on SBN), and then another piece for review. Following that, our founder and managing editor, Michael Citro, emailed me to welcome me to the staff. I had no idea at the time how big a part of my life this blog would become.

I started out writing Monday’s Lions Links — often one of the more difficult days to write — and a feature piece. It’s been many years gone by now, but there was a time when the feature piece was “Pride Pub,” an ongoing series that paired craft beer and good food based on Orlando City’s opponent. I can tell you that the research for that was very enjoyable, and I still use some of the recipes I found to this day.

Eventually, I started contributing more match coverage and analytical pieces. Staff came and went, but I never thought to leave since I was enjoying myself. Sometime after that, I was promoted to senior columnist, for which I’m grateful. I can without reservation say that I’m a better writer thanks to my time with the site, and from working with such excellent staff.

In November of 2016, Michael asked if I wanted to give co-hosting The Mane Land PawedCast a try. My first recording was for Episode 71. We just recorded Episode 354, and with the exception of maybe two or three episodes, I have been on every single one of 283 episodes over the last six plus years. Michael and I have spent a lot of time talking on and off the podcast over the years, and I’m proud of what we have produced and to call him my friend.

We recently added an Orlando Pride-specific podcast called Skopurp: An Orlando Pride PawedCast. For years we wanted to give the Pride the time and attention the club deserves. Now, it is a reality, but one that I ask you to listen to and share. I’ll even put out that although Michael and I are the current hosts, we merely consider ourselves stewards and are hoping to get others to come onboard and eventually take it to the next level.

When I started with The Mane Land, the site had just made the move from a free WordPress site to the SBNation network. It was a big deal, and for many years it was a good partnership. Of course that all came to an end not too long ago, and our blog went the independent route thanks to the incredibly generous support of our readers and listeners. In fact, if you want to be one of those supporting our efforts, please go to our Buy Me A Coffee site to become a member. The move has allowed a flexibility we didn’t have before, but I really want others to have the same sense of joy and accomplishment that I have as a member of our staff. 

At one point we had nearly twice the staff that we do now, and as you know, many hands make light work. The opposite of that is also true. I genuinely believe that there must be others out there with the same passion for Orlando City as I have — with the same desire to have their voice heard, whether through the written word or on a podcast. I promise you there is an opportunity to contribute here with us. Our internal discussions are informative, engaging, and often funny. Please consider joining us, as I did eight years ago. I haven’t regretted it and I know you won’t either.

I want to thank all of those who contributed to The Mane Land over the years. There are many that I am still in touch with, though they are no longer a part of the staff. Of course, the current staff are a pleasure to work with, and I appreciate their dedication to what we are trying to do.

Finally, I want to thank the readers and listeners over the years. From those who regularly comment on our articles, to those that I’ve personally met at matches or even randomly on the street, you are a big reason that we do all of this. You are a big reason why I’ve been doing this for the better part of a decade. it is always a genuine pleasure hearing your thoughts or simply sharing a moment of joy together — U.S. Open Cup final, anyone?

So, thank you. I look forward to many more years of this journey together.

Continue Reading

Orlando City

The Mane Land Announces Membership Program

Maximize your Mane Land experience with our new TML membership program while supporting our independent efforts.



Hello, readers of The Mane Land and listeners of our podcasts. Before you start reading this, please note that the most important part of this post is at the end. So, don’t stop until you get to the bottom.

You may recall that when we left SBNation to become independent, we really weren’t sure the best way to go about that. Many of our readers and listeners generously offered to help us make that transition, but we still weren’t sure the best path forward, so we took a poll.

The poll was pretty much split down the middle between those who preferred a one-time, Kickstarter-style campaign (which we did, and those of you who stepped up to help completely blew us away!) and those who favored a Patreon-style, subscription-based membership with extra perks. In fact, the member subscriptions option got a few more votes in our poll.

The folks who took part in our GoFundMe fundraiser were fantastic and are now immortalized on this very site on the “Our Founders” page. But we had always planned to give folks the option to choose whichever method of support they preferred and we tried to communicate that throughout the process. It took a little longer than expected to get up and running, but our membership subscription program is now in place! (You may notice the fancy new banner ad about it on the home page, echoed below.)

Supporting TML helps build a better TML for you to enjoy, so you’re really subscribing to your own Orlando soccer fandom.

Part of that delay was thinking up something that didn’t encroach on the benefits we gave our Founders. Those folks helped us get started and deserve the exclusivity of the perks they got. The other part of the delay is that there just aren’t enough hours in the day. (However, for you guys, I’m willing to be cloned.)

We have utilized the popular Buy Me a Coffee platform to run this program. You can find the basics here. The Mane Land premium membership program includes three tiers of membership, as well as the option to click on the “Support” tab for those who just want to help us out whenever, without joining the program or adding any recurring “appointment-based” payments to their budgets. We love that feature of Buy Me a Coffee (or “Buy Us a Beer” in our case…you drink what you like).

For those who do choose to become members, we hope we have provided value and we are planning to add benefits along the way, in addition to providing special giveaways, events, etc. (more on that below). We have also provided subscription options — with monthly or annual memberships. The annual cost essentially gives you 12 months for the price of 10.

Current Benefits

The current membership benefits depend on which level of support you choose — Homegrown Player, TAM Player, or Designated Player level. Each level includes all benefits from the lower tiers, with additional benefits for each higher level.

Homegrown Player: This is a basic set-it-and-forget-it level of support for The Mane Land, providing a way for our readers and podcast listeners to contribute to the success of TML‘s independence goals. We want to compensate our current volunteers, replace lost income of those who previously received small stipends from being part of the SBNation network, add photographers, attract new writers, and expand our coverage. Additionally, each Homegrown Player Level member will be recognized in a Lion Links column, which is still typically our most widely read post of each day and one of the top daily links columns among soccer sites. Homegrown Player Level members will also be included in any future prize drawings we have or events we host and may be subject to future benefits as they are added.

TAM Player: In addition to Homegrown Player benefits, TAM Players will receive a new weekly e-newsletter in their inbox (unless you opt out…some people hate email). These will be informal missives from myself, other TML writers, or a combination, discussing what’s on our mind regarding Orlando City, the Pride, OCB, or soccer in general. Think of it as an extra post from our site that may cover multiple topics. Additionally, you’ll get a 10% discount from our web shop items that we control (presently, that means everything except our listed MLS Shop items). We will definitely have more benefits coming for this level soon and will look for opportunities to include additional benefits as they become available.

Designated Player: This limited availability level of support includes all perks from the Homegrown and TAM levels, but it goes beyond. Your discount at our webshop (for items we control) will be 15% off. Additionally, we’ll send you Zoom links to watch us “make the doughnuts” whenever we record the podcast. This includes when we interview guests. You’ll see how the sausage is made behind the scenes and everything that we say, some of which will end up on the cutting room floor before the final podcast is sent out. This includes both The Mane Land PawedCast and SkoPurp Soccer: An Orlando Pride PawedCast. And after two months of membership you can commission a bonus episode of either podcast simply by letting us know what topic you want us to cover. Think of this as an extended Ask Us Anything. We’ll do a whole show about your topic and you can even join us to discuss it if you wish.

The DP Level will certainly have additional benefits tacked on as we move forward. It is currently limited to 40 members but could be expanded slightly depending on demand and our Zoom attendance.

Future Benefits / Benefits Under Consideration

While we won’t be able to schedule these due to the random nature of items falling into our hands, there will be periodic prize giveaways in drawings that include all of our members, regardless of level. The catch is that you get one entry per level of support, meaning Homegrown Player Level members will get one entry per prize drawing, TAM Player Level members will get two entries per drawing, and Designated Player Level members get three entries for prize drawings. Some of the kinds of items we have come across in the past include match tickets, trinkets, posters, scarves, and so on.

We are planning to add a message board to our website, well…soon-ish is the word that comes to mind. The plan for the message board is to build our community and further the discussion about the club. As part of this, we’re planning an exclusive, members-only area of that message board that TAM and DP members can access. This will be a place our staff can share informational nuggets we can’t necessarily write stories about for various reasons and interact with our members on a daily basis.

Other things in the works include meet-and-greets/watch parties where you can chat with TML staff members and catch a road match with a bunch of like-minded Orlando City/Pride fans while we all cheer on the team together. There may also be other informal outings with one or more members of the staff, organized fantasy leagues, random Zoom calls for Q&A sessions, and perhaps even some organized group outings for Orlando City / Pride matches, national team games, etc.

The Most Important Part of This Post

Remember at the top of this post, when I said the most important part is at the bottom? Well, that seems like a long time ago, now, so it’s OK if you’ve already forgotten.

The most important part of our membership program is you. We want your feedback so we can make this program something that interests and excites you. We want to know what you like and dislike about this program. We want to know if there are some things we didn’t think of that interest you. If you like what we’re offering, tell us! If you hate what we’re offering, we want to know what you’d prefer instead or in addition. If you want to go drinking with Dave, we can probably arrange that, but it’ll be a unique tier and we’ll have to figure out the cost of that.

No idea is too crazy to suggest, even if it’s too insane for us to actually offer. Let us know what you want from your subscription and we’ll see if that’s something we can do. We’ll make it easy for you by putting the form right here below this post, which is now concluded.

Continue Reading


Welcome Home!



Where do I even start? When we were told in January that SBNation was pulling its support of The Mane Land and other MLS and NHL blogs — and many podcasts — I was devastated. The site had become my new baby in September of 2014 and after eight and a half years, I wasn’t ready to let it go.

I was in a pickle. I couldn’t afford to lose the monthly stipend I had been getting from SBNation to manage the site and provide a steady stream of content. It wasn’t that it was a huge monthly sum, but it mostly covered my car payment. That car was purchased when my salary was higher. The pandemic hit my day job like it did to many, and after a four-month layoff, I got my old job back but not at the same rate. So, imagine taking a pay decrease at work and then, on top of that, losing the amount you spend per month on your car payment. There was simply no way to launch The Mane Land independently, I thought, because I simply couldn’t cover the startup costs. Even with some generous offers from the staff to pitch in, there simply wasn’t a way.

Once we took the news public, there was an outpouring of support on social media. We appreciated both the pledges to help out that we got from the community and the signal boosting that the national media gave blogs like ours. Those national folks rely on local reporting for background.

Encouraged by this outpouring of public support, I met with the TML staff and we threw some ideas around. We polled our Twitter followers to see how our community would prefer to show their support. We got pretty close to a 50/50 split between those who wanted to provide a one-time donation via a Kickstarter or GoFundMe crowdsourcing effort, and those who would prefer some sort of premium subscription add-on service like Patreon or Buy Me a Coffee.

We didn’t get a lot of responses to that poll, but we decided as a group that since the results were so similar, we would offer both and let the public choose one path, the other, or even both. (Stay tuned for news soon-ish on the premium subscription level, but rest assured, everything you’ve been getting for free at TML will remain free!)

I was, admittedly, skeptical that we could raise enough startup money to create a private business, pay for hosting a new site and two podcasts (having long wanted to give the Orlando Pride their own unique show), registering a domain, paying for some design work and consulting, and any unexpected expenses that might come up. However, I thought we’d at least give it a try.

Then the amazing Orlando City, Orlando Pride, and TML community got involved. You guys pushed us past our bare minimum goal in just four and a half hours when our fundraiser went live on March 1. We reset our goal and you met that by midnight. We reset our goal again, to the dream total we discussed on our initial staff Zoom chat and you met that by that first weekend.

Stunned. Humbled. Amazed. Touched. All of these words apply to how that made us feel, but they don’t quite cover it. I think we all felt an enormous responsibility, as well. We felt a mandate to provide you the best site and the best coverage we can.

We got everything we needed to run the site for two years, even if we don’t earn a penny after our launch — and we plan to try, via advertising, a Patreon (or similar) program, an online shop, affiliate links, and anything else we can think of. But we decided to leave the GoFundMe open through the end of March, just in case there were folks who wanted to contribute but needed to wait for payday, or if more people wanted to become founding members of this new site.

Now, here we are. You guys did this. We’re here because of you. And this site isn’t quite what it will become. I’m still learning my way around WordPress, after being away from it for years. There’s more to build, and some of the things you’re seeing on this site now will be improved in the future. We’ll continue to tweak it, add things, and upgrade as we go.

For now, I just want to welcome you to your new online home. On behalf of our entire staff, I thank our founding members, who are now immortalized on this site in our founders section. If you weren’t able to contribute to our transition from SBNation’s network to an autonomous and independent, new version of The Mane Land, you can thank the folks on our founders page, because without them, we wouldn’t be here. And if you still want to help out, we’ve got more things on the way.


Michael Citro
Managing Editor

Continue Reading