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MLS Mini-Panic Ratings: Which teams should be worried heading into the summer

Hey, you: it's almost June now. Unbelievable, right? When June hits, it’s time for MLS teams to crack down and get to business. And for some teams, it’s time to start worrying.

3 min read

Hey, you: it’s almost June now. Unbelievable, right? Last week some late winter weather system was slapping us with snow and now you’re looking for the aloe vera for the sunburn you got on the back of your neck during Memorial Day weekend.

June is also an important marker in MLS, because of something I like to call “The Seattle Sounders Theorem.” The theorem is as follows: The first few months of MLS don’t matter in the slightest. You can be incredibly bad in the league and if you pick things up in the summertime, everything will be fine. You’ll have as good of a shot at MLS Cup as any other team that makes the playoffs. Those first few months? Might as well be called Mulligan League Soccer.

When June hits, however, it’s time to crack down and get to business. And for some teams, it’s time to start worrying.

Distant, echoing, distorted guitar starts playing in the background. Drums and ‘80s hair metal synths join in. It grows louder and louder.

I know a thing or two about teams and their worries. So here’s a little bite-sized run-down of the MLS teams that should start feeling a little bit of dread, a little bit of… panic? Mini-panic? CUE THE CSI: MIAMI INTRO, JOE!


It’s inevitable, right? There were a few very splashy signings made in the offseason, a new coach, a new new rebrand… and here we are. Last place in the East.

What’s funny is that I don’t think most Chicago Fire fans should worry about the team’s play on the field nearly as much as I think they should worry about management pulling the plug on the Ezra Hendrickson experiment early. Yeah, it’s not going well. But you took that chance when you brought in a first time coach, and I think it’s worth riding out the rough patch with him.

Mini-Panic Level: Them Whos that Horton was hearing.


If we’re going to do last place in one conference, might as well do last place in the other. Sporting Fit doesn’t quite go as far as it once did, does it?

I know Sporting is dealing with an ungodly amount of injuries, but the majority of those injuries are focused on the attacking side of things. The defense, meanwhile, has shipped 26 goals to opponents so far this MLS season, and is just one off the worst Goals Allowed tally in the league (Toronto). If things don’t tighten up soon, this season could start to look like 2019 all over again. Don’t do that to Pat Mahomes, SKC.

Mini-Panic Level: Checking your Trick-or-Treat bucket at the end of Halloween and realizing every single house gave you those impossible-to-chew Dots fruit gummy things.


*to the tune of “Hey There Delilah”*

Hey there New England

You’re about to lose Matt Turner

And his stats this year aren’t crazy

but you guys still have to learn how

to defend

It’s feeling like your team might just be bad

this might get sad

Hey there New England

At least your goalscoring is decent

Even if your best designated

player in times recent

is Buksa

And you’ll wind up paying oodles more

to Jozy Altidore





Mini-Panic Level: Listen, man, if that song didn’t communicate it, I don’t know how else to tell you.


“BUT SNAVELY,” I hear you say in a very annoyed voice. “WE’RE IN FIRST PLACE!”

Correct. But LAFC ain’t holding that spot for long if they don’t pick things up quickly. They’ve managed to beat San Jose and Columbus recently, which… is fine, I suppose, but they also got thoroughly slapped up by the Galaxy in the Open Cup and lost to Austin and Colorado before that. It’s not that LAFC are bad. It’s that LAFC are fine. Even pretty good, at times.

But “fine” doesn’t win any trophies and LAFC fans are tired of pretty good years. They want silverware. And I don’t know if this LAFC is delivering any silverware when the time comes. Again.

Mini-Panic Level: Getting into the boat at Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. There’s one paper bag under your seat for everyone to share.