Power Rankings

Power Rankings: Atlanta United skyrocket, Minnesota United fall under playoff pressure

Power Rankings - 9.26.23

What a week in MLS. Charlotte FC blew a late lead, Giorgos Giakoumakis and Duncan McGuire scored, and Luciano Acosta put in an MVP-caliber performance. It was truly a week unlike any other.

The Power Rankings are voted on by 15 people (give or take) and the author would really like you to know the order is not entirely his fault even though he does in fact have one of those 15 votes. Trust us: He wanted to put your team higher. And he genuinely had Atlanta way lower than everyone else, so you can’t blame him for what’s about to happen.

Once more, with feeling: That’s that for your Supporters' Shield race. That’s that for your MVP race, too.

You didn’t need a reminder on either of those, but you got one anyway. The only question left is if Cincinnati can break the single-season points record (73). They need to win out over their final four games to get it done and that feels like a long shot. Not because they can’t, but because they’re probably going to start thinking about pre-playoff preservation more than records.

Previous: 3-0 win vs. CLT | Next: 9/30 at TOR

It bears repeating: St. Louis are going to finish first in the Western Conference in their inaugural season. After a 0-0 draw against LAFC midweek and a comeback win at Minnesota over the weekend, it would take a total disaster scenario for CITY SC to come up short.

Congrats to St. Louis on one of the single-best expansion seasons ever. Maybe the best.

Previous: 2-1 win at MIN | Next: 9/30 vs. SKC


Atlanta United instantly had CF Montréal in all sorts of hell over the weekend. From kickoff to full-time, the Five Stripes had the whomping sticks out. It only ended 4-1, but it felt like Atlanta could have picked their number here. It’s the first time we’ve gotten to see all of their starting-caliber summer signings in the XI and it totally delivered. Xande Silva, Thiago Almada and Giakoumakis each had a goal and an assist in this one as Atlanta put together an absolutely ruthless performance. They routinely found space out wide and created quality chances from the prime assist zones with a speed, physicality and technical ability that hasn’t been around in Atlanta for a while. It’s a performance worth adding one more adjective: Overwhelming.

The Five Stripes have the firepower to be a genuine threat come playoff time. There are still a few potentially fatal flaws defensively that might be a little too apparent when they’re going up against the best teams in the league. But they may be too busy scoring for it to really matter.

Previous: 4-1 win vs. MTL | Next: 10/4 at PHI

After the high of last week’s comeback win against the Crew, this week had to feel like a letdown. Orlando got caught in a trap game against NYCFC and lost 2-0 at Citi Field, then didn’t take care of business against a short-handed Inter Miami side missing Lionel Messi, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets. They definitely expected more than one point out of the week, but they’re still sitting second in the East and two points ahead of every team chasing them.

Also, Duncan McGuire still rules.

His scoring rate of 0.70 goals per 90 is the second-best mark in the league.

Previous: 1-1 draw vs. MIA | Next: 9/30 vs. MTL

The Crew bounced back just fine from a disappointing loss to Orlando, cruising past Chicago at home and earning a 1-1 draw on the road against Dallas. They’re top of the group of four Eastern Conference teams with 49 points and seem likely to finish in the top four. That being said, they end the year hosting Philadelphia, traveling to New England and Atlanta, then hosting Montréal. A home playoff spot won’t come easy.

Previous: 1-1 draw at DAL | Next: 9/30 vs. PHI

The Union have taken six points over their last five games (1W-1L-3D) and were one half of this over the weekend…

PHI - Power Ranknigs embed - 9.26.23

They seemed like a lock for a top-four spot a few weeks ago. Now, it’s not quite as straightforward. The good news though is they still have a game in hand on Orlando and Columbus, and two games in hand on Atlanta. 

Previous: 0-0 draw vs. LAFC | Next: 9/27 vs. DAL

See the image above.

LAFC played to two scoreless draws against St. Louis and Philadelphia last week and are now averaging just 1.5 points per game. They’ve taken just five points from their last six games (1W-3L-2D) and still have work to do to clinch a home playoff spot.

Maybe a Campeones Cup matchup with Tigres will wake them up?

Previous: 0-0 draw at PHI | Next: 10/1 vs. RSL

They rolled over Toronto despite early exits from Messi and Alba, then earned a road point without them in Orlando. That’s an excellent week for the Herons all things considered. Now they have a US Open Cup Final against Houston on Wednesday and a home game against ninth-place NYCFC on Saturday. It’s a massive week that might hinge on how healthy Messi and Alba are for both games.

Previous: 1-1 draw at ORL | Next: 9/30 vs. NYC

Just the one midweek game for Seattle. They took care of business against the Rapids to stay undefeated over their last five games (2W-0L-3D). Or to only pick up their eighth point in the last five games. Depends on how you want to look at it. Like most things Sounders this year, that stretch seems…fine. Not great. Just fine.

Seattle’s upcoming matchup with Nashville coming off of a week and a half of rest might tell us a lot about whether this team can find an extra gear as the playoffs arrive.

Previous: 2-1 win at COL | Next: 9/30 at NSH

Nashville took a road trip and earned four points against teams competing for playoff spots. They thumped SKC and collected a business-like point against the Quakes to keep themselves firmly in seventh place in the East. Their fate feels pretty sealed at this point when it comes to seeding.

I’m not sure it will make Nashville fans feel better or worse their current point total (44) would have them competing for second in the West, but it does feel important (but not actually important) to point out Nashville picked the wrong year to switch back to the East.

Previous: 1-1 draw at SJ | Next: 9/30 vs. SEA

A mixed bag this week for Houston after a win over Vancouver and a loss to SKC. They may have had other things on their mind, though. They’ll face Inter Miami Wednesday night in the US Open Cup Final for a chance at their second Open Cup title in six years.

Previous: 2-1 loss at SKC | Next: 9/30 vs. DAL

It’s technically a road point, but the Revs didn’t inspire a ton of confidence in a 2-2 draw at Chicago. It’s just not the follow-up you’d hope for following a loss to Colorado. The Revs have a potential get-right game coming up against Charlotte this weekend that really, really needs to be three points. They have Columbus, Orlando, Nashville and Philly coming up to close the year. 

Previous: 2-2 draw at CHI | Next: 9/30 vs. CLT

The Whitecaps got pummeled by Houston midweek and lost to a flailing RSL side over the weekend. Fortunately, they have one more road game against Colorado and then they can finally head home after a seven-game road odyssey. All considered, this stretch has gone about as well as they could have hoped for.

Previous: 2-1 loss at RSL | Next: 9/27 at COL

The Timbers have decided scoring and winning soccer games is actually pretty fun. They took down San Jose and Colorado last week to go 5W-0L-1D across their last six, reaching sixth place in the West.

Miles Joseph has done an excellent job as interim manager by simply letting his team play out of the back a little more and get forward with the ball. That’s all it’s taken for the Timbers to turn into a playoff team.

Previous: 3-2 win vs. COL | Next: 9/30 at LA

After losing to FC Dallas midweek, RSL mercifully snapped a cold streak with a 2-1 win over Vancouver. Nothing is straightforward for RSL right now though. Jefferson Savarino didn’t make the matchday squad and, well…

Previous: 2-1 win vs. VAN | Next: 10/1 at LAFC

Still alive!

They’re three points back of eighth-place San Jose with three games to go after a win over Houston on Saturday. Johnny Russell picked up a first-half goal and a first-half red card in that one. SKC held on despite being down to 10 men and won’t stop hanging around the playoff line. A trip to St. Louis this weekend may be make or break for their postseason hopes.

Previous: 2-1 win vs. HOU | Next: 9/30 at STL

The criticisms of Dallas haven’t really changed this year. They’re clearly a decent team and showed that this week with a big win over RSL and a draw with Columbus. But they still don’t feel like they’re anything more than just good. That’s manifested in them being stuck in a Wild Card spot for what feels like months now. They have a couple of games in hand on most teams they’re chasing and can definitely still pull themselves out of that spot, but it’s still not clear if they have enough juice to make a run once they reach the playoffs.

Previous: 1-1 draw vs. CLB | Next: 9/27 at PHI

One point this week for the Quakes after a loss to Portland and a draw against Dallas. They have been wholly average for a while now. 

Previous: 1-1 draw vs. NSH | Next: 9/30 at MIN

NYCFC are…in a playoff spot after back-to-back wins that saw them score multiple goals in multiple games? Uhhh yeah, sure, why not? 

The Pigeons are suddenly sitting ninth in the East after taking down Orlando and Toronto this week. Maybe they really are starting to figure it out in attack at just the right time. They’ve certainly figured things out defensively at least. They’ve allowed one goal over their last five games. Compared to the rest of the bottom half of the East (minus Miami), they seem like the only team that actually wants to be in the playoffs right now.

Previous: 3-0 win vs. TOR | Next: 9/30 at MIA

A ton of respect for LA hitting the end of the season and deciding to put on a show. The last four Galaxy games have resulted in 23 goals. They won a 4-3 battle with Minnesota midweek before doing this against Austin in #MLSAfterDark time.

Instead of playing “Nearer, My God, To Thee” the band is going out with the ship playing “Ace of Spades.”

Previous: 3-3 draw at ATX | Next: 9/30 vs. POR

After a one-point week, Montréal are in trouble. They’re still in eighth place for now, but are winless in five and have Orlando, Houston, Portland and Columbus to close the year. With NYCFC and Miami coming up fast behind them, they need to get it together quickly if they’re going to hold onto a Wild Card spot.

Previous: 4-1 loss at ATL | Next: 9/30 at ORL

I keep saying it, but I don’t know how true it is: I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed. 

Minnesota blew a 3-1 lead to the Galaxy on Wednesday, then blew a 1-0 home lead to St. Louis over the weekend. They still have just three whole home wins this season. I keep saying they’re better than this, but I’m not even sure at this point. They have to be in the running for the most frustrating team in MLS this season. 

In related news, the Loons are now 11th in the West and out of the playoff field. The good news is they only have to play two more home games. 

Previous: 2-1 loss vs. STL | Next: 9/30 vs. SJ

A 1-1 home draw against Atlanta is fine. A 5-3 home loss to New York in a critical game for playoff position is…D.C., what are we doing here?

They’re officially out of a playoff spot with three games to go. It’s not looking good.

Previous: 5-3 loss vs. RBNY | Next: 9/30 at VAN

You might have noticed in the D.C. section New York somehow scored five goals this weekend. It’s the first time they’ve scored multiple goals in an MLS game since July 8.

That league-record 13-year playoff streak… not dead yet!

Previous: 5-3 win at DC | Next: 9/30 vs. CHI

Austin FC since Leagues Cup: 0W-3L-4D. Also, this is concerning:

It's not going great for the Verde & Black.

Previous: 3-3 draw vs. LA | Next: 9/30 at COL

The Fightin’ Sir Mintys had the unfortunate task of facing Philadelphia and Cincinnati last week. They came away with a point. That’s largely fine, but it’s not going to get you into the playoffs. They’re four points back of ninth place and feel like a longshot now. Their nasty habit of late blown leads may just be the nail in the coffin.

Previous: 3-0 loss at CIN | Next: 9/30 at NE

They haven’t won any of their seven games since Leagues Cup (0W-5L-2D). So. Yeah. Not ideal. 

Previous: 2-2 draw vs. NE | Next: 9/30 at RBNY

Now equal on 22 points with Toronto.

Previous: 3-2 loss at POR | Next: 9/27 vs. VAN

Now equal on 22 points with Colorado.

Previous: 3-0 loss at NYC | Next: 9/30 vs. CIN