Power Rankings

Power Rankings: Austin, Chicago & Vancouver get summer surge

Power Rankings 6.27.23

What a week in MLS. The Red Bulls beat Atlanta United, NYCFC earned a draw and Montréal won at home. It was truly a week unlike any other.

In case you forgot, the Power Rankings are voted on by something close to 15 different people each week. It is not just one person making the call here. And, to be fair to the multiple people making the call, there are like three whole teams that are actually good right now. You could pull teams 6-21 out of a hat and make a reasonable argument for the placement of each of them. Maybe we did exactly that? Isn’t this fun?

Cincy were unbothered by a few absences midweek against Toronto in a 3-0 win. They seemed much more bothered by a few absences on Saturday in a 3-0 loss to D.C. United.

It could be an interesting four-game stretch here for Cincy as they wait for Brandon Vazquez and Matt Miazga to get back from the Gold Cup. For a team that’s had so many games decided by one goal, marginal differences could potentially start to feel big. At least big enough to potentially close the gap a little in the Supporters’ Shield race.

That sounds kind of ominous, but in reality, it’s really just kind of hilarious we’re talking about FC Cincinnati being worried about losing some of their massive lead on the rest of the league.

Previous: 3-0 loss at DC | Next: 7/1 vs. NE

The Union drew at Orlando midweek then beat up on poor Miami. That’s a four-point week that has them just two points out of second place in the East and nine points behind FC Cincinnati. The Garys don’t need to be checking over their shoulder or anything, but it’s got to be a little unnerving to see the league’s best regular-season team over the last five years pop up in the rearview.

Previous: 4-1 win vs. MIA | Next: 7/2 at ATL

Just when it seemed like LAFC had shaken off the CCL rust with a midweek win against Seattle, they go out on Saturday and get run over by Vancouver. MLS is hard, y’all. And there are still plenty of midweek games left for LAFC.

The good news is, they’re still clearly the best team in the conference. Even with this rough stretch, it feels likely they’ll end up on top of the West. Even if they happen to have the lowest point total for a conference winner since 2017 Portland ended the year with 53 points.

Previous: 3-2 loss vs. VAN | Next: 7/1 at DAL

The Revs took advantage of Bobby Wood’s excellent form and a couple of Nashville losses this week to jump into second place in the East. That feels like a huge accomplishment after losing Dylan Borrero for the season last month. New England are now undefeated in their last six games and have taken 12 points over that stretch.

Previous: 2-1 win vs. TOR | Next: 7/1 at CIN

Uhhh…not sure what happened here honestly. Nashville lost out on a chance to gain ground in the Supporters’ Shield race this week with back-to-back losses at Montréal and Columbus. I think the only lesson here is that road games in MLS are hard. The Coyotes will be just fine and, hopefully, they’ll be able to grab some points in time for a huge trip to Cincinnati on July 15.

Previous: 2-0 loss at CLB | Next: 7/1 vs. DC

After a huge 2-0 win over Nashville on Saturday, the Crew are officially one of the hottest teams in the league right now. Since a loss to that same Nashville side, they’ve taken 13 points over their last five games. Now, it’s probably important to point out they’ve played Colorado, Charlotte, Chicago and NYCFC over that stretch. But there’s no denying they took care of an excellent Nashville team with relative ease on Saturday.

It’s about time to start considering the possibility Wilfried Nancy may just be one of the few managers in league history who is truly a difference-maker. The Crew are doing so much well right now even with a roster that could still use a few upgrades.

Previous: 2-0 win vs. NSH | Next: 7/1 vs. RBNY

Weird week. St. Louis got humbled by RSL at home in a 3-1 loss and then earned a road win against San Jose thanks to a brace from Samuel Adeniran, a player making his first start of the season and just the third start of his MLS career. Adeniran had been on loan with the USL’s San Antonio FC just a few days before.

Adeniran’s big moment pushed St. Louis back to the top of the West and earned them three big points without João Klauss and Eduard Löwen. They’ll take anything they can get over the next few weeks without their two DPs. This was a little better than that.

Previous: 2-1 win at SJ | Next: 7/1 vs. COL

Seattle came up short against LAFC and then played to a 0-0 draw at home against Orlando. They’ve won one game in their last six and just three games in the 12 following their loss to Portland. It’s really not a great time to be losing Jordan Morris and both Roldans to the Gold Cup.

Even still, Seattle’s underlying numbers remain good and they’re still third in the West. Things are not great. But they’re definitely not as bad as they feel.

Previous: 0-0 draw vs. ORL | Next: 7/1 vs. HOU

A three-game stretch against New England, Philly and Seattle is never going to go great. The Lions can be perfectly happy with two points from that run. It still feels like we’re waiting for Orlando to unlock a better version of themselves though.

Previous: 0-0 draw at SEA | Next: 7/1 vs. CHI

I’ll let Vanni take it away here.

The Whitecaps pulled off a huge 3-2 win at LAFC and they did it without Julian Gressel. The solution, somehow, was Sartini shifting Ryan Gauld to wingback. Gauld picked up a goal and two assists on the night and Vancouver may have found an intriguing new wrinkle in attack. It still feels like they haven’t found the best version of themselves though. Maybe this win is a sign of good things to come. In an extremely crowded West, they could easily find themselves in a home playoff spot when all is said and done.

Previous: 3-2 win at LAFC | Next: 7/1 at SKC

D.C. put together one of the best performances of the season this weekend in a 3-0 beatdown of FC Cincinnati. It was definitely a surprise, but maybe not that much of a surprise if you’ve been paying attention to D.C.’s underlying numbers. American Soccer Analysis’ expected points model has them seventh in the league, right between Nashville and Philadelphia. That’s not to say those numbers or D.C. are perfect, it’s just to say don’t be surprised if more big wins are on the way.

Previous: 3-0 win vs. CIN | Next: 7/1 at NSH

Houston followed up their back-to-back wins over LAFC (!!) with a 4-1 whomping of San Jose on Wednesday. It really seems like they’re finally putting it all together and it’s beginning to feel like they may never lose aga--

Ah. Well. Nevertheless, it’s been a heckuva stretch for the Dynamo. They’re fourth (fourth!!!) in the West and should still have plenty of room to grow over the summer transfer window. In short, if they can find a new home for Sebastian Ferreira, they could potentially have two DP spots to work with. That’s a great place to be when you already have one of the most effective midfield groups in the league.

Previous: 3-0 loss at ATX | Next: 7/1 at SEA

Justen Glad: A hero.

Glad’s late equalizer gave RSL a four-point week after they cruised over St. Louis in a 3-1 win on Wednesday. That’s 11 points from their last five for RSL and, suddenly, they’re sitting sixth in the West with Chicho Arango on the way and Damir Kreilach starting to look like his old self. It’s probably time to buy some RSL stock if you haven’t already.

Previous: 2-2 vs. MIN | Next: 7/1 at TOR

Bad week. Bad, bad week.

Houston thumped them, then St. Louis got the better of them despite missing multiple key players. The Quakes have a solid roster, but the mixed results are quietly making them one of the most frustrating teams in the league.

Previous: 2-1 loss vs. STL | Next: 7/1 vs. LA

Atlanta rescued a point midweek against NYCFC thanks to short-term loan signing Nick Firmino’s stoppage-time equalizer and a whole bunch of homegrowns…but then they were forced to turn around on Saturday and endure their annual mollywhopping at Red Bull Arena. The Five Stripes have still never won at Red Bull Arena (including one game against NYCFC) and have beaten the Red Bulls just once in 14 regular-season matchups.

Previous: 4-0 loss at RBNY | Next: 7/2 vs. PHI

Let’s just say taking 10 days off after a 1-0 loss to Portland and following it up with a 3-0 loss to your in-state rival isn’t ideal. Even if they had Jesus Ferreira, it wouldn’t have made much difference against Austin. But that might make a difference over the next four games if Dallas can’t find a way to make up for his absence in attack.

They’ll really really need to find a way to make up for his absence in attack by the way. Dallas’ next four come against LAFC, D.C., Colorado and Seattle. Dallas are suddenly in seventh place and one point out of ninth. It might be time to worry. Only a little, but still.

Previous: 3-0 loss at ATX | Next: 7/1 vs. LAFC

Well, hello Austin, thanks for finally joining us this year.

All it took to kickstart Austin’s season was a couple of in-state rivalry games I guess. That and Julio Cascante realizing his true calling as a playmaking center back.

There’s still some work to do with this roster of course, but Austin at least feel like they have momentum now. A rough start to the year had them in a rut. Please remember when you get mad at the people voting for conspiring to put them one spot behind the team they just thwacked a week ago.

Previous: 3-0 win vs. HOU | Next: 7/1 at MIA

Montréal didn’t quite keep their fascinating streak of winning every home game and losing every road game alive. But I’m guessing they’re far more ok with that than I am after picking up four points this week. They built on their undefeated home record midweek with a 1-0 win over Nashville and managed to grab a draw on the road at Charlotte on Saturday. That’s now five points in 11 road games on the season. Pair that with 21 points in eight games at home and that’s enough to be above the playoff line.

Previous: 0-0 draw at CLT | Next: 7/1 vs. NYC

That’s much, much more like it from the Red Bulls.

Their annual ritual sacrifice of Atlanta United at Red Bull Arena came at a perfect time. They’ve finally built some momentum in the last week thanks to that win and a two-goal comeback draw against Charlotte. Maybe, just maybe, their outstanding underlying numbers will start to come good. Even with Lewis Morgan still missing due to injury.

My own personal gut call here is the playoff streak isn’t going anywhere.

Previous: 4-0 win vs. ATL | Next: 7/1 at CLB

Welp, seems like the heater is officially over. SKC followed up a 2-1 loss to LAFC with a draw against LA and a home loss to Chicago this week. They’ve played one more game than everyone else in the conference and are still four points below the playoff line.

Previous: 1-0 loss vs. CHI | Next: 7/1 vs. VAN

Oh boy. A six-point week for Chicago over two road games means it is absolutely time to check the Chicago Fire FC season timeline.

I can see it → Oh, no → Oh, yikes, no → Well, maybe → Nope → But let’s just… → Oh, ok immediate no on that → But what if they tweak this → This looks better! → OH NO. THEY GOT ME AGAIN → No. → I’m not falling for that → No, forever. → Offseason → I can see it.

We’re officially at “This looks better!” They made a couple of tweaks this week by bringing Xherdan Shaqiri off the bench in both games and making sure Brian Gutierrez had room to cook.

Oh, and reinforcements are on the way.

We’re right on schedule.

Previous: 1-0 win at SKC | Next: 7/1 at ORL

The Loons returned from 14 days off with Emanuel Reynoso finally back in the starting lineup. He’s still pretty good at this.

The Loons weren’t able to pull out a win in the end though. RSL found an equalizer in the eighth minute of stoppage time. Not great. But Reynoso being back in the starting XI means the Loons’ chances of turning their excellent underlying numbers into actual numbers have skyrocketed. I’d fully expect them to be in a playoff spot when all is said and done.

Previous: 2-2 draw at RSL | Next: 7/1 vs. POR

The Timbers have just one win in their last eight games after a home loss to Chicago and a home draw with NYCFC this week. Portland are now below the playoff line in the West.

Previous: 1-1 draw vs. NYC | Next: 7/1 at MIN

Two draws over the past week for Charlotte and no wins over their last five. At least they were able to keep a clean sheet in one of those draws? Their 0-0 tie with Montréal was their second shutout of the season.

Previous: 0-0 draw vs. MTL | Next: 7/5 at NYC

I don’t really know what to add. Two draws this week means six points and no wins in their last 11 games. NYCFC are five points below the playoff line.

Previous: 1-1 draw at POR | Next: 7/1 at MTL

That’s that then.

I’m not sure where Toronto really goes from here. Interim manager Terry Dunfield will take over a team missing a handful of critical players to the Gold Cup and falling further and further behind a stacked Eastern Conference. Even with their best XI available, points just don’t feel likely for this group right now. It might be a long while before this Toronto roster (and the organization as a whole) is back among the best in the league.

Previous: 2-1 loss at NE | Next: 7/1 vs. RSL

Two draws closer to 2024!

Previous: 0-0 at COL | Next: 7/1 at SJ

A midweek rainout and a 0-0 draw against LA on the weekend. The Rapids are in last place.

Previous: 0-0 draw vs. LA | Next: 7/1 at STL

Four games left. They’re still on 15 points. A suddenly hot Austin team, Columbus, D.C. and St. Louis are waiting for them. The way the rest of the East is heading, Messi and friends might genuinely need 30 points over their last 12 games to make the playoffs. Godspeed to everyone involved.

Previous: 4-1 loss at PHI | Next: 7/1 vs. ATX