Power Rankings

Power Rankings: Denis Bouanga propels LAFC into the lead

Power Rankings - Bouanga - MD19+20

What a week in MLS. Charlotte kept a clean sheet, Inter Miami won despite everything on paper suggesting they shouldn’t win, and Denis Bouanga scored a stunning goal. It was truly a week unlike any other.

The Power Rankings are voted on by nearly 20 MLS writers, editors and personalities and are not solely the fault of the column’s author. The 2024 Power Rankings Committee regrets the errors and really, really tried to rank your team higher they promise.

Who’s going to stop these guys?

Make it six wins in a row for LAFC. They look increasingly terrifying each week. They’re pragmatic, ruthless and grind teams into a pulp until the final whistle. There’s every chance they enter the July 4 El Tráfico on a nine-match winning streak and with their place atop the Western Conference secured. The eye test and the underlying numbers match up right now. We’re looking at the best team in MLS.

Previous: 3-1 win at ORL | Next: 6/19 at ATX

Just a casual hat trick for Yuya Kubo in nine minutes and an even more casual hat trick of assists for Luciano Acosta in the same span as Cincy rolled to a 4-2 comeback win at San Jose. What else would you expect at this point? Everything this team does works.

That being said, it does seem like things are about to get slightly more difficult.

Previous: 4-2 win at SJ | Next: 6/19 vs. PHI

RSL should be disappointed to come away without a goal against Montréal on Saturday, but they still earned a road point. That’s totally fine in a vacuum. In context, they need every point to keep up with LAFC, Inter Miami and FC Cincinnati.

Previous: 0-0 draw at MTL | Next: 6/19 at SKC

Oh, come on.

If you haven’t seen that highlight yet, I encourage you to look at the score bug in the top left corner. You might notice the two red blocks above Miami’s name. Well, that’s because they were down to nine men when second-round SuperDraft pick Leo Afonso scored in stoppage time to give the Herons a 2-1 road win despite missing Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez.

What do you even say at this point? We’ve never had a team in MLS go full horror movie villain like this. Even when you think they’re as dead as they’ve ever been, they spring back to life for the jump scare as soon as you start to think you’re safe.

Previous: 2-1 win at PHI | Next: 6/19 vs. CLB

More changes for the Crew post-CCC final. Aidan Morris is reportedly on his way to Middlesbrough and Dylan Chambost is on his way in from Saint-Étienne. It’s been a funky few weeks for Columbus, but they’ve seemingly had a plan for every departure. That’s not going to make losing Morris any easier, though. He’s played a critical role in Wilfried Nancy’s setup over the last year and a half.

So far, so good. The Crew did typically Crew things in a road win over a good New York City FC team on Friday night. It will be a while before Chambost can play and the schedule will be congested until then. But would it be all that surprising if they kept on winning anyway?

Previous: 3-2 win at NYC | Next: 6/19 at MIA

An early red card derailed NYCFC's chance at taking down the Crew, but they still found the time to put this together for us.

They put up a heckuva fight in a 3-2 loss. Matt Freese stood on his head as long as he could. They have another big test coming up in LA against the Galaxy.

Previous: 3-2 loss vs. CLB | Next: 6/19 at LA

The Galaxy were missing Riqui Puig on Saturday. It didn’t matter. They still scored four goals in a win over Sporting KC.

Even with some missteps along the way this season, the Galaxy are still right there near the top of the West. They ended the weekend just three points behind first-place Real Salt Lake.

Previous: 4-2 win vs. SKC | Next: 6/19 vs. NYC

It’s been a tough few weeks. Missing Emil Forsberg and Lewis Morgan can do a number on a team. The Red Bulls fell 1-0 to New England and then drew 0-0 with Nashville.

With Morgan representing Scotland at Euros for a bit and Forsberg dealing with an injury, they’ll have to find other answers in attack.

Previous: 0-0 draw vs. NSH | Next: 6/19 at MTL

The Loons haven’t put their best foot forward as of late. There have been key absences, but they probably aren’t feeling great about taking just one point in two games against teams below the playoff line. That's while teams above them keep pulling away.

Previous: 2-0 loss at SEA | Next: 6/19 at DAL

After a brief two-game lapse, Charlotte are back earning clean sheets. They picked up a 1-0 win over D.C. United last weekend and are still hanging out near the top of the East. It’s worth repeating they can add two DPs this summer.

Previous: 1-0 win vs. DC | Next: 6/19 vs. ORL

Same as it ever was with the Whitecaps. They’re good enough to be fifth in the West right now, but the top four are getting further away. It’s clear they need a few more pieces to be a true contender.

Previous: 3-2 loss at NE | Next: 6/22 at POR

Houston survived a “new manager bounce” threat on Saturday in Atlanta. The Dynamo went down 2-1, but Latif Blessing found himself alone in the box for a late equalizer and the Dynamo stayed above the playoff line. They have five points from their last three matches.

More importantly…

That’s a club-record signing for Houston. They desperately needed help in attack. They finally got it. Ezequiel Ponce won’t be available until the transfer window opens on July 18, but Houston should feel good about their chances down the stretch. The next few weeks are about doing enough to set themselves up for the final third of the season. If Ponce is an immediate hit, they have enough to make waves in the West.

Previous: 2-2 draw at ATL | Next: 6/19 vs. SEA

The Rapids took care of business in a home win against Austin and, more importantly, kept a clean sheet in a 2-0 win. They needed a result like that after surrendering 16 goals in the previous six games.

Previous: 2-0 win vs. ATX | Next: 6/19 at STL

A 2-0 win against Minnesota to jump above the playoff line isn’t nothing! It’s not time to go ahead and declare Seattle back and fully loaded or anything, but it’s not nothing!

The Sounders have a stretch of very winnable games until a July 20 meeting with LAFC. They need to take full advantage of it. If they can turn the next six games into 14 points or so, they could be set up nicely down the stretch to end up in a respectable playoff spot in the West. That doesn’t feel like a reach.

Previous: 2-0 win vs. MIN | Next: 6/19 at HOU

Things are… kind of regressing here?

It’s been four games since Toronto have won and, man, getting thwacked by Chicago in any context is concerning. They’re still above the playoff line, but the not-quite-so-good teams in the East aren’t all that far away.

This year has already been a tremendous success under John Herdman. But we may see a bit of a backslide in the second half.

Previous: 4-1 loss vs. CHI | Next: 6/19 vs. NSH

The Union lost another home game. And this time they lost another home game to an Inter Miami side missing multiple key players and, ya know, multiple players on the pitch. Allowing a stoppage-time winner on a breakaway goal from a SuperDraft pick despite being up 11 men to nine for your fifth home loss of the season is… man, that’s something.

It feels like it’s time for a refresh in Philadelphia. Kai Wagner certainly thinks so.

It’s been rough this year for Philadelphia. It will only get tougher with Julián Carranza reportedly on his way to Feyenoord. It feels like the end of an era. Philly’s front office has a big task in front of them.

Previous: 2-1 loss vs. MIA | Next: 6/19 at CIN

After a 0-0 draw with St. Louis a couple of Saturdays ago, the Timbers are unbeaten in their last four. They’re still technically below the playoff line, but things could be going worse in year one under Phil Neville.

Previous: Bye | Next: 6/19 at SJ

Nashville played the Red Bulls last weekend in the most predictable 0-0 draw of the season.

Previous: 0-0 draw at RBNY | Next: 6/19 at TOR

Austin are quickly… how can we put this in a new way… backsliding to the calculated average.

They’re the third-worst team in MLS by American Soccer Analysis’ expected points metric and their results are beginning to reflect that a little more often. They lost 2-0 in Colorado last weekend to make it three defeats in a row. They’re winless in their last four and have been outscored 10-2 in that span. They’re still in a playoff spot, but their goal differential is negative-6.

Can new signings Osman Bukari and Mikkel Desler change their fortunes this summer?

Previous: 2-0 loss at COL | Next: 6/19 vs. LAFC

As much as the underlying numbers have suggested D.C. United might come good, it, uh, really doesn’t feel like they’re going to come good any time soon.

Previous: 1-0 loss at CLT | Next: 6/19 vs. ATL

It's been a really tough year in St. Louis. And it got even tougher with the news that Célio Pompeu will miss the rest of the season.

Previous: 2-0 loss at DAL | Next: 6/19 vs. COL

It’s not a loss?

The Five Stripes kept their home losing streak from continuing any further, but still allowed a wholly preventable late equalizer to Houston in a 2-2 draw. They’re one point away from the East's last-place spot.

Atlanta did a good bit of business to get reportedly $10 million from Cruz Azul for oft-injured Giorgos Giakoumakis and have an open DP spot and a lot of money to play with. It feels like big changes could continue to come for this team throughout the summer.

Previous: 2-2 draw vs. HOU | Next: 6/19 at DC

Chicago have won two in a row and are unbeaten in four! They beat up Toronto last weekend in yet another solid performance without Xherdan Shaqiri, who’s publicly stated he wants to go back to Europe? Oh man, it’s time to break out our patented 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.

FOLKS… welcome to “This looks better!” The thing about this one is the performances feel genuinely better and there’s been a clear and notable change you can point to. I’m genuinely hoping this one actually sticks. Chicago fans deserve something that sticks.

Previous: 4-1 win at TOR | Next: 6/22 at ORL

Nico Estévez is out in Dallas. This team has fallen far short of expectations, partly due to injury and partly due to an aggressively boring style of play. Whoever’s in charge next will be tasked with at least making this team interesting again. It will be an uphill battle. But at least things in the post-Estévez era are already going pretty well. Dallas earned a 2-0 win over St. Louis on Saturday.

Previous: 2-0 win vs. STL | Next: 6/19 vs. MIN


That’s three straight wins for the Revs. They’re now just one point away from making someone else sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference for a while. The only problem is… well, it could be a couple of games before they’re able to grab a point. FC Cincinnati and Columbus are up next.

But things are starting to feel a little different. They haven’t saved the season yet, but it always felt like this roster had too much talent to be this bad. Maybe they really are starting to right the ship. We might find out for sure in the next two games.

Previous: 3-2 win vs. VAN | Next: 6/22 at CIN

Montréal are unbeaten in four. Only one of those four games resulted in three points, but still. They earned a point against Real Salt Lake on Saturday and kept themselves close to the playoff line. That’s all you can ask for.

Previous: 0-0 draw vs. RSL | Next: 6/19 vs. RBNY

At what point do they start to think about major changes? Orlando fell to LAFC last weekend to make it six home games without a win. They’re one of two teams with a league-worst one home win this season and they’re perilously close to the bottom of the East. We’re a long, long way from last year’s 63-point season. There’s no way around it. This year hasn't gone to plan in any way.

Previous: 3-1 loss vs. LAFC | Next: 6/19 at CLT

Only one team has allowed more goals this season than Sporting KC.

Previous: 4-2 loss at LA | Next: 6/19 vs. RSL

San Jose have given up nine goals in their last two games.

Previous: 4-2 loss vs. CIN | Next: 6/19 vs. POR