Power Rankings

Power Rankings: FC Cincinnati, LAFC vying for MLS supremacy

Power Rankings 5.23.23 new

What a week in MLS. FC Cincinnati won by one goal, FC Cincinnati won at home and FC Cincinnati are atop the Supporters’ Shield standings. It was truly a week unlike any other.

In case you forgot, the Power Rankings are voted on by +/- 15 different people. It is not just one person making the call here. Please stop calling Tom Bogert to complain about the Power Rankings. He doesn’t even work here anymore.

LAFC did the proper MLS thing and dropped points midweek to Sporting KC for no discernible reason, but they bounced back with a revenge win over San Jose on Saturday. Even with Concacaf Champions League and the US Open Cup to worry about, they’re still at the top of the West and second in the league in points per game (with fewer games played). Second only to…

Previous: 2-1 win vs. SJ | Next: Bye

Hello to the team sitting five points clear at the top of the Supporters’ Shield standings thanks to an absurd 2.31 points per game pace aided by an even more absurd 8W-0L-0D home record this season. It kind of seemed like they were on for back-to-back statement wins when they went up 2-0 early on Columbus this weekend, but the Crew tied it back up before Cincy took the lead for good. Not quite a statement win, but still a six-point week after thumping CF Montréal on Wednesday.

It doesn’t seem all that plausible they can keep pulling out one-goal wins like this and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them falter a bit more often over their next nine games, six of which come on the road. But, either way, uh, ohmygod FC Cincinnati are five points clear in the Supporters’ Shield race and it’s almost June. FC Cincinnati!

Previous: 3-2 win vs. CLB | Next: 5/27 at COL

Typical Nashville week with 2-1 wins over Inter Miami and Charlotte FC. They’re going to be locked into a home Audi MLS Cup Playoffs spot for the rest of the year, huh? There’s not much more to really add unless you just needed a reminder Hany Mukhtar is really good at this. He scored twice in the win in Charlotte. He has eight goals and six assists now on the season.

Previous: 2-1 win at CLT | Next: 5/28 vs. CLB

Pretty sure we all agreed Philly were back to their normal selves after last week, but it was nice to get confirmation this week. The 0-0 draw against D.C. wasn’t exactly inspiring, but the weekend beatdown of a very good New England team was. They got up in the second half and stayed on the gas for a 3-0 win. That’s 13 points from their last 15 available, if you’re keeping track.

Previous: 3-0 win vs. NE | Next: 5/27 at NYC

So, this isn’t going great. Seattle are still sitting in second place in the West, but their form has fallen off a cliff as of late. They’ve followed up their home loss to SKC a couple of weeks ago with a 1-0 win over Houston, then losses to Austin and Vancouver this week. That Houston win is their only win in their last five games, not counting a US Open Cup loss to the Galaxy.

The good news is Seattle’s underlying numbers remain excellent and there’s still a ton of quality all over the field, even with Raúl Ruidíaz missing extended time (again). I’d bet a lot of well-earned blogger bucks the Sounders will be just fine. After last year’s playoff miss, though, there is just slightly more anxiety around this team than normal.

Previous: 2-0 loss at VAN | Next: 5/27 vs. RBNY

Are the injuries starting to show up a bit? That’s two straight losses for the Revs after getting whomped on by Philly last weekend. Dylan Borrero is out for the year, Henry Kessler is sidelined long-term, Gustavo Bou is still out and Carles Gil left the Philly loss early. There were already questions in attack with this group and those get amplified exponentially without Gil. No real reason to panic (yet), just something to keep an eye on.

Previous: 3-0 loss at PHI | Next: 5/27 vs. CHI

FC Dallas beat a good Vancouver team midweek, then drew with a less stingy Houston team over the weekend. They’re fourth in the West and will presumably be thereabouts until the end of the season. Will let y’all know if there’s ever any update on this.

Previous: 1-1 draw vs. HOU | Next: 5/27 at SJ


Any of you ever introduce yourself to your new neighbor by inviting them over to your place and…checking\]...punching them in the mouth repeatedly? Not exactly a masterclass in hospitality from [St. Louis here. But it did get them back on track after a rough stretch of form. They’ve cooled off a bit after a hot start, yet everyone should be very aware that if CITY SC get you down on the floor they’re going to kick you until don’t get back up. They’ve scored the second-most goals in the league this year thanks, in part, to a handful of big routs.

Previous: 4-0 win vs. SKC | Next: 5/27 vs. VAN

They easily took care of business against the Galaxy midweek, but ran into a Cincy team that’s just never gonna lose at home ever again on Saturday. Columbus did well to fight back and close a two-goal gap for a moment, though.

Still, that Galaxy win is their only win in six games. Cucho Hernández has been back in the starting lineup for the last four of those.

Previous: 3-2 loss at CIN | Next: 5/28 at NSH

Would you look at that: D.C. United are in the top 10. If you’re wondering, that’s (with Cincy) the last two Wooden Spoon winners in the top 10 this week. MLS! 

D.C. jumped to sixth in the East after picking up a hard-earned draw against Philadelphia where they were probably the better team and then clobbering the Galaxy on Saturday. They’ve won four of their last seven. The underlying numbers still aren’t great or anything, but the form is. 

Previous: 3-0 win vs. LA | Next: 5/27 at TOR

The Earthquakes were so so close to pulling out a huge point on the road at LAFC thanks to whatever this was…

Unfortunately for San Jose, a late and cosmically harsh penalty left them empty-handed. They just can’t get it together (or get a break) on the road. Only CF Montréal have more losses away from home. But Montréal do have a road win, something the Quakes are still looking for.

Previous: 2-1 loss at LAFC | Next: 5/27 vs. DAL

Atlanta put in an outstanding performance against Colorado on Wednesday and followed it up with a kind of total disaster of a draw against Chicago. Oops.

The good news is Giorgos Giakoumakis very well might be the best striker in the league. He’s only played 528 minutes this year, but he’s tied for second in the Golden Boot presented by race. His pace of 1.36 goals per 90 is the best mark in the league by some distance, as is his pace of 0.98 non-penalty xG per 90 minutes. Those numbers will come back to Earth a little bit once he’s back in the starting lineup for Atlanta, but it doesn’t feel like they’re going to drop that much.

He’s a star. Now, Atlanta just need to get him some help from their wingers. They’ll get a chance to get that position right in the Secondary Transfer Window. Luiz Araújo is officially leaving for Brazil’s Flamengo on June 24.

Previous: 3-3 draw at CHI | Next: 5/27 at ORL

The Whitecaps continue to be frustrating. And interesting. And both at the same time. They lost to FC Dallas midweek before turning around and beating Seattle. They keep swinging back and forth all while putting up some of the best underlying numbers in the league. Eventually, this has to level out for the better, right? 

Previous: 2-0 win vs. SEA | Next: 5/27 at STL

Ercan Kara heard all of your calls for Duncan McGuire and he has some thoughts.

That’s four goals and two assists in five games + a suddenly firm grasp on the starting job. He’s in his best form since he arrived in Orlando and the Lions are better for it. Things are still far from perfect, but a big win over Inter Miami will ease some tension in Orlando. If Kara and Orlando can take down Atlanta this week, then we might look back at two big rivalry wins (and a potential breakout moment for Kara) as a turning point.

Previous: 3-1 win at MIA | Next: 5/27 vs. ATL

They followed up their 1-0 loss to the Red Bulls last week with an uninspiring 1-1 draw against Orlando. I’m just kind of frowning a lot with this team as of late. They’re so talented, they’re young, they’re maybe a lot incohesive and that’s leading to a frustrating string of results in which they’ve taken just four points from their last five games.

Previous: 1-1 draw at ORL | Next: 5/27 vs. PHI

There’s that regression to the mean. 

New York had outstanding underlying numbers before Gerhard Struber left and now they’re manifesting in results. They’ve earned seven points from their first three games of the Troy Lesesne era, and you can expect them to keep grabbing points as their confidence grows (and the numbers finally come good).

Previous: 2-1 win vs. MTL | Next: 5/27 at SEA

For a moment, as Brandt Bronico gave them an early lead over Nashville on Saturday, I felt fully prepared to declare Charlotte the best team in MLS. Maybe the best team ever. They’ve been on a heater as of late. But, unfortunately, Hany Mukhtar comes for us all sometimes. Nashville came back to take a 2-1 win in Charlotte.

Still, The Crown are thriving. Especially compared to the start of the season. They pulled out a win against Chicago midweek and have won four of their last six. That’s been enough to put them even on points with Columbus and ahead of NYCFC in the standings. Those results are thanks in part due to the fact the Justin Meram trade is going pretty well.

Previous: 2-1 loss vs. NSH | Next: 5/27 at LA

Six-point week! Bongi!

Previous: 1-0 win at POR | Next: 5/27 vs. RSL

A one-point week for the Timbers where they failed to score a goal across two games. They’ve had better stretches.

Previous: 1-0 loss vs. MIN | Next: 5/28 at SKC

The Dynamo are losing altitude. Just a little anyway. They’ve picked up just one win in their last six games. Although it should be said, the draw on the road at FC Dallas on Saturday is a solid result.

Previous: 1-1 draw at DAL | Next: 5/27 vs. ATX

Annndddd the roller coaster heads back down. After picking up their fourth straight win a couple of Saturdays ago, CFM lost twice this week. To be fair, not many teams this year are going to thrive in a two-game stretch where they go to Cincy and then Red Bull Arena. And full credit to Montréal for getting off the fence and picking a side. They’ve yet to draw in 13 games.

Previous: 2-1 loss at RBNY | Next: 5/27 vs. MIA

Annndddd it's pretty much the exact same deal as Montréal as both teams continue to do a weird mimicking act. Inter Miami also followed up a winning streak with two losses to quality teams this week. And Inter Miami also have a record of five wins, zero draws and eight losses. It means something, I’m sure. I’m just not sure what it means.

Previous: 3-1 loss vs. ORL | Next: 5/27 at MTL

Well, that’s a little more like it. Gyasi Zardes scored the eventual winner at Seattle midweek and followed it up with a stoppage-time winner against Toronto over the weekend. Deep analysis here, but I bet if they get Zardes going the results will keep being much better. It’s a good sign and a much-needed breath of positivity for a club that’s just had a rough go of it as of late.

Previous: 1-0 win vs. TOR | Next: 5/27 at HOU

Chicago lost to Charlotte and then just got into the weirdest possible game with Atlanta. Odd week. And only a one-point week. RIP to Chicago’s new-manager bounce, I guess.

Previous: 3-3 draw vs. ATL | Next: 5/27 at NE

RSL looked a little bit more like high-intensity, good-enough RSL this week. Especially in a 3-2 win over Colorado that wasn’t as close as the final score suggested. They grabbed four points this week and might just be able to build off a win over their biggest rival. If they beat Colorado again on Wednesday in the Open Cup, well, that wouldn’t hurt either.

Previous: 3-2 win at COL | Next: 5/27 at MIN

They didn’t get off the plane on their trip to Atlanta and then lost at home to RSL. Diego Rubio missed both games. Bad week.

Previous: 3-2 loss vs. RSL | Next: 5/27 vs. CIN

They looked like they were starting to get it together. Like, at least a little bit. They beat Seattle in Seattle, then beat Minnesota, then went to LAFC on Wednesday and pulled out a well-earned point. Then they went to St. Louis…

Previous: 4-0 loss at STL | Next: 5/28 vs. POR

It’s bad. Real bad.

Previous: 1-0 loss at ATX | Next: 5/27 vs. DC

I’m going to spend way more time on the last-place team than normal because something amazing(ly terrible) is happening with the Galaxy. Per American Soccer Analysis, the Galaxy are currently underperforming their expected goal differential by 14 GOALS. I repeat: 14 GOALS.

ASA’s database goes back to 2013. In that time, only 12 teams have ever underperformed their underlying numbers by that much over an entire season. The Galaxy are underperforming their xG by more than a goal a game, which would absolutely be an MLS record.

Things shouldn’t be quite this bad. I’m not sure how bad they should be exactly, but not this bad. Is that going to make anyone in Carson feel all that much better? Probably not. Maybe definitely not considering the fact their summer transfer restrictions loom large. But maybe they can start regressing a bit more to the mean sometime soon? Maybe?

Previous: 3-0 loss at DC | Next: 5/27 vs. CLT