Power Rankings

Power Rankings: FC Cincinnati, Seattle Sounders push LAFC for supremacy

Power Rankings 4.4.23

What a week in MLS. FC Cincinnati won a 1-0 game, Sporting Kansas City and the LA Galaxy struggled, and Atlanta United…beat…New York Red Bulls? Wait, like really? Lol, what? Ok, yeah, I guess it actually was truly a week unlike any other.

Not my fault, voted on by like 15 MLS personalities, editors and writers, etc., etc. We’re still like four games away from any of this being real so I mean, if you want, you can make your own Power Rankings and imagine that they’re the actual, definitive, title-deciding Power Rankings like these are. Just go crazy with it. The world is yours to mold as you see fit. 

LAFC didn’t control the game in the way we’ve come to expect during their road trip to Colorado last weekend. Playing at altitude is hard though and there were bigger games to worry about. They’ll visit Vancouver for a Concacaf Champions League quarterfinal leg-one matchup on Wednesday evening.

Previous: 0-0 draw at COL | Next: 4/8 vs. ATX

Another week, another grind-it-out, get-the-job-done-by-all-means-necessary win for Cincy. That’s four one-goal wins and three 1-0 wins so far this year. It’s not beautiful soccer yet, but, if we’re being honest, what’s prettier than being on top of the Eastern Conference? 

Previous: 1-0 win vs. MIA | Next: 4/8 vs. PHI

Brian Schmetzer stuck with Jordan Morris at striker despite having both Raúl Ruidíaz and Héber available. It seems like it’s going to take a lot to get Morris back to the wing and Léo Chú off the field though. Chú found Morris in the first half of a 2-1 win at LA Galaxy for their fifth goal-assist combo in two games. Then, Chú decided he wanted a goal for himself. Seattle’s biggest issue right now is that their players are too good.

Previous: 2-1 win at LA | Next: 4/8 vs. STL

It couldn’t last forever.

St. Louis experienced defeat for the first time after Minnesota United decided the best way to not pass João Klauss the ball in on goal is to not really try to have the ball that much in the first place. CITY SC weren’t bad by any means, but this feels like the kind of tactic they’ll continue to have to face as the league adjusts to the new kids. They might be good enough to handle that shift just fine, but Minnesota’s success is an interesting data point as we continue to try and figure out what this group’s ceiling can be.

Previous: 1-0 loss vs. MIN | Next: 4/8 at SEA

This Atlanta team has some fight in them. In their first-ever regular season win against New York (no, really) they were willing to get their hands dirty and win ugly. That’s a great sign. We knew they could win in style. But in a game that featured 30 fouls and 10 yellow cards, they held their own. An Atlanta team that can find points even when they’re taken out of their game is a scary prospect for the rest of the league.

Previous: 1-0 win vs. RBNY | Next: 4/8 at NYC

The Revs came close to winning a showdown with NYCFC, but it wasn’t in the cards. In the end, it’s a point against a solid team despite missing Matt Polster and Latif Blessing. New England have 13 points through six games.

Previous: 1-1 draw vs. NYC | Next: 4/8 vs. MTL

So sure seems like the Crew are growing into the season…

They clobbered RSL on Saturday, just a week after they clobbered Atlanta. They’re playing typically excellent Wilfried Nancy soccer, Aidan Morris looks like he’s ready to take The Leap forward and all signs are pointing toward this being the kind of year they were hoping for in Columbus.

Previous: 4-0 win vs. RSL | Next: 4/8 at DC


They became the first team to take down St. Louis this weekend. They’ve earned 11 points through their first five Emanuel Reynoso-less games and they should be damn proud of that. They’ve adapted quickly to playing without the ball and have been putting in shifts to make that tactic effective.

Is that sustainable over 34 games? I don’t know. But it’s definitely commendable.

The vibes are incredible, too.

Previous: 1-0 win at STL | Next: 4/8 at CHI

Nashville went down to Orlando and played a picture-perfect Nashville road game. They limited chances, ambushed the Lions with a first-half goal from a quickly-taken free kick, and let Hany Mukhtar seal the deal later in the game. No notes.

The Coyotes have 10 points through six games and have allowed just two goals. As you were.

Previous: 2-0 win at ORL | Next: 4/8 vs. TOR

It’s been far from ideal. A 0-0 draw at home against Sporting KC isn’t going to make anyone in Philly feel much better about things. For a team that’s thrived on continuity and confidence over the past few years, it’s strange to see them on a downswing heading into their CCL matchup with Liga MX's Atlas on Tuesday.

Previous: 0-0 draw vs. SKC | Next: 4/8 at CIN

It took a couple of penalty kicks from Cristian Espinoza but a win is a win. The Quakes outplayed Houston either way and have 10 points through Luchi Gonzalez’s first six games. This is an Audi MLS Cup Playoffs-level team.

Previous: 2-1 win vs. HOU | Next: 4/8 at RBNY

Talles Magno’s late header saved them from a road loss to the Revs. Not a bad result all considered.

But the Pigeons have scored multiple goals in a game just once so far. How long will it take for them to find the next gear?

Previous: 1-1 draw at NE | Next: 4/8 vs. ATL

They were in control from the jump against Portland and eventually broke through late to take a 1-0 lead. Unfortunately, soccer is mean. The Timbers found an equalizer in stoppage time with the last of their very limited chances.

Previous: 1-1 draw vs. POR | Next: 4/8 at MIA

They got Nashville’d real bad. Yeah, it’s probably concerning that the Lions have scored just five times this season. I would recommend they figure that out.

Previous: 2-0 loss vs. NSH | Next: Bye

A blunder from Carlos Coronel doomed them against Atlanta last weekend. You definitely can’t be giving away easy goals when your attack is functioning like this. New York have scored just four times in six games. In part that’s because DP forward Dante Vanzeir has been stuck coming off the bench. They looked instantly improved when he came on at the half on Saturday. How much longer will it take to get him into the starting XI? Seriously, though.

Previous: 1-0 loss at ATL | Next: 4/8 vs. SJ

Giving up a couple of penalties on a tough road trip is a not great way to get points on said tough road trip. The Dynamo have three losses in three road games so far this season.

Previous: 2-1 loss at SJ | Next: 4/8 vs. LA

Something is up in Toronto. It speaks to either their lack of depth or a lack of fortitude (or both) that they’ve now blown second-half leads in four of their six games this year. This week’s blown lead, a 2-0 advantage against Charlotte that ended in a 2-2 home draw, might be the most frustrating of the bunch.

Previous: 2-2 draw vs. CLT | Next: 4/8 at NSH

A much-needed off week for Austin. Self-care is important.

Previous: Bye | Next: 4/8 at LAFC

Well, that’s certainly a way to head into a CCL matchup with LAFC. The Whitecaps exploded for five goals against Montréal last weekend and Simon Becher’s brace has him at a goal every 29 minutes of his career so far. That’s a nice boost of confidence for a team going into full underdog mode this week.

Previous: 5-0 win vs. MTL | Next: 4/8 vs. POR

A 0-0 draw against D.C. United last weekend. I don’t know what else to add.

Previous: 0-0 draw vs. DC | Next: 4/8 vs. MIN

It didn’t start well against Toronto, but Charlotte clawed their way back into the game. Second-half goals from Ben Bender and Kamil Józwiak (!!) earned the Crown a point after going down 2-0. Charlotte are still down at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, but you take road points however you can get them.

Previous: 2-2 draw at TOR | Next: 4/8 at RSL

The underlying stats don't hate LA, but nice things are tough to find right now. The Galaxy have yet to win a game this year, the fans are protesting and a summer transfer ban (of the international variety) is looming large. There were boos at the end of LA’s 2-1 loss to Seattle even after the Galaxy fought their way back into the game from a 2-0 hole. 

Previous: 2-1 loss vs. SEA | Next: 4/8 at HOU

A 1-0 loss at Cincy last weekend for the Herons. They’ve been shut out three times in the last four games and desperately need one (or both) of Josef Martínez and Leo Campana to start scoring. The issue? Josef's yet to open his Herons' account and Campana’s still out hurt.

Previous: 1-0 loss at CIN | Next: 4/8 vs. DAL

Six games. Three points. In a vacuum, a road point at Philadelphia is a good result. In the context of six games and three points, maybe not so much. SKC are just barely above the last spot in the Western Conference table. 

Previous: 0-0 draw at PHI | Next: 4/8 vs. COL

Timbers Game Type 1, the most prominent Timbers Game Type, is a 1-0 or 1-1 game where the final xG finished like 1.1 to 0.8.

Their 1-1 draw against Dallas wasn’t quite that. Only because the xG actually finished 1.0 to 0.3. They were lucky to steal a point. Aka Franck Boli did this in second-half stoppage time.

Previous: 1-1 draw at DAL | Next: 4/8 at VAN

A 0-0 draw against Chicago last weekend. I don’t know what else to add.

Previous: 0-0 draw at CHI | Next: 4/8 vs. CLB

In the two games after Jack Price’s season-ending ACL injury, the Rapids have come out with hard-fought draws against Austin and LAFC. It’s a consolation prize for a team at the bottom of the Western Conference, but full credit to them for showing some resiliency and adapting.

Previous: 0-0 draw vs. LAFC | Next: 4/8 at SKC

Things aren’t great for the Eastern Conference’s last-place team. Not great.

Previous: 5-0 loss at VAN | Next: 4/8 at NE

Last year, RSL’s high-effort brand of soccer earned them a handful of points in the early goings as they capitalized on opponents still finding themselves at the beginning of the season. This year, they’ve lost four straight games by an aggregate score of 12-1 and have the worst goal differential in MLS. 

Previous: 4-0 loss at CLB | Next: 4/8 vs. CLT