What a week in MLS. St. Louis won the possession battle but lost the game. Nashville handled Atlanta United. And Djordje Petrovic saved a penalty kick. It was truly a week unlike any other.
Not my fault, voted on by like 15 MLS personalities, editors and writers, etc., etc. Y’all know how the Power Rankings work by now. Probably. Anyway, I really want you to know that I went rogue and changed exactly one team’s position by exactly one spot. No, I’m not going to tell you who. Good luck figuring it out.
LAFC, in their CCL semifinal first leg at Subaru Park, were in trouble for a moment. But only for a moment.
That’s a huge away goal in a game where they were largely outplayed. That makes taking care of business in Tuesday night's second leg a little easier. Only a little. But still. Every bit counts.
Previous: Bye | Next: 5/6 at SJ
Dylan Borrero’s knee injury is a tremendous bummer for so many reasons. We lost one of the most exciting young players in the league for an extended period and the Revs lost the kind of dynamic attacking presence that seemed key to replicating New England’s record-setting formula from 2021. The ceiling hasn’t come crashing down without Borrero, but it’s definitely been lowered.
All that being said, it’s not like they’re going anywhere at the top of the East. Especially not while Djordje Petrovic is around.
Previous: 1-1 draw vs. CIN | Next: 5/6 at TOR
It’s a road point at RSL, where Seattle have historically been real bad. They're also now first in the Western Conference. The 0-0 draw wasn't the most thrilling result, but the table doesn't lie.
Previous: 0-0 draw at RSL | Next: 5/7 vs. SKC
Cincy went on the road at New England and were potentially a saved penalty away from taking all three points. They played pretty well and secured a well-earned road point against the team that, for now, is their biggest challenger at the top of the East.
However, it’s another week waiting for the Garys to put in a definitive, “We’re here and good as hell and going to beat the brakes off you like a surefire Supporters’ Shield contender” kind of performance. It feels like it’s on the way soon. But you gotta wonder how long we’ll have to wait for it.
Previous: 1-1 draw at NE | Next: 5/6 vs. DC
The Union were oh-so-close to finally separating themselves from LAFC. Instead, Kellyn Acosta’s late equalizer sent them to the second leg of their CCL semifinal matchup needing a little extra to get by their most consistently in-the-way obstacle as of late.
The last week or so of Union soccer has been the best they’ve looked all year. They were the better team against LAFC. Now they just have to replicate that Tuesday night at BMO Stadium (and maybe catch a break or two in a place they haven’t caught many breaks).
Previous: Bye | Next: 5/6 at RBNY
Nashville and Hany Mukhtar brought out the whooping stick against Atlanta last weekend.
WATCH: Nashville SC's Music City mojo on full display against Atlanta
That’s two straight weeks of really good ball at home against LAFC and Atlanta United. As always, it still feels like they’re a valid DP striker away from being a true contender. But if they can make this summer window count after mutually parting ways with Aké Loba, they’ll have more than enough to compete for a trophy.
Previous: 3-1 win vs. ATL | Next: 5/6 vs. CHI
It’s probably time to start worrying a little about St. Louis, who were missing DP striker João Klauss last weekend. Portland let them have the ball for a bit and St. Louis didn’t do much with it. There’s a clear plan to get the better of them at this point and they haven’t quite adjusted to it yet.
We’re officially in the first stretch of adversity for the league’s newest team. They’ve lost three of their last five.
Previous: 2-1 loss vs. POR | Next: 5/6 at DAL
The second week of Santiago Rodríguez as a false nine didn’t quite live up to week one…
This is probably just how it’s going to be for NYCFC for a bit. They’re a talented team that’s still finding themselves as pieces mesh and the season goes along. There are plenty of reasons to be confident they’ll do just that. Even if things are up and down sometimes.
Previous: 1-0 loss at TOR | Next: 5/6 at CLT
I mean, if you want to sum it all up…
Atlanta United are a pretty good team with a mediocre midfield. They won’t be a great team until that’s fixed. Especially with the pairing in the clip above. Nashville ran over them this weekend and you can expect more of the same against the best teams in the league until Atlanta sorts it out.
Previous: 3-1 loss at NSH | Next: 5/6 at MIA
So that’s back-to-back losses to Charlotte FC and Inter Miami. Gonna go ahead and chalk that up as confirmation for my personal narrative that this is a good team with a great coach that still has a ways to go with its roster before becoming a real contender.
The good news is Cucho Hernández is back and should keep the Crew looking even more like Definitely A Playoff Team going forward.
Previous: 2-1 loss vs. MIA | Next: Bye
San Jose are still looking for their first road win of the season after blowing a couple of leads in Austin. They’re also still sitting comfortably near the top of the West and have come a long, long way in a short period of time under Luchi Gonzalez. It’s a good bet they would have come away with nothing from that game last season.
Previous: 2-2 draw at ATX | Next: 5/6 vs. LAFC
FC Dallas took a point on the road at Minnesota and continue to be somewhere from third to fifth in the West. They will presumably be there until the heat death of the universe.
Previous: 0-0 draw at MIN | Next: 5/6 vs. STL
That’s three straight wins! Yeah, taking down CF Montréal, Orlando and Charlotte doesn’t make them a juggernaut or anything, but that’s three-sevenths of the wins they had the entirety of 2022. That deserves to be celebrated. Even if they might come down to earth a little bit over the next three games as they take on Cincy, Nashville and Philly. But don’t worry about that for now. Just be happy they’re keeping things simple and putting Christian Benteke in positions to do things like this…
WATCH: Christian Benteke gets on his bike for DC United
Previous: 3-0 win vs. CLT | Next: 5/6 at CIN
Houston took the week off and are still comfortably in an Audi MLS Cup Playoffs spot despite having played two fewer games than most of their Western Conference counterparts. Seems nice.
Previous: Bye | Next: 5/6 vs. RSL
Orlando City are doing that thing again. It’s that thing where they look relatively unimpressive for extended periods of time and the underlying numbers aren’t great for an extended period of time, then you look up and they’re sitting in a playoff spot. The Lions, despite a start to the year that can be described as “clunky at best,” have the fourth-best points-per-game mark in the East. Maybe after taking care of business this weekend against LA via goals from two DPs they’re taking steps down the path toward accompanying their solid results with more inspiring soccer.
Previous: 2-0 win vs. LA | Next: 5/6 at MTL
Welcome to Toronto, C.J. Sapong.
WATCH: Dream debut! CJ Sapong sends Toronto FC past NYCFC
The Reds got an immediate payoff on their most recent trade and picked up a much-needed win over a good NYCFC team. Even better, they completely shut down a good NYCFC team, allowing just 0.3 xG worth of chances. With Lorenzo Insigne back and Sapong putting in much-needed work at striker, things are looking up for a team that’s played better than their record so far this year.
Previous: 1-0 win vs. NYC | Next: 5/6 vs. NE
The Loons have three wins, three draws and three losses to go along with their dead-even goal differential that didn’t change with their 0-0 draw against FC Dallas this week. They’re also winless (0W-1L-3D) at Allianz Field this year.
It’s not exactly thrilling stuff. But, hey, that’s good enough for seventh place in the West through 10 matchdays.
Previous: 0-0 draw vs. DAL | Next: 5/6 at VAN
For the third straight week, the Fire got dropped into boiling water and were more potato than egg. They had a one-goal lead at home against the Red Bulls and it evaporated in the 89th minute. That’s basically five points dropped over the last three weeks, which means Chicago are in 11th place in the East instead of fourth. They’re so close to getting it together. It seems like they have the pieces to do it. Considering who we’re talking about, it’s fair to wonder if they’ll take the next step.
Previous: 1-1 draw vs. RBNY | Next: 5/6 at NSH
The Whitecaps still have some of the best underlying numbers in the league. The Whitecaps still can’t seem to put together the kind of consistent and complete performances that result in steady wins. That all continued last weekend in a 0-0 draw with Colorado. It’s kind of been a weird one so far.
Previous: 0-0 draw vs. COL | Next: 5/6 vs. MIN
The Timbers followed the “How To Beat St. Louis” blueprint to a T and picked up three huge points on the road. Things still aren’t outstanding – they’re still rough defensively – but there’s a lot to be said for coming out of a three-game stretch against Seattle, Cincinnati and St. Louis with six points.
Previous: 2-1 win at STL | Next: 5/6 vs. ATX
You would generally rather not lose to Seattle than lose to Seattle. Good job by RSL to not lose. They’ve taken seven points from their last three home games.
Previous: 0-0 draw vs. SEA | Next: 5/6 at HOU
The Rapids are undefeated over their last six MLS games. Please do not look at the results, just focus on the total lack of losing over the last six games!
Previous: 0-0 draw at VAN | Next: 5/6 at LA
Hello and welcome back, Leo Campana.
WATCH: Leo Campana brace ends Inter Miami's six-game losing streak
Campana’s brace ended a six-game losing streak (that included five shutouts) for the Herons. It took a couple of games for Campana to get calibrated, but his performance in Columbus is a good sign for things going forward. Maybe not enough of one to suggest he’ll save Inter Miami’s season or anything, but at least enough of one to think they won’t have to worry about Wooden Spoon contention.
Previous: 2-1 win at CLB | Next: 5/6 vs. ATL
Austin did well to come back twice against San Jose to earn a draw. And Emiliano Rigoni even scored for Austin for…uh…the first time ever. But they’re still on just one point per game through nine games and looking for their first win since the Violette CCL disaster back in early March.
Previous: 2-2 draw vs. SJ | Next: 5/6 at POR
This Red Bulls team is so weird. Like where it’s actually starting to be stressful. We’re talking about a team sitting dead last in the East on actual points, but first in the East in expected goal differential and expected points, per American Soccer Analysis. So does that mean they’re actually good, but unlucky, or actually bad and doing everything in their power to trick the analytics nerds?
Gut call from me is they’ve been pretty comically unlucky. They’re underperforming their even game state xG (chances allowed and created when the game is tied) by almost eight goals so far. They’re constantly playing from behind because…I dunno, reasons? No other team has even been close to that unlucky when games are tied. In fact, on a per-game basis, no team in ASA’s database going back to 2013 has underperformed their even state xG like New York have in 2023 and it’s not really close.
Does that mean everything will be fixed soon and it will all be fine? Probably not! The vibes seem real bad! But there’s no way they stay around the bottom of the East for too long…probably.
Previous: 1-1 draw at CHI | Next: 5/6 vs. PHI
I guess there’s solace to take in the fact they didn’t have Riqui Puig in this one? In a vacuum, there are worse things than going across the country and struggling in MLS without your biggest creative force in the lineup. In the context of the Galaxy’s season so far, it’s just more of the same, right? They’re 28th overall in a 29-team league.
Previous: 2-0 loss at ORL | Next: 5/6 vs. COL
In a battle for a potential spot at the bottom of the league, CF Montréal came out on top against Sporting KC and picked up their second-straight win against a team that now sits at the bottom of their respective conference.
Quietly, homegrown midfielder Mathieu Choinière has been very good lately.
Previous: 2-0 win at SKC | Next: 5/6 vs. ORL
They followed up their 1-0 win over Columbus last week by getting throttled by D.C. United. On a related note, Charlotte have just nine points and a negative-9 goal differential through nine games.
Previous: 3-0 loss at DC | Next: 5/6 vs. NYC
Previous: 2-0 loss vs. MTL | Next: 5/7 at SEA