Power Rankings

Power Rankings: NYCFC soar, Red Bulls drop after Matchday 9

Power Rankings 4.25.23

What a week in MLS. Seattle beat Minnesota at home, Atlanta scored a goal in the 99th minute, and Dénis Bouanga scored a banger. 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. We all vote and then we blame Tom Bogert…what’s that? Tom is at The Athletic now? That changes things up a bit. What’s the point if he’s not here to wear the anger of legions of Colorado fans who are mad about being ranked 17th instead of 16th? The…the light has gone out of my life.

Road games are hard, especially when you rotate most of your lineup to prepare for a huge Concacaf Champions League clash on Wednesday. However, LAFC did leave one pretty important person in the starting XI.

Dénis Bouanga is good at soccer. 

Previous: 1-1 draw at NSH | Next: Bye

The Revs took care of business against Sporting KC. A lot of people are these days, but that doesn’t change the fact New England are sitting on top of the Eastern Conference. Good soccer team is good, and it appears Giacomo Vrioni is as well.

Previous: 2-1 win vs. SKC | Next: 4/29 vs. CIN

The Sounders got past Minnesota thanks to Albert Rusnák. It’s a good result, but maybe a bummer of a week since Seattle learned Raúl Ruidíaz will once again miss extended time with a hamstring injury. This is becoming a recurring theme and you have to wonder if the injuries are becoming too much to overlook when it comes to Ruidíaz's future with the team long-term.

Previous: 1-0 win vs. MIN | Next: 4/29 at RSL

Road games are hard. It looked like St. Louis were about to pull out another win despite a less-than-stellar defensive performance and a João Klauss injury, but the Rapids eventually broke through late for an equalizer. CITY SC still ended the weekend on top of the Western Conference, though, mainly because ​Roman Bürki is a brick wall.

Previous: 1-1 draw at COL | Next: 4/29 vs. POR

A nice “everyone calm down” win for Cincy last weekend. They took care of business and created plenty against a mostly overmatched Portland side. And all without Brenner, who seems halfway out the door to his new club, Udinese of Italy's Serie A.

Anyway, the Garys are tied with the Revs atop the early Supporters’ Shield standings.

Previous: 2-1 win vs. POR | Next: 4/29 at NE

Everyone entered Saturday thinking a last-minute transfer might be what the Pigeons needed to solve things at striker. Then Santiago Rodríguez showed up playing a false nine and NYCFC put together their best performance of the season.

Rodríguez grabbed a brace, NYCFC put all of their most talented pieces on the field and it seems like a lot of problems got solved at once. At least for one night.

Either way, NYCFC are still near the top of the East and are slowly starting to connect the pieces of a roster that’s undergone a ton of changes.

Previous: 3-1 win vs. DAL | Next: 4/29 at TOR

It doesn’t matter when it happens. It all counts all the same.

Atlanta United have played far better games this year, but they still found a way to pull out a win. You can either take it as a sign of regression (they were largely at full strength and played one of their worst games of the season) or progress (they played terribly and were still able to eke out a win). Your call.

Previous: 2-1 win vs. CHI | Next: 4/29 at NSH

Road games are hard. They lost to Charlotte, 1-0. The Crew will be fine. But it’s probably fair to point out there are still some questions about this roster competing with the best in the league, even with Wilfried Nancy working his magic. They’ve navigated a stretch of winnable games well so far, and their schedule won’t get all that much tougher until Hell is Real about a month from now. Just keep piling on points while you can.

(And, in the meantime, sort out whatever is happening here.)

Previous: 1-0 loss at CLT | Next: 4/29 vs. MIA

The Union came out with a full-strength XI against Toronto, despite their looming CCL meeting with LAFC. That move has paid off pretty well so far.

The big question now is whether or not it will pay off on Wednesday. It kind of seems like the Union got their groove back at the right time though. I bet they’ll trade slightly tired legs for that.

Previous: 4-2 win vs. TOR | Next: Bye

They nearly pulled out a classic 1-0 Nashville win, but let off for one moment to let Dénis Bouanga run free down the middle and that went about how you’d expect. The Coyotes are through nine games with a totally average and not very engaging 1.33 points per game with three wins, three draws and three losses and a +3 goal differential. This is the most “they are what they are” team in the league. For better or worse.

Previous: 1-1 draw vs. LAFC | Next: 4/29 vs. ATL

Road games are hard. Dallas just ran into an NYCFC version that had more juice and more healthy starters. They’ll be fine and probably finish like third or fourth in the West. That’s just how these things usually go.

Previous: 3-1 loss at NYC | Next: 4/30 at MIN

So this seems good.

Houston just keep getting the job done. There’s still room to improve, but the Ben Olsen era is off to as good a start as anyone could have possibly imagined.

Previous: 1-0 win vs. MIA | Next: Bye

Road games are hard, especially when the other team is putting every other shot into the back of the net from distance. The Earthquakes got varianced to hell by RSL and a four-game unbeaten streak ended.

Previous: 3-1 loss at RSL | Next: 4/29 at ATX

Road games are hard, especially if you’re Minnesota and you’re playing Seattle. That historically doesn’t go well. 

Previous: 1-0 loss at SEA | Next: 4/30 vs. DAL

The Whitecaps took the week off. But if they had played a road game, it probably would have been hard to win.

Previous: Bye | Next: 4/29 vs. COL

There seems to be a growing question about Xherdan Shaqiri’s role with the Fire long-term. Most importantly, we still have to find out if Chicago are eggs or potatoes.

Previous: 2-1 loss at ATL | Next: 4/29 vs. RBNY

Orlando took the unwelcome title of “Only Home Team To Lose” last weekend in MLS. You really really don’t want to be the “Only Home Team To Lose.”

It’s fair to wonder how much of a grace period their busy offseason will allow them before serious questions start to be asked. It feels like the Lions are scraping by right now.

Previous: 3-1 loss vs. DC | Next: 4/29 vs. LA

The Rapids created 2.8 xG worth of chances against St. Louis. They weren’t able to get a win out of it, and actually needed a late goal from Michael Barrios to salvage a point. But doubling up one of the West’s best teams on xG isn’t a bad thing. Neither is being undefeated in their last five. It’s not going “well” for the Rapids. But it’s certainly not going poorly!

Previous: 1-1 draw vs. STL | Next: 4/29 at VAN

Road games are… kind of easy if you think about it?

D.C. cruised in Orlando for their second straight win. I’m not saying great things are happening in D.C., but I think good things might be happening. Like maybe Audi MLS Cup Playoffs-potential things?

Previous: 3-1 win at ORL | Next: 4/29 vs. CLT

It could be going better (and road games are hard).

Previous: 4-2 loss at PHI | Next: 4/29 vs. NYC

That’s two straight home wins for RSL. But are goals like this sustainable?

Shut up, nerd. Enjoy the bangers.

Previous: 3-1 win vs. SJ | Next: 4/29 vs. SEA

Everything seemed a little simpler for Charlotte on Saturday. Karol Swiderski tucked into the central role we all expected him to play at the beginning of the year, they didn’t mess around with pulling a fullback central in the buildup and the right players were in the right places. All that resulted in a big 1-0 win over a red-hot Columbus team via a goal from Swiderski. Soccer is hard, but sometimes it’s not that hard.

Previous: 1-0 win vs. CLB | Next: 4/29 at DC

Road games are hard. Portland made it closer than they probably should have against FC Cincinnati in a 2-1 loss last weekend, but still didn’t follow up on their big win over Seattle. At the very least, maybe they’ve found the best way to utilize Evander? He played as a second forward to positive reviews.

Previous: 2-1 loss at CIN | Next: 4/29 at STL

The Galaxy started Chicharito and Dejan Joveljić together and, well, wouldn’t ya know it…

That went pretty well! The Galaxy controlled the game, created a ton of chances and pulled out their first win of the season. 

Previous: 2-0 win vs. ATX | Next: 4/29 at ORL

Road games are hard, but Austin are just straight-up not having a good time right now.

Previous: 2-0 loss at LA | Next: 4/29 vs. SJ

Road games are hard… but, oof, it’s not going well. New York faceplanted against a miserable Montréal side last weekend and have earned less than a point per game (0.89) so far.

Yeah, the underlying numbers are still good. But…[gestures broadly]...the results aren’t good.

Previous: 2-0 loss at MTL | Next: 4/29 at CHI

A win! That goal differential (-12) is still lopsided, but they aren’t stuck all by their lonesome at the bottom of the East anymore. Honestly, I wouldn’t even consider them the favorite in the race to the bottom at this point. Progress! 

Previous: 2-0 win vs. RBNY | Next: 4/29 at SKC

Road games are hard, but that hasn’t stopped difficult questions after a 1-0 loss at Houston. The Herons have lost six straight since Gregore’s injury.

Previous: 1-0 loss at HOU | Next: 4/29 at CLB

Road games are hard. These are also hard facts for SKC to face.

Previous: 2-1 loss at NE | Next: 4/29 vs. MTL