Power Rankings

Power Rankings: Real Salt Lake keep climbing, Houston Dynamo continue slide

Power Rankings - MD11

What a week in MLS. Orlando played a game that involved multiple late goals, Tani Oluwaseyi scored, and Houston lost to an in-state rival. It was truly a week unlike any other.

The Power Rankings are voted on by around 20 MLS writers, editors and personalities and are not solely the fault of the column’s author. Especially when the 2024 Power Rankings Committee decides to reward Inter Miami for boat-racing the team at the bottom of the rankings instead of rewarding the Columbus Crew for beating CF Monterrey and forces the author to write the column under an informal formal protest.

Other than an odd choice from Drake Callender, the Herons had zero issues dismissing the Revs in a 4-1 win.

In related news, Lionel Messi is averaging 2.15 goal contributions per 90 minutes, the best mark in the league among starters. Luis Suárez is averaging 1.53 goal contributions per 90, the second-best mark among starters. As long as those two are around, nothing else matters.

Inter Miami get a second shot at the Red Bulls this weekend, by the way. This one could be a little different than the first meeting.

Previous: 4-1 win at NE | Next: 5/4 vs. RBNY

We’re officially out of superlatives to give to the Crew and Wilfried Nancy.

Columbus outplayed CF Monterrey in the first leg of their Concacaf Champions Cup semifinal to earn a 2-1 lead. They still have the unenviable task of holding off Rayados in Nuevo Leon, but why would you doubt them? They keep proving they’re as special a group as we’ve seen in MLS.

Kickoff for the second leg is set for 10:15 pm ET on Wednesday (FS1, TUDN).

Previous: 0-0 draw vs. MTL | Next: Bye

Lucho doing Lucho things.

Cincy have bounced back from back-to-back losses to earn back-to-back wins.

Previous: 2-1 win vs. COL | Next: 5/4 at ORL

The time to buy RSL stock has come and gone. Anyone paying attention has already swooped it up. What little might have been remaining for cheap is totally gone after Saturday's 2-1 win at Philadelphia. Not only did they take down MLS’ last undefeated team, but they took down the Union at Subaru Park. That’s only happened one other time in MLS play since the start of 2022.

It’s not just Chicho Arango making it happen. It’s time to pay attention to U22 winger Andrés Gómez if you’re not already. He's got four goals and three assists on the year. He’s averaging 0.75 non-penalty xG+xA per 90, a rate that puts him just behind Denis Bouanga and Chicho.

Previous: 2-1 win at PHI | Next: 5/4 vs. SKC

Brian White returned to Red Bull Arena for the first time since being traded to Vancouver and gave the Red Bulls the worst news imaginable: Their ex is thriving.

Vancouver earned an excellent road point in a 1-1 draw. The ‘Caps are on a West-best 1.89 points per game pace. White’s five goals and two assists in eight starts is a key reason why.

Previous: 1-1 draw at RBNY | Next: 5/4 vs. ATX

You can’t outrun MLS. The Galaxy are recovering from a 2-0 loss to Austin because that’s the way things go sometimes. I wouldn’t worry too much.

Previous: 2-0 loss at ATX | Next: 5/5 at SEA

The Red Bulls had to suffer through a reminder the Brian White trade didn’t quite work out for them, but there are worse things than a 1-1 draw against a good Vancouver side. They still have just one loss on the season.

Previous: 1-1 draw vs. VAN | Next: 5/4 at MIA

If you’re looking for the best combination of performance and underlying numbers in the league right now, look to the Loons. After their 2-1 home (!!) win (!!!!) over Sporting KC this weekend, Minnesota are second in MLS with 1.89 points per game, fourth in expected points per game and second in American Soccer Analysis’ goals added metric.

Meanwhile, the theme this year for Minnesota continues to be, “Who needs Emanuel Reynoso when you have Tani Oluwaseyi?”

The Tani Tracker is at four goals and two assists in just 285 minutes this season. He’s averaging 1.86 goal contributions per 90 minutes. Among players with more than 200 minutes, only Lionel Messi is producing at a higher rate.

Previous: 2-1 win vs. SKC | Next: 5/4 at ATL

Denis Bouanga.

Because of course.

There’s probably something to worry about with LAFC allowing 10 goals over their last five games (including two in last weekend’s 3-2 win over Portland), but Bouanga provides a safety net for those sorts of things. LAFC aren’t perfect, but 15 points in 10 games isn’t bad.

Previous: 3-2 win vs. POR | Next: 5/4 at SJ

The Union’s 2-1 loss to RSL this weekend was their second home loss since the start of 2022. Alejandro Bedoya felt some type of way about that.

They don’t have too much time to dwell on it at least. Seattle are in town for a rare Tuesday makeup game.

Previous: 2-1 loss vs. RSL | Next: 4/30 vs. SEA

The Rapids took on FC Cincinnati and Lucho Acosta at TQL Stadium. That went how it does for most teams.

Previous: 2-1 loss at CIN | Next: 5/5 at NYC

This homestand couldn’t be going much better.

New York City FC have earned three straight wins and picked up 10 points over four straight home games. They have one more home game left in this five-game stretch before they start heading out on the road again, but it seems this has been exactly what they’ve needed to turn a corner in attack.

Per FBref, NYCFC have created 2.4, 2.5, 3.0 and 1.4 xG worth of chances over these four games. We’ve known for a while how they’ve had the talent in attack to return to the kind of performances we’ve come to expect from this club. Now they’re putting it together.

Previous: 2-1 win vs. CLT | Next: 5/5 vs. COL

Atlanta weren’t at their sharpest against Chicago, but they were in control. The problem is Chicago 'keeper Chris Brady stood on his head to keep out multiple big chances. Atlanta were unlucky to not earn a road win after not allowing a single shot on target. The attack isn’t clicking right now, but they’ve been solid defensively this year despite missing multiple center backs due to injury.

Previous: 0-0 draw at CHI | Next: 5/4 vs. MIN

Why worry about expected goals when you can score actual goals?

Austin scored twice early as they rolled to a 2-0 win over the West-leading Galaxy. They’re still at the bottom of the conference in expected points and expected goal differential, but we’ve seen how this plays out before. They’ve won four of their last five and history tells us there’s no reason to expect them to slow down.

Previous: 2-0 win vs. LA | Next: 5/4 at VAN

The Reds went down to central Florida and flipped the script on Orlando.

Toronto scored twice in the final three minutes before stoppage time to steal a 2-1 win on the road. After being a near-unanimous preseason pick for last place in the East, Toronto are sitting fourth in the East after 10 games. Even if that rate isn’t sustainable, they’ve come a long, long way from last season in a short amount of time. And they’re even starting to earn results despite Lorenzo Insigne’s hamstring injury.

They can thank Prince Owusu for that. He has five goals in the last four games. Well, three and a half games really. He scored twice as a sub against Charlotte.

Previous: 2-1 win at ORL | Next: 5/4 vs. DAL

So. Having Héctor Herrera available to come off the bench hasn’t quite been the boost we thought it might be. Houston have lost two straight to in-state rivals and didn’t score against either. Griffin Dorsey’s fifth-minute red card against Dallas this weekend didn’t help matters, but still, it’s been a tough couple of weeks. Maybe Herrera’s return to the starting lineup will help pick things up soon.

Previous: 2-0 loss at DAL | Next: 5/4 vs. STL

St. Louis got a week off to recover from a wild 3-3 draw against Sporting KC. Based on what he did to Willy Agada last week, I’m going to assume João Klauss spent the week eating protein, hydrating, sleeping well and adhering to a disciplined, progressive-overload-focused, six-day-a-week PPL training schedule in the weight room.

Previous: Bye | Next: 5/4 at HOU

D.C. took full advantage of a Stefan Frei DOGSO red and picked up a 2-1 win over Seattle. Christian Benteke scored both goals to bring his tally up to eight goals in eight starts this season. He’s been outstanding and helped finally deliver a result for D.C. that aligns with their impressive underlying numbers.

Previous: 2-1 win vs. SEA | Next: 5/4 vs. PHI

Montréal picked up a point on the road against a heavily rotated Columbus side. Considering the injuries they have right now in attack, they’ll absolutely take it. They may be holding on for life until Mahala Opoku and Matías Cóccaro can return. Opoku should be back soon. Cóccaro is reportedly out for at least another month.

Previous: 0-0 draw at CLB | Next: 5/4 at NSH

Make it 15 goals allowed over the last six games for Sporting KC. SKC fell 2-1 on the road to Minnesota this week to continue a stretch of poor results and even worse defending. They’ve picked up five points over those six games and it doesn’t seem to be the kind of fluky run you can shrug off. Per FBref, they’ve allowed 1.73 xG per game over that stretch despite giving up just 0.9 xG to Inter Miami.

Previous: 2-1 loss at MIN | Next: 5/4 at RSL

This about sums it up.

But I'll add that following their 3-2 loss to LAFC last weekend, Portland are allowing 1.86 expected goals per game. That’s the worst mark in the West.

Previous: 3-2 loss at LAFC | Next: 5/4 at CLT

Orlando City lost. Even worse, they had their whole deal used against them. After three consecutive games stealing points in the 86th minute or later, Toronto scored twice after the 86th minute to hand the Lions a 2-1 home loss.

The Lions now have nine points through nine games. Their underlying numbers suggest they should be a little better than that. American Soccer Analysis has Orlando’s expected points rate at 1.35 points per game, a better mark than their current pace of 1 point per game. However, that expected points rate is slightly worse than their 2023 pace.

Previous: 2-1 loss vs. TOR | Next: 5/4 vs. CIN

Charlotte were a couple of minutes away from taking a point at New York City FC, but gave up a late winner. It’s been a tough couple of weeks for the Crown.

Previous: 2-1 loss at NYC | Next: 5/4 vs. POR

Chicago had to hold on for dear life, but they came away with a point against Atlanta United in a 0-0 draw thanks to Chris Brady.

Brady faced 1.73 post-shot xG and still kept a clean sheet.

Previous: 0-0 draw vs. ATL | Next: 5/4 vs. NE

If your whole game model is predicated on effective defending, it’s probably not ideal if this is what happens when you actually score.

Nashville drew 1-1 at home last weekend against a Quakes team in a rough spot. They have eight points in nine games and a negative-7 goal differential. The mood around the team isn’t a good one.

Previous: 1-1 draw vs. SJ | Next: 5/4 vs. MTL

Rivalry wins still count even if that rival picks up a red card in the fifth minute.

Dallas beat 10-man Houston, 2-0, to pick up their second win of the season. DP striker Petar Musa scored his third goal of the year.

Previous: 2-0 win vs. HOU | Next: 5/4 at TOR

We’re running out of ways to say, “What do you even say?”

The Sounders were up 1-0 on D.C. United before a Stefan Frei red card changed the game. Through nine games, Seattle have two more points (six) than red cards (four).

Again, there’s reason to believe Seattle are going through a small sample size rough patch and they’ll regress to the mean eventually. But you can only fall behind for so long. Remember last year’s SKC side that basically needed to be the best team in the West for months just to make a Wild Card spot? They had six points through 11 games. Seattle have six through nine. They head to Philadelphia tonight and have a match with the Galaxy waiting for them on Sunday.

Previous: 2-1 loss at DC | Next: 4/30 at PHI

There’s good news! The Quakes picked up a technically good road point in Nashville, finalized a transfer for DP No. 10 Hernán López, and they’re still underperforming their underlying numbers by the most significant amount in MLS.

The bad news is that even if they were living up to their underlying numbers, they would still only be averaging about one point per game. Maybe López can change that.

Previous: 1-1 draw at NSH | Next: 5/4 vs. LAFC

Ok, yeah, but how cool was that first goal, right?

Previous: 4-1 loss vs. MIA | Next: 5/4 at CHI