What a week in MLS. St. Louis earned a win via an unlikely goalscorer, the LA Galaxy beat a 2022 MLS Cup finalist and Charlotte FC dropped points from a winning position. It was truly a week unlike any other.
The Power Rankings are voted on by like 15 people and the author would really like you to know it’s not entirely his fault except for when he chooses one person’s ballot to count as the only votes because he thinks it might be kind of funny. (It’s Wiebe’s.)
With their 2-2 comeback draw at Charlotte, Cincy are officially 0.00420168067 points per game off 2021 New England’s record-setting points pace. Not sure they can recover from this one. Aaron Boupendza is here though. Maybe he can salvage the season.
Your St. Louis CITY SC Match-Winner You’ve Probably Never Heard Of But Should Start To Get To Know of the Week is Aziel Jackson. The 21-year-old midfielder made his third-ever start and picked up his first career goal in a 1-0 win over Toronto FC. They’ve somehow barely missed a beat without João Klauss and Eduard Löwen. St. Louis are the first Western Conference team to 40 goals scored and are second in MLS on points per game.
It seemed, for a moment or two in Vancouver, that we’d have to write yet again about how Seattle haven’t looked like themselves for a while. Fortunately for the Sounders, they twice came back from a goal down and then found a stoppage-time winner to take all three points from BC Place. That feels way more familiar in a broader, Sounders-y sense. In a 2023 Seattle sense, it’s the first time they’ve earned back-to-back wins since early April.
The Revs, understandably, were less than happy with Video Review disallowing their game-tying goal against the Red Bulls. The Professional Referee Organization (PRO) admitted they got it wrong, though, and now they’re closer to eighth-place D.C. United than first-place FC Cincinnati.
Definitely not an ideal game for Columbus. But they still pulled out a point and still lead the league in goals scored (43).
Just two games to go before LAFC finally get to rest and recover. The final stretch of their schedule is far less condensed and even with rough results as of late – eight points in nine games since losing the Concacaf Champions League final – they’re only five points back from first-place St. Louis. LAFC are about to get a break and will probably add a new DP sometime soon. Don’t start counting them out.
Have y’all prepared yourself for first-place Real Salt Lake?
They rolled over a good Orlando team last weekend in a 4-0 win that included a debut goal from new DP striker Chicho Arango. They’re fourth in the West, five points back from St. Louis and playing increasingly excellent soccer. Not saying they’re going to finish first in the West. Just that you should prepare yourself for the possibility. What a timeline we’re on, huh?
Uhhhh, weird week. It’s never boring in Atlanta.
The Five Stripes traded Andrew Gutman to Colorado, signed midfielder Tristan Muyumba and then loaned out starting midfielder Franco Ibarra because they somehow ended up with four U22 Initiative players when teams only have three available spots. And that’s the shortened version.
It’s a dramatic start to a big Secondary Transfer Window for the club. Fortunately, the team on the field looks steady and comfortable with a three-center-back setup. They earned a 1-0 win on the road in Montréal and jumped to fifth place in the East.
Orlando traveled to face one of the few teams as hot as them and it… did not go well. It happens. The Lions will be fine.
D.C. United will probably feel a little low after allowing a couple of Inter Miami homegrowns to get the better of them in a 2-2 draw. It’s a good team, but I think we can settle on them still needing some work before they come close to being a great team. They at least moved one point further clear of the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs line.
Austin jumped to fifth in the West with that win and finally feel like they’ve shifted out of first gear.
Hey, sooooooo……Galaxy back?
The Galaxy earned a six-point week with wins over LAFC and Philly. Those six points came against the two biggest point-earners in MLS over the last five years. It’s genuinely about as good a week as you possibly have. And it might have been enough to make their playoff hopes feel plausible.
LA are just three points below the line despite sitting 13th in the West. They’ve been seriously underperforming their underlying numbers all year. And Riqui Puig headlines a midfield that, along with Gastón Brugman and Mark Delgado, is one of the best in the league. If LA can continue to get production from Tyler Boyd and Douglas Costa, they might be able to drag themselves back into the playoff race. There’s a long way to go, but at least it feels possible now.
The Quakes pulled out a point on the road against LAFC. Even with LAFC struggling that’s a good result.
That said, hopefully some moves are planned this summer to capitalize on the team’s solid season so far. It’s better than what it was in San Jose. But it can still be better.
The Whitecaps keep finding new ways to be frustrating. This week’s edition included them blowing a lead twice against Seattle and then giving up a late winner. They’re one of exactly four teams in the West with a positive goal differential and they’re the only one not sitting in a home playoff spot.
Here they come.
The Red Bulls took down New England last weekend and are equal on points with ninth-place Montréal. For me, they’re the favorites to make the playoffs from the current bunch clustered on 26 points. It feels worth repeating once again how their underlying numbers have been outstanding this year and most folks who pay attention to those kinds of things have been waiting patiently for this team to come good. New York have earned wins over Atlanta and New England in the last three games. Kind of seems like they might be coming good.
They, uh, could really use Jesús Ferreira and Paul Arriola back. FC Dallas have lost four of their last five after giving Colorado their first home win of the season last weekend. Are any more Secondary Transfer Window moves incoming? The team is a little "too good, not great" right now.
First off: Sheesh.
Second, Houston needed a late, late goal to pull out a draw against SKC and they got it from Iván Franco. It’s only a home point, but they’ll take it. They’re still right in the thick of things in the middle of the West.
Sporting KC are even with ninth-place Vancouver on points, but have played three more games. They could have gained ground on eighth-place Houston three points ahead of them. Alas.
Montréal were missing a handful of key players last weekend and are still waiting to get Kwadwo Opoku plugged in. They've now dropped back-to-back games at Stade Saputo.
Everything had been going so well lately. Emanuel Reynoso is back. New DP striker Teemu Pukki just arrived. And the Loons were working their way back up the standings. Then Austin came to town and ruined all the fun.
Maybe we should have expected that, though? Other than the Rapids, Minnesota have the worst home record in the league. The Loons have won just twice in nine home games.
Hey, look. It's a striker!
NYCFC have one win in their last 14 games now. Weirdly enough, they haven’t lost since May 31. That was eight games ago. Maybe this changes things?
CHICAGO BEAT NASHVILLE! FIRE UP THE TIMELINE.
I can see it → Oh, no → Oh, yikes, no → Well, maybe → Nope → But let’s just… → Oh, ok immediate no on that → But what if they tweak this → This looks better! → OH NO. THEY GOT ME AGAIN → No. → I’m not falling for that → No, forever. → Offseason → I can see it.
We’re officially at “This looks better!” The Fire are tied (with four teams!) for ninth place on points and just earned their biggest win of the season. What could go wrong?
Charlotte were without Enzo Copetti last weekend against FC Cincinnati and started Karol Swiderski as a striker. It took him about 25 minutes before he picked up a brace. Copetti will likely be out for a while with a calf injury, but it seems like it might just put Swiderski back in a position where he can be most effective.
What it won’t do is fix Charlotte’s defense. They allow a ton of chances and the goalkeeping hasn’t been great. On a related note, Cincinnati came back from a 2-0 deficit on the road to earn a point in Charlotte.
This mini-saga took another twist:
Tata's leading practice now. Rumor has it some big names are joining him soon?
The Rapids scored for the first time in over a month and then did it again in a big 2-1 win over FC Dallas. They already went ahead and grabbed Gutman from Atlanta this window, and also got DP striker Rafael Navarro from Brazilian side Palmeiras. Things are looking up in Colorado. At least marginally.
Toronto might be the odds-on favorite for the Wooden Spoon at this point. Colorado are improving, Inter Miami are about to add a decent player or two, and the Galaxy seem to have begun the process of turning a corner. They’re one of three teams in the league who don’t have 20 points yet.