What a week in MLS. It was… actually pretty quiet? Which means it truly was a week unlike any other. Still, we have the Power Rankings ready to go for you anyway. You’re welcome.
The Power Rankings are voted on by 15 people (give or take) and the author would really like you to know the order is not entirely his fault. Especially if, for some reason, your team lost a spot (or four) by sitting at home this weekend and doing nothing. The consistency of the Power Rankings lies in their inability to ever be consistent.
From 2019 to 2021, FC Cincinnati earned 60 total points. They’re one win away from matching that total this season.
They’re going to do it. They were Messi-less this weekend, and yet…
Leo Campana scored twice in a 3-2 win against SKC and earned Player of the Matchday presented by Continental Tire honors along the way. The Herons are six points behind ninth-place D.C. with two games in hand. The playoffs feel inevitable. The only thing that’s going to keep them from MLS Cup is having to win on the road throughout the postseason. Can you really doubt anything at this point, though?
This feels like a choice.
Wagner has been excellent since joining the Union and it’s going to be tough to replace him (if this indeed pans out). Really, really tough. He picked up 15 assists last year as a left back. He has 37 assists since arriving in 2019. It almost feels like a situation where he’s been a little too good and the Union couldn’t fit his new deal into their salary cap.
St. Louis now have a seven-point lead in the Western Conference, and nobody is stepping up to put any pressure on the league’s newest team. With João Klauss back from injury and picking up his first goal since March over the weekend, it feels like this is wrapped. An expansion team is going to finish first in their conference. It’s genuinely one of the wildest things to ever happen in MLS.
Nothing new with the Crew, but Charles Boehm’s profile of Wilfried Nancy is predictably enjoyable.
I’m personally team “Managers don’t matter.” However, there are a select few who might be the genuine truth when it comes to changing a team for the better. In MLS, Nancy is in that category.
The Lions are set to potentially take down FC Cincinnati and Columbus in back-to-back games when they face the Crew this weekend, which would mean Orlando owns Ohio, which would make Ohio Florida, which means absolutely nothing has changed.
“Per American Soccer Analysis, he leads the league in ‘touch percentage,’ the share of a player’s touches compared to their teammates. Everything runs through Herrera, and the Dynamo are having their best season in years with him leading the way.”
He’s been outstanding and the Dynamo look like a genuine threat in the West because of him.
Ok, yep, it’s officially time to worry. Michele Giannone summed it up well after last week’s to Miami.
LAFC followed that up with a 2-0 loss at Portland to make it three straight losing efforts. They’ve lost three of four since Leagues Cup and their one win came against Colorado. Now, a stretch of El Tráfico, St. Louis, Philadelphia, RSL and Minnesota is on the way. They’re only three points out of eighth place in the West.
With their current form, it’s fair to wonder how far the Black & Gold might fall in the standings by the end of the year and how much of a deterrent an increasingly difficult playoff route might be to defending their title.
Per ASA, Seattle are fourth in the league in expected goal differential. Seems important to keep reminding everyone they’re only kind of dead, not all dead. And an "only kind of dead" Seattle side should be enough to terrify everyone in the West.
The Five Stripes have looked march sharper since the end of the summer transfer window, but don’t let the new folks distract from the fact Giorgos Giakoumakis and Thiago Almada are jointly putting up one of the best seasons in MLS history from a DP duo. Giakoumakis leads the league in non-penalty goals and Almada leads the league in primary assists.
Bruce Arena has resigned and they dropped points on the road thanks to an assist from Minnesota’s goalkeeper. Bad week.
They’re still second in the league on points per game, though. It’s a good team. Even if there’s genuine reason to be concerned about their ceiling after the last few weeks of significant transfers, injuries and changes.
The Whitecaps have been far better this year than you might expect. Per ASA, they’re second in the league in expected goal differential and seventh in expected points. It’s been far from perfect this season, but don’t count them out. They could make a playoff run. All it would take is Ryan Gauld and Brian White getting hot at the right time.
Goalkeeper assist because MLS can never be normal for even one single weekend.
Dayne St. Clair helped the Loons find a late equalizer at home and Minnesota stayed above the Wild Card spots in the Western Conference standings. Still, a draw means more points dropped at home. Minnesota have just three wins from 13 tries at home on the year. It’s a stat that doesn’t quite mesh with the fact they’ve had the best underlying numbers in the league since Emanuel Reynoso’s return to the lineup this summer.
Chicho Arango check in: Three goals and two assists in four MLS starts. That’s going pretty well. Sure seems like LAFC could have used someone like that. And sure seems like losing Pablo Ruiz when they did might haunt RSL fans for a while.
Jesús Ferreira is quietly having another excellent year. He’s only been available to start 18 games this season, but still has 10 goals and three assists. He’s averaging 0.55 goals per 90, right on par with his 0.61 pace last season. And he’s 0.01 xG/90 better this year when it comes to finding chances. He’s one of the league’s best and might be enough down the stretch to save Dallas a whole lot of stress when it comes to making the playoffs. For now, they’re still ninth in the West.
Kwadwo Opoku check-in: He’s scored twice in his six league starts since joining Montréal. He’s averaging 3.17 shots per game and about 0.46 xG per game. It’s early, but Montréal have to be feeling good about that trade.
D.C. played to a 0-0 draw over the weekend. They were unlucky to not put one of their 24 shots into the back of the net, but a point is a point. It’s enough to keep them ninth in the East for now. But dropping points at home isn’t going to keep Inter Miami at bay for long (they might be okay in the end if Theodore Ku-DiPietro keeps starting).
SKC needed to take advantage of Messi-less Miami this weekend and couldn’t get it done. They’ve got six games to close a two-point gap with ninth-place Dallas, but Dallas have two games in hand. Sporting were already fighting an uphill battle and now it’s even steeper. It looks like we’re on track for another year where a rough start is going to keep them from reaching the postseason.
The Quakes were stuck holding on for dear life against D.C. United. They made it out alive with a road point. They’re still in a Wild Card spot… for now. They have one win in their five games since Leagues Cup.
They only picked up one point at home instead of the recommended three. But there are worse things than a two-goal comeback against the conference leaders.
New forward Billy Sharp found the net to keep the Galaxy afloat and bring them within seven points of eighth-place San Jose. The Quakes have played two more games than LA this year. There’s a world where things get very interesting for LA down the stretch.
It’s that time of year when Portland suddenly become capable of beating any team any time anywhere. They’ve earned seven points from a three-game stretch of RSL, Seattle and LAFC and you shouldn’t be surprised.
It’s one of those things that’s written into the MLS deep magic. Don’t question it, accept it. They’re still one point out of ninth place and Dallas have two games in hand, but if anyone is going to pull this off just because it's Portland.
Sebastián Driussi hasn’t exactly followed up an MVP-caliber season in style. After putting up 22 goals and seven assists last season (and earning a brand new contract), Driussi has eight goals and three assists on the year. Sounds like he’s taken a major step backward, right? Well…kind of. It’s more like he’s exactly the same player with a lot less luck. His xG per 90 in 2022? 0.44. His xG per 90 in 2023? 0.40. His xA per 90 is slightly higher this season though. Which brings his xG+xA per 90 to 0.55…the exact same mark he had last season. Austin’s going to need him to start catching a few more breaks again if they want to make the playoffs.
When Charlotte signed striker Enzo Copetti to a DP deal last winter, the general consensus seemed to be “Huh. Well, that’s kind of weird.” Now, after a few months, the general consensus is “Huh. Well, this was kind of weird.” Copetti has five goals and two assists across 16 starts and hasn’t changed CLTFC for the better the way they’d hoped. That doesn’t even really seem to be his fault, it just always seemed like an odd fit that might limit players like Karol Swiderski and affect the attack for the worse. So far, Charlotte are averaging 0.95 xG per 90 in attack in 2023. That’s down from last year’s average of 1.21 xG per 90.
Still leading the league in ASA’s goals-added metric! Still fifth in the league in expected goal differential! Still… uh… 13th in the East and will now be missing Lewis Morgan for the rest of the season after hip surgery.
The Red Bulls are at real risk of their 13-year playoff streak ending.
Doesn’t seem like anything newsworthy happened this week! Other than Sebastian Giovinco participating in training, it almost feels quiet in Toronto.
The Colorado Rapids are on pace for 25 points. D.C. United earned a Wooden Spoon last season at 27 points.