Power Rankings

Power Rankings: FC Cincinnati reclaim top spot from Inter Miami

Power Rankings - Matchday 16 - Luciano Acosta CIN

What a week in MLS. Charlotte FC kept a clean sheet, Atlanta United lost at home and FC Cincinnati won a game by one goal. It was truly a week unlike any other.

The Power Rankings are voted on by like 20 MLS writers, editors and personalities and are not solely the fault of the column’s author. The 2024 Power Rankings Committee regrets the errors, but would also like to note we let that raccoon from a couple of weeks ago do the rankings for content purposes.

Look who’s back on top.

After grinding their way to a wild 4-3 win over Toronto, FC Cincinnati are sitting on top of the Power Rankings and have the best points per game mark in MLS (2.2). Just a hunch here, but I’m going to guess we haven’t seen many MLS teams put up 102 points over a 49-game stretch before. An even stronger hunch here, but I’m going to guess we haven’t seen many MLS teams earn this many one-goal wins over 49 games.

They don’t overwhelm you, but they have a better understanding than anyone of how to turn situations where other teams would come up short into wins. What’s remarkable is they’ve been able to keep pulling this off with so much roster turnover. New signing Luca Orellano picked up a brace and new signing Kevin Kelsy found the net for the Garys this weekend.

Previous: 4-3 win at TOR | Next: 5/29 vs. NSH

They don’t have the best points-per-game rate in MLS or the top spot in the Power Rankings, but they’re still pretty good at this.

Inter Miami went cross-continent to Vancouver without multiple key players and still pulled out a 2-1 win despite putting up just 0.8 xG to the Whitecaps' 2.8. They’re sitting on top of the Eastern Conference despite American Soccer Analysis putting their expected goal differential at the 14th-best mark in the league. They’re outperforming their expected points projections at the highest rate in the league.

And they’re going to keep doing it. To quote myself quoting someone else in Sunday’s Daily Kickoff

Everyone uses the wrong Breaking Bad quote when talking about Inter Miami. It’s not Jesse Pinkman’s pained “THEY CAN’T KEEP GETTING AWAY WITH THIS!” (They can.) It’s actually Jesse Pinkman’s explanation of why Walter White keeps winning.

“Look, you two guys are just...guys, okay? Mr. White? He's the devil. He is smarter than you, he is luckier than you. Whatever you think is supposed to happen, I'm telling you, the exact reverse opposite of that is gonna happen, okay?”

Miami have plot armor, the rest of MLS are just guys and this is just going to keep happening.

Previous: 2-1 win at VAN | Next: 5/29 vs. ATL

Columbus pulled off a 2-0 road win against Orlando for their third straight MLS win or whatever. Honestly, it’s hard to care about any of that when we’re days away from The Big One.

The Crew head to Pachuca on Saturday with a regional title on the line. The Concacaf Champions Cup Final is set to kick off at 9:15 pm ET. They’re one win away from becoming an all-time great MLS side. Maybe the all-time great MLS side. You can count the number of teams to hold MLS Cup and a Concacaf title at the same time on no hands.

Technically they’re the underdogs heading into this one. But those of us who have been watching this side since Wilfried Nancy arrived know better. If “impossible is an opinion,” then a slight edge for Pachuca won’t bother Columbus.

Previous: 2-0 win at ORL | Next: Bye

They were the only team in the top five to go down 3-0, but they were also the only team in the top five to do this, so…

You’re either built for these kinds of things or you aren’t. This version of RSL is built to keep pushing and have the talent to bend potentially goofy MLS results to their will. The ability to overcome the MLS-ness of a random road loss to Dallas is the kind of thing contenders are made of.

Previous: 3-3 draw at DAL | Next: 5/29 at SEA

LAFC weren’t great or even really good against Atlanta. But a deflected free kick found the back of the net and that’s all they needed to hold onto a 1-0 road win. That’s all you can ask for.

That’s three straight MLS wins since their loss to San Jose, five straight in all competitions and four MLS wins in their last five games. They’re getting hot and their summer reinforcements are still a decent ways out. If they’re within touching distance of the top of the Western Conference once those guys arrive…well, I personally wouldn’t bet on MLS, but…

Previous: 1-0 win at ATL | Next: 5/29 vs. MIN

It’s not entirely clear how we got here so quickly after their initial start to the season, but here we are. We're back to including New York City FC with the best teams in MLS. That’s just what happens when you win seven of your last eight, I guess.

Now, did two games against New England and five home games maybe bolster that run a little bit? Yeah, probably. But road wins are road wins. Even against New England. And it’s not like the non-New England games were cupcakes.

Previous: 1-0 win at NE | Next: 5/31 vs. SJ

Minnesota held on to a point in a wild 3-3 road draw with Colorado. They probably won’t be thrilled about losing a 3-1 lead, but a road point is a road point, Sang Bin Jeong found the net twice and Tani Oluwaseyi continued to be the most productive scorer in the league.

That’s not a bit – Oluwaseyi is putting up one-of-one numbers right now. Per FBref, he’s leading the league in non-penalty xG per 90 by a significant margin and is tied with Lionel Messi in goals per 90.

Previous: 3-3 draw at COL | Next: 5/29 at LAFC

The Galaxy snapped a four-game winless skid with a 2-1 win over Houston. Gabriel Pec and Riqui Puig both scored, and Puig went blonde.

I’m figuring the Galaxy view this weekend as a tremendous success.

Previous: 2-1 win vs. HOU | Next: 5/29 vs. DAL

The Red Bulls had an off week to recover from the Hudson River Derby. They’re back at it Wednesday against Charlotte in a game that’s destined to end 0-0.

Previous: Bye | Next: 5/29 vs. CLT

The Rapids dug themselves out of a 3-1 hole against Minnesota and earned a draw, but it probably means something that they’ve faced two of the best teams in the West in the last two weeks and given up eight goals over two games. In fact, they’ve given up three or more goals in three of their last four games. It’s a worrying trend on a team level.

On an individual level, it highlights the difficulties Zack Steffen is having on his return to MLS. He’s statistically the worst starting goalkeeper in MLS this year by a shocking margin. He’s allowed six goals more than the post-shot xG he’s faced. The next closest keeper has allowed 2.5 more.

Previous: 3-3 draw vs. MIN | Next: 5/29 at HOU

Toronto FC put up a heckuva fight against FC Cincinnati, but couldn’t quite come out of a heavyweight battle with a point. Still, we can count their 4-3 loss as a sign of progress. Last year’s team doesn’t come close in that moment. This year’s team can wonder if having Federico Bernardeschi available would have been enough to pull out a win.

Previous: 4-3 loss vs. CIN | Next: 5/29 at PHI

The Union drew 0-0 at Charlotte this weekend. They have one win in their last eight games and that one win came against New England. In case you were wondering, yes, we have reached the part of the Power Rankings where no one is sure where to put anybody.

Previous: 0-0 draw at CLT | Next: 5/29 vs. TOR

Charlotte have allowed as many goals in the last five games as you and I have (it's zero). They’ve also scored just four more goals in that span as you and I have. I refuse to believe Dean Smith and Gary Smith aren’t related.

Previous: 0-0 draw vs. PHI | Next: 5/29 at RBNY

D.C. jumped up a couple of spots here, but I can’t imagine it’s because their 1-1 home draw with Chicago inspired a ton of confidence. They’ve won once in their last five games and twice in their last nine. The underlyings are still great at least.

Previous: 1-1 draw vs. CHI | Next: 5/29 at MTL

Austin FC dropped a few spots here. Unlike D.C., their underlyings are not great. But, hey, they still pulled off a 1-1 road draw against San Jose to make it 11 points in their last six games.

Previous: 1-1 draw at SJ | Next: 5/29 vs. POR

The Whitecaps are struggling right now. They’ve gone without a win for six games, and it feels like their chance at finishing at or near the top of the Western Conference has passed on by.

Previous: 2-1 loss vs. MIA | Next: 5/29 at SKC

Nothing really feels “fixed” at this point, but things are definitely going better. Seattle earned a 2-1 win at St. Louis to make it seven points in their last four games. That’s not quite up to standards, but it’s a step in the right direction. If they can pull off a win at home against RSL midweek, it might be time to really start paying attention.

Previous: 2-1 win at STL | Next: 5/29 vs. RSL

The blurb here is just going to keep reading, “This team desperately needs help in attack” for as long as it takes to fix it. Houston have scored more than one goal just once in their last seven games and it came against a porous SKC defense. They scored just one goal in their 2-1 loss to LA last weekend.

On a related note, they’re tied for last in MLS in xG created per 90.

Previous: 2-1 loss at LA | Next: 5/29 vs. COL

Portland went into a battle between two of the worst defenses in the league and earned a 2-1 win over Sporting KC. Felipe Mora is quietly having a career year with seven goals and two assists in eight starts. He’s already four away from reaching his MLS-high 11-goal season in 2021.

Previous: 2-1 win vs. SKC | Next: 5/29 at ATX

It seemed like things were starting to turn around a bit after Orlando earned seven points in three games. Then Columbus came to town and ruined things. The Lions have one (1) home win in 2024.

Previous: 2-0 loss vs. CLB | Next: 5/29 at CHI

It’s tough to find anything to say about St. Louis. There aren’t any particularly outstanding traits. After being the main character last season, it feels like they’re just along for the ride this year.

Previous: 2-1 loss vs. SEA | Next: 6/1 at MIA

It’s hard to think of a game that better encapsulates the Atlanta United experience right now than what happened in Saturday's 1-0 loss to LAFC.

LAFC came out with three center backs for the first time this season, an Atlanta United side missing multiple key players couldn’t find chances consistently and then missed the major opportunities they did find, gave up a comical DOGSO red card, immediately allowed a goal on a deflected free kick, and lost at home for the fourth game in a row despite recording a higher xG.

Zero notes. Other than to say no one is allowed to talk about Gonzalo Pineda’s tenure in Atlanta without reading my piece on how bizarre Atlanta’s injury luck has been during his time in charge first.

Previous: 1-0 loss vs. LAFC | Next: 5/29 at MIA

Nashville’s 0-0 draw against Montréal was a wonderful Gary Smith tribute.

Previous: 0-0 draw at MTL | Next: 5/29 at CIN


So close. So, so close. We were minutes away from putting together the “HAVE DALLAS TURNED IT AROUND???” columns and then RSL officially completed their comeback from being down 3-0 after 60 minutes.

Maybe Dallas can find some confidence to build off of from the first 60 minutes. They actually looked fine despite missing Jesús Ferreira. And they nearly earned their third win in five games. That’s something, right? They’re at least not in last place anymore.

Previous: 3-3 draw vs. RSL | Next: 5/29 at LA

San Jose probably should have gotten more than a point from their 1-1 draw with Austin, but each game they only allow one goal or fewer is going to feel like a small win from here on out. They’ve been so bad (and so unlucky) defensively that they should take some solace in only allowing two goals in their last two MLS games.

Previous: 1-1 draw vs. ATX | Next: 5/31 at NYC

Just nothing to say until they get healthy. A 0-0 draw isn’t a bad result all things considered.

Previous: 0-0 draw vs. NSH | Next: 5/29 vs. DC

Chicago snapped a four-game losing streak.

Previous: 1-1 draw at DC | Next: 5/29 vs. ORL

Sporting KC haven't won in MLS play since March 30.

Previous: 2-1 loss at POR | Next: 5/29 vs. VAN

Even if New England win on Saturday, they’ll have as many losses as they have points (it's 10).

Previous: 1-0 loss vs. NYC | Next: 6/1 at NSH