Power Rankings

Power Rankings: Real Salt Lake reach summit

Power Rankings - Matchdays 17 18 - 2024 season

What a week in MLS. LAFC kept a clean sheet, Chicho Arango bolstered his MVP candidacy and Tani Oluwaseyi found the net. It was truly a week unlike any other.

The Power Rankings are voted on by roughly 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, to be fair, they were distracted by watching the Chicho goal over and over again.

Don’t mind Chicho Arango. He’s just taking his nightly stroll with the soccer ba – OHMYGOD.

That kickstarted a full evisceration of Austin, as RSL rolled to a 5-1 win and a four-point week. Arango picked up a hat trick in the win and has a legitimate claim to first-place MVP votes. RSL are now equal on points per game (1.94) with Inter Miami and have a legitimate claim to Supporters’ Shield contender status. Everything from their point total, to their underlying numbers, to their match winners suggests they're legit. This team is really, really good.

Previous: 5-1 win vs. ATX | Next: 6/15 at MTL

FC Cincinnati had a chance to gain ground on Inter Miami in the Shield race, but spent Wednesday night playing catch-up with Nashville in a 2-0 home loss.

There’s nothing to worry about there (MLS happens to the best of us), but the top of the Western Conference didn’t mess around this week. It’s not just Cincy vs. Miami.

Previous: 2-0 loss vs. NSH | Next: 6/15 at SJ

Make it five straight clean sheets for LAFC and five straight wins. They suffocated Minnesota on Wednesday, then did the same to Dallas on Saturday. Their underlying numbers are the best in the league and they’re set to get even better once the summer transfer window opens. Are we sure they aren’t the favorite for the Supporters’ Shield?

Previous: 1-0 win vs. DAL | Next: 6/15 at ORL

Uhhhh so about Inter Miami outrunning their underlying numbers for eternity…

Last week, the Herons gave up six goals and earned just one point in two home games against teams below the playoff line. They’re still overperforming their underlying numbers by more than anyone else in the league, but it felt like their approach to defending caught up with them. In large part because they didn’t really have an approach to defending.

Now, Lionel Messi is on his way to Copa América for a while and Inter Miami could be without him for at least six games if Argentina make the final. They’re not going to spiral now or anything, but mortality eventually catches up with every MLS team.

Previous: 3-3 draw vs. STL | Next: 6/15 at PHI

Alright then, New York City FC. You have our full attention.

NYCFC bulldozed San Jose in a 5-1 win on Friday night in a game that turned on its head as soon as Maxi Moralez returned to the pitch for the first time since his ACL injury last September. Moralez becoming a meaningful contributor for this team in attack again should be a terrifying prospect for the rest of the league – even if his role is limited. The Pigeons were already doing pretty damn well without him. They have eight wins and two draws in their last 11 games.

Previous: 5-1 win vs. SJ | Next: 6/14 vs. CLB

Time for your regularly scheduled Tani Oluwaseyi check-in.

That’s now seven goals and four assists in 620 minutes. He’s averaging a goal per 90 and he doesn’t take penalties. He’s second in MLS in non-penalty goals and assists per 90. He’s first in MLS in expected goals and expected assists per 90. He’s living life in his first full MLS season in the same tier as Messi, Denis Bouanga, Arango and Luis Suárez. That’s pretty good company to keep.

Anyway, Tani plays for a team called Minnesota United. They got handled by LAFC midweek, but picked up three points in Saturday's bounce-back win against Sporting KC.

Previous: 3-1 win vs. SKC | Next: 6/8 vs. DAL

Well. It didn’t quite go as hoped against Pachuca. For the first time in a while, the Crew went down and couldn’t get up off the mat.

Still, that doesn’t take away much from one of the best stretches in MLS history. Columbus accomplished something truly special over the last few months. Now they get some time to recover and start chasing a top spot in the East.

Previous: Bye | Next: 6/14 at NYC

Last week, the Red Bulls were powered to two wins by free kicks from Emil Forsberg and John Tolkin. They’ve won four of their last five, which probably almost makes the one they did lose hurt a little less. Probably. Almost.

Previous: 1-0 win vs. ORL | Next: 6/8 at NE

The Galaxy took care of business against FC Dallas, then decidedly did not take care of business against Chicago. It’s not clear how (or if) Marco Reus fixes their tendency to play down to opponents as of late, but it seems like we might find out:

Previous: 2-1 loss at CHI | Next: 6/15 vs. SKC

The ‘Caps put together a critical get-right week. They pulled out a 2-1 win over Sporting KC on Wednesday, then followed it up with a 2-1 win over Colorado. They’re back to fifth in the Western Conference.

Previous: 2-1 win vs. COL | Next: 6/15 at NE

Charlotte rolled into Atlanta about 2,000-plus supporters deep and treated them to a 3-2 rivalry win that pushed Atlanta further down in the standings, got their coach dismissed and pushed Charlotte to fifth in the East in their new manager’s first season. It might be the most gratifying win in club history.

And it’s another sign things are trending in the right direction. We know they can defend, but Liel Abada’s brace in their win over Atlanta showed off his potential in attack and hinted at what could be if they get their next two DP signings right. The floor is already high with what they’re doing defensively. The ceiling could be a version of the best Nashville sides, but with more firepower across the board.

Previous: 3-2 win at ATL | Next: 6/15 vs. DC

Things were going just fine for Toronto at D.C. United until Federico Bernardeschi picked up his second red card in six games. Moments later, Nicksoen Gomis earned a red of his own and gave away a stoppage-time penalty that turned a 2-1 Toronto win into a 2-2 draw.

Bernardeschi had a goal and an assist in the draw, but Toronto need him on the field. Missing time to avoidable double yellows can’t happen.

Previous: 2-2 draw at DC | Next: 6/15 vs. CHI

Houston didn’t exactly face stalwart defensive sides last week, but a four-point, five-goal week is huge when your attack has been floundering. They put three past Colorado in a win and then scored twice in a road draw at Portland. That may be the kind of week that jumpstarts an attack that needed a boost.

Previous: 2-2 draw at POR | Next: 6/15 at ATL

Two home games and just two points for the Union last week. It’s still weird and almost unexplainable to see them struggling at Subaru Park, but at least they stopped a losing streak?

Previous: 2-2 draw vs. MTL | Next: 6/15 vs. MIA

D.C. United aren't going to stop being frustrating any time soon. You probably know the story by now. The underlying numbers are great. The lapses defensively are not. They gave up four to Montréal in a midweek loss and then two early in Saturday's 2-2 draw with Toronto. It feels like they’ve left so many points on the table this year. And if Christian Benteke is out for a while after going down with a non-contact injury against Toronto, that could get worse.

Previous: 2-2 draw vs. TOR | Next: 6/15 at CLT

After a four-point week, the Timbers are back in a playoff spot. They weren’t outstanding against Austin or Houston, but it helps when Evander is out here doing this:

Portland even limited their opponents to two goals over their two games. That may not sound like a tremendous accomplishment, but it sorta is for a team that’s given up 32 goals over 17 games this year.

Previous: 2-2 draw vs. HOU | Next: 6/8 at STL

Colorado have given up 16 goals in their last six games. Multiple things are broken defensively right now.

Previous: 2-1 loss at VAN | Next: 6/15 vs. ATX

St. Louis went down to Miami over the weekend and held their own. Chris Durkin also hauled off and did this…

Toss in some Roman Bürki heroics and St. Louis held on for a 3-3 draw. It’s the best draw of the year for the West’s most drawingest team. Having DP midfielder Eduard Löwen back in the lineup again should help turn a few of those draws into wins.

Previous: 3-3 draw at MIA | Next: 6/9 vs. POR

Seattle had RSL right where they wanted them annndddddddd…

That’s about on par for this season. The Sounders are back below the playoff line.

Previous: 1-1 draw vs. RSL | Next: 6/8 at SKC

A rough, rough week for Austin. After an almost comically unlucky home loss to Portland – Austin had about 2.04 xG to Portland’s 0.08 before a penalty put the Timbers up 2-0 – they went up to Utah and got blasted by Real Salt Lake. They’re still in a playoff spot, but it’s fair to wonder if the regression to the mean that’s been promised is starting to arrive. It all sorta seems to hinge on Sebastián Driussi's health, too.

Previous: 5-1 loss at RSL | Next: 6/15 at COL

Congrats to Nashville on the surefire weirdest set of back-to-back results this season. We can give them the award now after they beat Cincinnati on the road midweek and faceplanted at home vs. New England on Saturday. Your guess is as good as anyone else's as to what it all means.

Previous: 2-1 loss vs. NE | Next: 6/15 at RBNY

After a fifth straight home loss, Gonzalo Pineda is out in Atlanta. They boat-raced Inter Miami midweek, took an early lead against Charlotte on Sunday, looked to be in total control of the game, and then had this happen:

It’s almost too on the nose. Seems like bad scriptwriting, to be honest.

Pineda leaves after guiding an oft-injured Atlanta side to underlying numbers on par with LAFC, Cincinnati and RSL, and a point total on par with Chicago. There’s only so much you can do in this sport beyond creating more and better chances than your opponent time and time again. Whatever those things are, Atlanta haven't found a way to do them this year. It’s been incredibly disappointing.

Pineda is, most importantly, a good person and, in my personal opinion after covering this team the last few years, a good manager. But nothing went his way in Atlanta, even when he got everything right. Injuries and a mediocre roster derailed his first two seasons. Injuries and horrific finishing luck derailed his last. At some point, the club had to try something new. With reports that Giorgos Giakoumakis could be on his way to Cruz Azul, a lot of new is on the way for the Five Stripes again. We’ll see if they can finally find a way to get things right.

Previous: 3-2 loss vs. CLT | Next: 6/15 vs. HOU

Orlando drew with Chicago on Wednesday and watched this goal go in on Saturday.

Oof. Pedro Gallese isn’t having the best year and neither are the Lions.

Previous: 1-0 loss at RBNY | Next: 6/15 vs. LAFC

Considering their current injury status, it’s not clear where Montréal’s six-goal, four-point week came from. Either way, they're one of the league’s most entertaining watches. They earned a 4-2 win against D.C. in a game that featured five first-half goals and a first-half red card for D.C. They followed that up with a 2-2 draw against Philadelphia that featured a Montréal goal 50 seconds in, a first-half red card for Montréal and a second-half red card for Philadelphia among other things. They were outshot 25-5 in that one, but a road point is a road point.

Previous: 2-2 draw at PHI | Next: 6/15 vs. RSL

FC Dallas had the pleasure of facing both LA teams over the week. It went about how you’d expect against both teams. Through 15 games, they are averaging just 0.87 points per game.

Previous: 1-0 loss at LAFC | Next: 6/8 at MIN

Chicago haven’t lost in three games. After a 1-1 draw against D.C. United last week, they went out and picked up a 1-1 draw against Orlando despite giving up a goal that gave me a concussion and then pulled off a 2-1 upset win over the Galaxy. Hugo Cuypers scored in the win and Brian Gutiérrez did this:

It’s their best stretch of the season so far.

Previous: 2-1 win vs. LA | Next: 6/15 at TOR

Things were going ok for San Jose in the Bronx. Then they, uh, kind of unraveled a bit at the end there. The Quakes lost 5-1 and stayed down at the bottom of the West. At least Hernán López continues to look the part.

Previous: 5-1 loss at NYC | Next: 6/15 vs. CIN

The Revs won a game! The Revs have a double-digit point total! The Revs are still in last place, but Dylan Borrero got his first goal contribution since returning from injury and that’s very cool!

Good week for the Revs. You know, relatively.

Previous: 2-1 win at NSH | Next: 6/8 vs. RBNY

It’s bad and didn’t get any better this week in losses to Vancouver and Minnesota.

Previous: 3-1 loss at MIN | Next: 6/8 vs. SEA