The Original MLS Power Rankings for July 11, 2023

The summer often brings change to MLS as teams have to deal with injuries, roster changes and international absences. Teams with developed depth tend to do better than ones without, but not always. Here is where the mentality of a team, the chemistry of their lockerroom shows itself. And you still have some teams deciding they have had enough of the bottom, while others show they can’t handle the pressure of being on top.

Top Shelf

1. FC Cincinnati (Previously 1)

Still the only team with a positive Pace rating, Cincinnati again did what needed to be done to fight back from a 2-0 road deficit to salvage a tie in Charlotte. Even a late red card couldn’t keep them from the road point.

FC Cincinnati scores against Charlotte., July 8, 2023. (Courtesy FCC)
FC Cincinnati scores against Charlotte., July 8, 2023. (Courtesy FCC)


2. New England Revolution (2)

For a team this high, a road loss to a team like the Red Bulls might initially seem like something worthy of a drop, but when you see they played a large majority of the game down a man for an absurd tackle, went down a goal but found a way to tie it before losing late, you see they made the team formerly known as the MetroStars earn every bit of that victory.

3. St. Louis City SC (5)

Still one of the most surprising expansion teams in league history, St. Louis got another road win. Even though it was at Toronto, it is still notable.

4. Nashville SC (3)

Nashville went to Chicago and lost 1-0 despite throwing a lot at the Fire defense.

5. Philadelphia Union (4)

This one is troubling – a 3-1 road loss to the Galaxy – but we are reserving some judgment in case the Galaxy really have turned things around, which is possible, and/or it was just one game and the Union bounce back.

6. Columbus Crew (7)

Two ties – on the road to Miami and at home to NYC – are not ideal but not awful either, and other teams around them did worse (see LAFC).

7. Atlanta United (9)

While Montreal has been up and down this season, they still are good enough that a road win is cause for Atlanta to move up.

8. Los Angeles FC (6)

Cherundolo’s guys are hanging on by their fingernails right now. Have they truly cracked and are on full tilt, or is a rebound coming? While they lost to the Galaxy on the road, maybe that was a rivalry thing, and maybe their tie against San Jose at home is a sign of stabilization. Way too many conditional phrases there for this tier.

Mostly Good? Yeah, Mostly.

These teams have shown in a run of games they could possibly make it into the next tier up, or at least have not shown a run of putrid play. Sadly, Dallas, that means you drop out of their tier.

9. Orlando SC (8)

Pareja’s side has flirted with play that deserves to be higher, but then they do something like lose 4-0 to RSL, even if it was on the road. True, Arango’s appearance changed the dynamic but four unanswered? Even if you beat Toronto 4-0 the game before, that’s enough to keep you here, Lions.

10. Seattle Sounders (12)

They move up a little because of struggles by other teams. Looking at you, Houston, Dallas, and Montreal.

11. Real Salt Lake (14)

Chicho Arango announced his presence with authority, and the rest of the team followed his lead as RSL tore up Orlando. Since their loss to the Galaxy at home, RSL has been moving in the right direction with most of their matches, so watch out. Before Arango’s arrival, they had won at Austin, D.C., at St. Louis, and at Toronto, with only home ties to NYC and Minnesota to tarnish things – and that’s not a lot of tarnish. Four straight road wins is legit. Watch this space.

12. Houston Dynamo (10)

Maybe LAFC really is that bad, as much of what kept Houston high were their games against Hollywood. Their latest is a home tie to a somewhat resurgent Sporting, but prior to that they had losses to Seattle and Austin, albeit on the road. We try not to punish teams for losing to good teams on the road, but when you add a home tie to a bottom-third team is hard to ignore.

13. Austin FC (18)

We started moving Austin up after they beat Dallas and Houston in back-to-back games. Since then, they tied Miami on the road and then last weekend pasted Minnesota on the road, 4-1. And there was no red card or anything else – they just scored three goals over a 16-minute span of game time to take control. Impressive.

We Have Questions

14. FC Dallas (11)

For much of this season, Dallas has been without key players at key times. Starting with Pomykal – but also including Arriola, Ferreira, and Lletget among others – FCD has found a way to be better than the muck below them for much of the season, but then this slide began in Kansas City on May 31 and of eight games, they have won only two and tied none, many against poor teams (Portland, Colorado) and teams that had or have questions (Austin, D.C.). When healthy, they are a good young team learning to mature. Right now? Not good enough in way too many places.

15. CF Montreal (13)

For a team that had worked their way out of the muck, two home losses, their most recent against Atlanta, is problematic.

16. Minnesota United (15)

Their poor play of late continues, with Austin pounding them 4-1 at home.

17. D.C. United (19)

When you’re not good, a road win can move you up. Rooney’s side beat Dallas in Texas before being tied at home by Miami. Maybe this is too much movement? Time will tell.

DC United celebrates their goal against FC Dallas, July 4, 2023. (Courtesy DC United)

18. San Jose Earthquakes (17)

A road tie at LAFC may not actually be keeping pace with what other teams are doing to Hollywood these days, but it is still a good result on the road.

19. Vancouver Whitecaps (16)

Whereas not playing helped Seattle due to how teams around them played, Vancouver drops.

20. Charlotte FC (21)

Getting up 2-0 on Cincinnati at home? Very good. Giving it up to drop 2 points at home? Not so much, but it could have been worse. They could have been tied at home by … themselves. *glances at NYCFC*

21. New York City FC (20)

Yes, NYCFC was tied at home by Charlotte before going on the road and getting a tie at Columbus. And yes, we do apply some transitive properties with the Original MLS Power Rankings.

22. Los Angeles Galaxy (26)

Well well well, what have we here? After tying San Jose on the road on July 1, the Galaxy followed that up with home wins over LAFC and Philly. One you could chalk up to a rivalry win, but the Union have been pretty good of late, so it appears the Galaxy have turned things around. They will have to continue to earn their upward movement, but at least they have some momentum.

23. Chicago Fire (24)

Not really sure what to make of this team, but their game against Nashville was a 1-0 home win over a very good team.

24. New York Red Bulls (23)

Remember that comment above about transitive properties? They play here between the Red Bulls and Fire too. NY beat New England but had a man advantage for much of it whereas Chicago had to weather Nashville’s full side the whole game. If the Red Bulls had done something to cause the red, like pour unbelievable pressure into the box leading to a foul, maybe. But they didn’t. It was a rash, awful tackle, and then it took them the whole game to get the win.

25. Sporting Kansas City (22)

This pack (SKC, Chicago, Red Bulls) is pretty tightly connected, so a home tie to Houston hurts Sporting maybe a little more than it should.

26. Portland Timbers (25)

No game means you’re at the mercy of teams around you.


27. Inter Miami (27)

A home tie to Columbus followed by a road tie to D.C. isn’t enough to move them up.

28. Colorado Rapids (29)

What is it with the Rapids and Dallas? So often, Dallas should be the better team and win, and they don’t. I am sure Rapids fans aren’t complaining, and maybe the team can do something with the momentum.

29. Toronto FC (28)

Typically when you fire a coach, there is a rally around the flag effect and the team gets a few results. Toronto has lost all three since firing Bradley, two of which were at home. Concerning doesn’t begin to describe it.

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