The Original MLS Power Rankings for the Week of May 17, 2023

The More That Things Change

Or, put another way, “[C]hanges aren’t permanent, but change is.”

LAFC reminded us how good they are, the teams in the second tier showed they are just behind Hollywood FC, and everyone else is trying to play catchup.

A quick note about the Galaxy. Yes, they beat San Jose, who was the first team to beat HFC. But both between a dead cat bounce and catching San Jose on a high, we don’t think they deserve to move off the bottom spot. Look at what SKC and Montreal did to get off the bottom – LA hasn’t done that yet. And we are not sure they are going to. The pattern just isn’t there yet.

Top Shelf

1. Los Angeles FC (Previously 1)

They finally lose in MLS, and then proceed to tear RSL apart on the road. Yeah, they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.


2. FC Cincinnati (2)

They didn’t play and no one did anything to move ahead of them. In fact, both teams behind them lost.

3. Seattle Sounders (5)

A 1-0 road win against the Dynamo shows that more often than not, their results show they deserve to be in this group.

4. New England Revolution (3)

Miami has shown from time to time their quality, and their recent addition seems kinda good. A 2-1 loss at Inter isn’t a bad look for the Revs.

5. St. Louis City SC (4)

Every once in a while, a team is unlucky enough to play a team that just fired its coach. St. Louis had that situation with Chicago and fell, 1-0, on the road.

Very Good

6. Nashville SC (6)

While we don’t count the Open Cup as a part of this (same as Champions League) it does play into the overall flow of the team and Nashville downed FC Dallas midweek before tying D.C. on the road in MLS play. This kind of play is indicative that they could move up into the next group with a few more results like this.

7. FC Dallas (8)

Lineup inconsistency might be the only thing holding this team back right now as, despite some injuries and roster juggling because of the Open Cup, they keep getting results. How often have FC Dallas fans been frustrated by their team not finishing off a team down a man? Not on Saturday, when they beat Austin FC, on the road no less, with a late goal from Jesus Ferreira.

SOCCER: MAY 13 MLS - Austin FC vs FC Dallas
AUSTIN, TX – MAY 13: FC Dallas players celebrate a goal during game between FC Dallas and Austin FC on May 13, 2023 at Q2 Stadium in Austin, TX. (Photo by John Rivera/Icon Sportswire)

8. Houston Dynamo (9)

Considering how other teams played around them, and who Houston played, they actually move up despite losing at home to Seattle.

9. Atlanta United (7)

Ouch. 3-1 to Charlotte at home? Maybe Charlotte is getting it together a little, but that isn’t enough to justify that kind of loss.

10. Philadelphia Union (11)

A road win? Yes. Against an improving Rapids side? Yes. This is a team regaining its form.

They’re Ok

11. San Jose Earthquakes (10)

Yes, we do in fact take into account how teams play beyond just one week. This is a great example. Yes, San Jose beat LAFC and that is a great accomplishment, but one-off results don’t mean consistent performance. That has to be shown over time. The Earthquakes failed this test, losing to the Galaxy of all teams. At home.

12. Orlando City (14)

Pareja’s side has struggled at times to play as well as their talent, but they haven’t fallen too far and last weekend showed some quality by fighting back to tie Columbus on the road at 2. At the death, no less.

13. Columbus Crew (12)

So maybe this is who they are? After struggling through much of the season, the Crew hit a patch of great results but have fallen back just a tough. No one likes to be tied at home, but at least The Lions don’t suck.

14. Inter Miami (18)

Between the addition of quality and the dogged determination of their staff to keep trying things, maybe this is the time when Miami has figured out what it takes to be good in MLS. Beating New England is no easy thing. The only other team NER has lost to this season? LAFC.

15. New York City FC (13)

Like St. Louis, NYC was playing a team who had just fired their coach. This was also against a rival, and on the road, so maybe a 1-0 loss isn’t awful.

16. Vancouver Whitecaps (15)

A 3-1 road loss to a rival is not ideal. That is was the Timbers, who have been in poor form for most of the season, probably stings a little more. Then again, the Whitecaps should feel good that they are that bothered by a loss like that. Things have changed on the West Coast of Canada.

FC Dallas celebrates against Vancouver Whitecaps, May 17, 2023. (Courtesy FC Dallas)
FC Dallas celebrates against Vancouver Whitecaps, May 17, 2023. (Courtesy FC Dallas)

17. D.C. United (17)

A home tie to a team trying to rise is not a good thing, and give D.C. credit, they are fighting off that awful start rather well. Tying Nashville is frustrating, but United remains an improving side.

Could Be Better, Needs Work

18. Minnesota United (16)

The Loons seem to be slipping, and it’s hard to tell if this is a fall or settling into where they should have been all along. Maybe we are reading too much into a 3-0 road loss to a previously poor SKC side? Watch this space, as that kind of play indicates a lower ranking.

19. Colorado Rapids (19)

A 2-1 home loss to Philadelphia is mixed signals, we think. The Rapids did a lot to get out of the gutter, but seem to have hit a ceiling and are dropping back a little.

20. CF Montreal (22)

Another team that used to be at the bottom, Montreal now put a 2-0 win over Toronto on the board, gaining some traction. How much higher can they go?

21. Chicago Fire (20)

Win and fall? Because of other teams around them, yes. Even though it was a win over St. Louis? Yes. But of all the teams on this list, this is the one we have the least confidence in our placement. The next few games will tell a lot about the new team under new management.

22. Charlotte FC (23)

Like Chicago, this team might be better than this ranking, but we’re trying to not overreact to one win, even though it was an emphatic win on the road against a good Atlanta team.

23. Portland Timbers (24)

They seem to get big wins in rivalry games. And yes, they have two rivals rather than just one, but a 3-1 home win over Vancouver isn’t enough to move up much. The potential remains, of course, but the results must follow.

24. Sporting Kansas City (28)

Hello there. Minnesota has been very solid for most of the season, so a 3-0 win, even at home, makes a mark. They have definitely been underachieving for most of the season so maybe this is the right correction and not just a one-off.

25. New York Red Bulls (27)

Fire a coach and get a win. It happens often enough. But the question remains is it just an emotional response or is it a long-term pattern? Time will tell.

26. Toronto FC (21)

This might seem harsh, but we have had doubts about TFC all season, and a 2-0 loss to Montreal, albeit on the road, is not good. They are welcome to prove us wrong.

Bad – Very Bad

27. Real Salt Lake (25)

Maybe it’s harsh to drop a team this much when they lose to LAFC, but 3-0 is 3-0 and other results tell us this is the right place for them for now.

28. Austin FC (26)

All of the magic seems to be gone, and they don’t seem to know what to do. Give them credit for the amazing season last year, but as a famous movie character once said, “Moment’s over.”

SOCCER: MAY 13 MLS - Austin FC vs FC Dallas
AUSTIN, TX – MAY 13: Austin FC forward Rodney Redes (11) gets a red card from referee Ismael Elfath during game between FC Dallas and Austin FC on May 13, 2023 at Q2 Stadium in Austin, TX. (Photo by John Rivera/Icon Sportswire)

29. LA Galaxy (29)

As we said above, we don’t believe what you did on Saturday to San Jose means enough – prove us wrong.

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