The Original MLS Power Rankings for the Week of May 30, 2023

It has been a week and a half since our last rankings, but there have been three Matchdays, so buckle up.

Sadly for the LA Galaxy, we nailed what we thought of their win on the 14th – catching a team at the right time for a team desperate for a win. It’s been three straight losses since… again, this is why we often take one data point for what it is – a game in a string of matches.

On the other hand, we have ourselves a change at the top. In one way, not really, but LAFC is both no longer alone in the top tier, nor are they actually in the top, but not because they have dropped. Rather, FC Cincinnati has overtaken them by the slightest of margins, and maybe just because of recent opponents and locations.

But who had FC Cincinnati as a top team in 2023 on their bingo card? Not this writer.

Top Shelf

1. FC Cincinnati (Previously 2)

Three straight wins against teams across the talent spectrum, including one on the road, and take a box, Cincy, you’re at the top of MLS. They beat Montreal 3-0, Columbus 3-2 and won at Colorado 1-0. Impressive. Most impressive.

FC Cincinnati is on a roll. (Courtesy FC Cincinnati)
FC Cincinnati is on a roll. (Courtesy FC Cincinnati)

2. Los Angeles FC (1)

A home tie to a resurgent Sporting Kansas City and a revenge win over San Jose is not bad, but not as hot as the just as quality Cincy side, so they drop to 2. Make no mistake, though, they are definitely still part of the class of the league. They just aren’t alone in that grouping anymore.


3. St. Louis City SC (5)

Quite the bounceback for a side that has been a major storyline for the league. Many expansion teams that start hot fall away once they hit that first rough patch. Not St. Louis – they tore up Sporting and Vancouver.

4. Nashville SC (6)

For a team that we thought had a little something-something earlier this year, then showed a little less than we expected, we are glad to see the Tennessee club hit its stride. Three straight wins, beating Miami, winning away at Charlotte, and finishing with a 3-1 home win over Columbus.

5. New England Revolution (4)

For a team that was so hot for so much of the season, a 3-0 loss at Philadelphia and then a 3-3 tie to Chicago at home is not what we expect.

6. Seattle Sounders (3)

Uhm, hello? Is this thing on? Losing at home to Austin and then away to Vancouver is not what we expect from this 2023 Seattle group. Oh, ok. Now we see that 1-0 win over the Red Bulls. Was that just a stumble in the first 2 games?

Very Good

7. Atlanta United (9)

We can’t tell if it’s inconsistency, or just the randomness of an MLS season, but Atlanta has not been as steady in one particular grouping this year as other teams. After some struggles, they have had three solid matches by smacking around Colorado, then tying Chicago and Orlando on the road.

8. Philadelphia Union (10)

Like Nashville, the Union is a team we thought of highly very early on but then their results didn’t reflect that quality. Seems they have shaken off those doldrums and now are back at it. A 0-0 home tie to D.C. was followed by a 3-0 win over New England and then a road win at NYC. Not bad at all.

9. FC Dallas (7)

Their fans often seem upset that they aren’t better, but if you look at the MASH units they are having to put out there, and the results they keep getting, we would have to disagree. Coach Nico’s “mentality” tour seems to be having an effect. Beating Vancouver at home and tying San Jose on the road on either side of the disappointing Houston tie are solid results.

Jader Obrian points to the FC Dallas badge against the Houston Dynamo, May 20, 2023. (Matt Visinsky, 3rd Degree)

10. Houston Dynamo (8)

Getting a 1-1 road tie at the death against your rival has to be fun, at beating Austin is also good, but the 1-0 loss at Minnesota holds them back from passing Dallas.


11. Orlando City (12)

The Lions are another team that we thought could do well early in the season, but we saw them fall off. They seem to be getting it back. Two home ties (NYC and Atlanta) sandwich a 3-1 win at what had been a resurgent Miami side.

12. San Jose Earthquakes (11)

So they have had some good moments and have been better than most thought coming into the season. (Spoken in Ryan Hollingshead) Luchi Gonzalez has definitely shown his ability to coach in MLS. The last 2 weeks, though, were not what the Ultras wanted to see as their team lost to LAFC on the road and then were tied at the death by FC Dallas.

Luchi Gonzalez joins San Jose Earthquakes. (Courtesy MLS)

13. Columbus Crew (13)

So who is this team? One minute they are spanking good teams like Atlanta by huge scorelines, but after beating the Galaxy (who isn’t these days?) on the 17th, they lost to FCC and Nashville on the road. Wait, whoa, those are tough teams on the road. They did still lose, but it’s hard to really hammer them for those results.

14. New York City FC (15)

They move up one more because other teams drop as they tied Orlando on the road (good) but then they lose 3-1 at home to Philadelphia (not good, even though the Union has their groove back).

15. Vancouver Whitecaps (16)

On one hand, Vancouver has definitely moved up from where they were in more recent MLS seasons. On the other, it’s unclear if they can push their way back up. Look at their last three results – lose 2-1 at Dallas, win 2-0 over Seattle, lose 3-1 at St. Louis.

16. D.C. United (17)

Like Vancouver – well, even worse than Vancouver – we had zero expectations for Wayne Rooney and this team coming into the season. The roster and Rooney’s short history as a coach did not speak well for their future. Then they turned things around – a lot. Their last three results include a tie at Philly, a win over the Galaxy (again, who doesn’t), and then a loss at Toronto where Rooney tore into his side rather than the refs – a good sign, in this writer’s opinion.

17. Minnesota United (18)

The results say maybe they should be ahead of United as they beat Houston (impressive) and Portland (not as impressive) before being tied by RSL in a three-game homestand. D.C. gets the nod with the road tie at the hot Union.

Some Good, Some Not

18. Charlotte FC (22)

Maybe it is not fair to put the Carolina club at the top of this group because their play has definitely been consistently good, but it’s their previous play that makes this the right group for them. A 2-1 win over Chicago is good. A 2-1 loss to Nashville, was not as good but not awful for a team like them against a team playing as well as Nashville is. Then they went to LA and beat the Galaxy. Granted, everyone is beating the Galaxy, but Charlotte doing it in California is a step forward for them.

19. CF Montreal (20)

For a team that was so poor at times, then got it together, it’s tough to see them lose to Cincy and the Red Bulls before beating Miami. Then again, it was in Ohio against the hottest team in the league and on the road against New York. Either way, this is still a team rebuilding itself after last year.

20. Chicago Fire (21)

Another of the “really poor early, then they changed” teams, but they seem to have cooled off of their “we fired our coach” high that some teams go on. For the Fire, that meant losing on the road at Charlotte and being tied at home by Atlanta before tying New England on the road.

21. New York Red Bulls (25)

A bit of a jump here for the Red Bulls as they got some decent results, tying Toronto on the road and beating Montreal at home before losing to Seattle on the road. The difference between this team’s talent and its play is still big. Can that change?

22. Sporting Kansas City (24)

Their resurgence continues, but like Vancovuer, how high can they go? It’s not really clear with this roster composition. Tying LAFC on the road shows us something, but losing to St. Louis shows us something else. Then their 4-1 win over Portland shows us they definitely are moving away from the bottom.

23. Inter Miami (14)

Can we just … not rank them? Please? We have no idea which IM club is going to show up, and which direction they are going to go. They get hot, then lose three straight – 2-1 at Nashville (okay, we get it), 3-1 at home to Orlando (uh, what?), and then 1-0 at Montreal? Yes yes, we will keep trying, and will probably do a deeper dive into their games, but the whiplash is getting chronic.

24. Austin FC (28)

Okay, we see you, Austin! There is a little of that old Austin fire! Well, old may not be a good word, except if you include that they took the Crew from Columbus… sorry for the aside! After a run of poor results, including a late loss to Dallas at home, Wolff’s guys went to Seattle and scored 2 before holding off the Sounders to maintain a 2-1 win. They followed that up with a 1-0 win over Toronto, but then… lost to Houston, 2-1 on the road. That’s progress, right? Actually, it really is. The talent is still there. They might be getting it back together, folks.

25. Real Salt Lake (27)

After a poor run, Mastroeni seems to have gotten his guys together. A home tie to Portland isn’t great, but then beating Colorado and then tying Minnesota on the road are definitely above their previous play. Hey, we’re looking for something, anything, to move a team up from the bottom.

26. Portland Timbers (23)

Like Miami, maybe we need to do a deeper dive to understand what the Timbers are in 2023, but the talent hasn’t coalesced much if at all. A few times in rivalry matches, they have shown what they could be, but the rest of the time it just hasn’t been there. Their last three? Tying RSL on the road, losing at home to Minnesota, and losing 4-1 to KC. Ouch.

27. Toronto FC (26)

FC Dallas fans have to hate to see Matt Hedges play on a team like TFC, as their former captain is watching his new team struggle all too often. Their last three, 0-0 to Red Bulls, 0-1 at Austin, and finally some success with 2-1 over D.C. at home. For a team that has won so much, and a player who is so good, that’s just not good.

Matt Hedges signs with Toronto FC for 2023. (Courtesy Toronto FC)

28. Colorado Rapids (19)

Three games can reveal a lot. With the Rapids, it shows that they lacked the depth for multi-game weeks, especially back-to-back. Granted, two losses were to very good teams (4-0 at Atlanta, 1-0 v. Cincinnati) but in between you had a 3-2 loss to RSL. Maybe we dropped them too much, but many of their earlier successes were “quality ties” either at home against good teams or on the road. Not enough to balance out three straight losses, no matter who it was against or where it was played.


29. LA Galaxy (29)

What else can we call it, but garbage? How does Vanney still have his job? Maybe there is a good answer, but for a team that should be so much better, they are so bad. Even a random Dead Cat Bounce win can’t get them off the bottom as we know they will fall right back down. Look, MLS has had bad teams before, but not like this. Other teams were just bad (1999 MetroStars, 2013 D. C. United, 2005 Chivas USA) or were poorly put together (Inter Miami and a myriad of expansion teams) but this is just shocking.

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