The Original MLS Power Rankings for the week of September 13, 2023

As we work our way back into the MLS regular season, we have a lot of games to look at for where teams stand. The one outlier is clearly Miami, where Inter added a previously MLS-successful coach, two quality internationals, and one of the best players to ever play the game and have yet to lose since.

In the world of power rankings, where you are determining how a team would fare against another team on a neutral field in their next game, and looking forward, how can that not be your number 1 team?

A number of other teams below have made moves, some for good and some for ill, and the race for the playoffs will add a whole new layer of crazy as we go into the last weeks of the regular season.

A League Of Their Own

1. Inter Miami (Previously 8)

When we last did Rankings, we had seen a few games from Miami and it was impressive, but we didn’t have this full string of results where it is obvious the entire team is bought in and contributing in ways MLS teams have yet to crack. Again, it is not just Lionel Messi. It is Tata, it is Alba, it is Busquets as well – all contributing to a whole new level. They will not go undefeated – a number of times against quality opponents, they have had to fight through for the win – but I would not bet against them making the playoffs.

The Goat. (Daniel McCullough, 3rd Degree)
The Goat. (Daniel McCullough, 3rd Degree)

Best of the Rest – formerly Top Shelf

2. FC Cincinnati (1)

Cincinnati has not taken a step back. They remain the best of what MLS was before Messi, which is pretty dang good.


3. St. Louis City SC (5)

St. Louis moved up because they maintained their level of play while the other teams ahead of them have fallen back some. One game to note – against FC Dallas, despite playing with a man advantage they had struggled to create chances until FCD made two subs that changed the complexion of the game, and boy did they pounce.

4. Nashville SC (3)

While their overall performance for the season may not reflect it, their recent form has been solid, especially in the Leagues Cup where they made the final and came within a pk shootout from being the first team to beat Inter. They do seem to be suffering a little from post-Leagues Cup drop.

5. New England Revolution (2)

They drop for a few reasons. A road loss, a home tie, but also this thing with Arena leaving and then Ritchie Williams? It will take them a little time to settle out of this crazyness.

6. Philadelphia Union (4)

Their post-Leagues Cup run has been good except for a loss to Toronto… It is hard to overlook that.


7. Columbus Crew (10)

The Crew have gone on a run since Leagues Cup, including a home win over Cincinnati and a road win over Montreal. A home loss to Houston keeps them from the next group up.

8. Orlando SC (9)

They would have moved up more but for how hot the Crew have been. It is entirely possible both teams could push their way up and, in the process, push others down. The only blemish on the Lions’ record is a road loss to Cincinnati which really isn’t a blemish.

9. Los Angeles FC (6)

This team has had quite the journey so far. For much of the season, they were in the catbird seat, but then they fell off and Cincinnati took it. They had a bit of a run before Leagues Cup but since then have struggled. The loss to Miami was a huge game, but the loss to Portland? Granted it was on the road but we have questions. This team may fall even more.

10. Atlanta United (11)

Like the Crew and Orlando, Atlanta has been on a run since Leagues Cup. They move up a little but might move up even more if the trend continues. Winning at Seattle and beating Nashville is definitely noteworthy, as is the tie in Dallas.

11. Houston Dynamo (16)

Quite the run for the Dynamo. Making the Open Cup Final is big, but they also beat up on Portland (5-0), won at RSL in the regular season, as well as beat the Crew at home before tying the Galaxy on the road.

12. Real Salt Lake (7)

Between Leagues Cup and the Open Cup, it seems something broke with RSL. They had been on a tear, winning a lot of road games and otherwise being one of the top ten teams in the league, but after losing to Houston in the USOC, they then lost to them in the regular season and lost at Portland before beating Colorado which is pretty much an automatic win these days. It wouldn’t surprise us to see them recover in time to make a playoff run, but for now, they are hurting.

13. Vancouver Whitecaps (14)

They lost at home to San Jose, but then won twice on the road (Portland, Chicago) before tying at NYC. Not bad but not against the best teams.

14. FC Dallas (12)

This team has been all over the place, and some of their results may be luck. For example, their win against Austin? But their game against Miami in the Leagues Cup was not, and their home tie against Atlanta was a back-and-forth affair between two good teams. The potential energy remains, but sometimes the kinetic energy is missing.

FC Dallas celebrates vs Atlanta United. (FC Dallas Communications)
FC Dallas celebrates vs Atlanta United. (FC Dallas Communications)

15. Minnesota United (15)

A win at NYC is good. A home tie to Seattle, not so much. Then they beat Colorado (theme) before twying at San Jose (good) and against New England (not as good). Nothing screams big changes.

16. Seattle Sounders (13)

A home loss to Atlanta, a tie at Minnesota, and a road win at struggling Austin is not a string of great results.

17. San Jose Earthquakes (17)

A loss at a surging Sporting Kansas City, a home loss against the Galaxy, a home tie to Minnesota and a road tie to D.C. is not the upward movement they have had at times this season.

We Have Questions

18. Sporting Kansas City (24)

This team could be on a run. They beat San Jose and St. Louis at home before losing to Miami on the road. This moves them up already, but the win over St. Louis is solid and they did not play poorly against Inter.

19. Charlotte FC (20)

A home win over LAFC, followed by a home tie to Orlando and a road tie at Nashville is competitive. Another team that might be breaking out of the bottom. Maybe their run in the Leagues Cup gave them some confidence and momentum.

20. Portland Timbers (26)

The talent is there and has been, but they have been underperforming or letting injuries keep them from succeeding for much of the year. They are on a bit of a run, though, beating RSL, tying Seattle on the road, and beating LAFC.

21. CF Montreal (23)

A mixed bag for the Quebec side, winning at Toronto and against New England, but then losing against NYC on the road and at home to the Crew.

22. LA Galaxy (27)

Like Montreal, a mixed bag. Beat Chicago, who has fallen apart, and won at San Jose but then tied at home by Houston and St. Louis. Some signs of life, though.

23. D.C. United (21)

Lost at the Red Bulls and against Philadelphia before beating Chicago, then being tied at home by San Jose. Currently, in the last playoff position with a few clubs making moves and Miami tearing big holes in the water, the promise of the season is slipping away.

24. New York City FC (22)

For a team that recently won big in MLS, this may be one of the more disappointing seasons. Recent results remain poor.

25. Austin FC (18)

What a fall. Lost big to St. Louis, lost at Dallas, and lost at home to Seattle before tying New England on the road.

26. New York Red Bulls (25)

Just when you thought they might do something, they fall apart again. Beating D.C. at home is good, losing to Miami is what everyone is doing, but then losing at New England and at Philadelphia is not how you recover.


27. Chicago Fire (19)

The Windy City side is doing a great imitation of the Colorado Rapids, losing every game since the resumption of MLS play.

Atlanta United FC @ Chicago Fire FC 07.03.21
Chicago, IL – Saturday, July 03, 2021: Major League Soccer (MLS) match between the Chicago Fire FC and the Atlanta United FC at Soldier Field.

28. Toronto FC (29)

They got a home win against Philadelphia, so there is something, but losses to Montreal and at Columbus keep them in the bottom.

29. Colorado Rapids (28)

It has all been on the road, but all losses and all scoreless? Oh my.

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