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HomeNewsMLS Power Rankings: Mukhtar magic takes Nashville to No. 2 Obtain US

MLS Power Rankings: Mukhtar magic takes Nashville to No. 2 Obtain US

It was a light week in MLS, with most teams taking off for the international break and leaving just seven matches to be played around the league.

As much as we always want more games, the semi-pause in the league schedule provided a good opportunity to take a deeper look at the teams. After all, we’re right around the halfway point in the 2023 regular season and the summer transfer window is upon us. Teams can make big moves and change the trajectory of their seasons.

So who’s doing well? Who needs some help? And what’s the state of these clubs as we put the pedal to the metal for the summer?

– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga & more (U.S.)


Previous ranking: 1

They rose to the top spot last week and then got to kick their feet up for the international break as their reward. There’s still room for their attack to get better, but that will probably be more about internal improvement than adding new signings this summer. They’ve got the squad they need already.

Nashville SC logo

Previous ranking: 3

Hany Mukhtar. Hany Mukhtar. Hany Mukhtar. How is the reigning league MVP so good that he still amazes you week in, week out? He sure did that with his hat trick to beat St. Louis on Saturday.

LAFC logo

Previous ranking: 2

Winless in their past three after a midweek loss to Houston and trailing Sporting early on Saturday, LAFC looked to be in total free fall, but they stormed back for a big win in Kansas City. Maybe that will be the victory that pulls them out of their post-Concacaf Champions League funk.

Philadelphia Union logo

Previous ranking: 4

Is this summer going to be the last for manager Jim Curtin and sporting director Ernst Tanner? They’re out of contract after the season and deserve to lift a trophy in front of more than a smattering of fans during a pandemic season. Hopefully this will be the year they break through.

New England Revolution logo

Previous ranking: 6

No Djordje Petrovic, no problem. The Revs rolled to a 3-1 win over Orlando without their excellent goalkeeper, which is notable with teams from abroad lining up to sign the New England backstop.

Columbus Crew logo

Previous ranking: 5

Alex Matan’s assist on Christian Ramirez’s goal was his seventh of the season, joining Lucas Zelarayán and Cucho Hernández at the mark. Three players with seven-plus assists in mid-June is absurd, but they conceded a late equalizer to NYCFC in yet another example of the Crew’s dalliances with greatness being hampered by an inability to put together a full match.

St. Louis City SC logo

Previous ranking: 7

City didn’t play badly in Nashville and, for much of the match, looked like they would rightly walk away with a result. Unfortunately, Kyle Hiebert’s red card and a heavy dose of Mukhtar laid waste to what was more than an hour of good soccer.

Atlanta United FC logo

Previous ranking: 8

The Five Stripes are a pretty good team. Every metric says as much. But they are not great and they are awfully dependent on Giorgos Giakoumakis and Thiago Almada, making for a very inconsistent team. That’s not ideal when Almada looks likely to depart this summer, so it’s no wonder Atlanta feels so shaky.

Seattle Sounders logo

Previous ranking: 9

If you had to make a list of top MLS Cup contenders, you’d be a fool to leave out the Sounders, but they haven’t been playing like it for weeks, have had bad luck thrown on top of that and losing Jordan Morris and Cristian Roldan to USMNT Gold Cup duty won’t help.

Houston Dynamo logo

Previous ranking: 12

Defend well, work hard and capitalize on a messy set piece for the game’s lone goal. The Dynamo’s win at LAFC was a Ben Olsen dream.

San Jose Earthquakes logo

Previous ranking: 10

The Quakes and their sellout crowd may have wanted to see more action than what they got out of the scoreless draw against Portland, but they did get this bit of magic:

Vancouver Whitecaps logo

Previous ranking: 11

The Caps generate chances, and they don’t concede many. So much about this team is encouraging. Please get them a striker this summer and let’s see what they can do, because they are so close.

FC Dallas logo

Previous ranking: 14

Dallas are a mostly good team that struggle to manage situations and can often turn good performances into draws. If only they can take that next step, which we’ve been saying for years.

Orlando City logo

Previous ranking: 13

The Lions didn’t defend too poorly, but the Revs made them pay and Orlando had no counterpunch with the ball thanks to a spate of absent players up front.

Minnesota United logo

Previous ranking: 15

At their best this season, the Loons looked like a very good team that was only missing someone who could unlock good defenses. Then they got Emanuel Reynoso back and it looked like Minnesota had it all. The results, or performances, haven’t followed, but Reynoso is still playing his way back into fitness and it’s hard not to believe in the squad. A midsummer run by the Loons feels more likely than not.

Portland Timbers logo

Previous ranking: 16

The Timbers notched their third straight clean sheet, but they have just five points to show for it after their scoreless draw in San Jose because they’ve only scored one goal in that time. Their inability to score this season is not bad luck either. They’re dead last in the West in xG.

Sporting Kansas City logo

Previous ranking: 26

Losing to LAFC was cruel. SKC were the better team and had the better chances, but after their dreadful start to the season, being only a point out of a playoff spot is a pretty remarkable place to be. Now they just need to figure out how to stay fit because when they have a full squad, they’re a problem.

Toronto FC logo

Previous ranking: 19

Congratulations to TFC on two (!) whole weeks without any internal fighting (that we know about).

D.C. United logo

Previous ranking: 18

Playing with 10 men? Rough. Giving up an amazing goal from the other side of midfield? Diabolical. Having both happen in the same game? The soccer gods were not on D.C.’s side against RSL.

New York Red Bulls logo

Previous ranking: 20

It’s been a wasted first half of the season in New Jersey. They’ve already churned through a manager, haven’t had a young player take a big step and Dante Vanzeir, their big offseason signing, had struggled to make an impact when he hasn’t been suspended for using a racial slur. And yet, their underlying metrics indicate that they’ve been a little unlucky. Don’t bet on the Red Bulls being a contender, but a playoff team? That is very much in play.

Colorado Rapids logo

Previous ranking: 21

Coach Robin Fraser continues to roll out a competitive team at a club that, frankly, has never seemed particularly interested in doing so. It’d be fun to see what he could do with some talent.

Charlotte FC logo

Previous ranking: 22

We’re on Year 2 of “You Can’t Blow Your DP Signings This Badly And Still Expect To Compete.”

Real Salt Lake logo

Previous ranking: 24

Pablo Ruiz didn’t even have to cross midfield to score, and that absurd goal was a proper way to celebrate extending their unbeaten streak away from home that dates back to April 15.

New York City FC logo

Previous ranking: 25

The Pigeons stole a point from Columbus in stoppage time thanks to Gabriel Segal’s clinical finish, but it was only possible thanks to Richy Ledezma’s definitely on-purpose inch-perfect bank pass.

CF Montreal logo

Previous ranking: 23

Whatever one thinks of Hernán Losada as a manager, he was certainly an awkward fit for this CFM roster and it showed early on in the season, but they’ve been a pretty competitive team ever since losing six of their first seven. That’s hardly going to get the Montréal faithful excited, but at least it’s something.

Chicago Fire logo

Previous ranking: 26

Goodbye, Gaga Slonina and Jhon Durán. Hello Brian Gutiérrez and Chris Brady. Somehow, the Fire are proving themselves to be a great breeding ground for young talent, but are making next to no progress anywhere else.

LA Galaxy logo

Previous ranking: 27

While most teams in the league are looking forward to big summer additions, the Galaxy are barred from foreign signings because of sanctions imposed upon them for breaking salary and roster rules in 2019. They finally fired club president Chris Klein, but his legacy lives on.

Austin FC logo

Previous ranking: 28

The Dynamo are a work-hard, defend-well and hope-the-opposition-makes-mistakes team. Somehow, their rivals Austin have Sebastián Driussi and aren’t any better at creating chances. Something has to change this summer at Q2 Stadium.

Inter Miami CF logo

Previous ranking: 29

Any week in which Inter don’t have to play a match between now and Lionel Messi’s arrival is a good one. It’s been a rough year in Miami, and Messi may be the only one who can save it.

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