MLS Power Rankings: Both L.A. teams soar, Crew remain at top

It’s Monday, another week of MLS action is in the books, which means it’s time for ESPN’s Power Rankings.

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

Our Power Rankings are derived from a combination of key season statistics (points per game, goal differential, expected goal (xG) differential), recent performance, the Opta computer ratings, and the observations of our writers.

So, who’s climbing the table? Who’s in free fall? We’ve ranked all 29 clubs in the league after Matchday 5. Let’s dive in.


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Previous ranking: 1

Picking up your first loss of the season would be enough to drop most teams in these sacred rankings of power. But the Columbus Crew? Not so fast. We have too much data on this team being downright awesome for a 2-0 away loss (that was marred by refereeing controversy) to push Columbus off their perch.

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Previous ranking: 3

I’m fascinated to see how the five new starters in Pat Noonan’s preferred lineup start to gel, but the big story for Cincy continues to be Lucho Acosta. The guy feasts in tight games and scored the lone goal in his team’s 1-0 win over NYCFC.

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Previous ranking: 6

Rinsing Inter Miami 4-0? Impressive. There’s a big ol’ caveat on this win due to Lionel Messi‘s injury and the international break that claimed players from both sides of Saturday’s matchup. But the Red Bulls bounced back from their 3-0 loss to the Crew in a big way this weekend.

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Lewis Morgan scores hat trick as Red Bulls thrash Inter Miami

Lewis Morgan scores a sublime hat trick as New York Red Bulls pummel a Lionel Messi-less Inter Miami 4-0.

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Previous ranking: 2

Don’t worry — or celebrate, depending on your perspective — folks, Inter Miami are still going to be a great MLS team when at full strength. They weren’t at full strength against RBNY, though. And they won’t be at full strength this summer. Depth is something of a concern for Tata Martino’s team right now.

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Previous ranking: 13

Talk about a statement win… LAFC’s 5-0 thrashing of Nashville SC got Dénis Bouanga and co. back on the board after three consecutive scoreless weeks. This was a much-needed outburst, one that reminds us just how dangerous LAFC’s top-end talent can be.

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Denis Bouanga finds the back of the net for LAFC

Denis Bouanga finds the back of the net for LAFC

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Previous ranking: 9

The Galaxy’s attack just might be the best in MLS. They’ve scored three goals in three of their last four matches, including in Saturday’s come-from-behind win over SKC. The defense is an issue. The buildup is, too. In the final third, though, this team can’t be stopped.

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Previous ranking: 7

Even without three starters in central midfield and Andre Blake in goal due to the international break, the Union earned their first win of the season against the Portland Timbers. That embarrassing 6-0 loss to Pachuca in the Concacaf Champions Cup feels more distant by the day.

Minnesota United logo

Previous ranking: 8

The Loons enjoyed a bye this past weekend, giving new manager Eric Ramsay the chance to run through an extra training session or two with star No. 10 Emanuel Reynoso.

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Previous ranking: 5

Seventeen-year-old left winger Fidel Barajas was massive for RSL in their 2-1 win over Vancouver, providing both of the assists for his team. Barajas is one of the top young players in MLS, with interest from both Mexico and the United States federations.

CF Montreal logo

Previous ranking: 10

Laurent Courtois’ squad was on bye this weekend. They have two games left on their road trip before settling back into life in Montreal. So far, they’ve massively exceeded expectations.

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Previous ranking: 4

Atlanta United simply don’t look threatening in the attack without Thiago Almada. We saw that last season and we saw it again in a 2-0 road loss to Toronto FC on Saturday. His availability defines every game for Atlanta.

Houston Dynamo logo

Previous ranking: 11

Still dealing with an injury crisis, the Dynamo should be delighted with their last-minute 1-0 win on the road in Colorado. They should also be delighted that Sebastián Ferreira got back on the field.

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Previous ranking: 12

Forced by absences, Peter Vermes turned away from his classic 4-3-3 and to a 4-2-3-1 in SKC’s 3-2 loss to the Galaxy. For a team that’s struggled to score goals, getting Alan Pulido and Willy Agada on the field together is a fun twist.

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LA Galaxy score 3 goals in under 10 minutes to take the lead

Eriq Zavaleta, Dejan Joveljic, and Marky Delgado each get on the scoresheet to give LA Galaxy a 3-2 lead.

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Previous ranking: 17

With Christian Benteke back on the scoresheet, D.C. earned a nice point on the road against St. Louis City in a 2-2 draw. Troy Lesesne’s group is much further along in their tactical development than I thought they’d be at this point in the season.

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Previous ranking: 14

Ditching the 3-5-2 shape that worked so well for long stretches last year in favor of a 3-4-3 has disrupted some of Vancouver’s attacking balance. They were the second-best team on the field against RSL.

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Previous ranking: 18

It’s hard to read too much into Charlotte’s win over Columbus, given the Crew’s early yellow card. Still, 23-year-old striker Patrick Agyemang was a difference-maker up top for Dean Smith.

Orlando City logo

Previous ranking: 19

With Austin FC in town, Orlando picked up their first win of the season. The attack started to flow for Orlando City in a 2-0 win, with Nico Lodeiro, Martín Ojeda, and Luis Muriel working together nicely in the final third.

St. Louis City SC logo

Previous ranking: 21

St. Louis gave up a lead in the first half, only to storm back with a penalty kick equalizer in the second. Bradley Carnell’s squad might just be afraid of playing a normal 90-minute game.

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Previous ranking: 22

Jonathan Rodríguez signed as a Designated Player for the Timbers last week, joining from Club América in Liga MX. The veteran forward was excellent in a loss to Philadelphia, finding pockets of space left and right. Even in defeat, he makes Portland better.

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Previous ranking: 24

While three points should put a smile on the faces of Toronto FC fans, losing Lorenzo Insigne to yet another injury is a huge blow.

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Previous ranking: 20

FC Dallas were on a bye this past weekend. They need improvement in every line of the field.

Seattle Sounders logo

Previous ranking: 16

The Sounders have been oh-so-solid defensively for most of Brian Schmetzer’s tenure. That wasn’t the case against San Jose on Saturday, when Seattle shipped three goals for the first time in a regular season game since June 2023.

Chicago Fire logo

Previous ranking: 23

Chicago had no real progress in their 1-1 draw with the Revs. This team looks at home in 12th out East.

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Previous ranking: 15

Nashville’s 5-0 loss to LAFC was the biggest defeat in club history. They’re not fully healthy, but even a fully fit squad won’t solve everything for Gary Smith.

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Previous ranking: 26

Consistency continues to be an issue for NYCFC, who followed up their first win of the season with a tame 1-0 loss to FC Cincinnati.

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Previous ranking: 25

Chris Armas hasn’t brought much in the way of tactical differentiation to Colorado, which is putting added pressure on his players to change games. The Rapids’ talent level isn’t high enough to make that approach work.

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Previous ranking: 29

Progress! San Jose looked strong in their 3-2 win over the Sounders. Niko Tsakiris, who recently recovered from injury, was especially bright. The 18-year-old brought an extra layer of speed and on-ball quality to what’s been a sluggish midfield.

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Previous ranking: 27

The Revs are one of three teams in MLS still without a win. At least they put a point on the board against Chicago?

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Previous ranking: 28

Forty percent of Austin’s games this year have ended without them taking a shot from inside the box. They’re in deep trouble this year.