MLS Power Rankings: Messi-less Miami still top, Atlanta fall

It’s Monday, and 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 differential), recent performance, the Opta computer ratings and the observations of our writers.

Who’s climbing the table? Who’s in free fall? We’ve ranked all 29 clubs in the league after Matchday 16. Let’s dive in.

<a  data-cke-saved-href=

Previous ranking: 1

To the chagrin of eager away supporters hoping to see the GOAT, Miami beat Vancouver 2-1 with Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets and Luis Suárez absent. That’s a win in multiple ways for the Herons, who’ve come away with mixed results in matches missing Messi. Robert Taylor and Leonardo Campana had the goals, with the latter marking his second goal in two straight games after he scored the match winner against D.C.

<a  data-cke-saved-href=

Previous ranking: 2

FCC picked up their seventh straight win after a 4-3 goal-fest with Toronto. The Blue and Orange are famous for victories by one-goal margins, and this one marks their ninth of the year, though Saturday’s victory is unique in needing four goals to get it (Luca Orellano notched a brace and set up a third to achieve it). Cincinnati are consistent winners, but they’ll rue allowing four goals at home, especially as they account for more than a quarter (28.5%) of the goals they’ve allowed this season.

<a  data-cke-saved-href=

Previous ranking: 3

By the 59th minute, RSL trailed 3-0 at Toyota Stadium in Texas, but resilience was key as they absconded with a draw. Diego Luna was first to take one back, kick-starting a three-goal response with Anderson Julio off the bench for a banger and Nelson Palacio also off the bench to make it three. Despite the early setback, Pablo Mastroeni’s squad showed grit and depth as they continue their 11-game unbeaten run.

<a  data-cke-saved-href=

Previous ranking: 4

Diego Rossi picked up a brace in Orlando to seal a 2-0 victory on the road (their third straight win away from home) as the Crew wrapped up league play on a high note, before heading to Mexico for their Concacaf Champions Cup clash with Pachuca next weekend.

<a  data-cke-saved-href=

Previous ranking: 5

LAFC picked up their third straight win on the road in Atlanta after Brad Guzan‘s professional foul gave them a 1-0 lead from the penalty spot. It wasn’t their cleanest game, but they’re building momentum toward an end-of-season that could be scary. Somewhere across the ocean, Olivier Giroud wrapped up his season with AC Milan as he readies to become the latest international star to join the Black and Gold.



Mateusz Bogusz slots in the goal for LAFC

Mateusz Bogusz slots in the goal for LAFC

<a  data-cke-saved-href=

Previous ranking: 6

NYRB had a bye this weekend, allowing more time to nurse their wounds after falling to NYCFC in Rivalry Week.

Minnesota United logo

Previous ranking: 7

Minnesota held sway over the game early but allowed Colorado to come creeping back. Loons’ keeper Dayne St. Clair made five saves and came up big at the penalty spot to keep Rafael Navarro from a brace, but allowed a flimsy goal just minutes later to end the game 3-3.

<a  data-cke-saved-href=

Previous ranking: 8

A 1-0 victory against the bottom-ranked team in the league isn’t the most resounding victory. Still, a win is a win. This one comes complement of Keaton Parks‘ 81st-minute header assisted by Tayvon Gray.

<a  data-cke-saved-href=

Previous ranking: 9

The Galaxy came from behind to defeat Houston 2-1, breaking a five-game winless run with their first victory since April 21. Riqui Puig and Gabriel Pec whipped in the goals to seal it.

<a  data-cke-saved-href=

Previous ranking: 10

Philly broke their six-game winless rut against the worst team in the league the weekend previous and took a point on the road with a 0-0 draw in Charlotte on Saturday. The team is still looking to get back toward their full potential, though a summer of uncertainty (the fate of Julián Carranza could shift their season) and various international duties looms near.

<a  data-cke-saved-href=

Previous ranking: 14

Colorado clawed from behind to collect a draw after trailing 3-1 in the first half. Brazilian forward Rafael Navarro scored his fifth goal in five games to bring his season tally to nine, pressing his importance for Colorado as his loan nears its completion this June, with many hoping he’ll stay in Colorado.

<a  data-cke-saved-href=

Previous ranking: 13

Another draw for Dean Smith’s squad of formidable defending. Their visitors from Philly have scored 25 goals in 14 games, so a 0-0 clean sheet is yet more evidence of their firm foundations. Charlotte is tied with Columbus for the fewest goals allowed (13) in the league and ranked first for the fewest goals per game.

<a  data-cke-saved-href=

Previous ranking: 11

The scoreline was respectable for the Whitecaps, who fell 1-2 to visitors from Miami. But losing to the Herons before a record-setting crowd of 51,035 while Miami was missing Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez and Sergio Busquets is a missed opportunity. On the plus side: the crowd seemed to enjoy themselves as they feasted on half-price food, even if they did chant, “Where is Messi?” at the beginning of the game.

<a  data-cke-saved-href=

Previous ranking: 12

D.C. made it a three-game winless run this weekend, though this time it was a draw. D.C. still has so much going for them (An MVP-worthy player in Christian Benteke, for example), but taking just a point from among the worst teams in the league (Chicago Fire) is a poor way to capitalize.

Seattle Sounders logo

Previous ranking: 17

Seattle left St. Louis with a 2-1 win Saturday night to mark their fourth win of the season, moving just inside the playoff spots for the first time this year. With 15 games gone and a lot of season left before us, ye olde West Coast juggernauts will hope to build on that playoff position momentum.

<a  data-cke-saved-href=

Previous ranking: 15

Toronto lost to FC Cincinnati at the weekend but can be proud of how they played. With Federico Bernardeschi absent due to yellow card accumulation, John Herdman’s squad collected three goals against a team that’s allowed just 14 in 15 games this season. (That’s the third lowest in the league, with only Charlotte and Columbus allowing fewer.)

Orlando City logo

Previous ranking: 19

In Orlando’s defense, Columbus have among the best keepers in the league in Patrick Schulte. Despite registering four big chances, Schulte saved them all and kept a clean sheet for the formidable visitors who kept their win streak alive on the road.

<a  data-cke-saved-href=

Previous ranking: 23

Portland sit 19th in the Supporters Shield race but third in goals scored (28) across the league. Only top-ranked teams Inter Miami and RSL have put more past their opposition. The Timbers can score. But can they defend? Remarkably, they also rank third across the league for goals conceded (30). If nothing else, they make for entertaining games, and this time the result went in their favor as they defeated SKC 2-1. Evander set up the first and scored the second. (Felipe Mora finished the first and assisted the second).

Houston Dynamo logo

Previous ranking: 18

Latif Blessing‘s first goal of the year wasn’t enough to offset the Galaxy’s attacking inevitability (LA’s 27 goals are the fourth most in MLS), as Houston succumbed to a 2-1 loss in LA. Still, in search of reliable goalscorers, Houston sit opposite end of the goal tally spectrum from the Galaxy, as they’ve notched just 13 in 14 games (second fewest in the league behind only New England).

<a  data-cke-saved-href=

Previous ranking: 16

Brad Guzan’s professional foul brought Atlanta down to ten men in the 60th minute. The ensuing penalty gave LAFC a 1-0 lead which they saw out to the end. The loss makes it 9 without a win. Next up? Miami.

<a  data-cke-saved-href=

Previous ranking: 21

Austin is a team with heart, and they showed some on the road to come from behind to snag a draw against the San Jose Earthquakes. Their offensive production was looking a bit woeful, though, as they registered just five shots and only one on target against the team that’s allowed more goals (34) than anyone else this season.

St. Louis City SC logo

Previous ranking: 20

St. Louis were a bit unlucky in their loss to Seattle, conceding by way of an own goal before Jordan Morris popped in to make it 2-0. They took one goal back but not enough to draw level, marking their second loss in as many games.

<a  data-cke-saved-href=

Previous ranking: 22

Nashville picked up a 0-0 draw in their second match under new interim manager Rumba Munthali. The jury is still out on how the post-Gary Smith era will look this season. Incidentally, that’s their seventh draw this year, putting them in a three-way tie for most in the league.

<a  data-cke-saved-href=

Previous ranking: 25

Dallas looked ready to do the unexpected Saturday, as they led 3-0 at home against the top-ranked West Coast side, Real Salt Lake. Tragically for the Toros, Diego Luna’s 61st-minute goal kickstarted a comeback that ended 3-3 by the final whistle. Silver lining? If fans manage to forget how things started, a point against RSL is still a result to be proud of.

<a  data-cke-saved-href=

Previous ranking: 24

They held Portland off for most of the match but Evander struck twice (first with an assist then with a goal) to ensure Kansas City their fifth straight loss in league play. They host Vancouver next at home with their season hitting a bit of freefall.

<a  data-cke-saved-href=

Previous ranking: 26

San Jose took the initial lead and came within a hair’s breadth of all three points, but the post stopped them in stoppage time from what could have been their fourth win of the year. Alas, what could have been! Still, a 1-1 draw with Austin is respectable for a team that’s lost 10 of their 15 games.

Chicago Fire logo

Previous ranking: 27

1-1 on the road against D.C. United is decent enough for the Fire. Kellyn Acosta completed a solid team goal built patiently from the back, bringing them level from behind and showing hints of more quality the Fire may be hiding.

CF Montreal logo

Previous ranking: 28

Montreal broke a four-game string of losses with a draw against Nashville. That’s progress, especially since the last time they faced Nashville (May 4) they lost 4-1. That said, they still haven’t won a game since April 13.

<a  data-cke-saved-href=

Previous ranking: 29

The Revs are as bad as you think they are. Actually, they could be worse. They did fire off 16 shots against NYCFC in a 1-0 loss at home, though none were real quality chances.