MLS Power Rankings: Messi takes Miami to top, Chicago Fire languish

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

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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 10. Let’s dive in.

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Previous ranking: 5

Lionel Messi played on turf for the first time all year Saturday and toyed with the Revs in a 4-1 win. With Robert Taylor and Leo Campana both back and new signee Matias Rojas making his debut, it was a great weekend for Inter Miami.



Messi stars for Inter Miami in 4-1 win in front of huge crowd

Lions Messi scores twice and is involved in another two goals as Inter Miami beats the Revs in front of 65,000 people at Gillette Stadium.

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Previous ranking: 1

Dropping points at home hurts. The Red Bulls were fine against the Caps, but didn’t create an overwhelming number of chances for their 59% possession. This team is still trying to figure out how to marry their pressing principles with a more patient approach.

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Previous ranking: 9

Between Lucho Acosta’s opener and a lovely left-sided interchange on the second goal, Cincy’s win over Colorado was peak 2023 stuff. Aaron Boupendza was again left on the bench to start this game. The Gabon international will hope that new reported striker signee Kevin Kelsy is the partner he needs.

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Previous ranking: 4

Was it nervy? Mm-hmm. Did LAFC manage to snag three points against Portland? Mm-hmm. Denis Bouanga seems inevitable at this point, though I suppose most players are inevitable if they shoot seven times in a single game.

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Previous ranking: 6

The Columbus Crew haven’t taken anything other than a point from a league game since March 23. But I’m not about to ding them for staying toward the top of a competitive Eastern Conference while attempting to push into the Concacaf Champions Cup final.

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Previous ranking: 7

RSL took down the last remaining undefeated team in the league Saturday, beating the Philadelphia Union 2-1. Poor goalkeeping from the Union gifted Real Salt Lake a first-half lead, but points are points.

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Previous ranking: 3

A road point in New Jersey is nothing to sneeze at, though the Caps drop a few spots in the rankings given results for some of the other top teams in MLS. But with manager Vanni Sartini’s fluid 3-4-3 shape putting Ryan Gauld in great spots, Vancouver look poised to keep on chugging.

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Previous ranking: 2

Andre Blake… yikes. Traditionally a rock-solid option in the back, the Jamaican’s howler put Philly in a hole against Real Salt Lake. The Union looked a step slow for nearly the entire match Saturday and picked up their first league loss of the season as a result.

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Previous ranking: 10

Atlanta created enough to get on the board in the Windy City, but failed to finish despite quality service from Thiago Almada. It’s hard to imagine that anyone in Atlanta is thrilled about how things went in Chicago.

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Previous ranking: 8

The LA Galaxy conceded twice in the first 19 minutes against Austin. Whether it’s their lack of midfield steel or the lack of speed in the back, it’s incredibly easy for the Galaxy’s opponents to find weaknesses.

Minnesota United logo

Previous ranking: 11

Another week, another shape for Eric Ramsay’s Minnesota United. The Loons rocked with a 3-5-2 shape in their win over SKC, pairing Teemu Pukki and breakout star Tani Oluwaseyi in the front line. Any formation that gets me more Tani is worth trying, as far as I’m concerned.

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Previous ranking: 21

It sure looks like NYCFC are figuring some things out, doesn’t it? They’ve won their past three games and the attacking talent is starting to shine for the youngest team in MLS.

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Previous ranking: 15

Christian Benteke takes no prisoners. D.C.’s No. 9 dunked on Seattle’s back line in a 2-1 home win, taking full advantage of playing up a man for most of the match. As long as Benteke plays at his current Best XI level, D.C. can’t be written off.

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Previous ranking: 13

Though there’s no shame in losing on the road to FC Cincinnati, the Colorado Rapids put together an incomplete performance in a 2-1 defeat. The 4-3-3 press showed signs of life early on, but defensive solidity faded as the match progressed.

Houston Dynamo logo

Previous ranking: 12

I’m pretty sure folks in Houston have agreed to never talk about this game again. An early Griffin Dorsey red card put the Dynamo behind the eight ball in their eventual 2-0 loss to FC Dallas.

St. Louis City SC logo

Previous ranking: 18

St. Louis enjoyed a bye this past weekend. Maybe manager Bradley Carnell and forward Sam Adeniran used the rest to share a slab of butter cake while they work out whatever’s going wrong behind the scenes.

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Previous ranking: 14

Head coach Dean Smith is still trying to work out his first-choice midfield group. He started a trio of Nikola Petkovic as a No. 10 with Junior Urso and Ashley Westwood underneath in the loss to NYCFC for the first time in 2024.

CF Montreal logo

Previous ranking: 22

Laurent Courtois won’t be over the moon about his team’s performance in his first game back in Columbus since he left the Crew’s system to take over as CF Montreal’s head coach in the winter. But you can do worse than a draw on the road in Columbus.

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Previous ranking: 23

Prince Owusu continues to deliver for Toronto FC — the 27-year-old has scored in each of the past four games. A truly dangerous striker turns Toronto from an afterthought to something of a threat.

Orlando City logo

Previous ranking: 17

You get a No. 10 who can’t create chances! You get a No. 10 who can’t create chances! You get a No. 10 who can’t create chances! Except all of the “you’s” in this case are just Orlando City. Martín Ojeda got his bite of the No. 10 apple and spit it out in Orlando’s 2-1 loss to Toronto.

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Previous ranking: 26

It’s the Galaxy, so goals are basically free. But, hey, Austin FC have looked more comfortable and balanced in the attack for stretches of this year than they did at almost any point in 2023.

Seattle Sounders logo

Previous ranking: 19

Things are going wild in Seattle right now. The Sounders have picked up three red cards in their past two games and their only win of the year came against an exhausted CF Montreal team that was at the end of a six-game road trip.

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Previous ranking: 20

The Portland Timbers have forgotten how to play a normal game of soccer. It’s the only explanation for why they’ve conceded two-plus goals in each of their past six games.

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Previous ranking: 16

Manager Peter Vermes can complain about offside calls until the cows come home, but he’d be better served drilling down on some of SKC’s on-field problems. Kansas City folded under early pressure from Minnesota United.

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Previous ranking: 27

A win over an in-state rival is always a good thing, but we can’t take much of FC Dallas’ 2-0 victory over Houston. The Dynamo played down a man for all but five minutes of the match, handing head coach Nico Estevez a get-out-of-jail-free card in the process.

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Previous ranking: 24

Nashville became the first home team in 2024 to not beat the San Jose Earthquakes. We’re inching closer to head-rolling territory, people.

Chicago Fire logo

Previous ranking: 25

The Fire followed up last weekend’s 4-0 home loss to Real Salt Lake with a 0-0 home draw against Atlanta United. So, uh, progress? Chris Brady was excellent against Atlanta, but I’m grasping at straws.

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Previous ranking: 28

Last week, the Quakes signed a new DP in attacking midfielder Hernán López. López, a great-nephew of Diego Maradona, wasn’t available against Nashville, but San Jose earned their second result of the season anyway.

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Previous ranking: 29

Illness wiping out a chunk of Caleb Porter’s starting lineup just ahead of a battle against Inter Miami? Yeah, that sounds about right for the Revs in 2024.