MLS Power Rankings: Suárez boosts Inter Miami, LAFC fall off

It’s Monday, 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 (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 4. Let’s dive in.

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Previous ranking: 1

The Crew were free flowing, gorgeous every time they went forward and Cucho Hernández was cooking. Basically, it was a pretty normal game for Columbus as they made the vaunted RBNY press look pedestrian en route to a 3-0 win.

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Previous ranking: 2

It’s easy to say that Inter is Team Lionel Messi, and when the greatest player of all time is on the pitch Miami will rightly be Messi-centric, but they fared pretty well without him in the second half of last season. Their first match without their maestro this season went well too, as Luis Suárez scored twice to win 3-1, in D.C. There’s more to this team than Messi, still.

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Previous ranking: 4

Cincy didn’t look so hot in the first half, but they got Lucho Acosta on at halftime and suddenly, they were well on their way to a 2-1 win in New England. Shockingly, playing the MVP makes a big difference.

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Previous ranking: 4

Everyone knows Giorgos Giakoumakis is a heck of a goal scorer, but he flashed his creativity with a great pass to set up Saba Lobjanidze‘s goal as Atlanta rolled to a 2-0 win over Orlando.

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Previous ranking: 9

RSL’s bye week was well-timed as the Utah Royals got the local spotlight in their return to NWSL.

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Previous ranking: 5

RBNY’s typically excellent press was ripped apart by the Crew in a 3-0 loss. The Red Bulls have looked good this season, but there’s still a gap between them and the league’s top teams.

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Previous ranking: 7

There’s nothing more reliable than Dániel Gazdag from the penalty spot. He’s converted every spot kick he’s taken for the Union, but his latest wasn’t enough to deliver victory as Philly had to settle for a 2-2 draw in Austin.

Minnesota United logo

Previous ranking: 15

Eric Ramsey made a good first impression in Minnesota with a 2-0 win over LAFC. It’s too early to get a read on the Loons’ new boss, but he has so much talent at his disposal and Emanuel Reynoso made his return from injury over the weekend. With him in the fold, Minnesota has every reason to believe the MLS Cup could head north.



Minnesota United take down LAFC 2-0 at home

Minnesota United take down LAFC 2-0 at home

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Previous ranking: 8

Joseph Paintsil has only played four MLS matches, but he’s already making his case as one of the best players in the league. If the rest of the Galaxy could give him a little more help, they wouldn’t be settling for a 3-3 draw against St. Louis when they should have eased to victory.

CF Montreal logo

Previous ranking: 12

Laurent Courtois will spend a lot of time in the video room figuring out how to tighten up the CFM defense, but there’s nothing anyone could have done about the Fire’s windswept 99th-minute winner that beat Montréal 4-3.

Houston Dynamo logo

Previous ranking: 13

The Dynamo have needed to get more from their midfield and Ján Greguš delivered that in a 1-0 win over Portland. He was outstanding, and Houston finally have their first win of the campaign.

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Previous ranking: 11

SKC’s winner against San Jose came on a one-touch finish of a 17-pass move that was absolutely gorgeous. The rest of the match was a little more uneven, and they were a little lucky to have taken full points, but that goal was so good that it deserved to decide the 2-1 result.

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Previous ranking: 6

Life without Carlos Vela has not been smooth as the Black and Gold continue to struggle in the final third. It doomed them in a 2-0 loss to Minnesota, and they now have a mere two goals through four matches. LAFC really need to fill in at least one of their two unfilled Designated Player slots.

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Previous ranking: 23

We saw the best of the Whitecaps in Dallas, where Vancouver got vertical runners into space all match and cruised to a 3-1 win.

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Previous ranking: 16

We know that if Nashville can get a lead, they are a menace to play against, but it was encouraging to see them prove that true even without the injured Walker Zimmerman in a 2-1 win over Charlotte.

Seattle Sounders logo

Previous ranking: 10

The Sounders looked well on their way to victory until Joshua Atencio was shown a red card, and everything came crashing down. They held on for a 1-1 draw with Colorado, but Seattle remain plagued by injuries and self-inflicted wounds.

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Previous ranking: 14

Miami’s visit to D.C. could have been a day of celebration for United. Instead, fans were upset that the club jacked up ticket prices for the game, Lionel Messi was hurt and didn’t even play, they lost to Inter, 3-1, anyway and multiple supporter groups were quiet as part of their ongoing protest of the team going to Saudi Arabia for preseason. Talk about a miserable day in the capital.

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Previous ranking: 17

Charlotte struggled to create much in a 2-1 loss to Nashville that served as a reminder that Dean Smith can continue to get things moving in the right direction, but they still need to upgrade their top-end talent.

Orlando City logo

Previous ranking: 19

The Lions are still winless after a 2-0 loss in Atlanta, and they’ll be hoping that going out of the Concacaf Champions Cup is just what they need to find their footing in the league.

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Previous ranking: 18

Dallas are losers of three in a row after falling to Vancouver, 3-1, and they’ve now conceded first in all four matches this season.

St. Louis City SC logo

Previous ranking: 22

It’s rare that your goalkeeper steals the spotlight in a 3-3 draw, but that’s exactly what happened as Roman Bürki shone brightly in LA.

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Previous ranking: 20

It’s a shame that Juan Mosquera and Maxime Crépeau had a communication error on the lone goal of Portland’s 1-0 loss in Houston because the struggling Timbers defense was otherwise excellent.

Chicago Fire logo

Previous ranking: 26

Is Kellyn Acosta the god of wind? It sure looked like it with the way he summoned a hellacious gust to score in the 99th minute to beat Montreal, 4-3.



Chicago Fire wins in unbelievable fashion vs. CF Montreal

Kellyn Acosta’s wind-assisted effort from inside his own half gives Chicago Fire a crazy 4-3 victory over CF Montreal in MLS.

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Previous ranking: 21

John Herdman suffered his first setback as TFC boss and it was a bizarre one, falling to a 10-man NYCFC team that hadn’t taken a point all season.

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Previous ranking: 25

The Rapids put a lot of eggs in the Djordje Mihailović basket and he got off to a slow start. He looked a little better in Seattle though, even if he had a penalty saved, and Colorado managed a 1-1 draw against a 10-man Sounders.

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Previous ranking: 27

The Pigeons had a memorable first win of the season, coming back from a goal down and holding on for a 2-1 win over TFC despite playing the last 22 minutes with 10 men.

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Previous ranking: 24

The Revs fell to Cincy, 2-1, to make it four losses from four games in the league. The international window will give them a much-needed break after eight matches in 26 days to start the season.

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Previous ranking: 28

Austin played Philly to a 2-2 stalemate for their third straight draw. While they’re going to have to turn some of them into wins at some point, they have to be happy to be earning results right now after how last season went.

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Previous ranking: 29

The Quakes played alright in Kansas City, but that isn’t going to make anyone feel better after losing 2-1 for their fourth loss in as many matches this season. Luchi Gonzalez may be the first MLS manager on the hot seat this season.