MLS Power Rankings – Wayne Rooney’s D.C. debut lifts league’s bottom side off the foot of the table

Two 4-4 games? Major League Soccer was on one this weekend.

Hidden behind those eight-goal affairs was a two-goal stoppage-time comeback, an MVP candidate staking his claim, the league leaders mounting an impressive come-from-behind victory and Mother Nature’s fury. Oh, and there are three days before the transfer window slams shut.

You’ve got goals, you’ve got comebacks, you’ve got stars and you’ve got a league that can still be flipped upside down by a new signing. You’ve got it all, except for the opportunity to take a deep breath, so buckle up because you’ve also got Power Rankings.


MLS on ESPN+: Stream LIVE games, replays (U.S.)
– Soccer on ESPN+: FC Daily | Futbol Americas
– Don’t have ESPN? Get instant access


Previous ranking: 1

Next MLS match: Aug. 6 at Real Salt Lake, 10 p.m. ET

Maybe the most impressive thing about LAFC — and there are many impressive things about the best team in the league, shockingly — is the way they absolutely squeeze the life out of opponents. Even after conceding an own-goal to start the game against Seattle, they took the lead before halftime and then absolutely took the life out of the Sounders all second half. Score first, concede first, whatever form the match takes, the Black and Gold eventually get control and leave you for dead.

Previous ranking: 3

Next MLS match: Aug. 3 at FC Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Not that the Union needed more help, or more bright young talent, but here comes Jack McGlynn. A goal and assist in Philly’s 6-0 thrashing of Houston was the latest step for the 19-year-old, who has started three in a row now, all Union wins. The rich get (or, more accurately, develop) richer.

Previous ranking: 2

Next MLS match: Aug. 6 at Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

How did NYCFC look in their first game without Valentin Castellanos? Like a team missing the reigning MVP. That they played Montreal even for a 0-0 draw north of the border showed how much quality they have, but it is impossible to not notice the quality that left for Spain too.

Previous ranking: 5

Next MLS match: Aug. 6 vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Sebastian Druissi is up to five goals and three assists in Austin’s past six games, so you can’t say he’s just feasting on weak competition, as he did in a 2-0 win against SKC this weekend. You’d understand if the Argentine began thinking about where in his house the MVP trophy might look best.

play

0:36

Sebastián Driussi scores a goal in the 90th minute for Austin FC as they take a 2-0 lead over Sporting Kansas City.

Previous ranking: 4

Next MLS match: Aug. 2 at Colorado Rapids, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

They played Barcelona closer than they did Orlando in the U.S. Open Cup semis. That’d be a point of pride for Phil Neville, but Neville isn’t a Red Bull, so last week had to sting.

Previous ranking: 6

Next MLS match: Aug. 2 at Seattle Sounders FC, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Dallas had plenty of matches this season in which the scoreline did not reflect its good play, so you won’t see FCD apologizing for the scoreline flattering them in a 1-0 win over the Galaxy. The soccer gods are just, eventually.

Previous ranking: 8

Next MLS match: Aug. 3 at Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Two shots. That’s all Montreal conceded to NYCFC. It’s easy to say that the Quebecois deserved to win for their defensive excellence, but they just didn’t create enough and had to settle for a draw. As the clock ticks on the transfer window, it’s possible so does Montreal’s MLS Cup chances because it would be a real problem if it added a forward to this squad.

Previous ranking: 9

Next MLS match: Aug. 6 at Colorado Rapids, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Managers don’t generally look back fondly on four goals conceded, but everyone else will only remember the four they scored in a rip-roaring draw with Portland. Trust the fans, not the manager.

play

0:35

Luis Amarilla scores his second goal of the game to tie the score at 4-4 for Minnesota United.

Previous ranking: 8

Next MLS match: Aug. 6 vs. LAFC, 10 p.m. ET

RSL have played a lot of games this season where they were good striker play away from a win. Since signing Jefferson Savarino, they’ve mostly gotten that good striker play, but him scoring goals hasn’t resulted in many wins. He scored again on Saturday, but Salt Lake could only draw in San Jose. Riddle, mystery, enigma, RSL.

Previous ranking: 10

Next MLS match: Aug. 3 at Portland Timbers, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Nashville failed to win at home, again, this time drawing Vancouver 1-1. No team in the league has won fewer matches at home than Nashville’s three.

Previous ranking: 14

Next MLS match: Aug. 3 vs. Nashville SC, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Was it a point won or two points dropped in the wild 4-4 draw at Minnesota? The tight playoff race says points dropped, but the challenge of a red-hot opponent on the road says a point won. Most importantly, the Fun Soccer Judges say it doesn’t matter because that game ruled.

Previous ranking: 12

Next MLS match: Aug. 6 vs. Philadelphia Union, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Brandon Vazquez is doing everything possible to make Gregg Berhalter think long and hard about giving him a look before the World Cup. After two more goals in a 4-4 draw against Miami, it may be less about whether he gets a chance to play for the national team in September and more about whether Berhalter rues not bringing him in sooner.

play

0:45

Alvaro Barreal barrels into the box to cross the ball to Brandon Vazquez for the finish.

Previous ranking: 11

Next MLS match: Aug. 6 vs. New England Revolution, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

The Lions have relied on a bend-don’t-break defense all season. On Sunday they bent and broke in a 2-1 loss. Against D.C. Woof, Cubs.

Previous ranking: 13

Next MLS match: Aug. 3 vs. CF Montreal, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

The only thing that could stop Cucho Hernandez was inclement weather. Note to the rest of MLS: When Columbus comes to town, do your center-backs a favor and conjure up a storm to get the match postponed like Charlotte did.

Previous ranking: 15

Next MLS match: Aug. 2 vs. FC Dallas, 10 p.m. ET, ABC

Nobody is going to fault a team for losing to LAFC, and the Sounders have obviously had a difficult go of it in the league this season, but it was still startling to see how they were completely played out of the game in the second half.

Previous ranking: 16

Next MLS match: Aug. 6 at Sporting Kansas City, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

One week Dejan Joveljic is the future of the Galaxy, the next week he’s having a penalty saved in a 1-0 loss. Life comes at you fast.

play

0:46

Dallas takes an early 1-0 lead over the Galaxy thanks to an impressive goal by Franco Jara.

Previous ranking: 18

Next MLS match: Aug. 3 at San Jose Earthquakes, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Gonzalo Higuain scored a first-half hat trick and Inter equalized in the 97th minute for a 4-4 draw against Cincy. OK, now that we’ve got that out of the way, can we talk about Higuaín’s free-kick goal? The ball comes off his foot so fast that the video had to skip forward. Someone look into who doctored the film. I refuse to believe that was real.

Previous ranking: 17

Next MLS match: Aug. 2 at New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

A flawless week for the Rapids. Maybe the key is to not play?

Previous ranking: 19

Next MLS match: Aug. 3 vs. D.C. United, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Man of the Match honors, after a four-hour delay and subsequent postponement, goes to the Charlotte meteorologist.

Previous ranking: 22

Next MLS match: Aug. 6 at Nashville SC, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN+

The standings and 0-0 scoreline in New England tell you TFC are not a very good team. Your eyes tell you differently, for the second straight week since adding Federicoo Bernardeschi and Lorenzo Insigne. It would help if Insigne converted his penalties, though.

play

0:42

Christopher McVey pings the ball off the post and into the goal to even the game for Inter Miami in the final minutes.

Previous ranking: 20

Next MLS match: Aug. 6 at Orlando City, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Small-sample-size alert: Djordje Petrovic has been spectacular and the analytics back it up after his penalty save earned the Revs a draw against TFC. Matt Turner who?

Previous ranking: 23

Next MLS match: Aug. 5 vs. Houston Dynamo FC, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

The Vancouver Whitecaps drew Nashville SC, 1-1. Wait, let me correct that. The Canadian Championship-winning Vancouver Whitecaps drew Nashville SC, 1-1.

Previous ranking: 21

Next MLS match: Aug. 6 at Charlotte FC, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN+

On its face, a scoreless draw against Atlanta is underwhelming, but the Fire overcame Lollapalooza nextdoor to do it. That’s worth a second point, if we’re being fair.

Previous ranking: 24

Next MLS match: Aug. 6 vs. Seattle Sounders, 3 p.m. ET, ABC

After a mostly anonymous draw in Chicago, the Five Stripes are starting look more and more like the rest of us: just passing the time and waiting to see who Arthur Blank will choose to turn this club around.

play

1:03

Jefferson Savarino scores a clutch goal in stoppage time to help Real Salt Lake salvage a draw with San Jose.

Previous ranking: 26

Next MLS match: Aug. 3 vs. Inter Miami, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Finding a striker is a pretty good consolation prize in a lost year, and the Quakes have certainly done that. Jeremy Ebobisse is up to 12 goals after scoring in San Jose’s 2-2 draw with RSL.

Previous ranking: 25

Next MLS match: Aug. 5 at Vancouver Whitecaps, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Put aside the defending, attacking, organization and 6-0 scoreline in Philadelphia, and the Dynamo didn’t look too bad.

Previous ranking: 28

Next MLS match: Aug. 3 at Charlotte FC, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN+

It wasn’t Wayne Rooney sprinting back 50 yards in stoppage time to make a heroic tackle then launching a ball for Luciano Acosta to score, but it was Rooney against Orlando once more so of course D.C. scored twice in stoppage time to win. Let D.C. play the Lions every week and we’ve got a cup contender on our hands.

Previous ranking: 27

Next MLS match: Aug. 6 vs. LA Galaxy, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

It’s not great when you lose 2-0 and your Man of the Match is the offside flag.