MLS Power Rankings: Philly starts out on top

MLS kicked off its 28th season with 13 games, all of which produced a winner.

1. Philadelphia (1-0-0).
Last Week: 4-1 vs. Columbus. This Week: Saturday at Inter Miami.
In its last 9 home games in the MLS regular season, dating back to 2022, the Union has won 7-0, 2-1, 6-0, 4-1, 6-0, 4-1, 5-1, 4-0 and 4-1. A margin of 42-5. Against the Crew, Daniel Gazdag finished with 2 goals (both from the penalty spot) and 2 assists and Julian Carranza added 2 goals.

2. LAFC (0-0-0)
Last Week: game postponed. This Week: Saturday vs. Portland.
The El Trafico match has been rescheduled for July 4.

3. Nashville SC (1-0-0)
Last Week: 2-0 vs. NYCFC. This Week: Saturday at NY Red Bulls.
Hany Mukhtar, the 2022 MLS MVP, has been dealing with a hip issue, so he was used off the bench. Four minutes after his introduction, he set up Jacob Shaffelburg for the insurance goal.

4. FC Cincinnati (1-0-0)
Last Week: 2-1 vs. Houston This Week: Saturday at Orlando City.
In his first start after being used off the bench in 2022 following his trade from Philadelphia, Sergio Santos opened the scoring with his first goal for FC Cincinnati.

5. Seattle (1-0-0)
Last Week: 4-0 vs. Colorado. This Week: Saturday vs. Real Salt Lake.
The Sounders romped to the tune of Samba soccer. Joao Paulo is back in midfield after missing most of 2022 with a knee injury suffered in the Concacaf Champions League final against UNAM.  Heber scored in his Sounders debut. One of the most pleasant surprises of the opening win was the promising cameo of winger Leo Chu, not much of a factor in 2022.

6. St. Louis City (1-0-0)
Last Week: 3-2 at Austin FC. This Week: Saturday vs. Charlotte FC.
St. Louis City's decision to field a team in last season's MLS Next Pro paid early dividends. Brazil Joao Klauss, who scored the late game-winner, was one of six St. Louis City2 players who played on Saturday along with starters Kyle Hiebert and Tomas Ostrak and subs Celio Pompeu, Miguel Perez and Josh Yaro. Youth Movement: St. Louis City coach Bradley Carnell said one of the easiest decisions of the opener was to play the 17-year-old Perez in midfield. "It was one of the first names for me when we knew we were going through different moments of battle, struggle, fatigue."

7. Minnesota United (1-0-0)
Last Week: 1-0 at FC Dallas. This Week: bye.
Not only were the Loons missing AWOL Emanuel Reynoso, but they were without Kervin Arriaga and Joseph Rosales in training last week while they secured green cards back home in Honduras. Minnesota coach Adrian Heath praised the composure and work on the ball of Arriaga, who missed part of last season with a high ankle sprain. "He never really got himself going, but tonight was like the proper curve, covering loads and loads of ground, getting in good spots."

8. Real Salt Lake (1-0-0)
Last Week: 2-1 at Vancouver. This Week: Saturday at Seattle.
It was appropriate that captain Damir Kreilach had the winner for RSL. He needed a back procedure and played just five games in 2022 after scoring 42 goals in 109 games in his first four seasons. Pablo Mastroeni mentioned all the Croatian's qualities: managing a game leading the press, linking through midfield. "But his greatest asset is scoring goals," the RSL coach added. "You know, I've never seen a player that is so lethal in front of goal."

9. New England (1-0-0)
Last Week: 1-0 at Charlotte FC. This Week: Saturday vs. Houston.
Youth Movement: Joel Buck, 17, went the distance in midfield and had team highs in interceptions (4) and tackles won (3). He also created one chance – Henry Kessler’s shot off the woodwork in the 61st minute.

10. D.C. United (1-0-0)

Last Week: 3-2 vs. Toronto FC. This Week: Saturday at Columbus.
Youth Movement: Matai Akinmboni, the youngest player to start in MLS on opening day at the age of 16, was one of six Homegrown players whom Wayne Rooney played. Vets Andy Najar and Chris Durkin are in their second tours in D.C. Ted Ku-DiPietro, the hero with an assist on the tying goal in the 90th minute and the winner in the 98th minute, Kristian Fletcher and Jackson Hopkins were all on the field for the late comeback.

Behind the scenes: D.C. United-Toronto FC.

11. Inter Miami (1-0-0)
Last Week: 2-0 vs. CF Montreal. This Week: Saturday vs. Philadelphia.
• Ukrainian defender Sergii Kryvtsov, who opened the scoring, was one of four starters making their Inter Miami debuts along with Josef Martinez, Franco Negri and Nicolas Stefanelli.Youth Movement: Homegrown signing Shanyder Borgelin also scored in his Heron debut off the bench. Benjamin Cremaschi, another Homegrown signing with experience with both the U.S. and Argentine U-20s, also made his first MLS debut.

12. Atlanta United (1-0-0)
Last Week: 2-1 vs. San Jose. This Week: Saturday vs. Toronto FC.
• You'll hear a lot this season about Thiago Almada being MLS's first active World Cup champion. The young Argentine certainly did not disappoint with the game tying goal in the 93rd minute from outside of the penalty area and winning free kick from just outside of the arc in the 99th minute -- the final kick of the game.

13.  Orlando City (1-0-0)
Last Week: 1-0 vs. NY Red Bulls. This Week: Saturday vs. FC Cincinnati.
• Facundo Torres' winning penalty kick was the Lions' only shot on target against RBNY.

14. Portland (1-0-0)
Last Week: 1-0 vs, Sporting KC. This Week: Saturday at LAFC.
• David Bingham, starting for the injured Aljaz Ivacic, picked up his first MLS shutout since 2020.

15. LA Galaxy (0-0-0)
Last Week: game postponed. This Week: Saturday at FC Dallas.
• On Monday, the Galaxy signed Brazilian defender Lucas Calegari, 20, on loan from Fluminense with purchase option as part U22 Initiative to replace Julian Araujo.

16. NY Red Bulls (0-1-0)
Last Week: 0-1 at Orlando City. This Week: Saturday vs. Nashville SC.
•  Playing without Belgian DP signing Dante Vanzeir, Red Bulls finished with a 15-6 edge in shots against the Lions.

17. Austin FC (0-1-0)
Last Week: 2-3 vs. St. Louis City. This Week: Saturday vs. CF Montreal.
• Austin FC's lack of depth at center back was exposed when Julio Cascante left with an injury in the 10th minute. Kipp Keller was beaten on St. Louis City's first and third goals and put the ball on a platter with his backpass to former teammate Jared Stroud on the expansion team's tying goal.

18. NYCFC (0-1-0)
Last Week: 0-2 at Nashville SC. This Week: Saturday at Chicago.
• NYCFC had almost 62 percent of the ball in Nashville but only managed to put two shots on target.

19. Sporting KC (0-1-0)
Last Week: 0-1 at Portland. This Week: Saturday at Colorado.
• Snow and bitter cold conditions in Portland forced the season opener to be moved from Saturday to Monday night.

20. Chicago (0-0-0)
Last Week: bye. This Week: Saturday vs. NYCFC.
• The Fire finished up preseason with a 3-0 win over Indy Eleven.

21. CF Montreal (0-1-0)
Last Week: 0-2 at Inter Miami. This Week: Saturday at Austin FC.
• Montreal lost starting keeper James Pantemis in the 80th minute with a shoulder injury and was forced to bring on 21-year-old Quebecois Jonathan Sirois, who made his MLS debut.

22. Columbus (0-1-0)
Last Week: 1-4 at Philadelphia. This Week: Saturday vs. D.C United.
• New Crew head coach Wilfried Nancy wasn't alone in losing his first match in charge of his new team. All four new head coaches lost on Saturday: Luchi Gonzalez (San Jose), Hernan Losada (CF Montreal) and Ben Olsen (Houston).

23. Toronto FC (0-1-0)
Last Week: 2-3 at D.C. United. This Week: Saturday at Atlanta United.
• There has been no word yet on the extent of the injury to Italian star Lorenzo Insigne, who left the opener in Washington in the 34th minute with a blow to the lower leg.

24. Charlotte FC (0-1-0)
Last Week: 0-1 vs. New England. This Week: Saturday at St. Louis City.
• To the disappointment of the Bank of America Stadium crowd of 69,345, Charlotte FC was denied an equalizer in stoppage time when Colombian sub Kerwin Vargas (left with Revs' Bobby Wood) hit the post.

25.  FC Dallas (0-1-0)
Last Week: 0-1 vs. Minnesota United. This Week: Saturday vs. LA Galaxy.
• FC Dallas had its 13-game unbeaten streak in season openers come to an end. Its last loss in a season opener was a 3-1 decision to the Chicago Fire in 2009.

26. Houston (0-1-0)
Last Week: 1-2 at FC Cincinnati. This Week: Saturday at New England.
• Tate Schmitt, a free-agent signing late in preseason after his contract option wasn't pick up by RSL, had the lone Dynamo goal in Cincinnati.

27. San Jose (0-1-0)
Last Week: 1-2 at Atlanta United. This Week: Saturday vs. Vancouver.
• The defeat on Almada's two stoppage-time goals will be hard to swallow. "I felt that we had the match in control," said Gonzalez. "I was very confident that we were going to win the match."

28.  Vancouver (0-1-0)
Last Week: 1-2 vs. Real Salt Lake. This Week: Saturday at San Jose.
• The Whitecaps took a deserved first-half lead on a goal by Jamaican Javain Brown but struggled as the match went on, losing for the first time since 2021 in a match they led at the half.

29. Colorado (0-1-0)
Last Week: 0-4 at Seattle. This Week: Saturday vs. Sporting KC.
• Head coach Robin Fraser said the Rapids were playing good enough until Cristian Roldan's follow-up header put the Sounders ahead in the 25th minute. "To give up the goal the way we did was disappointing, and then certainly, to give up a goal seconds before halftime was really disappointing." Fraser said he had to take some of the blame. "We may have been a bit too aggressive."

Saturday: MLS on the air ...
APPLE TV (free)

*LAFC vs. Portland 4:30 p.m.
Columbus vs. DC United  7:30 p.m.
Inter Miami vs. Philadelphia 7:30 p.m.
NY Red Bulls vs. Nashville SC 7:30 p.m.
Chicago vs. NYCFC 8:30 p.m.
San Jose vs. Vancouver 10:30 p.m.
Atlanta United vs. Toronto FC 7:30 p.m.
New England vs. Houston 7:30 p.m.
Orlando City vs. FC Cincinnati 7:30 p.m.
Austin FC vs. CF Montreal 8:30 p.m.
FC Dallas vs. LA Galaxy 8:30 p.m.
St. Louis City vs. Charlotte FC 8:30 p.m.
Colorado vs. Sporting KC 9:30 p.m.
Seattle vs. Real Salt Lake 10:30 p.m.
*Also available on Fox and Fox Deportes.
Note: All times ET.

Photos (top to bottom): Philadelphia Union, Mark Thor/Orlando City SC, ISI Photos.

1 comment about "MLS Power Rankings: Philly starts out on top".
  1. Daniel Mullen, February 28, 2023 at 3:52 p.m.

    For the Revs 17 year old, it's Noel not Joel.

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