MLS Power Rankings: LAFC and St. Louis City are now 1-2

LAFC, the 2022 champion, and expansion team St. Louis City are now 1-2. FC Cincinnati, Nashville SC and Atlanta United complete the top five after Matchday 3.

1. (1) LAFC (2-0-0)
Last Week: 4-0 vs. New England. This Week: Wednesday, vs. LD Alajuelense, Concacaf Champions League, Saturday, at Seattle.
Denis Bouanga (center, top photo) followed up on his hat trick in the 3-0 win at Alajuelense in the Concacaf Champions League with the first two goals against New England. The French-born Gabonese international scored just one goal in seven games after arriving from St. Etienne late last summer but he had two goals in the first game of the playoffs against the Galaxy.  "We knew he had the potential last year to score a lot of goals in this league and to be one of the best players in the league.” LAFC coach Steve Cherundolo said after Sunday's win. “Last year it didn't click prolifically but he was still a very important piece of our championship team. And this year, he is scoring and he will continue to score. He's good.”

2. (4) St. Louis City (3-0-0)
Last Week:  2-1 at Portland. This Week: Saturday, vs. San Jose.
St. Louis City matched the 2009 Seattle Sounders in opening with wins in their first three MLS games. Even more impressive, it's the first MLS team to open the season with three straight come-from-behind wins.

Reading: 'Surreal moment' for St. Louis City's unlikely hero, a seven-year collegian

3. (9) FC Cincinnati (2-0-1)
Last Week: 1-0 vs. Seattle. This Week: Saturday, at Chicago.
  Cincinnati's attack -- Brandon Vazquez, Luciano Acosta and Brenner -- got all the attention last season, but its improved defensive performance over the latter stages of 2022 and into 2023 (one goal allowed in three games) will make it title contender.

4. (8) Nashville SC (2-0-1)
Last Week: 2-0 vs. CF Montreal. This Week: Saturday, At New England
Joe Willis became the seventh goalkeeper in MLS history to keep three consecutive shutouts to start a MLS season.

. (11) Atlanta United (2-0-1)
Last Week: 3-0 at Charlotte FC. This Week: Saturday, vs Portland.
Youth Movement: Caleb Wiley, 18, scored two goals and assisted on the third goal, all in the first half, to become the fourth-youngest player in MLS history to produce at least three goal contributions in a single half.

6. (6) Philadelphia (2-1-0)
Last Week: 1-0 vs. Chicago. This Week: Tuesday, vs. Alianza, Concacaf Champions League, Saturday, at CF Montreal.
The Union has won 13 straight home matches (including two in the 2022 playoffs), one away from the MLS record of 14 straight home wins set by San Jose in 2001-02.

7. (2) Seattle (2-1-0)
Last Week: 0-1 at FC Cincinnati. This Week: Saturday, vs. LAFC.
Center forward Heber, who scored in the Sounders' first two games, is out after suffering a left hamstring strain in training. Fredy Montero made his first start of the season in his place, the only change in the starting lineup in three games. Raul Ruidiaz was again used off the bench.

8. (3) Inter Miami (2-1-0)
Last Week:  0-1 at NYCFC. This Week: Saturday, at Toronto FC.
• Midfielder and captain Gregore -- “the heart and soul of our football club," according to head coach Phil Neville -- is out indefinitely after suffering a Lisfranc injury during a challenge with Matías Pellegrini in Saturday's game at Yankee Stadium.

9. (5) New England (2-1-0)
Last Week: 0-4 at LAFC. This Week: Saturday, vs. Nashville SC.
Three goals in the last 30 minutes turned Sunday night's game in Los Angeles into a rout. The outcome would have been worse but for Djordje Petrovic's eight saves.

10. (7) Minnesota United (1-0-1)
Last Week: 1-1 vs. NY Red Bulls. This Week: Saturday, at Colorado.
Snow began falling before kickoff, forcing the Allianz Field groundskeepers to scramble for the Loons' home opener against the Red Bulls to go off. The field was cleared inside both 18-yard boxes for kickoff but the rest of the field was covered in snow. Red Bulls coach Gerhard Struber called the amount of snow on the field "unprofessional."

11. (13) Austin FC (2-1-0)
Last Week: 2-1 at Real Salt Lake. This Week: Tuesday, vs. Violette, Concacaf Champions League, Saturday, at Houston.
• Both Austin FC goals at RSL were beauties: Jon Gallagher with a rocket from 25 yards -- there were a club record 19 passes in the buildup -- and 18-year-old Owen Wolff with the first of his MLS career on a strike of his own from outside the penalty area (Highlights).

12. (15) San Jose (2-1-0)
Last Week: 1-0 vs. Colorado. This Week:
Saturday, at St. Louis City.
•  Argentine Cristian Espinoza, who scored the winner against the Rapids, is quietly having quite a career with the Quakes: 16 goals and 46 assists in 122 games.

13. (20) NYCFC (1-1-1)
Last Week: 1-0 vs. Inter Miami. This Week: Saturday, vs. D.C. United.
•  Santiago Rodríguez claimed the No. 10 position in his first start since returning to NYCFC on a permanent transfer as a Designated Player. His service on a free kick produced the own goal that decided the Yankee Stadium opener.

14. (11)  Orlando City (1-0-2)
Last Week: 1-1 at D.C. United. This Week: Wednesday, vs. Tigres, Concacaf Champions League, Saturday, vs. Charlotte FC.
• The Lions' priority is getting past Tigres. A 0-0 tie in Monterrey was a good start. Again, Oscar Pareja rotated his lineup for the weekend MLS game. Hermann Trophy winner Duncan McGuire scored his first goal of his MLS career on a tap-in. Pedro Gallese (photo) allowed his first goal of the season against D.C. United but had another monster game in goal.

15. (12) Columbus (1-1-1)
Last Week: 1-1 at Toronto FC. This Week: Saturday, at NY Red Bulls.
Sub Jimmy Medranda’s tying goal, which came just two minutes into his Columbus debut, survived Video Review after the offside flag went up. The Colombian chipped TFC keeper Sean Johnson after being put through by Aidan Morris,

16. (14)  FC Dallas (1-1-1)
Last Week: 1-1 at Vancouver. This Week:
Saturday, vs. Sporting KC.
• It was a weekend for defenders to show off their scoring touch around the league. Sebastien Ibeagha opened the scoring 363 seconds into the match at Vancouver with his first-ever MLS goal in 97 games.

17. (18) D.C. United (1-1-1)
Last Week: 1-1 vs. Orlando City. This Week:
Saturday, at NYCFC
Defenders Ruan (against his former club) and Derrick Williams made their D.C. United debuts and completed 90 minutes.

18. (19) NY Red Bulls (0-1-2)
Last Week: 1-1 at Minnesota United. This Week:
Saturday, vs. Columbus.
 • Youth Movement: U.S. U-20 midfielder Daniel Edelman made his first start of the 2023 MLS season.
Kyle Duncan and new signing Cory Burke also made their first starts.

19. (16) Real Salt Lake (1-2-0)
Last Week: 1-2 vs. Austin FC. This Week: bye.
The home opener, held on the same day as the announcement that the NWSL's Utah Royals will be returning to Sandy in 2024, ended with just the the second-ever loss for Real Salt Lake in 19 home openers.

20. (17) Portland (1-2-0)
Last Week: 1-2 vs. St. Louis City. This Week:
Saturday, at Atlanta United.
Zac McGraw -- another defender -- scored in the third minute -- the fastest goal scored in MLS so far this season -- but it did not hold up as St. Louis City rallied with goals in stoppage time at the end of the first half and in the 75th minute.

21. (21) Sporting KC (0-1-2)
Last Week: 0-0 vs. LA Galaxy. This Week: Saturday, at FC Dallas.
Sporting KC leads MLS with 58 shots and 26 shots on target but has yet to score this season.

22. (23)
Toronto FC (0-1-2)

Last Week: 1-1 vs. Columbus. This Week: Saturday, vs. Inter Miami.
• The Reds have led in the second half in all three matches but have only two points to show for it. Coach Bob Bradley said
Medranda's 75th-minute equalizer came "sort of out of nothing but by and large, I didn't think the second half was good enough."

23. (24) LA Galaxy (0-1-1)
Last Week: 0-0 at Sporting KC. This Week: Saturday, vs.
Youth Movement: Jalen Neal made his first MLS start for the Galaxy, finishing with a game-high five blocks and completing 58 of 60 passes.

24. (22) Chicago (0-1-1)

Last Week: 0-1 at Philadelphia. This Week: Saturday, vs. FC Cincinnati
The Fire conceded a 90th-minute goal to Joaquin Torres after playing most of the second with 10 men after Fabian Herbers was sent off after receiving a second yellow card. It finished with nine players after Kei Kamara was sent off in second-half stoppage time with his second yellow card.

25. (29)  Vancouver (0-2-1)
Last Week: 1-1 vs. FC Dallas. This Week:
Wednesday, at Real Espana, Concacaf Champions League, Saturday, at LA Galaxy.
The Whitecaps picked up their first point of the season but it could have been three. "We should be frustrated." head coach Vanni Sartini said. "We should be angry. Because if we say ‘OK, we made a point,’ we are with the wrong mentality because we should have won."

26. (25) CF Montreal (0-3-0)
Last Week: 0-2 at Nashville SC. This Week:
Saturday, vs. Philadelphia.
Montreal had almost 66 percent of possession but produced no shots on target at Nashville. Hernan Losada: "All the things that Nashville did well are things we want to produce on our end like quick transitions, good crosses and good finishing. I want a team with less possession and more verticality and aggression. We manage to cross, but we are not in the right place in the penalty box. We manage to shoot, but they are not on target.”

27. (26) Colorado (0-2-1)
Last Week: 0-1 at San Jose. This Week:
Saturday, vs. Minnesota United.
The Rapids, scoreless in three games, have not won on the road since their 5-4 win at the Red Bulls in August 2022.

28. (28) Houston (0-2-0)

Last Week: bye. This Week: Saturday, vs. Austin FC.
The Dynamo and Galaxy will be the last MLS teams to play their home openers this weekend.

29. (27) Charlotte FC (0-3-0)
Last Week: 0-3 vs. Atlanta United. This Week:
Saturday, vs. Orlando City.
• Christian Lattanzio had his interim tag as head coach removed after Charlotte FC went 10-11-2 over its last 23 games in 2022.

Photos: LAFC, Orlando City SC.

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