MLS Power Rankings: Expansion St. Louis City sits on top

St. Louis City's historic start continued with its biggest win yet and a spot atop the Power Rankings.

1. (2) St. Louis City (4-0-0)
Last Week: 3-0 vs. San Jose. This Week: Saturday at Real Salt Lake.
St. Louis City is off to the best start of any expansion team in MLS history. It is also the fifth team to start out with a 4-0-0 record in the post-shootout era. "Is it a surprise for us? No. The boys were confident from Day 1," said head coach Bradley Carnell after Saturday's win. "The boys were angry from Day 1 that no one believed in them. So yeah, we've got the chip on the shoulder, we had the chip on the shoulder. But now we've shown that it's not just about having a chip on the shoulder."

2. (1) LAFC (2-0-1)
Last Week: 0-0 at Seattle. This Week: Saturday vs. FC Dallas.
• LAFC coach Steve Cherundolo was content to get out of Seattle with a point and happy with how the game was played despite the scoreless draw: “There were 22 fantastic players on the field today. The more games we have like that in MLS, the better we're all doing. And I thought it was a fun game to watch, a very close game."

3. (5) Atlanta United (3-0-1)
Last Week: 5-1 vs Portland. This Week: Saturday at Columbus.
MLS has a gift in Thiago Almada, MLS's first active World Cup winner. Everyone should enjoy him while he is here. His goal on a free kick from 35 yards against the Timbers is an early contender for MLS Goal of the Year (Video). He became the first player in MLS history to score at least four goals and four assists in hits first four games of the season.

4. (9) New England (3-1-0)
Last Week: 1-0 vs. Nashville SC. This Week: Saturday at D.C. United.
Youth Movement. Noel Buck, 17, is the youngest of the four teenagers who have started all four MLS games their teams have played.

5. (3) FC Cincinnati (2-0-2)
Last Week: 3-3 at Chicago. This Week: Saturday at Nashville SC.
FC Cincinnati was headed for its first defeat of the 2023 season when it rallied for goals by Sergio Santos in the 84th minute and Junior Moreno in the 87th minute, overcoming a two-goal deficit in the 80th minute or later to earn a point for the first time in its history.

6. (10) Minnesota United (2-0-1)
Last Week: 2-1 at Colorado. This Week: Saturday vs. Vancouver.
The Loons' second road win in two games was capped by 5-foot-11 defender Miguel Tapias' winner on a header. Minnesota coach Adrian Heath praised the Mexican's ability in the air. "He’s surprisingly, when you see his size, he doesn’t get beat on a lot of headers. He manages to put his body against people to make it difficult for people who are physically bigger and stronger than him. He’s very good at getting himself in between, knowing when to drop off and knowing when to get tight."

7. (7) Seattle (2-1-1)
Last Week:  0-0 vs. LAFC. This Week: Saturday at Sporting KC.
The Sounders are still managing the minutes of Joao Paulo, the 2021 Best XI pick who missed the last five months of the 2022 season with an ACL knee injury. He played 62 minutes in the 0-0 tie with LAFC. Youth Movement: Joao Paulo came off for Obed Vargas, who was sidelined for the last three and half months of 2022 with a back injury, it was his first appearance of 2023. Vargas is one of the 11 MLS players in Spain with the U.S. U-20s.

8. (13) NYCFC (2-1-1)
Last Week: 3-2 vs. D.C. United. This Week: Saturday at Houston.
Things are starting to click for NYCFC, which got a goal and an assist from Santi Rodríguez and goals from Talles Magno and sub Thiago Andrade. For all three players, it was their first goal of the 2023 season.

9. (4) Nashville SC (2-1-1)
Last Week: 0-1 at New England. This Week: Saturday vs. FC Cincinnati.
Despite the loss to the Revs, Nashville SC is off to its best start through the first four matches of a season in its MLS history with seven points.

10. (16)  FC Dallas (2-1-1)
Last Week: 2-1 vs. Sporting KC. This Week: Saturday at LAFC.
Goalkeeper Maarten Paes was the man of the hour, stopping Willy Agada's penalty kick in the 61st minute and then Erik Thommy's re-take after the Dutchman was ruled to have stepped off his line on the first attempt. Paes was later issued a red card (and Sporting KC awarded a second penalty) for a foul on Felipe Hernandez, but referee Pierre-Luc Lauziere overturned his call after Hernandez was found to have been offside on the play.

11. (6) Philadelphia (2-2-0).
Last Week: 2-3 at CF Montreal. This Week: Saturday vs. Orlando City.
• The Union came back from going behind on a 4th-minute penalty kick to take a 2-1 lead thanks to two Mikael Uhre goals, but all that good work was undone by a collapse in stoppage time. Coach Jim Curtin's first reaction: “I still haven’t seen all the plays, and I can’t really comment too much on it, but yeah, the word s***show comes to mind.”

12. (8) Inter Miami (2-2-0)
Last Week: 0-2 at Toronto FC. This Week: Saturday vs. Chicago.
Youth Movement. Harvey Neville, 20, made his first MLS start in the match. Phil Neville's son started at right back, marking the first time a father and son duo of coach and player faced another such pairing in an MLS match. Michael Bradley started for TFC coach Bob Bradley.

13. (18) NY Red Bulls (1-1-2)
Last Week: 2-1 vs. Columbus. This Week: Saturday at Charlotte FC.
The Red Bulls, who have struggled to get goals out of their forwards, beat the Crew thanks to goals by Luquinhas, who recorded his first goal since May 28, 2022, and new Belgian DP Dante Vanzeir, who scored his first MLS goal with the winning volley.

14. (11) Austin FC (2-2-0)
Last Week: 0-2 at Houston. This Week: Saturday vs. Colorado.
• Gyasi Zardes is scoreless in his first four MLS games with Austin FC. More concerning: Argentina DP Emiliano Rigoni has no goals and no assists in 11 MLS regular-season appearances since his arrival late last summer.

15. (12) San Jose (2-2-0)
Last Week: 0-3 at St. Louis City. This Week: Saturday vs. Toronto FC.
Tommy Thompson made his first start of the season  -- and first start in the Quakes' midfield since Oct. 28, 2018.

16. (22)
Toronto FC (1-1-2)

Last Week: 2-0 vs. Inter Miami. This Week: Saturday at San Jose.
• With Lorenzo Insigne still out, fellow Italian Federico Bernardeschi has played a bigger role on the Reds, getting his first assist of the season in the win over Miami. "He's worked very hard in the off-season," says TFC coach Bob Bradley. "He's fitter. He's strong. He runs hard and those can be really important qualities in our team, and look, he is a guy that brings life. You've just got to make sure it's all in the right way for the group. So yeah, it's a good challenge."

17. (14)  Orlando City (1-1-2)
Last Week: 1-2 vs. Charlotte FC. This Week: Saturday at Philadelphia.
It was a tough week for the Lions at Exploria Stadium, where they exited the Concacaf Champions League against Tigres (1-1) and lost to Charlotte FC after conceding two goals in the first 37 minutes.

18. (15) Columbus (1-2-1)
Last Week: 1-2 at NY Red Bulls. This Week: Saturday vs. Atlanta United.
Colombian star Cucho Hernandez missed the match with the Red Bulls after he sustained a knee injury last week.

19. (17) D.C. United (1-2-1)
Last Week:
2-3 at NYCFC. This Week: Saturday vs. New England.
Youth Movement: Defender Jacob Greene, 19, made his MLS debut, coming on at halftime. He is D.C. United's fourth Homegrown teen to make an appearance in 2023.

20. (19) Real Salt Lake (1-2-0)
Last Week: bye. This Week: Saturday vs. St. Louis City.
RSL is one of four MLS teams with players off to both the U.S. U-20s (Diego Luna) and U-19s (Gavin Beavers) during the March window.

21. (26) CF Montreal (1-3-0)
Last Week: 3-2 vs. Philadelphia. This Week: bye.
CF Montreal scored both the game-tying goal (Chinonso Offor) and game-winning goal (Romell Quioto) in the 90th minute or later for the first time in its 12-year history.

22. (28) Houston (1-2-0)
Last Week: 2-0 vs. Austin FC. This Week: Saturday vs. NYCFC.
TAM signing Amine Bassi and second-year Designated Player Hector Herrera both got their first MLS goals. "For Hector to score a goal and to get on the board and also Bassi is a big deal," said head coach Ben Olsen after his first win with the Dynamo. "One out of the run of play, another a set-piece PK. So all in all, good night. We're going to enjoy it because it's our first one and it's nice to get that monkey off our back and then get back to work and hopefully get better."

23. (29) Charlotte FC (1-3-0)
Last Week: 2-1 vs. Orlando City. This Week: Saturday vs. NY Red Bulls.
It took four games for Charlotte FC to earn its first points of the season, getting goals from Enzo Copetti and Kerwin Vargas. The same thing happened in 2022, its expansion season, when it went 4-2-1 after starting 0-3-0.
24. (23) LA Galaxy (0-1-2)
Last Week: 1-1 vs. Vancouver. This Week: Saturday at Portland.
The Galaxy thought it had scored a go-ahead goal from Dejan Joveljic in the 77th minute but it was waived off for a handball call Galaxy coach Greg Vanney said "was a non-handball. I just don’t understand for the life of me how the referee, who is 25-yards behind the play, and directly behind the attacker, sees handball. Because even when you watch it on replay, it’s not a handball. And you have all the angles in the world, potentially, in VAR. Let them make the call if it’s a handball."

25. (24) Chicago (0-1-2)

Last Week: 3-3 vs. FC Cincinnati. This Week: Saturday at Inter Miami.
• The Fire conceded a 90th-minute goal and lost to Philadelphia a week earlier. It had a 3-1 lead against FC Cincinnati before allowing two goals in the last six minutes on Saturday. "Last week is a different story, you're down a man and you're fighting to hold on," said Fire coach Ezra Hendrickson. "This week? No excuse. No excuse whatsoever.”

26. (25) Vancouver (0-2-2)
Last Week: 1-1 at LA Galaxy. This Week: Saturday at Minnesota United.
Julian Gressel has assists on all three goals the Whitecaps have scored themselves.

27. (20) Portland (1-3-0)
Last Week: 1-5 at Atlanta United. This Week: Saturday vs. LA Galaxy.
• Not for the first time the Timbers have gotten off to a slow start. Each time they reached MLS Cup (2015, 2018, 2021) they began the season with three or less points.

28. (21) Sporting KC (0-2-2)
Last Week: 1-2 at FC Dallas. This Week: Saturday vs. Seattle.
• Graham Zusi became the sixth player to start at least 300 regular-season games for one MLS team after Nick Rimando (368 games for Real Salt Lake), Kyle Beckerman (337 for RSL), Diego Chara (337 for Portland), Chris Wondolowski (313 for San Jose) and Andrew Farrell (301 for New England).

29. (27) Colorado (0-3-1)
Last Week:  1-2 vs. Minnesota United. This Week: Saturday at Austin FC.
It was a brutal weekend for the Rapids. They dropped into the basement in the overall MLS standings with the loss to Minnesota but also lost captain Jack Price for the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Photos: Top: Raul Ruidiaz, Mike Fiechtner/Sounders FC Communications, Bottom: FC Cincinnati's Brenner and Chicago's Chris Mueller, Chicago Fire FC.

2 comments about "MLS Power Rankings: Expansion St. Louis City sits on top".
  1. Wooden Ships, March 21, 2023 at 9:50 a.m.

    St Louis City SC riding the ghosts of players past. 

  2. Steve Rustige replied, March 22, 2023 at 11:24 a.m.

    I'm a season ticket holder for St. Louis CITY - it's really been fun seeing the roll out - the coaches, the MLS Next team, new stadium, which is fantastic, the roster, etc.  No one knew how good the team would be, and while it is very early in the season, it's been pure fun to see them win these games.  Two home games and everyone is so excited, we've had to stand for the entire game!

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