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

While other teams played without key players away on international duty, Denis Bouanga rejoined LAFC after his match last Thursday in Gabon and scored the gamewinner for the defending MLS champion just hours after landing back in Los Angeles. Photo: LAFC.

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St. Louis City and LAFC remain 1-2 in Soccer America's Power Rankings, while New England with its teen brigade joined them on the podium.

1. (1) St. Louis City (5-0-0)
Last Week: 4-0 at Real Salt Lake. This Week: Saturday vs. Minnesota United.
St. Louis City joined the LA Galaxy (1996) and Sporting Kansas City (2012) as the only MLS teams to have earned 15 points in its first five matches. Its +11 goal difference is the highest in MLS history after five games.

2. (2) LAFC (3-0-1)
Last Week: 2-1 vs. FC Dallas. This Week: Saturday at Colorado.
Denis Bouanga started for Gabon in its 1-0 win over Sudan in Africa Cup of Nations qualifying on Thursday and was expected to stay for Monday's second match in Sudan. Lo and behold, he landed at LAX two hours before Saturday's kickoff against FC Dallas, showed up at BMO Stadium less than an hour before the opening whistle and came off the bench to score the late winner.

3. (4) New England (4-1-0)
Last Week: 2-1 at D.C. United.
This Week: Saturday vs. NYCFC.
Youth Movement: For the first time in its history, the Revs started three teenagers, all in midfield: 18-year-olds Esmir Bajraktarevic and Jack Panayotou (in his MLS debut) and 17-year-old Noel Buck, who scored the late winner.

4. (5) FC Cincinnati (3-0-2)
Last Week: 1-0 at Nashville SC.
This Week: Saturday vs. Inter Miami.
Brandon Vazquez scored in the 48th minute to give
FC Cincinnati the win at Nashville SC. "It felt like a bunch of weight off my shoulders," Vazquez, who scored 18 goals in 2022 to get himself into the U.S. national team picture but went scoreless in four games to start 2023.

5. (7) Seattle (3-1-1)
Last Week:  4-1 at Sporting KC.
This Week: Saturday at LA Galaxy.
• Jordan Morris set a club record with all four goals at Sporting KC, He's the first MLS player to score at least four goals on the road since Clint Mathis scored a league-record five goals at Dallas in 2000.

6. (6) Minnesota United (2-0-2)
Last Week: 1-1 vs. Vancouver.
This Week: Saturday at St. Louis City.
The Loons, who were missing seven starters on international duty, allowed an equalizer in the 98th minute. Adrian Heath gave MLS debuts to three players off the bench: Mikael Marques, Zaydan Bello and Emmanuel Iwe (originally signed by MNUFC2 in 2022 out of St. Cloud State).

7. (17)  Orlando City (2-1-2)
Last Week: 2-1 at Philadelphia.
This Week: Saturday vs. Nashville SC.
• There was a lot to like from the Lions in Philadelphia, beginning with early goals from Martín Ojeda and Ivan Angulo (photo). Oscar Pareja: “I think in the first half we controlled the game. Not just in the transition, but I think in the middle of the field, I think we were much better there." And in the second half? "We could have scored two or three goals more in the second half also, so the match was very well played by the players.”

8. (18) Columbus (2-2-1)
Last Week: 6-1 vs. Atlanta United.

This Week: Saturday vs. Real Salt Lake.
Lots of players in a patchwork lineup had good games. Filling in for Cucho Hernandez, Christian Ramirez marked his return to MLS with two goals. MLS Next Pro products Jacen Russell-Rowe, Philip Quinton, and Maxi Arfsten all scored their first MLS goals while Mo Farsi and Russell-Rowe registered assists. One constant for the Crew has been the play of Aidan Morris, who also scored his first MLS goal. The 21-year-old midfielder leads MLS with 17 tackles, and his pass-completion rate of 93.3 percent leads all players who have played more than 250 minutes.

9. (3) Atlanta United (3-1-1)
Last Week: 1-6 at Columbus.
This Week: Saturday vs. NY Red Bulls.
 From 5-1 winner over Portland to 6-1 loser to the Crew, the Five Stripes conceded five times in the second half. Youth Movement: With Miles Robinson on international duty, 17-year-old Noah Cobb made MLS debut at center back.

10. (9) Nashville SC (2-2-1)
Last Week: 0-1 vs. FC Cincinnati.
This Week: Saturday at Orlando City.
Nashville SC lost to FC Cincinnati for the first time in five meetings and suffered back-to-back losses for only the fifth time in four MLS seasons.

11. (10)  FC Dallas (2-2-1)
Last Week: 1-2 at LAFC.
This Week: Saturday vs. Portland.
• FC Dallas conceded a goal in the 2nd minute, Edwin Cerrillo's tying goal in the 18th minute was overturned on Video Review, and Ema Twumasi was sent off in the 35th minute. Still ... it looked like it might get a point at LAFC when Nkosi Tafari tied the score in the 73rd minute.

12. (22) Houston (2-2-0)
Last Week
: 1-0 vs. NYCFC. This Week: Saturday at San Jose.
The Dynamo has back-to-back shutout wins over Austin FC and NYCFC, both 2022 conference runners-up. French-born Moroccan Amine Bassi, a TAM signing, had the winner on Saturday from the penalty spot, the second week in a row he scored on a penalty kick.

13. (25) Chicago (1-1-2)
Last Week
: 3-2 at Inter Miami. This Week: Saturday vs. D.C. United.
• With his stoppage-time winner, Kei Kamara has scored for 10 different MLS teams and in 16 different MLS seasons, both league records.
Youth Movement: Homegrown players Javier Casas Jr. and Brian Gutiérrez, both 19, initiated the counterattack that led to Kamara's winner.

. (8) NYCFC (2-2-1)
Last Week: 0-1 at Houston.
This Week: Saturday at New England.
NYCFC has just one goal in three away games and mustered one shot on target against the Dynamo.

15. (13) NY Red Bulls (1-1-3)
Last Week: 1-1 at Charlotte FC.
This Week: Saturday at Atlanta United.
The Red Bulls have only surrendered seven shots on goal, which is the lowest by a single team in MLS history through five games.

16. (14) Austin FC (2-2-1)
Last Week: 1-1 vs. Colorado.
This Week: bye.
• The Rapids' tying goal from Kevin Cabral came in the 85th minute, but they would have had more goals but for goalkeeper Brad Stuver's seven saves. With starters Leo Vaisanen away with Finland and Julio Cascante injured and Kipp Keller and Amro Tarek on the bench after bad outings early in the season, Josh Wolf went with midfielder Alex Ring and outside back Nick Lima as his two center backs.

17. (15) San Jose (2-2-1)
Last Week: 0-0 vs. Toronto FC.
This Week: Saturday vs. Houston.
Keeper JT Marcinkowski, back in the starting lineup, has two shutouts in two starts at
PayPal Park, where the Quakes have an active 253-minute shutout streak.

18. (16)
Toronto FC (1-1-3)

Last Week: 0-0 at San Jose.
This Week: Saturday vs. Charlotte FC.
A stoppage-time save by Sean Johnson on Jackson Yueill preserved the 0-0 tie. Shot-stopping is just one of qualities Reds coach Bob Bradley likes about Johnson, brought over from NYCFC: "He organizes well. He handles high balls well and he really does excellent job of setting himself up to make that big save when we need it."

19. (11) Philadelphia (2-3-0).

Last Week: 1-2 vs. Orlando City.
This Week: Saturday vs. Sporting KC.
• Over the span of two games, the Union gave up goals in the 90th and 98th minutes and lost 3-2 at CF Montreal and goals in the 2nd and 9th minutes and lost to Orlando in Chester, where it was one win away from tying San Jose's league record for the longest home winning streak (14 games).

20. (12) Inter Miami (2-3-0)
Last Week: 2-3 vs. Chicago.
This Week: Saturday at FC Cincinnati.
Miami has lost three in a row after opening with a pair of 2-0 wins. Coach Phil Neville preferred to focus on the fightback of his players after rallying from 2-0 down to the Fire at home. "I can’t fault their commitment, their effort, their drive, their determination to try to get back in the game from going two goals down. That for me was really admirable." But he added: "We've got to learn fast."
Youth Movement. Midfielder David Ruiz, 19, made his MLS debut off the bench a day after the Herons signed him  on a short-term loan agreement from Inter Miami CF II.

21. (21) CF Montreal (1-3-0)
Last Week:  bye.
This Week: Saturday at Vancouver.
After losing a host of stars from last year's team, Montreal got good news when defender Joel Waterman agreed to a new contract through the 2024 MLS season with an option for 2025.

22. (19) D.C. United (1-3-1)
Last Week:
1-2 vs. New England.
This Week: Saturday at Chicago.
Christian Benteke scored his third goal of the season in the 45th minute, but United couldn't hold on to its lead, losing on Buck's goal in the 82nd minute, a deflected shot on which goalkeeper Tyler Miller had no chance.
23. (23) Charlotte FC (1-3-1)
Last Week: 1-1 vs. NY Red Bulls.
This Week: Saturday at Toronto FC.
• Vinicius Mello
the 20-year-old Brazilian, finally made his MLS debut after missing all the 2022 season with injuries, and he had an immediate impact, entering the game against the Red Bulls in the 68th minute and playing a ball into the area that eventually led to the tying own goal six minutes later.

24. (24) LA Galaxy (0-1-3)
Last Week: 0-0 at Portland.
This Week: Saturday vs. Seattle.
Jonathan Klinsmann got his first MLS start in 553 days, filling in for
injured Jonathan Bond and making one save to earn a shutout.

25. (26)  Vancouver (0-2-3)
Last Week: 1-1 at Minnesota United.

This Week: Saturday vs. CF Montreal.
• Like the Galaxy, the Whitecaps are 
still looking for their first win, having played to draws in their last three games.

26. (27) Portland (1-3-1)
Last Week: 0-0 vs. LA Galaxy.
This Week: Saturday at FC Dallas.
Already without seven players due to injuries, the Timbers lost Marvin Loria and David Bingham against the Galaxy with what appeared to be hamstring injuries. Bingham made four saves and was replaced by defender Justin Rasmussen in goal in stoppage time because the Timbers were out of substitution opportunities.

27. (20) Real Salt Lake (1-3-0)
Last Week: 0-4 vs. St. Louis City.
This Week: Saturday at Columbus.
RSL had its chances in the first half but was blown out after intermission, conceding four goals in 29 minutes. "Obviously, disappointing," said RSL coach Pablo Mastroeni said. "I think our biggest issue is not being able to put the ball into the back of the net, and you can only defend for so long without capitalizing on those moments, because those moments change games."

28. (29) Colorado (0-3-2)
Last Week:  1-1 at Austin FC.
This Week: Saturday vs. LAFC.
The Rapids are still without a win but have a lot of positives to take away from the draw in Austin, where they had a 17-7 advantage in shots and 8-3 edge in shots on goal.

29. (28) Sporting KC (0-3-2)
Last Week: 1-4 vs. Seattle.
This Week: Saturday at Philadelphia.
• Sporting KC started the 2022 season with three losses in its first four games and it didn't get better after that. Johnny Russell, Sporting’s captain since 2021, says things need to turn around quickly to avoid a repeat of last season:
"Look at the situation we're in right now. If that doesn't hurt you with where we are. I know it’s the start of the year but let's not make excuses about that. We said that last year as well. ‘It's just the start. We've got plenty of time.’ We can't fall back into the same ways as we did last year."
2 comments about "MLS Power Rankings: St. Louis City and LAFC remain 1-2".
  1. Sara Blake, March 29, 2023 at 10:42 a.m.

    I'm not going to pay $79 to buy the MLS package so I can watch the Red Bulls games. I already have Apple+ and several other services. You've lost a family that used to be avid Red Bulls fans. We can watch the Premier League games that we really care about without incurring additional costs. 

  2. Daryl Penner, March 31, 2023 at 3:32 a.m.

    Apple is the richest company in the world, or in the top 5. They don't need MLS dollars. And I thought we have been trying to make US Soccer MORE inclusive. Whoever negotiated this deal for MLS fans, should be removed. Apple should/could be paying us, to watch the games.

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