MLS Power Rankings: Top five teams pull away

St. Louis City players celebrate a goal during their 3-0 win over Houston, the eighth time in 14 game the expansion team has scored at least three goals. (Photo: Bill Barrett/ISI Photos)

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The top five teams in the MLS Power Rankings held their positions.
1. (1) FC Cincinnati (12-1-3)
Last Week
: 3-1 at NYCFC, 1-0 vs. Chicago. This Week: Tuesday, vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds, U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals, Saturday, at Vancouver.
FC Cincinnati, which leads both the Eastern Conference and the Supporters' Shield race by an eight-point margin, is the first team since the Philadelphia Union in 2020 to win its first nine home matches of a season and is one win away from tying the MLS record for the most consecutive home victories to start a season (10 wins), held by the 2002 San Jose Earthquakes.

2. (2) LAFC (7-1-4)
Last Week
: bye. This Week: Wednesday, vs. Atlanta United, Saturday, at Houston.
Steve Cherundolo's words after Sunday night's loss in the Concacaf Champions League final, 'Look, this hurts. It should hurt. Go home with your wounds, and then we'll get back to work, because we have a lot of work to do and I think there's still a lot of goals and points out there for us this year.” LAFC will be back to work on Wednesday, starting to make up the games postponed during the CCL run. It has 11 MLS matches over 39 days until the summer break for the Leagues Cup.

3. (3) Nashville SC (9-3-4)
Last Week
: 2-1 at FC Dallas. This Week: Saturday, at Toronto FC.
Hany Mukhtar is tied for the MLS lead with 10 goals and tied for third with seven assists, marking his third consecutive season with at least 10 goals and five assists.

4. (4) Philadelphia (9-4-3)
Last Week: 1-0 vs. Charlotte FC, 3-0 vs. CF Montreal. This Week: Saturday, at San Jose.
 In 2022, Daniel GazdagJulian Carranza and Mikael Uhre combined for 49 goals and 25 assists. They are on a similar pace with 22 goals and 13 assists in 2023, a rare feat to have three players on the same MLS team score so consistently over two seasons.

5. (5) St. Louis City (9-4-1)
Last Week
: 3-0 vs. Houston. This Week: Wednesday, at FC Dallas (resumption of abandoned game), Sunday, vs. LA Galaxy.
The bad news: Brazilian star Joao Klauss' quad injury isn't getting better, pushing his projected time away from the field, at first expected to be a couple of weeks, to two months. The good news: City SC's attack has found its stride again with 10 goals in its last three games, all wins.

6. (8) New England (7-3-6)
Last Week
: 3-3 at Atlanta United, 0-0 at NYCFC. This Week: Saturday, vs. Inter Miami.
• On the injury front, there was some positive news. Gustavo Bou, who has battled injuries in 2022 (just 19 appearances) and 2023 (7) played his first game since April 29, coming on for the final 15 minutes at NYCFC.

7. (11) San Jose (6-5-5)
Last Week
: 1-0 at Seattle, 0-0 at Colorado. This Week: Saturday, vs. Philadelphia.
• First-year Brazilian goalkeeper Daniel made eight saves to earn his first shutout for the Quakes in the 1-0 win at Seattle and followed that up with a save on Connor Ronan's second-half penalty kick in the 0-0 tie at Colorado. He was injured in training in mid-March and missed more than two months after undergoing surgery to repair a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee. 

8. (7) Seattle (8-6-3)
Last Week
: 0-1 vs. San Jose, 0-0 vs. Portland. This Week: Saturday, at Charlotte FC.
Easily the largest crowd of the season at Lumen Field -- 42,054 fans -- saw the Sounders' home winless streak against the archrival Timbers extended to eight regular-season games. The three-game homestand ended 1-1-1 with just one goal scored, Jordan Morris' winner against the Red Bulls on which he was injured.

9. (9) Atlanta United (6-4-6)
Last Week
: 3-3 vs. New England. This Week: Wednesday, at LAFC, Saturday, vs. D.C. United.
• The Five Stripes came back from 2-0 down against the Revs to go ahead 3-2 on Miguel Berry's first goal since his move from D.C. United, but they conceded an equalizer to Carles Gil in stoppage time. Atlanta United has dropped six points on goals conceded in the 89th minute or later this season.

10. (10) Orlando City (6-4-5)
Last Week: 3-0 at NY Red Bulls. This Week: Saturday, vs. Colorado.
• Facundo Torres put the match against the Red Bulls away with two second-half goals. Coach Oscar Pareja was pleased with the win, which extended the Lions' unbeaten run to five games: "I think we looked like a very serious team, a very professional team that came in today and under the discipline and cohesiveness of the players on the field, we found our ways to score in the right moments and beat a difficult rival that never gave up."

11. (17) Columbus (7-6-3)
Last Week
: 3-2  vs. Colorado, 4-2 vs. Charlotte FC. This Week: Saturday, at Chicago.
 • Cucho Hernandez scored one goal and assisted on the first of Christian Ramirez’s two goals to become the first Crew player to contribute to a goal in seven straight games in a single season in almost 20 years.

12. (6)  FC Dallas (6-5-5)
Last Week
: 1-2 at Sporting KC, 1-2 vs. Nashville SC. This Week: Wednesday, vs. St. Louis City (resumption of abandoned game), Sunday, vs. Portland.
 Youth Movement: Homegrown defenders Nolan Norris and Collin Smith (recalled from Birmingham Legion FC) made their MLS debuts with starts at Sporting KC. Norris also started against Nashville SC but conceded an early own goal when Shaq Moore’s cross inside the box was redirected into the Dallas goal.

13. (15)  Vancouver (5-5-6)
Last Week
: 6-2 vs. Houston, 1-1 vs. Sporting KC. This Week: Wednesday, CF Montreal, Canadian Championship final, Saturday, vs. FC Cincinnati.
• The Whitecaps' big game this week is the Canadian Championship final against CF Montreal. They will seek to repeat as Canadian cup champion for the first time and earn a berth in the new Concacaf Champions Cup.

14. (16) D.C. United (6-6-5)
Last Week
: 2-2 vs. CF Montreal, 2-1 at Inter Miami. This Week: Saturday, at Atlanta United.
Defender Donovan Pines scored the opening goal against Montreal, then slipped on the play that led to Montreal's tying goal in its late comeback from 2-0 down. "Donovan has been brilliant," said United coach Wayne Rooney. "It happens in football. I know he takes things hard, but it's important he gets over it." Pines' response? The opening goal at Inter Miami.

15. (13) Minnesota United (5-6-5)
Last Week: 1-2 at Austin FC, 1-1  vs. Toronto FC. This Week: Saturday, at CF Montreal.
• The big news was the return of Argentine star Emanuel Reynoso (AWOL for all of preseason) in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Toronto FC, his first appearance for the Loons in more than seven months. He came on midway through the second half and helped earn Minnesota a point.  “We can’t afford to be without our better players," said Coach Adrian Heath. "We can’t. That’s the harsh reality of it all. And Rey is one of our best players, and he showed that tonight. He gave everybody a lift."

16. (12) Houston (5-7-3)
Last Week
: 2-6 at Vancouver, 0-3  at St. Louis City. This Week: Tuesday, at Chicago, U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals, Saturday, vs. LAFC.
• The Dynamo lost badly twice on the road, where it has the worst record in MLS this season (0-6-2). Nothing new here. Over the previous five seasons, it won only nine away games.

17. (14) Charlotte FC (6-8-3)
Last Week
: 0-1 at Philadelphia, 2-4  at Columbus. This Week: Saturday, vs. Seattle.
• Three games on the road in eight days began well with a 1-0 win at the LA Galaxy, but games at conference foes Philadelphia and Columbus proved to be lot tougher.

18. (19) NY Red Bulls (4-6-7)
Last Week
: 1-0 at Inter Miami, 0-3  vs. Orlando City. This Week: bye.
• A coaching change has not solved the Red Bulls' scoring woes. Tom Barlow's winner at Inter Miami was the only goal in the latest three-game stretch over eight days.

19. (23) Real Salt Lake (5-7-4)
Last Week: 2-3 vs. LA Galaxy, 2-1 at Austin FC. This Week: Wednesday, LA Galaxy, U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals, Saturday, vs. NYCFC.
• Youth Movement: A big stop by 18-year-old goalkeeper Gavin Beavers at the end of the game gave RSL its first ever win in Austin. With Zac MacMath out due to concussion protocol, Beavers started back-to-back games for the first time.

20. (18) Austin FC (5-7-4)
Last Week
: 2-1 vs. Minnesota United, 1-2  vs. Real Salt Lake. This Week: Saturday, at Sporting KC.
• Defensive issues let Austin FC down on Rubio's two goals for Real Salt Lake. Injuries have been a problem on the backline all season, one after another. The latest: Aleksandar Radovanovic, who started against Minnesota but was expected to start against RSL until it was determined he suffered a shoulder injury.

21. (20) NYCFC (4-7-5)
Last Week
: 1-3 vs. FC Cincinnati, 0-0 vs. New England. This Week: Saturday, at Real Salt Lake.
• NYCFC's issues this season have been scoring -- just 16 goals in 16 games -- but a more immediate concern is on the backline. It will be without center back Thiago Martins for roughly two months after he needed a procedure to repair his left knee. Tayvon Gray was suspended -- he missed the New England game -- as MLS launched an investigation into accusations that he used inappropriate language during the match against FC Cincinnati.

22. (21) Chicago (3-5-8)
Last Week
: 0-0 at Toronto FC, 0-1 at FC Cincinnati. This Week: Tuesday, vs. Houston, U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals, Saturday, vs. Columbus.
• The Fire won its first game after Frank Klopas replaced head coach Ezra Hendrickson, but it has not won an MLS game since then, a stretch of five matches (two losses, three ties).

23. (22) CF Montreal (6-9-1)
Last Week: 2-2 at D.C. United, 0-3 at Philadelphia. This Week: Wednesday, at Vancouver, Canadian Championship final, Saturday, vs. Minnesota United.
• One positive Coach Hernan Losada took from the loss at Philadelphia was he got to give minutes to some players who don't regularly play. Also, Mason Toye played 45 minutes in his first action in more than two months following knee surgery.

24. (26)
 Sporting KC (4-8-5)
Last Week
: 2-1 vs. FC Dallas, 1-1 at Vancouver. This Week: Saturday, vs. Austin FC.
 After going winless in MLS play in February, March and April, Sporting KC went 4-1-1 and had the best record in the Western Conference in May. it would have opened June with three points at Vancouver but for Ryan Gauld's equalizer from the penalty spot in the 88th minute.

25. (24) Portland (4-7-5)
Last Week
: 0-0 at Seattle. This Week: Sunday, at FC Dallas.
Overall, the Timbers have struggled in 2023, but they moved into first place in the Cascadia Cup standings with seven points thanks to the tie at Seattle. They are seeking back-to-back titles for the first time.

26. (25) Toronto FC (3-5-9)
Last Week
: 0-0 vs. Chicago, 1-1 at Minnesota United. This Week: Saturday, vs. Nashville SC.
 Both games last week ended in ties -- the second on Kervin Arriaga's equalizer for Minnesota in the 89th minute -- giving the Reds nine ties in 17 matches. What's the message a coach can give after so many draws? Bob Bradley: "You look at each game, and you take away details. I still wanted them to know tonight that I thought a lot of guys competed and physically put a lot into it, especially with the quick turnaround."

27. (29) LA Galaxy (3-9-3)
Last Week
: 3-2 at Real Salt Lake. This Week: Wednesday, at Real Salt Lake, U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals, Sunday, at St. Louis City.
• Embattled president Chris Klein finally departed, and the next day the Galaxy came back from blowing a first-half lead to win 3-2 at RSL. Coach Greg Vanney said everyone on the Galaxy felt for Klein. "We all feel some responsibility in that process. It's hard not to. And so as a group, we came together and we fought today, and we got a break here or there. We did the work that we needed to do. We stuck together as a group. Fought for one another. The spirit in the group was amazing."

28. (28) Colorado (2-8-7)
Last Week: 2-3 at Columbus, 0-0 vs. San Jose. This Week: Saturday, at Orlando City.
Colorado's altitude has historically made it one of the toughest places to play at in MLS, but the Rapids are 0-4-4 this season at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.

29. (27) Inter Miami (5-11-0)
Last Week
: 0-1 vs. NY Red Bulls, 1-2 vs. D.C. United. This Week: Wednesday, at Birmingham Legion, U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals, Saturday, at New England.
 The Herons fired Phil Neville last Thursday after the loss to the Red Bulls. Things didn't get any better on Saturday under Javier Morales. Defender Kamal Miller was red carded in the 7th minute, and Inter Miami fell behind five minutes later, losing its fifth straight MLS game. Youth Movement: Miami's only goal two minutes into stoppage time was scored by Homegrown product Ian Fray for his first career goal.

Photos: Mark Thor/Orlando City SC, LA Galaxy

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