MLS Power Rankings: Whitecaps continue strong start, Revs remain dismal

It’s Monday and another week of MLS action is in the books, which means it’s time for ESPN’s Power Rankings.

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Our Power Rankings are derived from a combination of key season statistics (points per game, goal differential, expected goal differential), recent performance, the Opta computer ratings and the observations of our writers.

Who’s climbing the table? Who’s in free fall? We’ve ranked all 29 clubs in the league after Matchday 9. Let’s dive in.

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Previous ranking: 1

RBNY went clear across the county and walked away from LA with a 2-2 draw. Nobody is going to complain about that, but giving up a stoppage time equalizer a week after a frustrating draw with Chicago is going to sting.

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Previous ranking: 2

The Union got the week off to prepare for Chicho Arango and RSL coming to town next week.

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Previous ranking: 3

The Whitecaps are still top of the West after a 2-0 win over Seattle and while there’s some question as to whether they are the best team in the conference, they’ve made a pretty comprehensive statement in the season’s first two months that they are unquestionably Cascadia’s top team.

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Previous ranking: 5

LAFC picked up a point against one of the league’s top teams and Denis Bouanga looked more like his Golden Boot self. That should have made their draw with RBNY a good night out, but Aaron Long’s injury put a damper on things. Fingers crossed it’s not serious.

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Previous ranking: 6

Lionel Messi scored twice and Inter beat Nashville 3-1. As was the case last season, Miami is an adequate team even without their maestro, but we might need to rank two separate Inter teams — the one with Messi and the one without him, because the gap between those two teams is predictably and hilariously huge.



Messi scores 2, assists Busquets goal in Miami win

Lionel Messi continues his red-hot start to the season, scoring twice and laying on an assist for Sergio Busquets as Inter Miami came from behind to beat Nashville SC 3-1.

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Previous ranking: 4

The Crew are winless in five after drawing with Portland. It’s obvious that their Concacaf Champions League run is taking its toll and as long as they keep advancing in continental competition, nobody is going to sound the alarm in Columbus, but it’d sure look a lot better if they could turn one or two of these draws into wins.

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Previous ranking: 7

Is Chicho Arango the best player in MLS? He has been playing like it this season and his two goals and two assists in RSL’s 4-0 beatdown of the Fire only strengthened his claim.

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Previous ranking: 8

The Galaxy tried their best to blow a 3-0 lead, but they held on to beat the Quakes 4-3. No team puts on a thriller quite like LA, much to the detriment of their fans’ health.



Maya Yoshida uses noggin to give LA Galaxy 3-0 lead

Maya Yoshida heads in a Joseph Paintsil corner to put the LA Galaxy up 3-0.

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Previous ranking: 10

The Garys are beginning to figure things out and winning in Atlanta is by far their most impressive showing of the season. The club put a lot on Pat Noonan’s plate with so much turnover in the winter and the Cincy boss is slowly but surely taking care of business like you’d expect from one of the league’s best coaches.

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Previous ranking: 9

The Five Stripes had a lead courtesy of a Thiago Almada banger and only 30 minutes to protect it at home. That should not be a problem for a good team, but Atlanta conceded off their own corner, then completely forgot to track two runners and lost to Cincy. There’s no doubt this team has the talent to be good, but they stub their own toes far too often.

Minnesota United logo

Previous ranking: 14

Two gorgeous goals and a clinical set piece goal had the Loons flying to a comprehensive win in Charlotte.



Hassani Dotson’s header extends Minnesota’s lead

Hassani Dotson heads in Robin Lod’s corner to put Minnesota United FC up 3-0.

Houston Dynamo logo

Previous ranking: 11

The problem with being a well-organized, well-drilled team that plays above its talent is that sometimes you’re just barely unable to push things over the line and are made to pay for a small mistake. That happened to the Dynamo in their loss to Austin.

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Previous ranking: 18

The Rapids should have blown Dallas off the pitch. Instead, they had to settle for a 2-1 scoreline that didn’t reflect their dominance, but those three points took them all the way up to fourth in the West.

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Previous ranking: 13

It was an ugly day at the office for Charlotte, who gave their fans nothing to cheer about in a 3-0 loss to Minnesota.

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Previous ranking: 12

D.C. lost to NYCFC and have just one win after the season’s opening weekend. They do a lot right, but the inability to consistently create chances means they have to commit too many numbers forward and the Pigeons exploited that space in behind. It’s the same story for D.C., who have a pretty good foundation but really need to upgrade the talent, especially up front, and get healthier.

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Previous ranking: 15

SKC conceded a stoppage time equalizer to St. Louis to drop points from a winning position for a third straight game. More concerningly, all three of those games came at home. Good teams protect home field and leads, and right now Sporting is doing neither.

Orlando City logo

Previous ranking: 16

Early on, the attack was anemic. Now, the defense isn’t quite tied together. But the Lions have shown that they have the pieces on both ends of the pitch, it’s just about syncing them together. Another point, this time in Montréal, is a good way to keep treading water for a team that keeps reminding us that it can still be a problem if it gets things right.

St. Louis City SC logo

Previous ranking: 19

The last time St. Louis went to Kansas City, they were eliminated from the playoffs so a Tomas Totland stoppage time equalizer made for a much more pleasant trip back across I-70.

Seattle Sounders logo

Previous ranking: 17

The Sounders played decently against Vancouver. You know, other than the two red cards and bad giveaway for a goal that doomed them to a 2-0 Cascadia loss.

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Previous ranking: 22

Evander led a potent attack that was let down by the defense and Portland had to settle for a draw. That has been the formula for the Timbers lately and while taking a point out of Columbus is their most impressive showing yet, at some point the defense needs to take care of business because (1) the attack can’t carry this burden all season (2) you can’t draw your way into the playoffs.

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Previous ranking: 21

After the Pigeons’ terrible start to the season, it looked like manager Nick Cushing might be on the hot seat, but they’ve been good for nearly a month now. Draws against Miami and Atlanta were encouraging and then they beat lowly New England before toppling D.C. 2-0 this weekend. They’ve won their past two at home and have two more home contests coming up. It’s time to rack up points.

CF Montreal logo

Previous ranking: 20

Nobody is going to feel good after conceding a stoppage time equalizer, especially after thinking your 88th-minute goal would be the winner, but it’s still hard to feel too down about CFM even after their draw with Orlando. Head coach Laurent Courtois is slowly building this team and they are hyper-competent already. Things are going in the right direction at Stade Saputo.

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Previous ranking: 23

A back-heel volley while getting clattered to beat the Revs 1-0? Prince Owusu’s goal earned TFC three points and was so pretty that it should have been worth four.

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Previous ranking: 24

Miami spotted Nashville a second-minute own goal and the Coyotes still lost 3-1. It’s all no good, very bad, ick in Nashville right now.

Chicago Fire logo

Previous ranking: 25

The Fire began a three-match homestand over the weekend, thinking an extended run on Lake Michigan might be just what they needed to rack up some much-needed wins. Unfortunately, home field didn’t do much good because RSL blasted them 4-0.

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Previous ranking: 27

Did Austin look like the inferior team against Houston? Irrelevant because they held on for long enough to steal a win with a late Emiliano Rigoni goal.

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Previous ranking: 26

The scoreline flattered Dallas in their 2-1 loss to Colorado. More concerningly, there’s no obvious way to easily turn things around.

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Previous ranking: 28

At least San Jose didn’t roll over after going down 3-0, but that’s hardly a consolation after losing to the Galaxy 4-3. The final scoreline didn’t really reflect how inferior the Quakes looked.

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Previous ranking: 29

The Revs lost to Toronto to stay at the bottom of the East and they have Miami up next. Boss Caleb Porter’s seat is getting warmer by the week.

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