MLS: Cincinnati rises as Inter Miami struggle

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

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. Let’s dive in.

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Previous ranking: 1

A bad spell of weather postponed their matchup with Houston, so LAFC didn’t get the chance to follow their El Trafico win. They’re not budging from the top spot.

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Previous ranking: 6

Sure, Inter Miami played without their big guns, but FC Cincinnati demolished them, scoring six. Coach Pat Noonan shifted to a 3-4-3, using Lucho Acosta and Luca Orellano as the two narrow wingers. It’s safe to say Miami didn’t have an answer.

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Previous ranking: 3

Life is oh-so-good for the Crew, who blitzed Toronto and have now won eight of their last nine MLS games. They haven’t missed a beat even with Aidan Morris’ departure to England’s EFL Championship — Sean Zawadzki and Alex Matan have filled in admirably.

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Previous ranking: 5

You don’t take Diego Luna to the Olympics? Luna goes supernova. After he shockingly missed the cut for Marko Mitrović’s squad for the Paris games, Luna dropped a goal and three assists in a 5-2 win over Atlanta. Don’t poke the bear.

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Previous ranking: 4

Gabriel Pec doesn’t pop in the way that Riqui Puig or Joseph Paintsil pop, but his clever off-ball movement is an asset for the Galaxy. Pec’s two goals against Minnesota were examples of what happens when a player is savvy with their movement.

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Gabriel Pec’s goal in the 90th minute wins it for the Galaxy

Gabriel Pec scores his second goal of the night to give the Galaxy a 2-1 win over Minnesota.

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Previous ranking: 2

Miami’s time playing without Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez finally caught up with them. They suffered a (huge) defeat against Cincinnati for the first time since those two headed off to the Copa America. They’re still in the Shield race, but Tata Martino’s team is beatable.

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Previous ranking: 7

Frankie Amaya is gone. Emil Forsberg is out. The Red Bulls aren’t exactly flying, but they created a slew of chances in a wild 0-0 draw (yes, you read that correctly) with the Union. It’s not all bad for the fourth-place team out of the east.

Seattle Sounders logo

Previous ranking: 10

Jordan Morris is scoring goals, the Sounders are taking care of business, and they’re climbing the West’s standings. The talent was always going to win out in Seattle — it certainly did in their 2-0 win over the Revolution.

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Previous ranking: 13

The Portland Timbers have scored at least two goals in each of their last five games. They scored four in an 11-minute stretch against Nashville on Sunday. Their DPs refuse to stop showing up on the box score. The Timbers aren’t LAFC, RSL, or the Galaxy. But they might be the next best team out of the west.

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Timbers score four goals in just over 11 minutes

The Timbers tally four first-half goals in quick succession in a blowout victory over Nashville.

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Previous ranking: 9

Manager Nick Cushing went with a conservative lineup against Austin, one featuring Andrés Perea, Keaton Parks, and James Sands. After a hot start, NYCFC faded and didn’t have the attacking firepower or defensive solidity to earn a point.

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Previous ranking: 12

Cole Bassett is up to seven goals. He’s been everything the Colorado Rapids needed him to be given the questionable productivity of some of his higher-paid attacking teammates. The Rapids ran over a depleted St. Louis team this weekend, as they should.

Houston Dynamo logo

Previous ranking: 8

Their game against LAFC on Sunday was postponed due to weather, so Houston will have to wait for another matchup with an elite foe.

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Previous ranking: 11

A bye gave Charlotte time to collect themselves after suffering back-to-back defeats. They’re about to head into a brutal pair of games, though, with Cincinnati and the Crew up next. Gulp.

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Previous ranking: 14

Vancouver’s cross-country trip to Montreal wasn’t filled with highlights, but it did earn the Whitecaps a useful road point. While Vanni Sartini’s team won’t blow the doors off of anybody in MLS at this point in the year, Ryan Gauld and Brian White connected on Vancouver’s lone goal of the game and form one of the league’s strongest attacking pairs.

Orlando City logo

Previous ranking: 19

We have signs of life in Orlando. The Lions have won three of their last four, although those three wins have come against lowly Chicago, Toronto, and DC. But hey, Orlando City will take points any way they can get them. After his two goals this past week, it’s time to keep Martín Ojeda in the middle.

Minnesota United logo

Previous ranking: 17

The Loons played a fine game against the Galaxy on Sunday, but fine isn’t enough to topple one of the west’s giants. While Minnesota look comfortable in their 3-4-3 shape, they missed a bit of quality in both boxes in their 2-1 defeat. Canada’s Copa America run can’t end soon enough.

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Previous ranking: 16

Nashville will want to forget their trip to Portland and the 4-1 loss that followed. They were steamrolled early, allowing four goals in the first half hour before a red card from Brian Anunga made it nearly impossible to mount an already improbable comeback.

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Sam Surridge slots in the goal for Nashville SC

Sam Surridge slots in the goal for Nashville SC

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Previous ranking: 15

No attacking DPs, no coach, no points. Atlanta United conceded a goal in the first minute against RSL and allowed four more in the second half. It’s worth watching Atlanta very, very closely when the summer transfer window opens on July 18th. But until then, they’re in a holding pattern of bleh.

CF Montreal logo

Previous ranking: 24

Laurent Courtois’ team shows flashes of brilliance but rarely puts together a complete game. That was the case in their 1-1 draw with Vancouver. They controlled the match and scored a nice goal from Ruan’s right-sided cross, and still only ended the night with one point.

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Previous ranking: 25

Gyasi Zardes bagged a brace for Austin in their 2-1 win over NYCFC, moving himself up to 10th in the MLS all-time goals chart. With bits of clever buildup play, a few fun ball progression moments from Owen Wolff, and Zardes’ finishing, Austin fans should be smiling.

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Previous ranking: 20

The shine has really worn off Toronto FC at this point. After a fun start to the year, Toronto have lost their last six games and were put in their place in a 4-0 loss against Columbus. It looks like we were right to doubt this team.

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Previous ranking: 21

I’ve seen very few MLS starting XIs as bleak as the one Dallas ran out against SKC. It looked closer to a USL lineup than an MLS lineup. Second-half changes breathed some life into the team, but it was too little, too late.

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Previous ranking: 23

The Revolution signed Marcos Dias on a short-term deal from their MLS Next Pro affiliate to fill out their bench ahead of a clash with the Sounders. Caleb Porter brought on Dias late in the game. Brian Schmetzer brought on big-money DP Pedro de la Vega. The Revs just don’t have enough healthy bodies to compete.

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Previous ranking: 22

The league’s longest unbeaten team to start the year has now failed to win in nine-straight games. That’s MLS, baby. Jim Curtin cobbled together a mediocre group in Philly’s nervy 0-0 draw with the New York Red Bulls. The Union can’t earn three points at a time.

St. Louis City SC logo

Previous ranking: 26

It already felt like everyone was injured in St. Louis. Then Roman Bürki left the field in the first half of his team’s 4-1 loss to the Rapids. Things are bad.

Chicago Fire logo

Previous ranking: 27

The Fire couldn’t create much on the road against the Quakes in a game that felt like two of the league’s worst teams were playing each other. Maybe that’s because they were.

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Previous ranking: 18

Have we considered unplugging D.C. United and then plugging them back in again? This team hasn’t won in 11 games. They’ve picked up red cards in three of their last four games. They shipped five goals to Orlando City. Things are really, really wrong.

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Previous ranking: 28

There’s nothing quite like beating up on the other Western Conference bottom-feeders to make you feel good. SKC have a long way to go, but their 3-2 win over Dallas inches them closer to being respectable.

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Previous ranking: 29

You have to take all of the 1-0 wins over the Chicago Fire that you can get. Still, it’ll take more for me to move San Jose out of the bottom spot in these rankings. They’re still six points back of the rest of the league.

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