<
>

MLS Power Rankings: Seattle Sounders' post-CCL form has them back in the playoff picture

play
Chicho Arango puts in the equalizing header for LAFC (0:43)

Cristian "Chicho" Arango puts in the equalizing score on the header as LAFC ties it 1-1 vs. the Sounders. (0:43)

The Seattle Sounders received adulation from across Major League Soccer when they defeated Pumas to win the CONCACAF Champions League -- the first MLS club to do so since 2000. It was a watershed moment for the league, manifestation of its goals to rival and eventually eclipse Mexico's Liga MX, but it came at a cost.

By the time the continental crown was draped in Rave Green, Seattle sat near the bottom of the Western Conference, albeit with multiple games in hand. Since, the Sounders have taken 13 points from 21 available, and now find themselves seventh in the West -- the last playoff place in the conference.

Unsurprisingly, after a week in which Brian Schmetzer's side thumped Vancouver 4-0 and weathered a visit from LAFC to earn a well-deserved 1-1 draw, they've consistently climbed up our order. Just shy of their halfway point in the 2022 season, the Sounders appear poised to continue their rise toward the top.

With Week 15 in the books, Austin Lindberg and Dan Hajducky look at the results, break down where all 28 teams stand after a wild weekend of action and bring you the latest edition of the MLS Power Rankings.


- MLS on ESPN+: Stream LIVE games, replays (U.S.)
- Soccer on ESPN+: FC Daily | Futbol Americas
- Don't have ESPN? Get instant access


1. LAFC

Previous ranking: 1

Next MLS match: June 26 vs. New York Red Bulls, 3 p.m. ET, ABC

Steve Cherundolo's team traveled to Seattle to pick up a hard-fought draw against the Sounders. It's not the glamourous statement win we've come to expect from the Supporters' Shield leaders, but coming from behind and earning a point against the continental champions, who are rounding into form, demonstrates the gritty mentality that LAFC will need in order to make a deep playoff run. -- Lindberg

2. New York City FC

Previous ranking: 2

Next MLS match: June 26 at Philadelphia Union, 6 p.m. ET

NYCFC are still East leaders in mid-June, despite playing at least a game less than the next seven teams beneath them in the standings. A little luck over the weekend and they might be three points clear instead of the one: A controversial (but correct) non-PK call on a Talles Magno breakaway and a Valentin Castellanos crossbar (followed by a squandered breakaway in the second half) kept NYCFC level with Colorado. They were, as usual, dominant -- and uncharacteristically unlucky. They've still only allowed 11 goals all season and boast a plus-15 goal differential. -- Hajducky

3. Real Salt Lake

Previous ranking: 8

Next MLS match: June 25 vs. Columbus Crew, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Imagine what RSL could do with a consistently productive No. 9. Salt Lake created 11 scoring chances in its 2-0 win over San Jose, with an expected goal figure (xG) of 2.70, but forwards Bobby Wood and Sergio Cordova were kept off the score sheet despite having more than 1.00 xG between them. Those two are the team's leading scorers at three each and having played 14 and 15 games, respectively. -- Lindberg

4. Austin FC

Previous ranking: 10

Next MLS match: June 25 vs. FC Dallas, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Austin was out-possessed, out-chanced and, for 46 minutes, playing with 10 men. Yet the Verde still found a way to steal a 1-0 win in Montreal through Maxi Urruti. Only New York City FC and LAFC have a better goal differential than the second-year club in 2022. -- Lindberg

play
0:52

Maximiliano Urruti scores opening goal for Austin

Maximiliano Urruti strikes a right-footed shot to the center of the goal in the 67th minute for Austin FC.

5. New York Red Bulls

Previous ranking: 7

Next MLS match: June 26 at LAFC, 3 p.m. ET, ABC

With a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal Hudson River Derby looming at home on Wednesday, the Red Bulls took care of business against Toronto, 2-0 courtesy of (no shock) Lewis Morgan and Luquinhas stunners -- two Red Bulls who seemingly had scoring golazos on their 2022 vision board. Backstop Carlos Coronel's multiple breakaway saves kept Toronto off the scoreboard; min. 1,200 minutes, only Andre Blake and Sean Johnson have allowed fewer goals in 2022. -- Hajducky

6. LA Galaxy

Previous ranking: 3

Next MLS match: June 25 at San Jose Earthquakes, 10 p.m. ET

Dejan Joveljic replaced the injured Victor Vazquez on 32 minutes and scored the Galaxy's 88th-minute equalizer against Portland. The 22-year-old Serbia international now has three goals and two assists in his past two appearances and, with just 284 minutes of action this season, is making a case for more-consistent inclusion in Greg Vanney's attack. -- Lindberg

7. Philadelphia Union

Previous ranking: 4

Next MLS match: June 26 vs. New York City FC, 6 p.m. ET

Alejandro Bedoya's 17th-minute left-footed banger wasn't enough to separate the Union from FC Cincinnati, who've already tied its best-ever MLS win tally in 2022. It's been a puzzling stretch for Philly, who lead MLS with eight draws and have managed only two wins in league play going back to April 9. It's still one of the best squads in the league, currently third in the East, but the Union need to reclaim their ability to keep a lead; they're tied for an MLS-high five draws after pulling ahead. -- Hajducky

8. Nashville SC

Previous ranking: 5

Next MLS match: June 25 at D.C. United, 5 p.m. ET, ESPN

Nashville has found itself higher up our rankings than the table would suggest, largely because it managed to keep its head above water during an eight-game road trip to start the season. Surely a home-heavy schedule, following the opening of GEODIS Park in May, would lead to the Music City outfit push on to the top of the West, right? NSC have taken just nine points from 18 at their new home, including suffering their first defeat at the ground on Saturday in a 2-1 loss to Sporting Kansas City. -- Lindberg

play
0:45

Felipe Hernandez sneaks in a long-range free kick goal

Felipe Hernandez skips a free kick past everyone to put Sporting Kansas City up 1-0.

9. FC Dallas

Previous ranking: 6

Next MLS match: June 25 at Austin FC, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Dallas dictated the tempo and created the better of the chances, but a lack of clinical finishing cost the hosts, who fell 2-0 to visiting Vancouver, who rarely looked threatening despite the edge where it matters most: on the scoreboard. -- Lindberg

10. CF Montreal

Previous ranking: 9

Next MLS match: June 25 vs. Charlotte FC, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

MVP frontrunner Djordje Mihailovic is still sidelined with an ankle injury and appears to have suffered a setback -- bad news for Montreal, who was held scoreless Saturday for the first time since the 2022 opener, to 10-man Austin, no less. Montreal is still very much in the thick of it despite being middle of the road (7W-6L-2D; 4W-3L-0D, 3W-3L-2D home/away) in a few categories (28 goals for, 27 against). After previously scoring twice or more in six of seven, Montreal has been held to one or less in three of its past four. Romell Quioto and Kei Kamara have only found the net three times combined in Montreal's past seven; that has to change. -- Hajducky

11. Orlando City

Previous ranking: 11

Next MLS match: June 24 at FC Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Orlando City ended its four-match winless streak on Saturday, tossing Houston aside 2-1. The first five games of the season, Orlando only let up more than a goal in a game once; in May, it was two or more in every game but one. It's the only East team in the top six with a negative goal differential and is tied for 18th in chances created. It's any guess which team will show up: the side who'll hang with New England and Austin, or the one who'll concede four to Montreal and LAFC. -- Hajducky

12. Seattle Sounders

Previous ranking: 17

Next MLS match: June 25 vs. Sporting Kansas City, 3 p.m. ET, ABC

So often in MLS, clubs live and die by the performances of their designated players. If you're getting bang for your buck from your highest earners, chances are, you'll go far. In a week in which Seattle beat Vancouver 4-0 and ground out a 1-1 draw with LAFC, DPs Nicolas Lodeiro, Raul Ruidiaz and Albert Rusnak scored four of the Sounders' five goals. -- Lindberg

play
0:46

Ruidiaz scores again to put Sounders up 3-0

Raul Ruidiaz once again puts in a cool finish as Seattle piles it on against Vancouver.

13. Colorado Rapids

Previous ranking: 14

Next MLS match: June 25 at Portland Timbers, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

The Rapids were lucky to catch in-form NYCFC on a night when 2021 Golden Boot winner Valentin Castellanos was lacking that last little bit of precision in his shooting -- Colorado was out-chanced by a three-to-one ratio and the Blues from the Bronx had an xG more than four times better than their guests -- but any time you leave Yankee Stadium with a share of the spoils, it's a result. -- Lindberg

14. New England Revolution

Previous ranking: 15

Next MLS match: June 26 at Vancouver Whitecaps, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN+

What a game-winner from Gustavo Bou, huh? "La Pantera" threw his hat in the ring for Goal of the Year and extended the Revs' MLS unbeaten streak to eight in doing so. The early-season fear around Gillette has subsided; since April 23, only NYCFC have taken more points (20) than the Revolution (16). Even as Matt Turner heads to Arsenal, New England has hit its stride, with reigning MVP Carles Gil leading MLS in touches, chances created and assists. -- Hajducky

15. Atlanta United FC

Previous ranking: 16

Next MLS match: June 25 at Toronto FC, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

"El Rey" is back: Josef Martinez found the net for the first time since March in a 2-0 victory over 10-man Inter Miami that wasn't really ever that close. Atlanta has only lost one of its past five MLS matches. If Martinez can harness the form that saw him score 82 goals from 2017 to 2019 -- 29 more than any other player -- injury-decimated Atlanta could surprise. It's created an MLS-high 174 chances, largely thanks to the revelatory Brooks Lennon (42, third-most chances created in MLS). -- Hajducky

16. FC Cincinnati

Previous ranking: 18

Next MLS match: June 24 vs. Orlando City, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Only two MLS teams concede more often than FC Cincinnati (eight goals allowed) when they're ahead: New England (14) and Montreal (10). Cincy, unfortunately, scores less often than either. A homestand would usually be a good thing, but the Orange and Blue -- who play three of their next four at TQL Stadium -- are tied for the fewest home wins in the East. They fare far better on the road, where they're tied for the second-most away wins in MLS. -- Hajducky

play
0:53

Torres sets up Kara to give Orlando City the lead

Facundo Torres sets up Ercan Kara perfectly to put Orlando in front in the first half against Houston.

17. Houston Dynamo

Previous ranking: 12

Next MLS match: June 25 vs. Chicago Fire, 8 p.m. ET

Following a 2-1 defeat in Orlando, a score line that flattered the visitors a great deal, Houston has taken just seven points from its past nine matches. That sample size is just less than two thirds of the Dynamo's season so far, and it's a pace that's outperformed by the 0.88 points per game that saw coach Tab Ramos dismissed last winter. -- Lindberg

18. Minnesota United

Previous ranking: 13

Next MLS match: June 25 at Inter Miami CF, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Anyone who's watched the Loons this season has wondered where they'd be if not for Dayne St. Clair, whose performances between the sticks have been deserving of MVP consideration. On Saturday night, he conceded one softy, and was bested by a spectacular Gustavo Bou free kick as Minnesota fell 2-1 in New England. And that's where Minnesota would be without its No. 1 goalkeeper: on the losing end. -- Lindberg

19. Inter Miami CF

Previous ranking: 19

Next MLS match: June 25 vs. Minnesota United, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Inter Miami, who only lost one MLS contest in May, started off June with a 2-0 drubbing at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, down a man for the last 60 minutes and change. In year three of the Miami experiment, Inter have lost more than half of their 72 league matches. Inter Miami were supposed to be an offensive juggernaut and, excluding expansion teams Austin and Charlotte, only FC Cincinnati has scored fewer goals (72) than Miami's (76) going back to the start of the 2020 MLS season -- and only San Jose (148) has conceded more often (137). It's rough down in Beckhamville. -- Hajducky

20. Charlotte FC

Previous ranking: 22

Next MLS match: June 25 at CF Montreal, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

It's early, but Charlotte looks improved under new gaffer Christian Lattanzio -- who led his men to a 2-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls and a 1-1 draw with Columbus in successive weeks. The main emphasis? Lattanzio says it's making sure his squad play "the same, home and away." Understandable. Charlotte is tied for the MLS lead with six home wins, but still hasn't managed to win on the road. It creates chances on the road, but just can't seem to capitalize (five away goals for on 61 chances); if it even becomes average on the road, Bank of America Stadium could be hopping come playoff time. -- Hajducky

21. Columbus Crew

Previous ranking: 21

Next MLS match: June 25 at Real Salt Lake, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN+

The Crew have been uneven in 2022; they've allowed the fifth-fewest goals in league play, but have only scored 18 times in 14 games. They've only managed six goals after being behind or tied at the half, second worst in the league. Clearly scoring is an emphasis: On Monday, Columbus reportedly finalized a $10 million, club-record signing of Cucho Hernandez from Watford. Look for the new Colombian designated player to make waves and fast. -- Hajducky

22. Portland Timbers

Previous ranking: 20

Next MLS match: June 25 vs. Colorado Rapids, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

After conceding an 88th-minute equalizer in what finished a 1-1 draw with the Galaxy in Southern California, Portland now has one win in its past ten games across all competitions. With just three victories in MLS play this calendar year, no one in the league has won fewer matches than the Timbers. -- Lindberg

23. Vancouver Whitecaps

Previous ranking: 24

Next MLS match: Sunday vs. New England Revolution, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN+

The Caps were hammered 4-0 in Seattle, and then largely outplayed in Dallas, only to steal a 2-0 on one efficient finish from Lucas Cavallini and an improbable insurance goal from Deiber Caicedo. -- Lindberg

24. Sporting Kansas City

Previous ranking: 27

Next MLS match: June 25 at Seattle Sounders, 3 p.m. ET, ABC

After a stint at the bottom of both the Western Conference and our Power Rankings, Sporting have earned two wins, two losses and a draw in their past five games in MLS, culminating in Sunday's 2-1 win in Nashville -- the first time the road team has won at brand-new GEODIS Park. -- Lindberg

25. Toronto FC

Previous ranking: 23

Next MLS match: June 25 vs. Atlanta United, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Bob Bradley's side is somehow still winless on the road. They've also only won once at all going back to April 17. However, they fare much better at home in the Great White North and their next four matches are at BMO Field. The Reds are rumored to be angling for Reading's Junior Hoilett, which could shake up the East. The Ontario native -- whose contract expires in August -- has been offered a new deal, but has yet to sign. It might not solve Toronto's problems, however; Bradley's boys are tied for the second-most goals allowed (29) in all of MLS. -- Hajducky

26. Chicago Fire

Previous ranking: 26

Next MLS match: June 25 at Houston Dynamo, 8 p.m. ET

The Fire just barely eclipsed D.C. United in the battle for the East's basement over the weekend. Kacper Przybylko and MLS's highest earner Xherdan Shaqiri have only amassed six league goals and the Fire have the fewest goals in MLS. Even worse? They may lose 18-year-old stonewall Gabriel Slonina; Spanish giants Real Madrid recently had an offer rejected, with English clubs Chelsea, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Southampton in the wings. Slonina's contract expires after the 2023 season. -- Hajducky

27. San Jose Earthquakes

Previous ranking: 25

Next MLS match: June 25 vs. LA Galaxy, 10 p.m. ET

It's strange to see the Quakes' scoreless streak reach TKK minutes after Saturday's 2-0 loss at Real Salt Lake, considering Jeremy Ebobisse is the league's leading scorer and only two teams in the Western Conference have scored more goals than San Jose. Of course, no one in MLS has conceded as many as the 34 goals the Earthquakes have given up, and the next-most-porous defense has allowed 29. -- Lindberg

28. D.C. United

Previous ranking: 28

Next MLS match: June 25 vs. Nashville SC, 5 p.m. ET, ESPN

Only Sporting KC have lost more than the East's last-place D.C. United. The Black and Red have been linked to would-be saviors left and right -- everyone from Gareth Bale to Chilean midfielder Martin Rodriguez to the "advanced talks" (per the Athletic's Pablo Maurer) that will make Hamburg midfielder Sonny Kittel a DP in D.C. The message is clear: They need help ... and fast. -- Hajducky