MLS Power Rankings: Matchday 10

Nashville SC beat Atlanta United this weekend, the seventh edition of El Ribereño without a defeat for the ‘Yotes. Inter Miami stunned Columbus Crew, and the LA Galaxy continue their awful start to the season. On to the Matchday 10 Power Rankings!

As a refresher, here’s how the OPI model works:

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  1. Points per game – 30%
  2. Goal difference – 15%
  3. Form in last five games – 15%
  4. Expected goal difference – 12.5%
  5. Strength of schedule – 12.5%
  6. Home and away form – 12.5%
  7. Goals added – 2.5%

Matchday 10 Power Rankings

2Seattle Sounders13.08
3New England Revolution10.75+1
4ST. Louis CITY SC8.78-1
5Columbus Crew8.77
6Nashville SC8.34+5
7FC Cincinnati8.27-1
8Vancouver Whitecaps8.17
9Philadelphia Union6.73
10Atlanta United6.69-3
11New York City FC5.41-1
12San Jose Earthquakes5.08
13Minnesota United4.79+1
14DC United4.70+6
15Chicago Fire4.65-2
16Houston Dynamo3.93-1
17Toronto FC3.88+1
18Orlando City SC3.82+1
19FC Dallas3.76-3
20New York Red Bulls3.45-3
21Portland Timbers1.35+2
22Colorado Rapids1.34
23LA Galaxy0.06-2
24Inter Miami CF-0.06+1
25Real Salt Lake-0.21-1
26Austin FC-1.12+1
27Charlotte FC-4.88-1
28CF Montréal-5.60+1
29Sporting KC-7.30-1

We’ll start with the big movers this week. DC United thumped Charlotte FC 3-0. Surprisingly, their G+ score is the 10th best in MLS. It’s only 2.5% of their total score, but it hints that their play on the field has been much better than talked about. They’re quietly up to seventh in the Eastern Conference and have improved drastically from where they were last season.

Nashville SC are the other big movers, moving up five spots after a 3-1 win over Atlanta United. Hany Mukhtar’s two assists officially have him off to his best start in MLS, and his form historically picks up over the summer. That and Nashville’s newly opened DP spot should have fans optimistic. According to the OPI model, the ‘Yotes have played the fourth-toughest schedule thus far in MLS and have a much easier slate of games on the horizon.

New England Revolution moved up a spot after a 1-1 draw with FC Cincinnati, while Cincinnati dropped a spot. There are a couple things to note about this. Despite scoring just one goal, the Revs created nearly three expected goals (Cincinnati were just under two). While they both have identical points per game, leading the league at 2.10, New England get a solid boost from their +7 goal difference, and Cincinnati are at just +2. New England created just under three expected goals against Cincinnati. Cincinnati had under two, and almost half of that came from a penalty kick.

Notably, Cincinnati have played the third toughest schedule in MLS, according to the OPI. Coming away with 21 points from 10 games is an incredible haul, and their schedule looks much easier in the next two months. There’s a real chance they’ll climb much higher soon.

Sporting KC and CF Montréal switched spots at the bottom after Montréal won 2-0 in Kansas City. SKC have scored just three goals in 10 games this season. They’ve taken just three points, and are on pace for just 10 points in 2023. That would be the worst-ever single season in MLS history, worse than Tampa Bay Mutiny’s 14 points in 2001 (and that came in a 26-match regular season).

One last note on St. Louis CITY SC. The expansion side haven’t spent a week outside the top four in the rankings, are currently in second place in the Western Conference, and their 1.90 PPG is the fourth-best in MLS. They’ve been good.

They’ve also been a bit deceiving. Look at who their six wins have come against:

  • 3-2 at Austin FC (26th OPI, 24th Supporters’ Shield)
  • 3-1 vs Charlotte FC (27th OPI, 25th Supporters’ Shield)
  • 2-1 at Portland Timbers (21st OPI, 18th Supporters’ Shield)
  • 3-0 vs San Jose (12th OPI, 10th Supporters’ Shield)
  • 4-0 at Real Salt Lake (25th OPI, 21st Supporters’ Shield)
  • 5-1 vs FC Cincinnati (7th OPI, 2nd Supporters’ Shield)

Four of their six wins game against teams ranked 21st or lower in the Power Rankings. Only one of those four teams is currently above 20th in the Supporters’ Shield standings. Certainly, they deserve plenty of credit for their wins against San Jose and FC Cincinnati. But in those two games, City had a goal differential of +7, but an expected goals differential of just 1.47. There’s a strong argument that they wildly overperformed.

According to our OPI strength of schedule rankings, St. Louis have played by far the easiest schedule in MLS. Their strength of schedule score is just 0.92, compared to the median score of 2.86. Ironically, they just lost to Portland Timbers, who have played the most difficult slate of games in MLS at 5.96.

St. Louis continue to have an easier slate of games for the next several weeks, but down the stretch, their schedule will get dramatically more difficult, and they’ve already started to come down to earth a bit. They’ve certainly been the story of the season thus far, and should comfortably make the playoffs, but I think their early-season foray into the top four may not be sustainable.

Author: Ben Wrightis the Director of Soccer Content and a Senior MLS Contributor for Broadway Sports covering Nashville SC and the US National Team. Previously Ben was the editor and a founder of Speedway Soccer, where he has covered Nashville SC and their time in USL before journeying to Major League Soccer since 2018. Raised in Louisville, KY Ben grew up playing before a knee injury ended his competitive career. When he is not talking soccer he is probably producing music, drinking coffee or hanging out with his wife and kids. Mastodon

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