MLS Power Rankings: Matchday 15

We’re getting close to the midpoint of the season, and different tiers are beginning to take shape. We’ll dive into those more at the official halfway stage

As a reminder, here’s how the model works:

  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 15 Power Rankings

RANKTEAMSCORERANKING CHANGESCORE CHANGE
1Nashville SC17.46+1+2.20
2LAFC17.02-1
3FC Cincinnati13.39+0.62
4Seattle Sounders13.13+1.08
5ST. Louis CITY SC12.88+1+1.38
6Philadelphia Union12.73+1+1.88
7Columbus Crew10.28-2-1.30
8Vancouver Whitecaps8.94-0.55
9New England Revolution8.74-0.10
10Atlanta United8.25-0.20
11FC Dallas7.23+1+0.31
12DC United6.52-1-0.41
13New York Red Bulls5.52-0.45
14Minnesota United5.43+0.77
15San Jose Earthquakes3.70+1+0.04
16Orlando City SC3.25+1+0.49
17New York City FC2.17-2-1.66
18Houston Dynamo1.92+2+1.06
19Chicago Fire1.37-0.12
20Toronto FC0.20+3+0.44
21Portland Timbers-0.40-3-2.89
22Austin FC-0.49-1-1.17
23Charlotte FC-0.76+2+0.84
24Inter Miami CF-1.57-2-1.40
25Real Salt Lake-1.96-1-0.57
26LA Galaxy-3.15-0.61
27Colorado Rapids-3.29-0.43
28CF Montréal-3.33+0.85
29Sporting KC-3.53+3.02

It’s a holiday today, so I’ll keep this short-ish.

Nashville SC take the top spot after a 3-1 win at home against Columbus Crew. They’ve won four of their last five and are unbeaten in seven, have the fifth-most goals scored in the league and have conceded just 10 goals in 15 games. With the third-toughest strength of schedule in the league and the joint-best record from their last five matches, according to the OPI, it’s not a surprise to see them take the top spot.

FC Cincinnati lead the Supporters’ Shield race, and got a strong 1-0 win on the road against Colorado Rapids. They have the best points per game in MLS by a significant margin, and at 30% of the OPI model, it’s a significant part of their overall score.

So why are they over four points out of first place? There are a few reasons the model thinks they’re not quite as good as their points would indicate. It’s largely due to their goal difference (+8), expected goal difference (+4), and the fact that nine of their 10 wins have been by a single goal, a statistic that tends to be unsustainable. It’s the exact same reason the New England Revolution were rarely ranked first in their Supporters’ Shield winning 2021 season – 18 of their 22 wins came by a single goal.

With Nashville and LAFC dominating both categories, it’s enough to edge them ahead of a Cincinnati team whose only multi-goal win came against CF Montréal, the 28th ranked team. The model gives winning the most weight. But when several teams are winning, it rewards dominant wins more.

One last note on what was supposed to be a shorter week. Sporting KC are still ranked last, but after a 4-1 win over Portland Timbers, their score is improving dramatically. They’re up another 3.02 points, less than a half point behind LA Galaxy in 25th. Sporting have three wins from their last five, with wins against Seattle Sounders and Minnesota United mixed in with a road draw against LAFC. A 4-0 loss in St. Louis aside, they’ve quietly been pretty good.

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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