Week 6 Power Rankings: Sporting KC climb, Red Bulls crash

13 matches were played in MLS this weekend, and the table continues to evolve. Seattle continued their dominance, while both Chicago and Cincinnati picked up much needed wins to close the gap at the bottom.

How the rankings work

These power rankings aren’t subjective, but use a stats-based model for each team to get a more in-depth look at where clubs actually stand. The model leans heavily on points per game and strength of schedule, but also factors in goal difference and expected goal difference so show how good teams are aside from just points on the table.

Our power rankings aren’t an attempt to predict the final table, just to provide readers with a different angle from which to judge teams. As the season progresses, we’ll being to incorporate a projected standings table. More on that later.

Week 6 power rankings

1: Seattle Sounders (). It looked like a fifth consecutive win was all but guaranteed against Atlanta until an 86th minute Josef Martínez penalty pulled the visitors level. The draw drops Seattle’s overall score ever so slightly, but they’re so far alone at the top that it will take multiple really poor results to bring them down.

2: Sporting KC (8). Sporting jumps up six spots after a massive road win over San Jose. Peter Vermes’s side was firing on all cylinders, lead by an in-form Alan Pulido. Sporting have the second-best xG difference in MLS, and results should follow.

3: Nashville SC (1). Nashville got a much needed home win against Austin on Sunday. They created enough to win by multiple goals but hung on for a 1-0 win. They have the best xG difference in MLS, but they still struggle to bury chances they need to finish. If finishing improves, they’ll be excellent. If finishing continues to disappoint, they’ll struggle.

4: New England Revolution (↑3). The Revs cruised to a 3-1 win over New York Red Bulls, and got a needed standout performance from Gustavo Bou.

5: Portland Timbers (↑8). They were all over LA Galaxy in a 3-0 win and largely neutralized their attack. They had the benefit of playing up a man for 52 minutes, but took their chances well. A needed win for Portland, who can score enough to hang with anyone in the league.

6: Orlando City (↑3). The third remaining unbeaten side in MLS didn’t have their best showing, but did enough to beat Toronto 1-0. Their defense is quietly one of the better backlines in the league.

7: Atlanta United (↑4). Atlanta didn’t bunker on the road against the best team in MLS, but actually played. They created chances and possessed the ball well. It took a penalty kick for them to actually get on the scoresheet, but it was an impressive performance that could propel them forward.

8: LA Galaxy (3). Derrick Williams got sent off for a horror tackle just before halftime against Portland, and it was all downhill from there. Portland’s attack is tough to handle on its own, but it was near impossible with a man disadvantage. They’ll look to regroup against San Jose next week, but have to figure out a way to shore up their defense.

9: NYCFC (6). New York looked set for three points at home, but two free kick goals from Lucas Zelarayán killed them. A loss to a previously low-ranked Crew really hurts their ranking.

10: San Jose Earthquakes (4). They were soundly beaten at home by Sporting KC, who probably should have scored more than three. The Quakes had misses of their own, and create enough to have a chance every week. They just need more consistency from their defense.

11: Real Salt Lake (7). They actually picked up a solid point on the road in Dallas, scoring a late equalizer in a wild final 10 minutes. The model dings them for a draw against an inferior team, but they won’t be too upset with the result.

12: LAFC (2). LAFC got a solid 2-1 win over Colorado at home, and got 60 minutes out of Carlos Vela. Not much to complain about.

13: Colorado Rapids (1). They had moments against LAFC, and made the second half difficult for the home side, but couldn’t find an equalizer on the road. They’re a tough team to play against, and will cause problems for other teams.

14: Columbus Crew (↑6). They can’t count on multiple Lucas Zelarayán set piece goals to bail them out every week, but boy did they ever need a win. Their complete inability to create from open play is still a huge red flag, but for now they’ll take the points.

15: Houston Dynamo (). Took care of business at home against Vancouver, and put in a fairly complete performance against a weaker opponent. Their midfield is starting to develop cohesion, and they got a great performance from their front three.

16: Philadelphia Union (↑3). The performance against DC wasn’t pretty, but the Kacper Przybyłko game winner was a thing of beauty. They spent most of the match defending and needed a standout performance from ‘keeper Andre Blake, but three points on the road was desperately needed.

17: FC Dallas (↑4). They were four minutes from a win over Salt Lake, but had to settle for a draw. With some really poor results in recent weeks, a point against a strong side pushes their ranking up.

18: Toronto FC (2). They played pretty well against Orlando, but couldn’t find an equalizer. They’ve had the fifth-toughest strength of schedule thus far according to the model, and are probably due for a jump soon.

19: New York Red Bulls (5). It was a rough night for defender Andres Reyes, who opened the scoring in the 7th minute, could have been sent off in the 31st and then did get sent off in the 38th. New York struggled before the red card, but had no chance with 10 men.

20: CF Montréal (3). It’s a bit surprising that a loss at home to FC Cincinnati didn’t tank their ranking more, but the Canadians drop three spots this week after a really, really poor result. They had plenty of chances to bury this, including a miss of the year candidate from Romell Quioto. They let Cincy hang around until the 70th minute and conceded twice to drop three points. A self-destructive loss.

21: Minnesota United (↑1). The Loons didn’t play this week, but move up a spot due to other results.

22: Austin FC (↑1). A 1-0 loss on the road to a good Nashville side boosts their ranking, but they probably should have lost by three or four goals. They have some major concerns after three consecutive defeats.

23: Inter Miami CF (5). It’s bad enough to lose to Chicago, but Miami were fortunate to lose by just a goal. Maybe last week’s win over Cincinnati was fool’s gold…

24: DC United (). A loss at home to Philadelphia doesn’t impact their ranking much, but their performance was actually encouraging. They created plenty of chances and really limited the Union. They’ve been pretty unlucky the past two weeks.

25: Vancouver Whitecaps (). Beaten on the road by Houston. After a promising start to the season, they’ve been really poor in their last three matches and give out high quality chances left and right.

26: Chicago Fire (). They got a great result at home against Miami, shoring up their defense and looking really dangerous in possession. It wasn’t enough to climb up a spot, but their ranking took an upturn and the result should give them something to build on.

27: FC Cincinnati (). Like Chicago, it will take more than a single win to dig them out of this hole, but a win over Montreal is a win, no matter how ugly the match was.

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