Have Austin, Philadelphia and Montreal caught up to LAFC?

LAFC was the class of the league from the start of the season. It’s been months since there’s been any real discussion about who is the best team in Major League Soccer, but is it time to have that discussion?

Not only that black and gold have lost twice in a row. It’s that one came against the lowly San Jose Earthquakes and the second was Austin FC to completely wipe out LAFC. It’s the Philadelphia Union winning six goals with a defense that ranks among the best in league history. The thing is, Austin and CF Montreal really aren’t that far behind.

The playoff race is always a beautiful mess, but the top of the league is looking awfully tasty now too.

How do teams stack? Let’s classify them.

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Previous placement: 1

Next MLS game: Wednesday at Houston Dynamo, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Getting smoked at Austin after a loss to San Jose is usually a concern, but the Black and Gold have built enough confidence in their first 25 games to overlook that…up to a point. If their backline wanted to look like they had a sense of direction in the next game, that would probably be a good move because if they didn’t, they’d narrowly miss Philly, Austin and Montreal who are passing them.


Previous placement: 3

Next MLS game: Wednesday vs. Atlanta United FC, 7 p.m. ET

A 6-0 win over Colorado means four wins with at least six goals since last month. And that from a team with a historically great defense. Have mercy, Philly.


Previous placement: 4

Next MLS game: Wednesday vs. Portland Timbers, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Consider the confidence it takes to look at presumptive MVP Sebastian Driussi and say, “Nah bro. That’s my free kick.” And after Diego Fagundez hit that lovely curler for Austin’s first goal en route to a dominating 4-1 win over LAFC, there’s no doubt the confidence is well-deserved.


Previous placement: 2

Next MLS game: Wednesday v New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Montreal is good. We knew that. But with three more points from The Fire to its name, it’s just five points behind Philly for first in the Eastern Conference and with a match in hand. Are we still beating how good Montreal is?



Romell Quioto Goal 24th Minute Chicago Fire FC 0-2 Montreal Impact


Previous placement: 5

Next MLS game: Wednesday at Real Salt Lake, 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

The Loons would trade the three points they picked up against the Dynamo in exchange for Bakaye Dibassy not suffering a season-ending injury. Unfortunately, no amount of GAM can do this.


Previous placement: 6

Next MLS game: Saturday vs. Minnesota United, 3:30 p.m. ET

We’re approaching the end of August and we still have the same question about Dallas: is this the team that mostly controls games or the team that can’t string results together to reflect the quality of their game? The draw against RSL was like the rest.


Previous placement: 8th

Next MLS game: Wednesday at CF Montreal, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Hopefully everyone lent a hand to get Andres Reyes something nice for taking some bucks on his chest so the Red Bulls can put a man up front in Miami. It worked for another comfortable win.


Previous placement: 7

Next MLS game: Wednesday vs. Minnesota United, 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Pretty? no Effective? Yes. A tie in Dallas was more like the same thing for an RSL team who just aren’t fun to play against.



Randall Leal goal 19th minute Vancouver Whitecaps 0-1 Nashville SC


Previous placement: 11

Next MLS game: Wednesday vs. Colorado Rapids, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Say what you will about the whitecaps, but going to Vancouver and completely dominating is no joke. NSC might find out and that makes the west much sharper.


Previous placement: 13

Next MLS game: Wednesday vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Tesho Akindele came off the bench and scored the winner for the second week in a row. Fresh legs and aerodynamics are a damn good combination.


Previous placement: fifteen

Next MLS game: Wednesday vs. LA Galaxy, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

So Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi are good at football, right? A goal each in Charlotte, three more points, and the Tip of the East is still praying TFC can’t find their way into the playoffs.


Previous placement: 12

Next MLS game: Wednesday vs Inter Miami CF, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

As if it were possible to still love Cucho Hernandez He caught a beer thrown at him by visiting crew fans and mashed it after their comeback tie in Cincinnati. Get this man into the playoffs, Columbus.



Steven Moreira Goal 96th Minute FC Cincinnati 2-2 Columbus Crew SC


Previous placement: 10

Next MLS game: Saturday v Charlotte FC, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

A Hell is Real was in their hands until it wasn’t anymore. Cincy needs to figure out how to end games as the late equalizer she conceded against Columbus is the fourth time in the last eight games that she has been conceded in the last 10 minutes.


Previous placement: 9

Next MLS game: Wednesday vs. DC United, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN+

How many different ways can you say NYCFC misses its MLS Cup winner and reigning MVP? After all, they built up so much cushion before the departure of the two that they can still make the playoffs despite defeats like on Sunday against Orlando.


Previous placement: 20

Next MLS game: Wednesday at Toronto FC, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Beating the revs is good and changing the formation mostly worked. OK we got through that so now we can post a video of Riqui Puig’s pass because those words take time that can be spent watching that pass for the 100th and 101st and 102nd time.


Previous placement: 14

Next MLS game: Wednesday at Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Somebody needs to check Gonzalo Higuain for hiding a missile in his boot.

Fortunately, Alejandro Pozuelo didn’t have a rocket in his boot as he pierced Andres Reyes in the chest, was sent off and sentenced Inter to defeat in New Jersey.



Caden Clark Goal 74th Minute New York Red Bulls 3-1 Inter Miami CF


Previous placement: 17

Next MLS game: Wednesday vs. Chicago Fire FC, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Losing to the Galaxy stings and every point counts in a playoff race, but it’s hard to worry about the Revs when Gustavo Bou is back on the field and the rest of the team is sneaking toward fitness and a closure plan who only lets them play Red Bulls, Dynamo and Fire away from home. You should be fine.


Previous placement: 22

Next MLS game: Wednesday at Austin FC, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Gio Savarese surprised most by making three defenders against Seattle. how did it work Well, the Timbers have only beaten their rivals, winning the Cascadia Cup and overtaking both Seattle and Vancouver in the race for a playoff spot. Not a bad day at work for the boss.


Previous placement: 18

Next MLS game: Sunday at San Jose Earthquakes, 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Little about the ‘Caps says “playoff team”. Not their non-appearance at home against Nashville, not their two wins in the last 10 years, not the way they are overplayed in both boxes so often. But, against all odds, they’re still in the playoff race. It would be nice if they started playing like that.


Previous placement: 19

Next MLS game: Wednesday in Orlando City, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

The Sounders failed to beat the Timbers in the regular season for the first time since 1981when Dolly Parton had just released 9 to 5, Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark was in theaters and Surinam’s SV Transvaal were champions of CONCACAF.



The Timbers pick up the 2-1 win over their rivals in front of a noisy stadium.


Previous placement: 21

Next MLS game: Saturday at FC Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

The trouble with being miserable away from home is that you can’t afford even the slightest slip-up at home, and Charlotte has got it mixed up with Toronto in the city.


Previous placement: 16

Next MLS game: Wednesday in Nashville SC, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

If you’ve dashed your playoff hopes, you might as well do it spectacularly. The 6-0 defeat against Philly is considered spectacular.


Previous placement: 23

Next MLS game: Wednesday at Philadelphia Union, 7 p.m. ET

So you beat DC. Play away with your season in Philadelphia and Portland this week. Much luck!


Previous placement: 24

Next MLS game: Sunday in LA Galaxy, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Sporting signed William Agada and Erik Thommy and then they started to play much better, like they did on Saturday when they beat San Jose. These two things are related.



Dániel Sallói Goal 10th Minute Sporting Kansas City 1-0 San Jose Earthquakes


Previous placement: 25

Next MLS game: Sunday v Vancouver Whitecaps, 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

San Jose lost at Kansas City and kept their overall win for the season at one. But that one away win came against Galaxy and those three points could still be what keeps the Quakes’ California Clasico rivals out of the playoffs, which wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize in a losing season.


Previous placement: 26

Next MLS game: Wednesday at New England Revolution, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

The Fire lost the game to Montreal, lost Xherdan Shaqiri and Rafael Czichos to injuries, and practically lost its season as well. Get ready for 2023, Chicago.


Previous placement: 27

Next MLS game: Wednesday vs. LAFC, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

We’re in the “at least it was competitive” phase of the Dynamo season, and their loss in Minnesota was definitely competitive.


Previous placement: 28

Next MLS game: Wednesday at New York City FC, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Some DC fans might be upset that the Black and Reds blew away two different leads in a loss to Atlanta, but look on the bright side: At least they had two leads.

https://www.espn.com/soccer/major-league-soccer/story/4732925/mls-power-rankings-have-austinphiladelphia-and-montreal-caught-up-to-lafc Have Austin, Philadelphia and Montreal caught up to LAFC?

Emma Bowman

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