MLS Power Rankings: Acosta’s talents fire Cincy to the top

It was Great Goal Week in MLS, with memorable finishes all over the league.

Lucas Zelarayán stole the show by scoring a stoppage-time winner from his own half, but Luciano Acosta scored a stoppage-time winner of his own that was almost equally audacious, Lorenzo Insigne’s blasted curler was a work of art, Miguel Trauco hit a rocket into the top corner, Franco Escobar scored a 25-yard half-volley and Nicholas Gioacchini’s blind flick was sensational. You could make a Goals of the Year video just off this weekend.

Which of them were best? We’ll leave the ranking of goals to you, it’s time for us to rank the teams.

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Previous ranking: 2

It’s a shame Vancouver scored late to take a point from Cincy because Acosta’s absurd goal deserved to be the match winner.

Previous ranking: 1

It seems like the Concacaf Champions League has finally caught up to them across the board. A draw against Atlanta and a shellacking at the hands of Houston made it five straight losses across all competitions and LAFC seem to have completely lost their magic. Bet on them getting it back, like Philly did after they went out of the continental cup, but they look just as hapless as the Union did in the throes of their Champions League/MLS double duty.

Previous ranking: 3

We saw the limitations of this team in Toronto. With the Reds denying them opportunities in transition, NSC simply could not create chances, and they only earned a point courtesy of a Sean Johnson howler. Still, nine-match unbeaten streaks always take a little luck and they traded for an international spot midweek so that last piece of the attack puzzle may be on its way.

Previous ranking: 6

The nine-match unbeaten streak is over and there’s no shame in losing to a Quakes team that is very good at home, especially when you probably deserved at least a draw from the match.

Previous ranking: 8

Any words about the Crew here are wasting time you could be spending watching Zelarayán’s winner.

Previous ranking: 7

Don’t look now, but Carles Gil now has six goals and seven assists on the season. Beating Miami is light work, but New England are a real problem when Gil is flying like he has been this year.

Previous ranking: 5

STL didn’t play badly against the Galaxy and, on another day, probably win, but they fell victim to the pressing-enforced error that has won them so many games this season.

Previous ranking: 9

Miles Robinson at the back, Giorgos Giakoumakis up top and Thiago Almada in between? Yeah, that papers over a lot, and the Five Stripes have themselves a six-match unbeaten streak to show for it. Their win over D.C. on Saturday was big because while the midweek draw with LAFC wasn’t bad by any means, it was their fourth straight draw and one point at a time won’t do it.

Previous ranking: 4

Raúl Ruidíaz remains excellent when he can stay on the pitch, and his brace should have been enough for the Sounders to leave Charlotte with full points. Luck was not on their side, which has been the case all too often recently, and they had to settle for a draw. If they can keep Ruidíaz fit, then this is still a top-tier MLS Cup contender.

Previous ranking: 10

Undefeated at home, only one win on the road. Nothing matters more than location in a Quakes game this season, as Philly found out when their unbeaten streak died in San Jose on Saturday.

Previous ranking: 13

The Caps probably would have liked to have gotten more than a point from a home match, but against Cincy a point ain’t so bad.

Previous ranking: 12

The Dynamo have made massive strides this season primarily by taking care of business, avoiding mistakes and taking points where they could. As a result, their best win of the campaign coming into the weekend was probably at home against New York City FC — hardly blowing you away. Well, how does 4-0 over LAFC sound for an impressive win? Houston have something big to hang their hat on now.

Previous ranking: 14

Facundo Torres is up to five goals and three assists on the season after adding one of each in Orlando’s win over Colorado. The Lions haven’t lost since May 6 and they’re still not quite clicking yet. If they do, it’s going to be a problem for the rest of the East.

Previous ranking: 11

Their front line was often non-existent, their midfield never asserted themselves and the back line was shaky. Unsurprisingly, Dallas lost in Portland. At least goalkeeper Maarten Paes played well.

Previous ranking: 15

The Loons got embarrassed by Montréal, 4-0. Things do not look good for Minnesota right now, but it’s still not hard to see them going on a run soon. Emanuel Reynoso will be fully fit before long and the foundation of the team is set, but they are going to need a legitimate striker at some point.

Previous ranking: 17

The Timbers got back on the smiling side of the scoreboard against Dallas. The defense continues to improve and Evander is delivering, picking up a gorgeous assist on Sunday. Next up: getting the Brazilian some help.

Previous ranking: 26

SKC have lost once since the start of May. That was a painful loss because it came against St. Louis, but it’s impossible not to take notice of how good they have looked since they got healthy. Saturday’s 4-1 romp over Austin was more of the same for a team that is suddenly in a playoff spot. Alan Pulido had two goals and an assist, adding intrigue to Chivas’ pursuit of the Mexican.

Previous ranking: 16

The high line and ultra-aggressive Tyler Miller was always going to bite D.C. at some point. It finally did in their loss to Atlanta.

Previous ranking: 19

The Reds got a moment of magic from Insigne and they were organized and disciplined in defense. They followed the blueprint to beating a good Nashville team perfectly, until Johnson forgot how to catch the ball.

Previous ranking: 20

Their bye week was well timed.

Previous ranking: 18

The Rapids continue to play well with 10 men, but the problem is they have a lot of practice. On Saturday, they upped the ante with two red cards so they finished their loss to Orlando with nine.

Previous ranking: 22

It looked like Seattle had dealt Charlotte a knockout punch multiple times on Saturday night, but with their rowdy crowd behind them, the Crown kept getting back up and were rewarded with Patrick Agyemang’s late equalizer. It was a fun night in Carolina.

Previous ranking: 25

CFM finally got themselves a home kit and immediately rocked Minnesota, 4-0. Coincidence? Absolutely not.

Previous ranking: 27

RSL celebrated the signing of Chicho Arango with a dominant performance over NYCFC. Unfortunately, they somehow managed to not score and had to settle for a disappointing scoreless draw, but they looked good and are about to have a game-changing player at the front. All aboard the Claret and Cobalt train. Destination: playoffs?

Previous ranking: 21

While City Football Group is throwing parties on the other side of the Atlantic, their team in New York is in dire straits. The Pigeons were spectacularly lucky to leave Utah with a point and their winless streak is now up to nine matches, a stretch that has seen them score just five goals.

Previous ranking: 23

To play a good team like Columbus tight and have a point snatched away from you in stoppage time on a goal from the other side of midfield? Cold world.

Previous ranking: 29

The Galaxy are still undefeated in the league since firing club president Chris Klein after a gamely draw in St. Louis. Unfortunately, Javier Hernández’s season is done for after he tore his ACL in U.S. Open Cup action. Hopefully that won’t be the last time he wears the Galaxy shirt because he not only played well since joining the club in 2020, he’s had the effort, attitude and accountability you want from your captain through some really difficult times. Recupérate pronto, Chicha.

Previous ranking: 24

It’s not just that Austin lost again, this time in Kansas City. It’s not even that they lost handily. It’s that there isn’t a clear path for marked improvement. This appears to be who they are, and it increasingly looks like last season was the outlier for a team that has been mostly bad since entering the league.

Previous ranking: 28

Inter got blown out by the Revs, and if things keep going the way they have, Lionel Messi in pink is going to look a lot like he did in the 2010 World Cup quarterfinals when Argentina were rocked, 4-0, by Germany.

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