All hail our new overlord, the Leagues Cup. The first annual tournament between MLS and Liga MX clubs is here, forcing a month-long break from the MLS regular season. But before we get to the new competition and the brand new, certainly not well worn debates about whether MLS has really made up ground on Liga MX, what it says about American soccer culture, crowd splits and, at its core, whether it’s a worthwhile tournament at all, we had a packed week of MLS play.

Who shone bright? Who is thankful to get a break and regroup a month from now? Let’s rank the teams as the regular season takes a pause:

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FC Cincinnati logo

Previous ranking: 1

The Garys weren’t scintillating against RBNY, but a win is a win and the way they dismantled Nashville was a statement. When the attack is flowing, there is no doubt who the best team in the league is.

Philadelphia Union logo

Previous ranking: 4

A small skid had us questioning whether the Union’s revival was fool’s gold, but the way they dismissed Nashville and NYCFC last week has us back on the Philly bandwagon. This team still has a little bit more to go, but they are a bonafide contender.

Columbus Crew logo

Previous ranking: 3

If nothing else, the Crew will deliver entertainment. The way Lucas Zelarayan led a fight back from 2-0 down to get level in Portland was thrilling, but that didn’t mean much to Columbus when they conceded a late winner. It sure satiated the neutrals, though.

Nashville SC logo

Previous ranking: 2

If last week was a test for NSC, they failed. Philly and Cincy is a brutal pair of opponents for a team in a single week, but they got their chance against two of the best in the East and, to quote A Knight’s Tale’s Count Adhemar, “You have been weighed, you have been measured and you have been found wanting.” Hopefully, they come back after the Leagues Cup looking like William Thatcher.

New England Revolution logo

Previous ranking: 7

The Revs had Atlanta beat inside of 10 minutes, then Ian Harkes put D.C. to the sword. Nobody expects Harkes to score two goals a game, but if he’s going to be a constant threat making runs from deep, this New England team just got a whole lot scarier.

St. Louis City SC logo

Previous ranking: 6

Getting blown out by LAFC was rough, but they had the perfect medicine waiting for them — a match against Miami. It was exactly as well as you’d expect.

Seattle Sounders logo

Previous ranking: 5

When you watch the Sounders, you spend a lot of time thinking “damn, this team is good.” The start of their match against Dallas was one of those times. The problem is they only got one goal to show for it and they slumped to the end for a draw. This came after a loss to San Jose, so it was a rough week and highlighted why this team so desperately needs to get healthy. Two-match weeks are so tough on them right now.

LAFC logo

Previous ranking: 9

The Black and Gold looked spectacular in blowing out St. Louis, but they were completely on the back foot against Minnesota. They were lucky to walk away with a draw, but there’s still work to do for this club to get back to where they were early in the campaign.

Atlanta United FC logo

Previous ranking: 8

A pair of competitive losses to New England and Orlando isn’t something to push the panic button over, but it was readily apparent how thin this Five Stripes team has become last week. The combination of injuries, international duty and outgoing transfers really added up. Some of that will be rectified with time, but Atlanta needs to add talent too.

Vancouver Whitecaps logo

Previous ranking: 10

The cozy confines of BC Place paid dividends as the Caps took six points from Austin and the Galaxy. When the front line delivers, Vancouver is dangerous, especially at home.

Orlando City logo

Previous ranking: 12

It’s Duncan McGuire’s world and we’re just living in it. Atlanta is living in it with remorse, after McGuire led the Lions to a win over their rivals.

San Jose Earthquakes logo

Previous ranking: 15

No team in the West has been better than the Quakes at home, which Seattle learned the hard way as Miguel Trauco rocketed San Jose to victory.

Real Salt Lake logo

Previous ranking: 16

Diego Luna is the real deal, y’all. The teenager made a big impact off the bench in RSL’s comeback draw against Sporting, then was the leading man as they picked apart RBNY. It’s one thing to score goals and it’s another to be a constant creative force, but Luna is both and he puts in the work defensively. He does it all.

Minnesota United logo

Previous ranking: 14

The Loons dismissed Houston with ease as Teemu Pukki got on the board and should have beaten LAFC, but the soccer gods weren’t on their side. Emanuel Reynoso is finally getting back up to full speed and that should terrify the rest of MLS.

Houston Dynamo logo

Previous ranking: 11

180 minutes and no goals. It wasn’t a banner week for the Dynamo, although they did at least take a point out of Colorado. They needed that after Minnesota obliterated them.

FC Dallas logo

Previous ranking: 17

For the first time, Bernard Kamungo scored a goal that wasn’t a match winner. Instead, this one merely earned Dallas a 1-1 draw in Seattle.

Sporting Kansas City logo

Previous ranking: 13

There’s a lot to like about this Sporting team, when fit. The signings of Alan Pulido, Gadi Kinda, Remi Walter and Willy Agada have all delivered when on the pitch. You know what those players all have in common, though? They’re not center-backs. SKC haven’t been able to find center-backs for going on a decade and it continues to kill them. The center of defense was at fault in blowing a 2-0 lead in a draw with RSL and again in their loss to Austin, continuing a years-long theme.

Portland Timbers logo

Previous ranking: 19

The Timbers went from one of the most dull matches in a scoreless draw to one of the most fun contests as they went up 2-0 on Columbus, let them tie it up and then scored a late winner. Both games probably say more about their opponents than them, but Portland sure got the full range of soccer.

D.C. United logo

Previous ranking: 18

D.C. got to play a Revs team that was coming off a midweek match and instead of unleashing fresh legs on them to take full points, it was their former player, Ian Harkes, who led the way in an absolute whooping for New England. Ouch.

New York Red Bulls logo

Previous ranking: 20

The Red Bulls were a little unlucky not to take a point from Cincinnati, but they were never in the match in Salt Lake. Thank the generous playoff format or RBNY would have their eyes fully set on next season by now.

LA Galaxy logo

Previous ranking: 21

The Galaxy have mostly played well for a month now, but they were awful for 25 minutes against the Whitecaps and that’s why they lost, 4-2.

Chicago Fire logo

Previous ranking: 24

The Fire have been as good as anyone in identifying and developing young players lately. Georgios Koutsias is the latest, and while he was everywhere in Chicago’s thrashing of Montreal, Kacper Przybylko made the difference against Toronto, coming off the bench and scoring the 90th minute winner.

Austin FC logo

Previous ranking: 25

They lost 2-1 in Vancouver then won 2-1 over SKC. That’s a 3-3 week. Call it even, and is a step forward for this team after how much of this season has gone.

Colorado Rapids logo

Previous ranking: 22

The problem for the Rapids is they draw way too many matches and are taking one point when they should be taking three. The problem for those of us who watch the Rapids is how many of them are dull 0-0 affairs, as was the case with their draws against Portland and Houston.

New York City FC logo

Previous ranking: 23

The Pigeon’s eight-match unbeaten streak is over after getting toppled in Philly, but they still have only one win since May 31.

CF Montreal logo

Previous ranking: 27

CFM got a pair of teams that have been mired with them towards the bottom of the league this season in Chicago and Charlotte. The Fire wrecked them, but they comfortably rolled past CLT. So they are still not very good, but they could be worse.

Toronto FC logo

Previous ranking: 26

Siri, show me a very expensive lost season. Getting beat at the death by Chicago just adds to the pain.

Charlotte FC logo

Previous ranking: 28

Brecht Dejaegere is pulling up to Charlotte and it cannot come soon enough. The midfield needs help, as we saw in their loss to Montreal, and Dejaegere will be a welcome addition.

Inter Miami CF logo

Previous ranking: 29

When it rains, it pours. Literally. Inter went from getting smacked by St. Louis to Lionel Messi’s unveiling being sidetracked by torrential thunderstorms.


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