MLS Power Rankings: Inter Miami surges up as Crew remain top

Messi scores twice as Inter Miami thrash Orlando SC (1:01)

Lionel Messi scores two goals in the second half, helping Inter Miami cruise to a 5-0 victory over Orlando SC. (1:01)

It's Monday, another week of MLS action is in the books, which means it's time for ESPN's Power Rankings.

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Our Power Rankings are derived from a combination of key season statistics (points per game, goal differential, expected goal (xG) differential), recent performance, the Opta computer ratings, and the observations of our writers.

So, who's climbing the table? Who's in free fall? We've ranked all 29 clubs in the league after Matchday 2. Let's dive in.

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1. Columbus Crew

Previous ranking: 1

Wilfried Nancy's team were pressed with aplomb in Minnesota, but made fluid mid-game adjustments, freeing space for Cucho Hernández to claim a lead after the half. They conceded the equalizer in the fifth minute of stoppage time but Nancy's side remain the chief arbiters of beautiful soccer in Major League Soccer.

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2. Inter Miami CF

Previous ranking: 5

After much speculation regarding his fitness, Luis Suárez tore into the Florida Derby with a reminder of why he's elite (and entertaining). The legendary Uruguayan was selfless and savvy, collecting a brace by the eleventh minute and adding two assists to a 5-0 Miami performance that flummoxed Orlando. Robert Taylor collected his second goal of the year, and Lionel Messi clocked in for a second-half brace.

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3. New York Red Bulls

Previous ranking: 8

Two games on the road and four points to show for it. Last year's problem was reliable goalscorers. This year's team has new creative additions and the return of (Saturday's decisive goal-scorer) Lewis Morgan. Emil Forsberg has been a hair's breadth from a free-kick golazo in back-to-back matches now. Perhaps a debut goal at Red Bull Arena next Saturday evades the post this time?

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4. FC Cincinnati

Previous ranking: 4

Replacing the productivity of Brandon Vázquez at striker is among the key questions for Pat Noonan's 2023 Supporters Shield winners. Aaron Boupendza collected a goal to open Saturday's scoring, adding to his midweek goal in the Concacaf Champions Cup last week. After scoring six goals in 14 appearances since signing for Cincinnati last summer, early-season signs of a second-year boost bode well for the Orange and Blue. Miles Robinson collected his first club goal to secure Saturday's win.

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5. Philadelphia Union

Previous ranking: 3

In the battle of seasoned managers, Jim Curtin's Union absconded with a point from Peter Vermes' SKC thanks in part to a spurious stoppage time call. Regardless, the Union are fighting on multiple fronts thanks to the Champions Cup. With two draws from two games and some heavy rotation, they remain a team that is capable of grinding out points from anything.

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Previous ranking: 2

At face value, a 3-0 loss to RSL might point toward warning signs. But beyond the fun of a thundersnow extravaganza, Saturday's snowfight likely doesn't point toward longer-term issues. Spare a thought, though, for goalkeeper Hugo Lloris' introduction to Utah in winter.

Real Salt Lake score 3 1st-half goals in heavy snow

Andres Gomez nets a brace and Cristian Arango adds a third goal in Real Salt Lake's win over LAFC.

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7. Real Salt Lake

Previous ranking: 17

On the flip side, Pablo Mastroeni's squad showed not just fight but joy and skill in frightful conditions. With three sturdy showings to start the year and goals from Chicho Arango and Andres Gomez (already doubling his '23 tally), there's reason for optimism in 2024.

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8. CF Montréal

Previous ranking: 24

An early-match injury to Kwadwo Opoku (already an injury replacement for Dominik Yankov) had Montreal rotating deep at Toyota Stadium. But 21-year-old Montreal native Jules-Anthony Vilsaint (not even on the match day roster the previous week) scored within 10 minutes of subbing in. Laurent Courtois' side showed resilience to collect three points, heading home with four from two tough road games.

Josef Martinez's tally is the difference for CF Montreal

Josef Martinez scores a goal in the 60th minute to push CF Montreal ahead of FC Dallas.

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9. Sporting Kansas City

Previous ranking: 16

Peter Vermes' squad looks to have creative solutions in midfield to move on from Gadi Kinda. But referee decisions aside, a draw at home to a heavily rotated Union won't cut it.

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10. Minnesota United

Previous ranking: 10

Hosting the reigning Champions with an interim manager is a daunting task. Still, Minnesota showed bravery as they took on the Crew with high pressure, wrestling a point from the affair thanks to a stoppage-time stunner from Tani Oluwaseyi.

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11. Charlotte FC

Previous ranking: 11

Dean Smith's tenure is off to a solid start, and now Celtic's Liel Abada is on the way. That said, they may regret getting beat on Ryan Raposo's equalizer after earning the early lead.

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12. FC Dallas

Previous ranking: 7

Dallas lost at home to Montreal but showed signs of a team building toward something decent. Jesús Ferreira and Paxton Pomykal are re-emerging. Petar Musa also notched his first goal for the Toros.

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13. Nashville SC

Previous ranking: 9

Two points from two games is a reasonable run of results for a team struggling to produce without Hany Mukhtar and Sam Surridge. In what was a far cry from the highest quality match of the weekend, Nashville conceded first thanks to an own goal then equalized thanks to a handball and late penalty.

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14. St. Louis City SC

Previous ranking: 19

Bradley Carnell's squad knows how to punish teams in quick transition, which is what they did against a struggling NYCFC, collecting two goals and keeping a nearly uncontested clean sheet.

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15. Orlando City

Previous ranking: 6

The talent in this squad still seems capable of challenging in a competitive conference. But Orlando ran a clinic on how not to play Inter Miami in the Florida Derby, giving time and space to world-famous talents and all but forfeiting as frustration settled.

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16. Houston Dynamo

Previous ranking: 14

Houston lost at home to an ascendant Red Bulls side while straddling Champions Cup in the midweek. Still, they showed signs of promise for the new season. They're missing Héctor Herrera due to injury. Coco Carrasquila will be their lynchpin as long as they can keep him.

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17. LA Galaxy

Previous ranking: 20

The Galaxy ended up the resounding victors in the Cali Clasico, defeating the Earthquakes 3-1. Early signs point toward a Galaxy more akin to yesteryear, with Joseph Paintsil's performance evidence of a more dynamic attack than last season.

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18. Atlanta United FC

Previous ranking: 13

A bye week for Atlanta keeps them where they settled last weekend.

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19. Seattle Sounders

Previous ranking: 12

Drawing at home to one of the least convincing teams in the league (Austin FC) is concerning, especially after losing on the road in their first game. Still, it's early days, and their early-season injury list is lengthy. Club legend Nico Lodeiro has been replaced by new Argentine addition, Pedro de la Vega, whose entry to the league looks promising.

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20. D.C. United

Previous ranking: 18

DC United took four points from their first few games thanks to five total goals and an even higher xG (8.22, the highest in the league). Having thus far proven they can score goals and create opportunities, more reliable defending could bolster their chances in what will be a difficult Eastern Conference.

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21. Portland Timbers

Previous ranking: 15

Something similar could be said for Portland, who have six goals and four points from two games (though with less compelling underlying numbers). They'll rue dropping points at home against DC United after taking a 2-0 lead in the 61st minute.

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22. Toronto FC

Previous ranking: 27

John Herdman's tenure with 2023's wood spoon winners is already off to a strong start as Toronto has officially collected the same number of road points as they did the entirety of last season. A commendable performance from Sean Johnson and elite quality from Lorenzo Insigne sealed a deserved victory in New England.

Lorenzo Insigne fires home the goal for Toronto FC

Lorenzo Insigne breaks the scoreless tie and gets Toronto FC on the board in the 26th minute against New England.

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23. Vancouver Whitecaps

Previous ranking: 21

Vancouver's first game of the season was mediocre, but Yohei Takaoka's quality in goal could give them courage.

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24. New England Revolution

Previous ranking: 22

There's a lot of young talent to get excited about here, but they failed to bounce back at home against last year's wooden spoon winners.

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25. Chicago Fire

Previous ranking: 25

After a strong showing in week one, Chicago lost at home thanks to a poor defensive mistake, then getting beat on a set piece.

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26. New York City FC

Previous ranking: 23

Despite some exciting off-season additions, Nick Cushing's side could start to free-fall if they're not careful. James Sands' red card settled another poor outing for a team ill-setup to exploit St. Louis.

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27. San Jose Earthquakes

Previous ranking: 26

Losing to a rival is a tough way to start the year. San Jose are one of three teams to take zero points from their first two games this season.

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28. Colorado Rapids

Previous ranking: 29

They were gifted an own goal, only to gift one back to Nashville with a careless handball in second-half stoppage time.

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29. Austin FC

Previous ranking: 28

Josh Wolff can be proud of a draw in Seattle but they'll need new ideas to take more from this season.