MLS Power Rankings: Red Bulls get top spot, Inter Miami fall

Lionel Messi sparks Inter Miami with second-half goal (1:00)

Lionel Messi comes off the bench to score and help set up a goal for Inter Miami vs. Colorado Rapids. (1:00)

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 7. Let's dive in.

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1. New York Red Bulls

Previous ranking: 3

An April win doesn't make up for being eliminated from the playoffs by Cincy, but RBNY had to feel good about getting one back on Cincinnati with a 2-1 win on the road. Now, the Red Bulls are top of the East despite integrating a lot of new faces against a hellacious schedule to start the season.

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2. Philadelphia Union

Previous ranking: 4

Jim Curtin's substitutions completely changed the game in Nashville and fueled a 2-1 comeback win. The Union are not just undefeated on the season -- they've won three in a row now.

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3. Vancouver Whitecaps

Previous ranking: 10

Guess who leads the league in points per game? It's the Whitecaps, after their 4-0 win over Toronto. Vancouver has played four of its six matches at home, and its two road trips were against the West's two worst teams. We've got to see what the Whitecaps do when the schedule toughens up, but they're taking care of business right now.

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4. Columbus Crew

Previous ranking: 1

The Crew are a really good team, but even they can't win with any consistency if they're playing with 10 men. Their 1-1 draw with D.C. marked the third time in four games across all competitions that they saw red. The latest dismissal was on Cucho Hernández, who was just coming off an unexplained absence, so it's worth an eyebrow raise at a minimum.

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5. FC Cincinnati

Previous ranking: 2

There's no reason to sweat about an early season loss to a good team, like their 2-1 defeat to RBNY on Saturday, but it was yet another reminder that they did not adequately replace Brandon Vázquez. Fortunately, they have plenty of time to do so before the playoffs.

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Previous ranking: 11

LAFC beat the Galaxy 2-1 thanks to a very generous penalty call from the referee, but it was hardly three points stolen for them by the man in the middle. The Black and Gold were the better team and had several great chances that went awry, including Dénis Bouanga missing a wide-open goal late. They deserved the win, penalty aside.

Denis Bouanga's penalty seals LAFC's win over rival LA Galaxy

Denis Bouanga earns the penalty and converts from the spot for a 2-1 LAFC win.

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7. Inter Miami CF

Previous ranking: 5

Lionel Messi had some making up to do after missing the last four matches through injury, so he jumped right back in with a goal. It's too bad the defense couldn't make it stand up in a 2-2 draw with Colorado, but they rotated heavily because of the Concacaf Champions League this week and they'll happily sacrifice the two points lost if they come back to beat Monterrey on Wednesday.

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8. Real Salt Lake

Previous ranking: 7

RSL were an excellent road team last year and it looks like that's going to be the case again this season. A 1-1 draw in Minnesota is their third away result in a row.

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9. LA Galaxy

Previous ranking: 6

The Galaxy were again on the wrong end of a controversial referee's decision, this time costing them a 2-1 loss to LAFC. Riqui Puig and Gabriel Pec both struggled, which really hamstrung an attack that too often has to carry this team. They'll be hoping that new signing Carlos Garcés will be able to strengthen the defense, especially on set pieces, and take some pressure off the attack to be at their very best each week.

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10. Atlanta United FC

Previous ranking: 8

It took another great Brad Guzan performance to manage a 1-1 draw with NYCFC. That's hardly encouraging, but Giorgos Giakoumakis's likely return next week is.

Jamal Thiare scores goal for Atlanta United FC

Jamal Thiare scores goal for Atlanta United FC

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11. D.C. United

Previous ranking: 13

A draw in Columbus is a good result, but D.C. didn't deserve a draw. It deserved a win, and that was true even before it went up a man. United need to turn more of these draws into wins for the table to reflect their quality, but don't get it twisted; D.C. has the quality.

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12. Houston Dynamo

Previous ranking: 9

Ibrahim Aliyu is up to three goals on the season after finding the back of the net in Chicago, but it wasn't enough as the Dynamo fell 2-1.

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13. Minnesota United

Previous ranking: 14

Tani Oluwaseyi rescued a draw for the Loons late, but it was the least they deserved for a good performance against a good RSL team. Oluwaseyi has gone from being drafted by Minnesota to a season with the reserves, to a loan year in the USL Championship and now he's proving to be one of MLS's most impactful subs. That's some terrific player development by the Loons.

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14. Sporting Kansas City

Previous ranking: 15

SKC took a three-goal lead into halftime and somehow walked away with only one point against Portland. That's concerning enough on its own, but remember they lost to the Galaxy after taking a two-goal lead into the break in their last home game. This isn't just one awful capitulation for Peter Vermes & Co.

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15. Seattle Sounders

Previous ranking: 22

Welcome to the 2024 season, Seattle. The Sounders finally put together a full match and were rewarded with their first win, a 5-0 shellacking of Montréal.

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16. Charlotte FC

Previous ranking: 12

It's never fun when you're the victim of a team's first win of the season, as was the case when New England beat Charlotte this week.

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17. Colorado Rapids

Previous ranking: 19

The Rapids had the misfortune of being subject to Messi's return from injury, but Cole Bassett's late goal still earned them a 2-2 draw and they're above the playoff line. Chris Armas is getting it done.

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18. Orlando City

Previous ranking: 18

Orlando had the week off to get ready for a run of six straight games against East teams coming up.

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19. Toronto FC

Previous ranking: 17

The Reds got off to a quick start this season, but after falling 4-0 to the Whitecaps, John Herdman's team has now given up seven goals in their past two matches.

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20. CF Montréal

Previous ranking: 16

CFM got mollywhopped by the Sounders 5-0, but it's hard to hold it against them. It was their sixth straight away match to start the season. They finally get to play at home next week.

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21. Chicago Fire

Previous ranking: 24

The Fire's schedule is very home-heavy at the moment, so they have to rack up points while they can. A 2-1 win over Houston is a job well done.

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22. Portland Timbers

Previous ranking: 23

Scoring three goals in the last 26 minutes to steal an away point is one of those draws that feels like a win. That's especially true because SKC had a penalty kick to make it a four-goal lead, only to miss the frame and spark the Timbers' comeback. After three straight losses, Portland desperately needed a result in this one and it got it, even if improbably so.

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23. St. Louis City SC

Previous ranking: 20

Stop me if you've heard this one before: Roman Bürki rescued a result for St. Louis. This time he earned them a scoreless draw with Dallas.

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24. Nashville SC

Previous ranking: 21

Nashville built an identity as the team you least wanted to fall behind because they would squeeze the life out of a game they led, but their 2-1 loss to Philly over the weekend marked the third time this season they've dropped points from a winning position.

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25. FC Dallas

Previous ranking: 25

Dallas conceded a lot of the ball and a lot of shots in St. Louis but did a pretty good job of limiting the quality of chances. Of course, they didn't create a ton themselves either in the 0-0 draw.

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26. New York City FC

Previous ranking: 26

The Pigeons played pretty well against Atlanta, but the woodwork was unkind so they had to settle for a draw.

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27. New England Revolution

Previous ranking: 28

The Revs entered the weekend not just winless -- they hadn't even had a lead at any point this season. Well, that's not the case anymore. Carles Gil's goal was enough to beat Charlotte 1-0.

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28. Austin FC

Previous ranking: 29

Was Austin good in their win over San Jose? It didn't matter because they had a sublime Sebastián Driussi. It was like 2022 all over again.

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29. San Jose Earthquakes

Previous ranking: 27

The Quakes are winning (?) the race for the Wooden Spoon after a loss in Austin. They probably deserved at least a draw from the match, but nobody cares much about whether you were a little hard done when you're bottom of the table.