MLS Power Rankings: LAFC close in on Miami, SKC rock bottom

Denis Bouanga slots home to open scoring for LAFC (0:55)

Denis Bouanga slots past the goalkeeper to put LAFC up 1-0 vs. FC Dallas. (0:55)

It's Monday, and 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 differential), recent performance, the Opta computer ratings and the observations of our writers.

Who's climbing the table? Who's in free fall? We've ranked all 29 clubs in the league after Matchday 17. Let's dive in.

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1. Inter Miami CF

Previous ranking: 1

Two matches at home and no wins for Inter? It was a rough week at the back as the team conceded three goals in both its loss to Atlanta and draw against St. Louis, but Miami is still on top of the East.

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Previous ranking: 5

LAFC dispatched Minnesota and Dallas last week to make it seven wins in a row and six clean sheets in a row. There may be an outstanding question or two about their attack, but they are so good at the back that it doesn't matter. They are closer to first in these rankings than they are to third.

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3. FC Cincinnati

Previous ranking: 2

Cincy's seven-game winning streak came to an end, which isn't shocking. All winning streaks have to come to an end at some point. But losing at home to Nashville? That was eyebrow-raising.

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4. Real Salt Lake

Previous ranking: 3

The game was getting too easy for Chicho Arango, so instead of getting in front of goal he stepped back all the way to midfield and scored the goal of the year as RSL obliterated Austin, 5-1. That helped them forget their midweek draw in Seattle and maintain a three-point lead atop the West.

Check out Cristian Arango's must-see goal from midfield

Check out Cristian Arango's must-see goal from midfield for Real Salt Lake.

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5. Columbus Crew

Previous ranking: 4

The Crew suffered a painful loss in the Concacaf Champions Cup final, but at least now they can turn all their attention to MLS play. Balancing the two for the first half of the season has been difficult on Wilfried Nancy's side.

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6. New York Red Bulls

Previous ranking: 6

It was the veteran Designated Player Emil Forsberg who delivered RBNY a win over Charlotte, then it was the homegrown kid John Tolkin who beat Orlando. The Red Bulls are getting it done with help from everyone.

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7. New York City FC

Previous ranking: 8

If you're only going to play one game while most of the league is playing two, you had better make it count. NYCFC did, smashing the Quakes, 5-1.

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8. Minnesota United

Previous ranking: 7

A midweek loss to LAFC is nothing to be alarmed about, especially after United cruised to a win over SKC on Saturday. Tani Oluwaseyi is now up to seven goals and four assists in just 620 minutes this season and Eric Ramsay has the enviable task of having to find time for his unexpected breakout star.

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9. LA Galaxy

Previous ranking: 9

The Galaxy have figured things out this season, as they showed in a win over Dallas. But they are still a step below the top teams because too often their play in front of their own goal should be set to the Benny Hill theme song, as was the case in a loss to Chicago.

Brian Gutierrez scores to complete Chicago Fire's comeback

Brian Gutierrez's shot from outside the box bounces off of both posts and sneaks in to turn the game around and put the Chicago Fire up 2-1 vs. the LA Galaxy.

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10. Philadelphia Union

Previous ranking: 10

The Union probably saw Toronto and Montréal coming to town last week and saw a great opportunity to pick up six points. Instead, they managed only two, which really stings considering they were up a goal and man advantage against CFM before going down to 10 men themselves and conceding.

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11. Charlotte FC

Previous ranking: 12

The Crown's five-match unbeaten streak came to an end with a loss to the Red Bulls, but they bounced back with an emphatic 3-2 comeback win in Atlanta. Impressively, they were able to get it done despite their usually stout defense buckling as the attack picked up the slack.

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12. Vancouver Whitecaps

Previous ranking: 13

The Whitecaps weren't at their best against either SKC or the Rapids, but they won both matches so nobody in Vancouver is going to complain. They have a relatively easy schedule until the Leagues Cup so it's time to rack up points, and six points from last week is a good start.

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13. Colorado Rapids

Previous ranking: 11

The schedule makers were not kind when they sent the Rapids from Houston to Vancouver on short rest, but not managing a single point from the week could loom big in the fight for a playoff spot. They don't have the firepower up front to be as fragile defensively as they were last week.

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14. Seattle Sounders

Previous ranking: 15

The "Sounders are good but that doesn't matter if they keep shooting themselves in the foot" agenda picked up another data point when they conceded an equalizer to RSL nine minutes into stoppage time.

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15. D.C. United

Previous ranking: 14

A 4-2 loss to Montréal followed by a 2-2 draw with Toronto would be cause for concern, but it looked like they may have entered the disaster zone when Christian Benteke left the TFC match with an injury. Fortunately, it appears to be mild, so D.C. can take a breath and call this week a success if only because their star is OK.

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16. Toronto FC

Previous ranking: 16

It looked like the Reds were on their way to a terrific week, holding a 2-0 lead over D.C. after drawing in Philly, but a pair of late red cards and two goals later they were on their way back to Toronto with just two points to show for their travels.

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17. Houston Dynamo

Previous ranking: 19

The Dynamo picked apart the Rapids and had a 2-1 lead in Portland that had them on the cusp of a truly fabulous week, but they were unable to defend a set piece and had to settle for a draw. It was still a productive week for Houston, but they were so close to more.

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18. Atlanta United FC

Previous ranking: 20

It looked like Gonzalo Pineda may have saved his job with a terrific 3-1 win in Miami, but Atlanta went from 1-0 up to 3-1 down in the span of 28 minutes en route to a loss at the hands of Charlotte. The Five Stripes boss's seat appears as hot as ever.

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19. Portland Timbers

Previous ranking: 18

The Timbers have lacked that true top-end player for a while, but Evander has delivered in his second year in Portland. His phenomenal goal helped them beat Austin and then he helped set up both goals as the Timbers drew the Dynamo.

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20. Orlando City

Previous ranking: 17

Orlando was a little lucky to have taken a point from the Fire and they followed that up by getting beaten by the Red Bulls. Two away games in one week is tough, but the Lions' performances were disappointing, nonetheless.

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21. St. Louis City SC

Previous ranking: 22

Going to Miami and walking away with a point is an excellent week of work.

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22. Nashville SC

Previous ranking: 23

How do you go from winning in Cincinnati midweek to losing to New England on the weekend? At least new boss Rumba Munthali is keeping things interesting.

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23. Austin FC

Previous ranking: 21

Losing to RSL 5-1 may look bad, but Austin has been bad away from home all season. More worrying was their 2-0 loss to Portland at Q2 Stadium. Their path to the playoffs this season depends on picking up every possible point at home.

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24. FC Dallas

Previous ranking: 24

Dallas spent the week in LA and lost to both of the city's teams. The good news is they won't have to go back to Southern California until 2025.

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25. CF Montréal

Previous ranking: 28

CFM took care of business at home with a win over D.C. then did a good job in nabbing a draw in Philadelphia, but the departure of Vassili Cremanzidis leaves the front office at Stade Saputo empty so their future is as hazy as ever.

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26. Chicago Fire

Previous ranking: 27

One of the keys for Chicago is to turn around their pretty woeful home mark and they did just that last week by drawing Orlando and beating the Galaxy at Soldier Field.

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27. San Jose Earthquakes

Previous ranking: 26

A Friday night in New York sounds like a great time, unless you're the Quakes and are getting beaten down by NYCFC, 5-1.

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28. New England Revolution

Previous ranking: 29

The Revs snapped their three-match losing streak with a win in Nashville thanks to Esmir Bajraktarevic's first MLS goal. It's been a rough season in New England, but a great first goal by a homegrown winger at least gives them something to dream on for the future.

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29. Sporting Kansas City

Previous ranking: 25

Sporting lost to Vancouver and Minnesota, keeping them winless since March 30. They are now last in the league on points-per-game and the only question remaining is whether ownership cares enough to make the big changes in leadership at the club that are at least a year overdue.