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MLS Power Rankings: Wayne Rooney's D.C. debut lifts league's bottom side off the foot of the table

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Carlos Vela's volley puts LAFC in the lead (0:38)

Carlos Vela finishes Jose Cifuentes' cross on a one-touch volley for LAFC to grab the lead. (0:38)

Two 4-4 games? Major League Soccer was having itself a weekend.

Hidden behind those eight-goal affairs was a two-goal stoppage-time comeback, an MVP candidate staking his claim, the league leaders mounting an impressive come-from-behind victory and Mother Nature's fury. Oh, and there are three days before the transfer window slams shut.

You've got goals, you've got comebacks, you've got stars and you've got a league that can still be flipped upside down by a new signing. You've got it all, except for the opportunity to take a deep breath, so buckle up because you've also got MLS Power Rankings.


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1. LAFC

Previous ranking: 1

Next MLS match: Saturday at Real Salt Lake, 10 p.m. ET

Maybe the most impressive thing about LAFC -- and there are many impressive things about the best team in the league, shockingly -- is the way it absolutely squeezes the life out of opponents. Even after conceding an own-goal to start the game against Seattle, LAFC took the lead before halftime and then absolutely took the life out of the Sounders all second half. Score first, concede first -- whatever form the match takes, the Black and Gold eventually get control and leave you for dead.

2. Philadelphia Union

Previous ranking: 3

Next MLS match: Wednesday at FC Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Not that the Union needed more help, or more bright young talent, but here comes Jack McGlynn. A goal and assist in Philly's 6-0 thrashing of Houston was the latest step for the 19-year-old, who has started three in a row now, all Union wins. The rich get (or, more accurately, develop) richer.

3. New York City FC

Previous ranking: 2

Next MLS match: Saturday at Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

How did NYCFC look in its first game without Valentin Castellanos? Like a team missing the reigning MVP. That it played Montreal even for a 0-0 draw north of the border showed how much quality it has, but it is impossible to not notice the quality that left for Spain too.

4. Austin FC

Previous ranking: 5

Next MLS match: Saturday vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Sebastian Driussi is up to five goals and three assists in Austin's past six games, so you can't say he's just feasting on weak competition, as he did in a 2-0 win against SKC this weekend. You'd understand if the Argentine began thinking about where in his house the MVP trophy might look best.

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Sebastián Driussi scores an insurance goal for Austin FC

Sebastián Driussi scores a goal in the 90th minute for Austin FC as it takes a 2-0 lead over Sporting Kansas City.

5. New York Red Bulls

Previous ranking: 4

Next MLS match: Tuesday at Colorado Rapids, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

The Red Bulls played Barcelona closer than they did Orlando in the U.S. Open Cup semis. That'd be a point of pride for Phil Neville, but Neville isn't a Red Bull, so last week had to sting.

6. FC Dallas

Previous ranking: 6

Next MLS match: Tuesday at Seattle Sounders FC, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Dallas had plenty of matches this season in which the scoreline did not reflect its good play, so you won't see FCD apologizing for the scoreline flattering the club in a 1-0 win over the Galaxy. The soccer gods are just -- eventually.

7. CF Montreal

Previous ranking: 8

Next MLS match: Wednesday at Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Two shots. That's all Montreal conceded to NYCFC. It's easy to say that the Quebecois deserved to win for their defensive excellence, but they just didn't create enough and had to settle for a draw. As the clock ticks on the transfer window, it's possible so does Montreal's MLS Cup chances, because it would be a real problem if it added a forward to this squad.

8. Minnesota United

Previous ranking: 9

Next MLS match: Saturday at Colorado Rapids, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Managers don't generally look back fondly on four goals conceded, but everyone else will remember only the four they scored in a rip-roaring draw with Portland. Trust the fans, not the manager.

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Luis Amarilla fires home the header to equalize for Minnesota

Luis Amarilla scores his second goal of the game to tie the score at 4-4 for Minnesota United.

9. Real Salt Lake

Previous ranking: 8

Next MLS match: Saturday vs. LAFC, 10 p.m. ET

RSL has played a lot of games this season where it was good striker play away from a win. Since signing Jefferson Savarino, RSL has mostly gotten that good striker play, but him scoring goals hasn't resulted in many wins. He scored again on Saturday, but Salt Lake could only draw in San Jose. Riddle, mystery, enigma, RSL.

10. Nashville SC

Previous ranking: 10

Next MLS match: Wednesday at Portland Timbers, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Nashville failed to win at home, again, this time drawing Vancouver 1-1. No team in the league has won fewer matches at home than Nashville's three.

11. Portland Timbers

Previous ranking: 14

Next MLS match: Wednesday vs. Nashville SC, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Was it a point won or two points dropped in the wild 4-4 draw at Minnesota? The tight playoff race says points dropped, but the challenge of a red-hot opponent on the road says a point won. Most importantly, the Fun Soccer Judges say it doesn't matter because that game ruled.

12. FC Cincinnati

Previous ranking: 12

Next MLS match: Saturday vs. Philadelphia Union, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Brandon Vazquez is doing everything possible to make Gregg Berhalter think long and hard about giving him a look before the World Cup. After two more goals in a 4-4 draw against Miami, it might be less about whether he gets a chance to play for the national team in September and more about whether Berhalter rues not bringing him in sooner.

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Brandon Vázquez levels the game for FC Cincinnati

Alvaro Barreal barrels into the box to cross the ball to Brandon Vazquez for the finish.

13. Orlando City

Previous ranking: 11

Next MLS match: Saturday vs. New England Revolution, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

The Lions have relied on a bend-don't-break defense all season. On Sunday, they bent and broke in a 2-1 loss. Against D.C. Woof, Cubs.

14. Columbus Crew

Previous ranking: 13

Next MLS match: Wednesday vs. CF Montreal, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

The only thing that could stop Cucho Hernandez was inclement weather. Note to the rest of MLS: When Columbus comes to town, do your center-backs a favor and conjure up a storm to get the match postponed like Charlotte did.

15. Seattle Sounders

Previous ranking: 15

Next MLS match: Tuesday vs. FC Dallas, 10 p.m. ET, ABC

Nobody is going to fault a team for losing to LAFC, and the Sounders have obviously had a difficult go of it in the league this season, but it was still startling to see how they were completely played out of the game in the second half.

16. LA Galaxy

Previous ranking: 16

Next MLS match: Saturday at Sporting Kansas City, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

One week Dejan Joveljic is the future of the Galaxy, the next week he's having a penalty saved in a 1-0 loss. Life comes at you fast.

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Franco Jara goes between keeper's legs for Dallas' opening goal

Dallas takes an early 1-0 lead over the Galaxy thanks to an impressive goal by Franco Jara.

17. Inter Miami CF

Previous ranking: 18

Next MLS match: Wednesday at San Jose Earthquakes, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Gonzalo Higuain scored a first-half hat trick and Inter equalized in the 97th minute for a 4-4 draw against Cincy. OK, now that we've got that out of the way, can we talk about Higuaín's free-kick goal? The ball comes off his foot so fast that the video had to skip forward. Someone look into who doctored the film. I refuse to believe that was real.

18. Colorado Rapids

Previous ranking: 17

Next MLS match: Tuesday at New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

A flawless week for the Rapids. Maybe the key is to not play?

19. Charlotte FC

Previous ranking: 19

Next MLS match: Wednesday vs. D.C. United, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Man of the Match honors, after a four-hour delay and subsequent postponement, goes to the Charlotte meteorologist.

20. Toronto FC

Previous ranking: 22

Next MLS match: Saturday at Nashville SC, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN+

The standings and 0-0 scoreline in New England tell you TFC is not a very good team. Your eyes tell you differently, for the second straight week since adding Federico Bernardeschi and Lorenzo Insigne. It would help if Insigne converted his penalties, though.

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Miami's Christopher McVey pings it off the post to even score

Christopher McVey pings the ball off the post and into the goal to even the game for Inter Miami in the final minutes.

21. New England Revolution

Previous ranking: 20

Next MLS match: Saturday at Orlando City, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Small-sample-size alert: Djordje Petrovic has been spectacular and the analytics back it up after his penalty save earned the Revs a draw against TFC. Matt Turner who?

22. Vancouver Whitecaps

Previous ranking: 23

Next MLS match: Friday vs. Houston Dynamo FC, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

The Vancouver Whitecaps drew Nashville SC 1-1. Wait, let me correct that. The Canadian Championship-winning Vancouver Whitecaps drew Nashville SC 1-1.

23. Chicago Fire

Previous ranking: 21

Next MLS match: Saturday at Charlotte FC, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN+

On its face, a scoreless draw against Atlanta is underwhelming, but the Fire overcame Lollapalooza next door to do it. That's worth a second point, if we're being fair.

24. Atlanta United FC

Previous ranking: 24

Next MLS match: Saturday vs. Seattle Sounders, 3 p.m. ET, ABC

After a mostly anonymous draw in Chicago, the Five Stripes are starting to look more and more like the rest of us: just passing the time and waiting to see whom Arthur Blank will choose to turn this club around.

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Savarino ties game in stoppage time for Real Salt Lake

Jefferson Savarino scores a clutch goal in stoppage time to help Real Salt Lake salvage a draw with San Jose.

25. San Jose Earthquakes

Previous ranking: 26

Next MLS match: Wednesday vs. Inter Miami, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Finding a striker is a pretty good consolation prize in a lost year, and the Quakes have certainly done that. Jeremy Ebobisse is up to 12 goals after scoring in San Jose's 2-2 draw with RSL.

26. Houston Dynamo

Previous ranking: 25

Next MLS match: Friday at Vancouver Whitecaps, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+

Put aside the defending, attacking, organization and 6-0 scoreline in Philadelphia, and the Dynamo didn't look too bad.

27. D.C. United

Previous ranking: 28

Next MLS match: Wednesday at Charlotte FC, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN+

It wasn't Wayne Rooney sprinting back 50 yards in stoppage time to make a heroic tackle and then launching a ball for Luciano Acosta to score, but it was Rooney against Orlando once more, so of course D.C. scored twice in stoppage time to win. Let D.C. play the Lions every week and we've got a cup contender on our hands.

28. Sporting Kansas City

Previous ranking: 27

Next MLS match: Saturday vs. LA Galaxy, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

It's not great when you lose 2-0 and your Man of the Match is the offside flag.