MLS Power Rankings: Are Philly’s stumbles cause for concern?

Ryan RosenblattJul 10, 2023, 12:05 PM ET7 minutes of reading

The Philadelphia Union have lost two in a row, first in Atlanta and then to the Galaxy on Saturday.Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The MLS transfer window is officially open again and teams are already hard at work.

Chicho Arango scored in his Real Salt Lake debut, Teemu Pukki came on for Minnesota United, Rafael Navarro is reportedly headed to the Colorado Rapids, and more signings are on the way. Oh right, there’s also that Lionel Messi guy who will soon be donning the Inter Miami pink.

The new signings can turn a bad team into a good team, or a good team into a good team, but they can’t go back in time and pile up points in the first half of the season. What teams do now still sets the table for what they play for later.

So what are the teams up to now? Let’s check in on all 29:

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There isn’t much to worry about in Cincinnati, even if the draw in Charlotte wasn’t the result it was looking for. Its response from going 2-0 down was impressive, but the red card for Ian Murphy ended any chances of taking full points. It’s his second of the season, despite his limited minutes, so Cincinnati will need to fix it heading into games where one mistake could cost the team its season.

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NSC played well enough for a result in Chicago, so it’s not as if its performance was as bad in the 1-0 defeat as it suggests, but it was by no means a good 90 minutes, and its ability to play from the back remains a concern.

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It looked fun and harmless when Cucho Hernández got a yellow card for dissent at half-time and left with a healthy laugh, but it wasn’t so funny when he got another yellow card after the break. Drawing Miami and NYCFC at home is definitely a four point week.

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Remember when the Union was definitely, truly, undeniably back? They have lost two in a row since then, including Saturday’s loss to the Galaxy, where they were unable to muster much with the ball even against a spotty defense.

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Sounders scored! They did it three times! Their dormant attack was a threat from start to finish. It was everything Seattle could have wanted from its trip to Vancouver, including ending its six-game Cascadia Cup winless streak.

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Aziel Jackson finally got his chance in MLS this season and boy has he done well. His first goal of the year beat Toronto on Saturday, and it was exactly what he deserved. City’s ability to take guys and turn them into more than any other club thought possible is what has put them on top of the West.

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The Revs were mad that Andrew Farrell’s equalizer against RBNY was disallowed by VAR, but maybe they shouldn’t have let 5-foot-4 Frankie Amaya score a header.

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The Five Stripes seem to rarely be at full strength, but the results keep going up. This week it was Brooks Lennon who followed up Thiago Almada’s near-perfect free kick to hit the post for the winning goal in Montréal.

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It is understandable that the Black and Gold would struggle in the wake of their Concacaf Champions League loss. They poured everything into it and came up short, but it’s been over a month and they still haven’t pulled themselves out of the mud. A loss to the Galaxy and a draw at home to San Jose make it two wins from their last 12 in all competitions.

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Goal kick, to a banked header, to a goal in three touches. If you can score a goal like that, you’re likely to pick up a result, but the Caps’ defense fell apart against Seattle and the points disappeared.

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Dynamo’s 2-2 draw against SKC will surely be upgraded to a win after the league rightly makes this magnificent Houston goal worth two:

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No one would call going from Orlando on Tuesday to Salt Lake City on Saturday an easy trip, but that doesn’t explain beating Toronto 4-0 and then getting hammered by RSL by the same score. Talk about a week of whiplash.

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Will Alan Pulido be moved out of Kansas City? Will he leave on a free transfer after the season? It is not clear what the future holds for the former Mexico international, but his present is a red-hot goal machine and he scored two more in Houston. It’s a shame that the defense couldn’t make it count for a win and SKC had to settle for just one point.

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When Teemu Pukki came off the bench for his debut, the Loons were already 3-0 down at home vs. Austin. The armed forces were not that interested in participating in the Pukki party.

Teemu Pukki made his MLS debut Saturday night, but he couldn’t save Minnesota from a 4-1 loss to Austin.Bøjle Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport

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The power went out, Daniel was sent off, and the Quakes still came out of Los Angeles with a point. A bizarre point is still a good point.

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It took Chicho Arango all of 23 minutes to score in his debut, and RSL never slowed down from there en route to a 4-0 win over Orlando. Everyone has been clamoring for this team to get a proper striker and now it has him. Beware.

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Losses to DC and Colorado make it six losses in their last eight and just two wins in their last 10. Spin it what you want, but the bright spots can’t make you look away from the results.

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The joy of a good win in Dallas was thrown out the window by a home game with Miami. You always want to win at home, but against the worst team in the league you have to win. Fingers crossed that the two dropped points don’t come back to haunt Dallas at the end of the season.

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Hopefully none of the Timbers got hurt playing with fireworks on their off week.

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It took a man and VAR for RBNY to take three points from the Revs, but they are in no position to get picky about how they win games in 2023 and because this is MLS, they are right in the playoff hunt.

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Riqui Puig treated the Rose Bowl like it was Camp Nou when he beat LAFC and then put on another show to destroy the Union. If the Galaxy don’t put a fat contract extension in front of him every day for the rest of the year, they’re not doing their job.

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Beating FC Dallas is nice, but signing a designated player center-forward? Yes, it’s the really good stuff. Fingers crossed. Rafael Navarro could be the goalscorer who can get the Rapids the results their good play in the first two thirds deserves.

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NYCFC’s draw in Columbus was mighty impressive, even if it should have been a win. Their home game with Charlotte did not, but they are still in the playoffs despite their struggles and every point counts.

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Fabian Herbers continued his hot form to beat Nashville, and if the Fire make the playoffs, it’s a pretty good bet it will be because of the German.

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Sebastián Driussi was great, Austin was seemingly a threat every time they got into transition and it was a great night to be Worldwide. It felt like 2022. Hopefully the form Austin keeps flashing in the Minnesota sticks for the rest of the year.

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The Reds were swept by Orlando and then beaten by St. Louis at home as the post-Bob Bradley era continues to go bad. Borrowing Franco Ibarra might help, although he is not very happy about the move.

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It must pain coach Hernán Losada that no combination of players on the list can make CFM the attacking team he wants. There just isn’t enough firepower there, but the team is playing decent defense more and more, and it almost got a point against Atlanta.

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The Charlotte crowd was wild as usual and Karol Świderski scored twice and the Crown looked to be on their way to a phenomenal win over Cincy. Unfortunately things fell apart in the second half and they had to settle for a draw even after going a man up in the last 15 minutes. But their draw last Wednesday at NYCFC was pretty good.

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Draws against Columbus and DC provide a couple of good results and it’s the kids who help deliver. They had six home runs on the pitch at the weekend and they held their own, led by Benjamin Cremaschi.

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