MLS Power Rankings: Chicharito takes LA Galaxy to No. 1 in Week 2

It’s Monday, and we’re just waking up after another incredible weekend of action in Major League Soccer. This season’s off to a hot start: Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez scored a hat-trick to make that FIVE goals in two games for the Mexico and LA Galaxy star, and firmly putting to rest any lingering memories of his two-goal debut season in 2020. There was also history made by Inter Miami as the Higuain brothers, Federico and Gonzalo, both scored in the same game for the team, an MLS first. Elsewhere, Seattle slipped a little, Atlanta United showed their renaissance is right on track and NYCFC scored five vs. Cincinnati.

Get caught up with the weekend’s action and see where your team sits in our Week 2 Power Rankings.


Previous ranking: 5

Next MLS match: Sunday, May 2 at Seattle, 9 p.m. ET

Through two weeks, the reemergence of Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez under new head coach Greg Vanney has been the story of the MLS season. After scoring a brace in the opener, his hat-trick against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday powered the Galaxy to a 3-2 win. — Bonagura

Previous ranking: 1

Next MLS match: Sunday, May 2 vs Los Angeles Galaxy, 9 p.m. ET

Brad Smith‘s first MLS goal early in the second half rescued a point for the Sounders in a 1-1 draw at LAFC. Their next game against the Galaxy begins a stretch in which the Sounders will play on four consecutive Sundays in a busy month of May. — Bonagura

Previous ranking: 3

Next MLS match: Saturday, May 1 at CF Montreal, 3 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

The Crew got the weekend off, the better to prepare for the first leg of its CONCACAF Champions League tilt against Monterrey. Will midfielder Darlington Nagbe recover from his hamstring injury in enough time to have an impact? — Carlisle

Previous ranking: 4

Next MLS match: Saturday, May 1 at Real Salt Lake, 2 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

In his fourth MLS season and still just 18 years old, is 2021 going to be a breakout season for midfielder Gianluca Busio? His smart finish to open the scoring against Orlando City was an encouraging sign for a player who has long been linked to a European move, but a late goal from Nani led to a 1-1 draw Friday night. — Bonagura


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Previous ranking: 6

Next MLS match: Saturday, May 1 at Houston, 3:30 p.m. ET

Playing without stars Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi, LAFC took the lead 84 seconds in the game on a Eduard Atuesta free-kick, but gave it up early in the second half and settled for a 1-1 draw with the Sounders. Chances were hard to come by for both sides, which will meet again May 16 in Seattle. — Bonagura

Previous ranking: 7

Next MLS match: Saturday, May 1 vs. Columbus, 3 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

Coughing up a two-goal lead to draw in Nashville won’t please manager Wilfried Nancy, but four points from two matches to start the season is better than expected. Forward Mason Toye, acquired late last season, has gotten off to a good start, scoring his second goal in as many games. — Carlisle

Previous ranking: 10

Next MLS match: Sunday, May 2 vs. Colorado in Salt Lake City, 10 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

The Whitecaps were in position to start the season with a pair of wins before a calamitous equalizing goal in the 82nd minute rescued Toronto in a 2-2 draw. Despite dropping the points late, it was a strong overall performance for Vancouver, which fought back from a 1-0 deficit with second-half goals from Cristian Dajome (penalty) and Andy Rose. — Bonagura

Previous ranking: 11

Next MLS match: Saturday, May 1 at New England, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

The good vibes seemed to have returned to Atlanta, with a team that was starved for goals last year beginning to deliver again on the attacking end in Saturday’s 3-1 win over the Fire. Of course, a golazo from Ezequiel Barco always helps, but Josef Martinez‘s return is creating even more optimism. — Carlisle

Previous ranking: 13

Next MLS match: Saturday, May 1 vs. Atlanta, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

Chances were scarce for both sides in the Revs’ 1-0 win over D.C. United, but Brandon Bye‘s improved service from out wide helped force an own goal. The good news for New England is that Bruce Arena’s side is proving it grind out results. — Carlisle

Previous ranking: 20

Next MLS match: Saturday, May 1 vs. Sporting Kansas City, 2 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

RSL goalkeeper David Ochoa‘s post-match decision to punt the ball into the stands will be the lasting memory from a 2-1 win at Minnesota, but it shouldn’t overshadow the brace from Anderson Julio in his debut for the club. — Bonagura

Previous ranking: 24

Next MLS match: Saturday, May 1 vs. D.C. United, 11 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

After a frenetic first few minutes, San Jose calmed down and had its way with FC Dallas in a 3-1 win as Cade Cowell stole the show. The 17-year-old attacker’s world-class, outside-of-the-foot pass assisted a Cristian Espinoza goal to make it 2-0 and then he weaved through three defenders in the box to score his second career MLS goal. — Bonagura

Previous ranking: 25

Next MLS match: Sunday, May 2 at Nashville, 1 p.m. ET (ESPN/ESPN Deportes)

Phil Neville secured his first win as Miami manager thanks to the brothers Higuain. Federico assisted on Gonzalo’s equalizer and then notched the game-winner himself to beat Philadelphia 2-1. The brothers are the first to both score in a game in MLS history. — Carlisle

Previous ranking: 18

Next MLS match: Saturday, May 1 at FC Dallas, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

The Timbers rebounded from their loss to Vancouver last week with a 2-1 win against Houston. Now they head into a packed two-week stretch in which they’ll balance a pair of midweek CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal games, against Mexican giant Club America, with key MLS games against the Seattle Sounders and FC Dallas. — Bonagura

Previous ranking: 9

Next MLS match: Saturday, May 1 vs. LAFC, 3:30 p.m. ET

The Dynamo were a bit unfortunate not to tie the score with a couple of late chances, and left Portland without a point following a 2-1 loss. Despite the loss, Houston will probably feel optimistic about its direction through two games after finishing in last place in the Western Conference last year. — Bonagura

Previous ranking: 2

Next MLS match: Saturday, May 1 vs. NYCFC, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

The Union’s defense of its Supporters Shield crown is off to a tough start after suffering a home loss to Miami. A midweek CCL clash against Atlanta United gives Jim Curtin’s side a chance to get back on track. — Carlisle

Previous ranking: 22

Next MLS match: Saturday, May 1 at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

Unlike its opening week loss to D.C. United, NYCFC finished what it started, parlaying a bright start — and a decided advantage on set pieces — into a 5-0 hammering of Cincinnati. That said, games on the claustrophobic field Yankee Stadium are still tough to watch. — Carlisle

Previous ranking: 12

Next MLS match: Saturday, May 1 vs. FC Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

The Lions probably deserved better than the 1-1 draw in Kansas City, especially given how they gifted SKC its goal. Fortunately for Orlando, Nani, even at 34, still has some magic in his boots, as evidenced by the delightful backheel for the equalizer. — Carlisle

Previous ranking: 26

Next MLS match: Saturday, May 1 at Minnesota, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

After being held goalless last week, three second-half goals in a 12-minute span for the expansion club provided a historic first victory, 3-1, at Colorado. Diego Fagundez became the club’s first scorer before Cecilio Dominguez tallied twice as Austin showed it promises to be competitive in Year 1. — Bonagura

Previous ranking: 8

Next MLS match: Saturday, May 1 at San Jose, 11 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

The soccer gods turned on Brendan Hines-Ike in Week 2, as he scored an own goal in the 1-0 loss to New England one week after scoring on a rocket. Until more of the Black-and-Red’s walking wounded return, it’s tough to gauge just how well the approach of new manager Hernan Losada is working. — Carlisle

Previous ranking: 15

Next MLS match: Sunday, May 2 vs. Inter Miami, 1 p.m. ET (ESPN/ESPN Deportes)

Two home draws to start the season doesn’t bode well, nor does spotting its opponent — in this case, Montreal — a two-goal lead for the second game running. The fight to come back is there, but whether you chalk it up to great goals or bad luck, NSC needs to tighten things up in the back. — Carlisle

Previous ranking: 16

Next MLS match: Sunday, May 2 vs. Vancouver in Salt Lake City, 10 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

The Rapids were hoping to build off a promising 2020 season only to stutter out of the gate, following last week’s goalless draw with FC Dallas with a 3-1 loss to Austin FC. Colorado will look forward to getting Sam Vines back from injury, which will allow Kelly Acosta to push back into central midfield. — Bonagura

Previous ranking: 19

Next MLS match: Saturday, May 8 at New York Red Bulls, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

The Reds’ injury list is decreasing bit by bit, and the signing of Yeferson Soteldo should boost the attack. But the 2-2 draw with Vancouver hints at defensive frailties. — Carlisle

Previous ranking: 23

Next MLS match: Saturday, May 1 vs. Chicago, 1 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

The Red Bulls almost rescued a point in LA, and fought to the bitter end — including 11 minutes of stoppage time — but there was no stopping Chicharito in a 3-2 defeat. At least Frankie Amaya looked sharp in his Red Bulls debut.— Carlisle

Previous ranking: 17

Next MLS match: Saturday, May 1 vs. Portland, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

After squandering some early opportunities, it was another toothless performance from FC Dallas, which wasn’t able to generate a consistent attack in a 3-1 loss at San Jose. A 79th-minute goal from substitute Ricardo Pepi provided some consolation, but it came too late to change the complexion of the game. — Bonagura

Previous ranking: 21

Next MLS match: Saturday, May 1 at New York Red Bulls, 1 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

It seems that not a week goes by without the Fire suffering from self-inflicted wounds, with an own goal by Johan Kappelhof proving to be the killer blow in a 3-1 loss to Atlanta. Hitting the woodwork three times didn’t help, either. — Carlisle

Previous ranking: 14

Next MLS match: Saturday, May 1 at Orlando, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

Sure, FCC took the field without Luciano Acosta and Przemyslaw Tyton, but conceding 53 shots total in two games is frightening indeed. Defending set pieces will also be a focus after getting torched by NYCFC, 5-0. — Carlisle

Previous ranking: 27

Next MLS match: Saturday, May 1 vs. Austin FC, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

A 2-1 home loss to Real Salt Lake means the Loons will head into Saturday’s game against Austin without a point through two games, which is especially disappointing considering Minnesota reached the Western Conference finals last season. — Bonagura