- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On February 22, 2008
- 8 Comments
Part three of whatever here leading up to the first Power Rankings of the season here on WVHooligan.com. Lots of good debate yesterday through comments and email on the defense side of things, and even better was the keeper discussion.
Today we zero in on the midfielders and later on today I may even post the forwards (though that may get saved until Monday).
You all must remember the is just the midfielders, not the guys who play behind them or in front of them. The stronger the midfield the better the team usually. Its a collective group thing as well in terms of overall depth that I am looking at, not to mention how I would take that teams unit over the next. Like I would take Houston’s midfield over Dallas’s any day but I wouldn’t take KC’s midfield over Dallas’s and so on…you will see…
1. Houston: There is a reason why this club has won two straight MLS Cups and could easily win a third this year. Dwayne de Rosario is one of the best and continues to be one of the best, I look for a much better season out of him this year than last. Plenty of depth in the defensive midfield area as well, but they could stand to trade one away to get some help up top. I love guys like Stuart Holden and Brian Mullan though, very underrated players.
2. Chivas USA: What I love about the Goats is their midfield, even more so than their strikers. Nothing flashy, no big names or big contracts in the middle but lots of depth. I also like the addition of Raphael Wicky too, that will go a long way for this club this year if he gets accustom to the MLS style of play quickly.
3. New England: Another club that has a great midfield is the Revs. Shalrie Joesph is one of the league’s best right now and you have to love the leadership of Steve Ralston. Throw in some young guys and this team will continue to win.
4. DC United: Losing Gomez and replacing him with Gallardo should be alright for the Black-and-Red this season. Not to mention they still have Ben Olsen and most of the guys that made up that core of midfielders from a season ago. Those guys did alright for themselves winning the Supporters Shield.
5. Colorado: This may be a bit high for Rapids fans but getting Christian Gomez should elevate this club enough to make them contend more in the west and in the league as a whole. They still have Terry Cooke and Pablo Mastroeni isn’t going anywhere after hearing all winter that he would be traded away. They look good on paper but will it translate into success on the field?
6. Chicago: If Blanco continues his form from last season than the Fire will be alright. But if we get a frustrated Blanco then we will finally see the true Blanco that I and many others expected to see last year. This club needs a healthy Justin Mapp on the wings too to be good.
7. LA: I love Beckham and his style of play and I know he will make this club so much better than they are right now but aside from him in the midfield I see loads of junk. If Golden Balls goes down again this year, this club will be terrible again.
8. FC Dallas: I really had trouble rating Dallas due to my strong feelings for the club. I love Toja and guys like Dax McCarty and Pablo Ricchetti but this is the core of the team that will make or break this club. Its not the defense and its not the offense, its the midfield. They control the ball more than either side and for Dallas that is a big deal with a club that is going with a 3-4-3 this season.
9. Columbus: They still have Schelotto for now and that has to count for something here. Aside from him they are still pretty questionable. They will beat some teams but then get hammered by others due to the lack of scoring depth in the midfield. The age range concerns me as well but this club still looks like one from last year that borders the playoff fold.
10. Real Salt Lake: I think RSL will shock some people this season with their core in the midfield. Kyle Beckerman is a solid player as any in the league and the new additions should help out as well. Once Jason Kries figures everyone out, he will be able to plug the right guy into the midfield for each game due to the types of role players that he has. No big names on this roster yet but they will surprise people this year.
11. Kansas City: The one thing that the Wizards had going for them in the good times last year wasn’t Eddie Johnson, it was their midfield playing consistent enough to win. Most of that core is still here today and that should be good but now they just have no one to feed the ball to anymore now that Johnson is gone. I don’t see any natural scorers here so that concerns me a bit.
12. Toronto: Maurice Edu and Carl Robinson are good but other than that its a lot of questions. If Ronnie O’Brien is healthy enough to go a full season than this club may be a bit higher, maybe even 8 or 9 on my list but for now I just don’t know the health of him or most of this club for that matter. I kind of think this rating could come back to bite me in the ass later on.
13. New York: Juan Carlos Osorio has his work cut out for him this year. His midfield is really questionable. Dane Richards is good but they can’t win games by playing on one side of the field all the time. Claudio Reyna has to be healthier this season for this club to even make the playoffs. Right now this isn’t a playoff team in my mind even with who they have up top.
14. San Jose: Their defense and keeper situation is fine but their midfield is weak…then again so is their attacking options at striker. I know Frank Yallop is building from the ground up but he needs a good midfielder in there to control the games for his club. Right now they don’t have that.