MLS Preseason Power Rankings

MLS Preseason Power Rankings

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On March 26, 2008
  • 12 Comments

Ah, finally the preseason power rankings are here. I know some of you have been waiting this one out ever since I did the unit rankings a couple weeks back on here. I decided to hold off on the full team rankings until this week since the season openers are this weekend. It just made more sense to wait it out here.

Anyways, this are my team rankings and some of it is based on the unit rankings and some of it is not. Things have changed a little bit since those rankings, which again is why I waited until now to release my full team rankings. Some will say that these things are silly to do before the season but I think you have to start somewhere in ranking the clubs on their performance and in this case their potential performance.

Its interesting to do this right now as well since there is such gaps between groups of clubs. The top four are so much better than the four who follow them and those four are much better than the six after that. Its all a bit subjective for now and we will easily know more after this weekend where most of these clubs stand.

1. Houston Dynamo – Defending champions have to be number one to start regardless of what they did or did not do in the offseason I think. They did lose some key parts but they have been able to fill some holes and get just a little deeper on their roster. Scoring will be a concern for most but they are already doing well in the CONCACAF Champions Cup so that should tell us that this team will be fine again this year.

2. DC United – Another club that is doing well in the CONCACAF Champions Cup is the Black-and-Red. I loved the moves that DC made this offseason. I think they were the one club that address every need that they needed with a decent draft, signings and with transfers. This club has set the bar in the east and will continue to do so this season.

3. New England Revolution – Some people are a bit down on the Revs going into this season, I am not one of them. I think as long as they still have Matt Reis, Michael Parkhurst, Taylor Twellman, Shalrie Joesph and Steve Ralston on their team that they will be among the league leaders once again. They added some depth in defense this offseason with Chris Albright, which will go a long way this year. They will contend with DC once again in the east.

4. Chivas USA – I was going to put them at three but felt the four spot was a little more reasonable. I was pretty high on them in the unit rankings but I have concerns over their depth still and the health of Brad Guzan. I know he has the green light for the season opener in Dallas but I wonder just how healthy that knee really is. This will be an interesting club to watch this season because they will either win the west or miss the playoffs. Its weird to think that about this club but that is just the feeling I am getting with them right now.

5. Colorado Rapids – I think it is a bit amazing in the drop in class after the top four here. I could have gone with a number of clubs for the five spot but I think with what the Rapids did this offseason in landing Christian Gomez from DC that they had to move into this position to start out the season. I had them high going into last year and they blew it for me but I will try again now that they have one of the best midfields in the league. Scoring should be better this season and I think the defense is better as well. Dark-horse pick (again) to do some damage in the west.

6. Kansas City Wizards – I know I was rough on the Wizards in my unit rankings but I think moving them this high based on the signing of Claudio Lopez speaks highly of that signing. Lopez is the right kind of DP signing for this league because he will easily make this club a notch better than before. This club needs Carlos Marinelli to step up huge this season. I don’t know if they can beat DC or New England in the playoffs but they will give them a run for their money with Lopez. Defense is still a big concern of mine with this club, after this seeing them this weekend I will know more if they deserve to be this high or not.

7. FC Dallas – I think if Dallas had address their scoring needs a bit more then people would rate them higher. After seeing them they look like they are a striker away from being able to win the west again but Steve Morrow didn’t do that after trading Carlos Ruiz to LA. The defense should be better but I am willing to bet that it won’t be all that much better than the last couple of seasons since it is pretty much the same bunch with an aged Mexican (who is still hurt I think). Its a make or break year for Steve Morrow and Michael Hitchcock.

8. Chicago Fire – I want to like the Fire more going into this season but there is just something missing. I think if we knew that the Wilham Conde situation was better and more resolved then I would know if their defense will be like it was at the end of last year or if it will be like the one we saw between May and July. Blanco should have some guys that can score off of his passes this season but I think they will have to score to save their defense early on. Also depth is another issue that I have with them.

9. New York Red Bulls – Here is what makes this tough to do, New York was rather pathetic in the final months of the season as they stumbled into the playoffs and then in the offseason they did very little to improve their depth and roster. Thing is the teams below them have either too many question marks about the talent that they got or are just plain bad to start out with. We know this club can score but they still have way too many holes to fill and I honestly don’t know if they have the quality of players to keep up with DC, New England and even KC and Chicago in the east.

10. Real Salt Lake – Some may see this as a surprise but I almost put them above New York. Why? They were a club that did address some of their needs this offseason. Thing is we still don’t know how well those players will pan out until we see them more. I doubt they are a playoff team but they could very well surprise the hell out of people in the west this season. I think it is safe to say that they won’t be in the “our season is done in June” boat this time around. Maybe more like it will be over in September.

11. LA Galaxy – I wanted to rate them higher as well but after seeing them in person I know they have a lot of work left to do. Aside from Beckham, their midfield is rather weak and slightly one dimensional with Beckham. They play very bunched up in the midfield which could lead to problems on the wings and with their defense, which is very old to begin with. They will score goals though with Ruiz and Donovan but there are way too many question left to be answered with them right now.

12. Columbus Crew – I think the Crew are just slightly above the teams below them right now. They weren’t able to get the holes filled that they wanted to this offseason. Scoring will be an issue unless someone steps up early on for them. Defense will be interesting with the aged group that they have in the back. I know a couple signings are slowly coming in but I don’t know if they will be enough to get them rated any higher than right here.

13. Toronto FC – Not enough moves in the offseason but this club is probably on par with Columbus and New York in the east. I think they are much better off than how they started off last year. Will they surprise people in the east? Sure they might but I wouldn’t put a lot of money on it right yet. Their depth is still very weak for a club that saw a lot of injuries last season.

14. San Jose Earthquakes – Look we know this club will be bad. Just how bad will be the question. Thing is they can only go up from where they are right now. Scoring as we should all know by now is they biggest question. I think they built the team correctly though from the defense to the offense. Sure you need goal scorers but defense does win championships. Not to mention sound midfield play, I think their midfield could surprise people.

  • Adam

    I'd put Chicago at 5, TFC at 12, LA at 13, and Columbus at 11. LA will not be successful no matter what until they get rid of Lando or Ruiz, the two biggest cap-eaters. When they do that, they can sign some new, better players, and get some depth. That's the only way they will be successful in this league. And for me, Chicago with Blanco is just unstoppable. They will be a contender in the East.

  • Cannon Girl

    San Jose won the Carolina Challenge Cup last week … HELLO!!!

  • Cannon Girl

    continued … They defeated both Toronto FC and the NY Red Bulls, allowing only one goal throughout the challenge. I think they're going to suprise a lot of people this season … don't<br />
    sell them short.

  • Cannon Girl

    I know — it's spelled s-u-r-p-r-i-s-e — my bad.

  • drew.epperley

    They will surprise people CG…but I take their results in the Carolina Cup with a grain of salt. I remember a certain expansion club that did well in that tournament last year…look how they turned out. They have no where else to go but up and I think they will with the clubs that are around them right now.

  • Adam

    I’d put Chicago at 5, TFC at 12, LA at 13, and Columbus at 11. LA will not be successful no matter what until they get rid of Lando or Ruiz, the two biggest cap-eaters. When they do that, they can sign some new, better players, and get some depth. That’s the only way they will be successful in this league. And for me, Chicago with Blanco is just unstoppable. They will be a contender in the East.

  • Cannon Girl

    I don't know, I'm getting the same feeling about San Jose and this year's MLS Cup as I did about the Giants and the last Super Bowl — look how THAT turned out.<br />
    <br />
    Great talkinatcha — keep up the good work.

  • Cannon Girl

    San Jose won the Carolina Challenge Cup last week … HELLO!!!

  • Cannon Girl

    continued … They defeated both Toronto FC and the NY Red Bulls, allowing only one goal throughout the challenge. I think they’re going to suprise a lot of people this season … don’t
    sell them short.

  • Cannon Girl

    I know — it’s spelled s-u-r-p-r-i-s-e — my bad.

  • They will surprise people CG…but I take their results in the Carolina Cup with a grain of salt. I remember a certain expansion club that did well in that tournament last year…look how they turned out. They have no where else to go but up and I think they will with the clubs that are around them right now.

  • Cannon Girl

    I don’t know, I’m getting the same feeling about San Jose and this year’s MLS Cup as I did about the Giants and the last Super Bowl — look how THAT turned out.

    Great talkinatcha — keep up the good work.