- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On February 2, 2011
- 8 Comments
- Offseason Grades
The silly season is mostly over even though MLS clubs can still sign players until April 15. But with clubs going into preseason mode it’s time to take a gander at what each club did over the offseason months to prepare for the new season ahead.
Now this isn’t a preseason look at each club and where they stand for the new season, this is merely a look at what clubs brought in going against what they lost from last year. I’ll do true season previews next month, its still a bit early for those. Most clubs are fairly set at where they are at right now with their rosters going into training camp. I know moves will be made in the coming weeks so some grades could change.
* Players who have been drafted but have yet to sign a contract
Incoming: Cory Gibbs (Re-Entry Stage 2), Daniel Paladini (Carolina Railhawks), Josep Mikulic (NK Zagreb), Jalil Anibaba (SuperDraft, #9), Jason Herrick* (SuperDraft, #45), Davis Paul* (SuperDraft, #51), Jon Conway (trade with TOR), Amani Walker* (Supplemental Draft #9), Yannick Salmon* (Supplemental Draft #27), Sam Arthur* (Supplemental Draft #45)
Outgoing: C.J. Brown (retired), Krysztof Krol (loan expired), Brian McBride (retired), Peter Lowry (expansion draft to POR), John Thorrington (expansion draft to VAN), Collins John (released), Wilman Conde (signed with Atlas), Freddie Ljungberg (contract expired, signed with Celtic), Andrew Dykstra (waived)
Thoughts: I kind of think no club got hit harder this winter than Chicago. They lost some aging guys to retirement but more importantly lost some key guys that would have been a big part of their line up in 2011. I think the loss of Conde and Ljungberg are going to be tough to make up. Sure they’ve brought in some guys like Gibbs, Mikulic and rookie Anibaba but will that be enough to replace what Conde did for the club in the back? Probably not right away but I do think in the long run Anibaba will be a monster defender in this league.
More importantly, the club needs some attacking options. They drafted a slew of strikers but we can’t expect any of them to be starters on day one just yet. Until they get some scorers in to help out this club will have struggle against quality sides yet again in 2011.
WVH Offseason Grade: C-
Incoming: Alejandro Moreno (trade with VAN), Jimmy Conrad (Re-Entry Stage 2), Tristan Bowen (trade with LA), Zarek Valentin (SuperDraft #4), Victor Estupinan (SuperDraft #24), Jon Okafor* (SuperDraft #40), Ernesto Carranza* (Supplemental Draft #22), Curtis Ushedo* (Supplemental Draft #40)
Outgoing: Jonathan Bornstein (Tigres, Mexico), Giancarlo Maldonado (loan expiration) Marcelo Saragosa (option declined), Alex Zotinca (option declined), Eduardo Lillingston (option declined), Osael Romero (option declined), Dario Delgado (option declined), Rodolfo Espinoza (option declined)
Thoughts: No club needed a bigger offseason than Chivas in my mind. Revamping their entire club from top to bottom wasn’t going to be easy but new coach Robin Fraser is sure doing his best so far at it. He’s dumped a lot of useless players from a season ago and brought in plenty of quality players to back it up.
Defensively the club will likely take shape with Conrad and rookie Valentin leading the charge. We know Fraser was a master of getting the most out of defenders in Salt Lake so I look for him to do just that with Chivas.
Offensively if Estupinan and Justin Braun can link up together it could become a nice combo for them. Estupinan has been bold about the number of goals that he will score this year but so far this preseason he looks like he is determined to make it happen.
I’d still like to see them get a little more creativity in the midfield though. Until they have someone who can truly set them up offensively and hold things defensively in the middle they’ll still have some problems advancing in a very difficult conference.
WVH Offseason Grade: B
Incoming: Joseph Nane (trade with TFC), Sanna Nyassi (trade with VAN), Tyrone Marshall (Re-Entry Stage 2), Eddie Ababio* (SuperDraft # 18), Colin Givens* (SuperDraft #36), Philip Bannister* (Supplemental Draft #36), Javed Mohammed* (Supplemental Draft #54)
Outgoing: Ross Schunk (waived), Julien Baudet (trade to SEA), Danny Earls (trade to SEA), Claudio Lopez (option declined), Ciaran O’Brien (option declined), Peter Vagenas (option declined)
Thoughts: The defending champs are going by the notion of keeping the band together. I like it but I wonder if it will be enough going forward once they enter in the CCL group phase. Should any injuries pop up it could be difficult for them.
I do like the additions they made going against what left. Adding guys with experience like Marshall and young guys like Nane and Nyassi could be solid for them this season. Nyassi could be the perfect guy off the bench in late game situations for them when they need a punch on the wings.
Also, you have to give them credit for holding onto Omar Cummings for at least a few more months. Who knows what the summer transfer window will look like.
WVH Offseason Grade: B+
Incoming: Jeff Cunningham (Re-Entry Stage 2), Sebastián Miranda (Unión Española, Chile), Tom Heinemann (Carolina RailHawks), Rich Balchan (SuperDraft #12), Justin Meram (SuperDraft #15), Cole Grossman (SuperDraft #28), Bernardo Anor (SuperDraft #48), Ben Sippola (Supplemental Draft #30), Andy Adlard (Supplemental Draft #48), Kwaku Nyamekye (2010 SuperDraft)
Outgoing: Eric Brunner (expansion draft to POR), Adam Moffat (expansion draft to POR), Jason Garey (traded to HOU), Brian Carroll (traded to PHI), Leandre Griffit (waived) Guillermo Barros Schelotto (option declined), Gino Padula (option declined), Duncan Oughton (option declined), Frankie Hejduk (Re-Entry Draft to KC), Steven Lenhart (traded to SJE)
Thoughts: Boy this is one club who decided to just blow everything up. You really can’t blame them too much though for that as the club was aging and expensive.
Now their draft was a bit of a reach all over but I think Meram will be a solid rookie for them this season. The big addition of Cunningham will be fun to watch as he looks to break the league’s all-time scoring mark.
Time will really tell if this club did the right thing though this offseason. I still think they have a ton of work to do here as they need more depth all across the pitch. The decent core of players from last year is still there and if they can get more out of Robbie Rogers and Emmanuel Ekpo this season they could be fine in the midfield. Defensively they still have Chad Marshall so things shouldn’t drop off too much back there.
WVH Offseason Grade: C-
Incoming: Dax McCarty (trade with POR), Joseph Ngwenya (Re-Entry Stage 1), Ethan White (Univ. Maryland), Josh Wolff (Re-Entry Stage 2), Steve Cronin (trade with POR), Rodrigo Brasesco (from Racing Club, Uruguay), Daniel Woolard (Carolina Railhawks), Perry Kitchen (SuperDraft #3), Chris Korb* (SuperDraft #31), Joe Willis* (SuperDraft #50), Blake Brettschneider* (Supplemental Draft #21)
Outgoing: Rodney Wallace (trade with POR), Jordan Graye (expansion draft to POR), Danny Allsopp (released) Juan Manuel Pena (option declined), Barry Rice (option declined), Brandon Barklage (option declined), Carlos Varela (option declined), Jaime Moreno (option declined), Troy Perkins (trade with POR), Pablo Hernandez (mutual agreement), Adam Cristman (trade with LA)
Thoughts: Another club that has made drastic moves this winter but mostly for the good. And if they get Charlie Davies in as well before the season they could be in line for a much better season than last year.
Obviously the addition of McCarty is a big one for the club. Not to mention being able to draft Kitchen was also huge. This is the first year in what seems like forever that they haven’t brought in a slew of South Americans too. This time they only have one in camp so it will be interesting to see if this one works out for a change.
I still think offensively they need some work but adding Davies may help that out if he is truly good to go. I’m not entirely sure if Ngwenya or Wolff are really great options offensively anymore but we’ll see. I also think defensively they still could use another option or two. But in all its been a pretty good offseason for D.C.
WVH Offseason Grade: A-
Incoming: Chris Seitz (trade with SEA), Jonathan Top (Home Grown), Bobby Warshaw* (SuperDraft #17), Charlie Campbell* (SuperDraft #35), Scott Gordon* (SuperDraft #53), Alexis Pradie* (Supplemental Draft #15), Paul Ogunyemi* (Supplemental Draft #17), Brayan Martinez* (Supplemental Draft #18), Ariel Osorio* (Supplement Draft #35), Craig Hill* (Supplemental Draft #53)
Outgoing: Dax McCarty (expansion draft to POR), Atiba Harris (expansion draft to VAN), Jeff Cunningham (Re-Entry Draft to CLB), Dario Sala (option declined)
Thoughts: Its pretty impressive to think they’ve only lost four players from their MLS Cup run from a season ago. But what they did lose was fairly big in McCarty, Harris and Cunningham. I think McCarty and Harris are bigger losses than the other two.
Still the club has gone out and addressed needs like getting a solid backup keeper in Seitz, grabbing a very Schellas Hyndman-like player in Warshaw, and continue to sign more academy players like Top. Fact of the matter is they still need offense before the new season starts. They have plenty of young academy strikers but let’s face it only Ruben Luna worth starting at this point.
Injuries could be a fact for this club this season but if Hyndman can find more guys like Eric Alexander to step up then they’ll be fine. Dallas hasn’t needed to do much this winter so grading them isn’t easy. But what they have done is addressed at least all but one of their biggest needs.
WVH Offseason Grade: B-
Incoming: Jason Garey (trade with CLB), Jordan Graye (trade with POR), Hunter Freeman (IK Start, Norway), Kofi Sarkodie (SuperDraft #7), Will Bruin (SuperDraft #11), Evan Newton* (Supplemental Draft #7), Sergio Castillo* (Supplemental Draft #25), Josue Soto (Home Grown), Alex Dixon (Home Grown)
Outgoing: Ryan Cochrane (Re-Entry Draft to NE), Joseph Ngwenya (Re-Entry Draft to DC), Richard Mulrooney (option declined), Pat Onstad (option declined), Adrian Serioux (option declined), Anthony Obodai (out of contract)
Thoughts: I’m a big fan of what the Dynamo have done this winter. They got rid of some aging players that were costing them a boat load and brought in a ton of young talent that could produce right away for them.
I’ve always felt that Garey needed to get out of Columbus and going to Houston seems like a natural fit for him. Him along with Brian Ching and rookie Bruin should kick up their offense quite a bit this season.
The defense has been totally retooled after a disastrous season a year ago. Between their draft and bringing in Freeman and Graye the Dynamo could be in the discussion for playoff contention again in 2011.
WVH Offseason Grade: B+
Incoming: Juan Pablo Ángel (Re-Entry Stage 2), Frankie Hejduk (trade with SKC), Adam Cristman (trade with DC), Chad Barrett (trade with TOR), Paolo Cardozo* (SuperDraft #16), Hector Jimenez* (SuperDraft #34), Daniel Keat (Supplemental Draft #3), Ryan Thomas* (Supplemental Draft #16), Dustin McCarty* (Supplemental Draft #34), Zach Johnson* (Supplemental Draft #52), Miguel Lopez (loan from Quilmes, Argentina)
Outgoing: Chris Klein (retired), Eddie Lewis (retired), Dema Kovalenko (option declined), Tristan Bowen (trade to CHV), Edson Buddle (Ingolstadt, Germany)
Thoughts: You can tell this is an “all or nothing” season for the Galaxy. Losing Buddle was a big loss but gaining JPA helped make up for it. I kind of believe those two together wouldn’t have worked as well as some people thought it would.
Bruce Arena has covered a couple areas of concern nicely though this winter but bringing in more depth to their midfield and offense. While Barrett and Cristman aren’t the best attacking options in the world they are more bodies that can score. One has to wonder that if Barrett can find proper form in LA that he may do well being on the end of David Beckham and Landon Donovan’s kicks. Who knows.
Defensively the club still has a solid core but one that will continue to struggle against speedy teams.
I think their best offseason move though was being able to keep a hold of Brazilian midfielder Juninho. Some thought the Brazilian trio brought in last year would have to go back but their loans were extended and that is a bigger deal than most are thinking of here.
WVH Offseason Grade: B
New England Revolution
Incoming: Ryan Cochrane (Re-Entry Stage 2), Diego Fagundez (Home Grown), Didier Domi (Olympiakos, Greece), A.J. Soares (SuperDraft #6), Stephen McCarthy (SuperDraft #24), Steven Perry* (SuperDraft #39), Ryan Kinne* (SuperDraft #42), Alan Koger* (SuperDraft #54), Hunter Christiansen* (Supplemental Draft #6), Fernando Cabadas* (Supplemental Draft #24), Andrew Sousa* (Supplemental Draft #42)
Outgoing: Taylor Twellman (removed from roster), Preston Burpo (option declined), Nico Colaluca (option declined), Cory Gibbs (Re-Entry Draft to CHI), Khano Smith (option declined), Emmanuel Osei (waived)
Thoughts: Boy as much as I liked the draft by the Revs I still believe this will be one long season for them. Until they go out and get a proven scorer or even a DP like they claimed they were going to do this winter I have a feeling they could be down in the standings quite a bit this season.
Now I could be wrong, I felt this way about the San Jose Earthquakes last year and they ended up just minutes from a MLS Cup. But that team had plenty more talent that finally realized it. This team on the other hand has holes all around at the moment. Their defense will be decent unless Soares can navigate the long MLS season early as a rookie.
Still for me it comes down to offense on this club and I don’t believe they’ve addressed that area good enough.
WVH Offseason Grade: D
New York Red Bulls
Incoming: Corey Hertzog (SuperDraft #13), John Rooney (SuperDraft #25), Tyler Lassiter* (SuperDraft #30), Billy Cortes* (SuperDraft #38), Jimmy Maurer* (Supplemental Draft #4), Teddy Schneider* (Supplemental Draft #31), Jan Gunnar Solli (SK Brann, Norway), Matt Kassel (Home Grown), Sacir Hot (Home Grown), Marcos Paullo (Atletico Paranaense, Brazil), Luke Rodgers (Notts County, England)
Outgoing: Mike Petke (retired), Seth Stammler (retired), John Wolyniec (retired), Jeremy Hall (trade with POR) Luke Sassano (Re-Entry Draft to LA), Carey Talley (retired), Juan Pablo Angel (Re-Entry Draft to LA), Sinisa Ubiparipovic (end of contract)
Thoughts: Right now this club is getting deeper and deeper. Which is scary considering they’ll have Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez for the entire season this year. I like what they got rid out even JPA included in that.
What the club did in the transfer market was finally get bad boy Rodgers plus adding guys like Paullo and Solli show the club is going somewhere. Plus their home grown additions in Kassel and Hot are big wins for the team I think.
I think they’ve addressed nearly every area they needed to this winter. I still have mixed feelings about their goalkeeper situation but if the defense gets better, which I think it will, then this club will be in the discussion for a MLS Cup trip this year.
WVH Offseason Grade: A
Incoming: Brian Carroll (trade with CLB), Zach Pfeffer (Home Grown), Zac MacMath (SuperDraft #5), Michael Farfan (SuperDraft #23), Levi Houapeu* (SuperDraft #41), Ryan Richter* (Supplemental Draft #5), Josh Walburn* (Supplemental Draft #23), Matthew Marcin* (Supplemental Draft #41), Faryd Mondragón (FC Koln, Germany), Carlos Valdés (Santa Fe, Colombia)
Outgoing: Alejandro Moreno (Expansion Draft to VAN), Shea Salinas (Expansion Draft to VAN), Chris Seitz (Re-Entry Draft to SEA), Fred (Re-Entry Draft to NE), Brad Knighton (waived), Toni Stahl (option declined)
Thoughts: This club has made plenty of noise this offseason and really I like what they’ve done so far. My favorite move is still the addition of Brian Carroll. I see him doing more good than anything else in their defensive midfield.
They’ve completely shifted their goalkeeping situation around. Both Knighton and Seitz are out even though the club claimed to have total faith in Seitz just days before letting him go in the Re-Entry Draft. Very confusing.
Offensively, they’ve gotten only a little better but you have to figure the continued progression of Danny Mwanga makes up for them not going after any other strikers. Though I do wonder if they’v even come close to doing enough to help Sebastien Le Toux out this season. Still I like where this club is going overall.
WVH Offseason Grade: B-
Incoming: Bright Dike (D-2 Timbers), Jeremy Hall (trade with NY), Eddie Johnson (Austin Aztex), Ryan Pore (D-2 Timbers), Rodney Wallace (trade with DC), Kerrea Gilbert (out of contract), Kalif Alhassan (D-2 Timbers), Mamadou Danso (D-2 Timbers), Kevin Goldthwaite (D-2 Timbers), James Marcelin (D-2 Timbers), Troy Perkins (trade with DC), Kenny Cooper (from 1860 Munich), Eric Brunner (expansion draft/CLB), David Horst (expansion draft/RSL), Adam Moffatt (from CLB), Peter Lowry (expansion draft/CHI), Darlington Nagbe (SuperDraft #2), Chris Taylor* (SuperDraft #22), Spencer Thompson* (Supplemental Draft #2), Robby Lynch* (Supplemental Draft #12), Raymundo Reza* (Supplemental Draft #20), Taylor Mueller* (Supplemental Draft #38), Adin Brown (D-2 Timbers), Steve Purdy (D-2 Timbers)
Outgoing: Steve Cronin (trade with DC)
Thoughts: Don’t call them an expansion club says John Spencer. Right now I can’t blame them as they’ve made plenty of big boy moves to show that they are going to be for real this year. They seemingly have a nice solid collection of former D-2 players to go along with those who have previous MLS experience.
Defensively I still wonder where they are going though. They have a decent collection of defenders but not one that really stands out to me.
Overall I think this club will be fun to watch as long as Cooper regains his old MLS form and guys like Nagbe and Johnson do well.
WVH Offseason Grade: B
Real Salt Lake
Incoming: Arturo Alvarez (trade with POR), Jarad Van Schaik* (SuperDraft #52), Jeff Attinella* (Supplemental Draft #14), Andrew Cost* (Supplemental Draft #32), Nick Love* (Supplemental Draft #50)
Outgoing: David Horst (expansion draft to POR), Robbie Findley (out of contract / expansion draft to POR), Alex Nimo (waived)
Thoughts: A club that didn’t need to make a lot of moves didn’t have to really. The moves they did make weren’t bad either. I have a feeling Alvarez will be a very good pickup for the club. Jason Kreis has an interesting way of getting the most out of players like him.
The biggest loss however is still going to be assistant coach Robin Fraser.
Still the club didn’t lose a whole lot from a year ago which means you have to still consider them MLS Cup contenders once more.
WVH Offseason Grade: B+
Sporting Kansas City
Incoming: Omar Bravo (Designated Player), Luke Sassano (trade with LA), C.J. Sapong* (SuperDraft #10), J.T. Murray* (SuperDraft #32), Konrad Warzycha* (SuperDraft #46), Sam Scales* (Supplemental Draft #10), Mike Jones (Supplemental Draft #28), Michael Mravec* (Supplemental Draft #46)
Outgoing: Jonathan Leathers (expansion draft to VAN), Josh Wolff (Re-Entry Draft to DC), Jimmy Conrad (Re-Entry Draft to CHV), Aaron Hohlbein (Re-Entry Draft to CLB)
Thoughts: I have a strong feeling this club isn’t done with their offseason moves just yet. They lost a decent bit of their defense from a year ago and haven’t really done a lot officially to replace it. They had some draft moves that could pan out into some additional help but so far its been more about their offense than anything else.
Until they address all the losses in the back and correct some of their issues in the back this club will still be more on the outside looking in. The grade feels slight incomplete for that reason but based on the offensive moves I can at least give them a partial grade.
WVH Offseason Grade: C
San Jose Earthquakes
Incoming: Anthony Ampaipitakwong* (SuperDraft #33), Steven Lenhart (Trade with CLB), Phillip Tuttle* (Supplemental Draft #33), Victor Cortez* (Supplemental Draft #51), David Bingham (weighted lottery)
Outgoing: Arturo Alvarez (expansion draft to POR), Joe Cannon (expansion draft to VAN) Khari Stephenson (option declined), Geovanni (option declined), Eduardo (option declined), Cornell Glen (option declined)
Thoughts: Here is another club that really hasn’t done a whole lot this winter in terms of movement. They took at hit around the expansion draft losing some key members plus they also declined a few options that were a bit surprising.
If I’m not mistaken they did this last year though and it seemed to work out for them as the season went on they’d add piece by piece. I still think their depth is pretty low and if a few injuries pile up they could be in trouble.
Defensively they’ll be a little better this year if Ike Opara gets healthy again. On the other side of things I do wonder if they’ve given Chris Wondolowski enough help up top. He was great last year but he’ll definitely need more help if he wants to even come close to his Golden Boot tally of a season ago.
WVH Offseason Grade: C
Seattle Sounders FC
Incoming: Julien Baudet (trade with COL), Danny Earls (trade with COL), O’Brian White (trade with VAN), Erik Friberg (Hacken, Sweden), Michael Tetteh (SuperDraft #20), Juan Leone Cruz* (SuperDraft #21), Servando Carrasco* (SuperDraft #27), Bryan Meredith* (SuperDraft #29), Alex Caskey* (SuperDraft #47), Josh Ford* (Supplemental Draft #11), Corey Attaway* (Supplemental Draft #29), Sean Morris* (Supplemental Draft #47)
Outgoing: Sanna Nyassi (expansion draft to VAN), Nate Sturgis (expansion draft to VAN), Peter Vagenas (traded to COL), Tyrone Marshall (Re-Entry Draft to COL), Chris Seitz (trade with DAL)
Thoughts: One club that will still be fun to watch is this one. Sigi Schmid has won titles in the third year of each club he has coached (LA and Columbus) and this is now year three of the Sounders. Could they win the title this year? Sure.
Depth wise you have to give Schmid credit for going out and drafting nearly all the players he wanted while picking up some cap room in the process. Grabbing a GA player like Michael Tetteh was probably just a bonus too.
I like the addition of White from Toronto too. I think a new home for him will be a good thing and he should get some solid playing time in Seattle.
Defensively the club got deeper and healthier which is a bonus.
Overall I like where the club is going and the moves they made this winter. What they lost they quickly made up for it in draft picks or transfers. They should definitely be contenders again in 2011.
WVH Offseason Grade: A-
Incoming: Nathan Sturgis (trade with VAN), Demitrius Omphroy* (SuperDraft #26), Matt Gold* (SuperDraft #43), Junior Burgos (SuperDraft #44), Joao Plata* (SuperDraft #49), J.C. Banks* (Supplemental Draft #8), Steven Beattie* (Supplemental Draft #13), Spencer Thompson* (Supplemental Draft #26), Scott Rojo (Supplemental Draft #44)
Outgoing: O’Brian White (expansion draft to VAN), Joseph Nane (trade with COL), Gabe Gala (released), Martin Saric (released), Maxim Usanov (released), Raivis Hscanovics (released), Mista (released) Nick Garcia (option declined), Fuad Ibrahim (option declined), Amadou Sanyang (option declined), Chad Barrett (trade with LA)
Thoughts: The offseason has been rather interesting in Toronto. A completely new management is in place and really they’ve done an okay job so far. They got rid of plenty of wasteful contracts and so far really hasn’t done a lot to replace them.
They still have plenty of offensive and defensive issues to address. For now their grade is incomplete to me.
WVH Offseason Grade: Incomplete
Incoming: Jay DeMerit (free agent), Wes Knight (D-2), Jay Nolly (D-2), Philippe Davies (D-2), Terry Dunfield (D-2), Greg Janicki (D-2), Alain Rochat (FC Zurich, Switzerland), Atiba Harris (expansion draft), Shea Salinas (expansion draft/PHI), Joe Cannon (expansion draft/SJ), Jonathan Leathers (expansion draft/SKC), John Thorrington (expansion draft/CHI), Omar Salgado (SuperDraft #1), Michael Nanchoff (SuperDraft #8), Jeb Brovsky* (SuperDraft #19), Bilal Duckett* (SuperDraft #37), Michael Boxall* (Supplemental Draft #1), Joe Anderson* (Supplemental Draft #19), Santiago Bedoya* (Supplemental Draft #37)
Thoughts: While Portland claims not to be an expansion team Vancouver is certainly looking like one at the moment. They brought in plenty of D-2 players that were apart of their great defense a year ago in the D-2 league while only adding a few parts in the expansion draft. Defensively they’ll be good I think due to DeMerit and Cannon.
But the trouble remains up top. They won’t get Salgado until at least the fall which begs the question as to why they drafted him at all. I know they have a camp full of guys right now but they have to made a splash eventually right? So far they haven’t done anything other than flirt with guys from overseas it seems.
This club still has some work to do but luckily their defense at least gets them a decent grade for the effort.
WVH Offseason Grade: C-