Team-by-Team Needs At The Halfway Point

Team-by-Team Needs At The Halfway Point

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On July 12, 2011
  • 2011 Summer Transfer Window

Chicago supporters hope their club makes some moves this summer. (Getty Images)

We’re at the midway point here in the MLS season and the transfer window for the summer is nearly set to open. I figured it would be a good time to look at each team quickly to see the needs that each need as we gear towards the playoff push.

A lot of teams are battling injuries and could see some players return soon enough but let’s be honest, every team still has some holes to fill.

Chicago Fire: 

Pressing need: Striker

Secondary need: Outside back

Note: It is easy to look at the Fire and see what they really need right away, a goal scorer and a consistent one at that. The Fire have only scored 20 goals this season, which puts them near the bottom of the barrel in terms of goals for in the league. After that they still have some defensive needs in the back, on the outside and possibly in the middle of the defensive side of the midfield. Giving up 24 goals already show that things aren’t so rosy in the back for Frank Klopas just yet despite having some young talent.

Chivas USA:

Pressing Need: Midfield playmaker

Secondary need: Central defender

Notes: I’ve said it all season with Chivas, if they get a #10 in their lineup that they’d be a real challenging team each week. A playmaker would instantly help open up an offense that isn’t that bad. After that the defense still needs some work, the injuries this season to Jimmy Conrad haven’t helped out much but if they can get Dan Kennedy some help in the middle it could go a very long way.

Colorado Rapids: 

Pressing Need: Wing play in the midfield

Secondary Need: Depth in defense

Notes: Colorado is a tricky team here. They’ve given up a fair amount of goals which show their lack of depth in defense but they’ve also not scored a ton either, which show their need for offense. I think getting some depth in the defense and on the wings are key though. As long as Omar Cummings and Conor Casey are healthy I don’t worry all that much about their striking core. A playmaker in the midfield wouldn’t be a bad addition either but the formation that Gary Smith uses kind of lessens the need for a true #10.

Columbus Crew:

Pressing Need: Playmaker

Secondary Need: Outside back in defense

Notes: The Crew are much stronger than most anticipated this season. Defensively they are one of the top teams in the league but they still have concerns for me on the outside in defense. After seeing them in person, they can get beat easily with speed. But most importantly they need a playmaker in the midfield to keep their offense going. You just have to wonder at times what they’d be like had they kept Guillermo Barros Schelotto for one more year.

Ben Olsen still has work to do to his defense. (Getty Images)

DC United:

Pressing Need: Defense

Secondary need: Winger in the midfield

Notes: Ben Olsen obviously still has work to do on his defense which has given up 29 goals this season, one of the worst in the league. Filling the holes in defense will help a revamped offense with Dwayne De Rosario. Aside from that they also could use some help on the flanks. I haven’t been overly impressed with their play on the outside this season and its an area that has been exposed by some teams too.

FC Dallas:

Pressing Need: Striker

Secondary Need: Outside back

Notes: Dallas is one of those teams that just need quality depth more than anything. I think adding another defender will help but adding a striker to compete for playing time could be the biggest thing that the team needs. While I think the world of Marvin Chavez and Fabian Castillo here, both do better from the outside instead of in the middle. Dallas hasn’t had a big striker all season either as Milton Rodriguez has struggled to see playing time and Ruben Luna is still a bit too raw to start for the team.

Houston Dynamo:

Pressing Need: Playmaker

Secondary Need: Striker

Notes: I could throw the Dynamo defense under the bus here but I think they’re improving here. The depth isn’t bad there either but in the midfield and up top it could still use some work. I’d love to see them go for a big DP signing this summer and snag a playmaker or a quality goalscorer. Either one could help push them towards contention in a crowed Eastern Conference.

Sporting Kansas City:

Pressing Needs: Defensive midfield

Secondary Need: Outside back

Notes: The Sporting offense is fine, no doubt about it, same goes for the offensive side of the midfield. The issues still rest in the defense and in the defensive side of the ball in the midfield. I’m still not completely sold on their defense as a unit and hope that Peter Vermes isn’t as well.

LA Galaxy:

Pressing Need: Outside back

Secondary Need: Winger in midfield

Notes: Again, LA is another club that just needs depth more than anything. Their defense is solid as evidence of their unbeaten run they’re on right now. They’re offense does come and go at some points but not enough to make me worry. Possibly adding depth on the wings in the back and in the midfield will be what they’ll do if they make any moves this summer.

Steve Nicol has loads of issues with his offense. (Getty Images)

New England Revolution:

Pressing Need: Striker

Secondary Need: Winger in the midfield

Notes: So many issues with this club. They do need defensive work but honestly more of the problem is in the midfield and in the attack. When the attack fails to score and keep the ball it puts more pressure on the defense. And in the Revs case their defense is a good one but they’re exposed too often by the lack of talent up top. Adding a big time scorer would really help out. Seeing how the Revs have scored a league-low 16 goals this season, its fair to say that they need help up top right away.

New York Red Bulls:

Pressing Need: Goalkeeper

Secondary Need: Outside back

Notes: Defense and goalkeeping still worry me about this club. Most of you know I’ve been saying their keeper situation has been holding them back for a while but then again the defense in front of them hasn’t been stellar either.

Philadelphia Union:

Pressing Need: Outside back

Secondary Need: Playmaker in midfield

Notes: Philly is a very unique team. They don’t score a whole lot and they don’t give up a whole lot. After the Jordan Harvey trade its pretty clear they’ll need to add some depth to the defense. They can only get by so long with the ultra-low amount of defenders currently on their roster. I think adding a playmaker in the midfield could be beneficial as well. It could help open up the scoring a bit but it would also mean they’d need a formation shift which probably won’t happen. Either way the club just needs to add depth in the midfield in my opinion.

The Timbers looked strong early but have defensive holes to fill. (Getty Images)

Portland Timbers:

Pressing Need: Defense

Secondary Need: Outside midfield

Notes: Portland seems like one of those clubs that is so close but just needs a couple more pieces to the puzzle to compete. They’ve said they won’t hit the transfer market all that much but will play for trades within the league. Adding some defensive help on both the outside and in the middle will be a starter. The Timbers have given up 31 goals this season, second worst in the league. Also, some cover on the flanks could be good to grab as well.

Real Salt Lake:

Pressing Need: Winger in the midfield

Secondary Need: Outside back

Notes: First of all RSL is probably the deepest club in MLS today. Coming up with even one item that they need here isn’t easy. Its still about depth with this club and adding some help on the outside in the midfield and defense seem logical but again, they’re already deep.

San Jose Earthquakes:

Pressing Need: Playmaker

Secondary Need: Defensive midfielder

Notes: We know the club can score and defend but too often they lack both. Adding a playmaker would open things up for guys like Chris Wondolowski. But also adding some defensive help in the midfield would keep the pressure off the defense and keeper Jon Busch.

Seattle Sounders FC:

Pressing Need: Outside back

Secondary Need: Outside midfielder

Notes: Another team with needs on the outside, mostly due to injuries. Seattle is another team that mostly needs to add quality depth here too. They have some depth but I’d love to see more with important CCL matches ahead. They could also use some more cover in the center part of their defense as well with injuries to Jhon Kennedy Hurtado.

Toronto FC:

Pressing Need: Defense

Secondary Need: Winger in the midfield

Notes: We’ll see if their two new DPs really do help out on offense. Still, the need for cover in defense is there. The Reds have given up a league-worst 36 goals already. I know they’ve added some help in the defensive side of the midfield but their backline needs work all over to improve and help Stefan Frei out.

Vancouver Whitecaps:

Pressing Need: Outside back

Secondary Need: Defensive midfield

Notes: Its more about the defense here than the offense. With the club signing another DP striker today, the need for goals should go down a bit. But after giving up 28 goals this season the defense still is a crapshoot. They should improve with Jordan Harvey but they still need work on the outside and in the defensive midfield before they will be competitive here.

  • Larry Wilson Johnson II

    good stuff!

  • Dizzo

    I disagree on the Sounders. The pressing need right now is a target forward. Seattle, and Fredy Montero play much better with a big guy up top. It’s a thin area with the departure of Nkufo, absence of White and poor form of Jaqua. A RB to backstop Riley would be my 2nd choice.

    • Fair enough. I figured if White can return to form that the target forward need could go down. Guess we’ll wait and see here.