Revisiting The 2011 Rankings: Midfield

Revisiting The 2011 Rankings: Midfield

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On November 1, 2011
  • 2011 MLS Power Rankings, 2011 MLS Season, 2011 MLS Season Review, Features, MLS Power Rankings

LA and Seattle had two of the top midfields in 2011. (Getty Images)

It has been a couple weeks since I revisited my 2011 positional rankings. I got caught up in the 2011 Expansion Draft lists – something I will likely continue on today.

Today, we’re looking back at the midfielder rankings. To recap I’ve already done the defense and keepers.

Again these rankings are all about the starters and the depth behind them. This is a look at basically how right (or mostly how wrong) was I was at the start of the season. You may not like where I put the clubs now but its all apart of the discussion.

1. LA Galaxy – Strongest club all around in MLS this season. From Landon Donovan to David Beckham – to massively underrated players like Juninho – the Galaxy are loaded in the midfield and only seem to get stronger each season with this bunch.(Preseason Ranking: 2)

2. Seattle Sounders FC – They were a very close second for me – mostly because of Mauro Rosales. You have to really wonder where this club would have been with Steve Zakuani this season too. His injury could have really hurt this club but Sigi Schmid definitely showed his depth in this area this season. Guys like Alvaro Fernandez, Brad Evans, Eric Friberg and Osvaldo Alonso also help make this one of the best groups in the league. (Preseason Ranking: 5)

3. Real Salt Lake – Even with the injury to Javier Morales, Real Salt Lake continued to be one of the best groups of midfielders in the league in 2011. Kyle Beckerman stepped up in a massive way and had probably a MVP-type season in the process. Injuries hampered this bunch but overall this group is still very strong from top to bottom. (Preseason Ranking: 1)

4. FC Dallas – Some won’t agree with this ranking but when you lose a MVP caliber player like David Ferreria and have a guy emerge into a MVP like Brek Shea it is hard to ignore this bunch. They struggled down the stretch with the amount of games on the schedule but it is hard to deny Shea, Marvin Chavez, Andrew Jacobson, Daniel Hernandez and the rest of the midfield bunch the respect that they deserve. Most of the goals came from this group this season for Dallas as well. (Preseason Ranking: 3)

5. Sporting Kansas City – Getting rid of Jack Jewsbury seemed to be a stupid thing at the start of the season and then when Ryan Smith left the club you thought there was no way back for this club. Well, we were all wrong. The depth isn’t stellar but the starters are. Graham Zusi emerged as a bit time player in the league this season – while others stepped up to help make this one of the most exciting clubs to watch in 2011. (Preseason Ranking: 11)

6. Philadelphia Union – I went back and forth on where to place Philly in this revisit but I kept having them come in around this point. Seems about right as Peter Nowak improved his depth overall this year by adding in guys like Freddy Adu and Brian Carroll. Also, having young guys step up and play well certainly helped carry this club into the post season. (Preseason Ranking: 8 )

7. Houston Dynamo – This one felt a little low but I struggled in placing them in the top five, even with Brad Davis. The talent is there for this bunch and I think going into next year they should only get better. (Preseason Ranking: 9)

8. Colorado Rapids – A big dip for this club, mostly due to injuries but for me it boiled down to consistency. I still view Jeff Larentowicz as one of the best midfielders in all of MLS. They do have impressive stuff on the wings but there were too many games this season where clubs controlled them in the midfield. (Preseason Ranking: 3)

9. New York Red Bulls – No real shocker to see them a little lower in my mind. They are still talented as ever but lack the depth to really push some clubs around. Joel Lindpere and Dane Richards are about as underrated as it comes in MLS. Thing is, with Hans Backe, the young talent on the bench never really gets time to show if they have potential to make it in this league. (Preseason Ranking: 6)

10. Chicago Fire – Midseason additions helped this bunch out a ton. Adding Pavel Pardo paid off in more ways than most would like to admit. Sebastian Grazzini proved to be a huge pickup for the club. Marco Pappa and Logan Pause continued to be the consistent factors in the midfield that helped carry the team at times as well. Like I said with their defense, this is a club to watch out for in 2012. (Preseason Ranking: 16)

11. Columbus Crew – I honestly had no idea where to place the Crew. They felt like a better team than this at times when Robbie Rogers, Emmanuel Ekpo and Eddie Gavin were all on the same page. But that didn’t happen a lot this season. Landing them here seemed like the right fit due to consistency and overall lack of depth. I still believe had they gone out and either kept Guillermo Barros Schelotto or added another true playmaker, that they would have been much higher and better this season. (Preseason Ranking: 13)

12. Toronto FC – They were weak coming into the season but thanks to many, many trades in the summer, this bunch improved a lot. Julian de Guzman finally started to earn his DP money – while guys like Eric Avila settled in well with their new club. I expect this bunch to continue to improve in 2012. (Preseason Ranking: 18 )

13. Portland Timbers – Probably the strong point for this club in their expansion season was their midfield. Jack Jewsbury and Diego Chara carried this club well while young players on the wings stepped up and helped carry the offense. I think adding some defensive help and possibly another winger in the offseason will only improve this bunch for 2012. (Preseason Ranking: 15)

14. DC United – An up and down season for United, all around really. I though going into this that they’d be higher at the end but I couldn’t justify any higher than this really. Some may view Dwayne De Rosario as a midfielder, I don’t, he’s a striker so he will be lumped into that bunch. Their depth in the midfield is still very young, but will only improve as we move forward here. (Preseason Ranking: 10)

15. San Jose Earthquakes – Boy, this club took a serious hit this season. Collectively they just weren’t always on the same page. Bobby Convey is on his way out and in a way this whole group needs an overhaul going into 2012. (Preseason Ranking: 7)

16. Chivas USA – Never felt like this was a good group all season long. The talent is there with guys like Nick LaBrocca, Blair Gavin and Michael Laloud. Adding a true playmaker in the offseason could help – something they could have done twice – with Freddy Adu and Benny Feilhaber. (Preseason Ranking: 12)

17. New England Revolution – Another group that just didn’t click in 2012. Sure Shalrie Joseph should warrant a higher ranking but the rest of this bunch doesn’t do it for me. Adding Feilhaber was nice but it really did nothing in the end to their record. (Preseason Ranking: 14)

18. Vancouver Whitecaps – I went back and forth between them and the Revs for the bottom spot and in a way this is really a 17a and a 17b kind of thing. I never felt like this group really did anything this season to help the Whitecaps on the field. They certainly don’t have the depth in place yet to handle any injuries either. A lot of work will need to be done for 2012 here. (Preseason Ranking: 17)