- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On December 15, 2011
- 1 Comments
- 2011 MLS Offseason, Features
Well, it is mid-December. The Christmas trees are up and the snow is falling in some places around the country. The Re-Entry Drafts have come and gone for the 19 MLS clubs. Teams are constantly making moves this offseason – at times – more moves than it seems like ever before.
Some clubs have done well this winter while others haven’t done a darn thing. It may be early but with little going on today (other than Lee Nguyen’s lottery draft), I felt like it was worth looking a bit at some clubs that have done well so far and at those who’ve been slacking.
Set to get good presents this year from Santa
1. LA Galaxy – The defending champions are set to have a big 2012. What I mean by big isn’t necessarily in terms of big games that they will play or titles they could bring in but the amount of games that they could likely play next year. Should they some how advance all the way to the finals of the CONCACAF Champions League in the spring and do well in the USOC again, they could play upwards of 50 games next year. And that is before including the usual summer friendlies that will likely be scheduled as well.
LA went out in the second stage of the Re-Entry draft and gobbled up depth. Whether or not you believe it is good depth in the form of Pat Noonan, Andrew Boyens, Christ Leitch, and John Conway. The club is doing what they need to do to be on top of things for next year. I also like the move to that brought in Brazilian midfielder Marcelo Sarvas.
2. FC Dallas – Yes the club has yet to sign a new player so far this winter but really it has been addition by subtraction so far. Shredding costly players that didn’t contribute much in 2011 was a good call. As long as the club holds on to George John and Brek Shea next month (which I fully believe they will), they’ll be fine. This club has plenty of flexibility now to do what Schellas Hyndman wants to do with the roster. After not being able to make the most of the moves that they could have last year, expect better from this club with Hyndman doing most of the moves now.
3. Sporting Kansas City – Another addition by subtraction kind of team in my mind. They lost Omar Bravo and Davy Arnuad and shredded costs by not re-signing DP Jeferson but have gone out and done well in the game to keep Seth Sinovic (a quality defender), and added some decent depth in the midfield with Pablo Nagamura. Also, if they can find a way to work Bobby Convey into the lineup to get him back to his 2010 form, then this club is certainly headed in the right direction. I still see them adding a piece or two to their defense before long, which is really the biggest issue going into 2012 so far in my mind.
4. Seattle Sounders FC – Another club that needs depth and is finding interesting ways to do so. They’ve lost some important pieces from 2011 (James Riley, Eric Frieberg) but are starting to have a quality young core that will help them out in a big way in 2012. I fully expect them to continue to be aggressive on the transfer front this winter to address their defensive needs (Marc Burch was a decent start). I still wonder if they’ll also go out and spend the big bucks on third DP as well (my gut tells me no but you never know).
5. Montreal Impact – I’ll agree with the fact that they did themselves no favors with the whole Brian Ching mess but sometimes playing hard ball can pay off. They did that with KC to get Arnuad and were also able to get a quality keeper in Donovan Ricketts from LA. I still see them looking for a DP to make a big splash though and if they can bag someone good, then they’ll be on their way.
Others doing well: DC United, New England, and Philadelphia
Could be expecting coal for Christmas
1. New York Red Bulls – This club is interesting in my mind. They have some good talent but depth was always an issue in 2011. With the key players getting up there in age (Rost, Lindpere, Henry, Marquez, Tainio and Solli all over 30), the club has to address the youth this winter and actually find a way to incorporate them in 2012. My big wonder is if/when they will unload striker Juan Agudelo. There have been plenty of talks about the possibilities of moving him since manager Hans Backe apparently doesn’t see eye-to-eye with the young striker. They also keep saying that Tim Ream will be back after his trial with
West Ham West Brom but something tells me that could turn into a mess.
2. Colorado Rapids – Still no new coach in the Mile High City. Also no General Manager there too. The closer this club goes to the SuperDraft with out a coach the worse things will get there in my mind. Too many finger pointing by those who have left the club and not enough work so far this winter has to have people in Denver concerned.
3. Chivas USA – This club is still laughable to me. After all the players they passed on in 2011 in the allocation system to picking a guy in Arturo Alvarez who likely won’t join the club for next season makes me wonder if they really know what they are doing here. If it is Robin Fraser then you have to expect him to be on the hot seat. If not him, whoever is making these decisions has to be questioned. You know they’ll still do well in the SuperDraft with their high pick but outside of that does anyone have confidence in this club still?
4. Houston Dynamo – The whole Brian Ching mess is really more on them in my mind than on the Impact. If they didn’t want him to go they should have either protected him or made sure he didn’t go off to the press to say he would retire if he were selected. That was just giving Montreal a reason to pick him in my mind. It really felt like Jason Kreis to Toronto from RSL all over again.
The club has got some costs on the roster by letting pricy guys like Carlo Costly go but have yet to add anything to their roster. Very interesting for a club that will be involved in the Champions League next year to not address their lack of depth yet.
5. San Jose Earthquakes – They made two deals early this winter by getting Shea Salines back from Vancouver and landing Jean Alexandre from RSL. They did get rid of some waste from last year but overall I’m still not entirely impressed with where this club is going. Frank Yallop and John Doyle were on a short rope with fans in 2011 – if the quality moves don’t pick up before March – you have to expect them to be upset with them even more.
Others in the mix: Toronto FC, Vancouver, Chicago