For the first day of our Sounders FC preview coverage, I’ve started some Major League Soccer power rankings. Obviously without a meaningful game played yet, these are as much based on guessing and opinion as fact and merit.
Does Real Salt Lake deserve to be considered a contender having barely made the playoffs last year? They did perform well in the postseason, but who knows?
Could New York ride the momentum of a new stadium into the playoffs? Sure.
Rankings like these are a great place to start discussion, and that’s what I hope they do. So be sure to fire away in the comments!
1. Columbus Crew — Solid core back from Supporters’ Shield-winning group in 2009.
2. Real Salt Lake — Defending champs made the offseason moves to remain contenders.
3. Chicago Fire — Lost Cuauhtemoc Blanco to Mexico, but Collins John might be better.
4. Sounders FC — Strong returning group is more acquainted, comfortable as a team.
5. L.A. Galaxy — David Beckham is out, but Landon Donovan is talented enough to carry them.
6. Houston Dynamo — Lots of questions, having to replace Stuart Holden and Ricardo Clark.
7. Toronto FC — First-year coach Preki, a former Tacoma Star, has Reds’ fans hopeful.
8. N.E. Revolution — Lot of departures and injuries, but Shalrie Joseph still is in his prime.
9. D.C. United — New coach Curt Onalfo hopes to restore the franchise’s rich winning tradition.
10. Colorado Rapids — Could be a sleeper team with stars Conor Casey and Omar Cummings.
11. Chivas USA — Lost a coach and a lot of players from last year. A lot to prove.
12. New York Red Bulls — Won’t be as bad as they were in 2009 (5-19-6), but how much better?
13. FC Dallas — Golden Boot winner Jeff Cunningham, 33, can’t score 17 goals again, can he?
14. Kansas City Wizards — Strong incoming class of internationals, but not a lot of stars.
15. Philadelphia Union — Newbies should start in the basement, but coach Peter Nowak bumps them up.
16. San Jose Earthquakes — Allowed a league-high 50 goals last season and a 14-goal differential.