SBI MLS Power Rankings (Week 1)

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The defending MLS Cup champions got their title defense off in dramatic fashion as Real Salt Lake cruised past San Jose in Week 1 of MLS action.

Led by MLS Player of the Week front-runner Javier Morales, Real Salt Lake scored the rare road win, perhaps a sign that last fall's championship has, in fact, changed something about a team that used to dread road games like the plague.

The Columbus Crew got its quest for a third straight Supporters Shield off to a good beginning courtesy of a 2-0 victory against Toronto FC.

The most impressive performance of the weekend went to the Kansas City Wizards, which thrashed D.C. United by four goals to spoil Curt Onalfo's return to CommunityAmerica Ballpark.

The Wizards' comprehensive victory led to Peter Vermes' squad seeing the biggest jump in the SBI MLS Power Rankings. KC figured to need some time to integrate all its new players, but it looks like that transition has already taken place by a Wizards team ready to make a serious run at the playoffs.

Here is how this week's SBI MLS Power Rankings shook out:


SBI MLS POWER RANKINGS (Week 1)

1 (Last Week- 1). COLUMBUS CREW (1-0)

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Last Week- Defeated Toronto FC, 2-0, on Saturday.

Next Week- Bye week (at FC Dallas on April 10).

Outlook: Crew dispose of toothless TFC, though the performance wasn't as dominating as it should have been.

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2 (2). REAL SALT LAKE (1-0)

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Last Week- Beat San Jose, 3-0, on Saturday.

Next Week- vs. Houston Dynamo on Thursday.

Outlook: Javier Morales looks possessed. If he can play at a high level all season, RSL can coast to West crown.

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3 (4). SEATTLE SOUNDERS (1-0)

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Last Week- Beat Philadelphia, 2-0, last Thursday.

Next Week- vs. New York Red Bulls on Saturday.

Outlook: Steve Zakuani looks primed for a big year, but Seattle still can't finish.

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4 (3). LOS ANGELES GALAXY (1-0)

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Last Week- Beat New England Revolution, 1-0, last Saturday.

Next Week- vs. Chivas USA on Thursday.

Outlook: Three points will do, but Galaxy struggled to impose will on Revs squad missing its heartbeat in Shalrie Joseph.

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5 (10). KANSAS CITY WIZARDS (1-0)

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Last Week- Beat D.C. United, 4-0, last Saturday

Next Week- Bye Week (vs. Colorado on April 10).

Outlook: Wizards took chances well and kept pressure on make-shift D.C. defense. Ryan Smith speed on the flank makes Claudio Lopez a distant memory.

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6 (8). COLORADO RAPIDS (1-0)

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Last Week- Beat Chivas USA, 1-0, last Friday.

Next Week- vs. Chicago Fire on Saturday.

Outlook: Defense held up against Chivas USA well thanks to Marvell Wynne's emergency contribution at centerback, and Pablo Mastroeni and Jeff Larentowicz were predictably tough to play against, but the attack has to involve more than sending balls to Omar Cummings and praying he can do something.

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7 (5). HOUSTON DYNAMO (0-0-1)

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Last Week- Tied FC Dallas, 1-1, last Saturday.

Next Week- vs. Real Salt Lake on Thursday.

Outlook: A road point to start the season isn't bad, but the Dynamo are lacking a creative spark.

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8 (11). NEW YORK RED BULLS (1-0)

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Last Week- Beat Chicago Fire, 1-0, last Saturday.

Next Week- vs. Seattle Sounders on Thursday.

Outlook: Joel Lindpere was New York's best player vs. Chicago, but the back four played a very strong match, a performance that bodes well for a bounce back season for the Red Bulls. That being said, what in the world is New York waiting for to bring back fan favorite Dave Van Den Bergh?

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9 (6). CHICAGO FIRE (0-1)

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Last Week- Lost to New York Red Bulls, 1-0, last Saturday.

Next Week- at Colorado Rapids on Saturday.

Outlook: Fire played the Red Bulls even on Saturday, with Joel Lindpere's goal providing the only margin, but Chicago must get more creativity and possession from its midfield. Absence of John Thorrington didn't help, but Julio Martinez had no impact. On the bright side, Collins John looks ready to step in and start making an impact.

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10 (13). FC DALLAS (0-0-1)

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Last Week- Tied Houston Dynamo on Saturday.

Next Week- Bye Week (vs. Columbus Crew on April 10).

Outlook: Dropping points at home to an arch-rival is tough enough, but drawing a paltry 8,016 to the season opener has to set off major alarm bells in MLS headquarters.

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11 (9). NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (0-1)

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Last Week- Lost to Los Angeles Galaxy, 1-0, last Saturday.

Next Week- at D.C. United on Saturday.

Outlook: After bleeding talent for years, Revs have been reduced to a team without much beyond Shalrie Joseph in its front six. Without Joseph on Saturday, it's a miracle Los Angeles didn't win by more. That's more a statement of the Galaxy's slow start to the season than New England's preparedness for it.

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12 (7). D.C. UNITED (0-1)

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Last Week- Lost to Kansas City, 4-0, last Saturday.

Next Week- vs. New England on Saturday.

Outlook: There couldn't have been a more dejected person in MLS than Curt Onalfo, who surely wanted some measure of revenge for being fired by KC, only to go home with an ugly loss. To be fair, only Onalfo has himself to blame for playing Clyde Simms at right back and starting youngster Andy Najar in a tough road game.

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13 (12).  CHIVAS USA (0-1)

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Last Week- Lost to Colorado Rapids, 1-0, last Friday.

Next Week- at Los Angeles Galaxy on Thursday.

Outlook: Remember when Chivas USA was the model for attacking soccer in MLS? Okay, so maybe that has never been the case, but Friday's offensive effort was largely disappointing, particularly in midfield.

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14 (14). TORONTO FC (0-1)

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Last Week- Lost to Columbus Crew, 2-0, last Saturday.

Next Week- Bye week (at New England Revolution on April 10).

Outlook: Another year, another late arriving crowd of reinforcements. TFC will likely struggle early in the season as new signings arrive, but the team that faced Columbus on Saturday is certainly not good enough to contend for a playoff spot.

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15 (15). SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (0-1)

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Last Week- Lost to Real Salt Lake, 3-0, last Saturday.

Next Week- Bye Week (at Chicago Fire on April 10).

Outlook: We told you not to take too much from San Jose's strong pre-season. The Earthquakes still lack presence in central midfield and their attack is still missing a truly dangerous player.

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16 (16). PHILADELPHIA UNION (0-1)

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Last Week- Lost to Seattle Sounders, 2-0, last Thursday.

Next Week- Bye Week (vs. D.C. United on April 10).

Outlook: Playing its first game at a packed Qwest Field was always going to be tough, but Peter Nowak's men need to take some lessons from what Seattle was able to do, which was frustrate them. A good first 15 minutes was ultimately spoiled, but the Union's young team still has promise, even if it may take a bit longer than expected for that promise to be realized.

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What do you think of this week's rankings? Ready to place RSL ahead of Columbus? Think we moved KC up too high, or not high enough? Who would you rank at No. 16?

Share your thoughts below.

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65 Responses to SBI MLS Power Rankings (Week 1)

  1. JT says:

    Absolutely crazy that four teams have a bye week in the second week of the season. You would think that each team could play a handful of games before the bye’s start giving everyone a chance to build momentum after the start.

  2. afc says:

    Ryan Smith is a great pick up by KC. He is eligible for the USA. He is dad is from NJ. I know its a long shot but you never know GC 2011 if he continues to impress?

  3. afc says:

    A bye week this early in the season suprises me as well. Plus a break during the WC. Why not make the bye week later on in the season when teams will be tired. They will need it more then.

  4. RK says:

    Now that I look at it, 6. I hope that they have some other matches coming up.

  5. Shovel says:

    How is Philadelphia worse than DC? Did you watch that DC game they looked absolutely terrible.

  6. DC Josh says:

    DC is too high. We were horrible. If we don’t spend some cash this summer I’m going to start bringing my green and yellow scarf to the games.

  7. einar says:

    how the hell did seattle pass LA!? New England is a tougher opponent than philadelphia right now even without Joseph in that game.

    (SBI-Einar, amigo, you do realize this is an opinion, right? I didn’t have that much separating the two coming into the season and LA’s performance on Saturday left me with some questions. It’s week one and you’re complaining about LA dropping one spot in what amounts to an opinion poll. Relax.)

  8. alf says:

    I suspect the KC win is more of an indicator on just how bad DC was (will be?) and not so much of the KC quality. Otherwise looks pretty good.

  9. TCompton says:

    I agree w/ DC Josh. United should be at least behind Philly. DC had more yellow cards than shots on goal at one point (maybe even at the end of the game).

    We were terrible.

    (SBI-If the rankings were based solely on scores, D.C. would be in last, but they’re not.)

  10. stpljsh says:

    the dc score killed me. i am in depression

  11. DC Josh says:

    “Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).

  12. DCBird says:

    Another DCU fan who thinks that DC is too high.

  13. This Guy says:

    Agree. Also the Union were thrown into a hard starter in Seattle. They are young and raw but the Union will make some surprises this year.

  14. Dougs says:

    I think Seattle is too high. You give us too much credit Ives. But for that red card, the Union would have made that a tight game. KC really impressed me. They should be at three.

  15. Aguinaga says:

    DC massively fails. RBNY beats Chicago finally and has the best home field in the league. Real Salt Lake are the champs and win on the road. It’s very very early, but it feels like the times… they are a changin’…

  16. Second City says:

    Parity.

    Cut SBI some slack. This league is built for some weekly chaos and with the countless transactions in the off season , I don’t think anyone can accurately rate the Clubs in week one.

    Hence the disagreement of opinions.

    Let’s give it a couple three weeks before we begin the uproar.

  17. I think I’m the only Fire fan that was excited with the performance on Saturday. They kept the ball on the ground. I don’t think Dykstra punted it all day and even C.J. resisted his urge to launch the ball. This will take a little getting used. Like the team from Hoosiers, they’re learning to be effective. And the other teams are going to get tired from that chasing. A couple inches in McBride’s bike and ditto for Nyarko’s or Banner’s rips and it’s 2-1 for the good guys. Bad move bringing in Mapp. John/McBride should be a goal factory this year.

  18. Steve C says:

    1st thing I thought of as well. At least wait a month until the byes kick in.

  19. JoeW says:

    Ives, if you go ONLY by week one, than you have to rank NYRB higher (they were impressive in their first match) and DCU much lower. For starters, DCU was against a KC team that didn’t make the playoffs this year. Maybe they’ll go undefeated the rest of the season but being throttled by KC (even if on the road in a tight stadium) is a feeble start. And NYRB played the best, most organized soccer they’ve offered since maybe their road win against Houston 2 years ago in the playoffs. So I’d drop DCU 2-3 notches and raise NYRB up 2-3 notches.

    Otherwise, I’m good with the rankings.

  20. I have to agree with the assessment that the Seattle-Philadelphia match would have been very tight but for the early red card. As a Philly fan, I was surprised by how happy I was with that 2-0 loss. It’s hard to move the expansion Union out of last in the rankings until they get a good result, which looks like it might happen in their next match April 10. I’m still having a hard time believing D.C. is as bad as this first game suggests, though.

  21. sread says:

    I think hes only 25, so that gives him plenty of time to develop if he does choose to play for USMT. He’ll be able to work with the NATS for the next few years and still be under 30 for the next WC.

  22. MrTuktoyaktuk says:

    I hope Preki has scheduled lots of practices during our bye week. Maybe by next week we’ll have a real squad instead of a pick up game side.

  23. Cheecho says:

    Great win for RSL. If they can win at Houston I think they deserve the top spot. Go Royal Army!

  24. Lucy says:

    Why is LA ranked higher than KC? They barely beat a young NE team in their own stadium. KC should be in the top 3, DC last. Even Philly looked better than DC.

    (SBI-The rankings aren’t solely based on the results, but on where we think the teams measure up. Results play a part, but are not the sole factor. KC had a great first game but it will take more than one great result to make us leapfrog them ahead of LA. If you want rankings based solely on record and the ONE match played so far then look at the standings.)

  25. mexicanbluefish says:

    IVES, our fantasy league is broken. Or does it just take a long time to kick in?

    I’m a beginner, no idea.

  26. Chicago Haters says:

    In the case, a couple inches higher and Angel’s shot goes in instead, .5 seconds faster Angel gets his shot off andit goes in, coue inches and Richards scores as well….. How stupid to say a couple inches and it’s 2-1…

    On a positive note… Vamos Metro!

  27. Yeah, I Said It says:

    17. The new MLS website.

    Why 17? Because there aren’t more than 16 teams to put ahead of it.

    Man, that new website is a fiasco and an embarrassment to the league.

  28. jig says:

    smith is 23. and he is nasty.

  29. RK says:

    mfls takes a bit to update their data.

  30. Josh D says:

    Couldn’t agree more Josh! The team looked absolutely deflated and with hack players all over the field and a hack coach – I can’t see us doing any better.

    Front office needs to stop hoarding their $600,000 gap in salary limits and spend the money we need! I’d take Dave off NY’s radar in a second.

    Philly should be higher – They went to Seattle, probably the toughest atmosphere to play in, did well until a terrible red card and than managed to hold on down a man and with less time together. They were also missing Fred – who, as a DC fan, isn’t going to do anything to win you games but he’s a starter for them.

    I’d take us at rock bottom, Chivas above, than Philly.

  31. Yikes!
    I guess what I’m saying is that Chicago was the superior and dominant team that day and, but for a bit of luck, could easily have gotten 3 points. I guess we’re essentially neck and neck with NYRB in the rankings. But to say we dropped 3 spots and NY rose 3 spots is based purely on good fortune.

    But, every thread I see seems to say that the Fire looked weak. But, that was not the case at all. If they master this short passing game, the Fire will be a hard team to beat in the dog days of August.

  32. Josh D says:

    Wouldn’t go that far but it does look and feel terrible. Looks as though they had one of those flash, 22-year olds programming, web firms making this out of Indian. The user interface is lacking and it feels clunky. They’ll knock out the kinks but I sure hope they didn’t pay over $10,000 for the mess…

  33. Rory says:

    Easter weekend and the Final Four falling on the same weekend meant it was going to be hard to pull off a decent crowd in a lot of places. At least we get a Thursday double header!

  34. K-Town says:

    I agree Ives, FC DALLAS has horrible support. I really wish they could move down to San Antonio. I can’t believe S.A. never got a team. It’s the second largest city in Texas (Dallas and Fort Worth are smaller individually) behind Houston. S.A. is the ninth largest in the US. It is the most visited city in Texas thanks to things like the riverwalk and the Alamo. Oh yeah, more than half the city is Hispanic and we have only one professional team, the beloved Spurs. We don’t even have Div I college football here to compete with. Last, only 2-3 hours to Houston.

    If it weren’t for that nice, but empty stadium in Frisco, I bet MLS wouldn’t have to think too hard about this.

  35. rory says:

    It’s because MFLS depends on MLSnet for their “official” stats and without MLSnet updating stats MFLS is dead in the water. So you can think MLSnet’s new design for it for now.

  36. rory says:

    Are they still relying on the guys at Major League Baseball to run their page, or is this their way of leaving the MLB people behind?

  37. Rory says:

    In a lot of ways it sounds like San Antonio needs the MLS, maybe that would mean better government support? How does San Antonio United sound? (And a shiver runs down the spine of the DC fans).

  38. einar says:

    Yes I am comlaining cuz i am a passionate fan for my club just like u see in other parts of the world. If KC was in front of LA i really wouldnt mind. But there is an obvious difference between beating Philadelphia and New England. Ya they didnt have Joseph but Burpo and the backline r very solid and so is phelan for that matter. And u also forgot who i think will be rookie of the year Schilawski. So obivously which team has more? New England? or Philadelphia? It is not rocket science. so the both teams shouldnt of been moved unless KC passed both or at least past Seattle

    (SBI-Einar, you’re entitled to your opinion. I have mine.)

  39. Scott says:

    The Fire looked the better team. Mcbrides bike goes in and the whole game would of changed… I am impressed with Chicago and I am sure the results will start to come.

    And you can talk about inches when a players shot hits the post.

  40. einar says:

    I agree with moving FC Dallas to San Anonio. They only have the Spurs there. And would be a good market. By the way Kudos to the Chivas USA PR for putting many butts in the seats the past 2 years. the opening night had 18,000 which is great to see after it seemed like they were in trouble with only averaging 8,000 i think 2 or 3 years ago

  41. garen says:

    I think one thing that alot of people are forgetting about FC Dallas is that Pizza Hut Park is located in FRISCO, which can be a 45 min- 1hr drive from Dallas depending on traffic.

    I went to the game and it was quite sad but I think the attendance would have been a lot higher if Dallas could actually get its team located in Dallas rather than the neighboring suburbs.

  42. Adam G says:

    RSL is in the right spot at #2, but if they get the full 3 points at Houston, then they should be moved to #1.

  43. Beckster says:

    We were dreadful but what was Onalfo thinking when he put Simms at right back?

    I think it is a toss-up at the bottom with DC and San Jose who looked equally horrific.

    I didn’t think Philly looked as bad as either of them!

  44. jloome says:

    No, they picked up the same firm, Neulion, that was doing TFC’s video and does it for the NHL. Given all the technical problems with TFC’s admittedly-excellent (for free) service, none of this is surprising.

    So many things wrong with that site. The background css compiler, don’t know what it is but it gave me text in two different languages yesterday. Microsoft silverlight? Are you kidding?

    Truly, they’ve mixed up eye-catching page design with functionality. Big screwup.

  45. Idaho Brian says:

    I was very impressed with the RSL performance. No, it was not the prettiest game, but RSL did a lot to overcome some demons…win on the road, win a season opener, (which had never happened), and Morales was playing at a league MVP level. I am very excited to watch this team all season long.

    Despite being impressed with RSL’s play, I couldn’t help wonder during that game…what has happened to Bobby Convey? I know he started…but I’m not sure if I have seen a more invisible performance in recent memory.

  46. K-Town says:

    Agreed, they have really done a lot over there. I hope they keep it up.

  47. K-Town says:

    Oh, I know all too well. My mom live next to Frisco in Coppell. FC Dallas basically alienated a lot of potential latino fans with that one.

  48. madmax says:

    LA were rubbish. One of the worst passing displays ever recorded.

  49. scott47a says:

    Philly fans may be saying “would have been very tight but for the early red card” a lot this season.

  50. humberto de la croix says:

    I agree that Philly played well for the first 10 min, but too say that it would have been very tight but for the red card is seeing the world through rose colored glasses. After the first goal, Seattle pretty much controlled the run of play before the red card, even with Ljunberg injured (bone bruise on the spine sustained on Stahl’s first yellow card). Credit to the Union for not conceding a goal in second have while down a man, but I think that was as much Seattle taking their foot off the gas with a 2 goal lead.

    Also, considering that in the 2 games Philly has played against MLS level competition (Seattle and FCD in the preseason) they have 4 red cards, I’d get used to seeing them with 10 men.

  51. socmin says:

    Thank you for bringing the common sense answer, Rory.

  52. C. says:

    Absolutely. But will FC Dallas ditch their new stadium and just cut it up as a loss and move back to some college stadium in Dallas? Doubt it. They need to sell that stadium to some local college or to the county and make a new plan to get back to Dallas.

    Otherwise, I have to agree with moving to San Antonio. Dallas can get a team back when they sort things out.

  53. Eurosnob says:

    Josh, it was only one game, let’s not overreact. Plus Ives dropped DCU several places in its rankings. I am more concerned about Onalfo putting out a weird road game formation with only 3 defenders, playing several players out of their natural positions and starting several players that never started in an MLS game before. I am not sure whether this was due to injuries to several players or perhaps he outsmarted himself by trying to outsmart his former employer.

  54. K-Town says:

    We can just change DCU’s red to make it black and silver like the spurs. sidebar thought, latinos sure do love wearing black and silver. Raider’s, Spurs, Whit SoX come to mind. Hmmm…

  55. Jeremy says:

    Welcome to “Exciting attacking soccer” DC fans. We’ve known in KC for a long time that CO suffers with player selection. You ask “why start Clyde Simms at right back?” Curt says “Why not?”

  56. Jon in Quakes land says:

    Quakes had no presence in the midfield because of idiocracy to start Robles over Sanchez. Sanchez is the captain of a national team, a natural midfielder, and his partnership with Andre Luiz last season was great to watch. Why switch that up by starting a relative no name, then sub him out at half for a guy who clearly deserves to start in the central defense rather than central mid?

  57. PseudoNEmous Commenter says:

    And don’t forget Zorro. But seriously, don’t know if it’s good business sense to move a team out of the DC area completely unless you do an Old Earthquakes/New Earthquakes thing. I personally think the San Antonio Silver Foxes would make a fierce, yet distinguished team name, especially when we already have a fantasy league called MLFS.

  58. harry krishner says:

    Move Dallas to St. Louis.

    Watch out for the DeadBulls. They will do well this year.

    They will have the coach of the year (Backe)

    Best signing of the year (Lindpere)

    Best rookie of the year (Ream).

  59. sciroccer says:

    RSL completely dominated San Jose, more so then Columbus over TFC. I disagree, I think Real Salt Lake is #1. I also think within a month we’ll find the Crew in 5th or lower. I think if you review the game again, you’ll all notice how flakey Rodgers, and Gaven really were. Leinhart is not the striker to carry them to the playoffs, GBS can’t carry them all year. Last year everyone blamed RW in the 1st round for the lose at Rio Tinto, and look what RSL did to them in Crew Stadium the next week. In RSL the team is the star, not 3 or 4 guys. Watch out for Red Bull in the east, the west will be the place to watch this year. RSL, LA, Seattle those are you top 3 at the end of the year! And I do like The Crew!

  60. TFC4Life says:

    I have a feeling we’ll be stuck with this squad until the european season is over and until we can unload Gerba’s whopping salary (Its well over 250k based on last years prorated salary).

    Any MLS teams looking for a beast of a striker with a good strike rate who’s looking to prove something, contact Mo Johnson. Knowing our luck he’ll turn into the golden boot winner. TFC’s past striker rejects include Cunningham and Conor Casey, Buddle.

  61. Rageman says:

    Ives, you’re going to have to have a disclaimer pop up every time someone posts on your power rankings posts. Something to the effect of . . .

    “WARNING

    These rankings are personal opinions which are fun but meaningless. Said opinions may differ from your own. Get over it”

  62. K-Town says:

    What! these rankings mean EVERYTHING! Ives better get it right every time or else I’ll stop reading this Blog.

    Just kidding. Well said Rageman, people need to “get over it”. Or if they are so serious then they should publish their own rankings on their own blog.

  63. Charles says:

    Can Blaze please come a little faster ?

    Seattle has a pretty solid team, we just need someone to finish.

  64. Charles says:

    United never sounds good when it is on a team that united nothing.

    It sounds contrived and foreign to most.

  65. Tom R says:

    I pretty much agree with the rankings except that I suspect that RSL will be a disappointment this year. The Crew’s Schelotto and Rogers looked like the Batman and Robin duet of 2008 again. It looks like the new coach has gotten his feet under him as well.

    I would not have expected to see DC beat so badly in its opener.