MLS Power Rankings: LA Galaxy on top, chased by Sporting KC, Dynamo & Earthquakes

MLS Power Rankings: Opening Weekend

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The 2013 Major League Soccer seasons opens on Saturday and, in the minds of the Power Rankings Politboro, it might look a whole lot like how 2012 ended. A look at the last edition of the rankings before the season gets underway reveals that the LA Galaxy are still No.1 until someone proves otherwise, and teams like Chivas USA and Toronto FC still have a long way to go.

Note: Players in the Key Losses category marked with an asterisk are available to return to the team on loan during the course of the 2013 regular season. The Power Rankings are voted on by the editorial staff at MLSsoccer.com, while all comments are written by editor Matthew Doyle.

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Rank Trending Club Comment

1

2012: 1

OK, Beckham's gone and Donovan's in Cambodia looking for Colonel Kurtz. This would quite clearly throw any other team off. But the Galaxy hoist trophies for a living, and they're going to have to work really hard to convince us they're not the league's best team.

  • 2012 Record: 16-12-6, 54 pts. | Fourth in West
  • Final Result: Won MLS Cup
  • Key Additions: Carlo Cudicini (GK), Gyasi Zardes (F)
  • Key Losses: David Beckham (M), Edson Buddle (F)
  • This Week: Sunday vs. Chicago (5 pm, UniMas)
2

2012: 5

Lots of love for SKC this offseason, and the Power Rankings Politburo wouldn't be at all surprised if they put on a clinic from Day 1 this year. But even with the incoming talent they have, chemistry concerns (always an issue with tons of new players) could mean they need time to get on the same page.

  • 2012 Record: 18-7-9, 63 pts. | First in East
  • Final Result: Lost in Conference Semis
  • Key Additions: Claudio Bieler (F), Benny Feilhaber (M)
  • Key Losses: Roger Espinoza (M), Kei Kamara* (F)
  • This Week: Saturday at Philadelphia (4 pm, MLS Live)

3

2012: 2

On the face of it Houston might have the best, most complete team in the league. They can play boom-ball if they need to, can string passes together, and with Giles Barnes healthy, can run the diamond again — just like they did in '06 and '07. A thin central defense is the only real concern.

  • 2012 Record: 14-9-11, 53 pts. | Fifth in East
  • Final Result: Lost MLS Cup
  • Key Additions: Omar Cummings (F), Andrew Driver (M)
  • Key Losses: Andre Hainault (D), Je-Vaughn Watson (D)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. D.C. United (8 pm, NBCSN)
4

2012: 3

Handy-dandy warning alarm for the Quakes: This group stunk in 2011 when both Lenhart and Gordon were out (which, as it turns out, they both are). We expect they'll handle the absence of their targets better this time through, but the potential for slippage is there.

  • 2012 Record: 19-6-9, 66 pts. | First in West
  • Final Result: Lost in Conference Semis
  • Key Additions: Mike Fucito (F)
  • Key Losses: Simon Dawkins (M), Ike Opara (D)
  • This Week: Sunday vs. Real Salt Lake (10 pm, MLS Live)

5

2012: 4

United were unstoppable for a bit last season when Andy Najar moved to right back because they had four guys who could absolutely kill you 1-v-1 (Najar, DeLeon, DeRo, Pontius). They'll still be good, but without that trump card they'll need consistent production from one of the center forwards.

  • 2012 Record: 17-10-7, 58 pts. | Second in East
  • Final Result: Lost in Conference Championship
  • Key Additions: Rafael (F), Carlos Ruiz (F)
  • Key Losses: Andy Najar (M/D), Maicon Santos (F)
  • This Week: Saturday at Houston (8 pm ET, NBCSN)
6

2012: 6

The Sounders probably have the greatest potential for movement either up or down the rankings. They did lose their best defender and, arguably, their best forward, after all. If the replacements come in and jell, they could make a run at a Shield. If they don't, Seattle could be in a fight just to make the playoffs.

  • 2012 Record: 15-8-11, 56 pts. | Third in West
  • Final Result: Lost in Conference Championship
  • Key Additions: Shalrie Joseph (M/D), Djimi Traoré (D)
  • Key Losses: Fredy Montero* (F), Jeff Parke (D)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. Montreal (10:30 pm, MLS Live)

7

2012: 9

The Fire, like Seattle, have a lot of “either direction” potential. Replacing your starting central midfield, after all, is not easy. Compounding it is there’s still no proven goalscorer beyond Chris Rolfe, who’s notoriously streaky. The upside is they don’t look like a team that’s going to concede many goals.

  • 2012 Record: 17-11-6, 57 pts. | Fourth in East
  • Final Result: Lost in Knockout Round
  • Key Additions: Jeff Larentowicz (M), Joel Lindpere (M)
  • Key Losses: Álvaro Fernández* (M), Pável Pardo (M)
  • This Week: Sunday at LA (5 pm, UniMas)
8

2012: 7

Some are calling RSL’s new look an “overhaul,” but the reality is that they’re returning 14 of their top 19 in regular-season minutes. Most teams would kill for that kind of stability. They will need the youngsters, however, to start stepping up for real, not just on paper.

  • 2012 Record: 17-11-6, 57 pts. | Second in West
  • Final Result: Lost in Conference Semis
  • Key Additions: Robbie Findley (F), Joao Plata (F)
  • Key Losses: Fabián Espíndola (F), Jámison Olave (D)
  • This Week: Sunday at San Jose (10 pm, MLS Live)

9

2012: 8

Another year, another new Red Bulls team. This one looks like it'll be playing either a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1, which means the concern is "Who will help Dax win the ball?" Midfield recoveries are directly correlated to points, which means that Tim Cahill is probably going to have to do more defensive work than he's used to.

  • 2012 Record: 16-9-9, 57 pts | Third in East
  • Final Result: Lost in Conference Semis
  • Key Additions:  Jámison Olave (D), Juninho Pernambucano (M)
  • Key Losses: Kenny Cooper (F), Rafa Márquez (M)
  • This Week: Sunday at Portland (7:30 pm, ESPN2)
10

2012: 11

For the second year in a row, the Whitecaps have looked very, very good in preseason. Last year that led into a two-month run at or near the top of the Western Conference standings, and something similar wouldn't be a shock in 2013. They just need to avoid the temptation of blowing it up come June.

  • 2012 Record: 11-13-10, 43 pts. | Fifth in West
  • Final Result: Lost in Knockout Round
  • Key Additions: Daigo Kobayashi (M), Nigel Reo-Coker (D/M)
  • Key Losses: Martín Bonjour (D), Barry Robson (M)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. Toronto (6:30 pm, TSN/RDS in Canada / MLS Live in US)

11

2012: 10

Hard to know what to make of the Crew. Their offense will live and die with Federico Higuaín, while their defense should expect to have a learning curve with all the new faces. Robert Warzycha will be under legitimate pressure to have all the parts moving in the same direction.

  • 2012 Record: 15-12-7, 52 pts. | Sixth in East
  • Final Result: Missed postseason
  • Key Additions: Gláuber (D), Matías Sánchez (M)
  • Key Losses: Julius James (D), Sebastián Miranda (D)
  • This Week: Saturday at Chivas USA (10:30 pm, MLS Live)
12

2012: 13

"David Ferreira + two forwards" seems like it should equal "goals, goals, goals." The question is if that will be true going in both directions. If Schellas goes with the diamond, there will be tons of break-outs going in the wrong direction. If not, Ferreira might not be as effective going forward.

  • 2012 Record: 9-13-12, 39 pts. | Sixth in West
  • Final Result: Missed postseason
  • Key Additions: Kenny Cooper (F), Raúl Fernández (GK)
  • Key Losses: Kevin Hartman (GK), Brek Shea (M)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. Colorado (8:30 pm, MLS Live)

13

2012: 17

The Timbers kicked around several different formations before settling up on the 4-3-3 to close the preseason, and strung together some nice moments in the process. They'll need Darlington Nagbe and Ryan Johnson to become regular goalscorers, though, and that's eluded both players in their pro careers thus far.

  • 2012 Record: 8-16-10, 34 pts. | Eighth in West
  • Final Result: Missed postseason
  • Key Additions: Will Johnson (M), Diego Valeri (M)
  • Key Losses: Kris Boyd (F), Eric Brunner (D)
  • This Week: Sunday vs. New York (7:30 pm, ESPN2)
14

2012: 12

The Impact looked more solid and sound in winning the Disney Pro Soccer Classic, a nice change from their porous defense of 2012. How long they'll be able to keep it up once the grueling regular season starts is a legitimate question, however, considering the lack of youth in the team.

  • 2012 Record: 12-16-6, 42 pts. | Seventh in East
  • Final Result: Missed postseason
  • Key Additions: Andrea Pisanu (M)
  • Key Losses: Josh Gardner (D), Lamar Neagle (M)
  • This Week: Saturday at Seattle (10:30 pm, MLS Live)

15

2012: 16

Straight up: The Union did not look good this preseason. The attack still seems like a mess, and it might be best if John Hackworth decides that one of the three strikers — Conor Casey, Sébastien Le Toux, Jack McInerney — becomes a supersub. And defensively, there's still a lot of sorting that needs to be done.

  • 2012 Record: 10-18-6, 36 pts. | Eighth in East
  • Final Result: Missed postseason
  • Key Additions: Sébastien Le Toux (M/F), Jeff Parke (D)
  • Key Losses: Gabriel Gómez (M), Carlos Valdés* (D)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. Kansas City (4 pm, MLS Live)
16

2012: 14

The new faces — Ecuadorian defender Diego Calderón and Chilean attacker Kevin Harbottle — will get most of the ink, but the real test for Oscar Pareja's side will be how quickly the central midfield jells. Hendry Thomas and Pablo Mastroeni seem to have overlapping skillsets, so it might be an uphill climb.

  • 2012 Record: 11-19-4, 37 pts. | Seventh in West
  • Final Result: Missed postseason
  • Key Additions: Edson Buddle (F), Diego Calderón (D)
  • Key Losses: Omar Cummings (F), Jeff Larentowicz (M)
  • This Week: Saturday at Dallas (8:30 pm, MLS Live)

17

2012: 15

Still hard to figure out exactly what kind of team the Revolution will be, though it's pretty clear that "opportunistic" will be in there somewhere. Expect more growing pains this season as Jay Heaps continues to lay the foundation for future campaigns.

  • 2012 Record: 9-17-8, 35 pts. | Ninth in East
  • Final Result: Missed postseason
  • Key Additions: Andrew Farrell (D), José Gonçalves (D)
  • Key Losses: Benny Feilhaber (M)
  • This Week: Bye
18

2012: 18

Given all that's happened in the past four months, please, please let someone be working on The Chelís Experiment book. Daniel Day Lewis would win an Oscar for the big screen version.

  • 2012 Record: 7-18-9, 30 pts. | Ninth in West
  • Final Result: Missed postseason
  • Key Additions: Giovani Casillas (F), Edgar Mejía (M)
  • Key Losses: Danny Califf (D), Alejandro Moreno (F)
  • This Week: Saturday vs. Columbus (10:30 pm, MLS Live)
19

2012: 19

Their roster's not even close to complete yet, which means that Ryan Nelsen is already up against it before he's even coached a real game. Reds fans have been patient for a long time, and they'll most likely have to keep that up for the next couple of months at least.

  • 2012 Record: 5-21-8, 23 pts. | Tenth in East
  • Final Result: Missed postseason
  • Key Additions: Kyle Bekker (M), Danny Califf (D)
  • Key Losses: Torsten Frings (D/M), Ryan Johnson (F)
  • This Week: Saturday at Vancouver (6:30 pm, TSN/RDS in Canada / MLS Live in US)