Major League Soccer

SBI MLS Power Rankings


Good morning folks. With the MLS season set to begin in just two days it is time to consider how the teams shape up heading into the season. It is time for the SBI MLS Pre-season power rankings.

My rankings are based on how the teams look heading into the season, so teams that are still missing pieces as of today won’t get credit for players it is supposed to be getting (think Red Bulls and Toronto FC). Their rankings can and will change if and when they make some key additions and those new players show they can make an impact.

There aren’t too many surprises near the top, though if there is a team I probably rate higher than most it is the Kansas City Wizards. I feel like they made some additions (and subtractions) that should help push them into the upper tier of teams.

Here is the first edition of this year’s SBI MLS Power Rankings:


  1. Houston
  2. D.C. United
  3. New England Revolution
  4. Kansas City
  5. Chivas USA
  6. Chicago Fire
  7. Red Bulls
  8. FC Dallas
  9. Los Angeles Galaxy
  10. Colorado Rapids
  11. Columbus Crew
  12. Real Salt Lake
  13. Toronto FC
  14. San Jose Earthquakes

Some people will argue that I have the Red Bulls rated too highly. I think their forwards and Juan Carlos Osorio’s penchant for building strong defenses gives them the edge over the teams behind them in the rankings. I can’t see them going much higher though without some impact additions.

I’m sure folks in Salt Lake will argue that RSL made a ton of acquisitions and is ready to take the leap. I’m not convinced. If and when I am convinced, I will let it be known and adjust the rankings accordingly.

The same goes for San Jose. Yes, I know the Earthquakes won the Carolina Challenge Cup but I’m just not sold on that team having enough offense to do much this year.

I originally had the Galaxy ranked much higher in my mind a few weeks back but the more I look at that defense the more I wonder how LA will stop anybody. That said, it wouldn’t shock me at all if the Galaxy starts destroying people with that attack.

If there is a lower ranked team I can see putting it together it’s Columbus. The Crew has a good nucleus of young players who just might be ready to grow up and turn the Crew into a serious playoff contender.

Now I want to hear from you, SBI readers. Give me your rankings, who you see surprising and who you see being just plain awful. Also feel free to share your thoughts on my rankings.

Share your thoughts below.

  • Jordan


    Tell loyal crew fans to not go to the game. Awesome way to build support. Go back to 103 and do some more weakass cheers



  • Nathan

    Who should be number 1? DC…and Houston…together. I think they’re closer than many people think, with the edge probably going to DC just b/c Emilio’s output is greater than Ching’s.

    DC’s forward depth really isn’t all that much greater. I’ll be surprised if Moreno’s output is greater than Wondolowski’s. Caraccio and Niell are both unknown, unproven quantities. Niell looks more confident in the mix right now, but Caraccio has the size for MLS, which is where Niell is lacking. I didn’t see Niell get a good look on goal in the CCC, though his ball skills are good. Quaranta could be the X factor.

    I think Houston has the edge in midfield, hands-down, though DC’s is still very good.

    Defense is a tough call. Ianni,Boswell, Martinez, and Peralta are all unpredictable. Ianni plays well with Robinson, somehow, but sucks with Boswell. Boswell has as much -potential- as Peralta and Martinez, who looked pretty good in the CCC, but there’s still no definites on how any of the three will fare over a season (whether Boswell will find his form, whether Peralta/Martinez will continue strong).

    Keepers are pretty even.

    I think both teams at full-strength are very, very close in quality.

    As for the rest of the league, I think LA will score tons of goals (if everyone stays healthy), but will end with a goal differential of 0.

    Unless CUSA add a scoring attacking midfielder to share the load with Razov/Galindo, they’re still short.


  • Thom

    I think this year D.C., barring injuries, takes it all in a dominate fashion. Balance, depth and Argentina are the three points I would argue as to why I feel this way.

    Plus they have a top 5 in the league manager to keep it all together during the rough patches.


  • Tim Crawford

    Yeah, I disagree. lol.

    Standingswise I see:

    1. DC

    2. NER

    3. NYRB

    4. KC

    5. TFC

    6. CHI

    7. CLB

    1. HOU

    2. CHV

    3. LAG

    4. FCD

    5. RSL

    6. COL

    7. SJ


  • Steve B in Angwin

    The Standings in October

    1 DC United

    2 Houston

    3 New England

    4 Los Angeles

    5 Chicago

    6 New York

    7 Chivas

    8 Colorado

    9 Kansas City



    12Salt Lake


    14San Jose

    DC over Colorado

    Houston over Chivas

    New York over New England

    Los Angeles over Chicago

    Los Angeles over DC

    New York over Houston

    Los Angeles over New York in LA


  • northzax

    my only concern with putting Houston and DC on the top at the end of the season (although they are definately the quality teams in the league) is the sheer number of games they both have outside the league. Is either one deep enough to handle the schedule, or will serious choices have to be made between CCC, CCL, SuperLiga (I assume Hunt Cup is already written off) and MLS, we’re talking about the potential to play what, 25 more games than other MLS teams? it will either all come together, or fall apart (like DCU last fall right before the playoffs) I oculd see a comparatively fresh team like Chicago or even Colorado taking a tired DCU or Dynamo team out early in the playoffs.


  • brett

    Steve B in Angwin- assuming they are going to keep the same playoff system, your games would be off….

    DC v NY

    Chi v NE

    Hou V Col

    LA v CUSA

    all based on your standings you set up… b/c while they accept the top team from each division they still divide it into an east v west without the labels


  • mikeK

    I say we all knock the red bull down a few places.

    Sure, JCO is a good coach, but who’s he going to coach, Jozy’s empty boots while he’s off playing in the olympics?

    No one’s home in NY. Start the countdown till Reyna get’s hurt. Still got no keeper. Still got no CAM options.


  • Brant

    I think the hardest team to read is Columbus, but one way or another, I would expect them to have a winning 2d half of the season. Why?

    Because either Sigi has them in playoff contention, and they’re playing well, or he tanked early, got fired, Warzycha took over, and they’ve repeated 2005 by putting together a winning half of a season after the playoffs were too much of a longshot.

    The Crew seem to be 1 star forward from being a 3-5 seed in the playoffs. They’ve got the right role players, but they don’t have that Jeff Cunningham or Brian McBride they’d had for years that you can count on to take over a game.

    Danny ORourke and Eddie Gaven and Frankie Hejduk will run their butts off, being the right place and make the right plays, but they aren’t the guys that are going to win the game for you. And that’s what The Crew lack.


  • Aljarov

    Ar first glasnce it looks like you picked the 8 playoff teams from last year to make it again…way to push the boat out Ives!!


    I think TFC are shaping up to be the worst team…which saddens me greatly.


  • aristotle

    NYRB at no.7?

    If you weren’t reporting on NYRB where would they be?

    I guess once they get those ever elusive three players they will have MLS Cup all sown up.

    Are there a bunch of K.C. fans here? Seems like it was just a short while ago that everyone thought they were a laughing stock. Now they are a top team?

    Is this the lineup that will power them to the number 4 team in MLS , or am I missing something? (I hope it’s not the expectation that new draft picks and Claudio Lopez will turn them into a powerhouse!)

    Kevin Hartman

    Jimmy Conrad

    Michael Harrington

    Chance Myers

    Jack Jewsbury

    Kerry Zavagnin

    Sasha Victorine

    Carlos Marinelli

    Davy Arnaud

    Claudio Lopez

    Scott Sealy


  • Mike

    1.DC United




    5.New York

    6.New England


    8.LA Galaxy

    9.Kansas City

    10.FC Dallas




    14.San Jose

    The West is weak

    Two good sides do not make a Conference

    Also TFC = Terrible football club

    no improvements no skill they’re attendance numbers will be the only highpoint this year


  • Sara

    Ive’s you bloated man you prove once again your “jersey flavor” is nothing more than bias

    houston lost almost all their goals, NE is not the same team it was last year and KC did nothing but pick up an old striker who will not replace EJ


  • Joseph D'Hippolito

    Who rates the Gals as high as eighth and ninth? I watched Galaxy training before Beckham left for Paris, and Beckham plays defense better than Abel Xavier. Gals should be ranked 11th or 12th; Toronto won’t be as bad as everybody thinks (unless Mo decides to tinker once again).


  • Chris

    To the guy with the Kevin Harmse chant:

    Kevin Harmse didn’t go to Nashville. He’s too old lol.


  • QJA

    1. Houston

    2. D.C. United

    3. New England Revolution

    4. Chivas USA*

    5. Kansas City*

    6. Chicago Fire*

    7. Red Bulls

    8. FC Dallas

    9. Colorado Rapids**

    10. Los Angeles Galaxy**

    11. Columbus Crew

    12. Toronto FC***

    13. Real Salt Lake***

    14. San Jose Earthquakes

    I’m basically in agreement with what Ives posted. Changes marked by asterisks.


  • Kevin

    Harmse didn’t even play for the Olympic team. Come to think of it, I’d doubt he’s ever been to Nashville in his life. Get your facts straight.


  • Tony H

    You are way underrating RSL and underrating SJ, too.

    Here are mine:

    1. Houston

    2. DC

    3. New England

    4. Chivas

    5. KC

    6. RSL

    7. FCD

    8. NY

    9. LA

    10. Chicago

    11. Clb

    12. SJ

    13. Colorado

    14. TFC


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