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In light of the series of player moves that have happened this offseason, most notably this past week, a number of Major League Soccer teams have improved themselves significantly – at least on paper.
Although not many of the playoff stalwarts did much tinkering heading into 2011, some of the league's worst teams from 2010 have appeared to take large steps in closing the talent gap, which should make for a pretty exciting season, one whose opening game is less than a month away.
So who are some of the teams that have made the best moves to date?
D.C. United and Chivas USA come to mind as two teams due for large improvements in 2011.
United has acquired Charlie Davies, Dax McCarty, Josh Wolff, Joseph Ngwenya, Perry Kitchen, Rodrigo Brasesco, Ethan White and (for the time being) Pat Onstad in an effort to bounce back from one of the most futile seasons in league history.
With new coach Robin Fraser behind the wheel, Chivas USA has seemingly rebuilt its defense overnight, adding the likes of Jimmy Conrad, Heath Pearce and Zarek Valentin. The offensive side of the ball hasn't entirely been ignored, with the team picking up Alejandro Moreno and also trading with its Home Depot Center rival Los Angeles Galaxy for U.S. Under-20 striker Tristan Bowen.
D.C. and Chivas weren't the only ones to turn over their rosters for the better, though.
The Philadelphia Union seemingly rectified its goalkeeping problems by acquiring Faryd Mondragon from FC Cologne and Zac MacMath in the SuperDraft. In addition to that, Peter Nowak's side added pieces like Carlos Valdes, Brian Carroll and Chris Agorsor in an effort to make vast improvements in its second year in the league.
The Houston Dynamo are also in the mix when considering best offseasons. After a disappointing 2010, the Dynamo added the likes of Hunter Freeman, Kofi Sarkodie, Will Bruin, Jermaine Taylor and Jason Garey while incorporating homegrown players Josue Soto and Alex Dixon.
As for a playoff team that made some bigtime adjustments, the Galaxy should be in the conversation. After losing Edson Buddle to Germany, the team brought in Juan Pablo Angel, Frankie Hejduk and Chad Barrett, among others, in an effort to return to MLS Cup glory.
Finally, a team like the Portland Timbers has also made some personnel headway, even if it's an expansion side. After the expansion draft, the Timbers managed to add Darlington Nagbe, Kenny Cooper, Sal Zizzo, Troy Perkins, Rodney Wallace and Jeremy Hall to its core group.
In your opinion, which team has had the best offseason so far? Cast your vote here:
How did you vote? Any teams not on the ballot that you think deserve mention?
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