MLS Preseason Power Rankings | Edition 1

27.  HOUSTON DYNAMO- The Dynamo have earned a spot at the bottom thanks to some real struggles throughout the past few seasons. Ending last season with the second to last PPG (0.91), Houston was dreadful. They made a few small attacking additions in speedster Fafa Picault and Maxi Urruti, so we’ll see if they can make the goal scoring difference.
26.  D.C. UNITED- DC United ended last season tied with Houston, with just 0.91 PPG. DC has brought in a new coach in Hernan Losasa, as well as striker Nigel Robertha. The off-season was too quiet to rate them highly off the start of the season.
25. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS- The Whitecaps actually did put up a solid off-season, but it’s just too early to tell if it’ll pay off. Lucas Cavallini wasn’t at his best last season, so the additions of Deiber Caicedo, Bruno Gaspar, and Caio Alexandre have arrived to held him out.
24. CHICAGO FIRE- The Fire not only missed the playoffs last season, but did absolutely nothing about it during the off-season. Without signing a single player, Chicago ended up losing some key pieces in CJ Sapong and Djordje Mihailovic. This season could be a rough one at Soldier Field.
23. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES- San Jose also had a pretty mediocre off-season. Picking up Chofis Lopez, a striker with lots of problems, including weight issues, is probably not their answer. Eric Remedi was a good pickup in midfield, but will it be enough to do any damage?
22. CF MONTREAL- CF Montreal went through a rebrand, and somewhat of a roster revamp as well. Breza, Hurtado, Torres, Struna, and Mihailovic are all exciting signings for Montreal. For me, the most dangerous is Bjørn Johnsen. His powerhouse style of play could elevate Montreal to another level, but they’ll have to prove it first.
21. REAL SALT LAKE- Simply put, Anderson Julio and Bobby Wood have the potential to change this team. Wood has shown he can do it at a high level, the question will be if he can continue to do so. Losing the quickness of Sam Johnson and Corey Baird could be a tough blow, but their replacements are clearly capable.
20. FC CINCINNATI- For the first time, FC Cincinnati isn’t starting at the bottom of the rankings. Finally, they splashed during the past few months, adding São Paulo wonderkid Brenner da Silva. Luciano Acosta returns to MLS following his Liga MX stint with Atlas. Isaac Atanga and Gustavo Vallecilla have also recently joined the team, and there’s a lot of potential here.
19. AUSTIN FC- While Austin is being looked down upon, the fact that they have built a stellar inaugural roster is going partially unnoticed. The likes of seasoned veterans and young talent is a great mix. The most exciting part has to be the brilliance of both DPs Cecelio Dominguez and Tomas Pochettino.
18. INTER MIAMI CF- Inter Miami has an experienced roster, but they’ll have to prove that experience translates. Gibbs, Shawcross, Matuidi, Higuain, Leerdam, and Shea are already well into their 30’s, so this is not a young roster. The addition of 27 year old Brazilian midfielder Gregore is a crucial one.
17. COLORADO RAPIDS- The Colorado Rapids are quietly improving. Andre Shinyashiki is proving to be a real player, while various players are getting chances in the USMNT system; such as Acosta, Vines, and Lewis. The addition of speedy winger Michael Barrios from Dallas also improves the attack.
16. LA GALAXY- While the Galaxy have a solid roster, it clearly didn’t come together last season. After completely missing the playoffs, they picked up Victor Vazquez, who had an incredible stint with TFC. They also went out and got Samuel Grandsir from Monaco, as well as Frenchman Kévin Cabral, with some other smaller signings sprinkled in. The big question that remains involves Chicharito getting back into his form.
15. TORONTO FC- A team as prestigious as Toronto FC starting this low may come as a surprise to some. But, the burnout of form at the end of last season may be a sign of what’s to come. Without a single new signing for the upcoming season, TFC will return virtually the same exact team. Akinola and Laryea are exciting prospects, along with MLS MVP Alejandro Pozuelo, but will the rest of the roster be able to keep up?
14. FC DALLAS- FC Dallas continue to create great homegrown players, and develop their team, but the story of their off-season was focused on selling. Since playing their last game in November, Dallas has waved a whopping eleven players goodbye, while only adding a few. One of those transfers was Bryan Reynolds heading to AS Roma, on a pricey transfer fee. Dallas has not done much with it, though Jader Obrian is a great pickup.
13. NASHVILLE SC- Nashville quickly went from a poor team to a threat across the league. Putting up a huge upset against Toronto FC was even one that was pretty expected. The core of Jhonder Cadiz and Hany Mukhtar proved to be lethal. Nashville’s slow tempo style of play allowed them to be very efficient, and will look to continue it.
12. NEW YORK RED BULLS- The Red Bulls don’t know if Kaku is on their roster, but they do know that they have made some solid upgrades for 2021. Along with the strong defensive core, RBNY had improved other parts of the team. Cameron Harper and Youba Diarra could be very helpful going forward.
11. NEW YORK CITY FC- The other New York team has made some solid signings as well. The recent additions of Alfredo Morales and Chris Gloster helps beef up spots of need. Gary Mackay-Steven returned to Hearts, and Matarrita left for Cincy. Danish fullback Malte Amundsen will help try to cover that hole. The rumors of Tatum Castellanos and Palmeiras are concerning, as he’s the guy that makes their system work so well.
10. ATLANTA UNITED- Atlanta may have had a dreadful season, but all signs point to their return to quality. The off-season changes were constant and promising, from the coach to the roster. Alan Franco and Ronald Hernandez will help in defense, while Lisandro Lopez will help Josef Martínez with his return up top. Heinze will also look to see what DP Marcelino Moreno can do, as he was only just signed late last summer.
9. SEATTLE SOUNDERS- The Sounders started as preseason number one a year ago, and a lot has changed since then. The loss of Jordan Morris is clearly the most important factor, as Seattle lost one of, if not their biggest difference maker. They also lost Bwana and Leerdam during the off-season. The only significant signing Seattle made was bringing back Fredy Montero. But, if Ruidiaz and the Sounders can get going again, they’re still a top team.
8. SPORTING KANSAS CITY- SKC waved goodbye to legendary CB Matt Besler, who played at the club for upwards of a dozen years. They also saw the exit of crafty winger Gerso Fernandes. They combatted these departures with pickups of Nicolas Isimat-Mirin and Frenchman Remi Walter. If Alan Pulido can stay healthy for Kansas City, he can easily be one of the best forwards in the league, and this roster has successful potential.
7. ORLANDO CITY SC- Orlando City SC’s run of success was halted by the Revs, but you can’t take away their impressive second half of the season. The loss of Daryl Dike to English side Barnsley could be a massive blow, though. Dike provided a large percentage of Orlando’s game going forward. Nevertheless, with Nani, Mueller, and whatever Pato brings, City will still be threatening. They also have one of the best defensive lines in the league, thanks to Antonio Carlos and Ruan.
6. LOS ANGELES FC- Like Atlanta, LAFC had a bit of a down year because their best player wasn’t available. The attacking duo of Vela and Rossi will be inevitably good, with Musovski and now Corey Baird as well. The loss of Brian Rodriguez will not be that significant, as he really struggled in Hollywood. LAFC’s lineup is solid from top to bottom, solidifying them as a quality team yet again.
5. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION- New England made a massive run in the playoffs, and the MLS world took notice. Already set up with perhaps the best midfielder in the league in Carles Gil, the Revs continued to build the roster this off-season. Additions of Arnór Traustason, Wilfrid Kaptoum, Christian Mafla, and some depth options will complement the quality of Bou, Buksa, Gil, and Buchanan. Kessler and Farrell will look to continue to boss the back line, and be more efficient on defending set pieces in 2021.
4. PORTLAND TIMBERS- Portland was not loud during the off-season, because it wasn’t exactly necessary for them. They feel comfortable with their roster, including Valeri, the Chara brothers, Blanco, Felipe Mora, and Ebobisse. After the loss of Villafaña, the Timbers bolstered the fullback position with Claudio Bravo as well. When the attacking options are healthy, Portland is a pretty scary team.
3. PHILADELPHIA UNION- Like Orlando, Philadelphia also saw their magical season end at the hands of New England. But, the supporters shield champions are still on the prowl for another run. The loss of Brendan Aaronson and Mark McKenzie may prove to be costly, but the Union look to have enough depth to deal with it. Leon Flach and Stuart Findlay are the two signings Philly went with to maintain their role as a top team in the Eastern Conference.
2. MINNESOTA UNITED- Minnesota United is simply a very slept on team. While they did lose Kevin Molino, their team is still of great quality. Emanuel Reynoso is establishing him atop the best attackers in the league, while Ethan Finlay continues to be the model of consistency. The recent addition of Ramon Abila from Boca Juniors should prove massive for MNUFC. On the defensive side, Opara has been through some strange health conditions in the past year, so it would be a blow to not have him back.
1. COLUMBUS CREW- Who else could sit afloat the power rankings than the MLS Cup champion in Columbus Crew? Following their cup win, they went out and got Alexandru Matan, Bradley Wright-Phillips, and most importantly, Kevin Molino. Not only is Columbus coming straight off an MLS cup victory, but they passed the eye test with flying colors in CONCACAF Champions League game one, where they took down Estelí 4-0. The Crew are currently the team to beat, and it certainly will not be easy to do so.

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