It hasn’t been long since MLS Cup, and it’s already time to boot up a new season of Major League Soccer. Matches will start on Saturday, February 26th — where the New England Revolution will take on the Portland Timbers — and the season will run into November, right before the World Cup. This off-season was full of surprises and massive signing, making for an intriguing 2022 campaign.
These are the 2022 BSW MLS Preseason Power Rankings:
28. CHARLOTTE FC- It would be difficult to put the newest expansion side anywhere above last after simply looking at their roster. It could take some time for them to put it all together, so for now the 11 international slot Charlotte FC will take bottom.
27. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES- The Earthquakes just have not done enough in the off-season to make one believe that there is potential. The additions of Eric Remedi, Jan Gregus, and Jamiro Monteiro will bolster the midfield plenty, but young Cade Cowell can’t do all the attacking by himself.
26. HOUSTON DYNAMO– Houston has some quality players on the roster, and what could be a decent attack. Fafa Picault and Darwin Quintero teaming up with new DP forward Sebastian Ferreira could see the Dynamo make a decent leap this season, but they will need to prove it first.
25. FC DALLAS- FC Dallas has been pretty active, selling Ricardo Pepi to Augsburg, and acquiring Paul Arriola from DC. Alan Velasco is a massive signing to help the attack. The roster has depth, but it is unclear if the starters themselves are a strong enough group.
24. NEW YORK RED BULLS- The Red Bulls are a young team with talent. This off-season they added DP Luquinhas, retained Caden Clark, and Aaron Long will return from injury. This is a youthful sleeper team, but for the time being, I’m snoozing.
23. COLUMBUS CREW- The Crew defended their title very poorly, and their off-season itself doesn’t signify a much better year. They were pretty silent, pretty much just signing U22 player Yaw Yeboah. Though, a team with a proven scorer in Gyasi Zardes, Lucas Zelarayan, and Darlington Nagbe could be dangerous.
22. AUSTIN FC- They say everything is bigger in Texas, in this case all three teams’ preseason power ranking. Austin has a capable roster, but loaning out Tomas Pochettino will definitely hurt. Their moves weren’t convincing enough to supply tons of hope for a strong season.
21. FC CINCINNATI- FC Cincinnati has cemented its spot as the very worst, but this could be the year for change. If they can mend their obvious defensive struggles, Brenner, Luciano Acosta, and Dominique Badji will be able to create enough to win some more games.
20. MINNESOTA UNITED- MNUFC truly looked like a team to watch out for in 2020, and regressed massively last season. Getting Bongokuhle Hlongwane, as well as Luis Amarilla and Emanuel Reynoso back at full capacity will be a massive help, but they have lost an important player in Jan Gregus in midfield.
19. CHICAGO FIRE- Chicago has had one of the busiest off-seasons, completely rebuilding. Jairo Torres and Xherdan Shaqiri are dangerous players that will surely give the Fire more heat up front. Their early schedule will be a good first test.
18. REAL SALT LAKE- RSL made more depth signings than upgrades to their lineup, which is lead by Damir Kreilach. If Rubio Rubin can continue his early magic of last season, and Glad sures up the back, they could be a playoff team again.
17. DC UNITED- DCU clearly put a focus on upgrading the back line, adding Brad Smith, and signing Brendan Hines-Ike to a full contract. Ola Kamara will need to keep finishing his chances in whatever form they may come, as losing Arriola weakens the attack.
16. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS- Ryan Gauld proved that he is for real after coming over last summer. With him, Cristian Dajome, Deiber Caicedo, Brian White, and Lucas Cavallini, they have plenty of options going forward. The loss of Janio Bikel hurts the midfield, but Florian Jungwirth should help the defensive side of things.
15. INTER MIAMI- Inter Miami’s complete revamp of the roster is enough to be intrigued by. Mo Adams, Clement Diop, Emerson Rodriguez, and DeAndre Yedlin are among the many players they have brought in. If it all ends up fitting together, Gonzalo Higuain’s side could see a big improvement.
14. SPORTING KANSAS CITY- It may be surprising to see SKC this low, but there is reason behind it. Alan Pulido will likely be out for the year, leaving them without a pure striker, and wasting a DP spot for this year. Daniel Salloi is quality, but replicating what he did last year is unlikely, and their signings weren’t enough to move the needle either.
13. TORONTO FC- Toronto have been busy, but they were still one of the very worst last season. They signed Carlos Salcedo as a DP center-back, showing their defensive improvement. If Alejandro Pozuelo can get back to MVP numbers, and Ayo Akinola can get back to scoring, Lorenzo Insigne may be joining a solid team in the summer.
12. COLORADO RAPIDS- Colorado proved that they can get along just fine without a DP, but as the league advances, it feels like they’re bound to falter. They lost their #9 in Badji and didn’t address it, lost Kellen Acosta and didn’t do much there either. There simply isn’t enough fire power in the side to expect big things.
11. CF MONTREAL- CF Montreal looked like a dangerous team last season, barely missing the playoffs. Djordje Mihailovic was one of the most underrated players in MLS. Kamal Miller is a huge defensive add for Montreal. Joaquin Torres, Mason Toye, and Romell Quioto will have to do the scoring.
10. LA GALAXY- LA Galaxy have an incredibly promising team, especially in attack. Douglas Costa, Javier Hernandez, Dejan Joveljic, Remi Cabral, and Samuel Grandsir will be extremely dangerous. That being said, the midfield and defense could be a liability after losing some major pieces, though Marky Delgado was a good addition.
9. PORTLAND TIMBERS- The Timbers will be without Valeri for the first time in a long time, but they will retain Sebastian Blanco. Dario Zuparic and Larrys Mabiala are always effective in the back, and Eryk Williamson will return from his ACL injury to sit in the midfield in front of them. The Chara brothers will continue their reign, as Portland will look to get revenge on MLS Cup.
8. PHILADELPHIA UNION- Philly’s defensive core with Jack Elliott, Kai Wagner, Jakob Glesnes, and Jose Martínez is very strong. The attack will be the spot of uncertainty, after the departure of Kacper Przyblyko. Julian Carranza is an interesting, cheap signing that could pay off big time if he lives up to his potential.
7. ORLANDO CITY- Orlando City did lose their star striker in Daryl Dike, but will get a potentially big contributor back in Alexandre Pato. They also added DP forward Ercan Kara and DP winger Facundo Torres, so they should be just fine. Most of the midfield and backline stays the same, which is a big positive.
6. LAFC- There is reason to believe LAFC will make a strong resurgence in 2022. They added Acosta, Doneil Henry, Ryan Hollingshead, Illie Sanchez, and plenty more. This is a legitimately dangerous team from top to bottom, and a very well-built roster on paper. Arango will keep scoring and Vela can still contribute if healthy.
5. SEATTLE SOUNDERS- It is a fact that the Sounders are good every single year, and that should not change in 2022. With Nicolas Lodeiro and Jordan Morris returning, along with Joao Paulo, Raul Ruidiaz, Albert Rusnak, Alex and Cristian Roldan, and a great defense, the Sounders should continue their domination.
4. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION- The Supporter’s Shield winners lost Tajon Buchanan, and will likely lose Adam Buksa along with Matt Turner in the summer. That being said, the magic of Carles Gil and Gustavo Bou will win plenty of games by itself, while the roster is still solid up and down. The additions of Sebastian Lletget, Omar Gonzalez, and Jozy Altidore will provide some much needed depth in proven players. What happens in the summer transfer window could be a deciding factor in the Revs’ 2022 campaign.
3. NASHVILLE SC- While not everyone loves how Nashville plays, if anything, that proves it works. Nashville are joining the Western Conference this season, and will mostly play against teams that have never seen their unique play-style. While they weren’t very busy, they clearly feel comfortable with their roster, and will need Hany Mukhtar to bring the best out of DP striker Ake Loba, who was quiet since transferring to Nashville in summer.
2. ATLANTA UNITED- Atlanta United had an uncharacteristic fall from grace last year, but their hot finish might have shown what 2022 will bring. Thiago Almada, Luiz Araujo, and a healthier Josef Martinez provides a strong attack. The defense and midfield are well rounded and solid, Atlanta should truly be expecting big things.
1. NEW YORK CITY FC- The champions deserve to, at the very least, start at the top. After refusing to sell Taty Castellanos, there is no reason this team won’t be able to aim for the same heights. The Brazilian attacking core of Thiago Andrade, Talles Magno, and the returning Heber will be huge this year. Maxime Chanot, Alexander Callens, and Thiago Martins will make for a reliable defense. Anton Tinnerholm and Keaton Parks will return to the team. If anything, the rest of MLS should be wary that NYCFC were able to win the cup despite so many injuries to starters.