With the season starting Sunday, here is the first power rankings of the season.
MLS Power Rankings
1. Portland Timbers: They’re the champs so they get champions advantage by being number one, but they still are a top team in the Western Conference in 2016.
2. FC Dallas: A great offseason saw Dallas really stock up in the midfield including the transfer of Carlos Gruezo and the loan of Carlos Lizarazo. They also have Walker Zimmerman returning and acquired Maynor Figueroa for more depth. A lack of a true number nine keeps them at two though.
3. Columbus Crew: Another team who had a great offseason and they have new million dollar man Kei Kamara which makes them dangerous. Being in the Eastern Conference gives them an advantage as the schedule is not as brutal.
4. Montreal Impact: This team was probably in the middle of the pack when comparing them to the rest of MLS, but acquiring Harry Shipp makes them a dangerous team to go along with Didier Drogba and they have Laurent Ciman coming back.
5. New York Red Bulls: Not often you see the Supporters’ Shield champions not in the top three, but they lost their best defender and replaced him with a player from the Finland league. Red Bulls are still a solid team, but the teams above added pieces while the Red Bulls lost more than added.
6. Seattle Sounders: They should be a top four team, and a few weeks ago you could argue them at three, but Obafemi Martins is gone and Seattle has shown to lack offense outside of Dempsey. We all know Jordan Morris is good, but for a rookie to replace Martins is a large task.
7. Vancouver Whitecaps: The whitecaps have a solid team with a lot of solid players, but they lack that person who can spark an offense. They added Christian Bolanos, Masato Kudo, and Blas Perez. Even with that, still no igniter on offense.
8. Sporting Kansas City: They lost Kristian Nemeth and added Justin Mapp along with Brad Davis. Still no replacement for Nemeth and Champions League will be brutal on a team that got older rather than younger.
9. Toronto FC: A great team that had probably the best offseason in the league. They added three MLS veterans in Will Johnson, Drew Moor. Steve Beitashour, and Clint Irwin. If this team can mesh, they can make it into the final four. They also have that Sebastian Giovinco guy who did well last season.
10. Los Angeles Galaxy: The Galaxy is usually a top five team every year. This team went through a lot of changes and there are a lot of egos on this team. When this team faces adversity will be interesting to watch. Will the fight through it or will personal interest destroy the team?
11. D.C. United: I thought they had a decent offseason. They added parts that look good like Lamar Neagle and Marcelo Sarvas, but this team has proven while it can hang with teams in the east, teams in the west far outmatched them as they struggled against most of the teams from the west.
12. San Jose Earthquakes: A relatively quiet offseason for San Jose as Chad Barrett was the real big news of the offseason. They always seem to hit a snag of poor form for over a month of the season, only to get hot, and then fall back into a slump.
13. Real Salt Lake: This team historically is known for having a solid core of players lead by Kyle Beckerman. In April, Beckerman will be 34 and this team did not get any younger. Matter of fact, they really only added a loaned striker and Chris Wingert.
14. New England Revolution: t is really simple. Without Jermaine Jones, this team has shown numerous times to be really bad. They added Gershon Koffie, but it may not be enough. They could compete for a six seed in the East, but that might be all.
15. New York City FC: At this point, you trying and figure out which team had the better offseason. Of the bottom teams, NYCFC had the best. They have parts that can make things work, but they need time to mesh. They could be a contender if things go their way, but it is a big if.
16. Houston Dynamo: I don’t like the offseason they had, but I would pick them to win a game against the other teams below. They should be playing the role of spoilers in the west this season.
17. Orlando City SC: I think the future of this team is great. Lots of parts later to have a great team. Right now, I am having a hard time figuring out what direction they want to go in for this season.
18. Colorado Rapids: The direction of this team is all over the place. They literally put a brand new team together a month ago after letting go 15 players. If they can mesh, maybe they have something. Big maybe though.
19. Chicago Fire: It is a real bad ranking, but they did trade away their best player. I like their coach; he knows how to build young talent. Can this team win today? No. Can they win in 4 years? Maybe.
20. Philadelphia Union: I don’t really know what to say about this team. It will be built on draft picks and supporting role characters. Other than that, it is not a great team. Their first game is against Dallas and for a lot of these kids it is baptism by fire.