LA Galaxy were never once the best team in Major League Soccer during the 2012 season until it mattered most, and the biggest show in the history of the league closed with a second consecutive championship run. They may look like a very different team come next March, but that doesn’t affect these power rankings. The champs are again on top of the MLS world.
2012 MLS end of season power rankings
19. Toronto FC: Toronto are one of several MLS clubs that need to get younger and more healthy during the offseason. Some have even suggested that TFC should trade all of their current DPs. I actually don’t find that to be an overly crazy notion.
18. Chivas USA: The Cleveland Browns of Major League Soccer, Chivas seem to be in a constant rebuilding mode. Wash, rinse, repeat.
17. Portland Timbers: I know Caleb Porter is viewed by many to be the future leader of US Soccer, but I need to see more. That’s why it’s hard for me to rank Portland any higher in this list.
16. New England Revolution: Some fans I know believe New England are one quality defender away from being a contender. I do not.
15. Philadelphia Union: Philly’s ability to rebound from a horrendous start showed that they’re better than their final record. There’s some real young talent in that team, and they could, depending on what they do during the offseason, surprise many in 2013.
14. FC Dallas: Dallas failed to take advantage of Vancouver’s late-season collapse, and they are now a side with plenty of questions. I’m left wondering why Brek Shea would want to spend another season there.
13. Colorado Rapids: My kingdom for a front man. Colorado have some money to play around with this winter. Let’s see what they do with it.
12. Montreal Impact: I think Jesse Marsch did a fantastic job as coach in the team’s first MLS season, and letting him go could prove to be a big mistake.
11. Vancouver Whitecaps: The Whitecaps looked like real contenders back at the start of summer. A true CAM could put them in a very good position next spring.
10. Columbus Crew: Columbus are one of those “in the middle” sides, a solid team that isn’t finishing at the bottom of the table but also one that’s not one or two guys away from winning it all.
9. Real Salt Lake: It’s kinda/sorta a new day at RSL, and not all of the team’s supporters are happy about that. The fact remains that they’re still a solid club and one that can, if they want, spend money on a game-changing player.
8. New York Red Bulls: New front office. New head coach. I’m fine with both of those changes. Now they’ve got to find somebody to take Rafa Marquez off their hands.
7. Chicago Fire: They’ve got a solid young goalkeeper, the 2012 MLS Rookie of the Year and plenty of attacking quality. Watch out for Chicago next year.
6. Seattle Sounders: The song remains the same for Seattle. They’re a solid team and all, but can you really see this group hoisting the MLS Cup next fall? Can you?
5. Sporting KC: That US Open Cup win was nice and all, but I expected much more from SKC during the postseason. That’s the main reason I can’t rate them any higher in these power rankings.
4. San Jose Earthquakes: Is ranking the regular season champs this low a bit harsh? They were essentially a one-and-done playoff side, and it’s not an exaggeration to suggest that they overachieved in 2012. I sure hope Wondo gets paid during the winter.
3. DC United: We’re obviously in the very opening stages of the offseason, but DC are currently my favorites to win the east next year. They’ve built a very good squad the right way, and Ben Olsen continues to evolve as a coach.
2. Houston Dynamo: Houston again showed that they can turn it on when it matters most, and they have a young core that could win the league next season. They also still haven’t lost in their new home.
1. LA Galaxy: Remember back in the spring when we were all wondering what was wrong with LA? I guess they figured things out. They’ll be plenty of time to speculate about the future of the Galaxy. Right now, they’re too busy celebrating back-to-back titles to answer any such questions.