The Favorites1. Los Angeles Galaxy Let's see, the team that won the MLS Cup brought all three designated players back, re-signed Juninho and brought Edson Buddle home? If they can fill the void left by injured Omar Gonzalez, they are hands on favorite to repeat. 2. Seattle Sounders You won't like what I'm going to say about Seattle, so I'm going to spare you from having to read them. (Though I can't stop you from being a little angry before this is done.) 3. Real Salt Lake Well coached, great 'keeper, strong offense, sturdy defense, home-field advantage. Always a factor.
The Dark Horses4. Sporting Kansas City I've written about 6,000 words about Sporting up to this point. You know what I think about them by now -- or at least I hope I've made my feelings clear . 5. Houston Dynamo The core of the team that made the MLS Cup finals in '11 return. A healthy Brad Davis and a goalscorer emerging from the pack could push them higher. 6. FC Dallas Great starting lineup. Former MLS MVP David Ferreira returns. Striker Blas Perez will lead the line. The MLS's mystical magical unicorn is back .
The New York Red Bulls7. New York Red Bulls They deserve their own category. The talent is unquestioned. The pockets are deep. But they collapsed down the stretch last year and took a giant step backwards in goal -- and they weren't really on solid footing there to begin with.
Playoff Wild CardsI can't figure out to rank the next four teams, so I'm not going too. This is alphabetical. All have potential, all have big question marks. Chicago Fire If the season had been about another month longer, Chicago might have actually made the playoffs. I'll allow your brains a second to adjust to that logic. Colorado Rapids A break here and a break there, and they could've put up more of a fight in the playoffs last season. A new coach and a new system might mean they need a little time to rebuild. Portland Timbers The offensive firepower is impressive and I think they could be a real surprise team this year. Is the defense going to be strong enough for the second-year team to make a splash? Vancouver Whitecaps The offensive firepower is impressive and I think they could be a real surprise team this year. Is the defense going to be strong enough for the second-year team to make a splash?
Should Make a Playoff Push at Least12. Toronto FC A vastly improved squad that might be great at times and horrible at others. 13. D.C. United It's pretty hard to count out a team that features Dwayne De Rosario. But the team had a lot of holes last year, have they filled them all? 14. Columbus Crew I've got no idea how this team managed to stay in the hunt for the Eastern Conference regular season title last year. Struggled to score and lost their top two offensive players this winter.
Not Sure What To Think15. Philadelphia Union With Sebastien Le Toux and Faryd Mondragon, I'd have them much higher on this list. Those two guys are really good. However, neither play in Philly anymore. Can they even compete without those two guys? 16. San Jose Earthquakes This is a team I'll have to see to believe. I love Chris Wondolowski and really hope they find him some help on offense. (Seriously, I'd like to see SJ in the Top 12.)
Well, They'll Be a Next Year Too17. New England Revolution Absolutely rebuilding this year. Should be able to score, but depth will be a real issue. 18. Chivas USA Have seemed to be in disarray this preseason, which started with the odd decisions to let prized youngsters Zarek Valentin and Justin Braun leave for Montreal. 19. Montreal Impact A really interestingly built expansion team (lots of veteran leaders, lots of high risk/high reward youngsters) that could really make a move up ladder with a high-profile striker this summer.
MLS Playoff teamsWestern Conference Los Angeles Seattle Salt Lake Portland Vancouver Eastern Conference Kansas City New York Houston Chicago D.C. United
MLS Cup PredictionSeattle over Kansas City I think Los Angeles is the best team, but if there's one team that could them fits in a two-leg series it's Seattle. Kansas City will hold court thanks to the Livestrong advantage out East over New York. You might hate that pick here in KC, but I think in a one-game situation, the Sounders will give it to KC.
Other HonorsSupporter's Shield Los Angeles
U.S. Open Cup Winner Kansas City
MVP Robbie Keane, LA
Golden Boot Keane, LA
Rookie of the Year Kelyn Rowe, New England
Defender of the Year Geoff Cameron, Houston
Coach of the Year Sigi Schmidt, Seattle
Most Annoying Player to Watch Fredy Montero, Seattle