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MLS: Power Rankings, Week 1

3/23/2011

Major League Soccer's clubs, from 1 to 18, following the Galaxy's opening-night win over Seattle and heading into the first weekend of the new season:

1. REAL SALT LAKE (15-4-11 in 2010)

Remark:
Everybody, or nearly so, is back from MLS's best team, trophy or no trophy

We're most excited by: Alvaro Saborio. … Or Paulo Jr.

Opener: Saturday at San Jose

2. GALAXY (15-4-11 in 2010)

Remark:
On paper, RSL's one true challenger -- but we'd love a more attractive game

We're most excited by: Landon Donovan, of course

This week: Sunday vs. New England at Home Depot Center

3. NEW YORK RED BULLS (15-9-6 in 2010)

Remark:
There's too much talent here not to run away with the East

We're most excited by: We've always liked Thierry Henry

Opener: Saturday vs. Seattle

4. COLORADO RAPIDS (12-8-10 in 2010)

Remark:
MLS Cup champs have first-class tandems up top (Conor Casey and Omar Cummings), in the middle (Pablo Mastroeni and Jeff Larentowicz)

We're most excited by: Super speedster Omar Cummings

Opener: Saturday vs. Portland

5. SEATTLE SOUNDERS (14-10-6 in 2010)

Remark:
The end of Blaise Nkufo's strange saga is just a footnote; Fredy Montero and O'Brian White were dangerous enough in the opener (with nothing to show for it)

We're most excited by: Self-possessed Steve Zakuani

This week: Saturday at New York

6. SPORTING CLUB KANSAS CITY (11-13-6 in 2010)

Remark:
If the rebranded Wizards can weather 10 road games before their new stadium is ready, they'll be in great shape come October

We're most excited by: Can't wait to see if Milos Stojcev is for real

Opener: Saturday at Chivas USA

7. FC DALLAS (12-4-14 in 2010)

Remark:
Departures of Dax McCarty, Heath Pearce, Atiba Harris, maybe Jeff Cunningham creates doubt where there was none

We're most excited by: David Ferreira, the reigning MLS MVP

Opener: Saturday vs. Chicago

8. HOUSTON DYNAMO (9-15-6 in 2010)

Remark:
Last year was just a hiccup -- Dynamo gets younger, more, well, dynamic

We're most excited by: Geoff Cameron, bringing life to the Dynamo midfield

Opener: Saturday vs. Philadelphia

9. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (13-10-7 in 2010)

Remark:
If the Quakes' playoff hopes require Chris Wondolowski magic, they haven't grown enough

We're most excited by: Imposing center back Ike Opara, foot broken no more

Opener: Saturday vs. Real Salt Lake

10. D.C. UNITED (6-20-4 in 2010)

Remark:
It's Benny Olsen's team now, and with a much better cast with, especially, Charlie Davies, Dax McCarty, Perry Kitchen additions

We're most excited by: Who isn't rooting for Charlie Davies?

Opener: Saturday vs. Columbus

11. CHIVAS USA (8-18-4 in 2010)

Remark:
If someone will put the ball in the net, the Goats might be all right

We're most excited by: Blair Gavin, if he can get that hamstring under control

Opener: Saturday vs. Sporting Club Kansas City at Home Depot Center

12. PHILADELPHIA UNION (8-15-7 in 2010)

Remark:
Peter Nowak's a winner, and so we'll buy into his plan for the second-year Union, especially if Carlos Ruiz is more 2002 than 2008

We're most excited by: Sebastian Le Toux, the best player (by a big margin) on a bad team in 2010

Opener: Saturday at Houston

13. COLUMBUS CREW (14-8-8 in 2010)

Remark:
Too much turnover, too many iconic players gone, not enough faith in coach Robert Warzycha

We're most excited by: Local boy Robbie Rogers, primed for a breakout year

Opener: Saturday

14. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (9-16-5 in 2010)

Remark:
Revs seem past the Shalrie Joseph/Kevin Alston furor, and nice pickups in Ousmane Dabo and Didier Domi. They'll miss assistant coach Paul Mariner

We're most excited by: Shalrie Joseph still can dominate games

Opener: Sunday at L.A. Galaxy

15. CHICAGO FIRE (9-12-9 in 2010)

Remark:
We can't quite figure out what Carlos de los Cobos is trying to do, so it's last year all over again

We're most excited by: Dynamic Guatemalan Marco Pappa

Opener: Saturday at FC Dallas

16. PORTLAND TIMBERS (13-7-10/USSF D-2 Pro League in 2010)

Remark:
We love John Spencer, the head coach, and Kenny Cooper's return could pay of nicely

We're most excited by: Rookie attacker Dalington Nagbe

Opener: Saturday at Colorado

17. TORONTO FC (9-13-8 in 2010)

Remark:
Dutchman Aron Winter takes charge, but the Reds look ready to disappoint their legion of followers ... again

We're most excited by: No midfielder in MLS is more fun to watch than Dwayne De Rosario

Opener: Saturday at Vancouver

18. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (10-5-15/USSF D-2 Pro League in 2010)

Remark:
Expansionists need upgrades to do more than draw scads of fans

We're most excited by: Top draft pick Omar Salgado … once he becomes eligible in September

Opener: Saturday vs. Toronto FC