Friday, April 01, 2005

I Know You Have Been Waiting For This!

The Du Nord MLS Preseason Rankings

1 Kansas City
2 DC United
3 FC Dallas - New England
5 Los Angeles - Columbus
7 Colorado - Chicago - San Jose
10 Metrostars - Real Salt Lake
12 Chivas USA

Here are the overly egotistical Du Nord preseason MLS team rankings.
Its simple...I pick who I think is best and I put them at the top, then go down the line till I get to the bottom of the barrel. For this initial ranking I have used very little criteria to make my picks.

Now join me in a run threw the insanity behind the picks, won't you:

Number 1 & Number 2 were playing last November for the league cup, But here I have KC over DC simply because KC added some veterans to a really good team, and DC lost its center back, Ryan Nelson (to Blackburn), who happened to be the best in the league, and they still haven't replaced him. DC have attackers and mad men every where you look on the pitch: Ben "lil Caveman" Olsen, Jaime Moreno, Alecko Eskandarian, Mike Petke, Dema "Fuck Dallas" Kovalenko, Christian Gomez, Freddie Adu, Brian Namoff and Josh "The Cast" Gross. But they are also stuck with Nick Rimando between the pipes. KC counter with an entire team made up of Coach Bob Gansler clones: Josh Wolff, Davy Arnau, Sasha Victorine, Jimmy Conrad (by far the funniest guy in the whole league), and Chris "Jesus Healed My Knee" Klein. Both are good. Hell, they could play for the title again this year.
Then we get Dallas and NE tied for 3rd. Both have pretty great looking offenses heading into the new season. Dallas has Eddie Johnson and Ronnie O'Brien already, and they add the sinister & deadly Carlos "El Pescadito" Ruiz to the team! (By the way, in the Birmingham paper they did a WCQ preview and put in a pronunciation guide to Carlos's lat name – they said its pronounced RU-eez. Isn't it ru-EEZ? Who edits that hillbilly rag?) That is impressive. Their midfield is still weak, and the defense lost Cory Gibbs but gained Greg Vanney, which may or may not be a fair trade out. New England has what I think is the best attacking front in the whole league. They line up Taylor Twellman & Pat Noonan in the front, with a midfield of Shalrie Joseph, Jose Cancela, Clint "Nagadoches Goth Boy" Dempsey, & Steve Ralston. But they too have a suspect defense.
5th place is a draw between LA and Columbus. LA has the instant draw back of Steve Sampson as coach. He will be like an anchor around the whole team's neck, and at any moment they could plunge to the bottom of the ocean. But all those new dude they brought in are exciting looking players, with a serious Latin flavor, and today they added three time USA player of the year Landycakes Donovan. It could be Explosivo! Columbus is the mystery team of the whole league. How did they go 18 games last year without a loss? Part of the reason is that they possess the leagues best old defender, Robin Fraser, and best young defender, Chad Marshall. For this year they have gotten rid of overrated striker Jeff Cunningham and brought in overrated striker Ante Razov to partner with Edson Buddle. Now here's an interesting case, this Buddle character. At one point I really thought he was the guy who was gonna be dancin' in those shoes that Eddie Johnson now owns. (The MLS ruby slippers.) The deal though, is that he is the creature you would get if you boiled the whole Columbus team down into one humanoid form. Is he great? Or lousy? Turns out he's neither. He's An Enigma! The Crew have a decent midfield with Kyle Martino and Simon Elliot. Another question is whether Danny Szetela will break out? Who knows. The other draw back is that they have the second worst coach in the League. Are their guy Greg Andrulis, and LA's Coach Sampson cousins? Can someone do a genealogy scan for me?
7th is a three way tie for who knows what between Colorado, Chicago and San Jose. Colorado has a new coach and almost a whole new roster of International types. No one knows anything about any of them. The teams steady attacking midfield duo of Chris Henderson and Mark Chung are both turning 54 this year, so no one knows how they will play. The best weapon the the squad is the best American defensive midfielder of all time, Pablo Mastroeni (or Pedro Macaroni as our friends living east of St Paul know him). He is a serious force back there. They also have a decent defender in Nat Borchers and the leagues best keeper in Joe Cannon. But can they score? Ever? Probably not. As for Chicago, they sold or traded their top strikers away (The Ra-Ra boyz: Razov & Ralph). They added a whole bunch of defense, but then the new guys all promptly got hurt. I have no idea who plays in the midfield on starting day. If its Jesse "Marshall Tucker Band" Marsh and Chris Armas with two anonymous wingmen, then they are in big trouble. San Jose lost the previously discussed Landycakes, Jeff "Old Goose Flips Us The Finger" Agoos, and 17 other really old guys. On the plus-side (not plus-size) they brought back Captain Sideburns (Wade Barrett) and got those two shithot young midfielders Danny O'Rourke and Ricardo Clark. Brian "Big Kahuma – Yea Right, Real Original" Ching and D'Wayne "The Rastafari Robot" DeRosario.
In tenth place we find the hideous mess known as Metrostars and the brand new team stocked with tons of old guys on the very very very very badly named Real Salt Lake. (Why that name? For some ungodly reason no one will ever know the answer, will they.) Mets backline is made up of "The Original Caveman" Jeff Agoos and about 30 young guys who couldn't get a try out with any other team on earth. Same goes for the strikers, who consist of John "Radar-Dish Ears & Gray Hair" Wolyniek, and another gaggle of woebegone dudes. But they do have Eddie "Money" Gavan in the midfield along side the fourth best player in the league, yet somehow current MVP trophy holder, Amado "My Eye! My Eye!" Guevarra. (Take a dive Amado..... I mean a bow.) Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention their big off season news, they signed Youri Djorkief. I'm sure he's nice and all but, come on! R.S.L. have nice color shirts, and they gots Jason Kries, Eddie Pope, Clint Mathis and Brian Kamler. Total combine age 212. Plus the picked up the escaped mental hospital patient known as Rustin "Rusty" Pierce. They also have 15 unknown guys under the age of 20, and who knows what to expect with them.
In last place, we have the Goats. Chivas USA. They are looking like a joke right now. Who are these guys. I guess we will find out come Saturday at 2pm central time on ABC when we kick off the season seeing them line up against the current title holders DC United. Good luck goat boys, yer gonna need it. And we're happy for ya that you got that brilliant coach Thomas Rongen to lead you to the promise land.

Lastly, I decided to pick one player from each team that will have to have an exceptional or break out year for that team to really succeed. This player could be a known commodity on the rise, a superstar, or a mostly unknown with huge potential. Each team has different needs, therefore a different kind of potential season changing performer.
Chicago - Andy Herron – They need goals badly, especially with Razov and Ralph both gone.
Chivas USA - Ramon Ramirez – A veteran is going to have to hold this team together because they are going to get beat a lot.
Colorado - Jean Phillipe Peguero – Another team that needs more scoring. Last year they allowed the fewest goals in the league, and sadly scored even fewer.
Columbus - Chad Marshall – Could he become the best defender in the league at age 20?
FC Dallas - Carlos Ruiz – His goal scoring as gone down every year (24-15-11). Dallas needs weapons.
DC United - Alecko Eskandarian – I predict that how Alecko goes, so goes DC.
Kansas City - Chris Klein – He drove the machine last year, until he blew his knee out.
Los Angeles - Guillermo Ramirez – With no more little fish, the other Guatemalan will need to make Steve Sampson looks good (good luck son).
Metrostars - Eddie Gaven – Can Youri Djorkief teach him how to be world class. I hope so.
New England - Clint Dempsey – He was impressive last year, but no one knows if he will continue to get better and better. His team will need it.
Real Salt Lake - Clint Mathis – Which Cleetus will show up? Monster or Loser?
San Jose - Brian Mullen – With no Landon, Mullen needs to take over the show in SJ.
After completing the list I noticed that all but one of these players is an attacker. I guess subconciously I want the league to be more open, and wild, and confident going forward Let's hope.

Now I think we are ready for Saturdays First Kick at 2pm Central Time on ABC.


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