Thursday, February 21, 2008

Preseason unit rankings: forwards

The last edition of my preseason rankings. Obviously, forwards rely a great deal on service from the midfield and backs, but I tried to base these rankings on what the forwards bring to the table in terms of individual qualities and collective abilities.

1. New York. Jozy Altidore-Juan Pablo Angel pairing should strike fear among all opposing defenses. Altidore has barely scratched the surface of his potential while Angel's touch and skill are unmatched.

2. DC United. Luciano Emilio made huge splash a year ago. No reason he won't do it again. Jaime Moreno hasn't yet shown signs he won't be productive. Will need more production from likes of Guy Roland-Kpene and Rod Dyachenko.

3. Chivas USA. Maykel Galindo is fast, skillful and exciting. The Cuban is an ideal complement to Ante Razov, who is still a deadly finisher. Alecko Eskandarian is a strong acquisition and provides Chivas the depth they lacked here a year ago.

4. Los Angeles. Landon Donovan is good for double-digit goals, double-digit assists, but supporting cast has more questions than answers. Carlos Ruiz can still finish but brings a lot of baggage. Edson Buddle is decent when he tries. Alan Gordon, though, is a complete waste.

5. New England. Taylor Twellman will go down as league's all-time leading scorer, as Revs seemingly bent on keeping Twellman around. But Twellman will miss having Pat Noonan around.

6. FC Dallas. Kenny Cooper is rock-solid, provided defenders don't cheap shot him. Question is, who will play alongside him? With good potential, Ricardinho seems most likely to fill role. Dominic Oduro in mix as well.

7. Toronto. Makings of strong forward line, provided Danny Dichio stays on the field. Jeff Cunningham still one of league's most dangerous forwards.

8. Chicago. Chris Rolfe is solid but Chad Barrett is frustrating. So many times last season, Barrett failed to put away simple chances in front of the goal. How much can Fire expect from Andy Herron?

9. Houston. Brian Ching didn't go to Austria - that's a plus. But who will replace those who did? Probably not Chris Wondolowski.

10. Real Salt Lake. Robbie Findley could take a big leap in his development this year. Six goals in a half-season at RSL is promising start. Yura Movsisyan and Fabian Espindola could emerge as well.

11. Colorado. Production was minimal from Nico Hernandez, Conor Casey and Omar Cummings a year ago (five combined goals in total of 47 games). Talent is there but group needs to be tidier in front of goal.

12. Kansas City. With Eddie Johnson gone, KC will struggle for goals. Have some decent hard-working players in Davy Arnaud and Scott Sealy but are missing the go-to guy.

13. Columbus. Robbie Rogers is an intriguing talent who could deliver this year. Alejandro Moreno can put away chances but is a bit immobile. Ricardo Virtuoso still an unknown quantity.

14. San Jose. Gavin Glinton was one of Frank Yallop's favorites off the bench in LA, but Glinton will need to put together more 90-minute efforts. Kei Kamara needs to progress his own development in a hurry as well.


Anonymous said...

Really Chivas USA 3rd?

Jonathan Geissler said...

KC's Sealy and Arnaud are better than you think IMO. I don't think they should be rated lower than RSL, the Crapids, and Houston (assuming DeRo stays at midfield).

Toddzilla said...

I tell ya...Wondolowski looked pretty damn useful last night...the kid can seriously finish.

George Shook said...

KC - Arnaud is currently hurt and won't be around for the start of the season. Sealy is better than you think. KC has signed Ivan Trujillo (Colombian) and he'll be with the team when they go to argentina. We have a small but speedy Eloy Colombano and the possibility of signining Claudio Lopez. It just seems that when it comes to KC you haven't done the homework. And it started with you rating the defenders.

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