Part three of four of my preseason unit rankings. The midfield units were difficult to sort through. From about 4-9 or so, the teams were very evenly matched and you can't go wrong interchanging the units there. But the dropoff is severe towards the bottom.
1. Houston. Dwayne De Rosario leads quite a deep squad, which Dynamo will need for its various tournaments it will play this year. Ricardo Clark needs to stop kicking fallen players, though. Brian Mullan is solid on the right while Stuart Holden is very promising. May have to deal away a mid or two to get some help up front, though.
2. Colorado. Without Christian Gomez, the team had a pretty deep midfield. With the former MVP, they've got one of the best overall in the league. Gomez gives Colorado the centerpiece the Rapids have lacked for years. Pablo Mastroeni is still imposing presence while Terry Cooke has a great soccer mind.
3. Chivas USA. No Gomez or De Rosario but plenty of depth. Sacha Kljestan could take next step toward stardom this year if he can maintain his MVP-esque play from July to October of last year. Raphael Wicky brings wealth of international experience.
4. DC United. Marcelo Gallardo replaces his countryman but is it an upgrade? It seems so, but how quickly can Gallardo adapt to MLS? The supporting cast is strong with Clyde Simms, Fred and Ben Olsen providing support on both sides of the ball.
5. Los Angeles. David Beckham's credentials speak for themselves and he is a giant asset no matter where he plays. There are questions about the depth in the middle of the park but the makings are there for a stable and above-average midfield.
6. New England. Shalrie Joseph one of most talented players in MLS while Steve Ralston ages like fine wine. The addition of Mauricio Castro will help out the left side of the Revs' midfield.
7. Chicago. Cuauhtemoc Blanco is listed as a forward but he's essentially a midfielder. His ability is unquestionable. Beyond that, though, the dropoff is severe. Justin Mapp is a fine player but his health hampered him all of 2007.
8. FC Dallas. Juan Toja is a solid player with great upside. Arturo Alvarez had a lot of success a year ago but needs to prove that was no fluke. Pablo Ricchetti, Dax McCarty and Marcelo Saragosa offer depth. Andre Rocha is an intriguing addition.
9. Kansas City. Nothing flashy but the Wizards have decent depth and solid players in the midfield. Carlos Marinelli, though, is a very talented player.
10. Colubmus. Guillermo Barros Schelotto is quality but there is not much to get excited about elsewhere. Eddie Gaven is a decent player but rather inconsistent. Not a lot of scoring options here.
11. Real Salt Lake. Javier Morales is promising and will be good to have from the start of the season. Kyle Beckerman is very solid while Nathan Sturgis has good upside, but RSL has seemingly a lot of role players in the midfield.
12. New York. The potential for ugliness is there. Injury-prone Claudio Reyna is getting slower by the minute. Dane Richards is an asset but there aren't too many of those around in New York.
13. Toronto. Carl Robinson and Maurice Edu are a solid duo but who else will step up?
14. San Jose. The depth here is terrible. San Jose focused on defense and goalkeeping and building from the back up, which given recent expansion teams' failures in that area was smart. But the 'Quakes have a dearth of talent in the midfield.