Here's how I see the MLS teams entering this season.
1. Columbus. Schmid's loss may hurt but most everyone else is back.
2. Chicago. That sound you hear is the window closing on the Fire. It's now or never, and now is actually a good bet.
3. San Jose. This team was strong last year as an expansion team. With a full offseason and a year's worth of experience under their belt, expect the 'Quakes to contend from the start.
4. New England. You can't really count out a Steve Nicol-led team, can you?
5. Real Salt Lake. Let's see how this team does when people actually expect something from you.
6. Houston. De Ro is gone but there is still quality on this team.
7. New York. Was MLS Cup run a fluke? Maybe, but Osorio is a good coach and will have this team in contention.
8. Kansas City. Can Claudio Lopez recover? If he can be the potent goal scorer he was expected to be last year, KC will be strong.
9. Colorado. For the first time in a long time, there is hope with the Rapids at the start of the season: Clavijo is nowhere to be found.
10. Chivas USA. Call me crazy but...
11. Galaxy. ... I don't like either one of the SoCal teams this year.
12. Toronto FC. De Ro is massive but the East is stacked.
13. FC Dallas. Defense is terrible; how much it improves in early part of season will determine of FC Dallas can contend at all this year.
14. DC United. Good news: Christian Gomez is back; bad news: Gomez hasn't been relevant in more than a year.
15. Seattle. Sorry, but you have to earn my respect on the field. One win, though, and they may zoom up the charts. Or not. They have to earn it though.