Not long into the 2011 season, the Los Angeles Galaxy took the lead in the MLS Power Rankings. After that, they became the team to beat. It's only February. However, in a preseason poll, Major League Soccer has already projected the Galaxy as the top team in the preseason rankings. Is the poll a good indicator of the future?
There is no denying that the Galaxy has an intimidating roster. David Beckham and Marcelo Sarvas were powerful additions to the midfield. However, I believe it was the recent signing of Edson Buddle that really put us into the top position. With Buddle and Robbie Keane as the strikers, it's likely that we will be scoring a lot more goals. In 2011, Landon Donovan scored 12 goals. Keane came onto the team late in the season but has definite scoring power.
Along with the impressive new signings, we also have a strong core of veterans. Mike Magee and Josh Saunders are consistent players who have been on the team for some time.
However, LAG doesn't have the Supporters' Shield in the bag. The loss of Omar Gonzalez in the central defense position is a big one. In addition, Juninho's performance as a holding midfielder will be hard to replicate. The Galaxy will likely be able to score more goals. However, they will also need to keep their goals against average low.
In addition to losing some key players, the Galaxy also has some strong teams to contend with. At the top of the list is the Seattle Sounders. Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City will also be tough competition. Of course, since the Galaxy is the team to beat, it's likely most teams will be out to upset the 2011 MLS Cup Champs.
The Galaxy's first regular season game is against Real Salt Lake on March 10. In the end, a poll means nothing. At the start of the 2012 season, every team has a chance to lead the league. Los Angeles will have to prove they deserve the No. 1 spot.
Melissa Matters is a long time Los Angeles resident and devoted Los Angeles Galaxy fan.