Bueno Throws Down Gauntlet: Nostalgia and Questions

I think it was yesterday that Sideline Views’ Luis Bueno posted pre-season power rankings for Major League Soccer’s (MLS) 14 teams. Now, I’m missing the 2007 like a bitch, with its power rankings and the collective power rankings I ran on this site….and will soon run again.

Bueno took a fairly scientific approach, basing his rankings on the rankings he assigned to each position and you can find links to those through Laurie’s post on this subject for the MLS Offside. And, if you go to the comments, you can see that surprisingly deep and persistent love for Toronto FC, a team whose off-season moves (see the bottom) have 1) only just begun, and 2) haven’t been of an order to make me think they’ll rise super far above 2007’s on-field horror-show (again, people, the crowds are cool and nice, but they don’t but anything in the standings). That is to say, I don’t know why people think 11th is such a strange call for Toronto in 2008. Still, the comments – even those Toronto-philic ones (the Crew will beat you this year; the as-yet unnamed (meaningless) trophy will be ours!* You’ll see!) – are worth the gander.

Anyway, getting back to it, what Bueno put down for his rankings appears below (and I’m borrowing this from The Offside’s post, ’cause their copy is cleaner). I was tempted to try to compile rankings of my own, but, if I’m being honest, I can’t get my head around variables like the new players, tested or otherwise. I’ll just post the questions that come to me upon seeing Bueno’s rankings – e.g. a man who has actually gave this some thought. I will only say this: Bueno pulled together his rankings in a way that made each team the sum of its parts. Respectfully – and I say that ’cause he’s killer – I don’t think that’s the correct approach: teams can compensate for weak spots – e.g. a good defense can help a dodgy ‘keeper and route-one play can cover a sub-par midfield. Not every time, of course, but a team can get away with it if the replacement parts are strong enough. So, yeah, I’ll just pose some questions…

…and to show my respect for the difficulty of what Bueno did, I’m going to preserve the crack at power rankings I started, but failed to complete. You’ll see that all the way at the bottom…and – woo! – it’s just non-sensical.

(* Holy crap!  I think I’m pulling for the Crew!  How’d that happen?  No wait.  Why does that happen?)

BUENO
1. Chivas USA
2. Houston
3. New England
4. DC United
5. Colorado
6. Chicago
7. New York
8. FC Dallas
9. Los Angeles
10. Kansas City
11-t. San Jose
11-t. Toronto
13. Columbus
14. Real Salt Lake

THE QUESTIONS
1. Chivas USA: Good team, but Alecko Eskandarian isn’t enough; neither is Atiba Harris.
2. Houston: Yeah, I watched the PPC rout. But these guys play in MLS. I think they’re a forward away.
3. New England: Only recent purchases have me rate them higher than last month, but this high?
4. DC: To buy the changes, or not to buy the changes; that really is the question. I think I do. Flip with NE.
5. Rapids: Gomez’ good cannot defeat Clavijo’s evil…it’s too powerful.
6. Chicago: Unless Hamlett’s an idiot of Clavijo-esque proportions; I rate NE, DC, and Chicago the same.
7. New York: Really? Really? Even with Osorio, I’m seeing a year of 0-0 until they add midfield help, .
8. FC Dallas: I’d rate these guys higher. I think I’m impressed by lots of change.
9. LA: I expect LA to be better in ’08, but this is a top-heavy bunch…oh, the repercussions if they fail.
10. KC: Hmm…could be a big disappointment…or Lopez will arrive and thrive.
11. San Jose: Kei Kamara is the offense. Arias will need to be damned good.
“11.” TFC: I’m OK with this.
13. Columbus: Why you gotta hate, Bueno? It’s not lookin’ so hot, but 13?
14. RSL: No. No, they’ll do better.

BULL (as in me; notice the wild hairs; they’re intentional)
1. Houston (But they won’t three-peat…please, god, don’t let them three-peat; I’ll have to hate them)
2. DC (yes, I am a whore for changes)
3. Chivas (OK, this is harder than I thought)
4. Chicago (do you see my wild hairs? Do you? Do you?!)
5. FC Dallas (for the record, this is me being restrained; I rate these guys every year…)
6. New England (Nicol’s talent-hating ways will strike, he’ll start the college kids over the new guys)
7. Red Bull (as I look at the rest of the teams left, I’m thinking hard-to-beat might not be so bad)
8. RSL (whoops…my wild hairs are getting tangled; and, yeah, you read that right; see hard-to-beat)
9. Rapids (Chaos ensues when Gomez doesn’t show and Clavijo gets the sack)…

…no, no. Stop. Calling it off. Check back in two weeks. By then, with a little more informatio at my disposal, I’ll go out on a limb. But I just said RSL would make the playoffs and struggled to do the same with Red Bull. I’m not there yet…though I do buy some of my commentary.

GREAT OUTDOORS
Language flash cards, Japanese I think. Things only get really weird toward the bottom (hat-tip: b3ta.com).

– This one is actually pretty cool. There was this old label called Camp Records, that specialized in a kind of queer-culture niche. If I’m recalling the site’s copy correctly, it pressed vinyl in the early 1960s. Cool as the larger story is, what I really got a kick out of were the digital files of the old songs (just scroll down a bit on the link). It takes some effort, but the whole thing is a lot more amazing if you can keep the label’s dates in your head as you listen. But the one thing that really jumped out at me? Click on the song “Good Old Fashioned Balls” and tell me AC/DC didn’t rip off the concept. (OK, because I like them and they’re Australian, I’ll give AC/DC credit for striking on the same pun.)

– OK, last one. I like challenging humor. This clip – Electro Golf – definitely qualifies.

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2 Responses

  1. You missed WVHooligan’s rankings, based on the same kind of input that Luis did (well, WVH has only done the positional and coaches rankings, they never did get aggragated). If you’d like to save yourself some work, I aggragated the WVH rankings and averaged them with Luis’ over on BigSoccer

  2. Thanks, Pat. I did see WV’s stuff, but didn’t pay them the mind they deserve. But I will say this: when I compiled the collective rankings last year, mr. epperley was very often closest to the collective mind. Put another way, one could do worse than read his rankings…I’ll be doing it tonight…the link you provided will help with that.

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