Which teams need to be successful in 2008?
|I mean in terms of what would benefit the league the most, as well as the individual franchises. We all know that some teams could use a championship season way more than others. So if you're watching a match that you have no rooting interest in, then this could give you a reason to cheer for either side.|
This is the third year that I've done these rankings. Click these links for the 2006 and 2007 posts.
1) Los Angeles Galaxy (2007-1st, 2006-12th)
The league's most high profile team with the league's biggest star. David Beckham and the Galaxy being successful would be the best possible thing that could happen this season. It would lead to more media attention and bigger crowds.
2) Real Salt Lake (2007-2nd, 2006-4th)
This is a fan base that has never experienced winning. Yes, the stadium's coming and the future is secured, but you don't want them to turn into the next Columbus. Despite the losing, they still do very well with season tickets and media coverage. Can you imagine what it would be like for a winning team?
3) Red Bull New York (2007-5th, 2006-2nd)
Like I said a year ago, until the new stadium is built we're unlikely to see a huge effort from Red Bull (especially after their initial game in 2006 was a disappointment). That'll be the most important year. But they're 3rd now because the market is so vital, and they barely know what winning is. The Beckham game last year showed what is possible for a NY team.
4) Columbus Crew (2007-7th, 2006-7th)
This team has been bad for a while now. The Crew are behind RSL because I can't imagine the same level of excitement in Ohio compared to Salt Lake City if the team suddenly became a winner; the team has been around for too long now. And they're behind NY because there's less upside league wide for a good team team here. You know, once every MLS team gets a stadium, just having one won't mean success. In the future, once expansion slows, the thought of this team leaving Columbus is not an impossibility.
5) CD Chivas USA (2007-4th, 2006-1st)
Chivas is one of the hardest teams to rank. Drawing Mexican fans is a huge priority for MLS, but this team was excellent last year and didn't draw well. Can they be successful without Mexican stars? I don't know how much winning would really help them. But despite the fact that the numbers may not be there, the demographic is super important and they still should rank high here IMO. They also are probably the one team whose future is not secure.
6) Colorado Rapids (2007-3rd, 2006-10th)
Another franchise with a history of losing that could use a spark. Perfect start on Saturday.
7) Toronto FC (2007-8th)
They did even better this year, selling 16,000 season tickets, despite another projected year of struggling. Winning isn't necessary for them in 2008, but they do need to get that first good season sooner or later. If not this year then next, because by then the newness will have worn off.
8) San Jose Earthquakes
No one expects them to do well this year, so that shouldn't have a big impact on the crowds. Plus, winning didn't help them in the past. It would be nice to relaunch the team on the right foot, though.
9) Chicago Fire (2007-9th, 2006-6th)
Chicago and Dallas seem to be in the same boat now: decent crowds, decent records, and new stadiums. But the Fire are in a bigger market and have a huge star, and therefore are ranked higher, even though Dallas has very little success.
10) FC Dallas (2007-10th, 2006-5th)
Can't see a championship really changing much.
11) Houston Dynamo (2007-6th, 2006-3rd)
There's still untapped potential here when it comes to the fan base. Just look at the difference between the regular season and playoff crowds. But two titles in a row, that's like the best you can hope for in this playoff format. They're pretty much established already in the city, and another winning season is not necessary.
12) DC United (2007-11th, 2006-11th)
United have experienced more success than any other MLS team, and they have great crowds. A down year would not hurt them, and they wouldn't gain much (compared to the teams above) from another title. However, DC is probably the second most well known team outside the US, after the Galaxy. Their success with a large contingent of South Americans would probably encourage more to come here.
13) Kansas City Wizards (2007-12th, 2006-8th)
Hard to see them benefiting much from a winning year. With the stadium situation not changing this year or next, success won't lead to better crowds. By the time the new stadium is built, this year's success won't matter.
14) New England Revolution (2007-13th, 2006-9th)
They drew more fans last year, which was good. However, they've been good for several years now and it's hard to see another winning season really changing anything. It's not like much will change regardless of the record. Would a championship really improve things?