By Guillermo O'Rourke
Earlier this week, the likes of ESPN FC and MLSsoccer.com released their first power rankings for the 2017 campaign and a certain World's Greatest Team was conspicuously left out of the top spot on each list. In fact, said World's Greatest Team didn't even crack the top half, checking in at No. 15 (behind a freaking expansion team) in the MLS edition and No. 16 in ESPN FC's.
This slight caused quite a stir among legions of Crew supporters, who had to be wondering
how many orphans must be sacrificed to the Dark Lord C'huthulu in order to curry Don Garber's favorwhat is the point of preseason power rankings?
Well, rather than get Mad Online, we're getting even by putting together our own power rankings, largely based on an accumulation of "data." Check 'em out to see where your favorite team ranks!
22. Bridgeview Fire
Jokes about how dumb it is to name a team after the greatest disaster in a city's history are like jokes about how bad of a year 2016 was: lazy, unoriginal and nonetheless 100% true.
21. SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
As rightly pointed out on this week's Massive Report Podcast, Crew SC's 1-0 drubbing of the SOUNDERS in the final preseason contest means they must forfeit last year's MLS Championship. WE DID IT, FAM!!
20. Brian McBride
The guy's a goddamn American hero.
Oh snap! 🤐 🤐 🤐
18. Saturday's 2 p.m. start time
We get it, MLS is staggering all the games opening weekend, but this is one of the oldest -- and few genuine -- rivalries in the league. And they're not nationally broadcasting the game, so whose schedule exactly is the league trying to accommodate?
17. Carolina Challenge Trophy
16. Mix Diskerud, poet
We've decided to give this poetry thing a spin, too:
Poor Mix Diskerud
I'm sure your dad still rates you
Ha ha ha ha ha
15. These Cavs T-Shirts
Pretty sharp, we must say, but there's something oddly familiar about the logo. We can't quite put our finger on it...
14. Niko Hansen
Now teams can have contracts for up to two homegrown players stashed off the books. Plus they can also use Don Garber Fun Bucks errr -- "Targeted Allocation Money" to sign homegrowns to their first deal or sign "Special Discovery Players." No, we don't know what any of this means either.
12. Artur speculation
Will the 20-year-old São Paulo loanee/wunderkind make his debut this weekend? Will the "confident" Brazilian supplant Tony Tchani or Wil Trapp in the center of the park? Can he play as a No. 10? What sort of buddy cop hijinks will he and Jonathan Mensah get into while they're rooming together?
11. The new TV deal
Well it's not "new" per se, more of a renewal of last year's partnership, but we'll settle for playing basic cable Guess Who for a few minutes before each road match. At least games won't exclusively be broadcast on Time Warner, which, as we all know, is the Devil.
10. Matt Doyle
More craft beer, more cash registers, more local food trucks! And, coming soon, Kahiki Foods and, wait for it, a Corona Bar! Dom Toretto would approve.
Only days before Crewsmas and head coach Gregggggg Berhalter has yet to reveal who'll get the nod in net and who'll wear the armband for the 2017 season. The smart money for starting keeper is on Zack Steffen, but captain is anyone's guess. Will it go to Wil Trapp, who served as vice captain last season, or Pipa, who led the squad in the past? Harrison Afful, Justin Megan and prodigal son Josh Williams all took the armband for a spin during the preseason as well. Oh the suspense!
Look, dude is killing it, and frankly has been since he came on board as the club's president of business operations back in late 2014. The new logo, stadium name, aforementioned local food trucks and libations and, most recently, locking down a historic partnership with Acura. On an unrelated note:
5. The 2017 Acura RLX
The RLX Sport Hybrid is Acura's most advanced performance sedan ever, seamlessly integrating a direct-injection V-6 with three electric motors for instant acceleration and exhilarating performance.
4. Toronto FC
Look we don't like it any more than you guys do, but they've still got Giovinco.
It's the most wonderful time of March! After laying mostly dormant for four excruciatingly long, depressing months, MAPFRE Stadium and the surrounding parking lots will come alive once again with the sounds of meats sizzling on the grill, the laughter of good friends and "Africa" by Toto playing on repeat. Plus this year, Santa Guillermo will leaving presents under the Crewsmas Tree for all the good little Golden Boys and Girls!
2. The New Banana Kits
1. Columbus Crew SC
After coming a goal short of hoisting the MLS Cup in 2015, the Black & Gold [REDACTED] in 2016. The club bolstered the back line in the offseason with the additions of DP Jonathan Mensah, Lalas Abubakar and Jukka Raitala and the return Williams. They've got what looks to be a very healthy competition brewing at midfield with the additions of Mohammed Abu and Artur to push Tchani and Trapp. But, the biggest boost for the World's Greatest Team heading into Crewsmas -- at least if the preseason is any indication -- is a healthy, hungry Pipa. Why why why why why why why why isn't it Saturday yet?
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