As promised, we go West today, covering the offseason moves made until now by non-playoff clubs out there.
Best move so far: The temptation is to tab top SuperDraft pick Abu Danladi, but he may need some time to develop. For now, let's call it a tie between center back Francisco Calvo and midfielder Collen Warner, as they are sure to be very busy and quite vital to any Loons successes this season.
Biggest hole left to fill: It's fair to say this squad needs more MLS experience along the back line, and especially at right back.
Mid-Term Grade: B-
Best move so far: The Timbers have expertly built up some nice depth in defense this offseason and trading up for Jeremy Ebobisse was a fine coup, but I love the addition of David Guzmán. He will add some real bite to midfield and give the back line less to do.
Biggest hole left to fill: Frankly, as long as Nat Borchers is back to fitness, I'm not sure there's a real void on the roster. But they still have a DP slot open and another steady center back or wing terror would be killer.
Mid-Term Grade: A-
Best move so far: There isn't much to choose from, as the Caps have treaded lightly to this juncture. I'll go with Sheanon Williams, as he immediately fills a major void at right back.
Biggest hole left to fill: Vancouver is pretty well stocked at the back and in the midfield, and they have some very mobile attackers. So it's rather obvious to note that they could use a power forward.
Mid-Term Grade: C-
Best move so far: Harold Cummings and Homegrown right back Nick Lima are nice additions to the defense, but the clear choice at this time is top draft pick Jackson Yueill. He has the goods to turn into an All-Star level traffic director.
Biggest hole left to fill: With the back half of the field solidly stocked, Yuell becomes even more valuable of they can pick up a proper lead playmaker and/or forward who can create his own chances to pull attention away from Chris Wondolowski.
Mid-Term Grade: C
Best move so far: Geez, how do you pick? The Dynamo have done quite the overhaul this offseason, adding no less than six defenders, four midfielders and a pair of Honduras forwards. It would be very easy to pick A.J. DeLaGarza or Leonardo, and I actually think Joe Holland could perform better in a pro set-up, but I really like the cut of Alberth Elis' gib. With a bit of time to acclimate, the 20-year-old could turn into a monster.
Biggest hole left to fill: If they can find another set-up man to help Boniek Garcia carry that load, I believe they could start thinking about contending for the postseason. It would have been a great help to that end if Cruz Azul had exercised the buy option on Cubo Torres, but that didn't happen so they'll need to get creative to do it. Would it be crazy to suggest ringing up NYCFC about Mix Diskerud?
Mid-Term Grade: A-
Tomorrow, we'll turn back to the East to run down some busy-bee playoff participants.
- Greg Seltzer