MLS Off-Season Report Card, Part 2: Western Conference

SEATTLE - JUNE 05: Goalkeeper Kasey Keller #18 of the Seattle Sounders FC directs play against the New England Revolution on June 5, 2010 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

The Sounders lost a few starters, but it looks like they've come back strong during the offseason.

There's still about six weeks left until the Major League Soccer transfer window closes, but now seems as good a time as any to start looking at the progress teams have been making. On Monday, I did my Eastern Conference Offseason Report Card. Today, I'll take a look at the Western Conference. Keep in mind, these grades are based only the moves teams have actually made, not on how I think the team will ultimately do.

Chivas USA

Key additions: Ryan Smith, James Riley, Oswaldo Mina, Miller Bolanos, Casey Townsend

Key losses: Justin Braun, Zarek Valentin, Marcos Mondaini, Simon Elliott, Michael Umana

There might not be a harder team to judge so far that Chivas USA. The additions are certainly intriguing, not the least of which is Ecuadarian 21-year-old Miller Bolanos. Those who have seen him play really seem to like him, but he's still very much an unknown. Ryan Smith is another wildcard, as he showed flashes of brilliance with Sporting Kansas City before leaving the team to attend to personal matters. Grade: C

Colorado Rapids

Key additions: Hunter Freeman, Tony Cascio, Jaime Castrillon

Key losses: Sanna Nyassi, Miguel Comminges

No one really seemed to appreciate how much Sanna Nyassi did for the Rapids, but he was quietly a very good player for them last year. The 22-year-old had five goals and five assists, numbers that are unlikely to be duplicated by any new player by himself. Jaime Castrillon is the big pickup of the offseason, although he seems to be more of playmaker. The most significant change from 2011, aside from the Oscar Pareja taking over as coach, will be the return of Conor Casey to the lineup. Grade: C+

FC Dallas

Key additions: Blas Perez, Hernan Pertuz, Matt Hedges, Carlos Rodriguez

Key losses: Jeremy Hall, Maicon Santos, Jackson, Marvin Chavez

If Blas Perez can come close to equalling some of the numbers he posted in Mexico, he could end up being the most significant goal scorer signed this offseason. Between Pertuz, Hedges and Rodriguez, FC Dallas seems poised to have some young defenders ready to step in if George John's loan turns into a transfer. It's hard to imagine they'll be able to entirely make up for his loss, but it should be able to keep it from turning into a disaster. Grade: B-

LA Galaxy

Key additions: Andrew Boyens, Marcelo Sarvas, Jose Villareal

Key losses: Gregg Berhalter, Donovan Ricketts, Juninho

How, exactly, Villareal ended up with the Galaxy will remain to be a bit of a contentious issue around the league, but that will almost certainly go down in history as the most significant player they added this offseason. Otherwise, the really important moves the Galaxy needed to make were re-signing David Beckham and making sure Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane were back this year. As of right now, all three seem to be heading back to the Southland in 2012. The defense is a another issue, though, as Omar Gonzalez's injury could end up being a major problem going forward. Likewise, Juninho will be very hard to replace. Grade: C

Portland Timbers

Key additions: Jose Adolfo Valencia, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Hanyer Mosquera, Kris Boyd

Key losses: Kenny Cooper

A relatively quiet offseason, suddenly sprang to life on Monday when the Timbers announced they had signed Scottish scoring leader Kris Boyd to a Designated Player contract. That should more than make up for the loss of Kenny Cooper and maybe even the uncertain nature of Jose Adolfo Valencia's status. The only problem is that defense was the Timbers biggest issue last year and they haven't added anyone with real MLS experience. Grade: B

Real Salt Lake

Key additions: Enzo Martinez

Key losses: Robbie Russell, Jean Alexandre, Collen Warner, Andy Williams

One of the deepest teams in the league has gotten a tad bit less so this offseason. Russell will be the most significant offseason loss, but he might not have been starting this year anyway. Martinez basically fell to them in the SuperDraft and could prove to be a nice pickup. Grade: C

San Jose Earthquakes

Key additions: Shea Salinas, Jean Alexandre, Marvin Chavez, Victor Bernardez, Sam Garza

Key losses: Bobby Burling, Bobby Convey, Chris Leitch

Aside from the Montreal Impact, few teams have been as busy as the Earthquakes this offseason. It's hard not to like the talent they've brought it, with Chavez and Bernardez easily making up for the losses of Burling and Convey. The defining moment of this offseason will almost certainly be determined by whether or not they are able to get Simon Dawkins back. Grade: C+

Seattle Sounders

Key additions: Adam Johansson, Michael Gspurning, Christian Sivebaek, Marc Burch

Key losses: Kasey Keller, James Riley, Tyson Wahl, Erik Friberg

As Sounders coach Sigi Schmid has repeatedly said, no one replaces Kasey Keller. While Gspurning is unlikely to make Sounders fans forget the greatest goalkeeper in U.S. history, he shouldn't be a huge drop-off either. Johansson will probably be an upgrade over Riley at right back and Sivebaek is looking to be a very solid reserve. Add in the re-signing of Mauro Rosales and it's hard not to like what the Sounders have done. Grade: B+

Vancouver Whitecaps

Key additions: Young-Pyo Lee, Lee Nguyen, Darren Mattocks, Sebastien Le Toux

Key losses: Shea Salinas, Jay Nolly, Mustapha Jarju

Considering where the Whitecaps were coming from, there was little else to go but up this offseason. Young-Pyo could prove to be a real game-changer in terms of the Whitecaps' connection to the local community and can't possibly do anything to hurt their defense. But the real coup of the offseason could prove to be the acquisition of Sebastien Le Toux from the Union. Assuming Camilo Sanvezzo re-signs and Etienne Barbara can agree to terms, that front line is probably the deepest in MLS. The only question will be how do they find enough minutes for these players? This still might not be a playoff team, but the Whitecaps do seem to be headed in the right direction. Grade: A-

For my Eastern Conference offseason report card, check out this post.

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