What does every MLS Western Conference team need this offseason?

MLS clubs enter the calendar year having gone through three of their four offseason drafts, with expansion teams Minnesota United FC and Atlanta United FC gradually filling out their roster as we push on to the beginning of the 2017 season in March.

There’s a lot to do over the next couple months if you’re an MLS club. Here’s what each team needs to accomplish as we head into the new year:


Colorado Rapids

— Upgrade at right back: Through the art of the deal, Colorado were able to make sure Jared Watts wasn’t selected in the expansion draft, preserving arguably the best backline in MLS. Still, they could use an improvement over Eric Miller at right back.

— Add a dynamic attacker: Last year, the Rapids were one of the worst attacking teams in the league, and they bowed out of the playoffs because of it. Their current attacking crew won’t cut it.

— Central midfield depth: Sam Cronin and Michael Azira had incredible seasons in defensive midfield, but with Jermaine Jones leaving, they don’t have many other options at the position.

— Outlook: It depends how sustainable last season’s success will prove to be. Likely, they won’t finish as high as they did in 2016 without a DP attacker entering the fold.

— Current lineup:

FC Dallas

— Acquire a DP center forward: This team is about as perfect as an MLS team can get, except for the No. 9 position. Maxi Urruti’s alright, but a DP-caliber 9 combined with the newly-signed Javier Morales and Roland Lamah would make this team scary good. Just imagine if Mauro Diaz were healthy.

— Center back depth: Nitpicking a bit here, but they’re solid everywhere else. Zach Loyd is in Atlanta now, so Walker Zimmerman and Matt Hedges could use a veteran backup.

— Outlook: If the season started today I’d pick them to win the treble. It’s shown to be near impossible to accomplish, but if anyone could possibly win the treble, it’s FC Dallas.

— Current lineup:

Houston Dynamo

— Find a long term d-mid: Collen Warner was selected in the expansion draft by Minnesota, leaving the Dynamo barren of defensive midfielders. The Dynamo signed Juan David Cabezas on loan from Deportivo Cali but will wait and see if the Dynamo wants to make that permanent.

— Find a No. 10: That’s next on the agenda, per Roepken. Cristian Maidana didn’t cut it.

— Find some full backs: DaMarcus Beasley is out of contract (they reportedly want him back, though) and Sheanon Williams was traded to Vancouver. I’m not completely opposed to Jalil Anibaba being a starter, but I’m not sold at Dylan Remick at left back. They could use upgrades both places.

— Outlook: Matt Jordan, Wilmer Cabrera, and the Dynamo organization have a considerable amount of work to do, but they appear to have the right intentions. Romell Quioto and Alberth Elis were both great signings, and Adolfo Machado should start at center back. Things are looking up, although I’m not convinced that they’re a playoff team in 2017.

— Current lineup:

LA Galaxy

— Secure a No. 6: All indications appear to be that Jermaine Jones will go to LA and play as a defensive midfielder next to Sebastian Lletget, but that hasn’t been confirmed yet. LA just currently holds his rights.

— Upgrade at center back: Daniel Steres got flamed a couple times last year (most notably by Jordan Morris). That’s a spot where the Galaxy could look to upgrade.

— Attacking depth: Re-sign Alan Gordon, include Jack McBean into the first team more often and go from there.

— Outlook: The Galaxy have seen a lot of turnover this offseason, with Bruce Arena leaving and Curt Onalfo taking over. Hopefully they’ll give some of their younger players a shot this year.

— Current lineup:

(Gyasi Zardes is the center forward in that XI)

Minnesota United FC

— Add numbers in attack: Currently, striker Femi Hollinger-Janzen, attacking midfielder Johan Venegas and their NASL striker Christian Ramirez are the lone offensive pieces MNUFC possess. Look for Jeremy Ebobisse to be a possible target in the draft as a center forward.

— Sign a goalkeeper: There’s not a single goalkeeper on Minnesota’s current roster. That might be sort of a problem.

— Build a backline: They have a couple potential defensive pieces — Francisco Calvo and Kevin Venegas could start at right and left back — but they only have two other defenders on the roster, and neither of them are starters. Again, they have some work to do.

— Outlook: Minnesota has A LOT to do over the next two months. Signing the familar Miguel Ibarra certainly helps. We’ll see what else they’re able to get accomplished.

— Current lineup:

Portland Timbers

— Scout and sign a DP-quality winger: Like Gonzalo Veron in New Jersey, Lucas Melano has mostly been a disappointment for the Timbers. They should be looking for a replacement on that left wing.

— Replace Nat Borchers: Borchers, a long time starter at center back next to Liam Ridgewell, will not be returning in 2017. Neither will Jermaine Taylor and Steven Taylor. The Timbers should look to spend some TAM on a starting center back.

— Figure out how to pair David Guzman and Diego Chara: New central midfield signing David Guzman was described by Caleb Porter as a No. 6. This means that the Timbers will play with two defensive midfielders, assuming Diego Chara remains on the roster for next season. Hopefully for Portland, Guzman is a good distributor out of the back.

— Outlook: Signing a DP winger will be crucial. The 2015 champs will be keeping Darlington Nagbe, who will not be going to Celtic as was rumored throughout the offseason.

— Current lineup:

Real Salt Lake

— Trust Jordan Allen: Javier Morales, RSL’s longtime star playmaker, is off to FC Dallas. That means Jeff Cassar is going to have acquire another central creator or trust the youth he already has. The right option would be to give Jordan Allen increased playing time.

— Get younger at full back: Tony Beltran has been solid for them at right back, but 33-year Demar Phillips and 34-year old Chris Wingert are replaceable. It couldn’t hurt to add some younger depth at the position.

— Outlook: Like Portland and Philadelphia, they’ve been pretty quiet this offseason. They just recently signed Albert Rusnak as a DP but they could certainly make some more moves. We’ll see how they handle the next month and a half.

— Current lineup:

San Jose Earthquakes

— Acquire a No. 9: Chris Wondolowski needs a partner in the Quakes’ 4-4-2. Quincy Amarikwa was never a great option, and he will be out for an extended period of time with a knee injury. I’ll say it again: Kei Kamara would be a great option.

— Add a winger: Dom Kinnear’s preferred 4-4-2 doesn’t absolutely need top-quality wingers, but they could use another player to go alongside the formidable pairing of Simon Dawkins and Alberto Quintero.

— Outlook: Not great right now. They’ve got a lot to do.

— Current lineup:

Seattle Sounders

— A DP winger: There aren’t many places where the Sounders need to improve. The major one is on the wing, however. They should sign a DP winger to play in the attack alongside Nicolas Lodeiro, Jordan Morris, and maybe Clint Dempsey, Harry Shipp or Will Bruin. The Sounders don’t want another Andreas Ivanschitz.

— A right back: 33-year old starting right back Tyrone Mears had his option declined, signaling Seattle’s intent to find a replacement. This should be another goal.

— A backup d-mid: This is a less pressing issue, but when Ozzie Alonso is unavailable, they’re pretty short at defensive midfielder. They need a contingency plan.

— Outlook: This team is downright scary if they sign a top-quality winger. If Clint Dempsey returns, they’ll definitely be winning trophies.

— Current lineup:

Sporting Kansas City

— Sign a goal-scoring winger: They’ve needed another goal-scoring threat along with Dom Dwyer for the last year, and the departure of Jacob Peterson does not help. Finding someone to take positions alongside Dwyer up top and to provide goals from another area of the field should be a top priority.

— Acquire another center back: I’m not sold by Nuno Andre Cuelho or Kevin Ellis as starting central defenders next to Matt Besler. And Ike Opara has shown to be injury prone since coming to Kansas City. SKC should look at signing a center back.

— Depth in attacking midfielder: Benny Feilhaber had another really good season in 2016, but do Sporting have a player who can fill in when Feilhaber inevitably is out of the lineup? Not right now.

— Outlook: They came inches from beating the eventual champions Seattle in the first round of the postseason. They haven’t seen much activity this offseason.

— Current lineup:

Vancouver Whitecaps

— Acquire a central creator: Longtime Whitecaps star Pedro Morales will not be returning in 2017, necessitating a new playmaker to enter the fold in Vancouver. They should be looking for a Lodeiro-quality DP.

— Look for a No. 9: To go along with that No. 10, they will need a starting center forward. Giles Barnes will get time, but he likely isn’t the long-term answer.

— A true No. 8: Matias Laba is one of the best No. 6s in MLS, but next to him, Vancouver need a box-to-box mid who can dictate the tempo of play from the middle and help to control possession. Last year, Carl Robinson attempted to play Morales in this position, and it did not work.

— Outlook: They have big needs, but they’re mostly set in every other position. The key is to handle 16-year-old Alphonso Davies correctly.

— Current lineup:

About Harrison Hamm

Sports stuff for The Comeback. Often will write about MLS. Follow me on twitter @harrisonhamm21.