Bruce Arena's Los Angeles Galaxy may have won the 2010 MLS Supporters Shield, but even with Edson Buddle providing a good deal of the scoring and Landon Donovan providing a good deal of the assists...the G's could not even defend their own conference trophy, let alone challenge for the MLS Cup.
Ironically, the last two teams LA lost to in the regular season—Colorado Rapids and FC Dallas—met each other in the 2010 MLS Cup Final in Toronto.
Thus, LA's place at No. 3 in the preseason power rankings.
Buddle, however, has taken the first flight to Germany, and with the addition of the ageing Juan Pablo Angel, the question remains: How will the Galaxy do without the American Pele notching home the goals?
Nevermind that assistant coach Cobi Jones took the next flight to New York to join the Cosmos.
In any case, the message is clear: someone needs to step up...and fast.
2010 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Donovan Ricketts will need to improve on his work as the G's main netminder. He has a capable backup in Josh Saunders.
The backline of Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, Todd Dunivant, and A.J. De La Garza will get some support from Columbus's Frankie Hejduk, who returns home for one final curtain call.
Brazilians Leonardo and Alex Cazumba are still on loan from Sao Paulo, and could use another year of experience in the blue and gold.
David Beckham leads a midfield that is in need of some production and execution. Trinidadian Chris Birchall did not have a solid year and must improve his play.
If the Galaxy can take Juninho off his loan and sign him to a contract, more developing depth could be secured.
In the event that Juninho has to return to Sao Paulo, Plan B has been made ready in the form of draft selections Paulo Cardozo (a Uruguayan international), Hector Jimenez, New Zealander Daniel Keat and Dustin McCarty, the younger brother of DC United's Dax McCarty.
The duo of Donovan and Angel headline the Galaxy attack, which includes Jovan Kirovski and Chad Barrett, the latter acquired from Toronto FC.
Donovan, Angel and Beckham form one of the most lethal tandems in the league when they are on their game.
And this tandem will look to get the show on the road when they face the Seattle Sounders. Oh yes, the same Seattle Sounders they placed the refund sticker on. Yes, those Seattle Sounders.
Kickoff at Qwest Field in Seattle is scheduled for Mar. 15 at 9:30 p.m. ET.