Ranking the professional soccer teams in the United States and Canada from best to worst

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Over the course of the last few years, discussion of what an open pyramid in the United States and Canada would look like has become a major talking point for soccer fans. In a closed league system, it’s difficult to conceive sometimes how sides would fare against one another. For example, USL, the current third division, is littered with MLS reserve sides while NASL, the second division, has completely different squad rules than MLS. In fact, the increased flexibility of building NASL rosters, for example the Fort Lauderdale Strikers who started the season with three high-end loanees from major Brazilian clubs due in large measure to the intervention of Strikers part-owner Ronaldo, would not be possible under MLS rules.

The change in MLS rules around midseason to allow one “Core Player” thus permitting the LA Galaxy to shift Omar Gonzalez from the status of “Designated Player” (DP) to “Core Player,” freeing up a spot for the Galaxy to sign Giovani Dos Santos as a DP, raised eyebrows throughout the soccer world. But it was a progressive step to allowing more competitiveness because the type of player that falls into a “Core Player” slot is often an American that has offers from European clubs and might leave the league without sufficient compensation. This is a worry for teams with good Academy programs and systems.

Below, I’ve rank every US Independent club (MLS Reserve teams are NOT included) based several on metrics on a scale of 1-10. I’ve also split the rankings into three — to give you an idea of where the clubs would rank based on the current metrics.

Note that the intangibles includes national visibility, supporters groups, local market penetration, stadium, and club history.

DIVISION I

Team Players Coaching Marketing Front Office Intangibles Total
1 Sporting Kansas City 9 10 10 10 10 49
2 Seattle Sounders 9 9 10 10 10 48
3 LA Galaxy 10 10 9 9 8 46
4 Portland Timbers 7 8 10 10 10 45
5 Orlando City 7 8 10 10 10 45
6 Vancouver Whitecaps 8 8 9 10 9 44
7 New York City FC 7 8 10 10 8 43
8 Toronto FC 10 5 8 8 10 41
9 Houston Dynamo 7 7 9 9 8 40
10 Minnesota United 6 8 9 8 9 40
11 Real Salt Lake 7 7 9 8 9 40
12 San Jose Earthquakes 7 9 7 8 8 39
13 FC Dallas 7 9 7 9 7 39
14 Montreal Impact 7 6 8 8 9 38
15 New York Red Bulls 8 7 7 7 8 37
16 DC United 7 7 7 7 9 37
17 Sacramento Republic 6 6 9 8 8 37
18 Charleston Battery 6 6 8 7 9 36
19 Columbus Crew 7 7 7 8 7 36
20 OKC Energy 6 6 8 8 7 35

DIVISION 2

Team Players Coaching Marketing Front Office Intangibles Total
1 Indy Eleven 4 5 9 9 7 34
2 Ottawa Fury 6 9 6 7 6 34
3 New England Revolution 7 8 6 6 6 33
4 Philadelphia Union 7 6 7 5 8 33
5 Tampa Bay Rowdies 6 6 8 7 6 33
6 Carolina Railhawks 4 8 4 8 8 32
7 Chicago Fire 7 5 5 7 8 32
8 Colorado Rapids 6 6 7 5 8 32
9 Louisville City 5 7 7 8 6 33
10 New York Cosmos 7 8 4 5 8 32
11 Jacksonville Armada 5 4 8 7 7 31
12 Rochester Rhinos 6 6 7 5 7 31
13 St. Louis FC 5 6 7 6 7 31
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