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ProSoccerTalk’s weekly MLS rankings (in three parts)

Jesse Marsch

Montreal Impact coach Jesse Marsch, right, talks with players during a training session in Montreal, Tuesday, March 6, 2012. The Impact will play its first game as an MLS soccer team in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Saturday. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Graham Hughes)


Expansion Montreal is back on bottom, while another of Major League Soccer’s Canadian entries, Tortonto FC, makes a beeline toward the Impact near the back of the stack.

(Parts II and III are on deck …so check back)

19. Montréal Impact – Jesse Marsch’s side remains solidly “under construction” with changes aplenty ahead, apparently, following last week’s setback in Ohio and a taxing schedule in front of them.

18. Philadelphia Union – Freddy Adu, older, wiser and probably a little more motivated, is back with the Union following the U.S. Olympic team flameout. So are other reinforcements as Peter Nowak’s young squad stares down a 0-3 sinkhole. Up next, remodeled Vancouver comes calling at PPL Park. Clearly, the Union needs to pocket a “W.”

17. Toronto FC – The road looks rocky, indeed. Champions League is on deck tonight, with an MLS visit from Columbus set for Saturday and then a trip down to Mexico for the UCL return leg. Manager Aron Winter must carefully manage the stretched lineup, lest this puppy gets away from him and things really start spinning in for a hard landing. Because injuries are sure taking their toll ahead of tonight’s test.

16. Chivas USA – A 1-0 win at Real Salt Lake last weekend is one of two things: It’s either the beginning of good stuff ahead for Robin Fraser’s lot, or; the high point of the next humdrum season for the Home Depot Center’s second tenant. If the Goats can hold the line at home this week against unbeaten Eastern Conference leaders Kansas City, you have permission to start believing in the former.

15. New England Revolution – Jay Heaps may really be onto something with Shalrie Joseph at center back. Things have never really been the same back there since Michael Parkhurst fled for bigger Euro bucks. Joseph is a much different player, of course, but he can probably be just as effective along the back line at Gillette if Heaps stays the course on this one.

14. Columbus Crew – William Hesmer gets his job back in goal when he’s healthy, right? Well, not so fast there. Andy Gruenebaum has been more than credible in his two appearances this year. In fact, the 29-year-old Crew ‘keeper has long been among the league’s most capable backups. Does he deserve the No. 1? Either way, he’s sure an asset to have around.

13. D.C. United – Somewhat lost in the breathless talk over Emiliano Dudar’s command performance at center back in last week’s 0-0 draw at Vancouver (a good result for the visitors considering the Whitecaps’ stacked attack) was a solid performance on the outside from defender Daniel Woolard. Rookie Nick DeLeon continues to show promise, too, making for good competition at RFK for those outside midfield spots.