As much as teams like Los Angeles and New York boast more star power, a very strong argument can be made that the strongest team in MLS heading into 2011 is Real Salt Lake.
A year removed from winning its first MLS Cup title, Real Salt Lake is poised to return to the top of the league. Featuring a record-setting defense and dangerous and entertaining offense, RSL is one of the clear title favorites heading into the new season.
Here is my Fox Soccer preview on an RSL side that should challenge Los Angeles and FC Dallas for top honors in the Western Conference, and could win multiple trophies this year.
Here are some more thoughts on 2011 Real Salt Lake:
2011 REAL SALT LAKE
They'll win because: They're defense will be as stingy as it was in 2010 and Alvaro Saborio and Javier Morales find an even better understanding, making the RSL attack unstoppable.
They'll lose because: Injuries impact the back-line and Saborio struggles to have the same impact in year two as year one.
Player who could break out: Collen Warner
Player who could regress: Nat Borchers
Player who needs to improve on 2010: Chris Wingert
Newcomer to watch: Cody Arnoux
Projected Finish: RSL finished with the second-best record in MLS last year, but with the same nucleus back, and Saborio poised for a strong second season, Real Salt Lake should be considered the favorite to win the MLS Cup, which would be the team's second in three years.
What do you think of Real Salt Lake's chances of winning another MLS Cup? See a trophy or two in the team's future, or do you think RSL will take a step back this year?
Share your thoughts below.