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MLS Narrative Power Rankings, 2/22: Twas Two Weeks Before First Kick

and all through the league, strikers were scoring in preseason glee! And fans were dreaming of playoff glory and fame, and maybe even the Rapids would win a game!

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1. CONCACAF in the Spotlight

Last Week: N/A

Movement: N/A

CONCACAF has had a busy few weeks, as reform efforts in the region serve to background the Alexi Lalas-laden glamour of the Copa America draw. Yeah, people were busy arguing over whether or not the U.S. was in a real group of death, or actually in a surprise group of eternal life, or maybe in a group of headcold's second cousin twice removed, but some serious warnings were being issued by CONCACAF's own lawyers this week, warning that the federation could be disbanded should meaningful reform not be accepted, and the World Cup qualifying for all CONCACAF team thus thrown into jeopardy. So yeah, while you were watching ping pong balls being swished around in a fishbowl (and Pibe Valderamma's endless swagger), your country's World Cup qualification just got a bit more dicey.

2. United United United

Last Week: N/A

Movement: N/A

Word is picking up yet again that Minnesota United FC will be forced to change their name upon entering MLS, for...reasons. Seriously, there really isn't a good reason I can think of that Minnesota should change their name outside of Arthur Blank really wanting them to. But don't listen to me. Listen to Northern Pitch about it.

3. It Still Sucks to Be the Rapids

Last Week: N/A, but always #1 in our hearts

Movement: Always South

After finally making what appeared to be a solid signing in FC Basel hitman Shkelzen Gashi, rumors continued to mount that the Rapids were still running favorites to land Tim Howard. And then the rumors started reporting a pricetag.

Look, I have an English degree, so Economics isn't like a particular strong suit for me, but something tells me that making a 36 year-old with rapidly (heh) declining skills one of the highest goalkeeper contracts in the world until the man turns 40 might not be the best piece of business that's ever been carried out. The fun part about this rumor is that despite it being pretty clear hearsay purported by The Sun, who have never let the truth get in the way of a mediocre story, you somehow could still say the Rapids doing this. As always, pour out a fifth for your Coloradan friends.

4. Preseason Goals

Last Week: N/A

Movement: N/A

Yeah, it's just the preseason, and yeah, these games really mean absolutely nothing, but a few MLS sides are already warming to the oncoming season. First off, Maxi Urruti and Mauro Diaz put on a show against Alianza FC:

Not to be outdone, Diego Valeri and Darlington Nagbe did something that looks like it probably should be illegal to Minnesota United FC:

Please come quickly, MLS season.

5. When #Banter Becomes #Branding

Last Week: N/A

Movement: N/A

In this week's best name for an in-stadium bar devoted to a rabid fanbase, the Portland Timbers announced the creation of "Double Post Bar," a Timbers Army beer haven (with 48 taps!) named after Saad Abdul-Salaam's incredible double-post penalty kick miss that allowed the Timbers to hang on in the playoffs, which they eventually won. Cue MLS Twitter account reaction:

And that's how you cash in on a bit of magic, folks.

Honorable Mentions: Robbie Rodgers Had a Kid, and Is MLS Testing Instant Replay in Portland?

Did we miss any stories you care about? Let us know in the comments below!