Here’s a look at the 16 MLS teams as they head into the 2010 season, in alphabetic order, by the Associated Press:
LAST YEAR: 11-7-12 (second place), lost to Real Salt Lake in Eastern Conference final.
WHO’S BACK: D C.J. Brown, D Wilman Conde, M Justin Mapp, F Brian McBride, D Marco Pappa, M Logan Pause, M John Thorrington.
WHO’S GONE: Coach Dennis Hamlett, F Cuauhtemoc Blanco, G Jon Busch, D Gonzalzo Segares, F Chris Rolfe.
WHO’S NEW: Coach Carlos del los Cobos, M Corben Bone, G Andrew Dykstra, D Steve Kinney, D Krzysztof Krol, M Julio Martinez, F Collins John.
WHAT’S AHEAD: The Fire opened 2009 with an 11-game unbeaten streak (5-0-6) then played around .500 the rest of the way to finish second in the MLS Eastern Conference behind Columbus. Still, Chicago advanced to within a game of the MLS Cup finals before a 5-4 loss on penalty kicks to Real Salt Lake in the conference finals. In a busy offseason, the team hired former El Salvador national team coach de los Cobos as new field boss and signed former Premier League striker John. He’ll be paired with a healthy McBride, his former Fulham teammate. Salvadoran international Martinez joins veterans Pause, Thorrington and Mapp in the midfield, while Fire original Brown and all-star Conde anchor the defense. Dykstra, a 24-year-old rookie, will start in goal. Veteran keeper Busch was surprisingly released earlier this week after three seasons with the Fire. And Chicago will be without star forward and drawing card Blanco, who returned to Mexico to continue his career.
LAST YEAR: 13-11-6 (fourth place), lost to Galaxy in first round.
WHO’S BACK: GK Zach Thornton, GK Dan Kennedy, D Jonathan Bornstein, D Yamith Cuesta, D Mariano Trujillo, MF Sacha Kljestan, MF Marcello Saragosa, MF Michael Lahoud, F Maykel Galindo, D Ante Jazic, F Jesus Padilla, F Maicon Santos.
WHO’S GONE: Coach Preki, MF Paulo Nagamura, MF Jesse Marsch, D Shavar Thomas, D Carey Talley, F Eduardo Lillingston (on loan at Tijuana until June).
WHO’S NEW: Coach Martin Vasquez, MF Osael Romero, D Michael Umana (pictured above), MF Blair Gavin.
WHAT’S AHEAD: The Goats’ fourth consecutive first-round playoff exit — this time at the hands of their L.A. rivals — prompted the departure of Preki, who always produced a consistent side, but never challenged the Galaxy for pre-eminence in their shared hometown. Vasquez, the former U.S. and Mexican national with coaching experience in MLS and the Bundesliga, will attempt to generate some offense from a club that profoundly struggled to score despite its playoff run. Romero could be a key part of that progress as he looks to replace Nagamura and Marsch, the foundations of Chivas’ recent offense alongside Kljestan, the U.S. international who hasn’t put his club on his shoulders. With a little more cohesion on offense, starting in Friday’s home opener
against Colorado, the Goats could be ready to roll up the Western Conference standings.
LAST YEAR: 10-10-10 (tied for fifth place), didn’t make playoffs.
WHO’S BACK: Coach Gary Smith, F Conor Casey, F Omar Cummings, M Colin Clark, M Pablo Mastroeni, D Julien Baudet, GK Matt Pickens, D Kosuke Kimura, D Drew Moor.
WHO’S GONE: GK Preston Burpo, D Ty Harden, M Jacob Peterson, F Pat Noonan, M Greg Dalby.
WHO’S NEW: D Danny Earls, M Jeff Larentowicz, GK Ian Joyce, M Wells Thompson.
WHAT’S AHEAD: The Rapids missed the playoffs for a third straight season, the longest postseason drought in franchise history. They were cruising along before being derailed by a late-season slide. Part of that was due to injuries as Colorado lost Clark, Jamie Smith and Peterson to knee ailments. Casey turned in quite a year for the Rapids, finishing with a team-record 16 goals. His reward? A three-year deal in early March. Cummings tied for the league lead in assists with 12 and set a career-high by scoring eight goals. Pickens will start in goal for the Rapids after a season in which he finished 9-6-4 with a 1.16 goals-against average. To bolster their midfield, the Rapids acquired Larentowicz and Thompson from New England in January.
LAST YEAR: 13-7-10 (first overall in MLS), lost to Real Salt Lake in Eastern Conference semifinal.
WHO’S BACK: Coach Robert Warzycha, D Eric Brunner, M Brian Carroll, M Emmanuel Ekpo, F Jason Garey, M Eddie Gaven, D Frankie Hejduk, G William Hesmer, F Steven Lenhart, D Chad Marshall, M Adam Moffat, D Danny O’Rourke, D Gino Padula, M Robbie Rogers, F Guillermo Barros Schelotto.
WHO’S GONE: F Alejandro Moreno.
WHO’S NEW: F Sergio Herrera.
WHAT’S AHEAD: The core that brought two consecutive Supporters’ Shields (most points overall) and the 2008 MLS Cup title to Columbus remains with only Moreno (expansion draft, Philadelphia) missing. The Colombian Herrera and late-season addition F Emilio Renteria from Venezuela were brought in to spark an attack that lacked finishing other than the 14 goals from Schelotto, the 2008 league MVP. The defense should again be rock solid starting with 2008 and ’09 MLS Defender of the Year Marshall and a back line that lacks speed but oozes with experience. Hesmer, after tying a team record with 10 shutouts in 2008, had seven last season in 10 fewer matches. Carroll anchors a steady midfield, but more is expected from Rogers (pictured), a U.S. international who had only one goal in 20 starts for the Crew last season. The disappointing first-round playoff exit still gnaws at the team, but a good showing in the recent CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series against Mexican club Toluca has the Crew eyeing a record third consecutive Supporters’ Shield and another crack at the MLS Cup. The Crew open at home Saturday against Toronto FC before playing at FC Dallas on April 10.
LAST YEAR: 9-8-13 (fourth place), missed playoffs.
WHO’S BACK: F Chris Pontius, F Jaime Moreno, M Santino Quaranta, M Clyde Simms, D Bryan Namoff, D Dejan Jakovic.
WHO’S GONE: Coach Tom Soehn, M Ben Olsen, F Luciano Emilio, M Fred, M Christian Gomez.
WHO’S NEW: Coach Kurt Onalfo, G Troy Perkins, F Danny Allsopp, M Christian Castillo.
WHAT’S AHEAD: Once MLS’ flagship franchise in every sense of the word, United has suffered through a malaise of sorts recently and watched the rest of the league pass them by on many fronts. Several highly touted player acquisitions have gone awry, keeping the club out of the playoffs for the last two seasons, and the last of the club’s four MLS titles was back in 2004. And as soccer-specific stadiums are springing up for MLS clubs across the country, United remains stuck in antiquated RFK Stadium while several proposed deals for a new facility have fallen apart. The team started its competitive overhaul by letting Soehn’s contract expire and replacing him with Onalfo, the former United player and Kansas City coach. Former league goalkeeper of the year Perkins was also brought back after his overseas stint, but that was the only major roster upgrade for a team that lacks depth, especially after preseason injuries to Simms and D Marc Burch.
LAST YEAR: 11-13-6 (eighth place in Western Conference).
WHO’S BACK: F Jeff Cunningham, M Daniel Hernandez, M David Ferreira, M Dax McCarty, D Heath Pearce, D Ugo Ihemelu, D Brek Shea.
WHO’S GONE: M Dave van den Bergh, M Pablo Ricchetti.
WHO’S NEW: GK Kevin Hartman, M Zach Loyd.
WHAT’S AHEAD: FC Dallas started last season 1-7-3 and missed the playoffs for a second straight year. The club finished strong with the addition of Pearce, a U.S. international who helped the league’s worst defense last season hold all of its opponents under two goals a game over its final five games. The club had the most goals (50) in MLS last season led by the league’s Golden Boot winner Cunningham, but also led the league in most goals allowed with 47. After sitting on the bench for the first part of the season, Cunningham went on a second-half tear after the trade of striker Kenny Cooper to German club 1860 Munich. Cunningham scored 17 goals in 16 games and should benefit from a full season as a starter. The team also added Hartman to compete with veteran Dario Sala in goal. Although 35, Hartman holds just about every meaningful MLS record including games started in goal, wins and shutouts. Last season Hartman started 30 games for Kansas City and finished with a 1.40 goals-against average. The club will also look to improve with a full season from team captain Hernandez and Ihemelu — both of whom were midseason additions last year. The team is also high on rookie Loyd who may be able to break into the starting lineup and allow Pearce to play in the midfield.
LAST YEAR: 13-8-9 (tied for first in Western Conference), lost to Los Angeles in Western Conference final.
WHO’S BACK: Coach Dominic Kinnear, F Brian Ching, GK Pat Onstad, M Brad Davis, F Cam Weaver, D Geoff Cameron, D Bobby Boswell, M Brian Mullan, M Corey Ashe, D Richard Mulrooney.
WHO’S GONE: M Stuart Holden, M Ricardo Clark.
WHO’S NEW: M Lovel Palmer, M Adrian Serioux.
WHAT’S AHEAD: The Dynamo were once again one of the league’s top defensive teams in 2009, tying Seattle for the fewest goals allowed (29). Midfield mainstays Holden and Clark left to play in Europe and Houston signed Palmer and Serioux to replace them. Palmer played for the Jamaican national team and Serioux, who helped the Dynamo win the 2006 MLS Cup, returns after starting 25 games for Toronto in 2009. Ching, the team’s all-time scorer, and 2009 assists leader Davis are back to lead an offense that ranked sixth in goals last season (39). Onstad recorded 10 shutouts and had the longest shutout streak (491 minutes) in 2009. The 42-year-old Onstad was one of three goaltenders to play every minute for his team last season, and he is the league’s all-time leader in goals-against average (1.05). The Dynamo went 8-1-6 in 2009 at rowdy Robertson Stadium, where they averaged more than 17,000 fans.
Kansas City Wizards
LAST YEAR: 8-13-9 (sixth place).
WHO’S BACK: Coach Peter Vermes, and M/F Davy Arnaud, D Jimmy Conrad, F Josh Wolff, M Jack Jewsbury.
WHO’S GONE: Coach Curt Onalfo, G Kevin Hartman, M/F Claudio Lopez, M Herculez Gomez.
WHO’S NEW: M Ryan Smith, M Stephane Auvray, F Teal Bunbury (pictured), G Jimmy Nielson, D Pablo Escobar.
WHAT’S AHEAD: The Wizards have always had talented rosters, but haven’t gotten results to show for it. Kansas City, which reached the 2004 MLS Cup, has finished fourth, fifth and sixth the past three seasons. Last year’s disappointing run cost Onalfo his job after 2 seasons. Vermes returns after taking over when Onalfo was fired. The biggest change this year for the Wizards will be in goal. Hartman, who holds nearly every significant MLS goaltending record, couldn’t agree to a new contract and was traded to FC Dallas. Danish keeper Nielson, a veteran European league player, takes over after signing in the offseason. The biggest concern in Kansas City is scoring. The Wizards managed just 33 goals last season, second-worst in the league, and lost former Argentine international and playmaker Lopez. Wolff was impressive after rejoining the team in 2008 — 11 goals in 27 games — but Kansas City will need more production to stir interest with a new soccer-specific stadium due to open in 2011.
LAST YEAR: 12-6-12 (T-first place), lost to Real Salt Lake in MLS Cup.
WHO’S BACK: Coach Bruce Arena, F Landon Donovan, F Edson Buddle, F Alan Gordon, D Omar Gonzalez, D Gregg Berhalter, D Todd Dunivant, MF Eddie Lewis, D A.J. DeLaGarza, MF Mike Magee, MF Dema Kovalenko, GK Donovan Ricketts.
WHO’S GONE: MF David Beckham (though injury) MF Stefani Miglioranzi, MF Kyle Patterson, D Julian Valentin, D Leonard Griffin, D Tony Sanneh.
WHO’S NEW: MF Clint Mathis, MF Juninho, D Alex, D Leonardo, M Michael Stephens.
WHAT’S AHEAD: The Beckham Experiment is on hold for at least several months after the superstar English midfielder injured his Achilles’ tendon, which will keep him out of the World Cup and could sideline him for the entire Galaxy season. Yet this resilient club has learned to play without its world-wandering midfielder over the past few years, and every other significant part of the core from last season’s MLS Cup finalist is back for another run. All eyes again will be on Donovan, whose successful loan to Everton has Los Angeles’ fans expecting even bigger things from the top American goal-scorer. The Galaxy’s fate could be determined by whether Lewis, Magee, Kovalenko and others can step into Beckham’s huge playmaking shoes. Arena drew raves for his reinvigoration of the Galaxy last fall, and his sophomore campaign begins at Home Depot Center Saturday against the New England Revolution.
LAST YEAR: First year for expansion franchise.
WHO’S NEW: Coach Peter Nowak. Assistant coach John Hackworth, G Brad Knighton, G Brian Perk, G Chris Seitz, D Danny Califf, D Jordan Harvey, D Dave Myrie, D Michael Orozco, D Shavar Thomas, M Fred, M Andrew Jacobson, M Sebastian Le Toux, M Stefani Miglioranzi, M Omobi Okugo, M Shea Salinas, M Toni Stahl, M Roger Torres, M-F Kyle Nakazawa (pictured), F Jack McInerny, F Alejandro Moreno, F Danny Mwanga, F Nick Zimmerman.
WHAT’S AHEAD: The league’s 16th team, Philadelphia hopes to join Chicago and Seattle as the only expansion teams to win their openers. The Sounders set a high standard last year by going 12-7-11, and Le Toux will be returning to Seattle after playing there with in the USL. Fred is suspended for the opener following a red card in his final match last season for DC United. After playing on artificial turf in the league opener at the Sounders Thursday, the Union returns home for two games at the Eagles’ Lincoln Financial Field starting against D.C. United on April 10. They open their new stadium, 18,500-seat PPL Park in Chester, against Seattle on June 27.
New England Revolution
LAST YEAR: 11-10-9 (third place), lost to Chicago Fire in Eastern Conference semifinal.
WHO’S BACK: Coach Steve Nicol, D Kevin Alston, D Darrius Barnes, M Mauricio Castro, M Nico Colaluca, F Kheli Dube, F Edgaras Jankauskas, M Shalrie Joseph, F-M Kenny Mansally, M Sainey Nyassi, D Emmanuel Osei, D Pat Phelan
WHO’S GONE: D Chris Albright, F Stephane Assengue, D Jay Heaps, D Amaechi Igwe, G Brad Knighton, M Jeff Larentowicz, F-M Steve Ralston, M Wells Thompson.
WHO’S NEW: D Gabriel Badilla, F Zak Boggs, G Preston Burpo, D Cory Gibbs, M Joseph Niouky, F Zack Schilawski, G Bobby Shuttleworth, D Seth Sinovic.
WHAT’S AHEAD: The Revolution clinched a postseason berth with a win in their final game of the 2009 regular season then were eliminated from the playoffs by Chicago for the second straight year. They’re still without Twellman, their career-leading goal scorer, who hasn’t been cleared to play after appearing in just two games last season because of concussions and a neck injury. With 101 goals, he is the fifth player in MLS history with more than 100. The Revolution lost two fixtures after last season, Ralston and Heaps. Ralston, who leads MLS with 378 games played, became an unrestricted free agent and signed with St. Louis of the new North American Soccer League. Heaps retired after 11 MLS seasons, the last 8 with New England, where he played in a club record 243 games. And Reis, the Revolution’s starting goalkeeper for the past six seasons, is expected to be out until late May or early June after having surgery on his left shoulder in December and an operation to fix the quadriceps tendon in his left
knee on Feb. 4. Burpo, acquired in the offseason, is expected to fill in. The Revolution’s
season starts Saturday at the Galaxy.
New York Red Bulls
LAST YEAR: 5-19-6 (7th place, Eastern Conference).
Red Bull fireworks in 2009? (AP Photo).
WHO’S BACK: F Juan Pablo Angel, F Macoumba Kandji, F Dane Richards, F John Wolyniec, M Danleigh Borman, M Seth Stammler, M Sinisa Ubiparipovic, D Jeremy Hall, D Carlos Mendes, D Mike Petke, D Andrew Boyens, D Kevin Goldthwaite, D Luke Sassano, GK Bouna Coundoul, M Ernst Oebster, F Giorgi Chirgdaze.
WHO’S GONE: GK Danny Cepero, M Jorge Rojas, M Albert Celades, D Carlos Johnson, M Matthew Mbuta.
WHO’S NEW: GM Erik Soler, coach Hans Backe, D Roy Miller, D Chris Albright, M Joel Lindpere, M Austin da Luz, D Tim Ream, M Tony Tchani, M Carl Robinson, M Irving Garcia, GK Greg Sutton, F Conor Chinn, F Ibrahim Salou.
WHAT’S AHEAD: The Red Bulls have a new coach in Backe, a new sporting director-general manager in Erik Soler and a new $200 million stadium called Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. The team would like to forget about the disastrous 2009 season that saw the franchise that played for the MLS Cup in 2008 collapse to the worst record in the league. The team didn’t make wholesale changes. Angel, the franchise’s all-time leading scorer, had 12 of the team’s 27 goals last year and eight in preseason. He starts this season favoring a knee injury and his status for the opener against Chicago is in question. Kandji and Richards, who scored four and three goals, respectively, last season, have benefited from a solid offseason conditioning program. Lindpere should add stability to the midfield. Coundoul, who came over in a midseason trade, is the man in goal for now. Veteran defenders Mendes and Petke are healthy and the club added another veteran when it acquired Albright. Miller is a solid free agent signing and draft
picks Ream and da Luz should play from the start.
Real Salt Lake
LAST YEAR: 11-12-7 (fifth place), beat Los Angeles Galaxy in MLS Cup.
WHO’S BACK: Coach Jason Kreis, F Robbie Findley, F Fabian Espindola, M Javier Morales, F Andy Williams, M Kyle Beckerman, D Jamison Olave, G Nick Rimando.
WHO’S GONE: F Yura Movsisyan, M Clint Mathis.
WHO’S NEW: F Alvaro Saborio.
WHAT’S AHEAD: The defending MLS champion slipped into the 2009 playoffs on an unlikely combination of wins and losses by other teams at the end of the regular season. RSL got all bounces it needed, beating Chicago on penalty kicks in the semifinals and then winning on penalties again against the Galaxy in the MLS Cup championship match. Coming off that success, the club made very few changes in the offseason. Veteran midfielder Mathis was sent to the Galaxy in a draft-day deal, F Movsisyan left to join a club in Denmark and backup goalkeeper Chris Seitz went to the Philadelphia Union in the expansion draft. RSL picked up Costa Rican forward Saborio on a loan from a Swiss Super League team. Salt Lake hopes the continuity and confidence after last season’s playoff run carries over into a better regular season in 2010. RSL was just 2-12-2 away from home before the playoffs last year.
San Jose Earthquakes
LAST YEAR: 7-14-9 (last place).
WHO’S BACK: Coach Frank Yallop, F Ryan Johnson, G Joe Cannon, M-F Arturo Alvarez, M Bobby Convey, F Cornell Glen, D Brandon McDonald, D Ramiro Corrales, M Andre Luiz, M Ramon Sanchez.
WHO’S GONE: M Darren Huckerby, M Shea Salinas, D Mike Zaher, M Simon Elliott, M Antonio Ribeiro.
WHO’S NEW: M Eduardo, M Joey Gjertsen, D Ike Opara, M Brad Ring, M Javier Robles, D Justin Morrow, M Steven Beitashour.
WHAT’S AHEAD: The Earthquakes have struggled in their first two seasons back in the league after San Jose lost its franchise to Houston in 2005. Yallop, who led the team to MLS titles in 2001 and ’03, hasn’t been able to get the Earthquakes back to the playoffs in his second stint here. The loss of Huckerby to retirement and Salinas to the expansion draft deliver a big hit to the midfield. That will put even more pressure on Convey to regain the form that put him on the U.S. World Cup roster in 2006. He had only one goal and two assists last year. The team added some help in the midfield by signing Eduardo from FC Basel in Switzerland. The Brazilian adds some offensive flair that had been missing. The addition of Gjertsen from Canada also could be a big help. Opara, the third pick in the draft, will miss the start of the season while he finishes work on his degree at Wake Forest. When he does arrive in May, Opara is being counted on to offer a big upgrade to San Jose’s defense. In good news off the field, the San Jose city council recently approved the rezoning of a site for a new 18,000-seat stadium that would allow the team to leave its temporary home at Santa Clara University.
Seattle Sounders FC
LAST YEAR: 12-7-11 (third place), lost to Houston Dynamo in Western Conference first round.
Capable Kasey Keller (AP Photo).
WHO’S BACK: Coach Sigi Schmid, F Fredy Montero, F Nate Jaqua, F Steve Zakuani, M Freddie Ljungberg, M Brad Evans, D Tyrone Marshall, D Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, D Leo Gonzalez, D James Riley, G Kasey Keller.
WHO’S GONE: F Sebastien Le Toux.
WHO’S NEW: F Blaise Nkufo (arriving in July).
WHAT’S AHEAD: Priority No. 1 in Seattle is making sure there is no sophomore slump. The Sounders inaugural season could not have gone much better: sellout crowd for all 15 home games, the U.S. Open Cup championship and becoming the first expansion team in 11 years to reach the MLS playoffs. Within that remarkable first season were plenty of problems, none more glaring than Seattle’s struggles to score. Montero emerged as a young star with 12 goals, catching the eye of some European clubs. Jaqua netted nine, but no one else scored more than four. The Sounders goal total of 38 ranked eighth in the league, only standing up because Keller showed he’s still one of the best goalkeepers in America. Keller’s back, Ljungberg decided to remain with the Sounders rather than accepting the overtures from European clubs and Seattle hopes to get a scoring punch when Nkufo arrives after the World Cup. The Swiss striker is the all-time leading scorer for Dutch club FC Twente.
LAST YEAR: 10-11-9 (fifth place).
WHO’S BACK: D Nana Attakora. F Chad Barrett, D Jim Brennan, M Sam Cronin, G Stefan Frei, D-M Gabe Gala, D Nick Garcia, D Emmanuel Gomez, M Dwayne De Rosario, F O’Brian White, D Marvell Wynne.
WHO’S GONE: Coach Chris Cummins, M Amado Guevara, M Carl Robinson, D Adrian Serioux, G Greg Sutton, MF-F Pablo Vitti
WHO’S NEW: Coach Preki, D Ty Harden, M Jacob Peterson
WHAT’S AHEAD: John Carver quit as coach after a 2-2-2 start and Chris Cummins, who had been an assistant coach, took over. He led the team to an 8-9-7 record, but the team didn’t renew his contract after missing the playoffs. Preki was hired, leaving Chivas USA after leading the team to the playoffs in three straight seasons. The biggest change is the switch to grass from artificial turf at BMO Field, which could be important for a team with a 2-9-4 league road record last year. Honduras captain Guevara, the MLS MVP with New York in 2004, had five league goals last season but left Toronto to re-sign at home with Motagua. Barrett, Gomez and Peterson have been injured during preseason, and F Ali Gerba was sent home from preseason training in Charleston, S.C., after the team said his performance was not up to expectations. De Rosario (11 league goals last year), Barrett (five league goals) and de Guzman, Toronto’s designated player, will be counted on as leaders.