Major League Soccer team by team preview

Here’s a capsule look at the 18 MLS teams as they head into the 2011 season, in
alphabetical order from the Associated Press (with my observations added):

i-82591125dba3b520c80d288f7b31c6df-gettyimagesfoto.jpgCascades crazy: This year Seattle fans will be joined by their regional brethren in Portland and Vancouver as the Timbers and Whitecaps respectively join MLS. How nuts are Seattle fans? This photo was taken in Carson (Getty Images).

CHICAGO FIRE
LAST YEAR: 9-12-9 (10th place overall, fourth in Eastern Conference).
WHO’S BACK: Coach Carlos de los Cobos, M Marco Pappa, G Sean Johnson, M Logan Pause, D Gonzalo Segares, F Calen Carr, M Patrick Nyarko, M/D Bratislav Ristic.
WHO’S GONE: F Brian McBride, D C.J. Brown, M Freddie Ljungberg, F Nery Castillo, G Andrew Dykstra, M John Thorrington.
WHO’S NEW: F Gaston Puerari, F Diego Chaves.
WHAT’S AHEAD: The Fire need to find the identity and sharpness they lacked in de los Cobos’ first season in Chicago, when they missed the postseason for only the second time in team history. Pappa, an All-Star last year as the Fire’s leading scorer, will have to assume an even bigger role this season with the loss of McBride and Ljungberg. But the Fire hope the addition of Uruguayans Puerari and Chaves will bolster an offense that was anemic despite its huge scoring potential. The defense is young but will get a big boost from Johnson, who has the potential to join the list of standout U.S. goalkeepers and made his first appearance for the national team in a January friendly against Chile. The Fire — and de los Cobos — need a strong start to show they’re not the same lackluster team as last year, a task that will be made more difficult with two of the first four games in the Pacific Northwest, where new teams in Portland and Vancouver have sparked the passionate atmosphere more often seen in Europe.

CHIVAS USA
i-859ea234ddaf159924937761f570ad60-bowenaction,jpg.jpgVan Nuys striker Tristan Bowen will try his luck with Chivas USA after being traded by the Galaxy in the off-season.

LAST YEAR: 8-18-4 (15th overall, eighth in Western Conference).
WHO’S BACK: M Blair Gavin, F Justin Braun, D Mariano Trujillo, D Michael Umana, M Michael Lahoud, M Ben Zemanski, D Ante Jazic, G Dan Kennedy, G Zach Thornton, M Paulo Nagamura.
WHO’S GONE: D Jonathan Bornstein, F Alan Gordon, F Giancarlo Maldonado, M Jesus Padilla, M Marcelo Saragosa, D Dario Delgado.
WHO’S NEW: Coach Robin Fraser, F Tristan Bowen, F Alejandro Moreno, M Nick LaBrocca, D Jimmy Conrad, D Zarek Valentin, F Victor Estupinan, M Andrew Boyens, M Simon Elliott, D Heath Pearce.
WHAT’S AHEAD: Chivas is starting over following last season’s last-place finish in the Western Conference, which resulted in a clear-out of the coaching staff and front office. New coach Robin Fraser has installed an unorthodox 1-4-1-4 formation while attempting to change the culture around a club that has declined precipitously since winning the regular-season Western Conference title in 2007. Chivas still hasn’t advanced in the playoffs in six MLS seasons. Leading scorer Justin Braun is back to try and improve on his nine-goal season, although he has missed the entire preseason with an ankle injury. The attacking cupboard is even barer now Alan Gordon was shipped to Canada on Friday, although Nick LaBrocca who comes in the opposite direction from Toronto at least provides a little experience in midfield. Midfielder Blair Gavin could be important to Chivas’ attack, but he also has battled injuries. Veteran Jimmy Conrad, slowing down in Kansas who bid him farewell, has arrived to attempt to stabilize the defense, but the Goats are still an inexperienced collection of talent playing in the shadow of the star-studded Galaxy — and Chivas’ preseason has been discouraging, including a loss to UCLA last weekend. And where will the goals come from?

COLORADO RAPIDS
LAST YEAR: 12-8-10 (seventh overall, fifth in West); won MLS Cup.
WHO’s BACK: Coach Gary Smith, D Drew Moor, M Jeff Larentowicz, D Anthony
Wallace, F Conor Casey, F Macoumba Kandji, M Brian Mullan, F Quincy Amarikwa, F Omar Cummings, M Wells Thompson, M Ross LaBauex, GK Ian Joyce, GK Matt Pickens, F Andre Akpan, M Jamie Smith, D Marvell Wynne, M Pablo Mastroeni, D Kosuke Kimura, M Davy Armstrong, D Scott Palguta, GK Steward Ceus, D Mike Holody.
WHO’S GONE: D Julien Baudet, D Danny Earls, M Claudio Lopez, M Ciaran O’Brien, F Ross Schunk.
WHO’S NEW: M Steven Emory, D Tyrone Marshall, M Joseph Nane, M Sanna Nyassi.
WHAT’S AHEAD: Colorado begins the 2011 season in unfamiliar territory as the reigning MLS Cup champion. The team has kept the core together to make a run at defending to its title. Two key elements returning, forwards Conor Casey and Omar Cummings, helped the Rapids become the second-highest scoring team in MLS a year ago. The pair was the league’s most productive duo the last two years. The Rapids will be challenged with new expectations and more competitions as they will play in CONCACAF Champions League games.

COLUMBUS CREW
LAST YEAR: 14-8-8 (fourth overall, second in East); lost to Colorado in the conference
semifinals.
WHO’S BACK: Coach Robert Warzycha, M Kevin Burns, M Eddie Gaven, G William Hesmer, D Andy Iro, D Chad Marshall, F Andres Mendoza, M Danny O’Rourke, F Emilio Renteria, M Robbie Rogers.
WHO’S GONE: D Eric Brunner, M Brian Carroll, F Jason Garey, D Frankie Hejduk, F Steven Lenhart, M Adam Moffat, D Gino Padula, M Duncan Oughton, F Guillermo Barros Schelotto.
WHO’S NEW: D Rich Balchan, F Jeff Cunningham, D Josh Gardner, M Cole Grossman, D Julius James, F Justin Meram, D Sebastian Miranda.
WHAT’S AHEAD: After winning the MLS Cup in 2008 and having the best regular season record that year and the next, the Crew slipped a bit in 2010 to precipitate a major overhaul. Captain Hejduk and Schelotto, the team’s top scorer the past three seasons, were among four players in their 30′s whose contracts were not renewed. In all, the Crew will be without players who accounted for 21 of their 40 goals last year. In Schelotto’s absence, Rolling Hills Estates’ Robbie Rogers must start showing on a consistent basis some of that potential he flashed while his midfield mentor was running the show. The addition of Cunningham (11 goals for FC Dallas in 2010) should help. His 132 career goals are one behind record-holder Jaime Moreno. He may have the chance to tie or break the mark at Moreno’s former club, D.C. United, in the season opener Saturday. Miranda, 31, will provide relief at Hejduk’s former right back spot but the club will have to rely on young players, including rookie Balchan, to match or better its 2010 record.

D.C. UNITED
LAST YEAR: 6-20-4 (16th overall, eighth in East).
WHO’S BACK: M Andy Najar, G Bill Hamid, F Chris Pontius, F Santino Quaranta,
M Clyde Simms, D Dejan Jakovic, D Devon McTavish.
WHO’S GONE: F Jaime Moreno, G Troy Perkins, M Rodney Wallace.
WHO’S NEW: F Charlie Davies, M Dax McCarty, F Josh Wolff, G Pat Onstad, G Steve Cronin, D Perry Kitchen, F Joseph Ngwenya.

i-3361e5dac70539eac9ebd3975ede7df5-daviesmug.jpgBonjour D.C.: Charlie Davies returns from France in an effort to revitalize his career. Will he be the same player he was before his almost fatal car accident? (AP Photo).

WHAT’S AHEAD: United has turned to one of the most popular and charismatic figures in
franchise history — Ben Olsen — in hopes of turning around a team that suffered through one of the worst seasons in MLS history. The former United and U.S. national team
midfielder was promoted to interim head coach late last season after Curt Onalfo was fired, but the 33-year-old was initially considered by management to be too young and too
inexperienced to take the permanent job. Then came the change of heart, putting Olsen in
charge of a club that scored only 21 goals last season and had one legitimate bright spot — MLS rookie of the year Najar, who scored five goals and is still a teenager. Davies, trying to complete a comeback from an automobile accident that nearly took his life in October 2009, and a healthy Pontius (hamstring issues last season) should give United more scoring punch. United is so banged up in goal that 40-something Pat Onstad, hired as an assistant coach, has come out of retirement to man the net until either Hamid (shoulder surgery) or Cronin (broken wrist) is healthy.

FC DALLAS
LAST YEAR: 12-4-14 (fifth overall, third in West); lost to Colorado in MLS Cup.
WHO’S BACK: F David Ferreira, GK Kevin Hartman, M Daniel Hernandez, F-M Brek Shea, D Jair Benitez, D George John, Coach Schellas Hyndman.
WHO’S GONE: D Heath Pearce, F Jeff Cunningham, M Atiba Harris, M Dax McCarty.
WHO’S NEW: M-D Andrew Jacobson, D Alexis Pradie.
WHAT’S AHEAD: The club is so confident about its group of defenders (John, Jacobson, Benitez and Jackson Goncalves) that it traded 2010 MLS All-Star Heath Pearce to Chivas USA on Feb. 15th for allocation money. During the team’s run to the finals last year, Goncalves started in Pearce’s place after Pearce suffered a hamstring injury. The club also let go F Jeff Cunningham, who led the team in goals scored last season and is second on the MLS career list. Cunningham was primarily a substitute last season and the club will look for young players such as Eric Alexander and Shea to replace his production. FC Dallas has a chance to get off to a good start with three of its first four games at home followed by road games at expansion teams Portland and Vancouver. Despite all the young talent on the team, the 36-year old Hartman may again be the key to success. Last year the former Galaxy goalkeeper out of UCLA had nine shutouts in only 20 games and made several key saves in the team’s 3-0 road win over Los Angeles in the Western Conference championship game. Former Chivas USA striker Maykel Galindo did not make the roster and was released last week.

HOUSTON DYNAMO
LAST YEAR: 9-15-6 (12th overall, seventh in West).
WHO’S BACK: Coach Dominic Kinnear, F Brian Ching, M Brad Davis, M Geoff Cameron, M Corey Ashe, D Bobby Boswell, D Mike Chabala, M Danny Cruz, GK Tyler Deric, D Andrew Hainault, GK Tally Hall, F Dominic Oduro, M Lovel Palmer, D Eddie Robinson, F Cam Weaver.
WHO’S GONE: GK Pat Onstad, M Sammy Appiah, D Ryan Cochrane, F Joseph Ngwenya, M Richard Mulrooney, D Adrian Serioux.
WHO’S NEW: F Will Bruin, D Hunter Freeman, F Jason Garey, D Jordan Graye, GK
Evan Newton, D Kofi Sardokie, D Jermaine Taylor.
WHAT’S AHEAD: The two-time MLS Cup champions missed the playoffs for the first time in franchise history in 2010, mostly due to the league’s second-worst defense (49 goals allowed). The Dynamo retooled the roster, adding four defenders. Sardokie helped Akron
win the 2010 College Cup and was the No. 7 pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft. Taylor has
played for the Jamaican national team since 2005. The Dynamo are also looking for a
full-time replacement for Onstad, who retired in December as the league’s all-time leader in goals-against average (1.05). Tally Hall backed up Onstad last year and allowed eight goals in five starts, and Tyler Deric started two games. All-time franchise scoring leader Brian Ching started only 16 games last year because of a left hamstring injury, and midfielder Geoff Cameron missed time with a torn knee ligament. Assists leader Brad Davis returns, and Houston is hoping for another productive season out of Oduro, who had five goals in 19 starts in 2010.

SPORTING KANSAS CITY
LAST YEAR: 11-13-6 (ninth overall, third in East).
WHO’S BACK: Coach Peter Vermes, M Davy Arnaud, M Stephane Auvray, D Matt Besler, F Teal Bunbury, M Roger Espinoza, D-M Michael Harrington, F Kei Kamara, GK Jimmy Nielsen, M Ryan Smith, M Craig Rocastle, D Shavar Thomas.
WHO’S GONE: D Jimmy Conrad, F Josh Wolff, M Jack Jewsbury.
WHO’S NEW: F Omar Bravo, M Konrad Warzycha.
WHAT’S AHEAD: The departure of Conrad, who elected to go into the re-entry draft when his contract expired, leaves Sporting Kansas City without its most experienced defender. It
shouldn’t matter as this team is configured for offense. Lawndale’s Kamara scored 10 goals last year, Arnaud (six goals in 2010) is a threat to score from distance, and Bunbury
and successful reclamation project Birahim Diop both played well late in the season. Add
Mexican national Omar Bravo to the list, and scoring goals shouldn’t be a problem. The
defense is a question mark, but Nielsen is solid in goal (1.17 goals per game in 2010).

GALAXY

i-420765cf5b34b5247b53900876bc4551-becksmug.jpgBecks is back: Is it five years and out for David Beckham in Los Angeles? (AP Photo).

LAST YEAR: 18-7-5 (first overall, first in West); lost to FC Dallas in conference final.
WHO’S BACK: Coach Bruce Arena, M Landon Donovan, M David Beckham, G Donovan
Ricketts, M Jovan Kirovski, M Juninho, D A.J. DeLaGarza, M Chris Birchall, D Sean Franklin, M Michael Stephens, D Omar Gonzalez, D Todd Dunivant, D Gregg Berhalter, F Mike Magee, D Leonardo, F Bryan Jordan, G Josh Saunders.
WHO’S GONE: F Edson Buddle, F Tristan Bowen, M Eddie Lewis, M Chris Klein, M Dema Kovalenko, D Yohance Marshall.
WHO’S NEW: F Juan Pablo Angel, F Chad Barrett, M Paolo Cardozo, F Adam Cristman, D Frankie Hejduk, M Liguel Lopez.
WHAT’S AHEAD: The Galaxy were atop the MLS standings nearly all season in 2010, winning the Supporters’ Shield with the best regular-season record. None of it mattered
when Los Angeles lost 3-0 to FC Dallas in the conference final, falling apart with a defensive collapse several weeks in the making. The retooled Galaxy now must replace the 17 goals lost by the departure of Edson Buddle, the U.S. national team forward and MLS’ second-leading scorer last season. Buddle signed with Ingolstadt in Germany’s second division. Landon Donovan is the most obvious solution, and he’s locked in after taking the winter off following his draining World Cup year. Ex-Red Bull star Juan Pablo Angel should help, and fellow 35-year-old David Beckham also could reinvigorate the Galaxy with a healthy, less-distracted effort in the final season of his MLS contract. Veteran defender Frankie Hejduk arrived to shore up Los Angeles’ back end, but the Galaxy must develop solid depth for a long season that will include six CONCACAF
Champions League games in early fall. Central defender Gregg berhalter is now also an assistant coach and will slowly ease himself out of full time playing duties. After two near misses there’s a feeling this is a championship year in Los Angeles with veteran Coach Bruce Arena loose, quietly confident and focused.

NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
LAST YEAR: 9-16-5 (13th overall, sixth in East).
WHO’S BACK: Coach Steve Nicol, M Shalrie Joseph, D Kevin Alston, M Marko Perovic, M Pat Phelan, F Ilija Stolica, F Zak Boggs, F Kheli Dube, M Kenny Mansally, M Sainey
Nyassi, G Matt Reis.
WHO’S GONE: F Taylor Twellman, F Edgaras Jankauskas, G Preston Burpo, D Cory
Gibbs, D Emmanuel Osei, M Khano Smith, D Darrius Barnes.
WHO’S NEW: M Michael Augustine, D Franco Coria, M Ousmane Dabo, D Didier Domi, D A.J. Soares.
WHAT’S AHEAD: The Revolution scored 32 goals last season, the second-fewest among the eight teams in the Eastern Conference and surrendered the most goals (50) of any
team in MLS. To change that, New England brought in four new defenders: 32-year old Domi (Olympiacos, Greece), 22-year old Coria (Chacarita Juniors), 18-year old Augustine (FC Abuja) and Soares (1st round draft pick), while also adding 34-year old midfielder Dabo (Lazio, Italy). Rookie Zach Schilawski (five goals) led the team in goals last season, while MLS All-Star Joseph (four goals, five assists) was the most influential playmaker. Serbian imports Marko Perovic and Ilija Stolica will benefit from getting adjusted to MLS after a season, while New England awaits its trio of African players, Kheli Dube, Kenny Mansally and Sainey Nyassi to have breakthrough seasons. Also to be decided is the fallout from a preseason training camp altercation between Joseph and Alston at a hotel in Florida that led to both being dismissed from workouts and sent back to Boston.

NEW YORK RED BULLS
LAST YEAR: 15-9-6 (third overall, first in East); lost to San Jose in conference semifinals.
WHO’S BACK: Coach Hans Backe, F Thierry Henry, D Rafa Marquez, F Dane Richards, F Juan Agudelo, M Joel Lindpere, M Medhi Ballouchy, D Tim Ream, D Carlos Mendes, D
Roy Miller, G Buona Coundoul.
WHO’S GONE: F Juan Pablo Angel, MF Seth Stammler, D Mike Petke.
WHO’S NEW: F Luke Rodgers, M Jan Gunnar Solli, M Marcos Paullo, M John Rooney, MF-D Teemu Tainio.
WHAT’S AHEAD: Playing in their new $200 million stadium, the Red Bulls went from last in the East to a conference regular season title under new coach Hans Backe. Despite the midseason additions of French striker Thierry Henry and Mexican national team captain
Rafa Marquez, they were ousted by San Jose in the conference semifinals. The Red Bulls let all-time leading scorer Juan Pablo Angel walk west to the Galaxy after last season (13 goals). They hope a healthy Henry and youngster Juan Agudelo can provide scoring. Lindpere was outstanding in his first season and should improve, while Marquez and Tim Ream, coming an excellent rookie season, are the defensive cornerstones.

PHILADELPHIA UNION
LAST YEAR: 8-15-7 (14th overall, seventh in East).
WHO’S BACK: Coach Peter Nowak, C Danny Califf, F Jordan Harvey, D Juan Diego
Gonzalez-Alzate, F Sebastien Le Toux, M Brian Carroll, F Alejandro Moreno, M Kyle Nakazawa.
WHO’S GONE: G Chris Seitz, G Brad Knighton, G Brian Perk.
WHO’S NEW: G Faryd Mondragon, G Thorne Holder G Zac MacMath, D Carlos Valdes.
WHAT’S AHEAD: The Union attracted fans to PPL Park in their debut season but failed to earn a spot in the playoffs. They made a late push that showed they can become a contender for a postseason spot this year. The Union hope forward Sebastien Le Toux can lead them to the postseason and break out as an MLS MVP candidate. He led the team with 14 goals and will need to lead the offensive charge again. The Union struggled in the net last year and hope the additon of Faryd Mondragon can keep out so many of the easy goals let in last season. It could be another lon season for the Union, however.

PORTLAND TIMBERS
LAST YEAR: This is first season in MLS. (Will play in West)
WHO’S BACK: M Ryan Pore, F Bright Dike.
WHO’S GONE: Only Dike and Pore remain from Portland’s USSF D-II Pro League team.
WHO’S NEW: Coach John Spencer, M Sal Zizzo, M Peter Lowry, G Troy Perkins, F Kenny Cooper, D Rodney Wallace, D David Horst, M Kalif Alhassan, F Eddie Johnson, D Eric Brunner, F Darlington Nagbe, D Kevin Goldthwaite, D Kerrea Gilbert, M James Marcelin, F Jorge Perlaza, M Adam Moffat, M Jeremy Hall, G Jake Gleeson, G Adin Brown, D Steve Purdy, M Freddie Braun, D Mamadou Danso, F Brian Umony.
WHAT’S AHEAD: Portland opens its inaugural MLS season at Colorado on Saturday. The Timbers are joined this season by the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps, which creates a
three-way Pacific Northwest rivalry with the Seattle Sounders. Portland is retrofitting its
downtown stadium, PGE Park (sadly yet another faketurf field), to make it soccer specific, and more than 12,000 season tickets have been sold. Midfielder-forward Darlington Nagbe, taken second overall in the MLS SuperDraft, will miss the opening of the season while he recovers from sports hernia surgery. Forward Jorge Perlaza, from Colombian first-division club Deportes Tolima, was recently signed after working out with the team during preseason training. Notable additions include F Kenny Cooper, who had 40 goals in 90 games for FC Dallas from 2006-09 and was an MLS All-Star in 2008. Midfielder Peter Lowry spent two seasons with Chicago and defender Rodney Wallace was acquired in a trade with D.C. United. Troy Perkins, also from D.C. United, is projected to be Portland’s starting goalkeeper.

REAL SALT LAKE
LAST YEAR: 15-4-11 (second overall, second in West); lost to FC Dallas in conference
semifinals.
WHO’S BACK: Coach Jason Kreis, F Alvaro Saborio, F Fabian Espindola, M Will Johnson, M Andy Williams, M Javier Morales, D Jamison Olave, D Nat Borchers, M Kyle
Beckerman, D Robbie Russell, D Chris Wingert, G Nick Rimando.
WHO’S GONE: F Robbie Findley, F David Horst, M Alex Nimo, F Pablo Campos.
WHO’S NEW: M Arturo Alvarez, F Cody Amoux, M Jarad VanSchaik (2011 draft).
WHAT’S AHEAD: Players believe they had the talent last season to repeat as MLS Cup champions only to let it slip away with a first-round loss to FC Dallas. The bar is set high again, with many pegging Real Salt Lake to win the Western Conference. They have 2010
MLS Newcomer of the Year Alvaro Saborio signed through 2014, arguably the best defense in the league and a Goalkeeper of the Year candidate in Nick Rimando. They also have confidence after becoming the first team from Major League Soccer to reach the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions League.

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
LAST YEAR: 13-10-7 (eighth overall, sixth in West); lost to Colorado in conference final.
WHO’S BACK: Coach Frank Yallop, F Chris Wondolowski, M Bobby Convey, M Joey
Gjertsen, G Jon Busch, M Sam Cronin, F-M Ryan Johnson, D Ramiro Corrales, D Jason Hernandez, D-M Brandon McDonald, D Tim Ward, D Ike Opara, M Khari Stephenson.
WHO’S GONE: G Joe Cannon, M Geovanni, M-F Auturo Alvarez, F Cornell Glen.
WHO’S NEW: M Anthony Ampaipitakwong, F Steve Lenhart, M Tony Donatelli .
WHAT’S AHEAD: After earning the final playoff spot a year ago, the Earthquakes upset New York in the first round before losing the conference final to eventual champion
Colorado. San Jose will once again be led by MLS leading-scorer Wondolowski, who scored 18 of the team’s 34 goals last season. The key this season will be giving Wondolowski more help. San Jose acquired Lenhart from Columbus in the offseason for that purpose but he underwent surgery on his right knee and will miss the start of the season. Convey, Gjertsen and Stephenson will provide help from the midfield. With Joe Cannon lost in the expansion draft, Busch will have to handle the majority of the goalkeeping duties.

i-e419fc3c401f0570e7d7dd6674483f2f-soundersigi.jpgSounders Sigi: Can long-time South Bay resident Sigi Schmid beat his former club, a Galaxy team fast becoming his nemesis (AP Photo).

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
LAST YEAR: 14-10-6 (sixth overall, fourth in West), lost to the Galaxy in conference
semifinals.
WHO’S BACK: Coach Sigi Schmid, F Fredy Montero, F Steve Zakuani, F Blaise Nkufo, M Osvaldo Alonso, M Alvaro Fernandez, M Brad Evans, D Jeff Parke, D James Riley, D
Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, D Leo Gonzalez, GK Kasey Keller.
WHO’S GONE: M Sanna Nyassi.
WHO’S NEW: M Erik Friberg, F O’Brien White, M Michael Tetteh.
WHAT’S AHEAD: In just two years, Seattle already has two championships in its trophy case, having won two straight U.S. Open Cup titles. But its failures in the MLS Cup playoffs have Seattle talking openly about Year 3 of the Sounders being a determining
season of how the franchise goes forward. Seattle has the talent to be among the best in the league, but find themselves in the loaded Western Conference. Led by Alonso and Fernandez, Seattle should be very strong in the midfield, but needs to find scoring consistency from its strikers. Montero became a complete player as 2010 progressed realizing he needed to do more than just try and score. His growth coincided with Seattle’s late season charge and he was rewarded by becoming the Sounders third designated player in the offseason. Seattle’s top five defenders are solid, but depth is a concern beyond that. Keller and Nkufo are hoping to go out with titles in their final years playing professionally. Seattle’s start is brutal — home vs. Los Angeles, at New
York and home for Houston in a 10-day span. Former Galaxy Coach Sigi Schmid is under pressure to get his team over the playoff hump; can he respond?

TORONTO FC
LAST YEAR: 9-13-8 (11th place, 5th in East)
WHO’S BACK: G Stefan Frei, G Milos Kocic, D Nana Attakora, D Adrian Cann, D Dan Gargan, D Ty Harden, D Doneil Henry, M Julian de Guzman, M Dwayne De Rosario, M Nick LaBrocca, M Jacob Peterson, M Nathan Sturgis, F Nicholas Lindsay, F Maicon Santos.
WHO’S GONE: Coach Preki Radosavljevic, director of soccer Mo Johnston, D Nick Garcia, DEmmanuel Gomez (waived), D Raivis Hscanovics, D Maxim Usanov, D-M Gabe Gala, D-M Amadou Sanyang, M Joseph Nane, M Martin Saric, F Mista, F Chad Barrett, F Fuad Ibrahim, F O’Brian White.
WHO’S NEW: Coach Aron Winter, Director of Player Development Paul Mariner, M
Elbekay Bouchiba, M Nick Soolsma, M Nathan Sturgis, F Javier Martina, F Alan Gordon.
WHAT’S AHEAD: Preki and Johnston were fired in mid-September with the team
7-10-7; Nick Dasovic finished as interim coach. Juergen Klinsmann was hired as a
consultant to find a new coach and Winter, the former Dutch star, joined in January with his first job as a first-team coach. Mariner came in for the front office. Expects a rivalry with
expansion Vancouver and Montreal, which joins MLS in 2012. It appears the turnover has just begun. Toronto has great fans, abysmal management and virtually no scoring threats. Yikes!

i-9d691e04ab6950c9fbe1448c60b0cc91-jaydemerit.jpgVANCOUVER WHITECAPS
LAST YEAR: This is first season in MLS (will play in West).
WHO’S NEW: Coach Teitur Thordarson, Director of Operations Tom Soehn, D Jay DeMerit (right), G Joe Cannon, G Jay Nolly, D Greg Janicki, D Wes Knight, D Jonathan Leathers, D Alain Rochat, M Davide Chiumiento, M Philippe Davies, M Terry Dunfield, M Nizar Khalfan, M Gershon Koffie, M Michael Nanchoff, M Shea Salinas, M John Thorrington, F Atiba Harris, F Eric Hassli, F Omar Salgado.
WHAT’S AHEAD: Omar Salgado, an American taken with the top pick in the MLS draft, is
ineligible to play until Sept. 10 under a FIFA rules that bars international transfers before
a player’s 18th birthday. Hassli, a 29-year-old Frenchman signed as a designated player and Chiumiento, a 26-year-old who made his debut for Switzerland’s national team
last year, were added in March. DeMerit, arriving from Watford of England’s League
Championship, hasn’t played a competitive match since the U.S. exited the World Cup on June 26. Whitecaps will play most or all of this season at temporary Empire Stadium while BC Place Stadium is reconstructed with a retractable roof. With Seattle and fellow expansion team Portland, will form a northwest Cascadia rivalry. Vancouver are expected to struggle to score.

i-f110297e12478c4c136c1caee10b5f64-atibacaps.jpgScoring threat? Former Chivas USA player Atiba Harris is considered one of Vancouver’s chief sources of goals. Good luck with that ‘Caps. (AP Photo).

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  • Galaxy Fan

    Where is the Pro Soccer Pick Em this season???