(listed in predicted order of finish)
Coach: Peter Nowak (second year).
United's Dema Kovalenko, left, and Jamie Moreno had a lot to smile about last season.
(Joel Richardson -- The Washington Post)
_____By the Numbers_____
Players on an MLS roster every season since 1996
Players with same team since '96 ( Cobi Jones, Los Angeles)
Original teams that have never played in MLS Cup (MetroStars, Crew, FC Dallas)
Teenagers on 2005 rosters
Players over age 40 (Preki of Kansas City, who will be 42 in June)
Current or former United players on Soccer America magazine's MLS all-time team (Marco Etcheverry, Jaime Moreno, Jeff Agoos, Eddie Pope)
Coaches in the MetroStars' 10-year history
Days in the MLS regular season (compared with 181 for Major League Baseball)
Last Year: 11-10-9, won MLS Cup.
The Main Man: F Jaime Moreno overcame severe back problems to turn in an MVP-caliber season last year, but he'll have to stay healthy and continue to apply his mature imprint to keep United's young lineup on course and take pressure off F Alecko Eskandarian.
Fear Factor: The first four months of the 2004 season were not pretty as United struggled to find consistency. Nowak needs to avoid another slow start in order to fully implement his plans in a challenging conference and get the club back to the title game.
Outlook: Should win championship again, but it's a very long season.
KANSAS CITY WIZARDS
Coach: Bob Gansler (seventh year).
Last Year: 14-9-7, lost in MLS Cup.
The Main Man: MF Chris Klein, an outstanding right-side player who had been in U.S. Coach Bruce Arena's national team plans, returns from a severe knee injury. With Preki nearing the end of his career, Klein must rediscover his scoring touch and energize the monotonous Wizards.
Fear Factor: GK Tony Meola, one of the best at his position in MLS history, is recovering from an Achilles' injury and remains without a contract, which means journeyman Bo Oshoniyi, 34, must step up again after replacing Meola late last year.
Outlook: New conference, old blue-collar style, same quality.
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
Coach: Steve Nicol (fourth year).
Last Year: 8-13-9, lost in conference final.
The Main Man: MF Clint Dempsey, who beat out Freddy Adu, among others, for MLS's rookie of the year award last season, has a promising future in this league and probably in Europe with his ability to accelerate on the attack and cover lots of ground defensively.