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MLS Capsules

Fear Factor: Defense could be a big weakness for the Revolution, who will have to rely heavily on oft-injured Carlos Llamosa, who will be 36 in June; second-year man Avery John (American); promising rookie Michael Parkhurst (Wake Forest); and veterans Joe Franchino and Jay Heaps.

Outlook: Dempsey, F Taylor Twellman and MF Pat Noonan could take them places.


United's Dema Kovalenko, left, and Jamie Moreno had a lot to smile about last season. (Joel Richardson -- The Washington Post)

_____By the Numbers_____

17

Players on an MLS roster every season since 1996

1

Players with same team since '96 ( Cobi Jones, Los Angeles)

3

Original teams that have never played in MLS Cup (MetroStars, Crew, FC Dallas)

17

Teenagers on 2005 rosters

1

Players over age 40 (Preki of Kansas City, who will be 42 in June)

4

Current or former United players on Soccer America magazine's MLS all-time team (Marco Etcheverry, Jaime Moreno, Jeff Agoos, Eddie Pope)

7

Coaches in the MetroStars' 10-year history

198

Days in the MLS regular season (compared with 181 for Major League Baseball)

_____MLS Basics_____
MLS Scoreboard
Standings
Statistics
Team index
MLS Section

COLUMBUS CREW

Coach: Greg Andrulis (fifth year).

Last Year: 12-5-13, lost in first round of playoffs.

The Main Man: F Edson Buddle, 23, is on the brink of becoming an MLS superstar after scoring 21 goals the past two seasons, and with veteran F Ante Razov (acquired from Chicago for MF-D Tony Sanneh) joining him on the front line, this could be the year.

Fear Factor: Columbus's reputation as an underachiever was fully realized last year when, after winning the East's regular season title, it faded in the playoffs. Andrulis must not only get good results but build a rhythm that carries into the postseason.

Outlook: Not to be overlooked, but probably still not championship quality.

CHICAGO FIRE

Coach: Dave Sarachan (third year).

Last Year: 8-13-9, didn't qualify for playoffs.

The Main Man: MF Chris Armas has been the one constant on a revolving roster the last couple of years. His leadership role this season will become vitally important following the departures of several veterans and the arrival of an eclectic mix of newcomers.

Fear Factor: Ante Razov was traded to Columbus and Damani Ralph signed with a Russian team, leaving a glaring absence of proven scorers. Costa Rica's Andy Herron and third-year player Nate Jaqua could improve, but the Fire will probably have to sign a foreign striker to compete.

Outlook: Better than last year but still a lot of questions.

NEW YORK/NEW JERSEY METROSTARS

Coach: Bob Bradley (third year).

Last Year: 11-12-7, lost in first round of playoffs.


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