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MLS Capsules

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES

Coach: Dominic Kinnear (second year).

Last Year: 9-10-11, lost in first round of playoffs.


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

The Main Man: F Brian Ching emerged on the MLS and U.S. national team scenes last year as a big-time goal scorer, but now he'll have to pick up some leadership responsibilities following the departure of veteran MF Ronnie Ekelund and defensive MF Richard Mulrooney.

Fear Factor: San Jose needs someone to influence the game from midfield and orchestrate the attack by feeding Ching and F Dwayne DeRosario and getting the ball wide to influential MFs Brian Mullan and Brad Davis.

Outlook: Improved defense will get them to playoffs.

COLORADO RAPIDS

Coach: Fernando Clavijo (first year).

Last Year: 10-9-11, lost in first round of playoffs.

The Main Man: Joe Cannon is the best goalkeeper in the league, the anchor in a strong backfield that permitted only 32 goals in 30 games last year. Colorado doesn't score a lot of goals (an average of less than one per game in 2004), so Cannon will need to be sharp to keep his team close.

Fear Factor: The attack doesn't seem much better, but Clavijo is relying on former Columbus F Jeff Cunningham and returning F Jean Philippe Peguero to provide a finishing touch and help the Rapids take some pressure off the busy defensive unit.

Outlook: Unless scoring improves, mediocre at best.

REAL SALT LAKE

Coach: John Ellinger (formerly with U.S. under-17 national team).

The Main Man: MF-F Clint Mathis could re-emerge as one of the best players in MLS -- as he was a few years ago before heading to Germany -- or he could become moody and slip out of shape -- as he was prone to do with the MetroStars.

Fear Factor: The proven talent is there -- Mathis, MF Andy Williams, MLS all-time goals leader Jason Kreis, D Eddie Pope -- but will Ellinger be able to put it all together and keep everyone happy while trying to sell soccer to a new market?

Outlook: Veteran attackers will win them a few games.

CHIVAS USA

Coach: Thomas Rongen (formerly with D.C., New England and Tampa Bay).

The Main Man: While veteran MFs Ramon Ramirez and Francisco Gomez and young F Isaac Romo must produce, Rongen is on the hot seat to mold a winning expansion team right away and satisfy the club's sophisticated and passionate Mexican American fan base in Southern California.

Fear Factor: Preseason was marred by off-field issues, on-field troubles and several injuries, meaning it might take a few months for Chivas to settle on a regular lineup and find its way against the MLS establishment.

Outlook: Excitement has arrived, winning soccer delayed.


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