MLS Preview: New season, new team kick off in Seattle

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By Steven Goff
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 25, 2010

Major League Soccer's 15th season begins Thursday where the 14th campaign ended: in Seattle, where in November Real Salt Lake defeated the Los Angeles Galaxy to become the eighth club to win a league title. While Qwest Field served as a neutral setting for the final, the audience there for this year's opener will be definitively partisan. The Seattle Sounders set a league attendance record in their 2009 maiden season by averaging 30,897 fans -- more than baseball's Mariners -- and, based on season ticket sales this year, will shatter the MLS mark. Their opponent Thursday (9:30 p.m., ESPN2) is the expansion Philadelphia Union. D.C. United's first game is Saturday night at Kansas City.

EAST

(in order of predicted finish)

Columbus Crew

Last year: 13-7-10, lost in quarterfinals.

Outlook: The attack will continue to flow through Guillermo Barros Schelotto and rely on U.S. national team players Robbie Rogers and Eddie Gaven for raids on the flank. Chad Marshall anchors a stingy defense.

Chicago Fire

Last year: 11-7-12, lost in semifinals.

Outlook: A new coach, several newcomers, the departure of Cuauhtémoc Blanco and then this week's decision to cut veteran GK Jon Busch have left things unsettled.

New England Revolution

Last year: 11-10-9, lost in quarterfinals.

Outlook: With GK Matt Reis's shoulder injury, F Taylor Twellman's absence with post-concussion issues and MF Steve Ralston's departure after eight sterling seasons, Coach Steve Nicol might face a trying year.


CONTINUED     1                 >

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