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

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.


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