- The Washington Times - Friday, March 31, 2006

John Haydon of The Washington Times takes a look around the league and predicts the order of finish:

Eastern Conference

New England Revolution

2005 record: 17-7-8 (59 points/first in East)

Coach: Steve Nicol (fifth season)

Headliners: M Clint Dempsey, F Taylor Twellman, M Steve Ralston, F Pat Noonan

Fresh face: M/F Leandro de Oliveira

Skinny: The core of MLS Cup runner-up returns but many key players will miss games on World Cup duty.

Did you know? Nicol, a solid defender for Liverpool, scored a hat-trick in a game at Newcastle in 1988.

D.C. United

2005: 16-10-6 (54/second)

Coach: Peter Nowak (third season)

Headliners: F Jaime Moreno, M Christian Gomez, M Ben Olsen, M Freddy Adu

Fresh face: M Domenic Mediate

Skinny: The team is eager to erase bad taste from end of last season. With a solid midfield, Argentine flavor and the ‘Freddy Adu factor,’ United should challenge the Revs and Wizards for the title.

Did you know? The biggest RFK Stadium crowd (58,012) ever watched the U.S. play Portugal in the 1996 Olympics.

Kansas City Wizards

2005: 11-9-12 (45/fifth)

Coach: Bob Gansler (eighth season)

Headliners: F Eddie Johnson, F Josh Wolff, M Kerry Zavagnin, D Jimmy Conrad

Fresh face: F Yura Movsisyan

Skinny: Preki finally retired and Chris Klein was traded, but the Wizards got U.S. team star Johnson from FC Dallas. The team had an excellent preseason and the key starters are fit.

Did you know? Gansler, a native of Mucsi, Hungary, captained the 1964 and 1968 U.S. Olympic teams.

Chicago Fire

2005: 15-13-4 (49/third)

Coach: Dave Sarachan (fourth season)

Headliners: M Justin Mapp, D Jim Curtain, D/M Ivan Guerrero, F Chris Rolfe, F Nate Jaqua

Fresh face: D Jeff Curtain

Skinny: This team has young talent in Mapp, Rolfe and Jaqua waiting to explode. The Fire must play their first nine games on the road while the new stadium is completed.

Did you know? Former U.S. team star Chris Armas played five times for the Puerto Rican national team.

Red Bull New York

2005: 12-9-11 (47/fourth)

Coach: Mo Johnston (first season)

Headliners: M Amado Guevara, M Youri Djorkaeff, F Mike Magee, GK Tony Meola

Fresh face: D Marvell Wynne

Skinny: Will the renamed MetroStars run by the energy drink company finally win something? If Guevara finds his old form the underachievers may surprise.

Did you know? Marvell Wynne’s dad and namesake was a major league outfielder.

Columbus Crew

2005: 11-16-5 (38/sixth)

Coach: Sigi Schmid (first year)

Headliners: D Frankie Hedjuk, D Chad Marshall, M Kyle Martino, M Sebastian Rozental

Fresh face: F Kei Kamara

Skinny: The unpredictable Crew won the division in 2004 and came in last in 2005. Chilean star Rozental is the new man hoping to add an offensive punch, but the team is looking for a leader.

Did you know? Schmid was born in Tuebingen, Germany, and is a certified public accountant.

Western Conference

Houston Dynamo

2005: 18-4-10 (64/first)

Coach: Dominic Kinnear (third year)

Headliners: F Brian Ching, F Ronald Cerritos, F Alejandro Moreno, M/F Dwayne De Rosario, D Ricardo Clark, GK Pat Onstad

Fresh face: M Patrick Ianni

Skinny: Formerly the San Jose Earthquakes and briefly the Houston 1836, the Dynamo have all the elements to challenge the Galaxy for West dominance.

Did you know: The old North American Soccer League had two teams in Houston: the Star (1967-1968) and the Hurricanes (1978-1980).

Los Angeles Galaxy

2005: 13-13-6 (45/third)

Coach: Steve Sampson (third year)

Headliners: F Landon Donovan, D Todd Dunivant, G Kevin Hartman, M Peter Vagenas

Fresh face: Former Terps forward, Mark Burch

Skinny: The Galaxy struggled in the regular season but went on to win the U.S. Open Cup and MLS Cup. The recent death of dedicated GM Doug Hamilton has stunned the club.

Did you know? Landon Donovan has a twin sister named Tristan.

FC Dallas

2005: 13-10-9 (48/second)

Coach: Colin Clarke (third year)

Headliners: F Carlos Ruiz, D Greg Vanney, F Roberto Mina, M Arturo Alvarez, M Robbie O’Brien

Fresh face: D/M Justin Moore

Skinny: Dallas has the talented Ruiz, Nunez and Alvarez to score and the creative talents of O’Brien in the middle.

Did you know? Justin Moore is the brother of former D.C. United player and MLS 1999 top draft pick Jason.

Colorado Rapids

2005: 13-13-6 (45/third)

Coach: Fernando Clavijo (second year)

Headliners: M Pablo Mastroeni, F Jean Philippe Peguero, GK Joe Cannon

Fresh face: M/F Clint Mathis

Skinny: Mathis could bring some attacking punch in the midfield if he behaves, but the club needs a consistent striker.

Did you know? World Cup-bound Pablo Mastroeni once played guitar in a band called “Chicken Head Killas” in Miami.

Chivas USA

2005: 4-22-6 (18/sixth)

Coach: Bob Bradley (first year)

Headliners: F Ante Rasov, M Ramon Ramirez, G Brad Guzan, M Jesse Marsch, F Francisco Palencia

Fresh face: D Claudio Suarez

Skinny: The Mexican-owned expansion club went through two coaches in its miserable first season, winning just four games. Enter former MetroStars and Chicago coach Bradley. The arrival of Rasov may help the team score goals.

Did you know? The name Chivas was originally an insult derived from “chivas locas” or “mad goats” but has become a badge of pride.

Real Salt Lake

2005: 5-22-5 (20/fifth)

Coach: John Ellinger (second year)

Headliners: GK Scott Garlick, D Eddie Pope, M/F Andy Williams, D Carey Talley, F Jeff Cunningham.

Fresh face: M Chris Klein

Skinny: After sporting the worst attack in the league last year, it’s been a good pre-season for RSL and Williams has looked hot. The addition of Klein gives them muscle and creativity in the midfield but the team still lacks a powerful striker.

Did you know? Ellinger, a Laurel native, began his coaching career at Montgomery College in 1979.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide