New York Red Bulls
Ronald Wattereus, Clint Mathis, Demo Kovelenko, Markus Schopp
The New York Red Bulls were good early last year, but faded late because they failed to score goals.
But this is the year Altidore will break out. He has been streaky, but as the second full-time striker, he should have at least 15 goals. When paired with Angel, who will contribute 22 to 25, they should make the best tandem in MLS this year.
The real problem is in the back.
Can Parke, the last pick in last year’s draft, really be the man back their? If he can, then a solid playoff team will follow. If not, a leaky defense could signal a fall out of the post-season and the end of the line for their coach.
Playoffs, 4th overall
Real Salt Lake
A new, soccer-specific Stadium, Dema Kovalenko, Matias Corboda, Kenny Deuchar, Matt Borchers
RSL has fortified itself with good young talent. Players like Kyle Beckerman and Robbie Findley should have great seasons.
But their transformation into a potential playoff team really stems from leaving their monstrously bad, almost unplayable stadium behind. Look for a surprisingly strong RSL side this year.
Playoffs, sixth overall
Thomasz Frankowski, Patrick Nyarko, Brandon Prideaux, Andy Herron
Matt Pickens, Ivan Guerrero
Chicago went deep last year, but that will not happen again.
The Fire has holes at some key spots and the back line is getting older. Besides that, there is no goalkeeper to speak of.
While the team will regress, it still should have a very solid season and one of its better years offensively. Watch for a 4-3-3 this season.
Playoffs, 7th overall
Andy Herron, Marcos Gonzalez
This team is poised to take a step back this season.
Columbus will rely on its stable of older players, such as Schelotto, Hejduk, and Moreno. They were active in the foreign market and tried to get some younger talent, and they will look to make additions later in the season.
But at least for now, the Crew’s season hopes look bleak.
No playoffs, 11th overall, sub-.500 record
Kenny Stamatopoulos, Ronnie O'Brien
The Toronto faithful were great last year, but their team was not. And this off-season, things only got worse.
But they have a stud in Maurice Edu, and they will look to add some talent around him to improve for next season.
Dead last, 14th overall