It's now less than five weeks until the start of the 2010 Major League Soccer season.
Teams have been active in winter scrimmages and training camps, and SuperDraft pickups are integrating with their new clubs ahead of the upcoming campaign.
Last season, the Western Conference was as competitive as it has ever been. L.A., Houston, and Chivas USA each proved why they deserved a shot for the game's top prize, and expansion team Seattle Sounders shocked a lot of people on their way to a memorable first season.
But for every success story, there has to be the odd team that fails to live up to the rest. In 2009, it was the lowly San Jose Earthquake. Winners of just seven games, they quickly became the whipping boys of the conference—something they will be looking to change when they kick off next month.
Real Salt Lake only just crept into the playoffs at the end of the year at the expense of Colorado, and they will be fired up as they get set to defend their crown.
Jeff Cunningham, Conor Casey, Zach Thornton, Landon Donovan, Geoff Cameron, and Freddie Ljungberg all shined in 2009.
Who is going to step up this year?
Here's my preview of the Western Conference.