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West welcomes Austin FC; Sounders among top teams

Prospects: Sporting director Claudio Reyna has built a team with a good mix of veterans – including defender Matt Besler and proven talents like Paraguay’s Cecilio Dominguez and midfielder Alex Ring – and youngsters that include draft pick, Daniel Pereira. Goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell seems to have won the preseason battle with Brad Stuver. Look for the possibility of a strong connection between Dominguez and fellow Paraguayan Rodney Redes.

COLORADO RAPIDS

2020 Record: 8-4-6, 5th in the West, lost in the first round to Minnesota

Coach: Robin Fraser

New Faces: F Michael Barrios, F Philip Mayaka

Moved On: D Deklan Wynne

Prospects: The Rapids look to build on last season’s trip to the playoffs, their first since 2016. The Rapids traded Kei Kamara to Minnesota in September but made no sweeping changes in the offseason. They have options up top with new arrival Michael Barrios. Diego Rubio and Andre Shinyashiki will need to up their scoring. The player to watch is 19-year-old Cole Bassett, who has earned a look by the U.S. national team. European clubs may come calling soon. Center back Lalas Abubakar holds down the backline.

FC DALLAS

2020 Record: 9-6-7, 6th in the West, lost in the conference semifinals to Seattle.

Coach: Luchi Gonzalez

New Faces: MF Szabolcs Schon, F/MF Jader Obrian, D Jose Antonio Martinez

Moved On: MF Thiago Santos, D Bryan Reynolds, F Michael Barrios

Prospects: FC Dallas had it rough last season when the team was eliminated from the MLS is Back tournament before it started because of coronavirus cases. But Dallas returned for the regular season and began to gel with new arrivals Andres Ricaurte and Franco Jara. They are expected to start along with offseason acquisition Jader Obrian from Colombia. Jimmy Maurer is a steady presence in goal. And Dallas just keeps on benefitting from a robust development system.

HOUSTON DYNAMO

2020 Record: 4-10-9, 15th in the West.

Coach: Tab Ramos

New Faces: D Tim Parker, MF Derrick Jones, MF Fafa Picault, F Maxi Urruti

Moved On: D Kiki Struna, F Mauro Manotas

Prospects: The team enters season No. 2 under Tab Ramos, the former U.S. youth national team coach. Houston struggled in his first season, finishing last in the West. The significant acquisition in the offseason was defender Tim Parker from the New York Red Bulls, whom the Dynamo will count on to shore up a defense that allowed 40 goals last season. Houston also acquired midfielder Derrick Jones from Nashville. Fafa Picault and Darwin Quintero will be counted on to bolster the attack. Quintero had seven goals and seven assists to lead the team last season, his second with Houston.

LA GALAXY

2020 Record: 6-12-4, 10th place in the West

Coach: Greg Vanney

New Faces: GK Jonathan Bond, D Jorge Villafana, D Derrick Williams

Moved On: GK David Bingham, MF Joe Corona

Prospects: Former Toronto coach Greg Vanney takes over the Galaxy this season. His predecessor, Guillermo Barros Schelotto, lasted just two seasons. Vanney, a former player for the Galaxy, will be taxed with boosting star Javier “Chicharito” Hernández, who had a disappointing debut season last year with just two goals. The team is loaded with other talented, including Jonathan Dos Santos, Sebastian Lletget, and Sacha Kljestan. Goalkeeper Jonathan Bond was brought in from West Brom. It will be up to Vanney to get everyone on the same page.

LAC

2020 Record: 9-8-5, 7th in the West, lost in the first round to Seattle

Coach: Bob Bradley

New Faces: D Kim Moon-Hwan, D Marco Farfan, F Corey Baird

Moved On: F Brian Rodriguez, F Bradley Wright-Phillips

Prospects: After soaring in 2019 with the league’s best overall record in the team’s second season, LAFC had a bit of a downturn last season with the absence of Carlos Vela. He missed the MLS is Back tournament because of the birth of a child and then injured his knee. Now healthy, LAFC looks for him to regain his 2019 form when he won 34 goals. Diego Rossi was the top scorer last season with 14 goals, but he missed the coronavirus’s first-round playoff game against the Sounders. LAFC was eliminated with a 3-1 loss.

MINNESOTA UNITED

2020 Record: 9-5-7, 4th in the West, lost in the conference finals to Seattle

Coach: Adrian Heath

New Faces: MF Wil Trapp, F Juan Agudelo, D Jukka Raitala

Moved On: F Mason Toye, MF Kevin Molino, F Kei Kamara

Prospects: Emanuel Reynoso was picked up by United late last season and had an immediate impact, with a goal and seven assists in theteam’ss surprising run to the conference finals. Ethan Finlay, Ozzie Alonzo, Robin Lod, and Jan Gregus form a solid foundation critical to Minnesota’s success. United was one of the theleague’ss best defensive teams last season, allowing just 26 goals. Still, questions are surrounding the return of Ike Opara, who missed last season and this preseason with an undisclosed illness.

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