The Fire has been a model of consistency in recent years but 2010 promises to be a year of transition. New Head Coach Carlos de los Cobos must adapt to life in a new league and must do so without the team's most influential player.
Cuauhtemoc Blanco has returned to Mexico and his ability to create and score goals will be tough to replace. Chicago has taken a gamble signing the talented but unpredictable Dutch striker Collins John to partner Brian McBride. The arrival of Polish defender Krzysztof Krol will add strength to the back line.
Prediction: 2nd (East)
The Crew is the team to beat after finishing first in the East for the last two seasons. In 2009 head coach Robert Warzycha continued the legacy left following Sigi Schmid's departure to Seattle, leading Columbus into the playoffs with ease.
Guillermo Barros Schelotto is not getting any younger but his playmaking ability is showing no sign of diminishing. The Argentine veteran will again be the fulcrum of the Crew's offensive creativity. His link play with newcomer Sergio Herrera, a Colombian international striker, will be crucial.
Prediction: 1st (East)
There have been big changes in DC in a bid to bring back the glory days. The four-time MLS Cup champions have missed the playoffs for the last two years so an overhaul was overdue. Curt Onalfo, who was shown the door despite moderate success in Kansas City, is the new Head Coach.
The Brazilian double act of Luciano Emilio and Fred are gone while Ben Olsen has retired. Goalkeeper Troy Perkins is back from Europe and Australian striker Danny Allsopp, who numbers Manchester City among his former clubs, is hoping to make a big splash during his first year in MLS.
Prediction: 5th (East)
It's been a busy off-season for the Wizards as Peter Vermes prepares for his first full campaign in charge of team affairs. The house cleaning has seen the departures of the influential Claudio Lopez and veteran goalkeeper Kevin Hartman who will suit up for FC Dallas.
Hartman has been replaced by Danish 'keeper Jimmy Nielsen while a re-built midfield features Englishmen Craig Rocastle and Ryan Smith plus Senegalese hard man Birahim Diop. Rookie Canadian striker Teal Bunbury hopes to hit the ground running after an impressive college career.
Prediction: 7th (East)
Revs' coach Steve Nicol has never missed the playoffs during his eight years at the helm. There's little reason to suppose the Revs will miss in 2010 but the road is gradually getter steeper. The MLS Cup bridesmaids have reached four finals but have been eliminated in the first round for the last two years.
Nicol must soldier on without the vastly experienced Steve Ralston while Jay Heaps has retired. A multi-player trade with Colorado has brought in goalkeeper Preston Burpo and centre back Cory Gibbs but much depends on the health of Taylor Twellman. If he returns fully fit the Revs have a regular route to goal.
Prediction: 3rd (East)
A new stadium, a new coach and a crop of new players could signal a new era for 2009's worst team. The shiny new Red Bull Arena is a treat for the fans but will the product on the field match the expensive new surroundings? For the sake of the franchise it must.
Swedish coach Hans Backe is tasked with pulling this team up by its laces but it has a long way to go just to be competitive. The Red Bulls comfortably won the 2009 Wooden Spoon, but with the additions of Joel Lindpere and Carl Robinson in midfield to support Juan-Pablo Angel, the only way is up.
Prediction: 6th (East)
Seattle broke the mould of expansion teams by making the playoffs in year one. Do not expect the Union to follow suit. Head coach Piotr Novak has won the MLS Cup as both player and coach but not even he can make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
Philly will benefit from the addition of ex-Columbus striker Alejandro Moreno and centre back Michael Orozco, signed on loan from Mexican side San Luis. Novak also swooped for African teenager Danny Mwanga with top pick in the MLS SuperDraft but the Union will do well to hold its own.
Prediction: 8th (East)
One of only two MLS teams to make a profit in 2009, Toronto FC has proved you cannot buy success in this league. New coach Preki has been hired to deliver a playoff team for the first time and satisfy a large, loyal but impatient fan base.
He inherits a Designated Player in Julian de Guzman who should be a pivotal member of the team during his first full season in MLS. De Guzman's understanding with fellow Canadian Dwayne de Rosario is the key to success on a new grass playing surface which will go down well with players and fans alike.
Prediction: 4th (East)
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