Date: 4th March 2016 at 5:26pm
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With just a few days to go until the start of the MLS season, here is a brief introduction to all 20 clubs across both conferences.

Eastern Conference:

Chicago Fire

Colours: Red & White
Stadium: Toyota Park

The Men in Red finished rock-bottom in last year’s regular season following on from 2014 where they set a record for the number of drawn games. New boss Veljko Paunovic has made huge changes to the squad over the winter and fans are quietly optimistic over what 2016 may bring. Players to look out for include Dutch midfielder John Goosens, lightning-quick forward David Accam, and goalkeeper Sean Johnson.

Columbus Crew

Colours: Black & Gold
Stadium: Mapfre Stadium

Columbus were the defeated finalists last season as Portland Timbers secured the MLS Cup, but Gregg Berthalter’s side will be looking to go one better this season. Kei Kamara and Wil Trapp will be key again and keeping Trapp fit for the full season will be important to their success. US national team fringe men Ethan Finlay & Tony Tchani are another two to look out for.

D.C United

Colours: Black, Red & White
Stadium: RFK Stadium

Despite starting last year well, United couldn’t maintain their form and, despite making the play-offs, they never looked like potential champions. Ben Olsen hasn’t made any major changes ahead of the 2016 season so it’ll take something special for United to improve on last year’s showing. New signing Lamar Neagle is one to keep an eye on.

Montreal Impact

Colours: Blue, White & Black
Stadium: Saputo Stadium

24 May 2015 - Barclays Premier League - Chelsea v Sunderland - Didier Drogba of Chelsea celebrates, wearing the premier league trophy lidcrown on his head - Photo: Marc Atkins / Offside.

Drogba of Chelsea celebrates winning the 2015 Premier League title with Chelsea.

The Impact are home to Chelsea icon Didier Drogba and very nearly lost the Ivorian during the close season before he decided to return to Canada. 11 goals in as many games highlight Drogba’s importance to the side. Harry Shipp and Ignacio Piatti will create lots of opportunities for the soon-to-retire Drogba, and maybe there’s one last title in him in boss Mauro Biello’s first full season in charge.

New England Revolution

Colours: Blue, Red & White
Stadium: Gillette Stadium

A mediocre 2015 will hopefully be quickly forgotten as the Revs look to mount an MLS Cup challenge in 2016. The loss of veteran Jermaine Jones shouldn’t make too much difference to a side who struggled to find any real consistent form last year. Xavier Kouassi will join in the summer from FC Sion, although the player suffered a severe knee injury shortly after signing which will see his debut delayed further.

New York Red Bulls

Colours: Red & White
Stadium: Red Bull Arena

Thierry Henry’s old side may struggle defensively following the sale of Matt Miazga to Chelsea in January. The 2015 Supporters’ Shield winners Red Bulls will look to Bradley Wright-Phillips, Sacha Kljestan and Dax McCarty to fire them to further success.

New York City FC

Colours: Sky Blue
Stadium: Yankee Stadium

Home to Andrea Pirlo, David Villa and Frank Lampard, Manchester City’s American lovechild will be looking for a better season than their debut year in 2015. Rookie boss Patrick Viera will be out to impress the decision makers at owners City Football Group. Mix Diskerud needs to show he can be a long-term replacement for the designated players like Lampard and Pirlo.

Orlando City

Colours: Purple & White
Stadium: Citrus Bowl

Looking to build upon their rookie year, Adrian Heath’s Orlando City will again hope Brazilian superstar Kaka racks up a string of impressive performances. Despite questions over their defensive strength, The Lions will be expecting to make it to the post-season at the very least.

13th July 2014 - FIFA World Cup - Final - Germany v Argentina - Former Brazil player Zico (L) greets Kaka and his son before the match - Photo: Simon Stacpoole / Offside.

13th July 2014 – FIFA World Cup – Final – Germany v Argentina – Former Brazil player Zico (L) greets Kaka and his son before the match – Photo: Simon Stacpoole / Offside.

Philadelphia Union

Colours: Blue, Gold & White
Stadium: Talen Energy Stadium

Philadelphia go into the 2016 season on the back of a disappointing year. A ninth-placed finish in the Eastern Conference was a poor return for side who should do better. Tranquillo Barnetta will be crucial to any success and highly-rated draftee Josh Yaro will be out to impress in his rookie year.

Toronto FC

Colours: Red, White & Black
Stadium: BMO Field

The original Canadian MLS side, Toronto FC had a mixed year last year. Qualification for the play-offs was quickly soured with elimination at the hands of Montreal Impact. 2015 MVP Sebastian Giovinco has spoken of his desire to go to Euro 2016 with the Italian national side, and will need to perform at a similar level to 2015 to even stand a chance. If he is selected by the Azzurri, then it could be the worst thing to happen for Toronto’s play-off hopes.

Western Conference:

Colorado Rapids

Colours: Burgundy & White
Stadium: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park

Tim Howard’s likely new home, The Rapids had a dismal 2015. A lack of goals has led to massive overhaul of the forward line as Pablo Mastroeni tries to turn his side’s fortunes around. Shkelzen Gashi and Marco Pappa will be crucial as the season goes on.

FC Dallas

Colours: Red & White
Stadium: Toyota Stadium

Defeated Western conference Finalists last year, FC Dallas will be among the top sides in the conference again this year. Carlos Grueza, Fabian Castillo and Mauro Diaz will be the key men as manager Oscar Pareja tries to bring silverware to Texas.

Houston Dynamo

Colours: Orange & White
Stadium: BBVA Compass Stadium

Managed by Owen Coyle, it’s a surprisingly “Owen Coyle” team. Fantastic one week and turgid the next, Houston need to find some level of consistency if they want to make it to the play-offs. New boys Cristian Maidana and Andrew Wenger could make the difference for them.

Los Angeles Galaxy

Colours: White, Blue & Gold
Stadium: Stubhub Centre

The Western Conference’s big guns, LA boast Steven Gerrard, Nigel de Jong, Robbie Keane, Ashley Cole and Giovani dos Santos amongst their roster as well as 2013 MVP, Mike Magee. Nothing less than a deep run into the play-offs is acceptable for the Galaxy with the squad at their disposal.

Portland Timbers

Colours: Green, Yellow & White
Stadium: Providence Park

2015 MLS Cup Champions. Timbers will see no reason why they can’t have a serious run at defending their title either. There hasn’t been any major changes to the roster over the off-season and key players like Darlington Nagbe and Diego Valeri have been retained.

Real Salt Lake

Colours: Claret & Cobalt
Stadium: Rio Tinto Park

RSL are a side who are going backwards, quickly. The return of Yura Movsisyan simply won’t be enough to simply reverse the team’s fortunes and slow their slide down the table. A ninth-placed finish in 2015 will likely be followed up by a tenth in 2016.

San Jose Earthquakes

Colours: Blue & Black
Stadium: Avaya Stadium

The Quakes moved into their own stadium last year but will need more than sentimentality to keep selling it out. A poor season last time out showed signs of promise towards the end of the year, although it wasn’t quite enough to make the play-offs. They could definitely be dark horses as 2016 goes on.

Seattle Sounders

Colours: Green, Blue & White
Stadium: CenturyLink Field

After another trophyless season, Sounders have begun to introduce some younger players to their side and will look to one of these younger players, namely Jordan Morris, to fire them to the MLS Cup. With a number of senior players leaving during the winter there will be a freshness to the Sounders XI that’s perhaps been missing in recent years.

Sporting Kansas City

Colours: Blue & Indigo
Stadium: Children’s Mercy Park

Sporting KC have a solid starting XI and should be a play-off side at the end of the regular season. After sorting some early issues, SKC went on to have a respectable season and would have gone further in the play-offs but for some bad luck. Benny Feilhaber and Dom Dwyer will need to step up their performances and contribute on a more regular basis if SKC are to go far.

Vancouver Whitecaps

Colours: Blue & White
Stadium: BC Place

The Whitecaps won the Canadian Championship last year and made the conference semi-final before losing to eventual champions Portland. Carl Robinson has built a young squad in Vancouver, but they have gelled well so far and could be serious contenders. The additions of Christian Bolanos, Fraser Aird and Blaz Perez will give some more attacking options to what was the meanest defence in 2015.

 
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