MLS New Faces in New Places
This season marks a new beginning for the curly-haired defender. After missing most of 2007 with a knee injury, he was traded on draft day from L.A. to New England, where his presence on set pieces and attack-from-the-back mentality gives the Revs a new weapon.
Baby-faced and blond, Carroll packs a wallop in his slight frame. Acquired from D.C. United via San Jose, he's a huge upgrade at the holding midfield position, if only for the winning mentality he brings with him to Crew Stadium.
Three seasons in Scandinavia may not have turned Corrales (at left) into an international-caliber left back, but he's the kind of steady veteran an expansion team needs. A vital part of San Jose's MLS Cup-winning sides earlier this decade, he's got a wicked left foot on set pieces.
For the uninitiated, it's pronounced "DWEE-li-o." Learn it, because the 31-year-old Club América legend is primed for a star turn in the Big D. He'll shore up a defense that conceded 44 goals last year, and his Mexican bona fides should give the Hoops a much-needed boost at the gate.
With 157 professional goals on his C.V., the well-traveled Polish international answers playmaker Cuauhtémoc Blanco's prayers for a proven goal-scorer. Together, they should improve the Fire's attack, which scored the second-fewest goals in MLS a year ago.
D.C. unceremoniously shipped the '06 MLS MVP out to the Rockies to make room for Argentine star Marcelo Gallardo. Now, Gómez is on a mission to prove United screwed up. Problem is, Colorado doesn't have the type of marksmen who made Gómez look so good in D.C.
Ianni's not really a new face, but he played so sparingly in his first two years, no one would recognize him along downtown's Main Street Corridor. It's time for the U.S. U-23 international to take the spotlight, slotting in the center of defense beside veteran all-star Eddie Robinson.
Big, smart and an All-American at UConn, ''Julius Caesar'' was tagged the most MLS-ready prospect in this year's SuperDraft. Inexplicably, the Trinidadian dropped to 10th. Now, he's ready to conquer everyone who passed him by.
Behold, ''El Piojo!'' The Louse is one of the most accomplished players ever to join an MLS side. He has scored goals all over the world, from his native Argentina to Italy to Spain. Now 33, can the two-time World Cup veteran withstand the physicality of MLS?
Marcelo Gallardo was D.C.'s flashier offseason acquisition, but Martínez has a tougher job. Another member of the burgeoning Colombian contingent in MLS, he's the composed center back United has lacked the past two seasons. His international experience will be priceless come playoff time.
On loan from Deportivo Cali, the 6-foot-1 center back instantly improves RSL's chances of making the playoffs for the first time. Skillful, tough and still only 26, the Colombian should become a quick idol to the rabid Real fans. Oh, and it's pronounced ''HA-mi-son,'' you gringo.
Juan Carlos Osorio
Hijacked from the Chicago Fire in the offseason, Osorio gives the Red Bulls the sharpest coaching mind in the league. With weapons like Juan Pablo Ángel and Jozy Altidore at his disposal, New York is suddenly an MLS Cup contender. He's that good.
After a three-year detour in Dallas, ''El Pescadito'' is back in his native waters. He may not be in tip-top shape, but in preseason he's looked hungry and clinical, and with David Beckham and Landon Donovan providing silver-platter service, he should quickly add to his career MLS tally of 81 goals.
A member of Switzerland's '06 World Cup team, Wicky's a skillful veteran with experience in Germany and Spain who makes the Goats' midfield the most balanced in the league. Bonus: He's got an umlaut in his name, so he'll fit right in on the Sunset Strip.