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Changes come to Western Conference
by Ridge Mahoney, March 7th, 2012 11:52PM

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[MLS SOUND OFF] A new season means new hope for teams like Vancouver and Portland in the Western Conference. It also means a change in philosophy at Colorado and, hopefully, a change in fortunes on the injury front for Seattle. The MLS champion Los Angeles Galaxy made changes, while Western Conference runner-up Real Salt Lake looks to win with the team that took the MLS titles in 2009. Players and coaches talk about the season ahead ...

(Click here for Ridge Mahoney's Western Conference preview.)

“He’s certainly not given us any excuses in terms of the roster and it’s going be up to us to grind out wins and put together another solid season.”

-- Galaxy defender Todd Dunivant evaluates the changes made by head coach Bruce Arena after a 2011 double of Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup.

“But definitely I would like to have players who are comfortable at the ball all the time, players that feel we can create things and it’s not just dumping the ball up front and running and finding second balls.”

-- Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja cites philosophical differences between him and predecessor Gary Smith.

“His injury last year hampered us in the playoffs. If we have a healthy Rosales I think we have no problem advancing. He’s extremely influential on the field and I think the guys feed off that as well. It also helps that he’s here for a full preseason and gets his fitness from day one.”

-- Seattle midfielder Brad Evans considers the significance of a late-season injury to Newcomer of the Year Mauro Rosales.

“This year is our chance, because we have a lot of players from three years ago. We can make something happen this year, but we have a lot of games, so we have to be focused and play every game like a final.”

-- RSL striker Alvaro Saborio harkens back to the club’s MLS Cup-winning season of 2009.

“So for us coming into this season the expectations have changed. We expect to not only be in the playoff chase but to be in the playoffs and make a run for a championship.”

-- Portland captain Jack Jewsbury puts the Timbers’ incredible debut season firmly in the past.

“Last year, we didn’t have a real identity. We had some good individuals but together as a team we didn’t do well and we did a lot of easy mistakes. This year, I think with the coach I feel really comfortable and every player feels comfortable.”

-- Vancouver midfielder Davide Chiumiento compares the ‘Caps under Martin Rennie to the team that won only six games last year.



2 comments
  1. Phil Love
    commented on: March 8, 2012 at 9:08 a.m.
    Yeah, nothing about FC Dallas! Off everyone's radar in stealth mode is exactly where we want to be. (Insert evil laugh here)

  1. Amos Annan
    commented on: March 8, 2012 at 11:58 a.m.
    Portland will be a contender. Home crowd gives them an edge.


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