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Total goals: 8.5

Comment: If he stays injury-free, he's a shoo-in for the over, especially if he takes the PKs for Columbus.

Colorado Rapids -- Total wins: 12

Comment: That'd be two more than Tim Hankinson's side achieved last year.

Freddy Adu -- Total starts: 19.5

Comment: In his rookie season, he started 14 matches. Remember that both Alecko Eskandarian and Jaime Moreno are still in town, and that Adu will miss some time when he is with the U.S. U-20 national team for the World Youth Championship in June.

Real Salt Lake -- Total losses: 14

Comment: FC Dallas lost this amount last season. A few days ago, the over wouldn't have seemed like a bad bet. With Eddie Pope on board to man a pretty solid defensive group, go ahead and roll the dice with the under.

First player to record a hat trick -- Eddie Johnson: 4-1, Taylor Twellman: 6-1, Carlos Ruiz: 3-1, Brian Ching: 6-1, Alecko Eskandarian: 8-1, Damani Ralph: 9-2

Comment: Of that group, only Ralph had a hat trick last season.

Dema Kovalenko -- Total red cards: 1.5

Comment: If you're a D.C. United fan, you better hope for the under.

Eddie Gaven -- Total assists: 10.5

Comment: The teenage midfielder had seven last year in his breakout sophomore season. His role will increase even more this year, yet he'll also miss time with the U-20s and the full U.S. national team.

Higher shutout total -- Who will have more: Jon Busch or Joe Cannon?

Comment: These two goalkeepers tied for the league lead with 10 last year.

Columbus Crew -- Total ties: 11

Comment: It's doubtful that the Crew will reach the total of 13 again.

CD Chivas USA -- Home wins: 7

Comment: Six of the 10 teams won at least seven games in 2004. The Home Depot Center should be a terror-dome for visiting teams coming in to play Chivas USA this season.

Davy Arnaud -- Total goals: 9.5

Comment: Can he do it again?

Higher goal total -- Chad Barrett or Scott Sealy

Comment: Both rookie strikers will likely get time to shine from the start of the season, even if it's in an off-the-bench role.

Higher point total -- Amado Guevara or Pat Noonan

Comment: These two finished in a dead-heat last year with 30 points apiece.

Higher win total -- Real Salt Lake or CD Chivas USA?

Comment: These two expansion clubs will be compared to each other the entire season.

New England Revolution -- Average attendance: 13,500

Comment: Last year's average was 12,226.

Higher loss total -- New England Revolution or Chicago Fire?

Comment: Both sides lost 13 games in 2004. Chicago has improved as much as any club in the league, yet New England underachieved last season and suffered through a number of injuries throughout the year.

Clint Mathis -- Total goals: 9

Comment: The Real Salt Lake striker averaged eight goals during his six seasons in MLS before heading to Germany last winter.

Higher amount of games played -- Michael Parkhurst or Danny O'Rourke

Comment: Both rookies are polished enough to step right in and help their respective clubs.

Number of players that will play in every minute of every game -- 5

Comment: In 2004, four players were able to accomplish this ironman feat: Richard Mulrooney, Steve Ralston, Jim Curtin and Joe Cannon. Six others were less than 100 minutes off.

Jeff Cunningham -- Total goals: 10

Comment: The 28-year-old striker reached double-digits in goals three times during his seven seasons with the Columbus Crew. Perhaps a change of scenery to Colorado and staying injury-free will help him reach that total once again.

Marc Connolly writes for ESPN.com and several other publications. This column runs each Wednesday on MLSnet.com and Marc can be reached at marc@oakwoodsoccer.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.


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