The salary cap may lop off a fop United player every year (midfielder Tony Sanneh in 1999, forward Roy Lassiter this season), but D.C. remains the league's 800-pound gorilla. It gets whatever it wants—including, this season, a fourth championship.
1. D.C. United
Bolivians Marco Etcheverry and Jaime Moreno are the best MLS has to offer—and they have been since Year One.
2. Chicago Fire
Savvy playmaking ( Peter Nowak and, possibly, Hristo Stoitchkov) plus potent youth ( DaMarcus Beasley, Ante Razov, Josh Wolff) equal a second MLS Cup appearance.
3. Los Angeles Galaxy
Offensive hub Mauricio Cienfuegos (17 assists in '99) is league's most underrated player.
4. Dallas Burn
Jason Kreis might not repeat MVP year (18 goals, 15 assists), but Ariel Graziani (four goals in eight games) will be a scoring machine.
5. Tampa Bay Mutiny
Thanks to ageless field general Carlos Valderrama, Ra�l D�az Arce will lead MLS in goals.
6. Kansas City Wizards
Mo Johnston's new sidekick: Danish import Miklos Molnar, who led spring training with five goals in three games.
7. Columbus Crew
Mysteriously underachieving Brian McBride (five goals in 25 games in '99) will not make up for the defection of Stern John.
8. New England Revolution
Revs will put their trust in new playmaker Mauricio Ramos, but Eduardo Hurtado (seven goals last year) can't finish.
9. New York/New Jersey MetroStars
German legend Lothar Matth�us will try to save this bumbling franchise but he'll spend too much time pining (and leaving) for home.