LAST YEAR: 12-17-5, (16th overall, eighth in the Eastern Conference).
WHO’S BACK: F Federico Higuain, F Jairo Arrieta, F Ryan Finley, F Justin Meram, M Dominic Oduro, M Agustin Viana, M Bernardo Anor, M Ethan Finlay, M Wil Trapp, D Chad Barson, D Josh Williams, D Eric Gehrig, G Matt Lampson.
WHO’S GONE: Interim coach Brian Bliss, M Eddie Gaven, M Matías Sánchez, D Gláuber, D Danny O’Rourke, D Chad Marshall, G Andy Gruenebaum.
WHO’S NEW: Coach Gregg Berhalter, M Daniel Paladini , M Hector Jimenez, D Michael Parkhurst, D Waylon Francis, D Giancarlo Gonzalez , G Steve Clark.
WHAT’S AHEAD: New owner Anthony Precourt took over in August but his enthusiasm and money couldn’t prevent the Crew from missing the playoffs for a second straight season. Berhalter is a former U.S. National Team defender and played for the Los Angeles Galaxy and coach Bruce Arena. Berhalter will bring more structure and a 4-3-2-1 attack that he hopes rejuvenates Higuain and especially Arrieta. Oduro led the club with a career-best 13 goals last season and is slotted for the right flank although he prefers to play up top. Trapp, at age 21 and in his first full season, is a burgeoning star in the midfield and is already considered one of the team leaders. The Crew traded former two-time MLS Defender Chad Marshall to Seattle but in its biggest offseason move signed U.S. defender Michael Parkhurst to anchor the center back position. Meanwhile, Francis and Gonzalez both play for Costa Rica’s national team. Clark was acquired from Seattle and will battle Lampson, the former Ohio State keeper, for the starting job.