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Western Conference Preview

By Jonathan Szekeres




TUCSON, AZ - FEBRUARY 23: Goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann #24 of the Seattle Sounders holds up the FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup alongside teammates after defeating Real Salt Lake 1-0 in the Championship match at Kino Sports Complex on February 23, 2013 in Tucson, Arizona
TUCSON, AZ - FEBRUARY 23: Goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann #24 of the Seattle Sounders holds up the FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup alongside teammates after defeating Real Salt Lake 1-0 in the Championship match at Kino Sports Complex on February 23, 2013 in Tucson, Arizona

2012 record: 15-8-11 (3rd in Western Conference, eliminated in Conference Finals)

Additions: M Shalre Joseph (Trade W/ Chivas), D Djimi Traore (Free Agent), M Lamar Neagle

Losses: F Fredy Montero, D Jeff Parke

Overview: They might not have attained that ever elusive MLS Cup that Sounders fans have been craving, but they did take a step forward with their first playoff series victory in 2012. The club said goodbye to franchise scoring leader Fredy Montero, and then veteran backliner Jeff Parke. Shalre Joseph should take some of the sting out of the Montero move, and Seattle really shouldn't miss a beat. Backed by the loudest fans in MLS and a resurrected Eddie Johnson, the Sounders have a legitimate shot at a title this year. However, those noises are made every year, so let's not get too excited yet.

Player to watch: Michael Gspurning put up unbelievable numbers last season, despite missing a large chunk of the season. Fully healthy, the goalkeeper has a chance to prove he can maintain those numbers over a full season.