- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On March 12, 2010
- 3 Comments
- Andrew Jacobson, Brandon Barklage, Brek Shea, Bryan Leyva, Cam Weaver, Chris Pontius, Chris Wondolowski, Collen Warner, Jed Zayner, Kei Kamara, Michael Stephens, O'Brian White, Osael Romero, Patrick Nyarko, Tim Ream, Tony Tchani, Wells Thompson
Normally in my season previews I go team-by-team but this year as I mentioned earlier in the week I am doing something a little different. Instead of the old way I’m trying something new to break up the content and give folks a little more room for discussion.
Today’s topic is all about who is the next guy to be a big impact player in this league. Or for someone to finally come out of their shell and help lead their club to the playoffs or even better a MLS Cup. I know a lot of these previews depend on the league and the player’s coming together on a new CBA but for the sake of things we’ll be optimistic here and say they do come to terms on something soon.
So I went club to club and asked a few folks who they thought would be the next big thing for their clubs. Some clubs will have just one guy to watch out for and some will have two. If a guy you think is going to break out this season isn’t on this list, hit the comments below with your reasoning behind it.
Now some are rookies and others are guys that have been around the league for a little while. I tried to balance it out between those two groups.
1. Patrick Nyarko (Chicago Fire): Even with the recent addition of Collins John I still expect a big year from Nyarko. His speed and skill (even off the bench) will be tough for some teams to deal with. I’ve always been a fan of Nyarko so in a way this is just me hoping he finally reaches his potential as a player in this league.
2. Osael Romero (Chivas USA): Its hard to pick someone on a team that has a bunch of veteran players, a bunch of young players and a batch of international players. I’m picking an international mainly because I have to think Romero may be the answer to their issues in the midfield. He’ll be the guy they look to distribute the offense and keep pressure off their defense.
3. Wells Thompson (Colorado Rapids): I really think a new address will be the key for this kid. He was in New England for the first few years of his career and did alright under Steve Nicol but I see bigger and better things out west with the Rapids for him. Look for him to add depth to the wings and help produce some offense this season. Colorado is dangerous when their wing play is going well and Thompson will provide that.
4. Jed Zayner (Columbus Crew): The Crew are still a dangerous team and with young defenders like Zayner I can’t see a reason not to consider them a contender once again in 2010.
5. Chris Pontius/Brandon Barklage (D.C. United): The Black-and-Red get two on my list. I see Pontius jumping out even more this season after a superb rookie campaign. Barklage is a guy I’ve been watching for a while now. I think this is a year he’ll get a lot more playing time and DC should be better for it.
6. Brek Shea/Bryan Leyva (FC Dallas): I honestly see this as Shea’s big year. He should be a starter this year for Schellas Hyndman out wide and I think he could make some noise once again with clubs overseas with his play. Leyva on the other hand is is a 17-year old project that should see some time this season. Believe me he’s got all the tools to be a very good player in MLS.
7. Cam Weaver (Houston Dynamo): Dominic Kinnear brought Weaver over from San Jose in a trade last year and it paid off right away with a couple goals. But injuries and setbacks got in the way. I think a new season will get Weaver a little more time on the field for a club that needs all the help it can get offensively.
8. Kei Kamara (Kansas City Wizards): With Claudio Lopez gone I fully see Kamara getting a lot more time on the pitch for the Wizards. Based on his preseason reports he’s doing pretty well so far. I think for the Wizards to reach the playoffs one of the things that need to happen is Kamara get to at least 7 to 10 goals. With his speed there’s no reason he shouldn’t be able to get near that mark.
9. Michael Stephens (LA Galaxy): He may be just a rookie but look for loads of good things out of Stephens this year. He’s exactly the type of player that Bruce Arena can mold into a good role player for the Galaxy in the midfield, an area they needed some youth in.
10. Zack Schilawski (New England Revolution): Another rookie I think will have a very good first year. With Taylor Twellman still iffy for the Revs, Steve Nicol will need another breakout rookie to shine, and Schilawski will be just the guy that does in 2010.
11. Tim Ream/Tony Tchani (New York Red Bulls): Weird that the Red Bulls would get two breakout stars and both be rookies but I’ll give you a reason for both. Tchani for obvious reasons like him being a total beast. Ream may be one of the most underrated rookies out there. Look for him to be the Darrius Barnes of 2010.
12. Andrew Jacobson (Philadelphia Union): He would have been on this list if he were still in Washington. With such a young team Philly really could have any number of breakout stars but I have a good feeling on Jacobson doing well for Peter Nowak this season.
13. Collen Warner (Real Salt Lake): Another rookie but Warner is one you need to start paying attention to right away. He might not get a lot of playing time early but coming off the bench he’ll prove to be very valuable for Jason Kreis’ team as they look to defend their title.
14. Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes): San Jose may have been the toughest team to figure out who would be a breakout star this season. I went with Wondo for a couple reasons, he’s still relatively young and second he’s got to be a guy that can provide a few goals off the bench or even as a starter if the Quakes want to be better in 2010. From what I’ve seen out of him I know he can do it, its just a matter of him hitting that potential this year.
15. Sanna Nyassi (Seattle Sounders FC): Twin brother of Sainey Nyassi (New England), look for him to get plenty of time off the bench this year for Sigi Schmid. They need quick players on the wing and Nyassi is one of the quickest.
16. O’Brian White (Toronto FC): Here’s a guy I’m very excited to see breakout this season. He didn’t come on to the scene last year until mid-way through the year due to injuries. Look for White to be a key part in the offense going forward this year for TFC. He showed a lot of promise late in the year and I see that momentum carrying over in to the new season.