2011 MLS Season Preview: 5 Breakout Players

2011 MLS Season Preview: 5 Breakout Players

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On February 17, 2011
  • 1 Comments
  • 2011 Season Preview, Collen Warner, Eric Brunner, O'Brien White, Patrick Nyarko, Robbie Rogers

Look for Chicago Fire winger Patrick Nyarko to have a big season in 2011. (Getty Images)

I’ve been tossing around different ideas in my head for weeks now for when it comes to previewing the new season ahead. I’m fairly certain I’ll do my usual team-by-team breakdown but given the fact that there are now 18 clubs that task will certainly take a good amount of time for a busy guy like myself.

This time around I also wanted to do a couple more things to preview the season, staring with today’s look at five players who I believe will have breakout season in 2011. I hope to do other short previews like this one but I’m still putting together a list of items to do. If you have suggestions just hit me up with a comment below, an email, or a tweet with it.

So today is all about the breakout star. Last year I mentioned in my team previews names of players who I thought could breakout in 2010. Some names I was spot on, others probably not so much.

A breakout player can be a number of things, from a guy who is young and could tear the league apart with his scoring, or just a guy who’s finally getting a chance to show his worth (think Chris Wondolowski from last year on both).

1. Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew) – I almost feel like a broken record with Rogers but I truly do believe this is his year to be a true star that he can certainly be. Rogers no longer has the big shadow of veteran players above him to make up for any issues he has on the field. He is now one of the key guys for the Crew going forward.

I don’t see a lot of goals coming from him but certainly more than last season. The 23-year old has a lot to prove this season and will likely be pushing to get back in the national team picture with the Gold Cup coming up this summer.

2. Patrick Nyarko (Chicago Fire) – I’ve always had high hopes for this kid ever since he came out of college a couple years back. With so many moves happening in Chicago this winter, the offense looks completely different aside from Nyarko and Marco Pappa. I see the speedy winger stepping up in a big way this season and possibly competing for the Fire’s leading scorer spot. ┬áThe talent has always been there and I think this is finally the year Nyarko displays it for the rest of the league to see it. It will be interesting to see if he got over the injury bug that hit him last season. For Fire fan’s sake, let’s hope he does.

3. O’Brien White (Seattle Sounders FC) – I’ve seen enough of this kid over the years, from his days at UConn to his time in Toronto, to know that he can be a special talent when everything is lined up for him. I thought the move to Seattle was a perfect fit for him as he’ll finally be able to shake off the dirt that hounded him in Toronto and move forward into a new capter of his professional career. Also, having some coaching stability around him in Sigi Schmid won’t hurt a single bit. Expect him to be a home run type of sub for the Sounders this season.

4. Eric Brunner (Portland Timbers) – I was fairly shocked to see Brunner left exposed back at the expansion draft by Columbus and Portland had no issues taking him in that draft. I think the move west to Portland will do a lot for Brunner and his career under John Spencer. The Timbers should have a fairly decent defense and Brunner will play a large part in that this season.

5. Collen Warner (Real Salt Lake) – Myself and a few others were very high on RSL drafting this guy a season ago. So far from what I’ve gathered this preseason Warner is looking very good for RSL. I see him being a key piece in their CCL run this spring and even more so in league play. If he doesn’t start, he’ll be that change-up off the bench that will both lots of clubs.

  • Didn’t Nyarko and Rogers have break outs 2 years ago and then hit a slump last year? Some odd picks on that list.