Javier Morales is back to lead RSL into a big 2012 campaign. (Getty Images)

Everyone loves a good dark horse story in sports. MLS is no different really as in each season there always seems to be a player that comes from no where to win the MLS MVP race. We saw that in the past with guys like David Ferreira in 2010 and nearly saw it last year with Brek Shea before he lost out to Dwayne De Rosario.

Attacking players tend to do well in the MVP race, but we can’t sleep on those in the back here either. Here are a few guys I see that could be big in this year’s MVP race outside of the traditional names like Landon Donovan, Thierry Henry and Dwayne De Rosario.

Javier Morales (Real Salt Lake) – A big, big year once again for RSL. Morales has been in the MVP mix before but I think there probably won’t be nearly as much chatter about him going into this season as last year, partly due to his injury last season. I still firmly believe that as Morales goes, so will RSL.

Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo) – One of the few defenders that I think can make a real difference in this league (Omar Gonzalez and Jamison Olave being the others). Cameron should be slotted into the defense for the entire season this year, unlike previous years where he has played in the midfield. Should Houston make another run at the MLS Cup this season, it won’t be entirely on Brad Davis but more on Cameron in my eyes to get them there.

David Chiumiento (Vancouver Whitecaps) – Vancouver looks to be an offensive power this season with the likes of Camilo, Sebastien Le Toux, Eric Hassli and Chiumiento. But for me, out of all of those names Chiumiento is posed to have the biggest year. He is expected to be back in the center of the pitch (his natural position I might add) for new boss Martin Rennie. I’m not the only one thinking this either.

Marco Pappa (Chicago Fire) – I’ve always been a big fan of Pappa and something about this group in Chicago has me believing a little more this season. As long as he, Patrick Nyarko, Pavel Pardo and Dominic Oduro can continue their form that we saw late last season, this could be a dangerous team out of the Eastern Conference in 2012.

Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City) – He just got a new contract with Sporting KC today and even before that happened I already had him pegged for this spot. Zusi finally seemed to come alive last year (as did SKC), and I think 2012 is the start of even bigger things for him too.

Danny Koevermans (Toronto FC) – MVP voters like goals and Koevermans showed that he can put plenty of them in the back of the net since his arrival last summer. Toronto is such an intriguing side going into this season and for me it comes down to their defense and this man. If he can bag 15 goals or more this season, you can bet on him being in the MVP discussion.