Guest Post by KICKTV.
The 20th MLS season kicks off with reigning champions LA Galaxy hosting the Chicago Fire. Now 20 seasons may not sound like a lot but it’s quite a milestone for the sport in the States and it means we have about twice as much history as MK Dons so we’ve got that going for us.
Plenty of storylines heading into the year, can LA win its 4th title in 5 years? (straight Manchester United of them) how will the brand new teams in New York and Orlando fair?
For now let’s keep it simple and to the point, here are the top 5 players to watch out for in MLS this year.
5. Wil Trapp
The 22-year-old American holding midfielder had a stellar season in 2014, leading to a cap for the full US National Team against Chile a little over a month ago.
The Ohio native isn’t on this list for what pundits are saying about him, it’s for what Thierry Henry has to say about the kid. After playing against Trapp’s Columbus Crew in October, Henry dedicated pretty much his entire post-match interview to praising the midfielder.
“Wil Trapp was outstanding today,” he said. “I know (Federico) Higuaín usually gets all the (press), and their striker will get credit because he scored two goals. But Wil Trapp was the key.”
If Henry is saying it, everyone should be listening.
4. Bradley Wright-Phillips
First, yes he’s Shaun’s brother and Ian’s son, he’s found his way to the New York Red Bulls, and he’s the golden boot winner from 2014.
The soon to be 30-year-old had a stellar season scoring 27 goals (tying the league record) and helping his club to within a goal of reaching MLS Cup. The question on everyone’s mind this year, was 2014 a fluke for the former Manchester City and Southampton man?
In 2015 he will no longer have Thierry Henry delivering inch perfect passes for easy finishing. Will that mean a rough go of things? Or can he prove that he isn’t a one hit wonder and once again lead the Red Bulls to success?
3. David Villa
Spain’s all-time goals leader joins newly formed New York City FC after spending last season at Atletico Madrid.
There’s no question that the World Cup winner still has what it takes to score, the only question is just how many will he put in the net in 2015?
Historically expansion teams struggle in the first year, similar to how most newly promoted teams to the Premier League hang towards the lower end of the table. Will NYCFC be able to put the supporting cast around Villa for him to succeed?
2. Robbie Keane
The reigning MLS Most Valuable Player recorded 19 goals and 14 assists in 2014, leading the LA Galaxy to the title.
There are a few things that need to be answered by Keane coming into 2015. How will he fair without Landon Donovan in the team with him? Will he be able to carry the team until Steven Gerrard arrives in July?
With an influx of more star players into the league, the Ireland legend will surely want to remind everyone that he is still a force to be reckoned with up top.
The number 1 spot was never going to go to anyone else; Kaka joins the other new team, Orlando City SC, for 2015.
The signing of a former Ballon d’Or winner hasn’t gone unnoticed, as the club has sold over 60,000 tickets for its inaugural match.
His preseason performance has been exceptional and there is clearly a pressure for him to translate that into a stellar goals and assists tally by years end.
While, like Villa, on a newly formed club, there seems to be no doubt the Brazil star will succeed. A more legitimate question is will he be the best player to ever play in the league?
So there it is, five players to keep an eye out for in the 2015 edition of Major League Soccer. Some familiar faces on there, others not so much. One thing’s for sure, it’s going to be a fun ride.
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