Tuesday, March 6, 2012
The all-Two Door Cinema Club MLS team
That headline may confuse some people. And that's okay. It's kind of the point.
So who is Two Door Cinema Club? One of those bands that should blow the doors off the national scene but for one reason or another just hasn't taken off as a household name. They're poppy enough to murder the radio waves, they're sound enough musically to satiate the roiling masses of down-their-nose music snobs, and fun enough to be tunes for any occasion and any season. But they've still managed to hatch a loyal albeit small nucleus of fans from their infectious brand of music, creating a nice niche for those in the know. It's good to pay attention sometimes.
Which brings us to our MLS adventure today. As the MLS season draws ever so near (we are so damn close now, don't give up hope yet) here is my all-TDCC XI... MLS players that are about to (or just should) blow up big in 2012. For the practiced MLS fan, these names might not be all that foreign. But that's because you have good (musical) taste. But for the rest of the world, here are 11 names to remember. And I think I hit 11 different teams on this, too.
Crank up those radios America, ya' heard?
Zac MacMath, Philadelphia Union
MacMath, the No. 5 overall pick in 2011, is poised for a big year in 2012. The departure of Faryd Mondragon opened the door for the Maryland product, who gets his chance to helm the space between the sticks going forward. The biggest bonus for MacMath? He's the recipient of a tremendously dependable back line out of the box. That can only help a young keeper gain his footing.
Seth Sinovic, Sporting KC
Sinovic is often considered the red-headed stepchild of the SKC back four. But it's only because his three mates at the back have been so strong. And because Sinovic came out of nowhere. The Revs cut him (yes, those Revs) at the beginning of the 2011 season, so he signed with hometown SKC at the league minimum, became a fan fave, was left unprotected in the expansion draft, was picked up by Montreal, was traded back to SKC for Davy Arnaud and then signed an extension with SKC shortly thereafter. Got all that?
Lee Young-Pyo, Vancouver Whitecaps
Lee isn't the typical "on the verge of stardom" pick because he's been there before. At 34 - he'll be 35 before the summer - he's already logged serious time in the Prem and presumably decided to end his club career in Vancouver because of its rich Asian scene. And money of course. But Lee probably won't be familiar to a number of MLS fans, and the fullback who plays like a winger very well could help Vancouver begin its climb toward decency. At the very least, its a shrewd marketing move. You'll certainly hear his name plenty in 2012.
Brandon McDonald, DC United
United fans know plenty about the sturdily-built McDonald, who started all 18 games he played for Ben Olsen after being traded from San Jose mid-season. But the rest of the league will get a chance to settle in and get to know a comfortable McDonald more this year, as he plans to partner with Emiliano Dudar to provide the backbone for what DC hopes is a run at the Eastern Conference title. He might have to scrap for PT with Dejan Jakovic, but then we all know who I think will win that battle, don't we?
Markus Holgersson, New York Red Bulls
New York picked a nice time to swoop in and poach the Swedish international from his Helsingborg home (Highly recommend The Man From Beijing. Excellent read). Six days after signing to play for Hans Backe in January, Holgersson received his first national team call-up, and he got his first start five days later in a 5-0 dusting of Qatar. At 6-3 and just 26, the center back is being tabbed to replace Tim Ream's aerial sense and provide that sense of stability for a team that lacked it for much of 2011.
Kelyn Rowe, New England Revolution
It seems now that Rowe will play wide right in Jay Heaps' new system, but he's versatile enough to slot in at a few places. Either way, one thing's for deadlock certain: Heaps is not afraid of giving a rookie major minutes. That will bode well for Rowe's fantasy owners and those hoping for a big year out of the youngster. He should be an early favorite to follow up CJ Sapong as rookie of the year.
Jaime Castrillon, Colorado Rapids
If Castrillon's offseason signing from Colombia's Medellin didn't single-handedly bring back a number of Rapids fans from the ledge, he certainly helped. He will slide into the creator role in the middle of Oscar Pareja's new 4-3-3, which is asking a lot of a new signing. But hey, he's already scored at Dick's Park. So no worries.
Marvin Chavez, San Jose Earthquakes
We already know Chavez is a burner, but can he consistently produce service? That was his MO in Dallas, where he routinely got into good positions but occasionally lacked polish on his final touches. All the early returns from San Jose, where he landed in the offseason, are positive so far. Joining forces with Wondo isn't the worst thing to happen to a midfielder, either.
Marco Pappa, Chicago Fire
What, eight goals isn't a ceiling season? Nope, not when he ravages that total this year, and it certainly didn't get him the attention he deserved. Pappa showed glimpses of being an MLS star last year, but I think he breaks into rarified air this season as a household name even among the league's casual fans. He can be a freak on the left side, and as Chicago only seems to be better this year, that should help take some of the pressure off.
Darlington Nagbe, Portland Timbers
Before his rookie year, Nagbe came into training camp injured, which is a horrible way to start your professional career. He had a decent year - two goals and three assists - but 2012 could very well be his breakout season. He will spend plenty of time paired up top with Kris Boyd, which should be a boon for a player with a goal of the year trophy in his pocket already. The technical whiz kid (he's only 21) is clear of injuries, has the rookie wall behind him and can do things like this. Helloooo nurse.
Will Bruin, Houston Dynamo
Bruin enters his second year in MLS with something to prove. Even though the Dynamo reacquired Brian Ching, he's at the end of his rope professionally, and Bruin is the heir apparent to his throne up top. Bruin put in an early hat trick last year before an injury derailed his ROY campaign, and the physical striker will be looking to give Dom Kinnear reason for hope in the future. But change the goal celebration, dude. It's horrible. Really, really horrible.
- Will Parchman