MLS Preview: Forwards to Watch

CARSON, CA - OCTOBER 17:  Chivas USA fans hold up the number 9 in support of U.S. National Team player Charlie Davies during the MLS match between the San Jose Earthquakes and Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center on October 17, 2009 in Carson, California. The Earthquakes and Chivas USA played to a 2-2 draw.  (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)

While there are any number of fullbacks and center backs Bob Bradley will scout during the upcoming MLS season, there’s one striker Bradley, and USA fans, will be dying to see. In just 7 days, the stanky leg could return to the pitch.

Charlie Davies – The importance of Charlie Davies’ 2011 campaign with DC United needs little elaboration. If he plays, he’ll be the season’s most inspirational story. If he plays well, he’ll return to National Team consideration and give Bradley the Elder a dilemma. How would a fully-fit Davies mesh with Bradley’s 1-striker system? An issue we’ll explore in next week’s podcast (sorry, we had to tease it somehow).

Chris Wondolowski – From potential unfulfilled to possible limits reached. Wondlowski was a surprise Golden Boot winner in 2010. A repeat success would be a surprise, even though Wondo was impressive in his USA debut. San Jose’s combo striker/midfielder has a long to go to earn another cap, especially if Davies returns to form.

Juan Agudelo – Besides USA’s Number 9, Agudelo will shoulder US fans’ heaviest expectations, despite his obvious lack of experience (Augdelo still hasn’t started a regular season MLS match). The usual routine with budding stars is to temper expectations. But what’s the fun in that? Here’s to the hype: take New York and MLS by storm, young man.

Danny Mwanga – No, Mwanga isn’t a US citizen yet, though he could be by the end of the year. If the Philadelphia Union striker acquires citizenship, he’ll throw his hat in with Agudelo and Teal Bunbury as USA’s next, best hope.

Kenny Cooper – A fringe National Team player before an unsuccessful move to Europe, Cooper will hope that a return to MLS (Portland Timbers) leads to further USMNT consideration. He has the physical gifts to be an impact player at the international level but needs a string of consistent performances to warrant Bradley’s attention.

Conor Casey: -FFG may never forgive Casey for being part of the squad that destroyed FC Dallas’ title hopes, but he was impressive throughout the 2011 playoffs. The burly forward still has something few national team players possess and something Bob Bradley can’t teach: size.

Will Bruin – Houston Dynamo legend Brian Ching remains Casey’s top competition for the role of US target forward. But Ching’s rookie teammate Will Bruin could soon challenge them both. The 2010 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year has been impressive in preseason and might have locked down a starting role for the Dynamo.

Gringos, did we forget anyone? Or does Charlie’s return wipe out all other contenders?

One Comments Post a Comment
  1. frantz says:

    So far Im not impressed with Charlie Davies at all; I think he is a leader with 5 goals; but most of the goals coming from penalties. So I’m still keeping an eye on him to see if he was really good or just a fluke; or the MLS league is just too competitive,too hard for him.

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