5 Players to Look Out for in the MLS this Season

Jo Hinmers

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Douglas Costa – LA Galaxy

Once upon a time, Douglas Costa was one of the most promising emerging talents from South America.

The tricky Brazilian winger was wanted by almost all of Europe’s elite, and when he signed for Bayern Munich from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2015, many thought an illustrious career would follow. However, after just 61 appearances, nine goals and a sale to Juventus and then back to Bayern again on loan, Costa signed on loan with LA Galaxy.

At only 31 Costa is by no means a finished player. His quality on the ball combined with his pace and power from the right-wing is still evident and he will no doubt play a key role in bringing success back to Galaxy.

While not famed for his goalscoring, LA Galaxy and MLS fans on a whole can expect Costa’s playmaking ability to provide an essence of flair and south American elegance to what looks to be an exciting MLS season.

USA MLS Cup Winner Odds

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LA GALAXY @ 5/1

Valentin Castellanos – New York City FC

Last year’s Golden Boot winner, 23-year-old Valentin Castellanos has been attracting attention from Europe and for good reason.

With 43 goals in 94 appearances for New York City FC, the young striker is in red hot form. After just 10 games this season, he has already notched seven goals and will no doubt again be chasing another golden boot trophy come November.

European giants Borussia Dortmund, famed for developing some of the world's best young talents, have reportedly been eyeing up Castellanos following the departure of striker Erling Haaland who is off to Premier League champions, Manchester City this summer.

With that in mind, Castellanos will be keen to ensure he puts on a show every single week knowing full well that while European football is in its off-season, all eyes will be on the MLS. If he isn’t to leave, he will undoubtedly be one to watch this season, with many predicting him to better last season's tally of 19 goals and eight assists.

USA MLS Cup Winner Odds

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NEW YORK CITY FC @ 15/2

Carles Gil – New England Revolution

The reigning MLS MVP, Carles Gil is certainly one to keep an eye on this year. With a record-breaking 18 assists for New England Revolution last season, Gil guided The Revs to a 19-point lead at the top of the Eastern Conference table and clinched the 2021 Supporters Shield in the process.

Gil, who is formerly of Aston Villa and Valencia will no doubt be looking to propel New England one step further into lifting the MLS Cup come November. The Spaniard has already notched seven assists, the joint-most this season so far, and played 38 key passes, second only to Cincinnati’s Luciano Acosta who has amassed just five more.

The Spaniard will certainly use last year’s disappointment of missing out on the MLS Cup to drive New England Revolution further and as he has already started the year so promisingly, he will certainly be one to keep an eye on as the season unfolds.

USA MLS Cup Winner Odds

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NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION @ 18/1

Xherdan Shaqiri – Chicago Fire

The Swiss powerhouse, much like Douglas Costa, looked set for an illustrious career when he signed for Bayern Munich back in 2012, however again after just 50 appearances in three seasons, he was shipped off to Inter Milan where he scored just one goal in 15 games.

After becoming arguably Stoke City’s most distinguished signing in the Premier League era, he spent three years with the Potters before they were relegated in 2018 and he joined Liverpool as a bit-part player in Jurgen Klopp’s incredible re-build of the Merseyside club.

After a brief unsuccessful stint with Lyon, Shaqiri signed with MLS club Chicago fire before the start of the 2022 season, leaving many fans hopeful a switch to the US and a role as the team's talisman can re-ignite the form he found at Basel and national team Switzerland.

MLS fans can expect a dead ball specialist with a wand of a left-foot. What he lacks in height he sure makes up for in power.

The stocky 5”7 winger has the ability to light up the right flank, if defenders allow him to chop inside onto his left foot you can almost guarantee it will end up in the back of the net. Much like his status at Basel, Stoke and for Switzerland, Shaqiri shines when he is the main man.

Chicago Fire fans will be hoping his experience at some of Europe’s elite clubs will shine throughout the current season.

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Jesus Ferreira – FC Dallas

As the youngest player on this list, Ferreira has almost come out of nowhere for FC Dallas so far this season. He currently leads the leaderboard for goals scored with nine in just 13 appearances for the Texas side and has already amassed more goals at the start of this season than he did all of the last campaign (8).

The 22-year-old Colombian born striker has been on fire so far this season, and after recently declaring he will play for the US national team, he subsequently earned himself a call up to the March’s World Cup Qualifiers which saw the US confirm their place in Qatar this Winter.

With that in mind, Ferreira will be vying for a place in the squad and if he continues his impressive early form, there’s no reason he won’t be on the plane come December.

Ferreira is a product of Dallas’ academy, wherein he accumulated a staggering 48 goals in 50 appearances before making his debut for the first team. At just 16 years and 161 days old he became the youngest player in FC Dallas history to score.

Ferreira’s ability to play as a number 9, 10 or even 8 as well as his high pressing modern-football style role has caught the eye of some of Europe’s top clubs. Much like Castellanos, Dortmund have noted him as a potential replacement for the departing Haaland.

Only time will tell how long before a European club comes in for his signature, but for now, he remains one of the best, if not the best prospect in the MLS and one to keep a firm eye on as the season goes on.

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