Nearing the quarter way mark in the MLS season, there have been several surprises. The Vancouver Whitecaps are brimming with hope after a fast start to the season. The Montreal Impact made a run to the CONCAFCA Champions League final but have yet to win a game in their first four MLS ties. The Red Bulls were supposed to take a major step back with the losses they sustained this fall but they look the far superior of the two New York teams. Plenty of these surprises can be attributed to some fresh faces in the MLS so here are you best newcomers to the league thus far.
Midfielder, Toronto FC
Most of the preseason hype surrounding Toronto was surrounding the addition of American-international Jozy Alitdore. While Altidore has been stellar thus far in the young MLS season, Giovinco has been even better. Through seven games, Giovinco has slotted home four goals, including a couple of spectacular free kicks. The Italian midfielder also tallied three assists in those same seven appearances. Giovinco is one of only four players in MLS averaging at least a goal or an assist per game so far this season. He has been the glue to the Toronto offense, taking a large number of the team’s scoring chances. Now if only the defense could fall in line, this Canadian side could be a menace in the East.
Striker, Vancouver Whitecaps
Through ten games, Rivero has hit the back of the net in half of them. Like Giovinco, he has been the offensive talisman for his team. Vancouver managed only 11 goals and Rivero has scored almost half of them. Without him, this team is likely, in the bottom half of the Western Conference. Instead, they sit tied for first. Rivero also has an assist this season but with his position in the Vancouver lineup, helpers are much harder to come by. Rivero needs to do a little better on converting more of his chances (as does Giovinco) but as long as he is scoring consistently, fans and teammates will be happy with his play.
Goalie, San Jose Earthquakes
I know this is cheating a little because Bingham has played before in the MLS but this is his first shot at being the full time starter. Besides, he only made four career starts in three years before this and actually spent time on loan with the USL club San Antonio Scorpions. This year though, Bingham has started all nine matches for the Earthquakes, posting two shutouts. His 29 saves thus far are tied for most in MLS. He does allow 1.11 goals per contest but he has faced the second most shots this season and has the seventh highest save percentage of any goalie with at least five starts. Bingham still needs to improve but his play this season have kept the Earthquakes in a playoff spot so far.
Midfielder, Orlando City SC
Heralded as the best player to ever join MLS when he left Milan this summer. The attacking midfielder might have lost a step but he has the best skill set of anyone in the league. In the eight appearances Kaká has made this season in an Orlando kit, he has scored three goals and one assist. He hasn’t made the impact that was fully expected of him but he has still been the most talented offensive player on Orlando. He is the only Orlando player to score multiple goals this season. I expect Kaká will get stronger as the season rolls on and the team builds more chemistry.