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Looking at each MLS team's unsung hero, overrated star and revelation

Every season in Major League Soccer, players come to the fore and become stars. Others continue to excel a bit below the radar. At mid-season, let's take a look at who makes the grade, who is the unsung hero and who hasn't met expectations.

The Timbers' Jake Gleeson has been one of the season's revelation in MLS
The Timbers' Jake Gleeson has been one of the season's revelation in MLS
Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

This is going to displease a few people because all choices are personal. So, here we go.

U = unsung hero ... a player whose consistent play, leadership or energy make him indispensable to the team

O = overrated ... who has not met expectations ... who's a big flop even ...

R = what player is having a good season .... perhaps unexpectedly so ...


U = Tommy McNamara ... a real spark plug ... not your typical looking player but full of verve

O = who else but Mix Diskerud ... not likely to see much action in the foreseeable future

R = Jack Harrison ... we're seeing a superstar take hold of a big market

Philadelphia Union

U = Chris Pontius ... a great pick up for the team ...his drive and runs forward bring out the best in his teammates

O = hard to find anyone in that category in Philadelphia ... the team has made huge progress this season

R = Keegan Rosenberry ... Harrison in New York is trying to catch up but the defender leads the rookie of the year race.


U = Felipe ... I'd still want to see him wearing the bleu-blanc-noir and run the Impact's midfield

O = Gonzalo Veron ... has yet to show anything deserving of a DP status

R = the youngster Alex Muyl has shown great confidence in his abilities so far


U = normally would be Toia but his injury has limited his play ... while not spectacular Kyle Bekker has done well

O = after a great start Dominic Oduro's play has tailed off ...doesn't seem to trust his speed anymore ...

R = Michael Salazar ... the young forward has displaced other talented players in the order of things


U = Benoit Cheyrou ... the real king pin of Toronto's midfield play ...has shone without Bradley

O = that can only be Jozy Altidore ... despite the injury, has not demonstrated why he's paid so much money

R = Jordan Hamilton ... young Canadian forward who's earning playing time by dong all the right things

New England Revolution

U = Scott Caldwell ... typical solid MLS player who rarely puts his teammates in trouble

O = Jose Gonçalves ... had an excellent year, MLS defender of the year ... but his play has tailed off since

R = Femi ... has shown great ability despite limited play time ... lots of promise

DC United

U = Marcelo Sarvas ... the heart and soul of DC's midfield ... always plays with emotion

O = Fabian Espindola ...might be a surprise to some to see his name here, but the DP player can do more

R = Steve Birnbaum ...great to see what a national team call up can do ... now firmly in the elite of MLS defenders

Orlando City

U = Darwin Ceren ... on a team that has problems defending, often stops attack in midfield ... solid pick up

O = Antonio Nocerino ...has not adapted well to MLS ... often looks completely lost

R = Tommy Redding ... on a bad defensive team ... acquiring experience that will serve him well later

Columbus Crew

U = Harrison Afful ... one of the bright spots for a Crew team looking for an identity

O = Will Trapp ... the American's play has regressed ...

R = Ola Kamara many really expected him to do so well in MLS ?

Chicago Fire

U = Matt Polster ... a midfielder that continues to progress despite his team's difficulties

O = Kennedy Igboanike ... hard to see any justification for that contract

R = Brandon Vincent ... sees lots of play time on a bad team ... a good learning

FC Dallas

U = on a team full of dynamic stars, Ryan Hollingshead's versatility and consistent play goes unnoticed

O = hard to find anyone here not performing ... but maybe Maynor Figueroa could bring more

R = Carlo Gruezo ... the Ecuadorian is having a dream first season in Dallas ...bosses that midfield like a pit bull

Colorado Rapids

U = it's great to have a solid veteran like Marco Pappa around ... rarely plays a wrong ball ...

O = Luis Solignac ... showed some sparks earlier this season ...back to barely an amber of late

R = Axel Sjoberg ...will be snapped up by a European Club ... too tall ... too good ...

LA Galaxy

U = in an array of stars Jelle Van Damme may not be the most scintillating but he's been the most consistent

O = Nigel de Jong ... bad tackles aside ... has not been able to adjust to the athleticism of the league

R = Daniel Steres' emergence on the Galaxy's defense should lessen Bruce Arena's worries for a few years


U = Luke Mulholland ... versatile, plays with conviction ... a team leader

O = Olmes Garcia ...had shown promise under Jason Kreis ... has achieved little since

R = Justen Glad and Jordan Allen ... both players indicate the future might be bright in Utah


U = Mathias Laba ... Energy, fight and ability ... one of the very best DM in MLS ...exactly what IMFC needs

O = Pedro Morales ... the captain can do more ... sometimes seems to come in an out of games mentally

R = Tim Parker ... evolving into a very solid MLS defender despite Vancouver's defensive woes this season

Portland Timbers

U = Alvas Powell ... his run and dynamism on the outside add a potent weapon to the Timber's arsenal

O = Lucas Melano ... we're still waiting to see the young DP earn his keep

R = his play made Kwarasey expendable ...Jake Gleeson has been splendid in goal

Sporting KC

U = Kevin Ellis has become a mainstay in SKC's defensive set up ... reads the play well and can pitch in with a goal

O = Peter Vermes is high on Diego Rubio but the promise still has to materialize

R = Lawrence Olum is helping to confine Matt Besler to the bench ... enough said

Seattle Sounders

U = in an absolute Annus Horribilis for Seattle, Erik Friberg's play has been one of the few positives

O = Nelson Valdez ... the experience of top Euro leagues has not translated into great play yet

R = in addition to Jordan Morris, the Sounders have a rough gem in Cristian Roldan

Houston Dynamo

U = lousy year ... lousy team ... ray of sunshine? Cristian Maidana ... solid playmaker

O = O Cubo ...where art thou ? Erik Torres has got to find his game at some point ...right ?

R = frankly hard to see anyone who fits on that roster here ...

What are your thoughts ? Who's your favorite unsung hero in MLS ?