First XI: First Year XI
as players like Stoitchkov and Lubos Kubik proved in years past -- that some players have skill that defies age. Keep these players coming into the league, I say. They can teach our boys a thing or two.
3. Midfielder: Freddy Adu, D.C. United. He earns this spot through perseverance, but barely gets the nod over teammate Joshua Gros and L.A.'s Ned Grabavoy. Freddy's looked better in recent weeks and, to be fair, the expectations placed on his shoulders were far too great. Let's allow him to keep playing and keep improving. In due time, we'll see more and more of the magic that has been promised.
2. Forward: Jovan Kirovski, Los Angeles Galaxy. Looked like the signing of the year early on, but the second half of the season has not been as kind to Kiro. It's been fun to finally get a look at Kirovski, after so many years of reading about him, hearing about him, but hardly ever getting a look at him (sort of like John O'Brien post World Cup). Still, however, we're left with the same old questions, like, what's his best position? Kirovski still has a lot to prove in L.A., and with Sigi Schmid out and Steve Sampson in, and last place now as close as first for the Galaxy, the time to prove it is now.
1. Forward: Jean-Philippe Peguero, Colorado Rapids. Peguero (five goals) gets the nod in this position over MetroStars Fabian Taylor (five goals) and Cornell Glen (four goals) only because he's been more durable, starting 13 games for Colorado. All three of these first-year forwards have shown skills, but none has been able to score with the consistency that their teams need. There's still time, but it's running out.
Jeff Bradley is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. Send your comments and complaints (200 words or less, please) to Jeff at firstname.lastname@example.org and he promises to read (but not respond to) all of them. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author's, and not necessarily those of Major League Soccer or MLSnet.com.