Players from the tiny principality of Wales have not typically had a large impact on MLS play. In fact, only one Welsh player has ever stepped foot on an MLS pitch.
That could soon change, as former youth international Andy Dorman has gained a starting role for the New England Revolution as they have exploded with an unbeaten start to the season.
The foundations were laid last season. In his rookie campaign, Dorman appeared in 20 matches, with 18 of those stints from off the bench. Invariably, his role was as a holding midfielder, interjected into the proceedings after the 70-minute mark in place of the more attack-minded Jose Cancela.
With Cancela suffering from an early season bout with the flu, Dorman was called on to fill in for the Uruguayan. Showing well as the primary true forward midfielder in the Revolution's five-man midfield, Dorman has maintained his place in the side despite Cancela's return.
"It's good," said Dorman. "It took me quite a long time to break into the team. I'm playing hard to start the match. Starting is much easier than coming off the bench."
In contrast to last season's defensive role, Dorman now has the freedom to join the attack when warranted. With Shalrie Joseph holding and distributing in front of the Revolution backline and Clint Dempsey surging forward, Dorman plays between them and supports both when necessary.
"I love attacking," said Dorman. "I'm a true midfielder. It's about defense and attack. Playing with Shalrie and Clint, we can get forward. Clint likes to go forward, while Shalrie is more defensive. It's fun."
Dorman's play may have been helped by a training stint at League Two side Chester City (fourth tier) during the offseason. Dorman's family lives in the small English town, and Revolution manager Steve Nicol rang former teammate and ex-Chester manager Ian Rush to set up the training stint.
"It helped me to keep my fitness," said Dorman. "It was better than training alone. It was just kicking the ball around, really."
With his form in MLS this season and strong roots in his homeland, there is the question of a move back to the United Kingdom in the future. Dorman brushes aside any talks of an imminent move, preferring to revel in his newly earned starting berth.
"I'm really happy here, especially now that I'm playing here and doing well," said Dorman. "But I still have family and friends back home, so that's a consideration as well."
Kyle McCarthy is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.