Every MLS season, new faces come into the league. Some live up to their expectations and hype, leaving a lasting impression. Others don’t. (See, Denílson.)
Early in the season, identifying a point-happy newcomer’s potential before your rivals in MLS Fantasy Soccer: Manager can be a key to success.
Here are a few potential candidates.
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Blas Perez, FC Dallas, $9.5m, 18 points — Simply put, the Panama international has lived up to the hype, registering one goal and two assists. That makes him tied for fifth in points among forwards.
Lionard Pajoy, Philadelphia Union, $8.5m, 11 points — The 30-year-old Colombian came to MLS charged with filling in the void of Sebastien Le Toux. So far, he’s proven he has the potential, scoring one goal this season.
Kris Boyd, Portland Timbers, $9.5m, 10 points — No surprise here. Boyd’s impressive resume as the Scottish Premier League’s all-time leading goal scorer has scored one goal, and could score a bunch more if assist men Kalif Alhassan and Jack Jewsbury keep playing well.
Jaime Castrillon, Colorado Rapids, $8.5m, 14 points — The Colombian international scored 53 goals in 276 matches with Independiente Medellin, and he has the creativity to play set-up man. As soon as injured striker Conor Casey returns (reportedly, mid April), Castrillon should score big.
Gabriel Gomez, Philadelphia Union, $7.5m, 12 points — Joining his 11th team in 12 years in his sixth country (Colombia, Panama, Portugal, Cyprus, Mexico, USA), the Panama international scored in his first career MLS game.
Felipe Martins, Montreal Impact, $6.5m, 11 points — Playing alongside veterans Davy Arnaud and Justin Mapp, the 21-year-old Brazilian rookie has proven a decent attacking threat. No goals or assists yet, but those should come.
Young-Pyo Lee, Vancouver Whitecaps, $6.6m, 22 points — Lee’s years with such clubs as Tottenham Hotspur, PSV Eindhoven and Borussia Dortmund have served him well: The Whitecaps’ D has yet to concede a goal, and he’s tied for third overall in total points in FS:M.
Martin Bonjour, Vancouver Whitecaps, $6.5m, 19 points — Like Lee, the Argentine veteran has shined in the 'Caps backline, racking up shutouts and the third-most fantasy points among defenders.
Victor Bernardez, San Jose Earthquakes, $6.5m, 18 points — “Muma” has made a huge impression in his first three games as the Quakes have shutout two of their three opponents.
Paolo Tornaghi, Chicago Fire, $4.5m, 13 points — A product of Inter Milan, the Italian has been very good in his first two career MLS matches: one shutout, seven saves, 1-0-1 record. But with Sean Johnson coming back from international duty, it’s hard to say if Tornaghi will continue to be the Fire's starter.
Ryan Meara, New York Red Bulls, $5.0m, 10 points — The Fordham University alum allowed five goals in his first three career starts, but the return of the injured Wilman Conde and suspended Rafa Márquez has shored up the NY defense. Shutouts should follow suit.
Jimmy Bowers is a former MLS fantasy champion.