CLUB: Portland Timbers
YEARS PRO: 6
He hasn't always put up eye-popping numbers for the defending MLS Cup champion Portland Timbers, but Argentine forward Lucas Melano nevertheless continues to demonstrate in 2016 that he is one of the most physically and technically gifted players in MLS. Timbers fans know well that he scored the goal that put Portland into the 2015 MLS Cup final.
As Portland scratch and claw to back into the playoffs, Melano has been a key figure, scoring a goal in an important win over the rival Seattle Sounders in late August, which kept the Timbers' playoff hopes alive.
What the technical staffers say:
"He's an absolute handful. I think when he's in the field, he's a pest. He's one of those guys that when you're scouting, doing game plans, you have to worry about him because of his pace. He's not the most clinical finisher For a guy who gets behind as much as he does, you probably want him to score more goals, but he's a threat."
"A guy that fast, with his skill, I think you expect more. You want to see more initiative from a player who has that kind of potential. Untapped potential. For me, a lot of times, you question the player – not his ability, but his mentality. Maybe that's related to consistency. He's a good player, but I'm not sure he's always as effective and efficient as he could be. But you'd definitely take him in your team."
"Great feet, great speed. He did extremely well in Argentina. I think little by little he's learning about the game in the United States, how difficult it is to play in MLS. I hope he can do better. Right now, he has not put himself on the level of the name he came with from Argentina."