Let’s look back at the hyped MLS newcomers of 2012, shall we?
BACK IN 2013
Michael Gspurning, Seattle, goalkeeper. Dealt so well with the difficult job of replacing Kasey Keller that he was a finalist for league Newcomer of the Year and Goalkeeper of the Year.
Arne Friedrich, Chicago, defender. No complaints here. Solid central defender and leader of an otherwise-young back line.
Lee Young-Pyo, Vancouver, defender. Right back was the team’s player of the year despite advancing through his mid-30s.
Blas Perez, Dallas, forward. Actually staying put for a change, so that’s a good sign. Led the team with nine goals last season but will face competition for playing time this year.
Markus Holgersson, New York, defender. A steadying force on a team that really needs one. Now it appears he’ll provide quality depth behind Jamison Olave and Heath Pearce.
Miller Bolanos, Chivas USA, midfielder. Promising attacker who may flourish under new coach.
Jaime Castrillon, Colorado, midfielder. Overshadowed a bit by teammate Martin Rivero despite his team-high eight goals. Out injured for the first few weeks of 2013.
Rafael Robayo, Chicago, midfielder. Signed with the Fire after seven years with Colombian power Millonarios. Spent half the season coming off the bench in Chicago and went right back on loan.
Milovan Mirosevic, Columbus, midfielder. Four goals, two of them game-winners. The bad news: Only two assists from a player hyped as a playmaker. Back to Universidad Catolica he goes.
Hamdi Salihi, D.C. United, forward. I liked him. But he did have a bit of trouble finding the net, and he’s gone.
Gabriel Gomez, Philadelphia, midfielder. Box-to-box Panamanian scored six goals. Released anyway.
Kris Boyd, Portland, forward. Scored 100 goals at Rangers. Not quite as many for the Timbers, especially after coach John Spencer’s departure. He’s back in Scotland.
Franck Songo’o, Portland, winger. Played 27 games with five assists, but he was let go just this week.
Tressor Moreno, San Jose, midfielder. Attacking mid left halfway through the season.
The Newcomer of the Year was Columbus midfielder Federico Higuain, who arrived in midseason. Another finalist was San Jose’s Victor Bernardez, who didn’t get quite as much hype as the others on this list.
So good luck to Claudio Bieler (Kansas City), Juninho Pernambucano (New York), Diego Calderon (Colorado), Rafael (D.C. United), Diego Valeri (Portland), Carlo Cudicini (Los Angeles) and Nigel Reo-Coker (Vancouver). Odds are pretty good that three or four of this group will turn out half-decent.