First off the Young Player award is for someone who would qualify for a standard Olympics roster spot if there were Olympics this year. Andy Rose won the Sounder at Heart poll on this last season and is still eligible. A few months older is Mario Martinez - he's not. While we don't do an end of year Breakout performance as a prediction it provides some insight into who we think can take that big step forward, because every team needs one or two guys to make that stride.
This prediction had 10 responses with only three players getting mentions. None were clear favorites. Both DeAndre Yedlin and Rose were mentioned three times and first round pick Eriq Zavaleta was the leader with four. These votes were taken prior to the Traore signing and so Zavaleta looks to lose some playing time since, but if he performs at the youth national team defender and puts on bulk (Sigi mentioned he needs to fill out for that role) he could still challenge.
Andy Rose proved to be a competent MLS central midfielder in 2012. Already this year, he's talking like a leader, and he got some big minutes in preseason. When Osvaldo Alonso needs a break - which is admittedly rare - or if he is injured or transferred, Rose will be able to step in and fill the void.
Rose could see service in that role as early as Saturday, but so could my pick with Yedlin. I still have doubts about his crosses. At distance they can drift and float, but his short passing is amazing and he's prone to the underlapping run, which is a space that is available with Rosales out on the touchline crossing. That outlet for Rosales could spring Yedlin on goal, in the 18, as a right back...
Abbott picked Yedlin, mainly because he'd picked Martinez as the young player and had to repick that one. Here's why he went for the Akron/Sounders Academy product.
Adam Johansson has shown a tendency toward being brittle and struggles when the team has a congested schedule. Zach Scott will see more time at CB this year than RB. In the preseason Sigi has consistently used Yedlin as the #2 RB and Dylan Remick as the #3. Consequently I see DeAndre earning more playing time than many of the other rookies on this team. As Don Ruiz of the News Tribune said, Yedlin is the real deal. I believe DeAndre will leverage his chances and by the end of the season push Johansson for playing time. Johansson is the starter but in the long run Yedlin will replace him. If Johansson falters, Yedlin's ascent may occur sooner than any of us expect. Mario Martinez will have a stunning year. But I think that DeAndre will play a key role in the team's success this season.
Everyone else picked Martinez. But let's talk about what that breakout season would be. He is going to be looked at as a bit of a goalscorer, not just a creator. Sigi mentioned in practice yesterday that he could see time at forward. His golazos create drool in fans and fear in Rimando.
But he's also not been a goalscorer for his clubs in the past. So any significant number of goals would be a breakout. I would not be surprised if he doubles his record for goals scored, but that would mean scoring four goals the best I can tell. That's certainly a low projection. I see about 7 or 8 goals coming from him, it would be a huge year, but it would be as many goals as one can find in his entire history with club and country.
Who do you have and why?