If you are looking for an easy definition of a what a breakout player is you won't find it here. Sounder at Heart staff varied in what they thought, but the commonality may be that a player who greatly exceeds expectations of the conventional wisdom. Again, all votes were taken prior to the first match against Santos Laguna, but quite possibly they were a bit prescient as David Estrada led all predictions with four votes. After a few years in the Seattle Sounders fan doghouse Brad Evans gathered two tallies. Joining Evans with two votes is Eddie Johnson, who likely gathers his support because expectations are a bit low, though he like the rest of the remaining players that got votes did not play for Seattle, or even in MLS last year.
The other predicted names were Michael Gspurning, Adam Johansson and Christian Sivebaek. There was a thought to have people resubmit non-newcomer names, but in some ways the breakout player on a single team could be a player who is new to the league. If the expectation is that they are merely average and they become great, or if they return to their national team conversation then they broke-out of what ever their former status as a player was.
Aaron talks about why he selected Evans;
In choosing Brad Evans as the best bet for having a breakout season, I'll admit that I'm being a tad bit disingenuous. Don't get me wrong; I'm expecting Evans to have a very good season. But as he's turning 27 in April it's not as though he should be expected to take a major step forward. He's had two seasons with 30 appearances in all competitions and three seasons with 20+ appearances in MLS play. He's almost certainly already the guy he's going to be.
Rather, I think this is the year people finally begin to appreciate what Brad Evans brings to the table. The club has put a lot of faith in him by not replacing the departed Erik Friberg and made it clear that he's their guy. This will really be Evans' first chance to be the clear number-one central midfielder with this attacking core for an entire season. Assuming he stays healthy, I think he'll make the most of it.
Who do you expect to have a breakout season and what will that mean?