Poll: Which player has been the most pleasant surprise this season?
Whether it is players improving from last season, coming back from injury, or just taking a big step in their development, Chivas USA has enjoyed many positive surprises this season.
When the year began, the Red-and-White squad had several players who were already proven commodities in this league, but also a number of guys who were still trying to make their name and establish themselves as everyday players. It’s a credit to the coaching staff and the players themselves that many have made that leap.
We want to hear what you think. Check out the choices below and let us know which player has raised their game and surprised you the most this season.
Kennedy joined the Red-and-White in 2008, after spending his early career in Puerto Rico and Chile. His time with Chivas USA hasn’t always been easy- injuries cost the goalkeeper all of 2009, and most of 2010. Kennedy stayed in good spirits through it all, always positive, always working hard. This season it’s finally paying off for the 28-year old. He’s healthy and starting to be recognized as one of the league’s best goalkeepers. Kennedy has allowed just 12 goals in his 12 games this season, and has emerged as one of the team’s key players and leaders.
Now in his fifth year in MLS, the intelligent and tidy midfielder was a regular fixture for both Colorado and Toronto before joining Chivas USA this season. Coach Fraser and his staff knew what they were getting when they traded for LaBrocca, but he wasn’t exactly a big name. His goals (tied for the team lead with 3), consistency (he has started all 14 games) and neat play have certainly been a pleasant surprise to many Chivas USA fans. Quiet and unassuming, LaBrocca doesn’t always get noticed, but he certainly does his job and does it well.
The second-year Chivas USA player has grown in leaps and bounds this season. We don’t mean to say he wasn’t solid last season- he was. As a rookie Zemanski appeared in 22 games, and gave everything the team could ask from him. But this season, the midfielder has taken it one step further. He’s started every game thus far, one of only three players to do so. He’s played on the right wing, at defensive midfield, and even at centerback. No matter where he plays, it seems Zemanski finds a way to tread on every single blade of grass, doing whatever he can to put his stamp on the game.
“Sueño” is another player who has made the most of his opportunity this year. Though only 21, the Anaheim native is the longest continuously serving Chivas USA player, having joined the team in 2007. Flores only received sporadic playing time in his first few seasons, but has started 11 of 14 games this year. And he’s made a huge impact. Settling into a left-midfield role, Flores has made himself extremely valuable to the team, helping out in attack and defense, serving in dangerous left-footed crosses and even scoring one goal so far.