As some of you may know, the MLS regular season starts on March 3, when the Portland Timbers take on Minnesota United FC. Thanks to Coach McIntyre and the work he’s done in building the Syracuse Orange soccer program, we’re able to take a look at some of our famous or soon-to-be-famous alumni beginning their roads to MLS Cup this weekend. While there aren’t any Orange starting the season opener on Friday evening, we’ll sort out where you can find your fix of citrus in the top flight of American soccer.
Alex Bono - Toronto FC - #25
Going into the season, Alex will still most likely be the No. 2 goalkeeper on the roster, but he played himself into consideration last season with an impressive 8-3-5 record as a starter, including four clean sheets, 42 saves and a 1.00 goals against average.
He’s looking to unseat the incumbent Clint Irwin, who was injured last year, opening the door for Bono to get a look. He’ll at the very least get Cup starts in the Canadian Championship and wait for that door to open again. He’s on the brink of breaking through, but it will be an uphill battle.
Sergio Camargo - Toronto FC
The rookie was a Toronto Homegrown Player and signed as such prior to the MLS Superdraft this year. They’ve also officially added Camargo to the MLS roster, signed, sealed and delivered. As an HGP, the club gets the leeway and cap space to hold on to him reasonably.
Oyvind Alseth - Toronto FC - Unsigned
Alseth is looking to crack the senior team for Toronto FC, whose roster only sits at 23/30 eligible spots filled at present. The versatile midfielder could break through with his general quality and ability to play competently in multiple positions, which is always a great bench asset.
Miles Robinson - Atlanta United FC - #6
The number two overall draft pick in the 2017 MLS Superdraft will be donning an MLS jersey for the first time this season. He’ll be a very capable backup, which isn’t concerning. Defenders usually develop a little slower, and Atlanta’s addition of Michael Parkhurst and Leandro Pirez will allow him some time to get up to game speed.
Parkhurst is no spring chicken at 33 though and Atlanta should probably end up rotating Miles into the squad as the season progresses. You don’t take a defender with the second pick and not play him. Expect to see him on the field over the campaign and hopefully impressing.
Patrice Bernier - Montreal Impact - #8
The 37 year old captain continues to impress in his quality, leadership and longevity for the Impact. He left the Orange back in the 1999 season to embark on his professional career and just keeps ticking. He has announced this will be his final season, and while he may not be starting every match anymore, he’s still a stalwart midfielder who should be a stabilizing presence for the Impact, as he’s been since 2012.
Julian Buescher - DC United - #33
Julian is in his second year with DCU. His first led to a good bit of run towards the end of the season that seemed to show some promise, including a goal and four assists in his 584 minutes across all competitions, primarily as a substitute.
Buescher plays forward in the midfield and will get run as a box-to-box as well as a creative playmaker. He’s capable at both roles, but would fit best sitting in front of a holder, which fits with DCU’s style and may be MLS veteran Marcelo Sarvas. He should definitely see some run this season as the second man in at the number eight or ten roles.
Chris Nanco - Philadelphia Union (Bethlehem Steel FC)
The Orange had a representative on Bethlehem Steel FC last year, in former defender Nick Bibbs. He has since moved on from the club, but BSFC is still meeting their quota. While Nanco was drafted by the Union, he’ll be playing with their USL affiliate for the time being. He made good on the assignment so far and was able to net his first goal in their preseason opener last week.
Liam Callahan - Colorado Rapids - Unsigned
As a rookie, with Colorado’s roster only at 23/30 currently, Liam has his work cut out for him. We’ll try and keep you updated where he lands, be it on the senior squad or with their USL affiliate in Charlotte.
Ben Polk - Orlando City - Unsigned
Ben will be playing with Orlando City B this year after a trade from Portland Timbers II in the offseason. He’ll be looking to keep his form up in the USL and get a look at an MLS roster as the season progresses.